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Tuesday, November 06, 2012

OT: NFL/NHL thread

i estimate that absolutely noone gives a damn about the NHL, so by folding that thread into this one, we won’t distract from what this thread is really about: boner pills, blood doping (is it low t?), and…jesus christ did mike vick just throw another ####### interception?

clowns to the left of me; STEAGLES to the right Posted: November 06, 2012 at 12:03 AM | 7987 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nfl, nhl

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   701. DA Baracus Posted: December 17, 2012 at 01:19 AM (#4326429)
Puck, yes broncos first quality win was today. Atlantas too.


The Broncos' win against the Steelers doesn't count?
   702. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: December 17, 2012 at 01:23 AM (#4326431)
The Broncos' win against the Steelers doesn't count?


The Steelers that lost to the Cowboys, who lost to the lowly Falcons? Didn't you get the memo, the Steelers aren't a quality win, but the Ravens that are about to lose the division to the Steelers are one of the better teams in the league.

Cause he says so, that's why.
   703. DA Baracus Posted: December 17, 2012 at 01:27 AM (#4326435)
Didn't you get the memo


I got the memo. And I understand the policy. The problem is, I just forgot this time. And I've already taken care of it so it's not a problem anymore.
   704. MHS Posted: December 17, 2012 at 01:29 AM (#4326438)

The Broncos' win against the Steelers doesn't count?


If you want that one ill grant it, my rational was it was a home win against a (likely) nonplayoff team. Though, in fairness a healthy Ben and Pitt is likely a playoff team.
   705. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: December 17, 2012 at 01:31 AM (#4326440)
I had been working on the assumption that there was some actual rationale to this "weak schedule" critique of the Falcons, but now that I've taken a bit of a deep dive into the schedules of the other, so-called "elite" teams in the league, it all seems to be a load of crap.
   706. puck Posted: December 17, 2012 at 01:31 AM (#4326441)
The Broncos have good wins. But just lots of wins vs. poor teams, so it seems their strength of schedule overall comes out weak. Still, 9 straight vs anyone is pretty good. The bye and home game would be very helpful.
   707. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: December 17, 2012 at 01:33 AM (#4326444)
It occurs to me that I may have been arguing with renamed meatwad all night. In that case, I clearly see the error of my ways.
   708. SoSH U at work Posted: December 17, 2012 at 01:37 AM (#4326445)
The Broncos have good wins. But just lots of wins vs. poor teams, so it seems their strength of schedule overall comes out weak.


They all have wins against mostly weaker teams. None of the better teams have stockpiled wins against fellow good teams. SF has the most, but you can wave away a few of them if you want to (GB wasn't playing well early, Chicago built its record against crap and was without Cutler, Seattle sucks on the road). I'm not sure why this fact is overlooked against some teams (NE, GB) but a huge mark against others (Atl, Den).

It occurs to me that I may have been arguing with renamed meatwad all night.


No you haven't.
   709. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: December 17, 2012 at 01:40 AM (#4326447)
I'm not sure why this fact is overlooked against some teams (NE, GB) but a huge mark against others (Atl, Den).


*Thank you!*

I expect it's overlooked because of historical narrative. Brady and Rodgers are stars with Superbowl wins. Ryan is 0-3 in the playoffs. Manning's a "comeback" narrative in Denver. None of these are rational arguments about the strengths or weaknesses of the 2012 versions of these teams, just convenient fallback narratives for people who aren't interestied in thinking beyond cliches.
   710. DA Baracus Posted: December 17, 2012 at 01:43 AM (#4326448)
I expect it's overlooked because of historical narrative. Brady and Rodgers are stars with Superbowl wins. Ryan is 0-3 in the playoffs. Manning's a "comeback" narrative in Denver. None of these are rational arguments about the strengths or weaknesses of the 2012 versions of these teams, just convenient fallback narratives for people who aren't interestied in thinking beyond cliches.


We are talking about the media here. Thoughtfulness is not a quality that is cherished.
   711. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: December 17, 2012 at 01:45 AM (#4326450)
We are talking about the media here. Thoughtfulness is not a quality that is cherished.


