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Carolina Led The NFL In Points Scored In A Unique Way

Carolina led the league in points scored this season with an even 500. That is nothing to be ashamed: over the previous 15 seasons, the average points scored leader has put up 517 points, but six of those teams failed to hit the 500-points barrier. That is not an overwhelmingly high total, but it’s not really an outlier, either.

What is an outlier is just about everything else on the Panthers offense, at least among teams that led the league in scoring since 1970. Let’s start with the traditional metric used to rank offenses: total yards. Here, Carolina ranked just 11th overall. How unusual is it for a team to lead the NFL in points scored but rank outside of the top 10 in yards? Well, it’s never happened before, so I guess that qualifies as pretty unusual. The 1980 Dallas Cowboys, led by Danny White in his first season as a starter, ranked 9th, representing the previous low: [click to continue…]

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Davis switched teams, but not (yet) sports

Davis switched teams, but not (yet) sports

Joe Campbell and Vernon Davis have a lot in common. Campbell went to Maryland, and was the 7th overall pick in the 1977 NFL draft. Davis went to Maryland, and was the 6th pick in the 2006 NFL Draft. Campbell was 6’6, 254 pounds in his playing days; Davis measures in at 6’3, 250 pounds. And both wound up unexpectedly playing in a Super Bowl.

Campbell was drafted by the Saints, and had three and a half nondescript seasons with the team. Then, on October 15, 1980, the Saints traded him to Oakland for a 1981 sixth round draft pick. New Orleans was 0-5 at the time, while the Raiders were just 2-3. But after trading for Campbell — and also inserting Jim Plunkett into the starting lineup — Oakland got hot. The Raiders finished the regular season 11-5, and then won three playoff games to become the first Wild Card team to reach the Super Bowl.

That Super Bowl was held at the Superdome, where Campbell played his home games earlier in the year (and during the prior three years). That, of course, is exactly what Davis is doing. On November 2nd, 2015, the 49ers sent Davis and a 2016 7th round pick to Denver for 6th round picks in 2016 and 2017. Now, three months later, Davis will return to Levi’s Stadium to play in the biggest game of them all. [click to continue…]

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Manning/Brady 18 will use Manning's uniform number instead of Roman Numerals

Manning/Brady 18 will use Manning’s uniform number instead of Roman Numerals

Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have now played seventeen games against each other. Brady has posted an 11-6 record against Manning, which tends to fuel some of the Brady/Manning narrative. The beginning of their “rivalry” was dominated by Brady and the Patriots: from 2001 to 2004, New England went 6-0 against Indianapolis, including two playoff wins in the snow in Foxboro.

Those four seasons anchored the narrative for the 15-year rivalry of the two players. Since then, Manning has a 6-5 record against Brady, including a 3-0 mark in the playoffs. Each player has also won “only” one Super Bowl despite the two quarterbacks dominating the AFC for most of the last decade (Manning, of course, could win another next week).

The table below shows the statistics from both players for each of the 17 head-to-head games: [click to continue…]

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James White had 16(!) Targets in AFCCG

It wasn’t shocking that Patriots running back James White played a big role in the AFC Championship Game. In my preview article at the Washington Post, I wrote that the Broncos were well-equipped to pressure Brady, which could lead to a lot of passes to his safety valve. Of course, I was thinking of a different safety valve:

But the difference-maker may wind up being Julian Edelman, who is Brady’s security blanket against the pressure. Without a pass-catching running back like a Shane Vereen (now with the Giants) or Dion Lewis (36 receptions in six games before tearing his ACL), Brady looks to Edelman as his hot receiver to understand how to get open quickly against the blitz.

As it turns out, White was only able to convert 5 of his 16 targets into receptions, for a paltry 45 yards. It’s fair to wonder if a Vereen or Lewis would have been more productive, including on deep throws (where Tom Brady went 0/5 on passes intended for White). To be fair, some of those “targets” were Targets In Name Only: they were throwaways as Brady was under pressure. But still, it turned out to be a wildly inefficient game. Pro-Football-Reference.com has target data going back to 1992, and White gained the fewest receiving yards in playoff history among the 51 players with 15+ targets in a game. [click to continue…]

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This pass probably wasn't completed.

