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» Varsity Numbers: Honing in

Bill Connelly again looks at which college football teams the F/+ ratings are sure about, and which teams remain a mystery (led by Appalachian State).

01 Nov 2005

Week 9 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

Issues discussed in this week's FOXSports.com commentary, now posted here:

  • Denver finally moves into the top ten
  • Why we were wrong about Atlanta
  • Why we were right about Green Bay
  • The "Patriots own Manning" myth
  • Scientologists vs. Seattle
  • Why disrespect for Cincinnati is actually disrespect for Chicago
  • Our role in this year's Super Bowl

Once again, I'm sorry about this showing up so late in the day. Trying to come up with something for all 32 teams, either meaningful or funny, is killing me. I started working on this yesterday and still didn't finish until 2pm. FOXSports.com didn't finish editing and layout until 8pm: The article is now here.

This week, the FOXSports.com rankings switch from regular DVOA to weighted DVOA. I spent some time last week playing around with weighted DVOA in an effort to make it more accurate. I'll be honest: I was trying to figure out a formula that would allow me to lower the importance of the Denver-Miami game so the Denver people wouldn't bother me so much. I couldn't do it. Everything I tried ended up showing that we can't significantly lower the importance of the eight most recent weeks without lowering the correlation between weighted DVOA and a team's DVOA the following week. However, I am now using a slightly altered series of weights which gives a little bit of a boost to the most recent game and drops the importance of the game nine weeks before:

Weeks ago 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15+
Old weights 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 1.00 .99 .99 .93 .60 .60 .60 .15 .15 .00
New weights 1.00 .95 .95 .95 .95 .95 .95 .95 .70 .67 .67 .67 .20 .20 .00

Individual pages for offense, defense, and special teams are now online. Player stats will be updated later today.

If you want to talk about Brady vs. Manning (as opposed to this week's Colts-Patriots game in general) please use the worst thread in the history of Football Outsiders, the Irrational Brady-Manning Arguments Thread.

* * * * *

Football Outsiders needs interns. I'm looking for a couple of people who can help with data cleaning projects, historical research, and monitoring newspapers around the league. After the season, interns will help put together tables for PFP 2006, and possibly help with analysis to improve DVOA, similarity scores, and other metrics. No pay involved, but hey, it's football so it's fun! If you are interested, e-mail me at aaron-at-footballoutsiders.com and let me know how much time you would be able to commit, where you go to college if you are a college student, why you should be a FO intern, and so forth.

Don't post about your desire to be an intern in the discussion thread for the DVOA ratings. I won't see it and it will just annoy everyone.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings for 2005, measured by our proprietary Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) system that breaks down every single play and compares a team's performance to the league average based on situation in order to determine value over average. (Explained further here.)

OFFENSE and DEFENSE DVOA are adjusted based on strength of opponent as well as to consider all fumbles, kept or lost, as equal value. Opponent adjustments are currently set at 80% and will increase each week until they are full strength after Week 10. SPECIAL DVOA is adjusted for type of stadium (warm, cold, dome, Denver/Mexico City) and week of season. NON-ADJ TOTAL VOA does not include these adjustments.

As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE.


TEAM
TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
NON-ADJ
TOTAL VOA
W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
SPECIAL
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
1 IND 36.3% 1 54.6% 7-0 26.9% 2 -16.0% 4 -6.6% 31
2 CIN 33.9% 2 50.6% 6-2 21.7% 5 -11.8% 10 0.4% 21
3 NYG 33.8% 8 39.5% 5-2 12.1% 9 -4.6% 15 17.1% 1
4 SD 32.2% 4 19.7% 4-4 24.7% 3 -4.8% 14 2.7% 10
5 JAC 31.9% 3 17.0% 4-3 0.8% 16 -30.4% 1 0.6% 18
6 SEA 25.4% 5 28.8% 5-2 28.5% 1 1.7% 18 -1.4% 22
7 DEN 25.2% 12 25.5% 6-2 23.7% 4 -4.8% 13 -3.4% 26
8 PIT 23.9% 6 29.3% 5-2 9.7% 10 -13.7% 7 0.5% 20
9 DAL 23.7% 9 29.1% 5-3 2.8% 15 -18.0% 3 2.9% 9
10 KC 17.2% 10 8.2% 4-3 17.3% 7 3.4% 19 3.3% 8
11 WAS 17.1% 7 -2.9% 4-3 8.8% 11 -12.6% 8 -4.3% 27
12 CHI 12.3% 13 12.0% 4-3 -11.9% 23 -20.0% 2 4.3% 6
13 OAK 7.2% 15 14.7% 3-4 17.7% 6 8.0% 22 -2.5% 25
14 CAR 5.8% 17 22.1% 5-2 -0.9% 17 -6.0% 11 0.7% 16
15 MIA 5.3% 16 -4.9% 3-4 -10.6% 21 -12.2% 9 3.7% 7
16 NE 1.6% 19 -8.7% 4-3 16.6% 8 16.3% 29 1.3% 13
TEAM
TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
NON-ADJ
TOTAL VOA
W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
SPECIAL
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
17 TB 0.8% 11 24.3% 5-2 -14.0% 25 -14.1% 6 0.7% 15
18 ATL -1.9% 18 18.8% 5-2 6.8% 12 9.7% 25 1.0% 14
19 PHI -2.1% 14 -3.2% 4-3 4.1% 13 -1.8% 17 -8.0% 32
20 BAL -8.7% 24 -14.8% 2-5 -14.1% 26 -4.9% 12 0.6% 19
21 DET -9.1% 20 -13.5% 3-4 -19.9% 28 -15.6% 5 -4.8% 28
22 BUF -11.7% 21 2.0% 3-5 -16.4% 27 5.3% 21 10.0% 2
23 GB -12.4% 25 -7.2% 1-6 4.1% 14 10.5% 26 -5.9% 29
24 TEN -12.9% 22 -13.3% 2-6 -7.0% 19 12.0% 27 6.0% 4
25 CLE -15.4% 23 -22.2% 2-5 -7.9% 20 9.0% 24 1.5% 12
26 STL -22.6% 29 -19.8% 4-4 -2.1% 18 21.1% 30 0.6% 17
27 NYJ -23.8% 28 -25.6% 2-5 -25.9% 31 -4.0% 16 -1.9% 23
28 ARI -24.5% 27 -16.2% 2-5 -22.0% 29 4.8% 20 2.4% 11
29 NO -27.3% 30 -26.3% 2-6 -12.8% 24 8.3% 23 -6.2% 30
30 MIN -28.2% 26 -44.1% 2-5 -10.9% 22 15.1% 28 -2.2% 24
31 HOU -51.6% 31 -63.8% 1-6 -25.7% 30 33.3% 32 7.4% 3
32 SF -68.6% 32 -73.8% 2-5 -48.3% 32 26.1% 31 5.9% 5

  • ESTIMATED WINS uses a statistic known as "Forest Index" that emphasizes consistency as well as DVOA in the most important specific situations: red zone defense, first quarter offense, and performance in the second half when the score is close.  It then projects a number of wins adjusted to a league-average schedule and a league-average rate of recovering fumbles.  Teams that have had their bye week are projected as if they had played one game per week.
  • WEIGHTED DVOA represents an attempt to figure out how a team is playing right now, as opposed to over the season as a whole, by making recent games more important than earlier games. This is the statistic used for the FOXSports.com Power Rankings.
  • PAST SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents played this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative). It is not adjusted for which games are home or road.
  • FUTURE SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents still left to play this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative). It is not adjusted for which games are home or road.
  • VARIANCE measures the statistical variance of the team's weekly DVOA performance.  Teams are ranked from least consistent (#1, highest variance) to most consistent (#32, smallest variance).


TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L ESTIM.
WINS
RANK WEIGHTED
DVOA
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VARIANCE RANK
1 IND 36.3% 7-0 6.9 1 36.3% 1 -21.1% 31 6.7% 8 4.8% 32
2 CIN 33.9% 6-2 5.9 4 33.9% 3 -6.6% 27 3.0% 13 24.7% 14
3 NYG 33.8% 5-2 5.6 6 34.3% 2 3.4% 13 -1.2% 19 32.6% 6
4 SD 32.2% 4-4 6.3 3 32.1% 4 16.3% 2 9.1% 5 11.3% 27
5 JAC 31.9% 4-3 5.8 5 31.6% 5 14.1% 3 -23.3% 32 25.0% 13
6 SEA 25.4% 5-2 6.4 2 25.4% 7 -4.0% 25 -15.7% 31 9.5% 28
7 DEN 25.2% 6-2 5.4 8 25.7% 6 17.1% 1 5.4% 9 28.0% 9
8 PIT 23.9% 5-2 5.3 9 23.9% 9 3.8% 12 -0.7% 17 25.8% 12
9 DAL 23.7% 5-3 5.5 7 23.9% 8 2.6% 14 8.1% 7 22.9% 15
10 KC 17.2% 4-3 5.1 10 17.1% 10 8.7% 7 10.5% 3 9.4% 29
11 WAS 17.1% 4-3 4.8 11 16.5% 11 9.9% 6 5.2% 10 39.0% 5
12 CHI 12.3% 4-3 4.6 14 12.3% 12 -2.8% 23 -13.4% 29 40.8% 4
13 OAK 7.2% 3-4 4.7 12 7.4% 13 6.9% 8 13.0% 1 12.7% 24
14 CAR 5.8% 5-2 4.6 15 6.0% 14 -13.5% 30 -3.2% 26 9.4% 30
15 MIA 5.3% 3-4 4.6 16 5.3% 15 -2.0% 21 -2.5% 25 21.7% 17
16 NE 1.6% 4-3 4.7 13 1.7% 16 11.5% 4 -2.4% 24 12.2% 25
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L ESTIM.
WINS
RANK WEIGHTED
DVOA
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VARIANCE RANK
17 TB 0.8% 5-2 4.1 17 0.2% 17 -21.2% 32 -1.8% 21 21.9% 16
18 ATL -1.9% 5-2 4.0 18 -1.9% 18 -9.4% 28 -2.0% 22 14.6% 22
19 PHI -2.1% 4-3 3.6 20 -2.8% 19 5.0% 9 10.2% 4 27.3% 10
20 BAL -8.7% 2-5 3.2 22 -8.5% 20 1.6% 15 4.6% 11 13.9% 23
21 DET -9.1% 3-4 3.7 19 -9.1% 21 -0.7% 18 -4.6% 27 49.5% 2
22 BUF -11.7% 3-5 3.0 24 -11.8% 22 -11.2% 29 12.2% 2 31.7% 7
23 GB -12.4% 1-6 2.3 29 -12.2% 23 -5.6% 26 2.7% 14 26.3% 11
24 TEN -12.9% 2-6 3.2 23 -13.1% 24 -0.8% 20 -0.6% 16 28.0% 8
25 CLE -15.4% 2-5 3.5 21 -15.6% 25 0.1% 17 8.5% 6 17.4% 20
26 STL -22.6% 4-4 2.7 26 -22.5% 26 -0.7% 19 -13.6% 30 14.8% 21
27 NYJ -23.8% 2-5 2.3 28 -23.8% 27 4.7% 10 4.4% 12 11.5% 26
28 ARI -24.5% 2-5 2.3 30 -24.6% 28 -2.2% 22 -4.8% 28 9.3% 31
29 NO -27.3% 2-6 2.6 27 -27.2% 29 -4.0% 24 -1.7% 20 46.0% 3
30 MIN -28.2% 2-5 3.0 25 -28.5% 30 1.6% 16 -0.8% 18 20.8% 18
31 HOU -51.6% 1-6 1.1 31 -51.5% 31 11.4% 5 -2.2% 23 19.9% 19
32 SF -68.6% 2-5 0.7 32 -67.8% 32 4.1% 11 1.9% 15 75.2% 1

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 01 Nov 2005

187 comments, Last at 18 Oct 2006, 5:10pm by Jerry

Comments

1
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 5:22pm

Yes! Philly's special teams is continuing its slow march into the positive. Woo hoo!

Now, uh, if it only wouldn't come at the expensive of both the offense and defense.

Don't mind me, I've tossed this season completely once I realized that McNabb can't throw to his left. But at least I've still got Penn State. :)

2
by rk (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 7:19pm

The adjustments from VOA to DVOA seem backward to me. Indy goes from a negative VOA to the highest DVOA in the league by playing the 31st toughest schedule while Denver's VOA is cut in half when adjusted to DVOA despite playing the hardest schedule. I feel like I'm missing something.

3
by admin :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 7:22pm

Bad excel sorting. We go fix now.

4
by rk (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 7:25pm

I guess maybe it's just a habit to give San Fran a loss every week, but they did win, so they are now 2-5 not 1-6.

5
by X Coach T (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 7:25pm

Aaron,

2 things
1st--How in the world is JAX still ranked so high? Dominated by Denver (#7), and now beat by St. Louis (#26)-what are they still doing right?

2nd--regarding Offensive DVOA--does a team get rewarded for avoiding 3rd downs completely when comparing 3rd down stats or does it have no affect at all?
Example, Denver sucks on 3rd and more than 3 (and they didn't do too much to help that this past weekend other than the one TD late). But on Denver's successful drives, they rarely put themselves into 3rd and long situations. I believe in regard to successful drives vs. unsuccessful drives, Denver should be above the league average but I am not sure.
Is this a legimate question or not?
Born a Bronco Fan

6
by elway (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 7:26pm

Every team from the AFC West and NFC East in the top 13. Best two divisions in football from top to bottom and it's not close. They both got screwed, too, by having to play each other this season.

7
by elway (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 7:29pm

By the way, no need to sound trumpets through the Rocky Mountains, 'cause most Broncos fans didn't need your silly stats to tell us that our team is good.

8
by admin :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 7:32pm

Non-adjusted ratings fixed. SF record fixed.

9
by Sean (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 7:35pm

I know Aaron is a busy, busy guy, but when are the individual stats getting updated?

10
by Jerry P. (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 7:37pm

"I know Aaron is a busy, busy guy, but when are the individual stats getting updated?"

"Player stats will be updated later today."

11
by wrmjr (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 7:38pm

You might talk about this in the Fox commentary, but I'm wondering why the 'Skins didn't fall further than 4 spots. (when they whipped a terrible team, SF, they jumped about 10 as I recall). Does SF's win on Sunday have anything to do with it? Other teams they've played making their other games look better? I can't imagine their game against the Giants looked anything other than awful, but did they do something well that I didn't notice?

12
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 7:39pm

Sean be patient. Bad things take long time on Bizarro Outsiders site. Only good things like DVOA be at fingertips.

13
by rk (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 7:39pm

Re: 6
Philly is 19.

14
by jim\'s apple pie (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 7:48pm

That is, um, quite the adjustment for Oakland.

Indy doesn't seem to be very impressive in the top spot. I wonder if the weak schedule early on will somehow come around to bite them in the ass later on. Sometimes, I think it's better to lose early in the season so that you don't get TOO confident. They have five games remaining on their schedule that they could easily drop, so I wouldn't be surprised to see Indy end the season at 11-5.

15
by EorrFU (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 7:50pm

my gues is the WAS Defense wasn't that bad because of the nature of TIKI's success. If I remember correctly he would rattle of a whole lot of ineffectual runs under 3 yards and then burst for over 50. Same as what happened in Denver.
The short runs cancel out much of the value of the top runs.
On offense I have no idea but their drop-off is probably much bigger than on defense.

16
by Drew (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 7:50pm

I can’t imagine their game against the Giants looked anything other than awful, but did they do something well that I didn’t notice?

Well, none of them lost bowel control. But that's about it, and I can't even confirm that 100%.

17
by Nate (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 7:50pm

Those weights seem horribly arbitrary. Isn't there a mathematical function that could be used that would make more sense? It's been a while since I've taken a math class, but how about something like the graph in my sig (only flipped around)?

18
by scott (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 8:00pm

Here's each division's average DVOA:

AFC West +20.5
NFC East +18.1
AFC North +8.4
AFC South +0.9
NFC South -5.7
AFC East -7.2
NFC North -9.4
NFC West -22.6

Considering that Seattle is the 6th best team in football, the NFC West's average DVOA is pretty impressive.

19
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 8:04pm

Re #5: How is Jax still rated so high? Well, for starters, look at that second table. Look under "past schedule", and scan down. Notice how Jacksonville has gone 4-3 against the third hardest schedule in the entire NFL? That might have something to do with it. You might also notice that the team right above them is the team that has gone 4-4 against the 2nd hardest schedule. I'd imagine it's a similar deal.

