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10 Nov 2006

2006 Midseason Projections

by Aaron Schatz

This year's DVOA projections are a new formula, re-worked to use the new DVOA v5.0 introduced in PFP 2006. The number being projected is WEIGHTED DVOA at the end of the season, not total DVOA for the season, or DVOA for just the next few weeks. The ranks given for offense, defense, and special teams list the projected second half rank followed by the current DVOA rank. For example, San Diego is currently ranked third in offense for the year, and projects to be second at the end of the year.

Average wins are determined with a formula that uses the projected DVOA along with remaining strength of schedule, variance so far this year, and how many home games are left. The FOX folks got W-L records but I figure you guys can handle decimals. Washington's projection of 6.7 wins and Cincinnati's projection of 7.4 wins are obviously not the same.

I wanted to put more personnel and injury variables in the new formula, but just ran out of time. So be aware that these projections are imperfect. The DVOA projection system doesn't know that Amani Toomer is out for the year or that Rodney Harrison just broke his shoulder blade.

Obviously, the big surprise here is Chicago, projected to be just ninth in weighted DVOA by the end of the season. Even more amazing is the fact that Chicago's rankings in offense, defense, and special teams are not projected to change! But Chicago's special teams is so far ahead of the rest of the league right now that a lot of regression to the mean will still leave the Bears in first place, while also making it harder for them to win ballgames. And while all the top defenses are projected to have some regression to the mean, the Chicago offense is projected to get a little worse while the Baltimore and Jacksonville offenses are projected to get a little better. Thus, those teams end up around the same place in the ratings, while the Bears plummet.

In the past, we've done team-by-team recaps of the first half. We did those this year for the New York Sun but, to be honest, they're fairly short and nearly all the information in them will be fairly familiar to Football Outsiders readers. Nonetheless, if you want to read them, here are links to each one. AFC is by me, NFC by Michael David Smith:


  TEAM PROJECT
DVOA
RANK
NOW
AVG
WINS
PROJECT
OFFENSE
RANK
PROJ/NOW
PROJECT
DEFENSE
RANK
PROJ/NOW
PROJECT
SPEC TM
RANK
PROJ/NOW
1 SD 29.6% 3 12.7 20.9% 2/3 -6.5% 14/10 2.3% 4/7
2 NYG 26.5% 4 11.3 11.3% 4/4 -15.3% 6/6 0.0% 16/15
3 PHI 25.5% 2 10.0 11.7% 3/2 -14.4% 8/7 -0.7% 18/20
4 BAL 22.5% 5 11.9 -5.5% 19/23 -25.4% 1/1 2.6% 3/3
5 NE 19.6% 8 11.7 8.0% 6/7 -10.8% 11/14 0.8% 13/11
6 IND 18.4% 7 13.1 27.2% 1/1 6.6% 25/26 -2.2% 29/28
7 KC 17.9% 11 10.5 6.8% 7/14 -9.5% 12/12 1.7% 7/6
8 JAC 17.4% 6 10.5 0.6% 13/19 -15.8% 4/3 1.0% 10/13
9 CHI 15.7% 1 13.0 -8.7% 21/21 -17.5% 2/2 6.9% 1/1
10 DEN 14.0% 9 11.0 6.6% 8/8 -6.9% 13/11 0.6% 15/14
11 PIT 9.7% 12 6.2 -1.5% 16/16 -15.7% 5/5 -4.5% 31/31
12 DAL 8.8% 10 8.1 -1.8% 17/11 -11.5% 10/8 -0.9% 23/22
13 CAR 7.1% 16 7.9 6.2% 10/12 -4.2% 15/19 -3.2% 30/30
14 WAS 6.7% 19 6.7 10.3% 5/6 4.4% 23/30 0.8% 14/10
15 MIN 4.4% 17 8.6 -11.2% 24/27 -16.3% 3/4 -0.8% 20/16
16 MIA -2.0% 21 5.4 -14.8% 26/26 -14.8% 7/9 -1.9% 27/25
  TEAM PROJECT
DVOA
RANK
NOW
AVG
WINS
PROJECT
OFFENSE
RANK
PROJ/NOW
PROJECT
DEFENSE
RANK
PROJ/NOW
PROJECT
SPEC TM
RANK
PROJ/NOW
17 NO -2.8% 13 9.6 0.6% 14/10 5.6% 24/20 2.2% 5/4
18 CIN -2.9% 15 7.4 3.6% 11/9 7.8% 26/25 1.3% 8/9
19 STL -3.1% 14 8.2 6.4% 9/5 8.6% 28/24 -0.8% 22/19
20 ATL -3.6% 18 8.5 -1.1% 15/17 3.5% 20/17 1.0% 11/29
21 SEA -4.2% 23 9.1 0.8% 12/22 4.3% 22/23 -0.7% 19/17
22 TB -8.5% 27 5.6 -9.2% 23/29 -2.3% 17/16 -1.5% 26/27
23 GB -9.8% 20 6.4 -4.9% 18/15 3.6% 21/22 -1.3% 24/26
24 BUF -13.7% 22 5.9 -15.1% 27/25 0.3% 18/21 1.7% 6/5
25 DET -20.2% 25 4.8 -8.9% 22/18 10.0% 29/27 -1.3% 25/23
26 CLE -20.8% 24 5.3 -23.4% 31/28 1.3% 19/18 3.9% 2/2
27 OAK -20.9% 30 4.1 -31.4% 32/32 -12.5% 9/13 -2.0% 28/24
28 HOU -22.2% 28 4.6 -6.7% 20/13 14.6% 31/32 -0.8% 21/21
29 TEN -22.8% 32 3.2 -15.8% 28/30 7.9% 27/28 1.0% 12/12
30 ARI -24.4% 31 3.0 -21.0% 30/31 -2.3% 16/15 -5.6% 32/32
31 NYJ -28.2% 26 6.2 -11.4% 25/20 17.8% 32/29 1.1% 9/8
32 SF -29.1% 29 5.6 -16.5% 29/24 12.4% 30/31 -0.2% 17/18