This pass probably wasn’t completed.

In the NFC Championship Game, Carson Palmer was really bad.  He completed 23 of 40 passes for 235 yards, with three sacks that lost 8 yards.  That by itself is not very good — it translates to a 5.3 net yards per attempt average — but the real damage came when it comes to turnovers.  Palmer threw one touchdown againt four interceptions, giving him an Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt average of just 1.56.  And even that inflates things a bit, as Palmer also fumbled twice, with both fumbles being recovered by Carolina. On the season, Carolina allowed 4.46 ANY/A to opposing passers, the best in the NFL, so that does mitigate things a bit.  As a result, Palmer’s game is considered -125 ANY below expectation, because he was 2.9 ANY/A below expectation over 43 dropbacks.

That’s bad, but nowhere near as bad as the worst performance from even this year’s playoffs (Brian Hoyer) or the last Cardinals playoff loss (thank you, Ryan Lindley).  But the reason Palmer’s performance appeared so bad was precisely because it came from someone like Carson Palmer, and not a Hoyer or a Lindley.  Palmer, after all, was arguably the best passer in the NFL this season.  He led the NFL in Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt, at 8.11, which was 2.14 ANY/A better than league average. [click to continue…]

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Matt, a Patriots fan and friend of mine, sent me an email after the AFC Championship Game, asking me to analyze New England’s decision to go for it in the following situation:

At the Denver 16-yard line, 4th-and-1, 6:03 remaining in game, trailing by 8 points

Play: Tom Brady pass complete short left to Julian Edelman for -1 yards (tackle by Chris Harris and Aqib Talib)

In real time, I thought this was a no-brainer. You have to go for it. That’s because, in general, 4th-and-1 is a “go for it” down. But after some deep review, I’m not so sure. [click to continue…]

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2015 Team Efficiency Ratings

Let me begin with the ratings; then we’ll get to the explanation.

RkTeamOff RushOff PassOff AvgDef RushDef PassDef AvgTeam Avg
1Arizona Cardinals6.5211.129.515.47.76.92.61
2Carolina Panthers6.949.928.885.486.756.312.57
3Seattle Seahawks7.0810.319.185.227.636.792.39
4Cincinnati Bengals6.0310.398.866.37.346.971.89
5Kansas City Chiefs7.558.788.355.987.226.791.56
6New York Jets6.38.938.014.837.656.661.35
7New England Patriots6.3510.098.785.698.397.441.34
8Pittsburgh Steelers7.19.328.545.068.897.551
9Denver Broncos6.247.687.185.36.776.260.92
10Buffalo Bills7.189.058.396.88.527.920.47
11Houston Texans5.588.47.416.187.627.120.3
12Tampa Bay Buccaneers6.719.38.395.549.628.190.2
13Minnesota Vikings6.988.127.726.358.517.75-0.03
14Green Bay Packers6.298.137.496.518.067.52-0.03
15Oakland Raiders5.768.47.486.578.37.7-0.22
16Atlanta Falcons5.99.067.956.768.958.18-0.23
17Washington Redskins5.139.978.286.689.578.56-0.28
18Chicago Bears6.188.887.936.79.538.54-0.61
19St. Louis Rams6.447.266.975.918.537.61-0.64
20Detroit Lions5.538.987.776.69.458.45-0.68
21New York Giants5.759.27.996.479.948.73-0.73
22Miami Dolphins6.518.347.76.429.748.58-0.88
23San Diego Chargers5.039.067.657.259.348.61-0.96
24Jacksonville Jaguars5.558.547.496.149.728.47-0.98
25Philadelphia Eagles6.197.987.356.799.178.34-0.98
26Baltimore Ravens5.837.797.115.749.458.15-1.04
27New Orleans Saints6.5410.028.86.7211.559.86-1.06
28Indianapolis Colts5.497.456.776.18.967.96-1.2
29Dallas Cowboys6.647.547.237.029.368.55-1.32
30Tennessee Titans5.397.887.016.319.778.56-1.55
31Cleveland Browns5.877.847.156.710.319.04-1.9
32San Francisco 49ers5.757.496.886.9410.058.96-2.08

[click to continue…]

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As always, the AP All-Pro selections need to come with a few disclaimers.