Also, you can focus on bad games and eliminate pretty much everyone from the top 10. I mean, Jacksonville got beat by St. Louis and dominated by Denver. Denver got dominated by Miami and has allowed 2+ score leads dwindle almost entirely for 4 consecutive weeks now. San Diego has 4 losses, regardless of how they came, Cincinatti hasn't played anyone except for Jacksonville, to whom they lost, and so on, and so forth.

How about we compromise and only put 3 teams in the top 10?

20
by Ferg (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 8:06pm

Re 11: Just speculation, but once again Washington did not recover a single fumble-- and there were five! Their non-adjusted VOA dropped from 12.0% to -2.9%, while their DVOA only dropped from 24.4% to 17.1%.

(PS to Skins players: Point harder!)

21
by Splat (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 8:40pm

Just a note, but NYG's ratings on this page are different from the ones on the little top 5's on the left, and they also change from 3rd to 2nd.

22
by Born a Bronco Fan/Die a Bronco Fan (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 8:42pm

Kibbles and others,

Still hearing it--Denvers loss to Miami hurts more than the JAX win helps (kind of the opposite of what happened to WASH the last two weeks).

Regarding Den vs Mia--the score was 6-3 at half. Denvers starting secondary was gone the second half. Denver was inside the 10 twice--two fumbles and one returned for a TD.

I will say it makes sense that when a team loses a close game, it doesn't change things much, especially if they play well. That happened to Denver last week (NYG).

On another note: SD is 5-3 if Gates play week one vs. Dallas. They still are overated-especially Brees. Philly pointed that out.
Typical Schottehiemer team

23
by Larry (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 8:45pm

Is anyone else intrigued by the fact that the new weights show 1 week before is more important than 2-8 weeks before? I realize the difference is small, but what does that mean? My guess, injuries. Anyone else with hypotheses?

24
by Mshray (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 8:51pm

I hope the Denver fans are happy now, but enjoy it while it lasts. One thing to keep in mind is that DVOA doesn't take home/away into consideration. The Broncos are 5-0 at home, 1-2 on the road and have yet to play any divisional away games. Good luck.

Re #18, I have a question on how the strength of opponent factors in. Seattle still has 4 divisional games reamining, including both SF games, and as noted, the NFC West appears extraordinarily lousy. Could they go 4-0 in those games and see their DVOA go down? If so, by how much?

Looking ahead at their 31st-ranked future schedule, if they beat the Giants at home Thanksgiving weekend they could have home field in the NFC locked up when they host Indy on Christmas Eve. Super Bowl Preview hype anyone?

25
by charles (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 8:56pm

Giants fans your b***h ass team will have to go on the road sooner or later. So talk your s*** about the redskins now and then look at your road schedule after the 49ers game. You guys are 5-0 at home and 0-2 on the road. And you guys call redskins fans dreamers.

26
by Jerry P. (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 9:15pm

"Those weights seem horribly arbitrary. Isn’t there a mathematical function that could be used that would make more sense?"

"Everything I tried ended up showing that we can’t significantly lower the importance of the eight most recent weeks without lowering the correlation between weighted DVOA and a team’s DVOA the following week."

27
by Jerry P. (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 9:17pm

"Giants fans your b***h ass team will have to go on the road sooner or later. So talk your s*** about the redskins now and then look at your road schedule after the 49ers game."

Who or what are you responding to?

28
by Andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 9:23pm

Pat:

Here's my progression on Eagles Special Teams DVOA:

KC -24.7%
DAL -14.2%
SD -1%
DEN 10%

At least one unit is moving in the right direction.

29
by james (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 9:24pm

I think looking at estimated wins is a great tool. I looked it up and every superbowl champion(save pats 01') had one of the top 2 estimated win totals.

Also, every home team with higher estimated wins won this week and if I'm not mistaken last week.

The estimate wins incorporate important fassets of football. red zone d, 1st quarter offense, special teams, 2nd half d in close games. A team can be great for the first 3 quarters and suck in the 4th and lose or come pretty close. In that scenario they would have a pretty good DVOA but a mediocre estimated wins.

I was using a crummier version of estimated wins(drive stats), where avg yds per drive prob correlated some with 1st quarter offense and pts/dr probably correlated some with red zone performance and special teams. Estimated wins is my favorited stat.

I'm glad I found estimated wins so that

That being said, right now Indianapolis has got to be the hands down superbowl favorite with SD and Seattle close behind. Of course that could all change by the time week 16 rolls around.

Denver looks like a world beater but only 5.4 wins? Seems like something should catch up to them. Maybe it's because they've had so many tough games at home so far. KC,Phi,Was, and SD. Their remaining schedule rank is 6th but with road games at Buf, Dal, Oak, Sd, and KC. Incorporating home field advantage that might be the most difficult. Projecting them to 11 wins might be a stretch. Because now despite a very good team they will be running through the same sort of run that has screwed the Chargers who only came out at 4-4 though they have 6.3 estimated wins.

30
by johonny (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 9:41pm

In preseason I noted that we might be rating the Dolphins line too harshly considering they were possibly facing in JAC/CHI/PIT three of the best defenses in the NFL. And sure enough the three currently rank better than any regular season opponent other than TB. A team that indeed once again gave the Dolphin oline problems.

31
by putnamp (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 9:41pm

#24,

Shh, please. I've been trying to stay silent about all this for the last 3-4 weeks, don't ruin it now!

32
by Raj (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 9:42pm

Re 19: I am not convinced that past schedule rank as the main reason - check out which team has the most difficult schedule. I am Denver fan but I believe their lower ranking is justified and is reflective of their 3rd down efficiency on both offense and defense. I feel that this has been their achiles heel sofar and if they do not fix it they will loose more games in the second half. Conversely, they should do very well if they fix their problems on 3rd down.

33
by Andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 9:48pm

Mshray #24:

As "The Replacements" slowly take over the Seattle Secondary, their already not so good defense is going to get worse.

Don't count on them winning through January unless they discover a defense.

Born a Bronco Fan/Die a Bronco Fan and Co:

Lets see how Denver does when they play 5 away games in the last 7, including Turkey day in Dallas, and hosting Oakland in the snow again. Don't forget you opened 6-2 and 7-3 in 2002 (9-7 final) 5-2 in 2003 (10-6 final w/ humiliating loss to Colts) 5-2 and 7-3 in 2004 (10-6 final w/ humiliating loss to Colts). No reason to crow until we see something different. This isn't CBS Sportsline here. The teams playing late in January win in November and December. Denver has a hump to get over just like Indy in New England next Monday.

And thank the football gods for the gift of home games against the Jets and Ravens. You'll definitely have a winning record with those two and at least one more road victory.

34
by Jeff F (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 9:48pm

charles - If you have nothing of value to say, why don't you go over to the Yahoo, Fox, or ESPN discussion areas and participate in the stupidity that takes place over there?

35
by Nathan (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 9:51pm

Don’t post about your desire to be an intern in the discussion thread for the DVOA ratings. I won’t see it and it will just annoy everyone.

Aaron used to be just like one of us... Now he's all big time and doesn't care to read the threads?

:)

36
by dedkrikit (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 9:56pm

"The Super Bowl teams will actually be chosen by the subjective power rankings from another website. I can't reveal which one yet, but they've chosen one where the writer really hates your favorite team in particular."
(from FoxSports)
You rule, Aaron.

37
by admin :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 10:01pm

Commentary now posted, click link on my name. Nate, e-mail me your ideas about improving WEIGHTED DVOA, I'm interested to hear them. By the way, the numbers on the left side are different because they are the weighted ratings, not the standard ones. Must read bedtime stories now.

38
by Thok (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 10:12pm

So, are the Giants special teams really that good? According to DVOA, it seems like people should start talking about that unit as being historically great.

39
by BlueStarDude (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 10:19pm

re: "Denver is the only team in the NFL that has already played five home games, and it's won all five."

Officially, I guess, that's true. But really the Giants have had five home games as well - and won them all. The G-men are 0-2 on the road.

40
by admin :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 10:26pm

Oh, whoops. I forgot about the stupid second week game because I was looking at the "official" standings. Uh, five "scheduled" home games.

41
by Patrick Bateman (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 10:32pm

I've been at all the NYG home games this year (and the road game at New Orleans...ho ho ho) and I have to say the special teams have been about as spectacular as an ST unit without Dante Hall can get. Willie Ponder's been impressive running back kicks, and when the blocking is good Chad Morton's a quality punt returner. Out own punting unit is outstanding--although Feagles is no longer greeted with chants of "MVP!" when he steps on the field (as he was over the last two mind-numbing seasons in the Meadowlands) he's still giving the Giants good field position, especially assisted by David Tyree. I thought this week was one of their least impressive weeks, but Tyree was out and he's a major player on that unit, which could have had something to do with it. As I said, these are just my impressions as a fan who's been at every game; I don't have any number others than the ones on this page to back up these assertions.

42
by JonL (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 10:39pm

Nice FOX article. But shouldn't it be "Manning Brady Bruschi"?

(ducks)

43
by B***h ass Giants Fan (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 10:41pm

OMG, the Giants are the best team ever and the Skins suck and if you Skins fans think you're going anywhere this year you're dreaming and ...

What?

What's that?

Holy Jesus, that charles fellow anticipated my post by forty-six minutes! Get out of my head, you psychic bastard!

44
by CaffeineMan (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 10:43pm

Yeah, the comments about the BCS and choosing the Super Bowl winner were excellent.

I'd actually like to thank charles and others like him for popping out of the woodwork. One of the fabulous things about this season is that with the rise of some other teams and the wider audience for FO there's a lot less moaning about how irrational Pats fans are. :)

45
by Tim L (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 11:01pm

41: The only complete Giants game I've seen was against Dallas, and New York's special teams looked phenomenal. You didn't mention their coverage units, but that punt coverage was exceptional, against a pretty good punt return team (Patrick Crayton was still returning punts then). I remember thinking late in the game, after seeing him break a return for about 20 or 30 yards and giving Dallas good field position, "Finally, they start outside their 20". Only to have the referee snap me back to reality with an announcement that there was in illegal block in the back. All the Giants special team units looked very strong.

46
by Arkaein (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 11:04pm

Minor nitpick Aaron. You say that the Packers O-line has been a disaster this year, and in the running game I'd agree. But run blocking is only half the equation.

Isn't calling the O-line with the 3rd best pass blocking in the league a "total disaster" a bit excessive?

47
by Tim L (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 11:06pm

44: It is nice to see a little variety here. For the first two years I was the only Cowboys fan that posted, which besides making me the Token Embodiment of Ultimate Evil, got to be pretty lonely. Now if we can lure in some fans of the Seahawks, Titans, Rams and Chargers we could have a real thumpin' block party.

48
by admin :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 11:11pm

QB, RB, WR, TE, OL, DL, and defensive vs. receiver types all now updated.

49
by Tim L (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 11:16pm

Good commentary on the teams, Aaron. I would hate to have to reach into my well of inspiration week after week to say something profound or witty about, for example, Arizona or Cleveland. As I discovered in a prior life, writing to meet deadlines can be hard work, even on a subject I love.

50
by Patrick Bateman (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 11:22pm

re:45
Tyree's a big part of that. He's one of the "gunners" responsible for getting down to the punt returner. He's made some flat-out awesome plays to down punts inside the five (!) over the course of this season and last and has come up with quality tackles as well. Another player in on a lot of tackles and plays on special teams is undrafted rookie FA LB Chase Blackburn; he had a great tackle stuffing one of the 'Skins' returners this week. The Giants' ST unit was improving late in the year last year, and I remember the coaches and players giving credit to Ron Dayne for a lot of that. I was, in truth, a little worried they'd fall off again in 2005 since that aspect of the game had been such a weakness for them in the past, but I'm delighted to see them playing as they are.

51
by dan (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 11:28pm

46: As someone who made a similar statement about Houston's line in their EPC article (similar, yet opposite, I guess, as Houston is abysmal in pass blocking but at least adequate for the run, as opposed to some other bad-across-the-board lines, or so I argued then), I can see what you're saying. But at the same time, if I recall correctly, Favre has consistently been among the least-sacked QBs for quite some time. Between how that line has looked in what little I've seen of them and what has been said about the guys on it, I'd be willing to bet Favre plays a bigger role in their Adj Sack Rate than they do.

Of course, when the choice is take a sack or throw a pick...

52
by Nathan (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 11:36pm

You meant,

Manning Brady Bruschi Freeney Manning Brady Bruschi Freeney

53
by Zach (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 11:39pm

Tim, you're getting your wish. Seahawk fan here, and I've got a minor quibble with Andrew's comment about the Seahawk secondary. Beyond Ken Hamlin, their secondary is actually getting healthier, with Andre Dyson set to return this week. While I agree that their defense needs to improve a bit to make them legit SB contenders, it's the D-line that needs the most work. They have to be able to get pressure on the quarterback without going blitz-crazy, something that hasn't happened much this year.

54
by Born a Bronco Fan/Die a Bronco Fan (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 11:43pm

Re #33

Andrew, reason out whatever you want to about the Broncos. The facts are the Broncos are better than last year at this time. They have improved in QB pressure, Interceptions, Offensive turnovers, etc... Their schedule has been tougher and the easier part is coming up--last year that wasn't true.
If Elam could get back to form they are 7-1.

I know all about the past 2 years. I also know that SD is good but they had some lucky games last year. For example, again, vs Den at SD. They intercept a 3 yd pass in the end zone that Rod Smith couldn't grab on a rainy day that probably would have won the game. That would have put Den in first with a few games left but SD went to first instead.

Lets analyze what is happening now. JAX and SD haven't made it work so far. SD is 1-3 on the road. Does that matter? No, road games seem only to matter just with Denver I guess.

PLEASE HERE THIS--I can see why the Broncos are ranked lower than the SD, JAX. The DVOA numbers show it. It makes sense. There are things that are causes for concern, no doubt. (3rd down play period)

As far as Turkey day, I live in Dallas. That game would be tough for INDY-ranked #1. Who doesn't agree with that? If they lose it won't be a sign that they were overrated. Dallas usually wins. If Denver does win--what will you think then?

You also mentioned that JAX and SD had played the 3rd and 2nd hardest schedule so far (both above Den). Answer this question, who has played the hardest schedule so far?

55
by Maltodextrin (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 11:46pm

That Seahawks/Scientology reference has to be the most obscure joke I've ever seen on a football site.

56
by Arkaein (not verified) :: Tue, 11/01/2005 - 11:52pm

Re 51: Favre has been rarely sacked for 2+ years now, but earlier in his career he wasn't extraordinary at avoiding sacks. He had a great line the past few years (both run and pass blocking), and had also benefited from largely from a strong run game (especially in 2003), and good use of play action passes, shovel passes, bootlegs and keep passes.

The impressive thing this year is that after the Detroit game (5 sacks) Favre has only been sacked 5 times despite no run game, playing almost exclusively from behind, and throwing 30-40 passes per game. He's not throwing the ball away or tucking the ball and running either, he's only ran 10 times this year and he's completed 66% of his passes.

I suppose throwing picks is one way to avoid a sack, but I don't think any of his 5 against Cincy were directly related to being quickly pressured.

57
by dedkrikit (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 12:02am

RE #47

Titans fan here, but living in Dallas. Occassionally I get to see my team play (mostly lose), more often I get to see the Cowboys (and listen to Galloway & company go on and on and on about them).

58
by Born a Bronco Fan/Die a Bronco Fan (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 12:06am

GAC is interesting to listen to if you don't care about the Cowboys.
Did you listen to him today?

59
by dedkrikit (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 12:16am

Only caught about 10 minutes as I drove home - they were discussing the Mavs and when they were deep in history (something about them in the 80s). I much prefer the morning shows, though - Dan Patrick and whatever team it is at around 10-11am (haven't heard them in ages due to different job).

60
by Jason (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 12:19am

Granted Green Bay has missed their 2 Guards that they lost in Free Agency but the primary reason for their collapse is a wave of injuries on offense. Despite the fact they have lost 3 out of their top 4 receivers to injury, their top 2 running backs to injury, as well as a starting offensive linemen and a decent tight end they still have managed to Outscore their opposition so far this year. Losing 5 games by 7 or less points has to atleast to some degree involve bad luck too

61
by Tim L (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 12:25am

Re 53: Welcome, Zach. Don't mind Andrew too much. He's got a bit of an agenda, being an Eagles fan, and most of us take him with a grain of good-natured salt. I like the Seahawks chances to get to the Super Bowl this year; certainly they look to have the inside track to the all-important bye week.

