Yards matter. Sure, there’s games where the team with less yards win, but it’s more likely that the team with more yards is going to win the game – which makes the stat we just looked at – plays per game – important and the one up next – yards per play – even more important. The graph below makes the big picture clear: Teams that gain more yards than their opponents win.

Not only that, but the margin is getting larger. In 2011 there was a 100 yard difference on average between winners and losers. By 2016 that number had grown to 104.1.