  • The way the AP selects its second team is dumb. Well, that’s being kind, because it assumes the AP actually selects a second team. It doesn’t.
  • The way the AP selects its first team is kind of dumb, too. Voters can vote for the same player at different positions! That can lead to odd “splitting the ballot” scenarios, and also to the crazy result that happened in Oakland this year. Kudos to Jason Lisk for shining some light on this topic every year.

With that said, let’s get to the results.

Quarterback

Cam Newton, Carolina, 40; Carson Palmer, Arizona, 6; Tom Brady, New England, 3; Russell Wilson, Seattle, 1. [click to continue…]

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In 1974, Terry Bradshaw was not very good. He threw for just 785 yards on 148 pass attempts, while throwing only 7 touchdowns against 8 interceptions. That translates to a 2.92 Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt average, which is terrible even for 1974. He ranked 25th in ANY/A among the 32 quarterbacks with at least 120 pass attempts. Given the league average of 3.91, that means Bradshaw finished the year with a Relative ANY/A of -0.99.

That’s the worst of any quarterback who wound up winning the Super Bowl. But that doesn’t mean Bradshaw wasn’t a big part of why Pittsburgh won its first title. He was excellent in the team’s three playoff games, particularly in Pittsburgh’s first win. [click to continue…]

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Thanks to the tireless work of Mike Kania and his team on the P-F-R staff, PFR has now generated the Approximate Values for every player in the NFL this year. For the uninitiated, you can review how AV is calculated here. And if you’re so inclined, you can thank Mike or PFR on twitter. [click to continue…]

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This week at the Washington Post, an old topic is relevant again: why pressuring Tom Brady is the key to success against New England.

Completion percentage is often overrated, and it isn’t a critically important stat generally, but the Patriots are a unique offense. As a general rule, completion percentage is highly correlated with winning, but a large reason for that is leading teams tend to throw conservative passes and trailing teams tend to throw aggressive ones. Thus the stat is a result of success even more than a cause of it. (In other words, completion percentage is a lot like rushing attempts, where the best teams tend to fare well in this metric, but in a misleading way.) This season, teams won 58.4 percent of games when completing at least 60 percent of passes, and just 33.3 percent of games when completing fewer than that. But the Patriots were more extreme, winning 11 of 12 when completing at least 60 percent of passes, with the one loss coming in overtime against the Jets. On the other hand, New England lost three of the four games this season when Brady completed fewer than 60 percent of passes, and the one victory came when New England held Buffalo to just 13 points.

The reason completion percentage matters for New England is because the Patriots don’t really have a running game, at least not in any traditional sense. Against Kansas City on Saturday, the Patriots threw on 24 of the team’s first 26 plays. All game, Patriots running backs had just seven carries, with Steven Jackson — signed in December — taking six of those carries and gaining just 16 yards. In the regular season game against Denver, the Patriots began the game by calling 18 passes to just two runs on the team’s first six drives.

You can read the full article here.

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Courtesy of Bryan Frye, let’s look at some graphs of the four quarterbacks in the conference championship games. The stat we will be using today is Total Adjusted Yards per Play, which is like ANY/A on steroids.

First, let’s start with Cam Newton. His Total Adjusted Yards per Play is in blue; the average TAY/P allowed by his opponent each week is in black. As you can see, in 6 of 17 games, he was below-expectation, but he’s been above-expectation in five of his last six games. (Note that for each quarterback, the bye week is included, and the division round matchup is plotted below as Week 18.) [click to continue…]

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You may recall that two years ago — after the 2013 season — there were eight head coaching vacancies, and all eight were filled by white coaches.  One explanation given was that all but Gus Bradley (Jacksonville) were offensive coaches, and black head coaches were more prominent on the defensive side of the ball.

