Looking at the NFC and AFC Championship Games with Wolfram|Alpha
Last week we announced our partnership with global sports statistics company STATS LLC and demonstrated how Wolfram|Alpha now allows users to access and compute football statistics using natural language. Since our original announcement, we’ve had a weekend’s worth of exciting playoff games. Miss any of the action? Ask Wolfram|Alpha about last weekend’s NFL games. Wolfram|Alpha not only returns the games and their final scores, but also provides a summary of team statistics leaders (and losers) across all four matchups. You can instantly see that in a high-scoring weekend, the Patriots led the way with six touchdowns and 509 total yards of offense.
At a glance, you can also see why the regular season matters: in three out of four games, the team with the home-field advantage racked up a win. Only the Packers failed to claim victory in their home stadium, as the Giants won their sixth postseason away game since 1990. Wolfram|Alpha can also show you that Tom Brady threw for three times as many touchdowns on Saturday as Tim Tebow did in both of his 2011 postseason games combined, and that Lardarius Webb (the Ravens player with the most interceptions in 2011) continues to be stingy on defense with two picks this postseason, both against the Texans.
If last weekend was any indication, then fans should be in for a treat with this weekend’s NFL games. The 2011 AFC championship features the Patriots versus the Ravens in Gillette Stadium, where the Ravens have won only once.
To get a better look at this year’s matchup, we can compare New England versus Baltimore, and Wolfram|Alpha gives us a side-by-side comparison of the two teams’ performance, both in the regular season and in the postseason so far. It looks like it will be up to the Ravens to keep up with or slow down the Patriots’s high-powered offense.
The other game this weekend pits the New York Giants versus the San Francisco 49ers for the 2011 NFC conference championship. Want to know what we might expect to see on Sunday? Maybe we should ask about games with the 49ers versus Giants in the 2011 regular season. The 49ers pulled out a close one in mid-November at home, thanks largely to the foot of David Akers, who was good on all four of his field goal attempts.
Or you might just ask about the last Giants victory against the 49ers, which happens to have been more than three years ago (largely thanks to two rushing touchdowns by Brandon Jacobs, in the midst of one of his strongest seasons).
Who will win this rematch? Wolfram|Alpha isn’t predicting the outcome of games yet, but it does provide users with a unique and powerful way to access and compute football data. We are excited, as are many of you, by the potential impact Wolfram|Alpha could have on the world of sports data, but we know we have plenty of work to do. We have already received a lot of suggestions from excited users who are eager to explore more data from the NFL (and other sports) in Wolfram|Alpha. So when you sit down to watch this weekend’s conference championships, get the laptop out or bring up the Wolfram|Alpha app on your iPhone or Android device. We don’t yet offer real-time data, but Wolfram|Alpha can still help you see how the players on the field performed this season, try to predict the outcome of the game, or be your own commentator. Let us know what works, what doesn’t, and what we’re missing. And of course, have fun!