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 10 Nov 2006

62 comments, Last at 15 Nov 2006, 11:22pm by ttomas

Comments

1
by ChrisFromNJ (not verified) :: Fri, 11/10/2006 - 8:05pm

All the injuries that have been hiting the Giants recently make #2 a bit of a fantasy in my mind.

2
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Fri, 11/10/2006 - 8:10pm

SF 2004-2006 looks set to be one of the worst three year stretches by any team ever.

3
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Fri, 11/10/2006 - 8:10pm

I see how the Redskins are the worst team in their division. They are going to be a huge factor in the playoff race. I'm not saying they will slip in as a WC, but they've got 7 of 8 against the other playoff contenders. 2 against the Eagles, 1 against the Giants, Rams, and the NFC South.

4
by James C (not verified) :: Fri, 11/10/2006 - 8:12pm

Historically speaking how accurate has this been?

(concerned bears fan)

5
by underthebus (not verified) :: Fri, 11/10/2006 - 8:26pm

#2 worst ever playoff team, once they upset the weak NFC West.

6
by Crushinator (not verified) :: Fri, 11/10/2006 - 8:31pm

4

It's been fairly accurate in the past, at least I remember it being so.

If it makes you feel any better though, 13 wins puts them in Homefield for the Playoffs. and the Bears schedule is going to pretty much ensure that the Playoffs run through Chicago, even assuming they lose to New York and New England.

7
by James C (not verified) :: Fri, 11/10/2006 - 8:35pm

Regarding the Giants game, doesn't all the injuries reduce their defense to Pierce stood back there all on his own?

8
by 49ers fan (not verified) :: Fri, 11/10/2006 - 8:40pm

I hate you DVOA.

9
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Fri, 11/10/2006 - 8:55pm

Um, how does Atlanta project from being 29th in ST right now to 11th? That seems like a REALLY big improvement to me, and in an area where most team's rankings don't move more than a couple spots.

10
by Jed (not verified) :: Fri, 11/10/2006 - 8:58pm

Mmmmm.... regression to the mean.

Wow, the NFC West is pretty terrible.