Last year, the pendulum swung: all but one of the seven vacancies were filled by defensive coaches. The lone offensive-minded hire was Gary Kubiak in Denver, which has worked out precisely because Denver has the best defense in the NFL (though Kubiak deserves full credit for hiring Wade Phillips). [click to continue…]

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Are NFL Playoff Outcomes Getting Less Random? Part II

Before the start of the 2012 season, Neil Paine wrote an article here titled, Are NFL Playoff Outcomes Getting More Random? And that was before Joe Flacco turned into Joe Montana one postseason.

But since then? Man, things have been pretty chalky. The 2013 playoffs had two notable features: very low point spreads and the favorites going 5-1 in games with spreads of more than three points. [click to continue…]

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Janis outplays Patrick Peterson for the touchdown... somehow

Janis outplays Patrick Peterson for the touchdown… somehow

Jeff Janis had the game of his life last night. Janis, who dominated the 2014 combine despite coming out of tiny Saginaw Valley State, has not been a factor as a wide receiver for most of his Packers career (he has made an impact as a returner). As a rookie, he caught two passes for 16 yards; this past season, he caught two passes for 79 yards, both in a game against the Chargers.

Then, with Randall Cobb injured early in Green Bay’s playoff game against Arizona, Janis had the game of his life, catching 7 passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns. More incredibly, he had two catches for 101 yards on the Packers final drive of the game! Here’s a vine of those two plays, courtesy of Ryan Hester’s twitter account. [click to continue…]

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Super Bowl Champs By DVOA

After yesterday’s post, I thought it would be fun to look at the DVOA ratings of each Super Bowl champion, using actual numbers from since 1989 and estimated from prior to that.

Here is a graph showing the DVOA of each Super Bowl champion. The Y-Axis shows Defensive DVOA, from negative at the top to positive at the bottom. Remember, for DVOA, negative ratings are better for defenses. The X-Axis shows offensive DVOA from left to right. As expected, most teams are clustered in the upper right corner of the chart.

sb winner dvoa

Here is the same chart but including the remaining eight teams in the 2015 playoffs (DVOA ratings available here). As you can see, the only real outlier would be the 2015 Broncos.

sb winner dvoa den

Thoughts?

Finally, per request, here is a table containing the DVOA (estimated or actual) for each Super Bowl winner:

YearTmOff DVOADef DVOAOff RkDef Rk
2014NWE13.5%-3%2437
2013SEA9.4%-25.8%335
2012BAL3%2.2%3943
2011NYG10.5%2.4%30.544
2010GNB11.5%-13.9%2818
2009NOR24.3%-0.4%939
2008PIT-1.5%-29%452
2007NYG-1.1%-3.8%4336
2006IND28.5%8.5%448
2005PIT12%-13.5%2719.5
2004NWE23.3%-10.7%1225
2003NWE1.2%-18.7%4111
2002TAM-3.8%-31.8%471
2001NWE3.4%-1.5%3838
2000BAL-8.1%-23.8%497
1999STL17.7%-13.5%1919.5
1998DEN34.5%4.3%147
1997DEN19.4%-5.9%1634
1996GNB15.2%-19.3%2110
1995DAL29.6%0.9%242
1994SFO18.9%-7.5%1732
1993DAL21.8%0.8%1341
1992DAL23.6%-9.5%1028
1991WAS27.2%-21.1%58
1990NYG10.5%-14.4%30.517
1989SFO26.2%-11.5%623
1988SFO14.2%-10.6%2226
1987WAS10.1%2.9%3245
1986NYG3.9%-7.9%3730
1985CHI12.5%-26.8%264
1984SFO28.6%0.5%340
1983RAI0.1%-9%4229
1982WAS5.7%-7.3%3633
1981SFO11%-5.8%2935
1980OAK-7.7%-7.6%4831
1979PIT13.9%-20.2%239
1978PIT2.7%-12.4%4022
1977DAL24.8%-9.6%827
1976OAK24.8%9.4%749
1975PIT13.5%-14.4%2516
1974PIT-3.4%-28.9%463
1973MIA19.5%-15.6%1513
1972MIA18.5%-14.8%1815
1971DAL23.3%-11.3%1124
1970BAL-1.1%3.9%4446
1969KAN7.3%-25.6%356
1968NYJ16.8%-15.6%2014
1967GNB8.8%-12.9%3421
1966GNB20.1%-16.2%1412
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Pre-Week 19: How Good Does The Broncos D Need To Be?

