The NFL Divisional Round has given us some virtual upheaval – and a certified mega-upheaval


sara.ziegler (Sara Ziegler, sports activities author): Well, it was a entire weekend. For a scorching second Sunday, it appeared like we’d be shedding the 2 favorites of the FiveThirtyEight Super Bowl in a single spherical … however the Chiefs got here again roaring, so we solely misplaced our solely favourite. Welp.

So let's begin with essentially the most stunning results of the weekend: Tennessee in opposition to Baltimore.

neil (Neil Paine, senior sports activities author): It was essentially the most stunning upheaval within the Super Bowl period playoffs, by Elo.

Tennessee's upheaval was historic

Most inconceivable playoff victories of the Super Bowl period (since 1966), based mostly on Elo's chance of profitable on FiveThirtyEight


Adj. Elo
Adj. Elo
Win Prob.

L. Jackson
R. Tannehill

A. Rodgers
E. Manning

J. Montana
W. Wilson

J. Elway
Mr. Brunell

T. Brady
E. Manning

D. White
V. Ferragamo

B. Rberger
B. Bortles

S. Young

D. Marino
D. Krieg

T. Brady
Mr. Sanchez


joshua.hermsmeyer (Josh Hermsmeyer, NFL analyst): I can verify that I felt this degree of shock.

Salfino (Michael Salfino, FiveThirtyEight contributor): The Ravens had such unhealthy / unfortunate attacking effectivity. They scored 12 factors over 500 offensive yards, changing into the second house group within the playoff historical past to win 500 yards and lose. The Steelers did it within the 2017 season, in a loss to Jacksonville, however they scored greater than 40 factors. And solely two groups because the merger (within the common season or the playoffs) have gained greater than 500 yards and scored fewer factors than the Ravens – final yr's Bucs and 1986 Niners.

neil: This is what occurs whenever you flip it thrice and fail the fourth row 4 extra instances.

Salfino: Yes, these fourth drop video games are principally gross sales.

joshua.hermsmeyer: In the common season, the Ravens averaged 1.Four anticipated factors added per recreation within the fourth strive. Against the Titans: -2.58. And the Titans took benefit of those fourth drop defensive holds very considerably.

sara.ziegler: It was fairly wonderful that the Titans had been in a position to capitalize on each Raven mistake.

joshua.hermsmeyer: It was a unhealthy day to do the analytically wholesome factor.

sara.ziegler: And that’s the key level: they had been proper to go forward on these fourth descents, proper?

joshua.hermsmeyer: Every time.

(And the try in 2 factors.)

neil: I detected a lot of individuals fortunately stacking analytics throughout this match.

They had been ready for a match like this.

Salfino: Tennessee is attempting to make us suppose that the effectiveness of scoring within the pink zone shouldn’t be random. The Titans had been Three in opposition to Three on Saturday, 76 p.c within the common season and Eight for Eight of their final three video games (spanning week 17 and the playoffs).

joshua.hermsmeyer: A Derrick Henry TD go is random ???

neil: Tennessee can be the proper automobile for everybody's anti-analytical emotions.

joshua.hermsmeyer: I don't blame folks for making enjoyable of analyzes after this recreation – it's a enjoyable goal, that's for certain. But should you discovered that the fourth strive was possessed or the go was fraudulent within the playoffs, I don't know which groups you thought you had been watching.

The Ravens had been one of the best racing group within the league within the common season.

Salfino: Do ​​you suppose Lamar Jackson was urgent or that he had simply performed comparatively poorly? I believe he was below strain given his issues in beginning a spiral. It appeared like he was suffocating the soccer ball; the balloon merely didn’t come out of his hand correctly.

neil: He actually didn't appear to be himself as soon as he needed to attempt to get out of this deficit.

Salfino: Should they’ve tried to play that early or simply keep on with their recreation plan?

neil: Well, it didn't assist that the rating allowed Tennessee to mud off a model of the ol ’kryptonite protection scheme that we’ve already talked about.

joshua.hermsmeyer: I believe the early flukey interception might have had an impression on issues. Not certain concerning the spirals and the remainder. They moved the ball nicely as a group – these are the excessive leverage video games the place the wheels fell.

Salfino: The common group this decade has scored 1 level each 15.Three yards. So, the Ravens had 34.6 factors anticipated, and they solely scored 12. And on high of that, the Titans obtained 20, 35 and 45 meter landing "orders" (a recreation on the 45 meter "reader" – the sport of the sport, IMO).