Re 57: I wish I could have seen a few Titans' games this year. Yeah, they're losing, but they look like they're hanging in all their games, which is tough for a young team. Jeff Fisher has never gotten national credit the coaching job he does.

62
by Andrew (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 12:29am

Born a Bronco Fan/Die a Bronco Fan:

As an Eagles fan, all the best to the Broncos this year, especially in exorcising the Colts demons in the playoffs.

That being said, do you really believe Jake "144 career interceptions - yes that is 16 per season" Plummer is really only going to throw 3 more picks this year?

Do you really believe your better offense is going to overcome your worse defense (and abysmal special teams)?

And if recent history is any guide, Plummer's Bronco's are going to lose 3 of the 5 away games left, and at least one home game, which puts you back at 10-6 as a wild card team again. I'll believe it when I see Denver take care of business away from town, and win at least 3 of the 5 away games. That means at least one divisional away game and the Cowgirls and Bills, or two divisional away games and the Bills. I can see a win in the Black Hole maybe, but not San Diego and Kansas City.

63
by Born a Bronco Fan/Die a Bronco Fan (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 12:40am

Re GAC
yea I heard the same thing. A few cowboy comments but not much football.
I agree with you abou the morning show. GAC is too much Galloway sometimes. I miss COOP

Re Andrew
Philly huh? A good friend of mine is a Philly man also. Can they pull out their division?
I do believe that Plummer can finish the season with only 8 interceptions on the year--1/2 of his average. Elway was always good but significantly better at the end. Maybe Kubiak and Shanahan have something to do with that.

If Denver goes 10-6, who wins the division? Chargers have to finish 7-1 for that to happen and they play INDY and at KC. KC has a tough road also.

I agee that Plummer is the key to them winning, especially on the road. But so far he isn't the problem but rather the difference. Not true either of the last 2 years.

I also wish the best to your Ealges. Maybe they can get a running game soon or prove that passing primarily works--didn't for Marino.

64
by Zach (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 12:42am

Thanks for the welcome Tim, and I agree that the Seahawks seem to have the inside track to home-field advantage. And now that I know that Andrew is a Eagles fan, I'll understand his bitterness.

65
by Jon Fuge everybody (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 12:44am

The new weights add up to less than the old weights so does that make this DVOA lite? - - - - Why do we suddenly forget most of what happened after 13 weeks? I understand optimizing your win correlation , but it seems to me that games should gradually be forgotten over time. If Denver plays an average game in week 14, their ranking is going to skyrocket. And then you'll get more of those pesky emails.

66
by Andrew (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 12:45am

Tim L #61:

You really think the Seahawks would know what to do with a home playoff game? They haven't recently. They remind me of Kansas City in the playoffs. And they sure have a lot of away games left, which they typically have lost, and haven't shown any signs of running up wins with this year.

I'm guessing they lose 2 of the next 3 among @ Arizona and Frisco and hosting St. Louis, then they lose at Philly and hosting Indy. 10-6. That's counting on Green Bay not pulling it together and beating you guys at Lambeau.

Please tell me why not.

67
by Zach (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 12:46am

Bronco Fan, your math is a bit off: Since the Chargers are 4-4, a 6-2 mark would also put them at 10-6 and (assuming they beat the Broncos at home) tied with Denver. Tiebreakers are a bit harder to predict.

68
by Zach (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 12:50am

Uh, Andrew, have you seen SF and Arizona? Or looked at the DVOA ratings? The Niners did win at home last week, but it's not likely the Seahawks will be starting Chris Simms against them. Arizona can't run the ball, and has been terrible on defense. As for the Rams, they've been a bugaboo for the Hawks for years, but then again they did go into the Edward Jones Dome and beat them, so it's not too hard to imagine they might be able to beat the Rams at home. Even if not, it's hard to see them going worse than 2-1 over the next three games. Could they lose to the Eagles? Of course. But right now the Eagles have many more concerns (no run game, a hurt QB, a suddenly porous defense) than worrying about a game a month down the road.

69
by Born a Bronco Fan/Die a Bronco Fan (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 12:53am

re 67
I knew when I said it that they would both be 10-6. But for SD to clinch the west--7-1 is a must. Hard to do with the road games they have and their current road record.
KC is the one who has a chance since they already won at Oakland. tough games left are NE at home, SD and Den at home. Questionable games are at Dallas and as Buffalo.
SD is going to have to go 7-1 to win the division--Denver needs to go 5-3.
Big difference

70
by Andrew (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 1:09am

Born a Bronco Fan/Die a Bronco Fan #63:

Giants look like they will win the division this year if Eli learns to win on the road. Something is just wrong with McNabb, and it is not his injury - I think he is getting happy feet again. I see us sweeping Washington, splitting home wins with the Cowboys and Giants, beating Green Bay and the Seahawks in Philly, beating Arizona in Phoenix, and losing to St. Louis in St. Louis. That would make us 11-5, and probably the 5th seed, with a game against the Bears, which would be a toss-up given their defense, and then a probable loss to the NFC East or South champ if we win that. Just my guess right now. And that depends on drubbing DC this Sunday in Washington. If not, all bets are off.

Plummer and INT's. If he holds it to 10 like Elway, I'll be amazed. Don't forget Shanahan was Elway's coach most of his career except for the short stint in the Black Hole. Just not his head coach until 1995.

I see Denver sweeping Oakland, beating the Ravens, Bills, and Jets, and contesting in Dallas. I think the Dallas game is the key between 12-4 and probably a first round bye and 11-5. And there can't be any more slips like in the Meadowlands, which means watch out for Oakland! Right now, I think Cinci or Pittsburgh and Indy have the inside track for the bye-weeks.

As for San Diego, can they run the table? Yes. Will they? 12/18 @ Colts and 12/24 @ Chiefs will tell. They can win those games, but I don't know if they will. Everything else looks like a win for them. If they don't run over the Jets, Bills, Redskins, Raiders, and Dolphins over the next six weeks, they are not the team we all think they are.

Kansas City may have 6 or 7 more wins in them too, since they have 5 home games, plus games at the Bills, Houston, and Dallas.

71
by Andrew (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 1:27am

Zach:

Frisco has played good at every home game they have had this year except for the Colts (but for a fluky Cowboys comeback they are 3-4 right now), while they have been blown away on the road in every game.

Never bet against the NFC West team that is at home playing a divisional game. That is a Football Outsiders rule.

As to the Cardinals ... well, they were horrible last year too, and the Seahawks lost to them by 8 points in Phoenix in a game that really was not that close (the Seahawks had just one drive out of 14 move across the Arizona 35 yard line). What's changed this year? Have they acquired some secret weapons in their 4th and 5th string wide receivers who are going to break this game open this year? Can their kicker suddenly boot 50 yard figgies like Rackers?

72
by Born a Bronco Fan/Die a Bronco Fan (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 1:41am

Andrew,
Personally, I would like to see Philly get on track after last week. They did a great job against SD.

Interesting playoff predictions. Can't say I disagree with your NFC picks. Still want to see how a Gibbs teams reacts to getting their asses kicked. Are both wild card teams coming out of the NFC East? I think so.

As far as the AFC West goes-still a toss up but Denver is in the drivers seat. Elway always had Shanahan but he improved when Kubiak became his back up and then coach. Jake has both now and is finally listening to them. Den @ Oakland could be a trouble game they are supposed to win. Moss, Porter is a bad combination for the Broncos. League #1 receivers seem to do well against us-especially with an ailing Champ Bailey (not very tough either). If you look at the DVOA numbers, Den sucks against the 3rd receiver because everyone is on the other 2. The interception Foxworth got last week--McNabb missed a wide open, uncovered receiver.
KC is still lacking something. SD could be good enough to run the table but they should not be 4-4 right now so who knows.
I see the Broncos holding on to 12-4 (losing the last game at SD) so that SD can get to 10-6 (lose to KC and Indy). Could be a tiebreaker situation for KC and SD. I agree that the Dallas game is the breaking point for comfort for the Broncos.
Broncos finish-12-4-Win vs. Jets, Oakland (twice), Dallas, Ravens, @ Buffalo (lose KC and SD)
SD-10-6 win all but @ KC and @ Indy
KC-10-6-win all but three of these NE, @Dallas, @ NYG and Cinn

73
by Zach (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 1:59am

Well first of all, Brown (their kicker) can, in fact, make 50-yard-FGs...just as the Cowboys. Second, Engram will be back this week at WR. Third, what's changed? Well, that's hard to say, except that instead of coming off a devastating loss to St. Louis and a brutally tough road game against NE, they're coming off one of their best wins in years and a bye. Granted, they're 0-6 under Holmgren after byes, but to me that's a somewhat meaningless stat. It's the NFL, so anything can happen, but I like the Seahawks' chances this week.

74
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 3:24am

Re #62: Two points. First, yes, Jake Plummer averages a lot of interceptions. In fact, in 84 games with the Cardinals, he built up a -24 TD to INT margin.

Of course, in just 35 games with the Broncos, he has completely eliminated that. He has thrown 24 more TDs than INTs as a Bronco. He threw 3 INTs in his first game, and then 4 INTs in the 10 other games he played in his first season. I think the precedent is clearly there for him to continue with the low-INT numbers. I think there's a lot of negative perception about Jake that has everything to do with his supporting cast in Arizona and nothing at all to do with what he's actually done in Denver.

For instance, yes, he threw 20 picks last year. Trent Green threw 17. Are those 3 picks big enough to leave Trent Green "underrated" and Jake Plummer "a walking mistake", like the media would have you believe?

Second, you say Denver needs a winning road record before you consider them legit... consider this. Denver has only TWICE had a winning road record in 10 seasons under Shanahan. The season they won their first SB, they were 4-4 on the road. The season before, they were 5-3, and the season after, they were 6-2. What do all 3 years have in common? An 8-0 home record. That's really all Denver needs to win the AFC West, is to go undefeated at home. They're already well on their way.

75
by Calbuzz (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 4:50am

Andrew, Seahawks are already 1-1 against the powerhouse NFC East, the loss in OT on the road. Why should we worry about Philly?

As for beating NFC West teams at home, well, 1-0 isn't a bad start!

76
by Tim L (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 7:02am

Re 66: Andrew, my thoughts on the Seahawks are based on their predicted win distribution in the
Pro Football Prospectus,
their DVOA standings (best ever, I believe), their Sagarin rankings, the lack of strong competition in their division and having seen them first hand a couple of times. God bless my DirecTV.

It's true Holgren's teams have struggled on the road, in the playoffs, and on the road in the playoffs since he's been in Seattle, but the above indicators point to a much stronger team this year. Aside from their early loss to the Jaguars, they've played much better on the road this year than in years past. All these things to me point to a shift in their fortunes.

Assessing future performance is obviously pure speculation, but there come times when teams can and do break from their past to improve their performance. From what I can see, the Seahawks are one of those teams this year.

77
by James Gibson (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 9:30am

Andrew - Actually, yes, the Seahawks do have better weapons in the 4th and 5th string WRs than in their top two from last year (or at least in their 3rd string WRs). Koren Robinson sucked. I never understood why they kept trying to force Robinson into the starting lineup. Joe Jurevicius and Bobby Engram are both better receivers than Koren Robinson, and possibly even slightly better than Darrell Jackson, and Jurevicius and Engram should be starting this year. In addition, reading both PFP this year and this particular edition of the Fox article and you see why Seattle should be improved this year - the 3rd down thing, the same reason San Diego was better last year than the year before. There are plenty of reasons to actually believe that the Seahawks are better this year than last year. I'd be surprised to see Seattle go 1-2 through that stretch.

As for Denver, I feel a little more confident about their road abilities due to their win in Jacksonville, a game I had them pegged for a loss in. But I definitely still worry about @Dallas, @San Diego, @Kansas City, in which they will be undergods, and @Oakland which always scares me. I feel as though N.Y. Jets, Baltimore, @Buffalo, and Oakland should all be winnable. I think 11-5 is about right for them.

78
by charles (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 10:17am

Holy Jesus, that charles fellow anticipated my post by forty-six minutes! Get out of my head, you psychic bastard!

Nice to see somebody with a sense of humor on this board, giants fans know they've been digging into redskins fans since sunday, and i just wanted to defend the team at the same time bash the giants. Now, i will go read some dvoa stats and come up with something intelligent to say. oh yeah,
walt harris=duane starks

79
by Mike B. (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 11:15am

Re:#55 -

It's also hilarious. Aaron, expect a "cease and desist" email from them any time now...

80
by FizzMan (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 11:29am

Would it ruin it for someone to explain to us unwashed heathens the Scientology joke? That was so far above my head, I could barely see it.

81
by Andrew (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 11:35am

Born a Bronco Fan/Die a Bronco Fan:

The Foxworth interception was clearly underthrown. I didn't realize this at first, but watching Playbook on the NFL Network last night, they spotlighted this play, and showed how if McNabb had thrown the ball higher up, it was an easy catch for Reggie Brown (who was jumping up to where he thought the ball was going to be on the post route). Instead, McNabb threw it low, and Foxworth simply jumped the route and took the ball.

The open receiver he missed was Lamar Gordon, who was open for the first down (he was the second read too, according to him). However, if you watch the game film, Gordon only really comes into view as open after the pass has been thrown. McNabb saw Brown open in the endzone, then underthrew the ball. I don't think the decision was bad, but the throwing mechanics were, as it ended up looking like a pass intended for Foxworth.

I don't see 3 NFC east teams in the playoffs, because I think it is likely that Carolina and Atlanta will both win spots from the south, although we'll have to wait for the divisional games there to see what happens. Maybe Tampa Bay can pick up the pieces again too.

In my mind, definitely "out" are
AFC: Dolphins, Bills, Jets, Ravens, Browns, Titans, Texans, Raiders. Chiefs, Chargers, Jaguars and Steelers/Bengals are fighting to get in.

NFC: Lions, Vikings, Packers, Saints, Cardinals, 49ers. One or two teams from the NFC East will be added to this list after the next three of weeks. Eagles can kill the Redskins hopes this Sunday, or terminate their own season. Similarly, Tampa Bay plays Carolina and Atlanta in the next three weeks. It may be all over for them but the crying before Thanksgiving. Lastly, 2 weeks from now, Seahawks can drive the shiv into the heart of the Rams and knock them out.

The way things are headed right now, some 10-6 teams (probably in the AFC West, NFC East, and NFC South) are going to be left out in the cold come January.

The worst looking division winners right now appear to be New England and Chicago.

We also appear to be heading for a huge number of teams with 4 or less wins - possibly 10.

82
by Andrew (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 11:49am

Calbuzz #75:

The Seahawks barely beat the Cowboys, in somethign of a revenge game for last year. And the Cowboys were also the only NFC East team they beat 3 years ago. They've lost continually to the Redskins 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2005. They lost to the Giants in 2001 and 2002. Both those teams are better than they were then.

Seattle has blown the doors off the Texans and Cardinals at home. The Giants and Eagles will be real competition.

Why worry about Philly? Because Andy Reid knows every little tendency of his former mentor Mike Holmgren, has them all written down, will study them, and use it against him very effectively. And Trotter and Dawkins know the Ray Rhodes defense inside and out.

83
by Ryan (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 11:51am

Not sure if it was intended to be funny or just a mistake, but in Aaron's FOX comments about Green Bay, Na'il Diggs has only played in two games this year (Tampa and Carolina, getting injured again in the latter).

84
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 12:07pm

Rams, Falcons, and Eagles all seem to have a legit beef with their DVOA positions. Chicago, San Diego and Miami all seem elevated beyond what they merit. Otherwise, I can't see much to complain about.

85
by Andrew (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 12:17pm

Tim L #76:

If Holmgren and Hasselback and Rhodes have struggled on the road before, and they are struggling on the road this year as well, what are they showing us that is so different to make us believe they will not continue to struggle on the road?

86
by Andrew (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 12:19pm

mawbrew #84:

The Eagles are where they are because of atrocious special teams play in Weeks 2, 3, 4, and 5, with Akers being injured. Until they show they've shaken that off (and punter Johnson becoming injured doesn't help), they deserve to be where they are, because you can't win many games spotting your opponent the ball at midfield on every series.

87
by Andrew (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 1:18pm

Kibbles #74:

If Denver can go 4-4 on the road, they are legit. Currently they are 1-2, with all 3 divisional away games and Dallas on Thanksgiving coming up. They could very easily wind up 2-6 or 3-5 on the road if they aren't careful. Its also easy to see Oakland playing spoiler again on Christmas Eve at home like in 2002 and 2004.