This week at the Washington Post, a look at how good the Broncos defense needs to be to win the Super Bowl.

This year’s Denver offense posts a minus-8.8 percent DVOA rating, which would make it the worst offense to make the Super Bowl since 1989.  If we useestimated DVOA ratings, only the ’79 Rams (-13.1 percent) were worse.  The worst offense by any Super Bowl champion prior to 1989, using estimated DVOA, was the 1980 Raiders, at -7.7 percent.  Therefore, by either measure, the Broncos would be an incredible outlier to even make the Super Bowl, much less win it.

The 2000 Ravens’ profile looks remarkably similar to this year’s Broncos teams.  That Baltimore squad had an offensive DVOA of minus-8.1 percent, and a defensive DVOA of minus-23.8 percent; the 2015 Broncos have an offensive DVOA of minus-8.8 percent, and a defensive DVOA of minus-25.8 percent.  That makes this Broncos team look like a carbon copy of the ’00 Ravens, despite Baltimore having a journeyman Trent Dilfer at quarterback, with the Broncos having arguably the greatest quarterback of all time.

You can read the full article here.

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Guest Post: Marginal YAC, 2015 in Review

Adam Steele is back to discuss Marginal YAC, this time in the context of the 2015 season. You can view all of Adam’s posts here.


Marginal Air Yards: 2015 Year In Review

Today I will be updating my Marginal Air Yards metric for the now completed 2015 season. New readers who aren’t familiar with Marginal Air Yards can get up to speed by reading my three part intro-series and 2014’s year in review.

There were 44 quarterbacks who threw at least 100 passes in 2015, and they are ranked by mAir below: [click to continue…]

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The Rams Return to Los Angeles: How Will They Do?

It’s now official: the Rams are heading back to Los Angeles, home of the team from 1946 to 1994. The Rams played in Cleveland during the team’s first decade of existence before heading the league’s westward expansion after World Warr II. The Rams played in Memorial Coliseum from ’46 to ’79, before moving to Anaheim Stadium from 1980 to 1994. It is still unclear where the team will play in the short term, although a return to the Coliseum seems likely. But beginning in 2019, the team will play in Inglewood, California.

A three-year period at an interim stadium is an interesting phenomenom to analyze, and will probably be worthwhile to examine in say, three years. In general, teams have only a minimal home field advantage during year one in a new home, so a three-year window at the Coliseum could hurt the Rams on-field product a little bit (and the same goes for the 2019 season at the new stadium). But for now, let’s look at the bigger move across the country. [click to continue…]

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Before you can get good at projecting fantasy points, you need to understand how fantasy points are scored.  And there’s probably no better place to start than in the passing game.

I used the following scoring system to determine passing fantasy points: 1 point per 25 yards passing (this is gross passing, so if you look at team passing data, you need to add back in sack yards), 4 points per touchdown pass, and -1 point per interception.  That’s it.

The average team in 2015 scored 16.1 fantasy points per game; to make life a bit more intuitive, I am going to convert fantasy point numbers into a plus/minus average number. So the Patriots passing attack, which scored 329.5 fantasy points in 16 games, and averaged 20.6 FP/G, gets credited as +4.5. That was the best average in football. On defense, the Patriots were slightly better than average, at +0.3 points per game (here, positive is good for defense; if you forget, just check the Saints line). Using New Orleans as an example, the Saints get a +4.2 offensive grade (ranked 2nd) and a -6.5 defensive grade (32nd). I put all 32 teams into the table below with their respective offensive and defensive grades and ranks: [click to continue…]

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Friend of the program Bryan Frye is back for another guest post. As regular readers know, Bryan operates his own fantastic site, http://www.thegridfe.com. You can view all of Bryan’s guest posts here, and follow him on twitter @LaverneusDingle.


