Monday, January 09, 2012

Post mortems: Struggling on the road

Consider this the first in several postseason wrap-ups.

For all the glowing numbers produced by the 2011 Pittsburgh Steelers ~ e.g. 12-4 record, #1 defense, top 10 passing offense ~ there is one number that did not get a lot of examination here: Point differential.

Overall, the Steelers were a +98 for the regular season; however if one was to breakdown that number further, i.e. compare home game point differential to road game differential, a much less flattering image of the team begins to emerge.

In their eight home games the Steelers were +120, two home shutouts and a dominating performance versus Cincinnati went a long way towards that total. Conversely, on the road, the Steelers were a paltry -22 during the regular season.  This got us to wondering about whether or not the 12-4 regular season record was truly a mirage, and so we applied a mathematical formula and, after checking our calculations, determined that based upon point differential alone the Steelers could have reasonable expected seven wins this season.  Even more troubling is the notion, as expressed in the article, that there is a predictive quality to this formula for the following season.  If that is true the Steeler nation will not have to worry about heart-wrenching playoff losses a year from now.

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