Now about Plummer, he is kind of like Brady. Most games he makes good decisions. But then a couple of times a season he just melts down and coughs up 2 or 3 or 4 interceptions in a game. Fortunately for the Bronco's, he's only done that once in Miami this year. He has tended to do this against the AFC West, Marvin Lewis' ballhawking Bengals, and the Dolphins. I wouldn't be comforted by the fact that the Bronco's are likely to play the Bengals this post-season.

Plummer 2+ interception games since 2001:

2005 @ Dolphins - 2 (Loss)
2004 Dolphins - 2 (Win 20-17)

2004 Chiefs - 2 (Win 34-24)
2004 @ Chiefs - 2 (Loss)
2002 @ Chiefs - 2 (Loss)

2004 @ Chargers - 4 (Loss)
2002 Chargers - 2 (Loss)
2001 @ Chargers - 2 (Won 20-17)

2002 Raiders - 2 (Loss)

2004 Bengals - 2 (Loss)
2003 @ Bengals - 3 (Win 30-10)

2004 Falcons - 3 (Loss)
2001 Falcons - 3 (Loss)

2004 Panthers - 2 (Win 20-17)

2002 Seahawks - 2 (Loss)

2002 49ers - 3 (Loss)

2001 @ Cowboys - 2 (Loss)

Noteworthy Plummer 2+ interception games pre-2001:

2000 @ Cowboys - 3 (Loss)
1999 @ Cowboys - 3 (Loss)

1999 @ Dolphins - 4 (Loss)

1999 @ Falcons - 2 (Loss)
1997 @ Falcons - 2 (Win 27-24)

1998 @ Seahawks - 3 (Loss)

1998 Raiders - 3 (Loss)

1998 @ Chiefs - 2 (Loss)

I don't think it is coincidental that certain teams keep showing up again and again as teams Plummer has tossed picks too. The three upcoming games that strike me as trouble are @ Chargers, @ Chiefs, and @ Cowboys. Notice also how he has always struggled against Miami (and again this year - not a surprise), and possible Super Bowl match-up the Falcons.

Plummer also has a recent history of struggling against the Redskins in Washington to gain yardage and complete passes. No surprise, guess where he had his worst numbers this year so far? @ Redskins!

2005 10-25 for 92, 1 TD
2002 14-36 for 187, 1 TD
2001 11-25 for 154, 0 TD
2000 14-31 for 144, 0 TD
1999 15-32 for 147, 0 TD

Similarly, Jake has personally done well against the Eagles in terms of completions and yards - guess what? He did it again!

2005 22-35 for 309, 4 TD
2002 20-35 for 163, 2 TD
2001 24-41 for 293, 1 TD
2001 18-32 for 238, 2 TD
2000 18-30 for 213, 2 TD
2000 8-15 for 51 (injured in game)
1999 25-48 for 274, 1 TD
1999 20-37 for 179, 1 TD, 1 rush TD
1998 18-26 for 234, 1 TD
1998 21-35 for 137, 1 TD

Discounting the injury game, that's 7.6% of his games and 10.4% of his TD's. His Eagles games - 6.3% of his games since 2000 - have 10.7% of his TD's. Jake likes the Jimmy Johnson defense!

When history is repeating itself, you should believe it will probably continue to repeat itself until shown otherwise.

88
by JonL (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 1:51pm

What, no indie rock references this week?

89
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 1:55pm

Re: 86

In a sense, when dealing with a model (like DVOA) every team 'deserves' to be where they are. It is, after all, objective.

But no model is perfect. Given their record and schedule (which doesn't get any easier) I think they are clearly better than 19th best. Of course, that's purely subjective. :-)

90
by B (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 2:05pm

Re #89. I think the Eagles belong at #19, maybe you can bring them up to 15, but it's not much of a difference. Special teams is only part of the problem. McNabb's injury and the lack of receivers depth is really hurting thier offense, which puts too much pressure on the defense. They need to run the ball more, but you can't just hand the ball off to Westbrook 25-30 times a game and expect him to survive.

91
by Jamie T. (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 2:18pm

#47

Titans fan here. What's that you say? Oh yes, they are a profesional football team. They even have that neat-o NFL emblam on their uniforms and everything.

92
by Jamie T. (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 2:28pm

The spelling in that is terrible.

93
by roggermann (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 2:36pm

How do I turn special teams DVOA into points?

94
by spenceKarl (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 2:40pm

RE: 55, 80

Seriously, what's the scientology joke?

95
by bobman (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 2:53pm

Aaron,
In your commentary, thanks for taking some of the air out of the Manning/Patriots story-line. I'm sure a whole dozen readers nationwide actually paid attention.
But even though you say he's played well against them, the stats you note are relatively substandard for Manning. Of course the Pats are a better than average D, so maybe that's to be expected.
Still for those who have watched all the games in the past few years, there are more that fall on others who won/lost them (Bethel Johnson's kick returns, James's goal line fumble, McGinest's sack, porous run D), more than bad QB play.
You know how many times Sunday night's announces said the name "Tedy Bruschi"... well, I bet that if the Monday game was being presented by the Sunday night crew, the phrase "Patriots own Manning" or some derivative would be brought up 30-40 times. I bet they would all denounce it and flatly say it's not true or a factor, then bring it up a dozen more times each. Every good Manning completion: McGuire: "See, it's not true." Every bad Manning pass: Theisman: "I was having a Swedish massage with Eric Mangini last night and he told me that Marvin Harrison loves Anacon Steel. So clearly, that's not Peyton's fault."
Can't believe I'm thinking: "Thank God for John Madden."

96
by tom (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 2:58pm

Mawbrew, what if you assume that DVOA is a measure of how good teams are at racking up good DVOA ratings? A system's always going to be perfect and objective from that point of view! :)
I reckon variance is a really important stat on there; if you're really good, you'll be consistently good; see Colts. Look at what else that throws up on the rankings; 4 of the most consistent 5 teams from 28-32 have winning records, and 3 out of the 5 most inconsistent teams have losing records. It also gives you a clue as to how fair a team's current position is, or their potential. Which would seem to suggest that SF and Detroit's fans have had the most legitimately frustrating seasons so far, and that the wheels might well come off for Chicago and Washington, say. (please, god, let the wheels keep coming off for Washington!)

97
by B (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 3:18pm

#94: According to Dianetics/Scientologists, the single source of insanity and psychosomatic ills is the engram. Seattle has a receiver named Bobby Engram.

98
by Kuato (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 3:24pm

I find it interesting that the Colts are good on both sides of the ball, but can't seem to figure out Special Teams. Dungy is all about the fundamentals and is generally good at using players to their strengths, but the Colts special teams have been awful for years and continue to be awful now. I took a quick peek back at the special teams rankings from Tony's time in Tampa, and it seems they always had good to great ones:

2001 - 7
2000 - 10
1999 - 5
1998 - 2

So why can't the Colts get this kicking game right? Yes the kickoffs are a problem (they should have snatched up Cortez to be the kickoff specialist), but the even bigger problem is the coverage units (DVOA = -7 kick return and -4.7 punt return). Imagine how nasty Manning would be if he had 10 less yards per drive to work with.

99
by Mshray (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 3:32pm

Zach, hey, I'm a 'Hawks fan, couldn't you tell?

FizzMan, I'm with you. I think I maybe half got it, but then again maybe not. Anybody got that Scientology referece? Bueller? Anybody?

JonL, Mike's the guy with the indie rock references, Aaron is more the philosopher.

Andrew (re #82), are you saying that whenever coaches/players go against their mentors, advantage always lies with the younger guys? I know you've proven yourself a world-class homer on these threads (and I respect that), but where do you get this? I don't have all the stats at my finger tips, but I think if there's any trend at all, it usually favors the senior guys. At least if your last name is Bowden it does.

Lastly, what I meant before was that based on the future schedule of all the leading NFC teams at this point, whoever wins the NYG @ SEA contest in 4 weeks ought to gain inside track for homefield, and the Seahawks probably are the better bet based on overall schedule & the fact that they'll be at home v. the G-men. I am most certainly not saying that they should be the Super Bowl favorite from the NFC, now or even if they finish 14-2 (after 25 years as a fan I'm way too fatalistic for that). But if by Christmas Eve this scenario plays out, you can expect CBS to hype the heck out of their matchup with the Colts.

100
by Mshray (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 3:35pm

Thanks B! I took too long editing my post, so the answer was there before I asked.

Once again Aaron proves himself much funnier than most of the guys writing comedy professionally.

101
by Purds (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 3:47pm

Kuato:

The Colts special teams rank so poorly because they have no threat as a return man. Pyatt once again was injured this year and is out for the season. For all the Pats injury problems at RB, the Colts are just one Edge-injury away from the same. They've been without Mungro for most of the season, and without Rhodes for parts of the season. Thus, you don't really want one of those guys back there returning. Walters is a limited return guy.

As for punt and kick returns, the only mantra for the Colts right now should be "hold onto the ball!"

102
by X Coach T (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 3:52pm

Andrew,
Interesting to see Jake's tendencies but I believe you have to figure in Shanahan's tendencies also. He doesn't fair as well @KC as he does @ SD. The key for the Broncos to win the division is beating Oakland twice, Dallas, Balt and Buff. If they lose to KC and SD it won't matter as far as winning the division unless they mess up one of the other games-that is what has happened the last 2 years.

I don't see Pitt or Indy doing worse than 13-3 (their schedules are pathetic compared to the other contenders) so the bye week is a mute point for Denver.

Unfortunate that the two best divisions (AFC W/NFC E) are playing eachother this year. That pretty much gives each team 10 tough games-someone has to lose and someone has to win. Giving the weaker divisions a chance at the wild card. You are right there and I was wrong.

I look for Philly to take care of WASH. The only thing I wonder about WASH is Coach Gibbs. They started out with some close lucky wins and then built some good confidence. Is that confidence gone after the butt kicking they took last weekend?
Philly will need some help from the AFC WEST teams. Going 3-1 vs the AFC west is something the other teams probably won't do. That can give them the edge.

As far as the Foxworth interception--I agree, underthrown but he broke well. McNabb had time to wait for Gordon and make the easy play but chose to go for it. I thought the Broncos would come back out the next series and do well offensively whether they intercepted the ball or not. The previous 3 series had ended up in nothing but Shanahan was going to figure out Phillys adjustments and then counter. He did. The next two pass plays had not been run all game. they both worked.

103
by X Coach T (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 4:04pm

by the way
X Coach T and Born a Bronco Fan/Die a Bronco Fan are the same person--sorry
Different computers and the boxes fill in automatically

104
by JMR (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 4:32pm

Question about the new weights-

You said you constructed the new weights to maximize the correlation between the weighted DVOA and the next week's performance. Do the weights look the same if you use a different criteria to fit them, like minimizing the difference between projected and actual wins for each team?

105
by Fnor (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 4:40pm

Dear lord, the Broncos go up and we're still talking about them. Then again, after the bizzare Steelers Fan Open Thread Hijacking on Monday, I suppose I should expect weirdness now....

What is facinating is how not-that-much PIT went down for almost losing the BAL game. Maybe it was just the Ravens playing well, but they only went up 4 in the squishy part of the rankings. I thought it was Special teams, but that actually went down.

Which brings me to my question... was that botched punt considered an offensive play or a special teams play? On one hand, the offense wasn't on the field, and having a crap completion go against them doesn't seem right. On the other hand, it wasn't really a special teams play, so how would you penalize that squad for their play? The points have to come away somewhere on that play, though, because it was a disaster for the team. So where'd they come out of?

106
by B (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 4:45pm

I think it should have the same penalty as a fumbled snap and go against the special teams.

107
by Larry (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 4:50pm

McNabb can't throw to well his left. he especially has trouble moving from looking to the right side of the field over to the left side. Thus, he just wasn't going to look for Gordon on the interception. Thinking about it, this also explains why he threw to L.J. Smith before halftime in the SD game, that was the only pattern on the right side of the field.

108
by Andrew (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 4:52pm

Mshray #99:

"Andrew (re #82), are you saying that whenever coaches/players go against their mentors, advantage always lies with the younger guys? I know you’ve proven yourself a world-class homer on these threads (and I respect that), but where do you get this? I don’t have all the stats at my finger tips, but I think if there’s any trend at all, it usually favors the senior guys."

No I am not saying that.

The reason Reid is so good as a coach, I believe, was his careful study of everything Mike Holmgren did for good or ill in Green Bay. He bases everything he does on these experiences and his own experiences from using this information, and the result has been the best record in football since 2000. I am very confident that Reid knows his mentor much better than his mentor knows someone who was just one of his many assistants-now-head coaches (like Gruden, Mariucci, Sherman, etc.).

Mike Sherman beat Holmgren both times he faced him in 2003. Mariucci beat Holmgren both times he faced him in 2002 (Holmgren did get revenge in 2003 with the Lions, but that was the Lions and not a real team like the 2002 49ers). And Reid beat Holmgren when he faced him in 2002 and 2001. And many of these games were not close.

2001 lost 27-3 to Eagles
2002 lost 27-20 to Eagles w/o McNabb; the 20 points includes a garbage time TD after Philly ran out the clock in the 4th quarter.
2002 lost 28-21 to 49ers
2002 lost 31-24 to 49ers; the 24 points includes two garbage times TD's in the 4th quarter.
2003 lost 35-13 to Packers
2003 lost 33-27 to Pckers in the Bravado Bowl

Now Mike Holmgren's Packers beat the 49ers, his former team, so many times in the 1990's it was not even funny, before the 1998 Wildcard game when Terrell Owens made "The Catch, Part II": 1998 regular season, 1997 playoffs, 1996 playoffs and regular season, 1995 playoffs. I think the reason is that he knew George Seifert, Steve Young, and Co. much better than they knew Mike Holmgren and Brett Farve.

Holmgren has had consistent success against only two of his former understudies - Jon Gruden and the Pirate teams - 1-1 against Oakland each year from 1999 to 2001, and 1-0 in 2004 against Tampa. And Dick Jauron lost twice to him - 1999 and 2003. However, Gruden was not at Green Bay very long with Holmgren, and Jauron, like Rhodes, was a defensive man. It seems Holmgren knows how to beat his defensive assistants, but not his offensive assistants.

109
by james (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 4:59pm

Playoff teams
--------------
Every team that has an in division win on the road is leading their division no matter what the records say

So right now the real division leaders are....
NE- noone has a road win in division
Indy
Pitt
San Diego/KC

Was
Chi
atl
Sea

Don't be surprised if each of these teams win their division

Usually 7 conference wins usually gets you in the playoffs

AFC leaders
pitt 5-2
indy 5-0
denv 4-1
buff, ne, jax, kc, sd are each 3-2
every other team is under .500

Nfc leaders
sea, car, giants, skins 4-1
dallas 4-2
chicago, atl, tb 3-1

Seattle, Indy, Pitt have inside track to lead their conference in in conference wins and are basically locks for the playoffs

That leaves 9 spots and 15 teams fighting for them.

Philly and Baltimore at 1-2 and 2-3 are still very much in the thick of things as well.

Teams that have already only played 3 home dates are at a significant advantage
ne, jax,kc,phi, was, and tb.

So if you take the current division leaders as "in" right now, that leaves the wildcard slots belonging to jax and k.c in the afc and philly, tb in the nfc.

The inside tracks to the playoffs belong to indy, pitt, ne, sd/kc, and jax in the afc and was, chi, atl, sea, tb, and philly. If the other teams want to "steal" the inside track they need to beat these teams on the road to do so.

Chances to get back in it
Cinci- @pitt, @KC
Den- @kc, @sd

Carolina- @tb, @chi, @atl
dallas-@phi, @nyg, @car, @was
giants-@sea, @phi, @was

These games are all huge. Add a huge game for Denver in Oakland because Oakland has already lost 2 @ home games in division and isnt likely to lose all 3 with a quality team. Dallas has the most control over its own destiny. Cinci and Denver are kind of screwed with only two games left to take control of their own destiny.

Its funny that in actuality there are only 14 games left that will determine the playoff picture. Mostly, the teams at home will take care of business. The bottom feeders will all get wins against each other but I doubt they will pull of some road wins against teams that are going to the playoffs at this point.

Potential party crashers are Baltimore, Oakland, and St Louis. They they have a tough road to even dream about the playoffs they are capable of beating good teams at home in the stretch run. Oakland and St Louis both play the NFC East so we could see them have a say in those division races. Baltimore plays Pitt @ home but they will probably not be able to keep them out if they win there. Baltimore has two games against Cinci who's already on the outside looking in but they could have a direct say in putting them out.