The Titans had a level each 10.7 yards to 1 each 44.2 for the Ravens. Well. Lord. These numbers are loopy.

joshua.hermsmeyer: I tracked mileage and automotive possession time, and I can't bear in mind a time when possessions had been equal and the Ravens had been dragging different issues than penalty yards and turnovers. And, in fact, factors.

neil: So, do the Ravens put that within the "shit" drawer and do they proceed?

sara.ziegler: I believe so, proper?

joshua.hermsmeyer: I don't suppose anybody "moves", however sure, I believe that's essentially the most priceless factor. Football is bizarre.

sara.ziegler: "Football is weird" ought to be our slogan for the entire season.

Salfino: I imply, they’ve 12 Pro Bowl gamers, most of whom ought to come again, so it shouldn't be as tough as for many groups to come back again.

sara.ziegler: Very good level.

As for the Titans, we will't say sufficient about Henry. I can't recover from how he modified his season.

joshua.hermsmeyer: Also about Earl Thomas.

Derrick Henry actually had Earl Thomas rotated and blocked for him 😂 #TakeEveryfactor #TitanUp #Titans

– Two-Tone Blue Nation (@ TwoToneBlueNat1) January 12, 2020

Salfino: Yes, it was a unhealthy look after saying that the Patriots had been afraid of attacking.

sara.ziegler: LOL

Salfino: You'd need to be loopy to not be afraid of attacking Henry.

sara.ziegler: In his first 9 video games of the season, Henry averaged 72 yards per recreation and 3.93 yards per carry.

neil: I'm undecided we'll see a stretch like this once more in soccer:

Derrick Henry has been on fireplace since week 10

Tennessee defeats Derrick Henry's weekly totals within the final half of the 2019 NFL common season and playoffs

To rush

The week
Yds / carry

Kansas City
W 35-32

W 42-20

W 31-17

W 42-21

L 21-24

W 35-14

New England
W 20-13

W 28-12


Salfino: For me, the genius of Henry directs the play that known as. It shouldn’t be inventive; he doesn't search for one other gap nor create one himself. It's simply pace and energy on the level of assault. He is like Jim Brown, stylistically. His offensive linemen should love him as a result of they know that in the event that they barely do their job, the sport will succeed.

sara.ziegler: "He's not creative" doesn't seem to be a praise to me, LOL.

Salfino: I do know. But this isn’t an improviser. It could also be one of the best phrase.

And why ought to it’s?

sara.ziegler: If it ain't broke, and many others.

What about Ryan Tannehill's efficiency on this recreation – and within the playoffs normally?

Salfino: Does he play? I haven't observed it.

neil: 😂

sara.ziegler: 🤣

neil: Lol.

sara.ziegler: Jinx

joshua.hermsmeyer: He's solely sixth in EPA per motion per recreation within the playoffs, after main the common season.

neil: At least this time, the separation of the EPA between passing and the frenzy assault made extra sense.

Salfino: These are the highest scores from the 1970s playoffs for Tannehill.

neil: But it was efficient, and TD's fast strike in opposition to Kalif Raymond after the Ravens' fourth failure was devastating.

sara.ziegler: I suppose there’s something to be mentioned for doing what it’s essential do and limiting errors.

Let's transfer on to the opposite recreation that noticed a large favourite go down early: the Chiefs in opposition to the Texans.

Salfino: The largest deficit within the first quarter ever overcome by a house group within the playoffs. By a full contact.

sara.ziegler: I'm not going to lie: I used to be nervous sufficient for our mannequin about a quarter of this recreation.

joshua.hermsmeyer: What a first half it was. Phew.



sara.ziegler: A curler coaster proper there.

Salfino: The Texans by no means actually stopped the Chiefs as soon as. Kansas City had two drops, the punt blocked and the return punt surprised. And then, seven straight landing instructions (which gave the impression to be 700).

joshua.hermsmeyer: The recreation began the identical means because the Baltimore-Tennessee recreation on Saturday. The distinction is that the Chiefs are a group constructed on the passing recreation, and you may overcome a lot of unhealthy variations shortly with such a assault.

Salfino: The turnaround was so fast. It was extra like watching an NBA recreation than a soccer recreation.

neil: Yeah, is that principally the rationale the Chiefs are nonetheless enjoying and the Ravens not?

One group is designed to dig within the holes, and the opposite isn't?

joshua.hermsmeyer: There is actually one thing to it, in my view.