Granted. But I'm not asking why the talking heads at Fox picked the Giants over the Falcons today. I *know* why Michael Strahan has a bias. I am asking why folks here are falling for the same line of thinking.
   712. Yardape Posted: December 17, 2012 at 01:55 AM (#4326454)
I am asking why folks here are falling for the same line of thinking.


Well, the Falcons are (were) 14th in weighted DVOA. New England, Denver and Green Bay are 1,3,7. It's not all narrative, there is some statistical basis for believing Atlanta is somewhat worse than their record.
   713. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: December 17, 2012 at 01:56 AM (#4326455)
Well, the Falcons are (were) 14th in weighted DVOA.


Could you give me a layman's breakdown of what DVOA entails?

EDIT: I looked it up. Please tell me why this has value over actual results?

EDIT2: Why, for example, should I value an abstract statistical ranking that says the Falcons are worse than three teams they beat in head to head competition (as of last week?)
   714. DA Baracus Posted: December 17, 2012 at 02:08 AM (#4326459)
Granted. But I'm not asking why the talking heads at Fox picked the Giants over the Falcons today. I *know* why Michael Strahan has a bias. I am asking why folks here are falling for the same line of thinking.


Because despite having the #1 seed, the Falcons aren't particularly impressive. They're pretty much a one dimensional team, they pass the ball well (in fairness, the pass defense is okay). Granted, if you are going to be a one dimensional team right now, pass offense is the one you want. But one dimensional teams don't generally go far in the playoffs unless they are great at that one dimension, and the Falcons aren't, they're "merely" good. They have played noticeably better at home this year and with home field advantage that is nice to have.

There's not just DVOA. There's also Advanced NFL Stat's efficiency rankings. Pro Football Reference's SRS has them as the 6th best team in the NFC (I think that's harsh), with their offense being 11th and their defense 5th, which seems backwards to me. They also say the Falcons have had the easiest schedule and the overall rankings almost mirror FO's SoS.

When you have multiple methods independently coming to similar conclusions, they are probably on to something.
   715. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: December 17, 2012 at 02:17 AM (#4326461)
When you have multiple methods independently coming to similar conclusions, they are probably on to something.


And what if those multiple methods consistently fail to predict reality? Look, I'm not saying the Falcons are a great team or a lock to go to the Superbowl. They are a good offensive team with a lot of weapons, but a notable weakness on short yardage downs. They have a better defense than most people seem to realize. They have unspectacular but consistently effective special teams.

And they keep winning. So far, they've been beaten by two divisional rivals who see them twice a year and know their playbook as well as anyone.

Again, I'm not saying they're great, but I really don't see how the rest of the league has a notably tougher schedule. Beating Arizona isn't notably more impressive than beating New Orleans. Tieing them isn't notably more impressive than losing in the Superdome by a FG. I really don't see how Chicago is that much better of a team than Tampa Bay.

It seems to me that the SOS arguments make their assumptions about who are strong or weak, and then seem to predict their own assumptions as conclusions. I could be wrong. But a DVOA stat that tells me (last week) that the Falcons are worse than the Redskins (beat head to head), Giants (destroyed today) and Broncos (beat head to head) just seems to me to be out of touch with reality at some point.
   716. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: December 17, 2012 at 02:29 AM (#4326463)
And what if those multiple methods consistently fail to predict reality?


They don't. DVOA is a vastly better predictor of future results than team record.
   717. DA Baracus Posted: December 17, 2012 at 02:35 AM (#4326464)
Nobody tied Arizona. The Niners tied the Rams.

But a DVOA stat that tells me (last week) that the Falcons are worse than the Redskins (beat head to head), Giants (destroyed today) and Broncos (beat head to head) just seems to me to be out of touch with reality at some point.


