As everyone knows, we did not preform well last year against winning teams. I've done some statistical tests to find out what drove our success and failures last year.
The first metric I measured based on pro-football-reference's statistics was the correlation between Chicago's point differential through games last year and our the team's turnover percentage on defense and offense. The old adage of holding onto the ball is one of the oldest in football.
The following chart should come with a few primers. The "X Axis" is the point differential for each game in 2012. The Bears would have a direct effect on the other team's turnover figure (ie They got peanut punched). To try and minimize the effect of playing conference rivals twice, their game observations were averaged into one observation.
The outcome was pretty clear. There was a positive correlation between teams with a higher turnover rate per offensive drive and between our ease in beating said team. The R^2 Correlation for all observations was .55 (on a scale of 0 to 1), meaning that there was a relatively decent correlation observable. If we remove the major outlier, Detroit, we have a correlation of .6715. If we remove all NFC North contenders there is an observable correlation of .6529. Our rivals throw off the curve! That might be due to any number of issues, but an interesting thing to note.
We probably shouldn't have beat the Panthers. Based on this metric, it is safe to say that the Panthers should have beat this Bears team. Any team below 10.74 in percentage of drives ending in a turnover should be capable of beating our beloved Bears. The Panthers are too adept at protecting the ball and it took stellar turnovers by Tim Jennings to actually win the game. He definitely deserves the team ball for that game.
According to this chart, we would've favorably matched up against the Broncos if that had been a Superbowl scenario. Among NFC contenders, we would have struggled in the playoffs. The Redskins (7.7%), Packers (8.1), and 49er (7.9%) would probably beat us by an expected point differential value of -26.3, -22.9, and -24.6 respectively. We also would've struggled against the Ravens who were particularly adept at protecting the ball. It should be noted that SF and BAL were ranked 2 and 3 in TO%, with WAS being first overall.
My quick take: This is more about the dominance of our defense. Our defense won games for us last year, not Jay Cutler.
If we had met the Seahawks in the playoffs, they should have just barely edged the Bears out (10 vs 10.7). It took them overtime and some spectacular play from DangeRuss to best the Bears. The Falcons would've narrowly edged us out (10.3 vs 10.7).
Take whatever you'd like out of it, @but if the Chicago Bears were an opposing team, the Chicago Bears would beat them?@
Opponents TO% on defense had no discernible trend. I'll leave that interpretation open.