There are only four teams remaining in the NFL playoffs. Only two will advance to the coveted Super Bowl weekend, February 12th, in Glendale, Arizona. Only one will walk away a Champion. If you believe injuries will not or have not already factored into the outcome of this year’s Super Bowl, then you might want to re-examine the numbers.
In my podcast episode due out later this week, that is exactly what I am going to do using Quarter4.io . For now, Let us brush the surface. When you consider the injuries for each team that has made it to the divisional round championships, we see some enlightening data.
It’s no surprise that a team who remains healthy through much of the season should have a high probability of success. No two teams exemplify this better in 2022 than the KC Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles. Both teams have lost only a handful of players to IR. This is evident in the following table of statistics. When compared to the four worst teams in the league, there is much disparity between players listed as “Questionable,” “Doubtful,” and “Out.”
Why does this matter? Consider that when players are listed as Probable, Questionable, Doubtful, and Out, there is still a 75 percent, 50 percent, 25 percent, and 0 percent chance they play, respectively. There is a phrase often quoted by coaches addressing player health. “The best ability…is Availability”.
Pay particular attention to the fact that both the Chiefs and Eagles have less than 100 “Injured Reserve” reports. They also have no more than 21 times a player was listed as “Out.” Remarkably only six times have the Eagles listed a player as “Questionable.” Jalen Hurts was listed as “Out” Week 15, “Doubtful” Week 16, and “Questionable” Week 16. Only five other players were listed as “Questionable” on the team injury report heading into a weekend, with none of them ever listed on the same week. In 50 percent of those instances, the players played. Even the 78 reports of a player being on IR saw them play in 5.13 percent of games (tops amongst teams listed).
Of the divisional championship teams, the Bengals had the highest percentage of players participating despite a “Questionable” tag. Those players played 70.97 percent of the games. However, when compared to the Chiefs, who had the third highest percentage of players suiting up with “Questionable” tag (60.87 percent; 49ers in second with 66.67 percent); the Chiefs only lost players to IR tag 67 times compared to the Bengals 109 and 49ers 120.
So, for an injury expert like myself… this is all I need to see. It confirms what I suspected after reviewing all my injury reports and injury data of these teams from the season. There is no coincidence that these teams have made it this far into the post-season and are challenging for Super Bowl title.
My Super Bowl Prediction
That is why I am going to lay it all on the line! I am predicting a KC Chiefs vs. Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl. The Eagles will take home the title, barring any major injuries, of course, this weekend.
When a team makes it this far with their top-tier players on both sides of the ball healthy, it can not be overstated. The health of players during the grueling 18-week-long regular season is vital to a team’s success.
You got to be “In it, to Win It!”. So far, almost all the Eagles players have done so. For that, I am giving them the edge.
Tune in later this week as I partner with our sponsor, Quarter4.io, to bring even more solid statistical data. Thus helping you predict who may win this weekend’s divisional matchups!!!
Brian Scott, MEd, PA-C, ATC-Ret. is a professional certified healthcare provider in Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine. He serves as the Belly Up Media and Belly Up Fantasy sports injury expert. You can read his other articles and weekly injury updates, such as “Inside the Medical Tent,” right here on the Belly Up Fantasy website. Also, follow him on social media and on several other Belly Up Podcasts and Belly Up TV for weekly NFL injury updates.