Oh I've got my problems with all of those individually. Collectively though they begin to paint a picture. I don't hold that picture as gospel by any means, but it's worth something.
   718. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 17, 2012 at 08:58 AM (#4326497)
i have been watching the packers play football for a long time. green bay has had some poor head coaches. ray mclean. forrest gregg who encouraged thuggery. lindy infante was in way over his head. ray rhodes who seemed completely unaware of what was happening on the field.

but given:

--on the road
--leading the game
--7 minutes left
--opposing team struggling on offense
--your team able to run the ball with some success
--bad track/modicum of wind
--a win clinches the division

to call a backwards lateral pass back up near your own goal line to a guy who has barely played this season much less touch the ball is easily, and i mean this with no hyperbole or embellishment, the worst single play call in the history of me watching green bay packer football.

and it's not close. that was just a absurdly stupid call. inane. lacking any semblance of common sense or rationale

mike mccarthy has 1001 good traits and is one heckuva coach. but boy, he sure has a bag of stupid available to him. he reaches in sometimes and good golly but it's a pile of dumb. wow

just.................wow
   719. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 17, 2012 at 09:04 AM (#4326501)
by the way, that is the third time since peppers joined the bears that i can recall where julius peppers has nailed rodgers in the head with his helmet and it has been called a personal foul each time. i was a bit puzzled why aikman(it was aikman yes?) kept griping that it was a bad call. their helmets collided. pepper knocked himself silly in the process. and this after claiming the packers should get called for a blow to the head when raji brushes cutler's facemask? that's just a strange dichotomy

as for the interference calls the last one could have been called on shields just as well. the first two were pretty clear. and the refs blew the first one which was a call on shields when shields was grabbed on the facemask.

but i undersatnd if chicago fans think they got jobbed.

   720. Eddo Posted: December 17, 2012 at 11:23 AM (#4326590)
ok, let's move away from your metrics for a moment. Choose any one of those eight Seahawks road games that would make any NFC host agree that "there's a reasonably strong case to make that the Seahawks are the last NFC team you'd want to face right now."

feel free to list which OTHER NFC playoff team they would rather host, and please denote which feebler road efforts and other evidence would make this host prefer this other team....

OK, you're just completely hung up on the road/home split.

First of all, I said "face", not "host". I will give you that a home playoff game is important, but that's regardless of the opponent.

Every NFC playoff contender, except for Washington and Dallas, has been better at home this year. In terms of W/L, the Giants, Packers, and Falcons are all +2. The 49ers are +0.5, the Bears are +1 (5-3 vs. 3-3), the Seahawks are +3, and the Vikings are +4.

And the Seahawks are, by most measures, a better team that all but the 49ers and Packers, and even there, it's questionable.

As for "feebler road efforts", the Seahawks worst road performance was either a three-point loss at Miami, four-point loss at Detroit, or a six-point loss at St. Louis.

By contrast, the 49ers lost by eleven at Minnesota and twenty-three at New York (Giants)
The Falcons lost by ten at Carolina (a game that was 23-0 at 30-13 at different points).
The Bears lost by thirteen at Green Bay, twenty-five at San Francisco, and seven at Minnesota.
The Vikings lost by twelve at Washington, eighteen at Chicago, and nine at Green Bay.
The Packers lost by twenty-eight at New York (Giants).
The Cowboys lost by twenty at Seattle and six at Atlanta.
The Redskins lost by fifteen at Pittsburgh.
And the Giants lost by eighteen at Cincinnati and thirty-four at Atlanta.

And that's not all the road losses by other playoff contenders, just the ones by at least as much as Seattle's worst road loss.
   721. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 17, 2012 at 11:31 AM (#4326599)
i wonder how many of those bad road losses came when the home team was coming off its bye week? i think that was the case for several of the teams above.
   722. Eddo Posted: December 17, 2012 at 11:36 AM (#4326606)
i wonder how many of those bad road losses came when the home team was coming off its bye week? i think that was the case for several of the teams above.

Could be true, Harveys. I'm simply responding to the challenge to find "feebler road efforts" among NFC playoff contenders. Turns out, there are several.
   723. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 17, 2012 at 11:53 AM (#4326626)
for the record i will believe that the giants are out of the playoffs when multiple news sources have confirmed that they have been eliminated. i am not buying that they are in trouble until they are announced dead several times over
   724. Kurt Posted: December 17, 2012 at 12:31 PM (#4326680)
Eddo, the Niners' loss to the Giants was a home game for them.
   725. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: December 17, 2012 at 12:32 PM (#4326681)


And what if those multiple methods consistently fail to predict reality?


