By HCR Staff | Jan. 5, 2019
Following Week 4, we introduced our first Game Control Index rankings for 2018, and after having tracked this metric all season, we can say confidently that a good performance on this index is highly correlated to winning. And according to this metric, the New Orleans Saints will win the Super Bowl. They are ranked first — and by a clear margin. The only category in which the Saints did not perform well was in defending long fields, defined by this metric as 70 yards or more.
Ten of the 12 playoff teams are ranked within the top 12. The only exceptions are the Los Angeles Chargers at 15 and the Dallas Cowboys at a relatively low ranking of 21. The two non-playoff teams ranked in the top 12 are the Carolina Panthers and Cincinnati Bengals.
Other interesting observations from our GCI data include:
• The New England Patriots did not do a very good job in defending short fields this year. Short-field defense is defined as a drive of 50 yards or less, and the Patriots finished in the middle of the pack. It will be interesting to watch them in the playoffs in those situations.
• Former Arizona Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks finished dead last in our final 2018 head coach rankings. The Cardinals also finished dead last in GCI, and by a large margin.
• The Bears and Rams tied for second place in our GCI ranking, which indicates they might play a very close game again if they have to face each other in the playoffs.
• The Houston Texans ranked first in defending long fields according to GCI. This indicates that if their kicking game is effective in controlling field position, the Texans may have a very good chance to advance in the playoffs.
• The Kansas City Chiefs were first in the league in scoring on long fields according to GCI, and next-to-last in defending long fields. Of course, the Chiefs played much of the season without their starting safety tandem of Daniel Sorensen and Eric Berry. Both now are back and getting used to playing with each other again. Their presence automatically upgrades the Chiefs’ defensive personnel, and because of this, we expect the Chiefs to perform better defensively in the playoffs than they had most of the regular season.
• The Seattle Seahawks have been a steady presence in the top five of GCI all season. They ranked number one overall in cashing in on short-field positions on offense.
• The Pittsburgh Steelers ranked 14 overall according to GCI, and that was directly correlated to their near-.500 record. Despite all of the talent on offense and defense, the Steelers simply did not perform very well on the field.
• If we were to predict the outcome of the Wild Card games strictly off teams’ GCI numbers, your Wild Card Weekend winners would be:
Houston Texans over Indianapolis Colts
Seattle Seahawks over Dallas Cowboys
Baltimore Ravens over Los Angeles Chargers
Chicago Bears over Philadelphia Eagles
Here is our 1 through 32 team rankings:
|GCI Rank||Team||GCI Score||2018 Record (W-L)|