The 2015 regular season is in the books, and all the relevant stats are at our disposal to poke and prod as our hearts desire. Chase already discussed the fact that, statistically, this has been the best passing season in NFL history. League and team passing records fell on a seemingly regular basis, and a few receiving records were in serious jeopardy by season’s end.1 [click to continue…]

  1. We probably all know by now that Julio Jones and Antonio Brown became just the third and fourth receivers ever to break the 1,800 yards mark in a single season. It’s also pretty common knowledge that the two dynamic receivers also tied for the second most receptions in a single season. However, what you won’t hear in the mainstream is that Jones happened to break one of the more significant single season records when he hauled in his 93rd receiving first down in week 17. []
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Houston/Kansas City

Last year, after the Ryan Lindley disaster in the playoffs, I looked at the worst passing performances in playoff history.  At the time, Lindley had the 9th worst passing game ever.  Well, now it’s the 10th.

Against Kansas City yesterday, Brian Hoyer completed 15 of 34 passes for just 136 yards with 0 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. He also lost a fumble on his three sacks, which lost 17 yards.  Calculating Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt doesn’t factor in fumbles, but Hoyer still finished with -68 Adjusted Net Yards for Brian Hoyer on those 37 dropbacks.   That’s a -1.84 ANY/A average.  On the season, Kansas City allowed 4.91 ANY/A. [click to continue…]

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This week at the New York Times, a look at the incredible run the Seahawks are on when it comes to preventing points:

In addition, while Seattle has allowed an average of 15.7 points per game over the last four years, only one other team since 2012 has allowed fewer than 20 points a game on average over that same period. That team, the Cincinnati Bengals, at 19.5, has still allowed nearly 4 more points per game than the Seahawks. In other words, what really distinguishes this Seattle team is how far ahead of the rest of the N.F.L. it has been in this statistic.

One way to measure this is by measuring the number of standard deviations from average. Over the last four years, Seattle has allowed 15.73 points a game, relative to the league average of 22.89. The standard deviation in points allowed by the league’s 32 teams over this period has been 2.62 points per game. This means Seattle, which has been over 7 points a game better than average, has been 2.73 standard deviations better than average, a statistic known as a Z-score.

You can read the full article here.

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Post Your 2015 Playoff Predictions here

Post your playoff predictions in the comments. Here are mine:

Wild Card Round

(5) Kansas City over (4) Houston
(3) Cincinnati over (6) Pittsburgh
(5) Green Bay over (4) Washington
(6) Seattle over (3) Minnesota

Divisional Round

(5) Kansas City over (1) Denver  
(2) New England over (3) Cincinnati
(1) Carolina over (6) Seattle
(2) Arizona over (5) Green Bay

Conference Championships

(2) New England over (5) Kansas City
(2) Arizona over (1) Carolina

Super Bowl

(2) Arizona over (2) New England

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This week at the Washington Post, a preview of the Seahawks/Vikings game.

The Seahawks are a little tougher to categorize, because they excel in every facet of the game but have a worse record than Minnesota. By most non-traditional measures, the Seahawks are much better than a typical No. 6 seed. Seattle ranks second in Pro-Football-Reference’s Simple Rating System, behind only the Arizona Cardinals. That’s the result of the No. 1 defense by SRS standards and the No. 3 offense. According to Football Outsiders, the Seahawks are the best team in football, with the No. 2 offense, No. 4 defense, and No. 3 special teams; Minnesota ranks 11th overall, courtesy of the 16th best offense, 14th best defense and fourth-ranked special teams. And, of course, Seattle is a 5-point road favorite on Sunday, implying that the Seahawks might be more than a touchdown better than the 11-5 Vikings on a neutral field. In short: Seattle is really good.

You can read the full article here.

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Week 17 Game Scripts: The Patriots Get Run Heavy

Week 17 often brings about weird results, and this year was no different. Seattle posted a Game Script of +17.6 against Arizona, which is an extreme outlier. Consider that the Cardinals had just one negative Game Script in the team’s first 15 games, a -3.8 score against St. Louis back in week 4.