A few years back Atlanta (curiously) got off to a hot start and were ranked low by DVOA, and Football Outsiders was plagued with visitors saying that the rankings sucked, that the record is what matters, etc. etc. Then Atlanta lost a bunch of games and it sorted itself out.
   726. Eddo Posted: December 17, 2012 at 12:41 PM (#4326694)
Eddo, the Niners' loss to the Giants was a home game for them.

Ah, thanks. I put that list together pretty quickly, I must have read p-f-r's page incorrectly.
   727. Howie Menckel Posted: December 17, 2012 at 12:43 PM (#4326696)

"OK, you're just completely hung up on the road/home split."

Yes, 30+ years of Seattle football gives me absolutely no reason to differentiate between the two. It's not as if the Seahawks play in the league's loudest, most distracting stadium - oh, wait, they do.

and "feebler road efforts" refers to their full body of work. I guess it's nice that the Seahawks were competitive in losing to a bunch of lottery teams, but unfortunately they won't draw any of those teams in the playoffs. Which of those road games screams "wow, no one wants to have THEM come to town in the playoffs!" compared to all of the other NFC possibilities (well, the Bears have one foot in the grave, so they might be preferable).

   728. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: December 17, 2012 at 12:48 PM (#4326705)
A few years back Atlanta (curiously) got off to a hot start and were ranked low by DVOA, and Football Outsiders was plagued with visitors saying that the rankings sucked, that the record is what matters, etc. etc. Then Atlanta lost a bunch of games and it sorted itself out.


Last week DVOA said the Falcons were worse than three teams they've beaten in head to head competition. Why should I look for some sort of pythag project when I have actual results from the field of play?
   729. Tripon Posted: December 17, 2012 at 12:56 PM (#4326722)
Anything new on the NHL front? At this point, I'm more interested if a bunch of rich owners can't get in front of their own missteps at this point.
   730. Kurt Posted: December 17, 2012 at 12:58 PM (#4326723)
A few years back Atlanta (curiously) got off to a hot start and were ranked low by DVOA, and Football Outsiders was plagued with visitors saying that the rankings sucked, that the record is what matters, etc. etc. Then Atlanta lost a bunch of games and it sorted itself out.

And then a year or two later FO was plagued by Giants fans complaining about the rankings. Then the Giants won the Super Bowl and we were given lengthy treatises on the randomness of individual football games.

DVOA, in addition to being a black-box stat, appears to be unfalsifiable. Game results which conform with the rankings prove their correctness; game results that don't are the result of luck. Schatz was ready to overhaul the playoff system when Arizona beat the DVOA darling Eagles in the NFCCG.

Sam is only wrong in that he seems to care what DVOA or anybody else thinks about the Falcons. If they win in January, all will be forgotten.
   731. zack Posted: December 17, 2012 at 01:02 PM (#4326726)
I'm more interested if a bunch of rich owners can't get in front of their own missteps at this point.

Not on your life, they're going to court. The PA is moving to decertify the union, but to my knowledge hasn't actually voted on it yet. In response, the league is suing the player's association, claiming they are barganing in bad faith, as if the exact opposite weren't the case.

They're really too close to be going to court, but ######## will be ########. If it does, the season is toast.
   732. JJ1986 Posted: December 17, 2012 at 01:04 PM (#4326733)
Last week DVOA said the Falcons were worse than three teams they've beaten in head to head competition. Why should I look for some sort of pythag project when I have actual results from the field of play?


The Cardinals beat the Seahawks and the Patriots head-to-head. I think the Falcons are underrated, but that's not a great argument.
   733. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: December 17, 2012 at 01:08 PM (#4326742)
Sam is only wrong in that he seems to care what DVOA or anybody else thinks about the Falcons. If they win in January, all will be forgotten.


I am fully aware of this, for the record. The reason the Falcons are not respected is because Matt Ryan and Mike Smith have been eliminated from the playoffs in the first round three years running. This is a narrative, not an argument. But because people want to pretend their narrative is an argument, they make up really poorly constructed "strength of schedule" arguments, and claim that one team that has two and a half quality wins and the rest is filler is clearly a better team, in 2012, than another team that has two and a half quality wins and some filler, based on the results of 2009-11.
   734. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 17, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4326769)
sam

if it's any consolation i will gladly take the packers should green bay meet atlanta. location is irrelevant.

i just think the packers are a bad matchup for the falcons
   735. Kurt Posted: December 17, 2012 at 01:31 PM (#4326776)
The reason the Falcons are not respected is because Matt Ryan and Mike Smith have been eliminated from the playoffs in the first round three years running.