110
by Andrew (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 5:10pm

Born a Bronco Fan/Die a Bronco Fan:

Well, Washington is already 0-2 vs the AFC West. That's part of why I say they are out. There is also the little issue of their road record of 1-3, with the one win being the fluke win against Dallas in the Homecoming Game. No way they beat San Diego, and they will struggle with Oakland. The Cowboys might do it, since they get Danver and Kansas City at home. Another reason the Thanksgiving day game is critical. The Giants are 1-1, but I really can't see Eli winning in the Black Hole - it sure wasn't kind to Dallas -, and Kansas City in the Meadowlands looks like as good a game as any remaining on their schedule for a home loss.

Eagles-Giants in the Meadowlands in 3 weeks may or may not be a key game depending on the Eagles beating the Redskins and Cowboys over the next two weeks.

Boy this year is so much more exciting than last year! Last year was entertaining in a sort of smash your enemies into the ground type of way if you were a Eagles, Patriots, Steelers, Chargers, or Colts fan - every team deserves a season or two like that every so often where you just jump up and down on every team below you. But this year is more like 2003, which had much more exciting games, and the best playoffs games I'd ever seen (Colts-Broncos and Panthers-Cowboys were the only boring blowout type playoff games).

111
by Andrew (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 5:13pm

james:

Excellent analysis in #109.

112
by putnamp (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 5:17pm

That's all interesting, but it seems rather meaningless, considering that Holmgren also had a pretty awful team most of those years, and his assistants were all coaching playoff teams. Of course, Holmgren was trying to play GM during part of that, but he was also dealing with one of the great underrated cancers in all of sports management in Bob Whitsitt, so I think there's more to it than that.

I guess my point is that those numbers are more evidentiary in trying to prove that good teams generally beat bad/awful teams than it is that Holmgren can't beat his assistants.

I mean, come on, he did beat Mariucci with the Lions. So the Lions weren't that good - neither were the Seahawks, so what? If assistants were to have an advantage, you'd expect that their approximately equal suckitude would balance out, leaving the "assistant advantage" as a prime factor in the game.

So can we agree to drop the former coach/former assistant angle as "interesting, but probably irrelevant"? If we do, though, that doesn't leave the Eagles with too much.. again, a porous-looking defense that has failed against worse teams than Seattle, and an offensive unit led by a guy who's trying to do too much with too little of his own physical faculties.

The one advantage Philadelphia may have is that they pass.. a lot.. Their running game is ranked 20th, and the Seahawks run defense is ranked 6th. Will it come down to how far Seattle can go in overloading the backfield to adjust? I really don't know, but that seems like a good candidate.

Philadelphia's defense is right about average - 17th in pass DVOA, 16th in rush DVOA. They rank pretty closely to Washington in run defense, and pretty closely to Arizona in pass defense. Might be worth watching the results of the SEA/ARI game this Sunday to see if the Seattle performance against those two teams mirrors their performance against Philly.

What's funny is that the minute I'm about to post this, I look up and see: "Warner gets job back as Cards' starting QB". You want to revise that prediction against Arizona, Andrew? :)

113
by X Coach T (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 5:20pm

Re 109

Interesting look at how it will pan out.

With 8 or 9 games left I can't say I agree that there are only 14 games left to determine the playoffs.

Cinn has a pretty easy schedule as well--therefore putting their chances to surpass JAX and KC/SD for the wild card.

The upset potential of Oakland and Balt is key for the Broncos because they have problems with both those teams.

As to Pitt, what is the take on them so far? Sometimes they look great but others they don't. I was surprised that Anthony Wright could lead the Ravens offense so well vs. Pitts Defense. Did it possibly point out some weaknesses in Pitt or was it just a bad game?

114
by putnamp (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 5:21pm

Also, to be fair, I am concerned about St. Louis, even at home. The Martz hospitalization may turn out to be the best thing that happened to them this season, which will probably come as little surprise to anyone here.

115
by putnamp (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 5:22pm

Sorry, #112 was in response to #108, not #109.

116
by Andrew (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 5:34pm

james:

Road win records by recent playoff teams since the conference realignment. Notice that the frauds are generally on the bottom, and the teams in the conference championship are generally up top. The 2004 Packers, 2003 Dolphins, and 2002 Browns all get to be the fluke team of the year with great road records and terrible home records for a winning team. Teams with more than 3 road losses just don't make it to the Championship game.

2004
Steelers 7-1
Patriots 6-2
Eagles 6-2
Packers 6-2 (lost early because they couldn't win at home!)
Colts 5-3
Chargers 5-3
Falcons 4-4
Seahawks 4-4
Broncos 4-4
Jets 4-4
Vikings 3-5
Rams 2-6

2003
Colts 7-1
Eagles 7-1
Patriots 6-2
Dolphins 6-2 (didn't make playoffs at 10-6 because they couldn't win at home!)
Panthers 5-3
Packers 5-3
Titans 5-3
Chiefs 5-3
Cowboys 4-4
Rams 4-4
Ravens 3-5
Seahawks 2-6

2002
Buccaneers 6-2
Browns 6-2 (lost early, couldn't win at home!)
Raiders 5-3
Eagles 5-3
Titans 5-3
Colts 5-3
Steelers 5-3
Giants 5-3
49ers 5-3
Falcons 4-3-1
Packers 4-4
Jets 4-4
Broncos 4-4 (didn't make playoffs at 9-7)
Patriots 4-4 (didn't make playoffs at 9-7)
Dolphins 2-6 (didn't make playoffs at 9-7)

117
by james (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 5:45pm

Andrew,

Thanks for the compliment on 109.

I agree with you about the road records. Never thought about the teams with better road records than home records who get a home field playoff game. I will have to remember that when the playoffs get here.

Another thing I noticed while looking back is that no team less than 11-5 has made it to the conference championships. Probably need to have had a decent road record to get to 11-5.

Also, every superbowl champion has been ranked 1st or 2nd in estimated wins except the 01' Pats who were 11-5 and had approximately 7.5 est. wins. Carolina Panthers who were also 11-5 and had approximately 7.5 est. wins nearly pulled off the same feat.

It seems we need to look at the top ranked estimated wins teams except when some team is pulling off miraculous wins and has an 11-5 record.

118
by Wes M (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 5:47pm

While the Engram joke is getting props, (as well it should - best obscure joke of the year so far,) I also want to mention that the '76 Buccaneers comment was also laugh worthy. (The Orton joke would have been, but I think I've seen it already this season.)

119
by Andrew (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 6:02pm

putnamp #112:

"If assistants were to have an advantage"

No, I pointed out three of Holmgren's offensive assistants seem to have an advantage on him.

The 2002 and 2003 editions of the Seahawks are really not that different from the 2005 edition in terms of personnel. The 49ers team they lost to twice in 2002 was only marginally better. The Packers in 2003 they lost to twice were only marginally better. The 2001 and 2002 Eagles were definitely better, but Seattle lost to them at home. Seattle now has to come to Philly to play a weaker Philly team. It still just doesn't look like a good match-up.

As to the Cardinals - they won 6 games last year, 5 of them at home, including to both Seattle and St. Louis. In 2003 they won 4 games all of them at home. This year they've won 2 games both of which were at home. Their 2 home losses were by 15 points total.

I'm sure you'll blow the Cardinals away in Seattle - they are just pathetic on the road -, but at home, it looks like they've got a better than 50% chance of winning, especially against a conference opponent. So we'll see. As james notes above, to be a champion, you've got to win on the road. Right now, the Seahawks are 1-2 on the road, with 5 road games remaining. They really need to win 4 or 5 of these 5 games to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender. The only one I think the Seahawks opponent has no shot of winning is the road games against the Titans. The 49ers, Cardinals, Eagles, and Packers games could all end in tears. The 2003 49ers were in major suckitude already, and this Seahawks squad lost twice to them (really, the roster hasn't changed that much - same O-line, same QB, same RB, same wideouts, same TE's, same kicker, same coaches).

All that said, the win in St. Louis probably won the division for Seattle.

120
by B (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 6:07pm

I just want to point out that one of the Cardinals two "home" victories was in Mexico City.

121
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 6:13pm

I think that the reason Baltimore looked better against Pittsburgh than they have so far this season is familiarity.

I'm sure there are any number of Rivetheads out there who will correct me if I'm wrong, but a large part of the Steeler defense is built on the complexity and variety of the blitz packages used. They do a variety of the same things from multiple sets and looks, so they are capable of causing confusion and hesitation in offenses.

Now Anthony Wright is no genius, but he has been through three years of Pittsburgh games now, and most of the coaching staff even longer, so perhaps most of the Steelers' masks don't deceive the Ravens as much as they do other teams. It also explains why even mediocre Steeler teams (see 2003) have unexpected success agianst the Ravens.

All that said, Wright was hardly superb Monday night -- 22 of 38 for 260 (sic) yds, 1 TD and 2 picks. It's not the emotion of the rivalry as much as the familiarity.

122
by X Coach T (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 6:26pm

To tell you the truth, Wrights stats against a good defense look pretty good for him. We are not talking a starting QB in NFL.
In makes sense to see that division foes get used to one another but Wright doesn't get to play much. he kept them in a game that his team was not supposed to be in.

123
by Morgan (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 6:28pm

Just for the record, the '03 'hawks swept the 49ers (which also for the record still had Garcia and TO at the time).

124
by jim (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 6:32pm

re;109 James you must be taking yoga class from ricky williams I will just speak of the Nfc,You say don't be surprised if wash. chi. atl. sea. win their divisions,If the deadskins do i think many would be shocked right now thet are in last place and will not crawl out of the basement in years past they usually get off to a fair start then quit look at their remaining games,philly twice at tampa oak sd at home rams and ari dallas and ny,I think they will be very lucky to win 3 more games this season.pPhilly will lose only 1-2 more games this year(Dallas) and one other and make the playoffs.N.Y. has not won a road game this year, of course that will change sunday, but even so after last years collapse you have to wonder about them the 2nd half.So what I am trying to say is you over looked dallas young defense is getting better every week,on a bye week now and then go play philly fully rested home against det. and short week denver,then 3 extra days rest to play ny coming of a west coast trip to sea.The pokes should be well rested and ready to take control of the division.to say there are only 14 games left that will determine the playoff picture is crazy and to say was chi,atl sea tb,and philly have the inside tracks you have to be off your rocker tb has to play carand atl twice with phil simms Jr.car. has to play atl 2 times so atl car tb each have to play each other 2 times,so that is 6 games right there in the nfc.Philly was ,dal, ny will play 8 more times so now we are at 14 just in the nfc,dont be so quick to count to judge teams you still have to play the games,I was trying to figure out who you were a homer for but i could not figure it out with false love given to some suspect teams.Not like andrew's case philly homer who ignores denver until his team gets killed by them and tries to change dvoa to boost them up now thats a true homer

125
by putnamp (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 6:33pm

I guess my main point of disagreement here is that you seem to think that some general statement about "divisional home games" is an irrevokable death knell for a team that has an almost 50% advantage in overall DVOA.

I'll agree to disagree with you on this, but the main reason I'm doing so is because so far none of your reasons for Seattle's impending defeats to Arizona and Philadelphia stem from anything more than the only half-serious FO Theorem of NFC West Divisional Home Games and an insubstantiated belief that Andy Reid will beat the Seahawks simply because Mike Holmgren is coaching them, and because you see no differences in the Seattle offense (nevermind the improved Seattle defense, the Philadelphia offense, and the Philadelphia defense).

If you'd like, though, I can tell you one huge difference between Seattle this year and Seattle last year and the year before (and the year before..). They're ranked 6th in run defense according to DVOA. They've yet to play any substantial running teams, but .. uh .. Arizona and Philadelphia don't really count as either, anyway, and so far they've proven their ability to hold up very well against teams with mediocre to poor offenses.

126
by putnamp (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 6:38pm

No, I pointed out three of Holmgren’s offensive assistants seem to have an advantage on him.

Like having a better team, perhaps?

127
by Andrew (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 7:00pm

james #117:

11-5 teams just don't win Super Bowls very often. The 2001 Patriots were very much a fluke and not a model. Ditto for the great upset of 1980, where the 11-5 Raiders won.

The only other team remotely like this was the 10-6 1988 49ers. They were 6-2 on the road, but were 4-4 at home due to a couple of tough losses where the offense just didn't show up one day (13-16 to the Broncos who were 8-8 that year, 3-9 to the Raiders who were 7-9 that year).

The worst team ever in the Super Bowl had to have been the 9-7 Rams in 1979 - the hope and model of every mediocre NFL team that happens to slip into the playoffs.

128
by james (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 7:11pm

Using 1% DVOA offense = .215 points above average and 1% DVOA defense = .717 points prevented below average a poster came up with point predictions last week. He also added 3 points for home field.

What was useful about these predictions was that they 12 out of 14 ended up on the opposite side of the predicted total for us gamblers. Using that same methodology this weeks predictions are

Indy 39
NE 16

cin 23
bal 13

nyg 42
sf 10

sd 24
nyj 15

hou 0
jax 32

sea 30
az 21.5

pit 30
gb 16

oak 27
kc 23

car 12
tb 17

atl 15
mia 28

phi 13
was 25

det 27
min 11

ten 27
cle 31

chi 24
n.o 7
----------------------------
adjusting for opposite totals you could get:
indy 20 ne 16
cin 13 bal 19
nyg 22 sf 15
sd 20 nyj 18
hou 7 jax 24
sea 21 az 20
pit 20 gb 16
oak 24 kc 31
car 20 tb 23
atl 15 mia 20
phi 21 was 27
det 20 min 17
ten 17 cle 20
chi 14 no 13

It will be interesting to see if what happened last week stands up and the point projection continue to be wrong. It makes sense as coaches adjust to what opponents are capable of. Some may try to speed up a game or slow down a game or pass more than usual etc. Since most teams have a different game plan each week the unexpected should be expected.

To recap
unders(chi, ten, det,atl,pit,sea,hou,sd,giants,cin,indy)

overs(car, oak, phi)

129
by admin :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 7:20pm

OK, I need to clarify.

I have said this over, and over, and over, and over, and over again. DVOA is not a system that can be translated into points through a simple formula and used to predict games. First of all, the DVOA-to-points translation is much more complicated than the comments in the discussion threads seem to understand. Second, there are a number of issues not included in the DVOA ratings which impact the outcome of specific games: injuries, individual matchups, motivation, and so forth.

I don't mind if people use my ratings as one of many sources for information in their gambling. I don't mind if this is discussed on the website, although a better place for it would be Scramble for the Ball or the Game Discussion Thread.

But can we please, please, please stop posting these "predictions" as if they are official FO statistics. I really don't want to have people saying "FO doesn't know what it is talking about because its rating system can't pick games." That's not what the point is, and I'm starting to get those e-mails, and they are supremely frustrating, much more frustrating than the misspelled, drunken rantings of Denver and Atlanta fans.

Thanks.

130
by james (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 7:29pm

re Jim no.124

My projections were based on facts.
1. 7 wins in conference gets you to the playoffs in most cases
2. More home games makes it easier to get more wins
3. Winning a road game in division is huge. Accordingly losing a home game in division is huge.

Knowing those things I don't think anything I said was crazy. I didn't say that those teams would make the playoffs I said they had the inside track(easiest road). With the big difference between the bottom and the top the only way one of these teams losing their inside track is to lose at home. The cowboys have 4 chances to take the inside track away. And those 4 games are one of the key 14 games I mentioned.

What's wrong with saying certain teams have an inside track? I didnt say who was best only who had it the easiest and what has to happen for them to drop from what they've earned so far.

Philly just isn't playing well this year. They have played well once this year and their estimated wins attest to that statement. Since I've been watching estimated wins, home teams with more estimated wins then their opponent have not lost. That means Philly is going to have an extremely tough time winning on the road without T.O on sunday night or against the giants when they play them on the road. However Philly's home games are what should determine their season. They are still good enough to take care of business at the Linc.

These are "homerless" projections. My team is the skins but if they make the playoffs I don't expect them to make much noise. They got a huge boost by stealing one in Dallas. They had some huge blows with games being stolen from them. They beat Dallas by outplaying them for two plays. They lost to Denver and KC bc those teams outplayed them for two plays. So anyone still talking about the Dallas game needs to realize that they are about even for breaks for/against as they STILL HAVEN'T RECOVERED A FUSSING FUMBLE ALL YEAR out of 11(I think). Sorry for the caps but that shows how much my blood pressure rises when I think about it.

Any team needs to play well to make it the playoffs but some teams have given themselves a good head start. Thats all I'm really saying. But backing it up with some "facts" and some commentary and leaps of which most is logical within the context of my argument.

