Week 6: 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 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. Remember that 2008 season numbers represent a small sample size.
All times Eastern
Bears at Falcons, 1 p.m.
The Bears' defense is one of two (Giants) in the league that has yet to face a single play where they're down by more than a touchdown.
Atlanta's first down defense is seventh in the league; on second down, that drops all the way to 31st.
Dolphins at Texans, 1 p.m.
Miami's defense struggles to get out of the gate. Their defensive DVOA in the first and third quarter, respectively, is 18th and 28th; in the second and fourth quarters, they're ranked sixth and second.
Houston's defense remains abysmal when backed up against their own end zone; they're 31st in red-zone pass defense, and last in red-zone rush defense, red-zone defense altogether, and goal-to-go defense.
Ravens at Colts, 1 p.m.
The Ravens' defense has allowed an average of only 17.67 yards per drive, best in football.
No team's better at using and abusing the clock than the Indianapolis Colts. On average, they use only 25.65 seconds per play, the fastest pace of any team. When they have a lead of seven or more points? That goes all the way down to 35.75 seconds per play, the slowest pace of any team in those situations.
Lions at Vikings, 1 p.m.
Detroit's offense is among the worst in football -- until it gets into the red zone. There, bizarrely enough, Detroit's offense has been the best in the NFL. If only it could make it there more often.
Detroit will want to try to get their passes in on first down against the Vikings; the Vikings D is 25th against the pass on first down, but in the top 10 on all other downs.
Raiders at Saints, 1 p.m.
Third downs will be an interesting situation when the Saints are on offense; although the Saints offense is obviously pass-happy, the Raiders have the best third-down defense against passes in the league; they're 26th against the run. The New Orleans' offense is sixth throwing the ball and 29th running it on third downs.
Teams just love running plays against the Saints' defense; opposing teams run a play every 26.41 seconds against the Saints, the second-quickest defensive pace in the league.
Bengals at Jets, 1 p.m.
The Jets' defense has collapsed in the second half of games (think Arizona); Gang Green is fourth in the league in first half defensive DVOA, but only 29th in the second half.
Cincinnati's yet to lead a game this year by a touchdown or more.
Panthers at Buccaneers, 1 p.m.
Tampa Bay's defense is the best in the league on second down despite being only 23rd on first downs. They're sixth on third downs, which points to first down being the fluke.
Carolina's defense has allowed the smallest percentage of red zone drives to turn into touchdowns in football.
Rams at Redskins, 1 p.m.
In our weekly attempt to find something nice to say about the Rams, we note that their offensive DVOA in the first quarter is 12th in the league; it's only after the opening period that their by-quarter DVOA drops to 30th, 26th and then dead last for the fourth quarter.
The Redskins are the only team left in the league without an offensive turnover.
Jaguars at Broncos, 4:05 p.m.
On second-and-short situations, the Broncos' offense is 26th in the league. On all other second down situations, the Broncos are the best team in football.
The goal line should be an interesting battle ground in this matchup; the Jaguars' offense is fourth in the league in goal-to-go situations, while the Broncos' defense is sixth.
Cowboys at Cardinals, 4:15 p.m.
Arizona's offense has the fewest third-and-outs, adjusted for the number of drives they've started, of any team in football.
The Cowboys are the best in the league at both running and passing the ball on third down.
Eagles at 49ers, 4:15 p.m.
As shown in last week's loss against Washington, Philadelphia's offense is significantly better in the first half (third) than it is in the second (23rd). Philadelphia's best quarter is the first, but that's also San Francisco's best quarter of defense -- there, they rank third.
The 49ers have struggled dramatically on second down, where their offense is second-worst in the league, and their defense is 16th. Both are the worst down for the team on either side of the ball.
Packers at Seahawks, 4:15 p.m.
Seattle's missed Bobby Engram. The third-down machine only made it back last week, so the Seahawks still rank last in the league on third-down pass plays.
Unfortunately, it won't be much good in the red zone; the Packers have the best red-zone pass defense of any team in the NFL.
Patriots at Chargers, 8:15 p.m.
The problem with the Patriots' defense has been allowing the big play; adjusted for the number of drives they've faced, no team has more three-and-outs than New England.
San Diego bunkers down in the second half; their defensive DVOA in the first half of games is only 29th, but in the second half, that falls to eighth.
Giants at Browns, 8:30 p.m. (Monday)
The Giants offense would be even more impressive if it had more chances. New York's scored an average of 3.08 points each time they get the ball, best in football.
The Browns' offense deteriorates with time. Their offensive DVOA is 15th in the league in the first quarter, 28th in the second quarter and last in the third quarter. It does actually make it all the way back up to 31st for the final quarter, but being better than the Rams doesn't do the Browns any favors.
Bill Barnwell is an analyst for FootballOutsiders.com.
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