Commentary

Week 10: Numbers Crunching

Originally Published: November 6, 2008
By Aaron Schatz and Bill Barnwell | Football Outsiders

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. Unless listed otherwise, all rankings are of league-wide DVOA.

All times Eastern

Saints at Falcons, 1 p.m.

Atlanta's offense is the best in the league at home; it's only 13th when outside the Georgia Dome.

The Saints have the league's worst defense against tight ends, but this won't be much advantage to Atlanta, which throws to tight ends less often than any team except Arizona.

• More Saints-Falcons: Intel Report | EA Sims

Titans at Bears, 1 p.m.

Tennessee has the fourth-best offense in the league away from home; Chicago's defense is only 12th at home despite being second on the road.

Overall, the Titans' defense is the best in the league in the red zone -- but that's primarily because of their ability to stop passing plays. They rank just 23rd in DVOA against the run in the red zone.

• More Titans-Bears: Intel Report | EA Sims

Jaguars at Lions, 1 p.m.

Detroit has the worst first-down defense in the league. Jacksonville's offense is only 15th in the league overall but seventh in the league on first down.

Whatever became of Fred Taylor? The veteran Jacksonville running back has hit the career wall with a loud crash. From 2005 through 2007, Taylor had only five regular-season games with 25 rushing yards or fewer. Right now, he has five consecutive games with 25 rushing yards or fewer.

• More Jaguars-Lions: Intel Report | EA Sims

Ravens at Texans, 1 p.m.

Houston's allowed opposing running backs to gain successful chunks of yardage 42 percent of the time. (We consider a successful gain to be 45 percent of needed yards on first down, 60 percent on second down, and 100 percent on third or fourth down.) The league as a whole allows running backs to succeed 44 percent of the time. However, Houston's allowed opposing quarterbacks to run for successful yardage 75 percent of the time, when the league average is only 60 percent.

Baltimore's Terrell Suggs leads the league with 21 Defeats, a stat combining turnovers, tackles for a loss, and tackles that prevent a conversion on third down.

• More Ravens-Texas: Intel Report | EA Sims

Seahawks at Dolphins, 1 p.m.

Miami has the best offense in the league on second down. They're 11th on first down and only 24th on third and fourth downs.

Yeremiah Bell has been involved in 18 percent of Miami's defensive tackles, the highest percentage of any defensive back in the league.

• More Seahawks-Dolphins: Intel Report | EA Sims

Packers at Vikings, 1 p.m.

The Packers' offense does its best work in the second quarter, when it's second in the league. Unfortunately for them, the Vikings' defense is also best just before halftime; they have the third-best second-quarter defense in the NFL.

Minnesota has the worst special teams in the NFL this year by leaps and bounds. Based on FO estimates, special teams have cost the Vikings 4.5 points per game compared to the average team. If the season were over now, the Vikings would have the second-lowest special-teams DVOA since 1995, the year our play-by-play database starts. Only the 2000 Bills had worse special teams.

• More Packers-Vikings: Intel Report | EA Sims

Bills at Patriots, 1 p.m.

Assigning the credit for the Bills' great fourth quarters to Trent Edwards seems ridiculous now -- the Bills' offense is only 24th in the league in the fourth quarter, while their defense ranks second in the final frame.

New England has the fewest penalties in the league (3.8 per game, including declined and offsetting). Buffalo ranks fourth in fewest penalties (5.3 per game, including declined and offsetting).

• More Bills-Patriots: Intel Report | EA Sims

Rams at Jets, 1 p.m.

The Rams' pass defense was 31st in the league before Jim Haslett took over as head coach. After he moved into the hot seat, the team's been 18th.

The Jets have the league's worst defense in the third quarter; the Rams have the league's worst defense in the fourth quarter.

• More Rams-Jets: Intel Report | EA Sims

Panthers at Raiders, 4:05 p.m.

Carolina's defense is only 26th in the league on the road; it's seventh-best at home.

Panthers wide receivers get an average of 5.6 yards after catch, the highest figure in the league. The Panthers' defense, however, allows opposing wide receivers an average of just 2.3 yards after catch, the lowest figure in the league.

• More Panthers-Raiders: Intel Report | EA Sims

Colts at Steelers, 4:15 p.m.

The only situation in which Indianapolis is the best offense in the league this year is on third and short; the Steelers have the fifth-best defense in the league in those situations.

Pittsburgh ranks first in the NFL in Adjusted Sack Rate on defense -- and last in the league in Adjusted Sack Rate on offense. (ASR explained here.)

• More Colts-Steelers: Intel Report | EA Sims

Chiefs at Chargers, 4:15 p.m.

San Diego's offense is 14th in the league on first down, and 11th on second down, but bounces up to third on third down.

OK, nobody jump: San Diego has just three false starts, fewest in the NFL, and Kansas City has just seven, which is tied for 23rd.

• More Chiefs-Chargers: Intel Report | EA Sims

Giants at Eagles, 8:15 p.m.

For all the talk of how the Eagles are struggling in the red zone to get those short-yardage plays, they're actually 16th in the league at running in the red zone, and the Giants (who have Brandon Jacobs and no such articles being written about them) are 12th. That's not a significant difference.

Brian Westbrook is one of the best pass-catching backs in the league and has a history of good games against the Giants -- but this year, Giants opponents have thrown only 15 percent of passes to running backs, the lowest figure in the NFL.

• More Giants-Eagles: Intel Report | EA Sims

49ers at Cardinals, 8:30 p.m. (Monday)

The Steelers are another team that plays better away from home. The offense's home DVOA is 30th in the league but 14th on the road; defensively, it's fifth at Heinz Field but best in the league on the road.

The second half should be an epic battle when Washington gets the ball. Their offense has the best second-half DVOA in the league, while the Steelers' defense is third-best.

• More 49ers-Cardinals: Intel Report | EA Sims

Bill Barnwell and Aaron Schatz are analysts for Football Outsiders.

Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) is a staff writer for Grantland.

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