131
by james (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 7:32pm

Aaron,

Didn't know it was a sore subject and I apologize. In my own defense, the fact that DVOA can't predict points is exactly what I was stating. Alot of games have been nowhere near close to any projections and I want to see if that observation can help pick totals.

I will not post any more projections for points or anything about gambling.

You've got a great site. My girlfriend hates you.

132
by james (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 7:45pm

Clarification on 109,

More than 50% of the teams with 7-5 conference records have made the playoffs. Only one team with 8 conference wins has missed. These statements are from 2001- 2004 seasons.

133
by TTE (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 7:53pm

For 1998-20004...

35 teams had a DEF DVOA of -15%+ (plus meaning better defense than -15%, which would actually be -15%-). 14 of these 35 teams did NOT make the playoffs. Therefore, 60% of teams since 1998 who had a DEF DVOA of -15%+ made the playoffs. (38.5% of teams made the playoffs during this time.)

30 teams had a OFF DVOA of 15%+. 4 of these 30 teams did NOT make the playoffs. Therefore, 86.7% of teams since 1998 who had a OFF DVOA of 15%+ made the playoffs. (38.5% of teams made the playoffs during this time.)

It is still early, but as of now 5 teams have a DEF DVOA of -15%+ (IND, JAC, DAL, CHI, DET), and 8 teams have a OFF DVOA of 15%+ (IND, CIN, SD, SEA, DEN, KC, OAK, NE)

Not really sure what it means, but if those teams with OFF DVOA of 15%+ keep it up, I like their chances of making the playoffs....maybe not OAK.

134
by Mshray (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 8:14pm

James, re #130, You didn't bring it up, but I'm just curious how close you think the 'Skins came to losing at home to the 'Hawks?

I think it was about 1 1/2 inches.

How many other games this year have been literally decided by the way the ball bounces? SD-PHI is one for sure.

Wes M, re #118, did you also like the "go Rams!" pun down in the Leave A Comment instructions?

135
by Jerry P. (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 8:31pm

"Arizona can’t run the ball, and has been terrible on defense"

Arizona cannot run the ball, true. But the defense is not horrible especially when you account for injuries and how bad the run offense is and how that keeps the defense on the field way more than they should be.

Arizona's defense is 4th in yards allowed per drive and is 3rd best at preventing opposing offenses from generating first downs. They are mostly average in the rest of the drive stats. Now compare to the Cardinals offensive drives. They are 23rd in yards per drive and 30th in converting first downs.

Next look at the DVOA of the Cardinals. They are 20th overall but only 4.8% below average. They are bad against the run but are nearly league average in stopping the pass which I think is great considering the injuries they've had in the secondary and the fact they had to face the Rams with Holt and Bruce.

Lastly, the defensive line is rated 13th and 14th against the run and pass respectively. Looking at the run defense breakdowns they are actually pretty good in power situations and generating stuffs but bad at 10+ which to me says the linebacking corp and secondary isn't pulling it's weight in run defense. Maybe the result of those injuries.

So are they mediocre on defense? Definitely. Are they horrible? No. Record setting horrible would describe the run game perfectly, though.

136
by thad (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 8:44pm

re 130
james, the skins outplayed Dallas for two plays? Really? That is not the game I saw. Except for the flea flicker I thought the skins defense played quite well. There was that great scramble by Brunell on 3rd and 27. They seemed to stop the run much better than they have recently. There were 129 0ffensive plays and 24 special treams plays. while the skins bunched up all their points at the end I think you could argue that the skins went into a hostile stadium and held their opponents to 13 points, that is hard to do.

137
by james (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 9:15pm

re no 134,

The Seattle game was very close. It wasn't the type of game either team dominated. Therefore I consider it a lucky win for the skins and would have considered it a lucky win for the Seahawks. Both teams made some key mistakes. The skins got the last lucky break by winning the coin toss. Glad they don't play at Seattle this year. Seattle is tough.

138
by james (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 9:25pm

thad no. 136,

IMO, there have been 3 skins games that can be broken down to 7 plays.

Dallas- flea flicker, two bombs

KC- fumble return, holmes 60 yd catch and run

Den-two tatum bell runs

Skins could be 0-3 or 3-0 in these game but are 1-2 instead. Alot was said about their luck earlier in the season but it has seemed to even out.

I think the skins played well enough in each of these game snd a couple big plays decided the outcome. I guess thats all I was trying to point out.

I agree with your post. The skins played well enough in cowboys game, especially on defense, to have a chance to win.

139
by Catfish (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 10:08pm

Well, it doesn't look like the nonsensical Denver emails will be letting up any time soon. (see link)

140
by Tim L (not verified) :: Wed, 11/02/2005 - 10:17pm

But can we please, please, please...

Nice James Brown reference. Maybe next week you can work in a quote from EPMD or Outkast.

141
by X Coach T (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 1:48am

Catfish,
Now that is funny!! get link to make your point.
I am a Bronco Fan (Born a Bronco Fan/Die a Bronco Fan) and I fail to adhere to that vote but my comments will probably not go away.
Thanks for the laugh

142
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 4:48am

Re #109: I think there are a couple of problems with your analysis. First, you state that teams with road wins inside the division have the inside track to win that division, and use that to say that KC and SD have the inside track over Denver to win the division. I would counter by saying every divisional home loss negates a divisional road win, so anything SD gained with a win AT Oakland was immediately lost with a loss at home against KC.

Second, I would put more emphasis on divisional record in general, rather than divisional road games. If a team goes 5-1 in the division, does it matter if that one loss came at home or on the road? Would a 3-3 team with all 3 wins on the road have the "inside track" against a 5-1 team with only 2 wins on the road?

Third, you state that conference record is the biggest factor in making the playoffs at all, and then leave the AFC team with the second best conference record (.800) out of your playoff predictions.

Finally, you state that Denver only has 2 games left to "take control of their own destiny". If Denver wins every single remaining game on their schedule, they win the AFC West. This is what's known, in NFL circles, as "having control of your own destiny". It is possible for KC to win every single game on their entire schedule and NOT win the AFC West (if Denver goes 7-1 and wins the tiebreaker). Therefore, KC does NOT control their own destiny. They need help from Denver in the form of losing a game or the tiebreaker. If San Diego wins every single game remaining on their schedule, they won't win the AFC West UNLESS Denver also loses a SECOND game, AND the tiebreakers. They are even further removed from "controlling their own destiny".

I think you're overanalzying things too much. It's a lot easier to say that, in general, 10-6 guarantees the playoffs, 12-4 guarantees the division, and 14-2 guarantees a first round bye. Yes, there are exceptions, but they are VERY few, especially now that the league has moved to 8 divisions of 4 teams each. Now, it's usually best for those wins to come within the division, for tiebreaker purposes, but in the end, it doesn't really matter WHERE the wins come from. If you go 10-0 outside the division and 2-4 inside the division, odds are you still won the division. If you go 6-6 inside the conference and 4-0 outside of it, odds are you still are in the playoffs. If you go 8-0 on the road, it doesn't mean diddly if you go 0-8 at home. You're still sitting at home for Christmas (unless you play in the NFC). There's really no need to unnecessarily complicate things.

143
by Andrew (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 10:39am

Kibbles #142:

I would counter by saying every divisional home loss negates a divisional road win, so anything SD gained with a win AT Oakland was immediately lost with a loss at home against KC.

Um ... San Diego won at home last Sunday. Maybe in the alternative universe you live in this didn't happen, but it did in the real world.

Second, I would put more emphasis on divisional record in general, rather than divisional road games.

At the end of the season, of course. But in the middle of the season, the best assumption is that you will win home games and lose away games if you are a middling team. So for a team to prove out as a contender, it must win away, and for a team to prove out as a pretender, it will lose at home. See my #116.

Finally, you state that Denver only has 2 games left to “take control of their own destiny�.

Its true by his analysis, because Denver has 5 road games left, including 3 in the division. Denver is quite unlikely to win all of these games. Denver is also likely to lose at least one home game this year. That's just the way the chances go. Since 1978, and excluding 1982 and 1987, just 15 teams have gone 14-2 in 25 seasons. Chances are Denver will be between 13-3 and 11-5.

It is possible for KC to win every single game on their entire schedule and NOT win the AFC West (if Denver goes 7-1 and wins the tiebreaker).

Okay, if this happens, KC and Denver are both 5-1 in division, since Denver would have to lose in Arrowhead, they would each have 2 conference losses, common games record would be 11-3, it will come down to Strength of Victory. Denver leads in this right now, but there are no guarantees of where it might be at the end of the season. So Denver really only controls its own destiny vs. Kansas City by winning in Arrowhead in 5 weeks, just like what was said. And since Kansas City will obviously be favored in this game as the home team, Kansas City has the edge right now, strange as it may seem to you.

OTOH, San Diego does not yet control its own destiny, since for it to win the division it must beat both Kansas City and Denver at home, and have Denver lose at least one additional game besides at San Diego.

144
by james (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 11:51am

andrew no.142,
you took the words out of my mouth

kibbles,
I meant to offend no fan base and only show that some teams have it a little easier.

Denver has its work cut out. They will have to play even better than they already have been to win on the road in the AFC West. That is a tall order. There is nothing wrong with stating that.

Any fan base outside of Indy, SD, and Sea(if history according to est. wins has anything to say) better be praying for great team improvement because right now those look like the super bowl contenders.

If Atlanta keeps pulling wins out(to the tune of at least 11-5) and playing the same way(.500 est win %) then they can add themselves to the happy fan bases since they would be very similar to panthers 03 and pats 01.

Everyone else, unless they improve greatly over the coming weeks, is a pretender according to past history.

145
by X Coach T (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 11:52am

Re 142 and 143

Look at you two go. That is analysis of the AFC WEST. From us Bronco fans--thanks.

I personally see both your points. I can see Den winning @ SD and @ KC while losing to Balt, Oak, Buff and Dallas because they have proven to be capable of losing the games they should win (Miami).

So then the analysis doesn't matter.

But if Denver, during the bye week, can fix the 2 problems they have--3rd down conversions (off & def) and the 1 quarter per game of pitiful play then the only games that will matter in winning the division are @KC and @SD.

I do believe we are giving KC too much credit. I haven't really seen them look great. Both Denver and SD have looked great. I will be surprised if KC is in the thick of it. The one thing they have going for them is all the home games they have left.

Now, since the AFC West is taken care of--what is going to happen in the NFC EAST and AFC EAST?

take it away guys

146
by B (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 12:14pm

The Jints will win the NFC East. Everybody will say it's because of Eli & Plexico, but the real reason will be Tiki Barber. The Pats will win the AFC East, beat the wild card chargers in the first round thanks to a resurgance of Marty-ball, then lose to Indy in the divisional round. That game will be retroactively labeled "not a big game" by the media, thus paving the way for the "Can Manning win the big game" storylines heading into the championship and collide with either "Can Shannahan win without Elway?" or "Can Cohwer win an AFC championship?" (Which of course forgets the fact that Cohwer made it to the superbowl in 95. Over the Colts, even).

147
by Andrew (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 12:57pm

I thought this might interest people looking forward towards the playoffs.

There have been 25 full seasons under the 16 game schedule. In that time, 335 teams have posted a 9-7 record or better, and 280 teams have made the playoffs, including 272 teams with a record of 9 wins or better. And of course there have been 25 Super Bowl winners, 25 Super Bowl losers, and 50 Championship game losers in that time.

15-1 Record.
4 teams have done this. 2 won the Super Bowl, 0 lost the Super Bowl, 2 lost the Championship game.

14-2 Record.
15 teams have done this. 7 won the Super Bowl, 4 lost the Super Bowl, 3 lost the Championship game, 1 lost in the Divisionals.

13-3 Record.
21 teams have done this. 6 won the Super Bowl, 4 lost the Super Bowl, 2 lost the Championship game, 9 lost in the Divisionals, including 3 by the Chiefs and 2 by the Broncos.

12-4 Record.
51 teams have done this. 7 won the Super Bowl, 6 lost the Super Bowl, 19 lost the Championship game, 6 lost in the Divisionals with a Bye, 9 lost in the Divisionals without a Bye, 5 lost in the Wild Card - 3 of them as a Wild Card team.

11-5 or 11-4-1 Record.
62 teams have done this. 2 won the Super Bowl, 9 lost the Super Bowl, 12 lost the Championship game, 9 lost the Divisionals with a Bye, 13 lost the Divisionals without a Bye, 17 lost in the Wild Card - 14 of them as a Wild Card team, 1 failed to qualify for the Playoffs in the 10 team format.

10-6 or 10-5-1 record.
85 teams have done this. 1 won the Super Bowl, 0 lost the Super Bowl, 5 lost the Championship game, 32 lost in the Divisionals, 34 lost in the Wild Card, 13 failed to qualify for the playoffs, including 6 in the 12 team format.

9-7 or 9-6-1 record.
97 teams have done this. 0 won the Super Bowl, 1 lost the Super Bowl, 5 lost the Championship game, 21 lost in the Divisionals, 22 lost in the Wild Card, 42 failed to qualify for the playoffs.

8-7-1 record.
6 teams have done this. 1 lost in the Divisionals, 5 failed to qualify for the Playoffs.

8-8 record.
To the eternal shame of the other teams playing that year, 7 teams of this "caliber" have made the playoffs. 2 lost in the Divisionals and 6 lost in the Wild Card.

In the history of the Super Bowl since 1978:

NFC has sent:
15 #1 seeds to the game. 10 won.
8 #2 seeds to the game. 4 won.
2 #3 seeds to the game - the 1979 Rams and the 2003 Panthers. Both lost.
0 #4, 5 or 6 seeds to the game.

AFC has sent:
11 #1 seeds to the game. 3 won.
8 #2 seeds to the game. 4 won.
0 #3 seeds to the game.
6 #4 seeds to the game - 1980 Raiders, 1985 Patriots, 1992 Bills, 1997 Broncos, 1999 Titans, 2000 Ravens. 3 won.
0 #5 or 6 seeds to the game.

So of 180 playoff teams without a bye, 8 made it to the Super Bowl and 4 of those won.

Also, among teams with a Bye, 23 of 100 proved to be frauds:

NFC
3 of 25 #1 seeds lost their first game.
5 of 25 #2 seeds lost their first game.

AFC
9 of 25 #1 seeds lost their first game.
6 of 25 #2 seeds lost their first game.

148
by Andrew (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 1:17pm

X Coach T #145:

Kansas City at home with Vermiel, Green, Priest, Gonzalez:

2001 - 6-10 overall, 3-5 at home, but 3-1 in division, 2-1 with current division opponents.

2002 - 8-8 overall, 6-2 at home, 2-1 in division.

2003 - 13-3 overall, 8-0 at home, 3-0 in division.

2004 - 7-9 overall, 4-4 at home, 2-1 in division.

2005 - 4-3 overall, 2-1 at home, 0-0 in division.

If I were a betting man, I'd say they go 2-1 at home this year in division, 10-6 overall, 6-2 at home and 4-4 on the road. Oakland is a likely victim this weekend. Its tough to call whether Denver or San Diego will pull the win. Denver plays after the KC-New England game, where I think KC is going to beat New England this year (they beat them last year but for non-called Pass Interference on Gonzalex in the end zone). San Diego comes after an away game in the Meadowlands that I think KC loses. I think KC will also lose either @ Buffalo or @ Dallas. However, if they win both of these, they are a better team than I think. Denver looks to have the easier time of it, but we'll see. If KC is 8-3 when Denver comes to town, I bet they go 8-4, while Denver goes to 9-3.

149
by Chill (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 1:30pm

Re: 136 Thad. "held their opponents to 13 points, that is hard to do." In the Skins and Cowboys game, the 'Boys actually scored 16 points but Jose "Can't kick an easy field goal to save my job" Cortez missed. Seeing some of the Skins games this year, seems like they are relying alot on the opposing kickers missing to win games (ie Seahawks).

150
by Andrew (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 1:37pm

X Coach T #145:

NFC East:
Dallas - currently 5-3
@ Eagles - loss (reverse revenge)
Lions - win
Broncos - win
@ Giants - loss (let-down)
Chiefs - win
@ Redskins - win (revenge!)
@ Panthers - loss (Steve Smith burns Williams and Glenn for 2 TD's and 150 yards)
Rams - win

That makes them 10-6.

Giants - currently 6-2
@ 49ers - win
Vikings - win
Eagles - win
@ Seahawks - loss
Cowboys - win
@ Eagles - loss
Chiefs - win
@ Redskins - win
@ Raiders- loss

Giants end up 12-4.