11
by Vince (not verified) :: Fri, 11/10/2006 - 9:02pm

And the Vikings sneak in past the Falcons for the last wild card spot! Noooooooo!!!!!!!!

12
by Vince (not verified) :: Fri, 11/10/2006 - 9:03pm

#9: Michael Koenen missed 6 field goals out of 8 tries in the first two games. He has sinced been replaced by Morten Andersen. They've also had a punt blocked; I expect that's not likely to happen again.

13
by dbt (not verified) :: Fri, 11/10/2006 - 9:03pm

I'll try to add these to the DVOA graph engine (click my name if you're not familiar) tonight.

14
by Kal (not verified) :: Fri, 11/10/2006 - 9:21pm

So assuming projected wins is where it's at, we have

NFC:
Chi
NYG
NO
SEA
Phi
Min

Huh. And Atlanta might be the 6th instead of Min. Hmm.

15
by D (not verified) :: Fri, 11/10/2006 - 9:34pm

Here are the plyoff seedings based on the midseason projections. Each team's wins and DVOA projections are listed beside it.

AFC-
1. Colts (13.1, 18.4%)
2. Chargers (12.7, 29.6%)
3. Ravens (11.9, 22.5%)
4. Pats (11.7, 19.6%)
5. Broncos (11.0, 14.0%)
6. Chiefs/Jags (10.5, 17.9%/17.4%)

NFC-
1. Bears (13.0, 15.7%)
2. Giants (11.3, 26.5%)
3. Saints (9.6, -2.8%)
4. Seahawks (9.1, -4.2%)
5. Eagles (10.0, 25.5%)
6. Vikings (8.6, 4.4%)

16
by MdM (not verified) :: Fri, 11/10/2006 - 9:36pm

Hmmm, interesting to see WAS's offense projected to be within spitting distance of PHI. And interesting to see PHI's defense projected to be so good.

17
by BG (not verified) :: Fri, 11/10/2006 - 10:00pm

I think it's funny how you'll read that Teams that have performed far above mean. Chicago's special teams is an example. The comment is they can't keep up that pace. Well can't the same argument by made about teams that have performed terribly? Like the Colt run defense? Wouldn't they have to get better?

18
by Catfish (not verified) :: Fri, 11/10/2006 - 10:09pm

Re: 17

Special teams ratings tend to fluctuate more because they include fewer plays. That means a couple really good or bad plays can skew the rankings.

19
by Kal (not verified) :: Fri, 11/10/2006 - 10:25pm

That was a question I had for the Fox projections - this has the estimated wins, but is that based on the actual schedule or what the team should do based on their rankings?

20
by Kyle W (not verified) :: Fri, 11/10/2006 - 10:54pm

Its good to see I can expect STL to slip back to where I expected them to be, guess you can't be that lucky for very long especially with a poor run defence.

21
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 11/10/2006 - 11:55pm

FO's projected wins for the Vikings is now just marginally short of my preseason projection (9), while my mid season projection of 8 is now just marginally short of Aaron's. Here's hoping Aaron's precision is more accurate, and the Vikes get to 9, but I suspect that Minny's receivers with continue to play at a Division III college level, and barring some luck, 8 is about the best that can be hoped for.

It's a shame that such a defensive effort is going to be wasted because the guys in the 80's can't catch the freakin' ball, and when they aren't having it thrown to them, they are getting flagged for various penalties. Sort of a mirror image of the Vikings of the past ten or eleven years.

22
by BillWallace (not verified) :: Sat, 11/11/2006 - 12:03am

So Chicago will regress heavily to the mean while still going 6-2? Schedule strength is awesome.

I also like how Dallas and Carolina will get screwed out of the playoffs while NO, Sea, and Minnesota or Atlanta go.

23
by BillWallace (not verified) :: Sat, 11/11/2006 - 12:24am

Even written in the dumbed down style of regular sports journalism, I thought those division summaries really stood out in quality, and I enjoyed reading them.

24
by turbohapy (not verified) :: Sat, 11/11/2006 - 12:49am

Interesting that Chicago goes from 1 to 9 overall rank while their offense, defense, and ST ranks stay exactly the same!

