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August 9th, 2014, 7:30pmET

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Old 11-04-2010, 05:58 PM   #1
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Default Why Super Bowl XLV in Dallas could be a Giants-Steelers matchup

Why Super Bowl XLV in Dallas could be a Giants-Steelers matchup
Kerry J. Byrne>COLD HARD FOOTBALL FACTS

It's merely the midpoint of the 2010 campaign, but if you look through the statistical fog you might make out a Giants-Steelers Super Bowl at the end of the season.

At least if the Cold, Hard Football Facts all-powerful Defensive Hog Index is any indication.

We introduced the Defensive Hog Index before the 2007 season as a way to quantify the relative merits of each NFL team's defensive front. It's had an incredible record of success, especially in the postseason: if you look only at this indicator and nothing else, it's 25-8 picking playoff winners over the past three years.

The Defensive Hog Index measures the performance of each defensive front in three key areas:

Ability to stop the run (as measured by opponent average per rush attempt)

Ability to force what we call Negative Pass Plays (as measured by the percentage of opponent drop backs that end in a sack or INT)

Ability to snuff out drives (as measured by opponent success on third downs)

The Giants are No. 1 across the board on the indicator right now, dominant in all three areas of the DHI. The Steelers are No. 3 across the board, with a shutdown run defense that's on pace to be the most dominant in modern history.

Pittsburgh's opponents generate just 2.61 YPA on the ground. The current Super Bowl Era record for stingy run defense is held by the legendary 2000 Ravens, who held opponents to 2.69 YPA on the ground.

Football historians might be interested to know that the 1976 Steelers, the greatest of the famed Steel Curtain units against the run, allowed opponents an average of 3.22 YPA on the ground.

Defensive Hog Dynasties

Both the Giants and Steelers have proud legacies on the short but wildly successful history of the Defensive Hog Index. In fact, they're the closest thing we've seen to Defensive Hog dynasties. It's this history that makes us believe that a Giants-Steelers Super Bowl is a very real possibility.

The Giants topped the DHI in 2007. They won the Super Bowl. The Steelers topped the DHI in 2008. They won the Super Bowl, too. The 2009 Saints were merely mediocre (15th), but they dominated Indy's lowly Defensive Hogs (30th) in the Super Bowl, in yet another victory for the indicator.

Fast forward to 2010, and here's a look at the top of the Defensive Hog Index through Week 8.

Team YPA # NPP% # 3down% # Avg
1. N.Y. Giants 3.46 3 12.4 2 30.53 2 2.3
2. San Diego 3.48 4 11.72 4 35.24 7 5.0
3. Pittsburgh 2.6 1 9.82 10 37.5 16 9.0
(YPA -- opponents average per rush attempt; NPP% -- percentage of opponent plays that end in a sack; 3down% -- opponent success converting third downs)

While the Giants and Steelers are legit Super Bowl contenders (for many reasons), the No. 2 Chargers remain a rare curiosity in the annals of the NFL. As we discussed here last week, they dominate in almost every major statistical indicator, including the DHI. But they've been unable to turn dominance on the stat sheet into wins on the scoreboard.

The Giants and Steelers suffer no such problem. Both clubs are 5-2 and look like surefire playoff teams.

Today's D Hogs vs. the Champs

In the case of the 2010 Giants and Steelers, the most encouraging part is that each defensive front stacks up quite well against their Super Bowl-winning Defensive Hogs of recent history.

Here's how New York's No. 1-ranked Defensive Hogs of 2010 compare to New York's No. 1-ranked Super Bowl-winning Defensive Hogs of 2007 in all the indicators that comprise the indicator.

2010 Giants D-Hogs vs. 2007 Giants D-Hogs
Team YPA # NPP% # 3down% # Avg
2010 Giants 3.46 3 12.4 2 30.5 2 2.3
2007 Giants 3.83 9 11.81 2 34.6 5 5.3

The numbers are impressive. The 2010 Giants are stingier against the run, more likely to force Negative Pass Plays and better on third down than even their top-ranked Super Bowl-winning unit of 2007.

That's no small feat. Remember, it was those Defensive Hogs who were largely responsible for the greatest statistical upset in NFL history: the 2007 unit beat up Tom Brady and New England's record-setting offense on the way to a 17-14 Super Bowl victory.

Big Blue defensive end Osi Umenyiora, meanwhile, was the primary catalyst for both groups of dominant New York D-Hogs. He's second in the NFL this year with 8.0 sacks. He was fifth in the NFL in 2007, with 13.0 sacks.

Meanwhile, here's how Pittsburgh's third-ranked D-Hogs of 2010 stack up against its Super Bowl-winning unit of 2008.

