Week 17: 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 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. Unless listed otherwise, all rankings are of leaguewide DVOA.
Some of this data, such as formations, blitzes and play-action tendencies, comes from the Football Outsiders game-charting project. Please be aware that this data (such as formations and blitz tendencies) is unofficial and is missing a handful of games that are not charted yet.
All times Eastern
Rams at Falcons, 1 p.m. (Sunday)
Patriots at Bills, 1 p.m.
Chiefs at Bengals, 1 p.m.
Lions at Packers, 1 p.m.
Bears at Texans, 1 p.m.
Chicago is far superior to Houston in the red zone, on both sides of the ball. Chicago ranks 10th in offensive DVOA in the red zone and sixth in defensive DVOA. Houston ranks 28th in offensive DVOA and 31st in defensive DVOA.Only two players in the NFL have a Stop Rate above 50 percent when making tackles after completed passes: DeMeco Ryans of the Texans (63 percent on 24 tackles) and Lance Briggs of the Bears (51 percent on 47 tackles).
Titans at Colts, 1 p.m.
Giants at Vikings, 1 p.m.
Panthers at Saints, 1 p.m.
Browns at Steelers, 1 p.m.
It's hard to find a category in which Pittsburgh does not have one of the best defenses in the league and Cleveland does not have one of the worst offenses. Much more rare are categories where the Cleveland defense is far superior to the Pittsburgh offense. An important one: Pittsburgh ranks a surprising 31st running on third and fourth down, while Cleveland's defense (with a big Shaun Rogers wall in the middle) ranks fifth.
Raiders at Buccaneers, 1 p.m.
Cowboys at Eagles, 4:15 p.m.
Dolphins at Jets, 4:15 p.m.
New York has a big advantage over Miami when it comes to kickoffs. The Jets rank seventh in our ratings for kickoffs, fifth for kick returns. Miami ranks 30th for kickoffs and 22nd for kick returns.Even if the Jets stop the Dolphins on first down, they need to watch out for the passing game -- Miami has the best passing DVOA in the league on second down, and the best overall offensive rating on second-and-long. The Jets' defense is 30th in the league on second down passes, and 27th on second-and-long. The Jets' defense ranks eighth in DVOA in the first half of games, but 26th after halftime.
Jaguars at Ravens, 4:15 p.m.
Baltimore's passing game gets better with each successive down: 30th on first down, 22nd on second down, and eighth on third and fourth down. Jacksonville, on the other hand, ranks 18th in the NFL on first and second down, but has the worst pass defense in the league on third and fourth down.Baltimore leads the league in value on punts but is poor on kickoffs. Jacksonville leads the league in value on kickoffs but is poor on punts.
Seahawks at Cardinals, 4:15 p.m.
This is the battle of the obstinate offensive coordinators, as the team that uses the fewest play-action fakes (Arizona) takes on the team that uses the fewest shotgun formations (Seattle).
|Unit||DVOA Weeks 1-9||DVOA Weeks 10-16|
How far has Arizona fallen since midseason? Since Week 10, the Cardinals' DVOA rating has gotten worse in every aspect of the game.
Redskins at 49ers, 4:15 p.m.
In the second half of close games (within a touchdown), Washington's offensive DVOA is second only to that of the New Orleans Saints, while San Francisco's offensive DVOA is worse than that of every team except the St. Louis Rams.
Washington's defense is above average from the opposing goal line to their own 20-yard line -- but then ranks 27th in DVOA in the red zone.
Broncos at Chargers, 8:15 p.m.
Denver leads the league with 38.1 yards per drive on offense -- and ranks 31st in the NFL giving up 35.9 yards per drive on defense.
Look for big games from Tony Scheffler and Antonio Gates, as Denver ranks 30th in defense against tight ends while San Diego ranks 25th. Denver has the worst defense in the league in the second half of games, while San Diego's defensive DVOA improves from 28th in the first half to 10th after halftime.
Aaron Schatz is president of Football Outsiders Inc. and the lead author of "Pro Football Prospectus 2008," on sale online and in bookstores.