Based on Draft Kings spreads for all 272 games, here is how many #NFL points each team is rated above/below the average NFL team, and what their elo rating would be (with a 1500 average). pic.twitter.com/zLvSGnLhOD— Lee Sharpe (@LeeSharpeNFL) May 14, 2023
Linebacker Fred Warner recently said, “I’ll always say, ‘Defense wins championships.’ It’s going to start and end with us.’”
Those comments may ring hollow to some after we just watched both teams in the previous Super Bowl score over 30 points. The 49ers Super Bowl window, at least for last season, improved dramatically once Brock Purdy took over.
Only the most diehard stat junkies are familiar with the stat Sharpe references called “Elo.” According to Carnegie Mellon University, a team’s Elo rating is a system, originally designed for chess by physics professor Arpad Elo, for teams based on head-to-head matchups in a zero-sum game (when there is one loser and one winner).
The link from above goes into further detail about the formula used with a specific example. FiveThirtyEight is another website that’s consistently referenced Elo. Here’s their definition:
In essence, Elo assigns every team a power rating (the NFL average is around 1500). Those ratings are then used to generate win probabilities for games, based on the difference in quality between the two teams involved, plus adjustments for changes at starting quarterback, the location of the matchup (including travel distance) and any extra rest days either team had coming into the contest. After the game, each team’s rating changes based on the result, in relation to how unexpected the outcome was and the winning margin. This process is repeated for every game, from kickoff in September until the Super Bowl.
So, when you factor in the spreads used from DraftKings, Elo ratings, and just about every other projection available, the 49ers are projected to be a high-octane offense, no matter who is throwing passes.
There are only three teams from the NFC that land in the top-10. Keep that in mind this offseason as you hear the talk about the 49ers window potentially closing. The NFC is wide open, and the Niners get a full offseason to implement Christian McCaffrey into their offense.