I've been using a new metric that seems obvious for the modern NFL, but I do not see many others using it. I like to use QB rating differential to decide if I believe in a team. It simply is the difference between the team's offensive passer rating versus passer rating allowed. I tried it out last year and it had 10 of 12 playoff teams in the top 12 with 50+% of the league's wins coming from those top 12 teams. To off-set it and possibly provide more value, I checked to see if the difference in 1st down % in offensive rushes compared to defensive rushes. While most of the playoff teams were in the top 20 there, the win distribution was almost uniform to the proper distribution of total league wins expected with two 12 team groupings and an 8 team grouping of 37.5-25-37.5.
I do believe that yards per carry is flawed if a team is not gaining first downs with their carries and I believe that rushing the football for a ton of yards is a nice thing, but not completely necessary. So, I think the emphasis should be on running efficiently. Since the league is a passing league, I just think that passing and stopping the pass is a measure of success. Of course, one of the outliers that was not in that top 12 was the Pats, who did make the Super Bowl.
Truthfully, I want to do this for five years before I really believe in it, but I have found it interesting so far.
I did this last night through week seven.
PASSING RATING DIFF- P denotes current playoff team.
1. Green Bay
2. Atlanta - P
3. San Francisco - P
4. Denver - P
5. Houston - P
6. Chicago - P
7. Arizona - P
8. Pittsburgh - They seem to be a team people think can catch Ravens now.
9. New York N - P
10. Philadelphia - A team who needs to stop turning the ball over. DC got fired. Offense the real problem.
***TOP 12 accounts for approx 49% of league wins
13. Tampa Bay
14. Baltimore - P
15. Minnesota - P
16. St. Louis
17. New York A
18. Miami - P
19. New England - P ---There they are, an outlier again.
**BOTTOM 12 accounts for approx 24% of league wins
23. San Diego - P Not many think this will last.
25. New Orleans
32. Kansas City
Now for difference in percentage of rushes resulting in first downs:
1. San Francisco - P
2. New England - P
3. Miami - P
5. Denver - P
6. San Diego - P
8. Baltimore - P
9. Kansas City
10. Minnesota - P
12. Tampa Bay
***TOP 12 accounts for ~37% of league wins
14. New York N - P
16. Chicago - P
17. Green Bay
18. Houston - P - surprised to see them here? I kind of am, too.
19. St. Louis
***BOTTOM 12 accounts for ~33% of league wins
21. New York A
22. Arizona - P
29. New Orleans
31. Atlanta - P - so that's why they couldn't beat the Giants, right?