Commentary

Week 11: Numbers Crunching

Originally Published: November 15, 2007
By Aaron Schatz | Football Outsiders.com

Each week, Football Outsiders takes a look at every game on the NFL schedule with a mix of interesting numbers and in-depth statistical analysis. Much of the analysis is based on DVOA, which takes every single play during the season and compares it to the league average based on situation and opponent. DVOA and Football Outsiders' other advanced stats are explained here.

All times Eastern

Giants at Lions, 1 p.m.

Run for your life, Jon Kitna! The Lions offense is last in the league in both sacks and Adjusted Sack Rate, while the Giants defense is first in raw sacks and second in Adjusted Sack Rate (behind Pittsburgh).

Of course, all those sacks mean that Lions opponents are chomping at the bit a little too much. Lions opponents have been called for offsides or encroachment 18 times. No other team's opponents have more than 12 such penalties.
• More Giants-Lions: Intel Report | EA Simulation

Chargers at Jaguars, 1 p.m.

Which is more shocking: That the Chargers, with the great LaDainian Tomlinson, rank 30th in Adjusted Line Yards up the middle, or that the Jaguars, with their great defensive tackles, rank 31st in allowing Adjusted Line Yards up the middle?

If the game comes down to the wire, this season's trends favor Jacksonville. The Jaguars are very good in late and close situations (second half, score within eight points): ninth on offense, sixth on defense. The Chargers are very bad in those situations: 26th on offense and 27th on defense.
• More Chargers-Jaguars: Intel Report | EA Simulation

Browns at Ravens, 1 p.m.

Don't expect a multiple-touchdown day for Willis McGahee. The Ravens have the worst red-zone offense in the NFL, and are poor both passing and running in the red zone. The Browns defense ranks 25th in DVOA against the pass in the red zone but is fifth in the NFL against the run in the red zone.

Get ready for the flags: Ravens and Browns are two of the four most penalized teams in the NFL.
• More Browns-Ravens: Intel Report | EA Simulation

Packers at Panthers, 1 p.m.

Steve Smith is catching just 54 percent of intended passes. Prior to this season, Smith had been above 60 percent every year except his rookie year of 2002. Often, a low catch rate can be blamed on the receiver more than his quarterback(s). This is not one of those times.

On third-and-long (7-plus yards to go), Green Bay is fourth on offense and third on defense. Carolina ranks 25th on both sides of the ball.
• More Packers-Panthers: Intel Report | EA Simulation

Buccaneers at Falcons, 1 p.m.

Falcons defensive end John Abraham is the only defender in the league who has made his average play more than a yard behind the line of scrimmage (minimum 20 plays).

Running on first down, only the Giants are more successful than the Buccaneers. When it comes to stopping the run on first down, only the Dolphins and Raiders are worse than the Falcons.
• More Bucs-Falcons: Intel Report | EA Simulation

Dolphins at Eagles, 1 p.m.

If both teams play to form, the Eagles will jump out to a big early lead. They rank third in first-half offense, while the Dolphins rank 26th in first-half defense.

Do you think Lito Sheppard is the Eagles' best corner? Opponents may disagree. Philadelphia opponents throw their passes to the right side 43 percent of the time, and the left side only 28 percent of the time. That's the biggest difference in the NFL, and Sheldon Brown is usually on the left side, Sheppard on the right.
• More Dolphins-Eagles: Intel Report | EA Simulation

Raiders at Vikings, 1 p.m.

Raiders are tied for the league lead with 17 offensive holding penalties; Vikings are third with 16.

Oakland middle linebacker Kirk Morrison and Minnesota middle linebacker E.J. Henderson are tied for the league lead with 22 defeats (total plays that cause a turnover, loss of yardage, or failure to convert third down).
• More Raiders-Vikings: Intel Report | EA Simulation

Chiefs at Colts, 1 p.m.

The biggest mismatch of this game comes on first downs. The Colts offense is fourth on first downs, while the Colts defense ranks second. The Chiefs offense and defense both rank 30th on first downs.

Kansas City's offense is bad in pretty much all downs and all distances, but their defense improves significantly on second (6th) and third (2nd) downs.

So far this year in late and close situations, Indianapolis has the league's best defense and second-best offense.
• More Chiefs-Colts: Intel Report | EA Simulation

Cardinals at Bengals, 1 p.m.

Adrian Wilson leads all NFL safeties in Stop Rate (minimum 30 plays). This is the fourth straight season Wilson leads all starting safeties in Stop Rate. This is partly because he sometimes plays a linebacker-like role in the Arizona scheme, and partly because Adrian Wilson is just an amazingly skilled player.

