Week 14: Numbers Crunching
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 (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average), which takes every 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.
Rams at Bengals, (Sunday) 1 p.m.
Welcome to the T.J. Houshmandzadeh show! The Rams are the worse defense in the NFL against the oppositions' No. 2 receiver. Don't worry, Ocho Cinco fans -- the Rams also are below average against No. 1 receivers.In the fourth quarter, the Rams have the worst offense and the worst defense in the league.
• More Rams-Bengals: Intel Report | EA Simulation
Cowboys at Lions, 1 p.m.
The Lions love to throw long; only Cincinnati has thrown more "deep" passes (16 or more yards past the line of scrimmage). However, Cowboys opponents have completed only 31 percent of deep passes, the best figure for any defense in the NFL.
Thirty-eight percent of runs against the Lions have gone around either the left end or right end, the highest percentage in the league. Dallas is the best team in the NFL at running around the right end, although it has been merely average on runs around the left end.
The Lions have thrown 38 percent of passes to third or fourth wideouts, the highest percentage in the league. The Cowboys have thrown just 6 percent of passes to third or fourth wideouts, the second-lowest percentage in the league.
• More Cowboys-Lions: Intel Report | EA Simulation
Raiders at Packers, 1 p.m.
It's a good week to own Greg Jennings or James Jones if you are in the fantasy football playoffs. The Raiders are the best defense in the NFL against opposing No. 1 receivers, but they rank 31st against No. 2 receivers and 28th against No. 3 and No. 4 targets.Oakland is the most penalized team in the NFL on offense, with 20 percent more penalties than any other team. However, Green Bay is the most penalized team in the NFL on defense, with 30 percent more penalties than any other team.
• More Raiders-Packers: Intel Report | EA Simulation
Dolphins at Bills, 1 p.m.
• More Dolphins-Bills: Intel Report | EA Simulation
Buccaneers at Texans, 1 p.m.
Houston's offense is 27th on first down but ninth on third and fourth downs. Tampa Bay's defense is second on first down but 22nd on third and fourth downs.Tampa Bay has thrown the highest percentage of passes to running backs (32 percent). The Bucs also have faced the highest percentage of passes to running backs when they are on defense (28 percent). Tampa Bay has a turnover margin of plus-11, third in the NFL. Houston has a turnover margin of minus-10, 31st in the NFL.
• More Buccaneers-Texans: Intel Report | EA Simulation
Chargers at Titans, 1 p.m.
Opposing offenses have picked up offensive holding penalties against San Diego's defense 20 times. No other defense has drawn more than 16 offensive holding penalties. However, Tennessee has drawn a league-low four flags for offensive holding (not counting holding on punt and kickoff returns).San Diego opponents throw to their No. 1 receivers on 31 percent of passes, the highest percentage in the league. That means a big day for um who counts as Tennessee's No. 1 receiver, anyway?
• More Chargers-Titans: Intel Report | EA Simulation
Panthers at Jaguars, 1 p.m.
Jacksonville has gained more value on kickoffs than any other team in the NFL, an estimated 14.0 points worth of field position compared to average. Carolina has lost more value on kickoff returns than any other team in the NFL, an estimated 14.4 points of squandered field position compared to average.Carolina is the league's worst offense on third-and-short (1-3 yards to go), while Jacksonville is the second-best defense in the same situation.
• More Panthers-Jaguars: Intel Report | EA Simulation
Giants at Eagles, 1 p.m.
The Eagles are the best offense in the league at running behind the left tackle. Although the Giants have a run defense that is good overall, fourth in adjusted line yards, they rank just 24th against runs behind the left tackle.In the fourth quarter, the Eagles get much worse on offense and much better on defense. Through the third quarter, they are seventh on offense and 22nd on defense. In the fourth quarter, they are 21st on offense but sixth on defense.
• More Giants-Eagles: Intel Report | EA Simulation
Cardinals at Seahawks, 4:05 p.m.
Over the past couple of years, Qwest Field has led all NFL stadiums in false starts by visiting offenses. That's not good news for Arizona, which already is third in the NFL with 26 false starts.Get ready for lots of punt return yardage. Seattle ranks second in the league in value on punt returns, and Arizona has the worst punting in the league, although this might be less of a problem now that punter Mike Barr was replaced last week by veteran Mitch Berger. Things aren't much better when the Seahawks punt; Arizona ranks seventh in punt returns while Seattle is 28th in net punting.
• More Cardinals-Seahawks: Intel Report | EA Simulation
Vikings at 49ers, 4:05 p.m.
• More Vikings-49ers: Intel Report | EA Simulation
Steelers at Patriots, 4:15 p.m.
• More Steelers-Patriots: Intel Report | EA Simulation
Browns at Jets, 4:15 p.m.
Cleveland has the league's fourth-best offense in the red zone, while the Jets have the league's 30th-ranked defense.
Cleveland has more penalties this year than every team except Arizona; the Jets have fewer penalties than every other team except Seattle.
• More Browns-Jets: Intel Report | EA Simulation
Chiefs at Broncos, 4:15 p.m.
Chiefs fullback/H-back Kris Wilson has caught only 46 percent of intended passes, making him the only running back or fullback with at least 12 pass targets and a catch rate below 50 percent. (If you prefer to consider Wilson a tight end, there is one other tight end with a catch rate that low: San Francisco's Delanie Walker.)
• More Chiefs-Broncos: Intel Report | EA Simulation
Colts at Ravens, 8:15 p.m.
• More Colts-Ravens: Intel Report | EA Simulation
Saints at Falcons, (Monday) 8:30 p.m.
If you are a No. 1 receiver in the NFL, playing New Orleans is something like winning the lottery. Roddy White gets to win the lottery twice; the first time, he torched the Saints for 110 yards and caught all eight intended passes. Leaguewide, No. 1 receivers have caught 59 percent of intended passes, but against the Saints, that number is 75 percent.The Saints rank second in the NFL in red-zone run defense, while the Falcons rank 30th in red-zone run offense. Strange as this sounds, the Falcons are the only offense in the NFL that has not turned the ball over in the red zone.
• More Saints-Falcons: Intel Report | EA Simulation
Aaron Schatz is president of Football Outsiders Inc. and the lead author of Pro Football Prospectus 2007 and 2008.