The Chicago Bears ran the ball more than any other NFL team (42 times per game) this season and led the league in run-pass balance (1.7 rushes for each pass attempt).
But it is unlikely the outcome of their playoff game with the Washington Redskins today will turn on this statistic. A computer analysis shows that one extra running play is valued at one point in the winning margin. If Walter Payton and the Bears can manage 42 rushes in the upcoming playoff game, it might mean victory. And if the Redskins (last season's league leader in rushes per game) move against the Bears with a healthy John Riggins, they should emerge victorious.
The Bears' pass defense should make it tough going for Joe Theismann. The Bears lead the NFL with 4.5 quarterback sacks per game (on a percentile scale of 100, they rank 100); the Redskins have been sacked three times per game and rank a lowly No. 36 in percentile. Theismann had better be mobile for this game. The computer shows that one sack is valued at three points in the winning margin; advantage to Bears, 3.8 points.
The Bears' defense also ranks first in the league in the following statistics: fewest touchdowns passing (.9 per game), lowest first-down passing percentage (28 percent), most plays to earn a first down (4.1), lowest opponent completion percentage, including sacks (39 percent), 23.6 opponent rushing plays, 86 opponent rushing yards per game, 4.5 opponent first downs rushing per game, 7.6 first downs passing per game, 55 plays from scrimmage and fewest pass completions allowed (12.4).
The computer shows that the Redskins' biggest point-advantage statistic (return touchdowns on defense) is worth only 2.8 points in this game. It should be a close game, with the computer projection: Redskins by four points.