25
by who-dey (not verified) :: Sat, 11/11/2006 - 12:51am

i'd like to think projections based on a half-season leave room for error.

please.

26
by admin :: Sat, 11/11/2006 - 12:57am

I did forget to mention the one REALLY interesting tidbit from the Sun previews. Does anyone realize that the AFC South is one Houston win away from all four teams having the exact same midseason records as last year? My AFC South review refers to the division as "the NFL's surprise-free zone."

27
by Bobman (not verified) :: Sat, 11/11/2006 - 1:26am

Kal, far as I can tell, this takes what IS (8 games) and adds what is projected. It's the only logical way to do it and the only way to explain that a team DVOA ranked 6th has the most wins (because Indy is starting out 8-0).

Can anyone tell me why "trait X is unsustainable"? We hear it a lot and bandy it about and I understand regression to the mean more or less, but like Indy's run D, if Bob Sanders keeps getting hurt, will not regress more than one or two ranking positions to the mean, (and any improvement would be based on Booger's addition in Week 5 or so). Sanders's impact (and I mean that literally) might nudge them to about 20 at best. What about their O? If you were a statistician just landing from Mars, you might say "that's unsustainable--look how far ahead they are" and the same for their 3rd down performance which is insane. But from the past we all know that for them it IS sustainable. In fact, when Stokely returns and Addai gets more touches, they should improve.

I guess the standard answer is injuries--a team operating at a super-high level in one facet of the game is probably full-strength, and since injuries happen, well, it's logical that they could stumble. Yet a team sucking weenies will not necessarily get good personnel added (unless like Indy, the men are already on the roster and have been out for six weeks). Who else has had a stud lurking on the injured list for 5-8 weeks so far, who might make a huge leap in the second half (especially considering a softer sked)???

I note that Baltimore's D and Indy's O are both projected to keep their top spots, so any regression there is minimal. Hmph, I guess it IS sustainable.

28
by DavidH (not verified) :: Sat, 11/11/2006 - 1:54am

This is great. Really. But I gotta say, I would be more interested in a projection of "2nd half DVOA" or something along those lines than a projection of where a team will end up in weighted DVOA. I mean, I see that KC's offense is expected to be #7 at the end, and they're 14 now. So, does this mean they're going to be something like the 3rd best offense in the 2nd half? All I can figure out for sure is they will be better than 7th.

I'm sure I could come up with some approximations using current DVOA's and the weekly weights from the weighted DVOA formula, but since I don't have the week-by-week numbers, it won't be perfect. This is something that follows directly from the end-of-season weighted DVOA, right? Hmm, I guess not, since opponent adjustments will change. Anyway, if there is a simple way to convert this to 2nd-half DVOA, I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see those numbers.

But like I said, if not, this is still fun to toy around with.

29
by TomC (not verified) :: Sat, 11/11/2006 - 1:58am

#4 & #6 --- Yeah, as a Bears fan I'll gladly take a nasty DVOA fall paired with HFA through the playoffs. That means if they can keep Evil Rex safely in his hole for 2 home games, they're in Miami.

30
by DavidH (not verified) :: Sat, 11/11/2006 - 2:05am

OK, looks like this didn't go through the first time. Really hope this isn't a double post.

OK, just for reference, here are the changes in each category. All values are
(projected final) - (current)
Sorry for making such long posts.

Weighted DVOA
TB … 14.3%
OAK … 12.5%
TEN … 12.5%
WAS … 11.7%
ARI … 10.5%
SEA … 8.7%
CAR … 7.7%
MIA … 7.7%
MIN … 6.9%
SF … 3.5%
KC … 3.4%
ATL … 3.3%
HOU … 1.6%
NE … -0.2%
PIT … -0.4%
IND … -1.6%
BUF … -1.9%
DET … -3.0%
BAL … -3.8%
CIN … -4.0%
SD … -4.4%
DEN … -5.7%
JAC … -5.9%
GB … -6.1%
NYG … -6.6%
CLE … -6.8%
STL … -7.2%
PHI … -7.5%
DAL … -8.6%
NYJ … -9.7%
NO … -12.3%
CHI … -18.6%