Chad Johnson has caught eight of 17 passes to the deep right portion of the field (10.6 yards per pass) and eight of 15 passes to the deep middle (14.6 yards per pass) but just two of seven passes to the deep left portion of the field (5.4 yards per pass). T.J. Houshmandzadeh also catches a higher percentage of passes on the right side and gains more yards per completion.
• More Cardinals-Bengals: Intel Report | EA Simulation

Saints at Texans, 1 p.m.

New Orleans is the NFL's only team that has allowed fewer than 10 sacks, while the Houston defensive line ranks 29th in Adjusted Sack Rate.

The Saints are the league's worst defense against No. 1 receivers ... just in time for Andre Johnson to return to the Houston lineup.
• More Saints-Texans: Intel Report | EA Simulation

Steelers at Jets, 4:05 p.m.

Both the Steelers and Jets like to play at a slow pace. The Steelers have the slowest-paced offense in the league (according to situation-neutral pace -- check glossary for definition) and the Jets rank fourth in situation-neutral pace. However, the Jets are one of the five fastest teams in overall pace, because when they are losing in the second half -- which seems to be pretty much always -- they have to speed things up.

The Jets are the league's worst defense in the fourth quarter and in the second half overall. The Steelers have the second-best offense in the fourth quarter, behind only New England.
• More Steelers-Jets: Intel Report | EA Simulation

Redskins at Cowboys, 4:15 p.m.

Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware is tied for second in the league with 10 quarterback hits (knocking the quarterback to the ground after the throw, sacks not included). The rest of the Cowboys combined have just 13 quarterback hits, and no defender other than Ware has more than three.

The Cowboys have the best offense in the league in late and close situations, and the best offense when leading by more than a touchdown. The Redskins offense ranks 25th in late and close situations and 27th when leading by more than a touchdown.
• More Redskins-Cowboys: Intel Report | EA Simulation

Bears at Seahawks, 4:15 p.m.

The Bears have thrown 12 deep passes (16-plus yards through the air) to Muhsin Muhammad, and he has caught just two of them. Both were in the middle of the field; he's 0-for-9 catching deep passes on the sidelines.

Matt Hasselbeck passes 50 percent of the time to the right side of the field, and only 30 percent of the time to the left side, the biggest difference in the league. However, he averages pretty much the same yards per pass on the left (7.1) and right (7.0). On short passes, the Chicago defense allows slightly more success on the right; on deep passes, the Bears allow slightly more success on the left.
• More Bears-Seahawks: Intel Report | EA Simulation

Rams at 49ers, 4:15 p.m.

The Rams' offensive troubles this year are primarily tied to turnovers, rather than not moving the chains. The Rams actually go three-and-out on only 16 percent of drives, less often than any other offense except for the Colts and Broncos. However, they turn the ball over on 22 percent of drives, more often than any team except Houston.

Rookie linebacker Patrick Willis is tied for the league lead in defensive plays. Willis and Washington linebacker London Fletcher each have 90. No other defender has more than 81.
• More Rams-49ers: Intel Report | EA Simulation

Patriots at Bills, 8:15 p.m.

The Patriots and Bills are third and fourth, respectively, in value on kickoff returns.

With J.P. Losman at quarterback, Lee Evans averages 9.9 yards per pass, but Roscoe Parrish and Josh Reed combine for only 6.2 yards per pass. With Trent Edwards at quarterback, Parrish and Reed (8.1) average more yards per pass than Evans (7.4). Edwards' completion percentage to Parrish and Reed (84 percent) is 20 percentage points higher than Losman's (64 percent).
• More Patriots-Bills: Intel Report | EA Simulation

Titans at Broncos (Monday), 8:30 p.m., ESPN

Both of these quarterbacks like to throw to their tight ends. The Titans have the NFL's best defense against opposing tight ends. The Broncos have the NFL's worst defense against opposing tight ends (even after adjusting for the quality of the tight ends in their division).

Marlin Jackson of Indianapolis leads all cornerbacks with 22 run tackles, but Denver's Champ Bailey is second (20), Tennessee's Cortland Finnegan is third (19), and Denver's Dre' Bly is tied for fifth (16). Jackson and Finnegan are the only two cornerbacks involved in 10 percent of their team's run tackles.
• More Titans-Broncos: Intel Report | EA Simulation

Aaron Schatz is president of Football Outsiders Inc. and the lead author of Pro Football Prospectus 2007 and 2008.