Eagles - currently 4-3
@ Redskins - win
Cowboys - win (revenge!)
@ Giants - loss
Packers - win
Seahawks - win
Giants - win
@ Rams - loss
@ Cardinals - win
Redskins - win

Eagles end up 11-5.

Redskins - currently 4-3
Eagles - loss
@ Bucs - loss (unless Simms is still playing)
Raiders - win
Chargers - loss
@ Rams - loss
@ Cardinals - win
Cowboys - loss (reverse revenge!)
Giants - loss
@ Eagles - loss

They end up 6-10. Hmmm ... that seems low. Maybe they won't get swept at home by the Division, but somehow, I doubt it. If they don't, they only win 1 of those 3 games.

And it looks like the Cowboys doesn't make the playoffs at 10-6, because either Atlanta or Carolina will be the wild card and proabbly 11-5 or better to complement Philly, unless the Cowboys can win @ Eagles, @ Giants, or @ Panthers. Otherwise, they must count on a collapse by Philly in the divisional games, or an unlikely home upset by the Seahawks. If Dallas can beat the Eagles in Philly two weeks from now, however, they leap-frog ahead of the pile.

151
by james (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 4:20pm

Andrew,
I'm guessing your an Eagles fans. That would make us mortal enemies for the upcoming week.

That being said the Eagles are playing horrible football this year. They have 3.6 estimated wins or better put are playing below .500 level football.

Since I've been watching(only two weeks) no home team has lost when they have gone into the game with more estimated wins.

Sucked for the Skins last week but looks good for them this week.

152
by james (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 4:23pm

re 149 chill,
Don't forget the Denver loss and KC loss for the skins. The luck has evened out as the gods always make sure to do.

Seattle stole a game from the Cowboys on luck so the lucky break back.

Dallas stole two games from SF and the Chargers so they have also gotten their two lucky breaks back.

It all evens out in the end.

153
by B (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 4:39pm

Hmmmm, 11-5 seems a little optimistic for the Eagles. Then went 4-3 with a difficult schedule, now they have 9 games left against an even harder schedule. I'd say 5-4, which puts them at 9-7 and missing the playoffs. That is, unless Akers and McNabb return to form.

154
by Andrew (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 5:18pm

B:

Pick the games to make it 9-7. I'm curious to see what you think.

155
by B (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 6:00pm

@ Redskins -
Seahawks -
Giants -
I think the Eagles will lose two of these games. Most likely @ Redskins and Seahawks.

156
by Andrew (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 6:01pm

James #151:

"Since I’ve been watching(only two weeks) no home team has lost when they have gone into the game with more estimated wins."

San Diego 4.8 Estimated Wins
Philadelphia 3.2 Estimated Wins

We all know how that turned out!

Cincinatti 4.8 Estimated Wins
Pittsburgh 3.6 Estimated Wins

We know how that one turned out too!

Pittsburgh 3.7 Estimated Wins
Jacksonville 3.2 Estimated Wins

And we know how that one turned out too!

157
by ChrisFromNJ (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 6:26pm

Andrew:

I'm not B, but I'll try to answer for him... I think the Eagles will lose @Redskins and @Giants, and two of the four: Cowboys, Seahawks, Giants, @Rams.

(Full disclosure: Giants homer here.)

My take on the NFC East right now is that the Giants and Cowboys are likely playoff teams (50/50 on the division title), and the Eagles and Skins will most likely finish out of the playoffs due to the NFC South's easier schedule, which will allow the Carolina/Atlanta loser to get a wild card spot.

For all the talk about the Giants needing to beat a good team on the road before we can anoint them contenders, keep in mind that if they sweep at home and only beat the 49ers on the road (which is quite possible), they're still 10-6 and in a good position for the wild card. Eli has shown himself to be very adept at dealing with intangibles- note the 350-yard game at San Diego and the fourth-quarter comebacks- but he's still easily stopped by good defensive schemes, and his completion percentage is horrendous. This leads to an offense that still oten has trouble consistently grinding it out and relies on big plays and field position. On the other hand, the defense has improved greatly since the bye (which it needs to do since the Giants' good fumble luck probably won't continue). As DVOA has told us all already, though, the difference is a (best in the history of DVOA?) special teams unit that is nailing tough FGs and providing league-leading field position. With kicker woes befalling both the Cowboys and Eagles, this is Big Blue's leg up in the division. I see us losing @Seattle, @Raiders, and one of our away division games to go 11-5.

The Cowboys are the other team in the division putting up consistent numbers, and are probably the best defense in the division right now. However, Bledsoe's occasional bonehead plays and the world-class Shaun Suisham will cost them a couple games- a loss to the Broncos, @Panthers, and @Giants puts them at 11-5 as well.

Frankly, I think the Redskins are third, because I think the Giants loss was an abberation, and all three sides of the ball have decent performances. Their problem is simply one of being good but not good enough (playing over their head earlier in the season), and theirlack of turnovers will kill them.

The Eagles may be able to improve their situation if Akers is as valuable as I suspect he is. But their offense has become so one-sided and banged-up (it's only effective when passing to one side!) that I can only see their numbers getting worse as the season progresses.

158
by james (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 6:40pm

Andrew,
San Diego was at Philly. So it didnt matter if they had more estimated wins because they werent at home.

Somehow I overlooked Pitt and Cinci.

26 out of 28 isnt too bad.

Thanks for pointing out my mistake. Guess thats why I'm not a journalist.

159
by B (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 6:51pm

James: Your theory of Higher Est Wins + HFA = Victory should get a good test this week when Atlanta travels to Miami.

160
by ChrisFromNJ (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 6:52pm

Ah, I'm an idiot. 3 losses would put the Cowboys at 10-6.

In any case, it's all pretty fuzzy. But I'd say that the Cowboys and Giants are both on their way to 9-12 win seasons, and the Eagles and Redskins for 8 or 9.

161
by putnamp (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 6:59pm

#152,

Seattle stole a game from the Cowboys on luck so the lucky break back.

I don't disagree with the point you're trying to make, but I do want to draw one distinction (edit: and then ramble on for another two paragraphs after I'm done)

The "lucky break" for Washington was that the field goal, which was entirely in the hands of Seattle, was missed. DC couldn't do much about that. For the Cowboys, they really *did* throw the ball right at Babineaux, which is less luck and more incompetence. Also, the game was still tied at that point, so while they gave away the victory, they didn't quite have it in the bag at that point.

Of course, Cortez did miss a 29-yarder. On the other hand, even missing a 29-yard field goal is a much bigger display of incompetence than hitting the left upright on a 50-yarder.

I guess at some point - and I'm not confident enough to say precisely where - you have to draw the line between "your incompetence in this situation makes you a worse team [on this day], and you lost because of it" and "your opponents got a lucky break". From a Seattle fan's perspective, I would say that things like the referee tripping up your receiver, or giving the opponent a free timeout, would qualify as unlucky breaks, while the Cowboy's game would be a little closer to the line, perhaps a bit over it (or perhaps not).

There's a lot of aimless philosophy that can enter into this sort of discussion - would Engram have even caught the ball if he were given the option to finish his route without the disturbance of a slow-moving zebra? But I don't think there's much to be gained from trying to figure out the answer there. That's why it's kind of a slippery slope to try attributing things to luck.

From a player's perspective, I would imagine you should always see your defeats as failures that need to be improved upon. For every "coulda woulda" you can blame on a ref or on bad luck, there's usually several that you can blame on yourself.

162
by putnamp (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 7:03pm

There's also the additional human element that if Cortez had made that 29 yard field goal, that Seattle likely would have accounted for the additional 3-point deficit in their game plan, and may have made substantial adjustments in their fortune-blessed approach to winning the game. Whether they would've succeeded or not is up in the air. In the DC game, there were really no adjustments that could be made - either the FG went in and it was a loss, or it missed, however precariously, and they went to overtime. This of course assumes a sub-marginal chance of actually blocking the field goal.

163
by DavidH (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 7:34pm

26 out of 28 isnt too bad.

Are you saying there were 28 games in the last two weeks where the home team had more estimated wins than the visiting team? That doesn't seem right.

164
by X Coach T (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 7:45pm

Holy Cow Andrew,
Re 145
I believe you are making things seem to simple through complicated numbers.
KC is not the team they were two years ago. (who cares what the last 5 years with Vermiel, Holmes, Green and Gonzlaes have been). Priest is not the same and Dante Hall is not running kicks back for TD's every third time.

Knowing the AFC west and its history, Den @ KC is probably a win for KC. The SD game is up for grabs (as it was last year) but SD is better so Den may not win that one. The Dallas game will be a challenge just because it is Thanksgiving (advantage Dallas cause they play this every year).
Other than that, Denver should be the favorite and should win every other game. If not, they are once again shooting their wad early. If they end up 12-4 or 11-5, they have done well.

Re:150

I don't look for the Giants to go 12-4. Still some road games that offense could fall apart in. You have them 6-2 currently and losing 3 games and coming out 12-4. doesn't make. I do see them 11-5 or 10-6.
Alot comes down to who is still in the picture in week 12. And if McNabb and TO are not healthy the Eagles go no where.

I look for Dallas to get harder and harder to beat. The youth keeps getting better. If Bledsoe doesn't screw it up they will win the division.

alright, tell me I am wrong.

165
by B (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 7:57pm

"If Bledsoe doesn’t screw it up they will win the division."

That about sums up Dallas' chances, but I think it would be more accurate to say "When Bledsoe screws it up, they won't win the division."

166
by jim (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 9:54pm

It sure seem's there are alot of ny and wash fans not to mention philly,I am a lifelong pokes fan who happens to live in dc so all i hear is how great the redskins are every preseason but this year was different everyone thought they would stink and they are right,the skins run defense has been exsposed in the denver game and everyone has been attacking the left side,just like 2 years ago late in the season everyone found out dallas's secondary was weak and thats where they attacked,I dont see wash fixing that soon philly will have their most yards rushing this week so far.NY everyone is on mannings jock his completion percentage is low and has not been as impressive as espn or fox says he is,a good job but not great just remember last years collapse i dont think it will be as bad this year but no way they win 12 games unless the refs let recievers do the michael irvin on the cb's late in the game(denver) with some west coast trips and more divisional games i think they are going to start getting a little tired 10-6 maybe.philly is the one team that controls the division because they have to play skins giants twice dallas once I really think dallas will win their monday night game with philly rest being a key factor along with their defense getting better every week(rookies)and now 2 weeks rest and practice you just can not count them out against philly they are the only team that has done anything to philly lately.phi giants and dallas all have a good shot at the playoffs just not the skins.Dan Schnider was just happy with disgracing an orginzation he wanted to ruin the past as well, poor joe gibbs

167
by jim (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 10:03pm

I think alot of peeps hate bledsoe,yeah he lost a game in seattle but i hang that more on the play calling dallas had the ball 2 times in the red zone in the 4th quarter and did nothing but run the ball not one pass in the endzone they basicly shut down the passing game and then tied you want to start slinging the ball around,good defense ball control offense and now with less than a minute in the rain you change,did not make sense to me.also no team has missed a field goal thank goodness larry allens punching bag got cut

168
by Andrew (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 11:30pm

X Coach T #164:

You are right, I added it up wrong. Giants should be 11-5 by my reckoning, because they are 5-2 right now.

I can't believe the Eagles are going to win the division the way they are playing, so I need to lower them to 10-6.

Dallas has no O-line with its Tackles. Its going to get ugly for Bledsoe. And who knows what this new Kicker will do. The running back situation is unsettled as well. The team just looks chaotic. Winning teams are not constantly churning the roster like this. I can't see them besting 10-6, and that counts on them beating Denver, which they may not do.

Look at their schedule again. Its easy to see them doing the following:

Dallas - currently 5-3
@ Eagles - loss
Lions - win
Broncos - loss
@ Giants - loss
Chiefs - win
@ Redskins - loss
@ Panthers - loss
Rams - win

That would be 8-8. They barely beat San Francisco on the road, and they barely beat San Diego minus Gates. After how they've played against the Giants and Redskins, they will have a tough time beating them on away games. Dallas last beat Philadelphia at home in 1998, when Philly went 3-13. I just don't see them winning on Monday night. Dallas just has too tough a remaining schedule with the loss to the Redskins at home to win the division, because they are not going to go 3-0 on the road against the division.

For Dallas to go 10-6, they need to go 5-1 in the division, and 5-5 outside of it, or 4-2 and 6-4. Right now they are 2-1 vs. division with only away games left, 1-1 vs. AFC with Chiefs and Broncos to go, 2-1 vs. NFC W with Rams to go, 0-0 vs. rest of NFC with Lions and Panthers to go. I have a tough time believing they will beat both Denver and KC. And they won't beat the Panthers. And they aren't going to go 3-0 on the road vs. the NFC E. All they have to do is lose to Panthers, Broncos and Giants to go 10-6 - not difficult to see that happen. Lose the Eagles too its 9-7. Blow one of the Chiefs, Rams, or Lions at home and its 8-8.

To go 11-5 they have to win all the easy games, plus win 3 of @ Redskins, @ Eagles, @ Giants, @ Panthers, and hosting Broncos. That just isn't going to happen.

169
by putnamp (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 11:35pm

Jim, please, for everyone's sake, consider using more punctuation next time. Significantly more, I mean.

170
by B (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 11:37pm

Running back isn't a problem for Dallas, Marion Barber is pretty good, as long as Parcells gives him most of the carries untill Jones gets back.

171
by Andrew (not verified) :: Thu, 11/03/2005 - 11:55pm

jim #167:

"I think alot of peeps hate bledsoe,yeah he lost a game in seattle"

Once is a mistake. Twice is bad luck. Three times is a very bad habit.

3-7-DAL44 (:14) D.Bledsoe pass intended for T.Glenn INTERCEPTED by J.Babineaux at SEA 43. J.Babineaux pushed ob at DAL 32 for 25 yards (J.Witten).

3-8-PHI24 (1:29) D.Bledsoe pass to K.Johnson to PHI 20 for 4 yards (L.Sheppard). FUMBLES (L.Sheppard), RECOVERED by PHI-S.Brown at PHI 20. S.Brown for 80 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

3-6-DAL28 (6:49) (Shotgun) D.Bledsoe pass intended for P.Crayton INTERCEPTED by T.Parrish at DAL 34. T.Parrish for 34 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

I credit the Seattle play to film study of the Philadelphia and San Francisco plays, which was essentially the same pass in the same situation and ended with the same bad result. The Keyshawn "fumble" was the fumble that wasn't, since he never really had possession before Lito Sheppard seperated him from the ball right into the arms of the waiting Sheldon Brown on a planned pick.

Honestly, nobody should be surprised by this play occurring again and again with Bledsoe. Its the same quick slant except going to the left instead of the right that the Burger King picks off Bledsoe and runs back to the house in the commercial! You know, this play:

3-9-BAL45 (1:36) (Shotgun) D.Bledsoe pass intended for W.McGahee INTERCEPTED by D.Sanders (C.Williams) at BUF 48. D.Sanders for 48 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Same bad pass, same bad result, same bad Quarterback.

172
by jim (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2005 - 12:25am

re 168 man you really hate the boys and seemed to have jumped off the philly bandwagon,and on to the gints.Now you are predicting gints 11-5 right now 5-2 give them win over sf and min now 7-2 home games after that'phil,dal,kc road games phil,sea, wash,oakland how you can see any of these as sure wins is puzzling other than the fact you hate dallas,you wrote (The running back situation is unsettled as well.) barber had 2 impressive perfomances and now jj is going to be back you have 2 good backs.You continue to dis bledsoe but being a number person like you are you must not put any stock into qb ratings cuz I think he is at the top of the nfc. He is also the only qb in the east with over 60% completion rate,Yes those fumbles are bad but should improve look at him last year second half of the season.You say they wont go 3-0 in the east rather you have them 0-3 ,and now barely beating a team must mean something,I dont know what,a win is a win and a loss is a loss no matter how close or lucky.When was the last time the giants beat philly? they seem to have the best schedule for a turn around after they lose to dallas on monday night they won't lose another until the playoffs,they are just to good no matter what has happened.Throw out the denver game and it is not that bad one more loss thats it.I still can not believe everyone thinks the giants are the nfc east champs already,this sunday might be the only road game they win.

173
by ChrisFromNJ (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2005 - 12:56am

Jim-

Well, according to DPAR, Bledsoe's second in the NFC, but that's still pretty high (and best in the division- Brunell is fourth in the NFC and Manning fifth). I agree that Bledsoe is for the most part having a very good year (and he's probably a better Comeback Player of the Year candidate than Brunell). The question is, is his overall efficiency worth the game-losing picks he has a tendency to throw? Probably. But maybe not.