Salfino: I believe that's proper: there isn’t any protection for Patrick Mahomes on this offense.

neil: Houston was additionally removed from flawless in its execution after the massive lead fell on its knees.

(On the opposite hand, I believed Tennessee had executed an nearly good recreation plan when launched.)

Salfino: Houston appeared to panic on the first signal of a downside. I perceive the Chiefs made a nice recreation to stifle the punt, however it was a loopy telephone name at this level within the recreation. Win the chiefs.

I'm undecided, however it appeared prefer it might have been the 4 quickest touchdowns in NFL historical past. If you went out for lunch and got here again, Kansas City had already returned 24-0. In actual time, it had been 10 minutes.

joshua.hermsmeyer: It was a beer in an uncrowded bar, my favourite measure of time.

Salfino: Hahaha

sara.ziegler: So let's go to the NFC, the place the matches had been a lot much less attention-grabbing, a minimum of till the very finish of the Green Bay-Seattle match.

neil: RIP Vikings. 😞

sara.ziegler: Yeah, not a lot to say there.

I allow you to intimidate the fellows to decide on Minnesota, regardless that I knew it was ridiculous.

Salfino: I’ve glorious statistics from Kirk Cousins. He accomplished 72.4% of his passes and the Vikings totaled 147 yards. It's the smallest variety of yards over 70% accuracy, a minimal of 25 go makes an attempt, because the merger IN ANY GAME, playoff or common season.

neil: He was actually targeted on getting that completion for Four yards on the third and eighth.

sara.ziegler: Dalvin Cook: 18 yards over 9 races.


Salfino: This is what we talked about with Cousins ​​final week. That’s why these stats about his standings in opposition to the playoffs are about the identical as these in opposition to the non-playoffs are so meaningless.

sara.ziegler: Wait, what do you imply, Mike?

Salfino: I imply if he occurs to keep away from interceptions, that are random, he’ll play at a smuggler degree by merely stacking meaningless enhances.

sara.ziegler: Ohhh, the smuggler's be aware is a trash can. Right.

Salfino: It's undoubtedly trash for Cousins.

joshua.hermsmeyer: A proportion of 63.6 on three events was brutal for the Vikings. Throughout the playoffs, the typical has been 26.4%.

Salfino: Three-and-out is such a good statistic.

neil: I might say that we should additionally credit score the protection of the Niners. They actually reasserted themselves after a shaky stretch.

sara.ziegler: Absolutely, Neil. San Francisco is simply a far more full group.

neil: San Francisco was actually the one favourite who didn't need to sweat over the weekend.

It was humorous that at one level throughout the Okay.C. recreation, when Houston was forward, you slacked and you had been like, "Great, all the underdogs will win this weekend EXCEPT the Vikings."

sara.ziegler: LOL

I used to be improper!

But not for the Vikings.

Salfino: The Vikings couldn't block San Francisco. The 49ers paid for the frenzy with venture capital and commerce, and they obtained what they paid for.

neil: I ponder if that may change subsequent week in opposition to the # 1 offensive line within the go block success charge.

Salfino: It's a superb statistic. This recreation all of the sudden grew to become far more attention-grabbing, in my thoughts. It's all the time exhausting to imagine in a rematch when the final recreation of the season was such a bloodbath, however there are additionally the 2010 Jets in opposition to the Patriots, proper?

neil: This one undoubtedly involves my thoughts as a uncommon main reversal between the common season and the playoffs.

joshua.hermsmeyer: My analysis has proven that the o-line has extra impact on the licensed go rush than protection in its creation, fwiw.

neil: Interesting!

Salfino: I imagine so, Josh. The offense is primarily below management over the whole lot the protection does, based mostly on all the information I’ve seen.

neil: Does the protection management its personal future in something ???

Bad defenses. Still on the whims of the offense.

(Or variance.)

Salfino: I believe some generational defenses (cue Josh) do. And actually some gamers like Lawrence Taylor. But it’s uncommon.

joshua.hermsmeyer: Okay, on the participant degree, defenders actually have their strain created. But evidently they do it extra typically in opposition to unhealthy traces, so that is what seems within the research.

sara.ziegler: I discover it exhausting to imagine that defending the Green Bay race will gradual the Niners.

Salfino: Kyle Shanahan was all "raced to win" Saturday within the put up-recreation.

sara.ziegler: Based on the above-common protection-adjusted worth, the Vikings had the ninth greatest working protection this yr, and they nonetheless gave up 186 yards to the Niners. Green Bay was ranked 23rd.

neil: 😬

Well, we will additionally have a look at this breakdown for the Okay.C. to run the protection in opposition to the Titans' hasty assault. The Chiefs had been 29th in DVOA in opposition to the race and Tennessee ranked fifth in DVOA on the bottom.

