December 2012

Season in review: AFC and NFC East

December 31, 2012 Review

This season, I published power rankings after each week where I stated my updated projected number of wins for each team. The point of those posts was to put in writing my thoughts at that time, so that once the season was over, I could look back and see how I did. Over the next […]

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Checkdowns: Broncos complete 4th largest improvement ever

December 30, 2012 History

In 2011, the Broncos scored 309 points and allowed 390 points. Despite being outscored by 81 points, the Tim Tebow express still made it into the post-season. In June, I speculated that the 2012 Broncos might set the record for the largest increase in pass completions in one year, and they did just that on […]

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Checkdowns: Career rushing stats in wins and losses

December 30, 2012 History

Yesterday, I noted that Adrian Peterson is averaging nearly two more yards per rush in losses than wins. He’s also averaging a nearly identical number of rushing yards per game in wins and losses. As you’re about to see, that’s pretty rare. We all know that wins are correlated with rushing yards, so it should […]

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Adrian Peterson’s amazing, except when the Vikings win

December 29, 2012 Rushing

Adrian Peterson is having an incredible season. He’s likely to hit the 2,000-yard mark on Sunday, and he’s also chasing Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record. But his splits this year are…interesting. The table below shows Adrian Peterson’s game logs. These display his traditional statistics, along with his Win Probability added, Expected Points Added, and Success […]

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Week 16 Power Rankings

December 28, 2012 Power Rankings

What’s the point of power rankings now that there is just one week left in the regular season? If you’ve asked that question, you are implicitly saying that power rankings serve a purpose earlier in the year! If you want to see the playoff picture, I laid that out earlier this week, so I’ll assume […]

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Seattle’s HFA

December 27, 2012 Statistics

As usual, Aaron Schatz provided some interesting information in his weekly DVOA recap. He was looking into Seattle’s home/road splits, and found that the data support what you already know: [W]hen you look closer at home-field advantage over a period of several years, almost every team generally has the same home-field advantage, which in DVOA […]

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Who should win Coach of the Year in the NFL?

December 26, 2012 Coaches

Let’s get this out of the way. Bruce Arians, or an Arians/Pagano ballot, is going to win Coach of the Year. Period. But who should win it? Coach of the Year is one of the most difficult awards to predict each year. The award often goes to the coach who most outperforms expectations rather than […]

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NYT Fifth Down: Post-week 16

December 25, 2012 NYT

This week at the New York Times I looked at some record-breaking performances from week 16. Sunday was a record-setting day in the N.F.L. In case you missed it … The rookie Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh connected on a 56-yard field goal in the second quarter against the Texans, making him the first kicker […]

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Merry Christmas

December 25, 2012 Trivia

Merry Christmas from Football Perspective! Most people know that Jay Cutler is from Santa Claus, Indiana, but did you know that that Arizona offensive lineman Daryn Colledge is from the North Pole? Well, at least from the one in Alaska. Former Oregon State lineman Johan Asiata had a cup of coffee with the Bears two […]

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Playoff Picture: Who needs what in week 17

December 24, 2012 Current Events

With week 16 in the books, it’s time to take a look at the playoff picture. In the AFC, it’s simple: we know the six teams that will be in the post-season. In the NFC, there are two spots still remaining and five teams trying to claim them. In both conferences, there will be battles […]

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Rankings the kickers, from Tucker to Crosby

December 23, 2012 Statistics

In the summer of 2009, I wrote a three-part series analyzing every kicker of the last half-century (here are the links to Part I, Part II, Part III). What I did there was analyzed field goal attempts by distance, and then credited a kicker for how many field goals he made over the expected number […]

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Checkdowns: Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt “FIP” for Quarterbacks

December 22, 2012 Checkdowns

I’ve been on a major QB kick lately, and there’s no reason to stop now. Today, I want to look at a method that might tease out a quarterback’s “true talent” better than if we simply use his raw stats from the season. Three years ago, our colleague Jason Lisk had a post on the […]

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Checkdowns: Quarterback Yards Above Bench (QBYAB)

December 21, 2012 Checkdowns

After posting about SRS-style quarterback ratings on Monday, I was thinking about other things we can do with game-by-game data like that. In his QBGOAT series, Chase likes to compare QBs to the league average, which makes a lot of sense for all-time ratings — you want to reward guys who are at least above-average […]

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Week 15 Power Rankings

December 20, 2012 Power Rankings

With only two weeks left in the regular season, it’s time to change the format of my projected standings. At this point, we might as well just predict each of the remaining 32 games. So here goes: I’m short on time this week, so let’s move on to the weekly Power Rankings. [As always, the […]

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Looking back: The most surprising games of the year

December 19, 2012 SRS

Five weeks ago, I looked at the most surprising results of the season. It’s time to update that post now that most of the season is in the books. First, we need to rank the teams. The table below shows each team’s current Simple Rating System rating through week 15. As a reminder, the SRS […]

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NYT Fifth Down: Post-week 15

December 18, 2012 NYT

A double post at the New York Times this week. Did you know that Alex Smith is seven attempts away from qualifying for eligibility for certain rate-based statistics? If Jim Harbaugh wants to game the system — and this is Harbaugh — he could ptobably that Smith breaks the completion percentage record, set by Drew […]

