The 2020-2021 NFL Conference Championships are here. And with the matchups on schedule for Sunday, it’s sure to be an entertaining day of football. Let’s take a look at the upcoming 2020-2021 NFL Playoff games and top offensive matchups to give a predictive analysis for Sunday using PFN’s Offensive Value Metric (OVM).
Last week, we used Pro Football Network’s OVM to give our predictive analysis on the Divisional Round of the 2020-2021 NFL Playoffs. The OVM gives insight into the strengths of the offense’s playmakers and how they influence the overall unit. Using this data, the OVM successfully predicted three of the four games from last weekend’s round.
Using the OVM to determine top offensive matchups
The Offensive Value Metric (OVM) was created to measure the overall value that an individual provides to his offense. A player with a higher OVM grade isn’t necessarily a higher skilled player, but they do tend to create more overall offensive production for their team.
For the Conference Championships, we compare the average OVM grades from the three offensive skill positions. This can show us which offenses have the highest opportunity for production from their key players. This data has been updated to also include the results from the Divisional Round.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Green Bay Packers
Overall top offensive matchups
The first game on Sunday is the NFC Championship Game. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are facing off against the Green Bay Packers in what I am expecting to be a closely contested game. When it comes to the success of these two offenses’ playmakers, they score close to each other overall on the OVM charts. However, each of these two teams has its own unique strengths.
Tampa Bay has some impressive receivers on their rosters to go deep in the 2020-2021 NFL Playoffs. Chris Godwin, for example, has the fourth-highest catch percentage in the NFL right now. Yet, Green Bay definitely has the advantage when it comes to their receiving group.
Davante Adams is currently sitting on 1,374 total receiving yards so far. This is the fifth-most in the NFL for 2020. He also leads the league when it comes to scoring with 18 touchdowns.
And when it comes to clutch moments, Adams is proven to be reliable for the catch, too. His catch completion percentage of 77.18% is the fifth-highest among all receivers.
Speaking of catch completion percentage, Green Bay’s tight end, Robert Tonyan, leads the NFL in that metric — nearly 89% of his attempts have been caught. And where Adams leads the league in scoring, you don’t have to look far behind him to find Tonyan. With his 11 scoring touchdowns, Tonyan is tied for fifth-most touchdowns from a receiver.
Aaron Jones has been steady for 2020
Green Bay also has the edge over Tampa Bay in the Conference Championships when it comes to their running backs. Aaron Jones has an overall OVM grade right now of 8.44. Jones is fourth in the league for total yardage with 1,104 rushing yards.
And it’s not just the number of yards that Jones is picking up, but how he’s doing it. He’s running against a stacked defense on nearly 20% of all his attempts. Meanwhile, he’s managed to average more yards per attempt than almost any RB in the NFL for 2020. His 5.5 yards per attempt average is the third-most.
Where Tampa Bay has the advantage in this offensive matchup is with their quarterback. Tom Brady is having a phenomenal year. Brady’s overall OVM season grade of 29.34 is the fourth-highest for all QB’s.
When you look at the individual metrics, Brady is ahead of Aaron Rodgers in almost every field. His time to throw is quicker, his intended air yardage is farther, and his aggressive pass attempt percentage is higher. Brady has more total passing attempts than Rodgers as well as total yardage.
Overall, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offense scores just barely ahead of the Green Bay Packers on the Offensive Value Metric. This 2020-2021 NFL Playoffs matchup on Sunday has the high potential to turn into a shootout. But ultimately I’m expecting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to just barely outscore the Packers.
Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Overall top offensive matchups
Sunday night wraps up with the AFC Championship Game. The defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs are hosting the up-and-coming Buffalo Bills. Either of these teams has fairly minimal OVM grades for their running back corps. Both of these offenses have relied heavily on their passing game so far this season and this Sunday shouldn’t be too much different.
The Bills have the better-looking receiver group for offensive production when compared to Kansas City in the Conference Championships. Stefon Diggs currently leads the league in receiving with 1,535 total yards. He’s seventh in catch percentage with just under 77%.
Diggs also has 8 touchdowns from the 2020 season. And, his overall OVM grade of 36.41 is the fifth-highest mark for any receiver this year. Pair this with Cole Beasley, who is having a near 1,000-yard season himself, and you have a recipe for some real success in the 2020-2021 NFL Playoffs.
Of course, right behind Diggs in receiving yards is Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce. Kelce’s 1,416 total receiving yards is second in the NFL. Tyreek Hill is the second-highest scoring receiver this season with 15 total touchdowns. However, when grading the overall receiving group, the Bills score just barely ahead in performance.
Top offensive matchups — Josh Allen is a marquee performer
Buffalo also has the upper hand when it comes to their quarterback. Josh Allen is having an absolutely stellar year. He has the fifth-most passing yards in the NFL right now with over 4,500 yards.
Allen has the fourth-best completion percentage among NFL QB’s — just behind Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. He’s also a top-five scoring QB with 37 touchdowns on the year. If we’re staying focused solely on top offensive production, he beats Patrick Mahomes in this matchup.
Allen beats Mahomes in intended air yardage, completed air yards average, and aggressive pass percentage. The two quarterbacks are near identical in number of attempts, scoring touchdowns, and overall passer rating.
Running backs for either team have been lackluster
Both of these teams score very weak for playmaker production at running back. Kansas City maintains the edge but just by a couple of points. And considering the Bills have one of the lowest OVM grades in the league for their running backs, that’s not really saying much.
Kansas City’s starting back Clyde Edwards-Helaire does have over 800 yards this season. But, for the most part, this has been open field yardage — only about 9% of his snaps have been against a stacked box. And, according to the Next Gen Stats, this is 52 yards less than he should have right now given the opportunity. Le’Veon Bell has taken snaps as the second-string back, but hasn’t produced enough to even show up on the NFL Next Gen Stats yet.
Ultimately, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see the Buffalo Bills upend the defending champions. Buffalo has the better overall OVM production grade than Kansas City in their skill positions. I’m expecting the Buffalo Bills to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs by at least one score to win the Conference Championship and contend for the Lombardi Trophy.