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Statapalooza: Our Powers Combined

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Here's a brief one before I take some much needed down time. Okay, so in any given contest an inferior team may beat a superior team, because of luck and because of a few important mismatches. Since the Hawks are the inferior team (maybe), let's see if any one matchup pokes its head out and yells "boo".

Green Bay DVOA vs "Other" Receivers: 27.4% (31)

Football Outsiders' receiver by receiver DVOA can be a little dicey. For one, many if not most teams don't have a clear #2 receiver, and therefore it's pretty damn hard to know who their 3+ or "Other" receivers are. Case in point, DJ Hackett had the Wild Card Round's best DPAR, probably because he was designated by the Outsiders as Seattle's #2 receiver. The Skins have been dominant against #2 receivers all year (-45.7% (2)), but is Hackett really the Hawks #2 receiver? I mean, he's probably their second best receiver, sure, but his biggest play, the 35 yard touchdown reception, was against a slot corner, and barely that. Pierson Prioleau is to coverage as Charles Taylor is to not being a war criminal. But, if you take their data, the data's solid mind you, and analyze it, it's tremendously valuable. The Packers safety is an undrafted rookie, their 3rd, 4th and 5th string corners are all undrafted players with 62 combined career tackles. That's not a ton of talent, and not a ton of inexperience. Plus, Atari Bigby owns one of the worst reputations in coverage in all the NFL.

Here's why this is so cool, the Hawks receivers, with the possible exception of Deion Branch, are all "other" receivers. That is, they all play regularly out of the slot. Seattle must go into Green Bay, spread out their defense, and prey on their exceptionally weak second string secondary, and, you know what, this isn't wishcasting, they will. Last week, 4 of Seattle's first 5 plays featured 4 receiver sets, and 8 of Seattle's first 11 plays featured 3 or 4 receiver sets. Holmgren is buying into this new spread style offense, and with Branch back, Hackett healthy and Burleson coming around, the Walrus should be all the more emboldened to spread 'em, shred 'em and pull the upset.