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13 Sep 2011
The first Any Given Sunday looks at the Falcons' struggles on offense and a surprising star for the Chicago defense.
Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 13 Sep 2011
15 comments, Last at
17 Dec 2012, 5:13am by
The Falcons won 13 games last season, not 14. I presume the "surprising star for the Chicago defense" is Henry Melton. His play was not that surprising to those who follow the Bears closely, nor was it a surprise to the coaches.
Agreed. Melton's line: 2 sacks, 2 tfl, & 7 hits in his first career start.
Seeing Atl lose @Chi was quite predictable, it was amazing how much love Atl got in the Offseason. Atl's record was quite a bit inflated due to a combination of very easy schedule and good fortune in close games.
GB has a hard time scoring 20 vs Chi yet people were predicting that Atl (a Dome team), that was last in the league in explosive plays, that was relying on a rookie wr (usually minimal impact year 1) and an old te to score 25-30+ was pretty amsuing.
Last year, Chicago's defense was statistically better than Atlanta's offense. I see no huge reason why this would change.
Except defenses, year to year, change significantly for most teams - the Bears included. Whereas offenses do not.
Bills over Chiefs seems like the obvious choice for this week's AGS. Were the Falcons even favored in this one?
Atl was -4
Which seemed so strange to me when I first saw the line that I thought it must be a trap line, and Vegas knew something about the game that I didn't. Not that the Bears should have been heavy favorites, but they were at home against a team they clearly match up well with, and it's not like there were legions of Falcons fans betting up the spread. I had expected a pick'em or maybe Bears -2.
[edit: ATL -4 means that the Falcons would have been favored by a TD at a neutral site. That's just crazy, isn't it?]
All it means is that Atlanta was really overrated last year, which is not surprising because statistically-inclined people have been saying that all offseason. Conversely, my anecdotal impression is that few people really trusted the Bears to be good this year even though last year they had a good record and won a playoff game.
The vast majority of experts believed the Bears were overrated as well (getting lucky last year with Calvin Johnson non-catches, 3rd string QBs, and the weakest playoff opponent in the first round). The statistically-inclined people agreed.
Weighted DVOA had the Bears as good but not great team. Which seemed fair to me.
They were probably consulting the strength coach since there is nobody else, not even the head coach, that has a better feel of the pulse of the team than does the strength and conditioning coach. Due to politics they normally have to keep their mouth shut when, as it is 99% of the time, the other coaching staff is making the team do things that go strongly against the recommendations of the strength coach. Or the players are doing extra practice/training on their own. Remember that athletes are spoiled as are most of the coaches, especially at the elite college and pro level. But that doesn't stop the strength coach from making a phone call to Vegas from time to time. If I was running the sports books in Vegas, Al Vermeil would have a "red phone" in his office..and a very nice office, comped by Vegas, to be sure.
i like AGS.
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