31
by DavidH (not verified) :: Sat, 11/11/2006 - 2:06am

Offense DVOA
TB … 12.2%
TEN … 7.6%
MIN … 7.6%
SEA … 7.0%
OAK … 6.7%
ARI … 6.3%
KC … 4.7%
MIA … 3.5%
CAR … 2.9%
JAC … 2.3%
BAL … 1.8%
ATL … 0.2%
PIT … -1.3%
SD … -1.8%
WAS … -2.2%
DEN … -2.5%
CLE … -3.0%
NE … -3.9%
BUF … -4.0%
CIN … -4.6%
IND … -5.5%
NYG … -5.8%
GB … -5.9%
SF … -6.0%
CHI … -6.4%
NO … -7.2%
DET … -7.5%
DAL … -7.7%
STL … -7.8%
NYJ … -9.6%
HOU … -9.9%
PHI … -11.1%

32
by DavidH (not verified) :: Sat, 11/11/2006 - 2:07am

Defense DVOA
WAS … -15.1%
HOU … -11.6%
SF … -8.6%
TEN … -7.4%
OAK … -7.1%
NE … -6.2%
CAR … -5.9%
DET … -5.3%
MIA … -4.6%
IND … -4.6%
BUF … -3.4%
KC … -2.3%
SEA … -2.1%
TB … -2.1%
PHI … -2.1%
NYJ … -1.3%
ARI … -0.9%
GB … -0.7%
MIN … -0.1%
CIN … -0.1%
DAL … 0.3%
CLE … 0.3%
PIT … 0.4%
NYG … 0.4%
DEN … 0.7%
STL … 1.2%
SD … 1.5%
NO … 3.2%
ATL … 3.5%
BAL … 3.6%
JAC … 8.6%
CHI … 9.1%

33
by DavidH (not verified) :: Sat, 11/11/2006 - 2:08am

Special Teams DVOA
ATL … 4.3%
ARI … 3.6%
PIT … 1.6%
GB … 0.9%
TB … 0.8%
CAR … 0.6%
HOU … 0.4%
IND … 0.3%
DAL … 0.3%
PHI … 0.2%
DET … 0.0%
MIA … 0.0%
SF … -0.1%
JAC … -0.2%
STL … -0.3%
NYG … -0.6%
DEN … -0.6%
OAK … -0.7%
TEN … -0.8%
SEA … -0.8%
MIN … -0.9%
SD … -1.0%
NE … -1.1%
CIN … -1.4%
WAS … -1.5%
KC … -1.8%
NYJ … -1.8%
NO … -1.9%
BUF … -2.4%
BAL … -2.5%
CLE … -2.9%
CHI … -4.8%

34
by Bobman (not verified) :: Sat, 11/11/2006 - 2:10am

I THINK this system looks at the future opponents, or is it just a "faceless" strength of sked number? Since we often talk about "it's all about matchups"--at least in the RPS threads--let's look at the matchups:

I look at Indy's sked and do not see three losses. Toughest games are at DAL, at JAX, PHI and CIN at home. Maybe they split those for 2 losses, or MAYBE they lose 3. They might lose just one, but Jax and PHI have pretty good chances. I look at San Diego's and see 1 or 2 or maybe 3 losses (at Cin, at Den, at SEA, plus KC and DEN at home). Even if they lose only 2 in those 5 games, SEA and DEN away, that's 4 losses total.

Elsewhere in the AFC, the Ravens have 2 losses and upcoming games at CIN, at KC, at PIT (DVOA likes them more than I do), and home vs ATL and PIT. 2 losses there put them right at the projection, 3 losses put them one over but still 11-5. NE really looks to have the cakewalk second half: I don't think the Jets are a threat, leaving CHI at home and Jax away. Looks like a 13-3 season to me, better than projection.

That puts Indy as top seed at 14-2, NE next at 13-3, SD at 13-3 or 12-4 and Balt at 11-5.

Who'd I leave out? Denver has 2 losses and has games against SD, SEA, CIN at home and at KC and at SD. I'm thinking 11-5 or 12-4, but probably a wildcard. And I probably give the Chiefs the edge over Jags.