Also, I agree that Eli isn't yet all that the media is making him out to be- he's made tremendous strides, developing a good confidence and presence, but he's still a horribly inaccurate passer at times, and vulnerable to well-executed blitzing schemes. His success, as it were (he's in the middle of the pack in both quarterback rating and DPAR), is mainly attributable to the skill players he's surrounded with- Burress and Toomer both have the ability to be bona fide #1 receivers, making a habit of pulling down less-than-perfect catches, and Barber and Shockey are both having Pro Bowl years again. Eli is essentially a young and still mediocre passer who just happpens to be able to deal with hype well.

I do think the Giants and Cowboys are both playoff teams. The Giants get the (very) slight edge, however, due to our special teams, which has made the difference time and time again through difficult FGs and field position.

174
by thad (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2005 - 1:30am

Andrew,
why are you assuming Dallas loses to the Eagles? They have already destroyed them once. The Eagles have a one dimentional offense. They are now throwing i think 17 incomplete passes a game. Just how many teams can throw 17 incomplete passes a game and win?
Also both the Giants game and Redskins game were very close. I am certainly not saying the Cowboys win both those games, but don't you think Dallas has a chance?
It may appear Bledsoe has sucked at times, but Jim is right, the playcalling has been really way too conservative, sort of like the anti Andy Reid approach.
If you put Bledsoe in enough 3rd and longs yes he will throw picks, if you limit the 3rd and longs, they will score more points.
Right now, the idea that Dallas will lose all three divisional games seems highly unlikely

175
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2005 - 6:18am

Re #143: Its true by his analysis, because Denver has 5 road games left, including 3 in the division. Denver is quite unlikely to win all of these games. Denver is also likely to lose at least one home game this year. That’s just the way the chances go. Since 1978, and excluding 1982 and 1987, just 15 teams have gone 14-2 in 25 seasons. Chances are Denver will be between 13-3 and 11-5.
No, it's not true by ANY analysis. If Denver wins every single remaining game, then they win the AFC West. End of story. Denver controls its destiny- win, and you get a home playoff game. Bam. Denver does NOT control its own destiny for HFA, since it would need some help in the form of some Indy losses. It also doesn't control its own destiny for the first round bye, since it'd need some help in the form of Cincy losses, Pitt losses, or Indy losses, or favorable tiebreakers. But Denver DOES control its own destiny in the AFC West.

On the other hand, San Diego and Kansas City DO NOT CONTROL THEIR OWN DESTINIES. If they win every single remaining game, it DOES NOT GUARANTEE THEM THE AFC WEST. They still need help. I think you guys need to refresh what "controlling your destiny" means. It means that your actions, and your actions alone, will determine the outcome, regardless of WHAT any other team in the entire NFL might be doing. Denver's actions determine their outcome. SD and KC's do not. If they do everything within their power, if they win every game they play, that doesn't put them automatically as the AFC West champion. They don't control their destiny.

Anyway, even if Denver DOES lose its next divisional road game... it still has the best divisional record in the entire AFC West (tied with SD, actually, but they have the tiebreaker over SD by virtue of the head-to-head). So if it loses its next divisional away game, it STILL controls its own destiny.

Even further, with wins already against SD and KC, it has outright denied them a chance to own the head-to-head tiebreaker. Who cares if the win came at home?

I just think you guys are putting WAAAAAY too much stock into this "divisional road games are the sole determinant of who becomes the division champion" thing. To wit: In 2003, both Denver and KC finished with a 2-1 divisional road record. Both also finished with a 5-1 overall divisional record. Oddly enough, they didn't wind up in a tie for the divison. Why? Well, because KC was 13-3 and Denver was 10-6. Which just goes to show you, TOTAL wins are a heckuvalot more important than divisional road wins.

So Denver really only controls its own destiny vs. Kansas City by winning in Arrowhead in 5 weeks, just like what was said. And since Kansas City will obviously be favored in this game as the home team, Kansas City has the edge right now, strange as it may seem to you.

Two points. First, don't be so sure that KC will be favored. Since the beginning of last season, Denver has only TWICE been an underdog in the regular season. Once was AT San Diego last season, and once was AT Jacksonville this season. Second, KC still does not have the edge. One of two things will happen based on the KC/Denver game. First, let's just say that each KC and Denver have a 50% chance of winning that game. Actually, no, let's say that KC has a 75% chance of winning that game, just to appease you with your "home team trumps all" theory. Let's also assume that both teams win every other game on their schedule, too, or this speculation is moot.

Scenario 1- Denver wins. Denver wins the AFC West. Chance- 25%.
Scenario 2- KC wins. KC and Denver tie for the AFC West. Neither team owns head to head tiebreaker, so it goes down to later tiebreakers. Since they're so difficult to predict, let's say that each team has an equal chance of winning on tiebreakers. This means that Denver has a 37.5% chance of winning the AFC West after losing to KC, and KC has a 37.5% chance of winning the AFC West after beating Denver. Add to that Denver's 25% chance of winning outright, and you can see that even if KC is 75% likely to win that game, Denver still is 62.5% likely to win the AFC West.

Let's say that KC has a 90% chance of winning that home game. Suddenly, Denver is only 55% likely to win the AFC West. Let's say that KC has a 99.99999% chance to win that game. Denver's still a 50.000005% favorite to win the AFC West.

As you can see, no matter HOW likely you think it is that KC will win at home against Denver, Denver still has the inside track to win the AFC West. Even if it's 100% guaranteed that KC will beat Denver at home, it's still a 50/50 toss-up between the 2. And given that Denver has only been an underdog twice in the past 2 seasons, it's entirely possible that they're favored to win the game straight up.

Spin the numbers however you like. Denver controls its own destiny, and KC does not.

Denver has its work cut out. They will have to play even better than they already have been to win on the road in the AFC West. That is a tall order. There is nothing wrong with stating that.
Of course there's nothing wrong with stating that. I have no problem with stating that, either. I just have a problem with stating that KC and SD have the inside track on the division. They don't. They've both got more losses than Denver, and they're both 0-1 against Denver. I fail to see how that leaves them both in a better position than Denver in the division. Especially when, like I said, total wins are a lot more important that divisional road wins.

Any fan base outside of Indy, SD, and Sea(if history according to est. wins has anything to say) better be praying for great team improvement because right now those look like the super bowl contenders.
Actually, again, I hate to differ, but SD looks to me like a team that's 4-4 and has its work cut out for it to even reach the playoffs. Then, once it DOES get to the playoffs (*IF* it does get to the playoffs), it has the look of a team that won't have a single home playoff game unless it goes 8-0 over the last half of the season. And everyone knows that no team has ever gone on the road and won 4 straight games in the playoffs.

176
by Andrew (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2005 - 10:36am

thad #174:

If you put Bledsoe in enough 3rd and longs yes he will throw picks, if you limit the 3rd and longs, they will score more points.

This isn't "he'll make picks". Its that he continues to make the same bad mistake of throwing a quick slant in 3rd and long right into the waiting arms of a DB who then runs it back for 6. Its not blind luck. Its a bad habit, and teams are taking advantage of it to win games or pressure Dallas late.

177
by Andrew (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2005 - 10:45am

jim #172:

When was the last time the giants beat philly?

Well, almost in Week 6 2003 until "The Miracle of the Meadowlands, Version 2.0". Otherwise, it was Week 17 of 2002 against AJ Feeley with Akers shanking a kick, and 3 times in 2000.

I still can not believe everyone thinks the giants are the nfc east champs already,this sunday might be the only road game they win.

Yes, but thanks to their "road game" in Week 2 at the Meadowlands, winning just 1 more road game makes them 10-6 if they can clean-up at home against Dallas and Philly. Beating both the 49ers and Redskins on the road, not an impossbile task in my estimation, makes them 11-5.

after they lose to dallas on monday night they won’t lose another until the playoffs,they are just to good no matter what has

As an Eagles fan, I appreciate your optimism for my team. Maybe it will be contagious for the players.

That being said, I can't see a repeat win for Dallas Monday night.

178
by jim (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2005 - 10:52am

re 176 How many times has drew thrown an interception on 3rd and long and had it run in for six,I think the only time that happened this year and that was sf i think the ball bounced off his reciever.It is clear you dont like db,But i am sure after he beats philly the 2nd time you will really dislike him.If he would stop fumbling the ball dallas would be more impresive,you stated earlyier in the dallas ny game the giants played bad,NO! they played a good defense that is getting better each week,look at the point totals and total yards dallas has held their opposition to.No the gints and philly just did not play bad the got beat down by a good defense,and remember dallas was walking the ball all over ny just kept giving the ball to ny in the first half, and even with conservitve play calling in the second half as soon as it went to over time dallas marched right down the field and kicked a field goal.I just think you dont give dallas any respect.

179
by james (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2005 - 12:38pm

re 163

yeah 28 was wrong...I think I counted 15 but it could have been 14 or 16.

180
by james (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2005 - 12:54pm

kibbles 175,

You said "if denver wins on the road and keeps playing well at home they will win the division."(paraphrase)

So did I in 142.

I stated it would be hard. You seem to think it will be easy. Home teams are winning 66% of home games this year. It won't be easy.

181
by Andrew (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2005 - 1:06pm

How many times has drew thrown an interception on 3rd and long and had it run in for six,I think the only time that happened this year and that was sf i think the ball bounced off his reciever.

Here's a series of examples of either run in for 6 or very long runbacks after slants on 3rd and long.

2005 Week 7 - 3-7-DAL44 (:14) D.Bledsoe pass intended for T.Glenn INTERCEPTED by J.Babineaux at SEA 43. J.Babineaux pushed ob at DAL 32 for 25 yards (J.Witten).

2005 Week 5 - 3-8-PHI24 (1:29) D.Bledsoe pass to K.Johnson to PHI 20 for 4 yards (L.Sheppard). FUMBLES (L.Sheppard), RECOVERED by PHI-S.Brown at PHI 20. S.Brown for 80 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

2005 Week 3 - 3-6-DAL28 (6:49) (Shotgun) D.Bledsoe pass intended for P.Crayton INTERCEPTED by T.Parrish at DAL 34. T.Parrish for 34 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

2004 Week 12 - 3-6-SEA42 (12:19) (Shotgun) D.Bledsoe pass intended for J.Smith INTERCEPTED by K.Hamlin at SEA 27. K.Hamlin to BUF 40 for 33 yards (E.Moulds).

2004 Week 11 - 3-13-BUF37 (3:08) (Shotgun) D.Bledsoe pass intended for L.Evans INTERCEPTED by T.Fisher at SL 37. T.Fisher ran ob at BUF 33 for 30 yards. Pass tipped by L.Evans before INT. Receiver and coverage on left side. D.Groce injured on play, assisted off.

2004 - Week 7 - 3-9-BAL45 (1:36) (Shotgun) D.Bledsoe pass intended for W.McGahee INTERCEPTED by D.Sanders (C.Williams) at BUF 48. D.Sanders for 48 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

2004 - Week 7 - 3-5-BAL5 (6:12) D.Bledsoe pass intended for L.Evans INTERCEPTED by C.Williams at BLT 1. C.Williams to BUF 6 for 93 yards (E.Moulds).

182
by james (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2005 - 1:16pm

re kibbles,

Only going by the numbers here. The team to have one of the two highest estimated wins has one the superbowl every year except one. Indy 6.9, Sea 6.4, SD 6.3 with the next highest being 5.9.

So going by estimated wins theory only those fan bases have nothing to complain about as their team is playing at superbowl level.

That could change. These teams could start playing worse or some other teams could start playing better.

As far as the inside track thing goes,

Denver is one win ahead of KC with, one h2h matchup @KC, and 5 more road games. KC has the same h2h matchup and 5 home games remaining. They have an extra road game, but its against the fussing Texans. So, to recap they are 1.5 games behind Denver now with an easier schedule and road "gimme" against the Texans. It's not a stretch to call the Den@KC a must win for both teams.

183
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2005 - 1:22pm

This isn’t “he’ll make picks�. Its that he continues to make the same bad mistake of throwing a quick slant in 3rd and long right into the waiting arms of a DB who then runs it back for 6.

Andrew's definitely right. This isn't a bad luck mistake. This is Drew Bledsoe misreading a zone defense, which I'm sure Aaron can give us reams of information about.

184
by thad (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2005 - 8:05pm

Andrew,
I did not say Bledsoe would "make picks".
I said he would throw picks. I did not mean to imply it was bad luck. I think me, you, and everyone else here is well aware of Drew Bledsoe's limitations.
I was trying to say that if the Cowboys run on first down, run on second down, and are faced with 3rd and 6+ then very often Bledsoe tries to force it in there.
Sometimes it works, sometimes it blows up in his face. That's the drew Bledsoe we all know.

185
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Fri, 11/04/2005 - 10:54pm

Re #182: Let's wait until we GET to that game before we call it a must-win.

I still contend that it's NOT a must-win, though. KC isn't going to win out this season, and even if they did, that game isn't a must-win for Denver if they win every other game.

I also still contend that you're putting too much emphasis on divisional games. I claim that 12-4 will win the division, regardless of who the wins come against. Especially since KC cannot win the head-to-head tiebreaker, meaning KC needs to get 13 wins to guarantee that Denver doesn't win the division with 12. Divisional games are nice because they're a chance to give yourself a win AND a rival a loss (although again, it's only relevant if KC is in first or second place in the division at that time, which is by no means a sure thing). But in the end, 12-4 is what Denver needs to guarantee the AFC West.

186
by jim (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 12:47pm

re 181 I said this year the philly game was a keshawns fault and s.f. bounced of of recievers hand these were returned for 6,I dont think this was db fault the sea game was.All in all the thing that has been his biggest problem this year is fumbles 10,I am not saying he is a great qb just not as bad as everyone thinks,the offense is not dallas"s storong suit it is the defense,How many games have the been blown out.O you cant say that about the rest of the division,they faced very good offense 's (sea wash ny phil)and none of them put up more than 16 points.Dallas has the best defense in the division, and that will give them a chance to win games,as long as bledsoe does not fumble the ball

187
by Jerry (not verified) :: Wed, 10/18/2006 - 5:10pm

Pat, I think you are misinterpreting what I am saying. I certainly would never suggest arbitrary changes. But surely you could come up with a number/value for a coach or QB and adjust weights according to it. If a team gets a new coach, then discount last years numbers by say 40% (.6). Get a new QB, then discount last years numbers by 10% (.9). If a team gets a new coach and QB, then discount last years games by .5.

For example, NO this year has a new coach, QB and RB. Do the numbers from last year really matter this year given all those changes? They do but not nearly to the same degree as they do to say NE. So discount NO’s numbers for last year. Example:

Here are the weight numbers currently being used for NO through week 5

.20 .67 .67 .67 .70 .95 .95 .95 .95 .95 .95 .95 1.0

Here are the weight numbers for week 5 after adjusting for the new coach and QB

..10 .335 .335 .335 .35 .475 .475 .475 .475 .95 .95 .95 1.0

And here are the weight numbers for week 6

.....10 .335 .335 .335 .35 .475 .475 .95 .95 .95 .95 .95 1.0

You are discounting last year’s games while still using your original weights for the games this year. And of course you would do the same thing to any team with a new coach, QB, etc.

You could even carry it further if you wanted. Say Brady gets hurt and misses a couple of games. The team is still basically the same so the past numbers should still be used. But in the games Brady misses, the weights would be discounted by 10% (.9). For example, say Brady goes out in week 8 and misses 4 games. This is what weight numbers would look like.

Here are the weight numbers if Brady did not get hurt through week 12

.20 .67 .67 .67 .70 .95 .95 .95 .95 .95 .95 .95 1.0

And here are the weight numbers if Brady misses 4 games

.20 .67 .67 .67 .70 .95 .95 .95 .95 .855 .855 .855 .90

And here are the weights 2 games after his return

.20 .20 .20 .67 .67 .67 .70 .95 .95 .769 .769 .769 .769 .95 1.0

So basically all the games Brady missed are adjusted to reflect his loss. Opponents do not get as much credit if they beat NE and NE’s ratings aren’t penalized as much as well. If Brady gets hurt and goes on IR however, then the old weights would still be used because the change is not temporary and future performance is more accurately predicated with each game played.

Now I admit, the values I selected - .4 for a coach and .1 for a QB - are arbitrary. I really do not know what they would need to be to accurately reflect a coaching or QB change. But with trial and error, I don't see why a number couldn't be found.

Anyway, I hope I haven't wasted your time and appreciate your time and patience.