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Examining the NFC North's Playcalling By Quarter

We examine the run/pass playcalling distribution of the NFC North by quarter. What does the Bears' playcalling say about them?

Mike Ehrmann - Getty Images

Our Den-Zen-master Spongie really deserves a raise for everything he does here at WCG. For instance, the guy forwarded me this Kevin Seifert article for me to discuss regarding the run/pass play-calling tendencies of the NFC North by quarter, and using that article to tell us things that we already know about the Bears.

He highlights the team's 60.5% run-play calling in the fourth quarter as "well, of course they run in the fourth quarter, because they have the lead." Yet this is a point where the team's playcalling is really effective, because while they have the lead late, they also got that lead (or expanded it) in the fourth quarter. But the Bears are also the second most-balanced team in the division with regards to playcalling, as they have run on about 43% on all their first-half plays. The Vikings percentage-wise have the most balance, but they get really pass-heavy in the second quarter.

But there are a couple surprising things regarding the NFC North's playcalling. For instance, that the Lions, for as pass-heavy as they typically are, do try to stick with the run before it bottoms out and they're playing from behind. And a large part of the Vikings' success is built off how balance their offense has been so far. But as we discussed so many times last year, effective balance isn't balance for the sake of balance - when Adrian Peterson runs like he can (with the Vikings having four 120+ yard rushing games of their five) and Christian Ponder chipping a 95.5 quarterback rating, scoring 20 points in all your team's games so far works pretty well leading to a 4-1 record.

So far the Packers have the least balance in the division, as in no quarter do they run at a 40% clip, and it doesn't help them they run the ball very ineffectively to begin with.

Check out the article and the data - what are some of your thoughts on it?