35
by DavidH (not verified) :: Sat, 11/11/2006 - 2:31am

Anybody know why this projection thinks the 2nd half will be better for defense and worse for offense than the 1st half? Is that due to a cold weather effect, so it's like this every year? Or is it just something about this set of teams that indicates there will be a swing towards defense?

36
by NF (not verified) :: Sat, 11/11/2006 - 3:22am

Why is Philly's offense projected to regress a full 11% in the 2nd-half?

My nomination for most depressing story of the season so far: the decline of veteran WRs like Rod Smith, Keenan McCardell, and Joey Galloway. I'm probably forgetting one or two.

37
by Richard (not verified) :: Sat, 11/11/2006 - 3:33am

36: McCardell has declined this year?

38
by Mnotr (not verified) :: Sat, 11/11/2006 - 5:48am

Does anyone know why B'more D doesn't fall much, but Jax and Chi's fall quite a bit? Jax's falls to 4th.

39
by Tom (not verified) :: Sat, 11/11/2006 - 6:25am

I wonder if Chicago switches to Griese how that would change things.

Also, I'm not surprised to see that their defense would get worse. Our safeties are dropping like flies.

40
by Flux (not verified) :: Sat, 11/11/2006 - 7:50am

Nice capsule summaries on the NYSun site. Who the hell did the html and pagination, though? Completely random page changes, with one line left dangling, headers on one page and the body on the next, numerous words divided into two, etc. I'll assume it was computer generated and that the NYSun's web editorial staff is overworked...

41
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/11/2006 - 10:15am

Regarding Green Bay the problem in the secondary is the poor play of both safety positions. Manuel is absurdly slow and Collins has no ball awareness. Which is why in recent weeks Harris has been matched against the other team's number 1 receiver fulll time to ease the burden on both safeties. Manuel couldn't keep up with anyone and if Collins covered somebody he would watch the ball float by him and not do anything.

Lee Evans got his one big catch last Sunday because there was a mixup in coverage by the safety not because Harris failed. Boldin did nothing against Green Bay. Neither did Chris Chambers.

As for the punting position, even the coaching staff admits the core issue is that the coverage team is awful. The punter isn't GREAT but he isn't the root cause of the problem. He kicks an ok punt and then three guys whiff on making a tackle. It's ridiculous.

42
by Steven Cummings (not verified) :: Sat, 11/11/2006 - 12:03pm

You mentioned that the projections don't take into account injuries, like Rodney Harrison. However, Huard has been in for a while, so does the K.C. projection account for him staying or does it predict Green returning?

43
by bravehoptoad (not verified) :: Sat, 11/11/2006 - 12:54pm

Aaron, I think you should be much prouder of those short recaps than you seem to be. One thing that makes you different from other football columnists is that you speak with so much more authority. You can say things like that Chester Taylor is a bad running back, or that the weakness of the Saints is that their cornerbacks are slow, and sound like you mean it. If Peter King or Paul Zimmerman said something like that, he'd sound like either he'd had an isolated moment of perception, or that he'd just pulled a fancy opinion out of his pipe.

I've been reading this site almost since it started, and maybe it's me, but it seems like you've been getting a lot more of the "DVOA is crap" messages this year, particularly regarding your power rankings, which you've spent great amounts of energy to defend.

The *narrative* style of these recaps would be a lot more convincing to most people, I think, than the logical style of the power rankings. I can recognize that your arguments are good and interesting, but all power rankings make arguments. Your narrative recaps, on the other hand, just blow away anything else on the web. That's were you make all the other columnists look like pikers. They simply can not match the wealth and power of the generalizations you lay down.

44
by Sergio (not verified) :: Sat, 11/11/2006 - 2:28pm

Aaron:

"After four games, Culpepper was pulled for failed former Detroit quarterback Joey Harrington, who has actually been worse ( Culpepper has an NFL passer rating of 77.0, Harrington 64.6)."

Obviously ratings don't considers sacks... does DVOA/DPAR? I ask because Culpepper has -20.6 DVOA, Harrington -19.0... which would make Harrington *marginally better* than Culpepper, at worst...

