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In short? The answer is no.

A great article on WEEI looks at one particular trend in Super bowl teams, that trend being sacks.

Looking at the last 10 teams to win the Superbowl, eight of them were in the top eight in sacks. This year, the Patriots are tied for 15th with 37 sacks - a number greatly helped out by last week's seven sack performance.

WEEI:
2011, Giants: 48 sacks, tied for third. (Jason Pierre-Paul, 16.5 sacks)

2010, Packers: 47 sacks, tied for second. (Clay Matthews, 13.5 sacks)

2009, Saints: 35 sacks, tied for 13th. (Will Smith, 13 sacks)

2008, Steelers: 51 sacks, second. (James Harrison, 16 sacks)

2007, Giants: 53 sacks, first. (Osi Umenyiora, 13 sacks)

2006, Colts: 25 sacks, 30th. (Robert Mathis, 9.5 sacks)

2005, Steelers: 47 sacks, tied for third. (Joey Porter, 10.5 sacks)

2004, Patriots: 45 sacks, tied for third. (Willie McGinest, 9.5 sacks)

2003, Patriots: 41 sacks, sixth. (Mike Vrabel, 9.5 sacks)

The Patriots current leader in sacks is Rob Ninkovich with 8.5 sacks while Chandler Jones has 6. This isn't exactly typical of the kind of teams that generally win the big game.

Is this enough to doom the Patriots? No, of course not.

Both the 2009 Saints and 2006 Colts stand out as anomalies, and both teams are more similar to the current Patriots in style than any of the others (Packers withstanding perhaps). Still, the evidence speaks loudly.

The Patriots defense has prided itself on turnovers recently. They lead the league in that category dating all the way back to 2009. It's really the only way the Patriots can counteract their pass rushing woes. As WEEI points out, it's how the Saints defense overcame theirs. Remember that Super Bowl wasn't about Peyton Manning laying face down on the ground (like the Giants have done to Brady) but instead it was Tracy Porter returning an interception for a touchdown.

If the Patriots are going to win a Super Bowl, it's going to have to go something like that. In last year's big game they forced two fumbles and the Giants just recovered both of them. Jerod Mayo also had a dropped interception. Kind of along the lines of that San Francisco game this season, where the Patriots forced 6 fumbles and only recovered one of them.

If that ball doesn't bounce the Patriots way, it doesn't usually end well for them.

Just for kicks, here's the sack leaders for this year.

Here are the sack leaders by team for this year


Here are the sack leaders by player for this year


Based on this; the Texans, Packers, Broncos, Bengals and Vikings all qualify as being likely to win the Super Bowl since they are in the top eight in sacks this year. Obviously this is not the only factor (Yeah, Bengals and Vikings are winning it). I will have a post on all of the trends of Super Bowl teams later on.

Mike Saver 1/04/2013 11:19:00 AM Edit
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