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Blog Entry NFL Week 4 Notes: 2010
October 6, 2010  8:22 AM

Week 4 notes on the National Football League

1)  There's been talk about how it's almost impossible for Super Bowl-champions to win the Super Bowl again the following year. In particular, the Saints aren't supposed to win the Super Bowl this year because they won it last year. If true, I doubt it has much to do with being champs, and more to do with the fact that it's really hard to win the Super Bowl and there are 31 other teams trying to do it too. Team-changing factors like rookies, new and departed veterans, new and departed coaches, and injuries all play significant roles in determining a team's fate. No team is exactly the same as the year before.

It's time to get to the bottom of the issue by looking at the facts. How well does the Super Bowl-winner perform the next season? And how does that compare to the Super Bowl-loser? Here are the 10 previous Super Bowls and how the teams fared the following year.

YearSuper Bowl WinnerRecordPlayoffs?Super Bowl LoserRecordPlayoffs?
1999St. Louis Rams10-6YesTennessee Titans13-3Yes
2000Baltimore Ravens10-6YesNew York Giants7-9No
2001New England Patriots9-7NoSt. Louis Rams7-9No
2002Tampa Bay Buccaneers7-9NoOakland Raiders4-12No
2003New England Patriots14-2YesCarolina Panthers7-9No
2004New England Patriots10-6YesPhiladelphia Eagles6-10No
2005Pittsburgh Steelers8-8NoSeattle Seahawks9-7Yes
2006Indianapolis Colts13-3YesChicago Bears7-9No
2007New York Giants12-4YesNew England Patriots11-5No
2008Pittsburgh Steelers9-7NoArizona Cardinals10-6Yes
AVG10-660%8-830%
2009New Orleans Saints3-1?Indianapolis Colts2-2?

You have double the odds of making the playoffs if you won the Super Bowl (60%) than if you lost (30%). So it's the Colts who should be worried this year, not the Saints.

In theory, the 4 best teams every year are the ones who play in the conference championship games. The losers of those games being the teams who just missed going to the Super Bowl. For comparison, let's see how those teams fare the next season.

YearNFCRecordPlayoffs?AFCRecordPlayoffs?
1999Tampa Bay Buccaneers10-6YesJacksonville Jaguars7-9No
2000Minnesota Vikings5-11NoOakland Raiders10-6Yes
2001Philadelphia Eagles12-4YesPittsburgh Steelers10-5-1Yes
2002Philadelphia Eagles12-4YesTennessee Titans12-4Yes
2003Philadelphia Eagles13-3YesIndianapolis Colts12-4Yes
2004Atlanta Falcons8-8NoPittsburgh Steelers11-5Yes
2005Carolina Panthers8-8NoDenver Broncos9-7No
2006New Orleans Saints7-9NoNew England Patriots16-0Yes
2007Green Bay Packers6-10NoSan Diego Chargers8-8Yes
2008Philadelphia Eagles11-5YesBaltimore Ravens9-7Yes
AVG9-750%10-680%
2009Minnesota Vikings1-2?New York Jets3-1?

If you are one of the final 4 teams in the NFL, your first choice is to be the Super Bowl winner, because that's the ultimate goal. But your second choice should be to lose in the conference championship rather than lose in the Super Bowl because you're likely to have a better season the following year. In particular, you want to lose the AFC championship game, where 80% of the time they make the playoffs next year. The last thing you want to do is lose the Super Bowl, where only 30% of teams make the playoffs the next year.

2)  Cheerleader of the week: Mila of the Washington Redskins Cheerleaders.  Apparently Mila is only 17 years old (maybe she just turned 18 last week? Her birthday is Sep. 26).  Safe to say when I was 17 I didn't know any girls who looked like this.

3)  The New Orleans Saints beat the Carolina Panthers in yet another squeaker. But this time it was different. You could see the Saints offense clicking in this game. Saints turnovers, penalties, and red zone ineffectiveness are what turned it into a real close game.

4)  The St. Louis Rams have become interesting. They play good defense and actually have a chance at winning that weak NFC West division.

5)  My Top 5: Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, New York Jets.

If things stay the way they are, the Saints and Falcons, or Steelers and Ravens, could find themselves facing each other in the playoffs. Those teams already have hot rivalries. Playoff games would be epic. Also, still really looking forward to the Halloween game between the Saints and Steelers.

6)  It's surprising how well Ladainian Tomlinson is playing. Maybe he was right to be sulking with the Chargers the last couple years. Maybe the San Diego coach is as inept as I think he is, and LT was the only guy to grouse about it.

Meanwhile, the Chargers won big over a team they were supposed to win big against. On the surface, that would not be news, except I can't remember the last time they did that. More often they are losing games they should win and playing to the level of their opponent.

7)  Drew Brees passed Aaron Brooks for second place on the Saints all-time passing yardage list. Pretty likely he'll pass Archie Manning for the top spot later this year.

8)  It's pretty crazy that the 49ers are 0-4. They are definitely better than that, but they have organizational and coaching issues. They could have beat the Saints and Falcons, but they don't know how to win. They don't know how to keep their composure. They have very little situational awareness. And Alex Smith... what to do with that kid? He shows flashes of great play, but too many flashes of terrible play.

9)  Fantasy tip: I think I'm going to start benching Marques Colston. He doesn't seem able to separate from defenders this year. And 0 TDs in 4 games is not going to win any games for me.

10)  If you are a Falcons fan and didn't already love Roddy White, you love him now. He made a game-saving play in the 4th quarter that was pure hustle and speed. Plus, he bailed me out in my suicide pool.

Fearless Prediction: Stone-cold lock!

Saints 28, Cardinals 16

Bonus! New Orleans Saints notes!

1)  Holy crap!  The Saints first drive of the game was beautiful. Ladell Betts and Chris Ivory came out pounding people and racking up yards. That's the closest they have looked this year to the Saints offense I'm familiar with. Right up until Lance Moore fumbled on the one-yard line.

2)  Saints stat of the week: 3.  Number of sacks Sedrick Ellis has. Leads the team.

3)  Two games, two fumbles for Chris Ivory. Also, he tends to lose the ball whenever he hits the turf. I saw him do it at least twice when he was tackled out of bounds. Kid needs to hold on to that ball if he wants to stick in the NFL.

- crocoPuffs

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