Now, I understand the need to not get complicated when writing tidbits, particularly if you can't link to explanations for advanced statistics; I also understand that (supossedly) Culpepper hasn't got his mechanics right due to his injury. Either way, though... What has been seen on the field can't lead me to suggest that Harrington has been worse than Culpepper.

Elsewhere, nice pieces!

45
by DavidH (not verified) :: Sat, 11/11/2006 - 2:42pm

Only teams with better than 0% offense, defense, and special teams:
San Diego
New England
Kansas City
Jacksonville
Denver

Honorable Mention (ST is exactly 0):
New York Giants

46
by John Gach (not verified) :: Sat, 11/11/2006 - 4:28pm

Re: #23 & #26: the division summaries are definitely worth reading. Just in case anyone actually took Aaron Schatz's overly modest advice to skip them -- don't.

47
by Sam! (not verified) :: Sat, 11/11/2006 - 5:10pm

So the projections predict the winner of Jags/Chiefs to win the #6 seed. Interesting... that's kind of what I thought would happen anyway.

48
by DavidH (not verified) :: Sat, 11/11/2006 - 5:38pm

47:
Same here. And yet in Don Banks's "remaining games you can't miss" article, he lists FIVE Week 17 games, none of which are KC-Jac:

GB @ Chi - Favre's last game
NYG @ Was - Barber's last regular season game, Gibbs's possible last game?
Det @ Dal - Parcells's possible last game w/ Dallas
Cle @ Hou - Brady Quinn Bowl
Car @ NO - possible NFC South title on the line

My list would probably go like this:
1. Mia @ Ind - only if Colts are still undefeated
2. any game with playoff implications, most notably:
2a. Atl @ Phi - possible must-win for both
2b. Jac @ KC - possible must-win for both
2c. Car @ NO - possible NFC South title game
2d. StL @ Min - possible must-win for both
3. GB @ Chi - Favre's last game

49
by dbt (not verified) :: Sat, 11/11/2006 - 9:43pm

Charts are updated, click my name.

IE doesn't seem to disable the invalid stats ("raw VOA") the way Firefox does. web development sucks.

50
by chris clark (not verified) :: Sun, 11/12/2006 - 1:30pm

I agree that the write-ups are worth reading. One of the points of sports writers is to distill the mass of information down into bite-sized quantities and tell us which bits of information are most important, eliminating what they see as noise.

So, Aaron and Michael, what you said in your short blurbs is very important. It tells us what you think are the most important factors going forward.

And, in that light I would like to offer both some praise and some criticism to Aaron, perhaps because I read his sections more closely and am more emotionally involved.

First, I was very favorably impressed with the write-up on SD. It was one of the best positive write-ups I have seen on any team in a while. And, I think it is particularly difficult to write an insightful positive write-up. A non-insightful positive write-up or an insightful negative one are both easier to write.

Next, I will forgive what I saw as an overemphasis of the Patriots—it did come across as balanced at least, indicating both positive and negative aspects. You wrote this for a NY/NE audience, so the bias is acceptable. Moreover, it may just have occurred because I read that section first or that I already suspected that bias. Still, others may reach that conclusion and thus discount what you say, so it is something you should be aware of.

Last, I was disappointed in the blurb about Denver. Now, reading the projected stats on this site, one can see that they suggest, despite their record, the Broncos are the 3rd strongest team in the division, although as of week 10 they are 2nd. However, the way you write it, overemphasizes that fact. It seems like you are trying to compensate for the rest of the pundits praising Denver. Perhaps, I am just over sensitive of what I see as NE fans thinking the Broncos are overrated—I look at the week 10 stats and see IND/NE/DEN as truly RPS (and I’m willing to see NE as “rock� and DEN as “paper� in that analogy).

To put it another way,

The Broncos are rated too low. The week 10 stats are way better than the midseason projections. Interception returns for touchdowns are not RAND0M, because Paytown Manning RULEZ!

51
by Moses (not verified) :: Sun, 11/12/2006 - 10:01pm

You know, I used to follow baseball. One of the most dangerous things that we learned was think .250 life-time hitter who's hitting .300 was goint to "project" to a .300 hitter for the season.

