Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

04 Sep 2008

ESPN Numbers Crunching: Week 1

Here's the season premiere of ESPN.com Numbers Crunching, featuring a look at a couple of interesting 2007 FO stats for each of this weekend's games.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 04 Sep 2008

9 comments, Last at 10 Sep 2008, 12:05pm by TGT


by Travis (not verified) :: Thu, 09/04/2008 - 1:33pm

Last year, the Giants led the league in the percentage of dropped passes. Incidentally, the Redskins defense was the beneficiary of the most drops by the other offense.

At least 9 of those drops came in Eli's 34-incompletion game against the Redskins last year.

by Kneel Before Zod! (not verified) :: Thu, 09/04/2008 - 2:46pm

Most people who say Buffalo has a home advantage are like Dr Z. going on about 'the hawk' or some other bad weather thing.

So maybe it just shows up less in September than in December.

by ammek (not verified) :: Thu, 09/04/2008 - 3:57pm

Mmm, proper stats... I smell the regular season, at last!

Appreciating the research that must go into these articles. They never fail to make me go Ooooh, fancy that!

by putnamp (not verified) :: Thu, 09/04/2008 - 6:28pm

Many people believe that Buffalo has a larger home-field advantage than the average franchise, but the Bills have opened the season at home in six of the past seven seasons, and they are just 2-4 in those games.

Technically this statistic is meaningless without also identifying their home record in other games AND their overall record to give it both context w/r/t their homefield advantage and their overall performance.

by Mike B. in VA (not verified) :: Fri, 09/05/2008 - 4:46pm

Wow, is #4 ever a FO answer. You don't see stuff like that on Fox Sports!

by David C (not verified) :: Sun, 09/07/2008 - 1:56am

RE: 4
There's a ton of stats like that in this article. I don't think it is meant to be taken too seriously. Aaron's just throwing a bunch of random stats out there that seem interesting to him. I kinda wish it was more than that, but it's always been like that and I doubt it'll change any time soon. Plus, I'm sure it's hard to come up with good/meaningful stats for 16 different games.

by Adam (not verified) :: Sun, 09/07/2008 - 11:51am

I actually came here looking to figure out whether or not to start Joey Galloway. Thanks guys!

by Irish Boy (not verified) :: Mon, 09/08/2008 - 1:02am

Looking at against the spread records might be helpful here, since we're measuring performace against expectations rather than performance specifically.

Buffalo is 88-80-8 ATS in the past 11 years (not counting todays game.) At home, they are 46-40-2 and 42-40-6 on the road, so they do seem a bit better on at home than acknowledged.

In home games that occur as the Bills 8th game or earlier in that period (1997-2007), the Bills are 25-22-0; they are 21-18-2 in home games that occur as the Bills' 9th game or later.

Here's another similar measure: in the 47 home games between 1997-2007 which occured as the Bills first through eighth game, the Bills were favored a total of 66 points, or about 1.4 points per game. In the 41 home games that occured game nine or later, the Bills were favored a total of 49.5 points, or 1.2 points per game. Assuming that the opponents during those periods were roughly the same difficulty before and after the game 8-9 mark, that would mean that Vegas did not consider there to be any more of a home field advantage late in the year.

Was there? In those home games during the first half of the season, the Bills scored 76 points more than their opponents (1.6 points per game). In the second half, the Bills scored 47 more points than their opponents (1.1 points per game.)

Their opponents in the second half of the season seem to have been slightly more difficult in the latter half of the season then, if the spreads are to be believed, and the margin of victory declined slightly as well because of that. So I don't see any increasing hf advantage as the season goes on.

by TGT (not verified) :: Wed, 09/10/2008 - 12:05pm

@8: ATS is useless, because the spread should be factoring home field advantage in already. Also, the spread is not normally set to get even action on both sides, it's set to take advantage of the betting public's biases.