With all of those groups constructing to cease the go and not bothering about working protection, are we attending to the purpose the place it is sensible to construct a working group to cross it? Or is it simply a distinctive case with Tennessee?

sara.ziegler: The 6.5 meters of Henry per whistle appears to be a distinctive case, Neil.

Salfino: I don't know should you can throw extra defenders into the field in the direction of Henry and cease him. But I might dare Jimmy Garoppolo to struggle if I'm the Packers. I believed he appeared VERY fragile in opposition to the Vikings.

You can't let the Niners get 47 races just like the Vikings have allowed and even if you’re the Packers.

neil: Do we need to dance on the grave of the Seahawks? Their behavior of enjoying shut matches finally failed.

(Although they nearly gained this Seahawks actual-vogue recreation, tbh.)

Salfino: At least Seattle didn't have the chains on Russell Wilson. It launched early, however not nicely.

joshua.hermsmeyer: Throw out the sport plan sooner and they win.

Need to ascertain the go.

Salfino: The Seahawks solely had six offensive half factors within the first half, in all probability six too many.

I’m satisfied that Russ would have gained this match if the Seahawks had stopped the Packers on this third and lengthy with two minutes to go.

neil: Oh, I completely agree. The Packers had been holding out for all times on the time.

sara.ziegler: I simply need to know why they missed with 2:32 left.

joshua.hermsmeyer: OMG

It was loopy.

sara.ziegler: Like, guys. Even if Aaron Rodgers goes again a yr, you don't give him the ball.

neil: And actually, they could have had one other probability if Rodgers didn't end some of these passes.

joshua.hermsmeyer: That's proper, this final throw for a first attempt to seal the sport is among the explanation why Rodgers continues to respect his respect.

Salfino: But it was fourth and 11 for the Seahawks. Wilson needed to keep away from the bag within the third third and he couldn't.

sara.ziegler: But Mike, should you belief your protection to not maintain the Packers over a basket should you don't get the primary one, it's nonetheless a one-man recreation rating.

I don't know – it was like throwing me the white flag.

Salfino: There weren't any good choices after the bag, which was a dagger, IMO.

sara.ziegler: So let's end with some predictions!

We had been very unhealthy within the playoffs, you guys.

Only three video games left to redeem us.

Salfino: 3-1 – I'm again child!

joshua.hermsmeyer: 😂

neil: Chalk was additionally 3-1! (Miraculously, given how issues went early on this Okay.C. recreation)

I used to be afraid we had been going to detonate the mannequin.

sara.ziegler: 1-3 – ugh.

I went with my coronary heart as an alternative of my head.

Salfino: It appears too simple this week with out spreading. But that's what I mentioned a yr at college after I misplaced my automotive within the division.

sara.ziegler: Wait… what ???

neil: ???

Salfino: Joke.

sara.ziegler: LOLOL

joshua.hermsmeyer: I used to be making ready for a unhealthy beat story.

neil: Me too!

Salfino: I imply, all of us have to decide on the Chiefs and Niners, proper?

joshua.hermsmeyer: KC-SF for me.

sara.ziegler: Anyone who will half with the pack ??

neil: I so need to take Tennessee. This match in opposition to the Okay.C. run D could be very tempting.

sara.ziegler: DO IT, Neil.

neil: Also, do you know that Tennessee now has a increased Elo score than SF or GB ???

Upset victories actually do wonders to your Elo.

But I can't select in opposition to Mahomes.

Salfino: Tennessee can't escape from it – he mentioned, twirling his mustache.

neil: KC / SF. The Steve Bono bowl.

joshua.hermsmeyer: hah


Salfino: No, it's the Montana Bowl – come on.

joshua.hermsmeyer: Why go over Montana, what shadow.

neil: There are about half a dozen QB KC / SF that we will select from.

Almost all QC KCs from the 1990s to the 2010s had been former QB SFs.

Steve DeBerg
Joe Montana
Steve Bono
Elvis Grbac
Alex Smith

Why? No concept.

joshua.hermsmeyer: Holy cow, this checklist.

neil: Or what concerning the first Super Bowl? KC-GB.

So many potential confrontations.

sara.ziegler: It could be a enjoyable throwback.

But I believe we're all right here for the DeBerg-Montana-Bono-Grbac-Smith Bowl.


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