Oh, and the Patriots do something really crazy (for them), but we’ll get to that in a bit. For now, the week 17 Game Scripts data. Note that this page is now updated to include the Game Scripts data from each of the 256 games this season. [click to continue…]

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This week at the New York Times, a look at how this season was, yet again, the best passing season in history:

First, a look at quantity. N.F.L. teams averaged 35.7 pass attempts per game, the most in league history, breaking the record of 35.4 set in 2013. Teams used those attempts to also set per-game records for completions (22.5) and passing yards (243.8). Passing touchdowns per game were also at a new N.F.L. high. The record had been 1.63 a game, set, remarkably, in 1948. The league had been inching toward that mark — teams averaged 1.57 and 1.58 passing touchdowns per game in 2013 and 2014 — before surpassing it with 1.64 passing touchdowns per game in 2015.

For the first time in N.F.L. history, 12 quarterbacks threw for 4,000 yards. In addition, 11 quarterbacks threw at least 30 touchdown passes; that breaks the record of nine set last season. Before 2014, no N.F.L. season had more than five quarterbacks with at least 30 touchdown throws.

You can read the full article here.

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38 Questions In Review: Part I

Before the season began, I hosted a contest where I asked you to submit 38 questions. Each question asked you about 38 pairs of numbers, with the contestant trying to guess which number will be bigger. I also calculated the percentage that each “side” of the bet received, based on 82 entries.  Let’s look at how you guys did, in descending order based on votes, beginning with the question where everyone was the most confident. Spoiler: that question didn’t go so well for the wisdom of crowds.

1: Number of wins by the team with the second-most wins (0.878) vs. Number of wins by Washington and Oakland combined (0.122)

Washington surprisingly won 9 games, while Oakland finished 7-9.  That means the teams combined for 16 wins, which would have been good enough to beat any one team.  In retrospect, this one looks pretty obvious — the second-most wins was 13, by Arizona — but a whopping 87.8% of you picked “the field minus one” over Washington/Oakland.  You like that?

2t: Number of wins by the Ravens (0.841) vs. Number of wins by the Lions (0.159)

OK, you guys are not off to a hot start. Most of my questions were intended to draw something close to 50/50 action; I knew this question was not going to do that, but I threw it in anyway as an homage to Doug Drinen, who used it as the prototype example in the first edition of this contest at PFR.

Well, Detroit finished 7-9 ,while Baltimore went 5-11. Score another one for the underdogs.
[click to continue…]

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Single-Season Passing Records in Jeopardy

With one game remaining, the NFL is having yet another record-breaking season through the air. Teams are averaging over 259 gross passing yards per game, which would break the record of 252, set last year. Teams are completing 63.1% of passes this year, which would break the record of 62.6%, also set in 2014. And teams are averaging 1.7 passing touchdowns per game, the first time in NFL history (it was 1.6 each of the last two years, and also in 1965).

As a result, a number of single-season franchise records are in jeopardy of falling this year, too, depending on what happens today. Let’s go through the list. [click to continue…]

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Teddy Bridgewater and Quarterback Help

No offense has had it easier this year than the Denver Broncos. What do I mean by that? Denver ranks 4th in points allowed, at 276, but that’s a little misleading. The Broncos have thrown three pick sixes, all from Peyton Manning, and those have put 20 points on the scoreboard (one pick six was followed by a failed two-point attempt). In addition, Denver’s defense/special teams has scored six touchdowns. Those obviously go in the “Points Scored” column for Denver, but in terms of the offense, they didn’t earn those points. So instead, let’s subtract all non-offensive touchdowns scored by the Broncos by the points allowed by Denver. Do that, and the Broncos defense has allowed 214 net points, after excluding pick sixes and crediting the defense for non-offensive touchdowns.

That’s the fewest in the NFL. Last offseason, I wrote an article about Andrew Luck and quarterback help.  It was pretty basic, but I found it interesting enough to recreate today.  Here is the methodology: [click to continue…]

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