2010 Steelers D-Hogs vs. 2008 Steelers D-Hogs
Team YPA # NPP% # 3down% # Avg
2010 Steelers 2.61 1 9.82 10 37.5 16 9.0
2008 Steelers 3.29 1 12.2 1 31.4 1 1.0

The 2010 unit is not as impressive at this point. After all, the 2008 Steelers boasted the NFL's best Defensive Hogs in every single component of the indicator.

Those 2008 D-Hogs were truly a great unit: they stopped the run, pressured the quarterback and stifled offenses on third down better than every other defensive front in football that year.

As was the case with the 2007 Giants, Pittsburgh's D-Hogs played a pivotal role in their Super Bowl victory over the Cardinals. Arizona couldn't run the football that day (12 attempts, 33 yards, 2.8 YPA) and struggled on third down, converting just 3 of 7 (37%), not far off the average performance against Pittsburgh in 2008.

Most importantly, it was a member of the defensive hogs that made the biggest play of the game: stud linebacker James Harrison returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown. The Steelers won 27-23.

Harrison was the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 2008, thanks largely to his 16.0 sacks, and is leading the charge in Pittsburgh again here in 2010. He boasts a team-high 6.0 sacks and four forced fumbles.

Besides the potential meeting of the NFL's two modern Defensive Hog dynasties, a Giants-Steelers Super Bowl would offer us a bit of history, too: These marquee franchises and old-school NFL powers -- each in the league more than 75 years -- have never met in the postseason.



Find this article at:
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/201...owl/index.html
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Old 11-04-2010, 06:06 PM   #2
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Default Re: Why Super Bowl XLV in Dallas could be a Giants-Steelers matchup

There's also a chance for a Manning-Bowl in the Superbowl...

Though to see 2 defensive heavy teams in the superbowl would be interesting to watch. Especially in today's era.
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Old 11-04-2010, 07:17 PM   #3
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Default Re: Why Super Bowl XLV in Dallas could be a Giants-Steelers matchup

if we keep playing like we played last sunday we are not even gonna make the plaoffs
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Old 11-04-2010, 07:39 PM   #4
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Default Re: Why Super Bowl XLV in Dallas could be a Giants-Steelers matchup

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if we keep playing like we played last sunday we are not even gonna make the plaoffs
the team is much too talented to miss the playoffs outright. we played a terrible game and even still was never out of the game. if they get their stuff together i don't think many teams are capable of hanging with us
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Old 11-04-2010, 07:45 PM   #5
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Default Re: Why Super Bowl XLV in Dallas could be a Giants-Steelers matchup

we were shell-shocked vs the Colts in 2005 and shell-shocked vs the Eagles in 2008. we all know how those seasons ended. they just have to bounce back and get their shit together.
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Old 11-04-2010, 09:10 PM   #6
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Default Re: Why Super Bowl XLV in Dallas could be a Giants-Steelers matchup

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QUOTEwe were shell-shocked vs the Colts in 2005 and shell-shocked vs the Eagles in 2008. we all know how those seasons ended. they just have to bounce back and get their shit together
we were also 6-2 last year and we all know how that ended
but I hope you are right though im in Arkansas and i get so much heat from all the cowboys fans nothing would make me happier than to go down there and do this in their stadium
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Old 11-05-2010, 01:48 AM   #7
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Cool Re: Why Super Bowl XLV in Dallas could be a Giants-Steelers matchup

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Originally Posted by fer522 View Post
we were also 6-2 last year and we all know how that ended
but I hope you are right though im in Arkansas and i get so much heat from all the cowboys fans nothing would make me happier than to go down there and do this in their stadium
I really feel there is a good chance to do so. Right now my main concern is keeping a decent pace with Baltimore. I really hope to see them over-take them in the next 3-4 games. But as long as they win, Pittsburgh needs to win. I'm hoping for an offensive statement against Cincinnati. Bruce needs to know that things will be called against our receivers too. That, or let Ben run the offense. (I'm going to plug this idea 'til I am blue in the face)

I really do feel I'll be watching them here in my backyard come February.

Heck, I was across the street at both Game 4s of the ALDS and World Series (both losses, damn you Tommy Hunter) waving my Terrible Towel amongst all the white towels.
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Old 11-05-2010, 06:43 AM   #8
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Default Re: Why Super Bowl XLV in Dallas could be a Giants-Steelers matchup

I just want to see adjustments. I'm worried about making the playoffs with what I've seen here of late.
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Old 11-05-2010, 08:59 PM   #9
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Default Re: Why Super Bowl XLV in Dallas could be a Giants-Steelers matchup

I wonder how losing A Smith will affect this "DHI".
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Old 11-05-2010, 10:25 PM   #10
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Default Re: Why Super Bowl XLV in Dallas could be a Giants-Steelers matchup

I'm hammered... but why do the Chargers have "stats" like that but still suck? Not as bad as the Bengals, but still...
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