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Checkdowns: Biggest failed comebacks

December 18, 2012 Checkdowns

[UPDATE: There was an error earlier in this post. I believe it is fixed now.] On Sunday Night, the Patriots trailed 31-3 halfway through the third quarter. But that’s when Tom Brady got hot, and New England tied the game with 6:43 left in the 4th quarter. At that moment, many fans probably had visions […]

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Checkdowns: SRS-Style Quarterback Ratings

December 17, 2012 Checkdowns

Here’s a quick set of quarterback ratings I was messing around with, based on Doug’s Simple Rating System. The basic setup: I took every passer-game (Att > 0) since the 2010 season, weighting for recency according to Wayne Winston’s method. I ran the data through the SRS to adjust for the quality of opponent pass […]

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Adjusting team sack rates in the NFL for SOS

December 17, 2012 Defensive Players

I’ve got sacks on the mind today. A few hours ago, I looked at the single-season sack records by various players in both the 3-4 and 4-3. Today I also want to look at things from the team perspective. In 2012, which team is the best at getting to the quarterback? You might think that’s […]

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J.J. Watt breaks sack record — for 3-4 defensive linemen

December 16, 2012 Defensive Players

Houston’s J.J. Watt sacked Andrew Luck three times on Sunday, bringing his season sack total to 19.5. Entering 2012, Bruce Smith was the single-season record holder for sacks by a defensive lineman in a 3-4 scheme with 19 in 1990. The sack has only been an official statistic since 1982, but since the 3-4 only […]

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Trivia of the Day – Sunday, December 16th

December 16, 2012 Trivia

What do you give to the man who already has everything? How about a Comeback Player of the Year Award? Right now, the choice for AP Comeback Player of the Year is a two-horse race between Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson. If Manning wins the award, it will put him in pretty rare territory: he’d […]

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From the Colorado School of Mines to the NFL

December 15, 2012 Coaches

Unless you follow Division II football, you probably aren’t familiar with the name Bob Stitt. He’s the head coach at the Colorado School of Mines, and here is what Bruce Feldman wrote about him in the summer of 2011 in connection with the One-Back Clinic, an annual meeting of a few of the sharpest minds […]

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Checkdowns: Elo-Ratings for NFL teams

December 14, 2012 Checkdowns

Just a quick Friday night checkdown post. By now, you’re very familiar with the Simple Rating System. I used the SRS to create college football ratings every week this season and used the SRS to grade NFL teams earlier this year. Pro-Football-Reference.com calculates SRS ratings every week and they are always available on their Standings […]

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What to do on 4th-and-7 in No Man’s Land

December 14, 2012 Coaches

Twice in close games in the last month, an NFL team has arrived at a three-way junction with seemingly no desirable path. In each case, the team faced a 4th and 7 from so-called ‘no man’s land.’ On November 25th, trailing the Atlanta Falcons 24-23, the Buccaneers had the ball on 4th and 7 from […]

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Week 14 Power Rankings

December 13, 2012 Power Rankings

It’s time to take Seattle seriously. On Sunday, the Seahawks had a “name your score” game, the type of matchup college football powerhouses regularly use to beef up their statistics. The Seahawks defense took over the game, posting the 10th highest fantasy performance ever, but the offense wasn’t too shabby, either. Seattle rushed for 284 […]

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Matt Schaub’s Primtime Problem Is In the Eye of the Beholder

December 12, 2012 Quarterbacks

You’re probably hearing a lot right now about how Matt Schaub is not a primetime player — literally. Schaub and the Texans struggled in embarassing losses on Sunday Night Football to the Packers earlier in the season and on Monday Night Football two days ago to the Patriots. Schaub posted terrible numbers in a defensively-driven […]

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Checkdowns: Brandon Marshall Underrated, Calvin Johnson Overrated?

December 11, 2012 Checkdowns

I’ve noted a few times this year that Calvin Johnson, in his pursuit of Jerry Rice’s single-season receiving record, has quite an advantage on his side. The Lions have attempted more passes through 13 games of any team ever, and seem likely to break the pass attempts record. Obviously it’s easier to gain more receiving […]

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NYT Fifth Down: Post-week 14

December 11, 2012 Defensive Players

This week at the New York Times, I take a look at how three defensive stars from the 2011 Draft have dominated the league and helped make their teams Super Bowl contenders. The 2011 N.F.L. draft class was initially talked up for its star potential at quarterback: Cam Newton (the first overall pick), Jake Locker […]

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Checkdowns: My very first football article

December 11, 2012 Checkdowns

Because I am an enormous narcissist, I wondered if I could find the very first article I ever wrote. And I did. While I doubt anyone visiting the site today wants to read an article by a first-time writer from the summer of 2002, if you do, here is my article discussing the fantasy relevance […]

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Best Games by Fantasy Defenses

December 11, 2012 Defense

Bill Barnwell wrote yesterday about the dominant fantasy performance by the Seahawks defense against Arizona on Sunday. The Seahawks scored two touchdowns, forced 8 turnovers, recorded three sacks, and pitched a shutout. That made me wonder: which defense produced the best fantasy in NFL history? I used Footballguys.com’s scoring system in the Footballguys Players Championship […]

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