I see some of that in this.

Hopefully, this won't fall into the memory hole, like too many pre-season and mid-season projections. Like, oh, "the Cardinals will be a playoff team..."

52
by Nolan (not verified) :: Sun, 11/12/2006 - 10:40pm

Let me make one thing clear, Chicago will loose 3 to 4 more games this season because thsy are not that great!!!

53
by Aaron Boden (not verified) :: Mon, 11/13/2006 - 2:10am

Nolan,

Not to the Giants, they won't.

54
by hector (not verified) :: Mon, 11/13/2006 - 3:19am

Pittsburgh's YPC into Week 10 was just 0.1 off the 2005 average, right? How much worse could this year's running game really be?

55
by jdb (not verified) :: Mon, 11/13/2006 - 7:24am

52-see below
53-my thoughts exactly. I'd wager Plexico Burress is feeling a wee bit foolish right now. that said, I think the Giants would be a different team with Strahan and/or Usmenyiora. oh well...
GO BEARS!!!

56
by Benjy\'s Cousin (not verified) :: Mon, 11/13/2006 - 3:57pm

#52 - Bears have a strong defense that forces turnovers (2nd in INT, 4th in FFum), an offense that is capable of running or passing at least adequately, excellent special teams, a strong home field advantage...

Will they go undefeated? Maybe yes, maybe no. But they are still the strongest overall football team in the NFC, and there isn't really any competition.

57
by Led (not verified) :: Mon, 11/13/2006 - 5:56pm

From Aaron's AFCE summary:

"Close losses to Indianapolis and New England look much closer than they really were, thanks to fortuitous plays like Justin Miller's kickoff return touchdown against the Colts and the 71-yard Jerricho Cotchery "knee never touched the grass" touchdown against the Patriots."

This is arguably true as to the Jets/Pats game, but it's outright silly as respects the Jets/Indy game. In that game, the Jets were never behind more than 7 points and they either led or were tied for more than half the game. The Justin Miller TD brought the Jets from down 3 points to up 4 points. The Jets lost by 3 on TD by the Colts in the final minute. A pretty darn close game by anybody's definition.

Aaron: Leave it to mainstream sports writers to massage the facts to fit the angle of the the piece. You're better than that.

58
by Crushinator (not verified) :: Tue, 11/14/2006 - 3:32am

52

With their schedule? Against who?

59
by bengt (not verified) :: Tue, 11/14/2006 - 11:56am

#48:
Isn't it a bit premature to expect "Favre's last game"?

60
by DavidH (not verified) :: Tue, 11/14/2006 - 2:23pm

Well, I hear Aaron Rodgers has put a price on his head, effecive as soon as the season ends. So Favre may not know it, but what you don't know can't kill you. Hmm, wait.

61
by pbmax (not verified) :: Tue, 11/14/2006 - 2:52pm

I agree I enjoyed the writeups, but MDS has overlooked the worst offenders in the Packers' secondary, the safeties.
While both Woodson and Harris have had difficulties this year (and Harris seems to be closer to his late 2005 level than the lights out start), the main culprits are Manuel and Collins.
The Packers have given up an inordinate number of long pass plays, and in many instances, the backfield seems to be playing two different coverages.
This week (Vikes) the Packers gave up a long touchdown after the WR ran out of Harris' zone and Collins had failed to stay deep. Basically abandoned his Cover 2 role, which was the call on that play. The same type of thing happened in the Buffalo game the week before when Woodson (subbing at safety due to an injury) called his own coverage (quarters) while the rest of the team ran Cover 2 and Lee Evans went free for a TD.
Personally, I don't think its a coincidence that the last time the Packers Pass D was this bad was in 2004, because in both years, Kurt Schottenheimer and Lionel Washington were our secondary coaches. Where have you gone, 2005's Joe Baker?

62
by ttomas (not verified) :: Wed, 11/15/2006 - 11:22pm

The Broncos might lose, maybe 2 more gams. The DVOA hates the Broncos, who are obviously better than what they are ranked.