The ‘Monday Morning Quarterback’ world has divided into two sides based on the Ravens performance. One side dismissed the win against a clearly inferior Dolphins. The other says that it’s still an NFL team. Which side is right?
Well according to Football Outsiders, one of the most universally respected sources of football analytics and knowledge, “Championship teams are generally defined by their ability to dominate inferior opponents, not their ability to win close games.”
FO continues, “Football games are often decided by just one or two plays -- a missed field goal, a bouncing fumble, the subjective spot of an official on fourth-and-1. One missed assignment by a cornerback, or one slightly askew pass that bounces off a receiver’s hands and into those of a defensive back five yards away and the game could be over. In a blowout, however, one lucky bounce isn’t going to change things.
Championship teams beat their good opponents convincingly and destroy the cupcakes on the schedule. Certainly there are exceptions to this rule, including last year’s Super Bowl champion. However, in the DVOA era (1989-2014), 23 of 26 Super Bowl champions have had more blowouts against sub-.500 teams than close wins against above-.500 teams.”
FO believes this so strongly, its listed in their “Football Outsiders Basics” which is essentially their Ten Commandments of football.
Good teams pummel bad teams. It’s that simple.
Warren Sharp, one of the ascending stars of the football analytics/media world agrees with this sentiment in regard to the Ravens annihilation of the Dolphins.
Sharp professed, “Quality of competition also isn’t a great argument in a blowout. One of the best signs of a good team is the ability to destroy inferior opponents and it’s a better indicator than winning close games. That idea has long been a staple of Football Outsiders. Even against bad teams, blowouts don’t really happen unless the team in question has earned it. Last season there were 19 games that finished with a point differential of 30 or more points. Only five of those 19 winning teams did not make the playoffs.”
The Dolphins certainly won’t be playing in the Super Bowl this year, which is unfortunate because the game will be held in their stadium. Despite this, they still have talent throughout their secondary.
Second year DB Minkah Fitzpatrick allowed one touchdown pass in his coverage in 2018. Against the Ravens, he was targeted six times, allowing six receptions for 117 yards and three scores.
Xavien Howard had seven interceptions last season and is considered one of the top cornerbacks in football. He was named to the All-Pro team.
Reshad Jones is a Pro Bowl safety.
The Ravens hit Miami harder than Hurricane Dorian. That’s the mark of a good team, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.