ORCHARD PARK NY - DECEMBER 26: Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the Buffalo Bills fumbles as he is hit by Gary Guyton #59 of the New England Patriots at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 26 2010 in Orchard Park New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Cold, Hard Football Facts is billing passer rating differential as the most important stat in football. I'm always hesitant to get too wrapped up in one stat, but this one is worth exploring, simply because it has such obvious on-field implications.
Per the CHFF report, 40 of 71 NFL champions since 1940 have finished in the top two in the league in passer rating differential. It's a stat that makes a great deal of sense: the team that creates the greatest favorable disparity between its own quarterback play and the play of its opponent - based on quarterback rating - has the best chance of winning. With pro football quickly becoming a pass-oriented league, it stands to reason that this stat will only become increasingly relevant moving forward.
How did the Buffalo Bills fare in passer rating differential last season? Not well. They had the seventh-lowest quarterback rating on offense, and also the fifth-worst rating allowed to opponents defensively. Their -17.4 rating was 49.1 points behind the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.
Pass and stop the pass. It's not the new reality of professional football, and the Bills must make huge improvements in that area if they want to win more games moving forward.