What will it take for the Oakland Raiders to be a playoff team? Some fun with defensive metrics:

This new defense is making an early statement in 2013 - Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

For years I have tracked a few stats that time and again prove out to be true. Teams that accomplish these defensive metrics almost always make the playoffs.

Some, well, actually, none of you will probably remember the defensive metrics that I used to break down when I started this site in 2006-07, but, today I would like to reopen the discussion about  which high level metrics can be tracked, strived for and when achieved lead to your team appearing in the playoffs.

I know that some of you will read this, or even stop reading now exclaiming, "Just Win Baby", and believe me, I am with you, for the most part. It is just that when confronted by this data, I have to believe that when a team achieves a few high level things, they make the playoffs and often win the Super Bowl.

Contained within the following metrics are many levels of assumptions and causes that effect the outcome. Also, I am in no way claiming to know anything absolute and look forward to your responses and tests.

For now, let's start with some rankings from NFL.com and in later issues, or perhaps in this thread, we can use some advanced metrics from Football Outsiders to gain more clarity and develop a better overall metric.

Interestingly enough, these are all defensive metrics. That is not to say that offensive stats don't matter, in fact they do, but, at the end of the day, I think we will find that defense wins the day. As Raider fans, we should all be happy that this is the case as our defense is coming together and is perhaps only a few pieces away from making the Raiders a playoff team. Heck, if they hit our metric this year, they may even make the playoffs...urrr...this year? (One can hope!)

So, let's start with a very basic way to track and score teams. For this, I use the ranking in statistical categories, add them together and get an average score. When comparing these averages we can see which teams made the playoffs and what the cutoff is.

Since we are using team stats be sure to use the team filter on NFL.com.

Let's start with:

YPG (Yards allowed per game), Fumbles Forced, Interceptions, Sacks

IN 2012 the playoff teams had scores of:

Houston 7, 7, 14, 5 - 8.2

Cincy 6, 8, 16, 3 - 8.3

Green Bay 11, 31, 8, 3 - 13.2

Minnesota 16, 8, 27, 5 - 14

Baltimore 17, 29, 19, 11 - 19

Indy 26, 32, 20, 23 - 25

Seattle 4, 5, 8, 18 - 8.8

Washington 28, 23, 3, 23 - 19.2

SF 3, 13, 16, 11 - 10.2

Atlanta 24, 13, 5, 28 - 18

New England 25, 1 , 5, 15 - 11.5

Denver 2, 4, 13, 1 - 5

Teams that missed the playoffs: Pittsburgh 1, 15, 13, 27 (14) Chicago 5, 2, 1, 8 (4) Jets 8, 17, 23, 25 (18.2)

Using these metrics, the Bears should have made the Playoffs and Pittsburgh scored higher than Indy, Baltimore, Washington and Atlanta.

If we drill deeper and see if we use metrics like YPA and YPC may be better metrics than overall yardage and combine turnovers into one metric, let's see what happens.

Houston 7, 11.5, 5 (7.7)

Cincy 11, 12, 3 - (8.7)

Green Bay 23, 19.5, 3 - (15.2)

Minnesota 7, 12.5, 5 - (8.1)

Baltimore 7, 23, 11 - (13.7)

Indy 31, 26, 23 - (27.1)

Seattle 23, 6.5, 18 - (15.7)

Washington 13, 14.5, 23 - (16.8)

SF 3, 14.5, 11 - (9.3)

Atlanta 29, 9, 28 - (22)

New England 6, 3, 15 - (8)

Denver 2, 8.5, 1 - (3.8)

Pittsburgh 3, 14, 27 (14.7) Chicago 13, 1.5, 8 (7.5) Jets 19, 20, 25 (21.5)

These numbers seem to indicate that IF Roethlisberger and Cutler didn't get hurt, the Bears and Steelers would have made the Playoffs. There is much more to uncover. I have to run for now, but, look forward to your thoughts and where you take this.

By the way, the Raiders scored a 13, 24, 1 (12.7) using the second metric. Small sample size, but, not bad.


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