NFL 2020 Power Rankings: Championship Round Edition

NFL 2020 Power Rankings: Championship Round Edition
by
Aaron Chou
__
January 20, 2021
Green Bay Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers signaling to hold while beginning the snap
Photo By Jeff Hanisch, USA TODAY Sports

January 2021 - This Sunday, we have the NFC Championship and AFC Championship matchups to determine who will represent each conference in the Super Bowl. See below how the final four teams stack up based on our EPA model. Points above average reflects how many points we’d expect a particular team to outscore an average team on a neutral field.


  1. Green Bay Packers (7.6 points above average)
  2. Kansas City Chiefs (7.3 points above average)
  3. Buffalo Bills (5.4 points above average)
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4.2 points above average)


The Packers and Chiefs are clearly powered by MVP frontrunners Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes, as their offenses are carrying what our EPA model has graded as mediocre defenses. The Bills are clearly the most balanced team, with both a strong defense and offense. While it may seem surprising to see such a low rating for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offense at just 0.5 points above average, the strength of the Buccaneers is their defense. Consider last weekend’s 30-20 victory over the New Orleans Saints. It was the defense that forced four turnovers to put the Buccaneers’ offense in short field situations. The Buccaneers offense actually underperformed, generating only 4.6 yards/play last weekend.


What does this mean for Sunday’s matchups? At publication, Vegas markets have the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs priced as 3.5 point and 3.0 point favorites, respectively, for their matchups on Sunday. Our models tell a similar story - on a neutral field, the Packers are 3.4 points better than the Buccaneers (7.6 points - 4.2 points), and the Chiefs are about 2.0 points higher than the Bills (7.3 points - 5.4 points). Both the Chiefs and Packers have home field advantage, which should provide a smaller boost than what we’re historically accustomed to due to the lack of fan attendance. At the end of the day, our EPA model has the games priced at-market, and we do not see any value betting at these prices.


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