There's no perfect statistic in terms of being able to predict successful seasons or playoff appearances, but I'm struck by the clear correlation between offensive yards per game and who made the playoffs this year. If you look at the top 17 teams this year in terms of offensive yards per game, 13 of them made the playoffs. Chargers, Ravens, Vikings, and Colts did not make it, but all were in contention. Only the Steelers (23rd) made the playoffs without having one of the better offensive teams. The Falcons were 29th, with only the Panthers, Giants, and Texans being worse.
What was interesting to me is that the same correlation does not hold for defensive yards per game allowed. Only 9 of the top 17 teams by that metric made the playoffs. The worst of the bunch that did make it (Chiefs) finished 27th. The Falcons were 26th.
I'm not going so far as to say defense doesn't matter, and I realize this one metric is only part of measuring a good defense (just as the 2015 Falcons offense was good, even great, by yards per game but couldn't necessarily be called a good offense). BUT, it suggests that the Falcons need to get significantly better on the offensive side of the ball to be truly competitive. Note that the Falcons 7 wins this year came against teams who were all in the bottom 11 of offensive yards per game, and one of those 11 teams includes the Falcons!
It has been my opinion all year that the Falcons were a really bad team that happened to play other really bad teams and win most of those games in what was really a coin-flip in terms of the outcomes. This data supports that notion. Thoughts?