Let's be fair - the reason they're not respected is because they've been *embarrassed* in the playoffs three straight times. Their "best" playoff loss is to Arizona.

Everything else you say is correct, and just the way things go in sports. Peyton Manning was a "choker" who couldn't win the big one until he did, etc. etc.
   736. cmd600 Posted: December 17, 2012 at 01:46 PM (#4326810)
should I value an abstract statistical ranking that says the Falcons are worse than three teams they beat in head to head


And lost to two teams behind them. This argument doesn't work in the NFL.

W/R/T the schedule, compared to SF, the Falcons may end up playing just one game against a double digit win team, depending on how the NFC East shakes out, and eight games (half the schedule!) against double digit loss teams. The Niners may end up playing four games against double digit win teams and four against double digit loss teams. New Orleans is probably the 5th toughest team the Falcons had to play, and probably the 5th worst the Niners had to play. There's a huge schedule difference here.


EDIT:
The reason the Falcons are not respected is because Matt Ryan and Mike Smith have been eliminated from the playoffs in the first round three years running. This is a narrative, not an argument. But because people want to pretend their narrative is an argument, they make up really poorly constructed "strength of schedule" arguments


You do realize that no one arguing against you here is using the narrative, right? They are admitting the narrative exists by the talking heads on TV, but people here have made legitimate arguments. You are just pounding the table at this point.
   737. zenbitz Posted: December 17, 2012 at 01:48 PM (#4326816)

OK, primer on NFL advanced stats:

Just like in baseball, close wins are worth less than big wins. This is obvious - no matter what metric you look at because a fluke play / long field goal can turn a 21-20 win into a 24-21 loss (OT or not). Point differential is important and a "primary" metric of team strength.

Second - raw points differential, while more predictive than w/l will over count big, unreproducible plays (red zone turn overs, kick returns). Normalized

Yardage differential and Yards per Play is a good secondary predictor of points score. Rule of Thumb is 10 net yards per point.
But note that the Patriots garner a lot of yards and a lot of points, but they are basically an excellent offense (in Y/P) that runs an incredible number of plays. 93 plays against the 49ers! But, like OPS/RC you probably want to account for both rate and accumulation stats. EPA is expected points added - you basically just take the field position value before and after play, and take the difference and you get "expected points". You can do this on a per/play basis as well. EPA is nice but ignores converting 1st downs, and relative score. So a 12 yard give up draw on 3rd and 15 is only slightly worse than a 16 yard play. EPA is great for stuff like "should I go for it on 4th and goal from the 3". Because you realize that turning the ball over on downs inside the 3 is about 2 points better than kicking off. So a successful FG is only +1 point.

WPA is just like baseball WPA - where "win %" is a function of score differential, field position, down/distance, and time remaning. So you can get a per-play deriviative on this. Like usual WPA gets wacky late and close because whatever freak play that gets you in FG range is huge.

DVOA is an efficiency (per-play) metric based on "success rate". This is a measure of weighting yards/play based on down-and-distance and assigning a value to them (other than raw yards, which is like 0.1 points/yard). So a 3rd down or 4th down conversion is success, I think 5 yards on 1st and 10 and 6 yards on 2nd and 9 would be a success. DVOA actually gives partial success. So 4 yards on 1st and 10 is like +0.8 "successes" or something. There is some extra credit given for yards post success, I think. So getting 40 yards on 3rd and 10 is still better than 10 yards on 3rd and 10, but not 4x better (like it is with EPA). DVOA is schizophrenic in that it can't really decide if it's a predictive or performace based stat. It has components of both. It counts fumbles (forced) for the defense but assumes fumble recoveries are random (actually I think fumbled snaps like the 4 the Niners had last night are not even 50-50). Interceptions count for both offense and defense unless it's garbage time or hail maries.

Special Teams are a matter of some debate. They clearly MATTER - and they show up in anything that measures points differential, but they are considered not very predictive from year to year. Advanced Football Stats totally ignores them, but DVOA/FO actually tracks them, and heavily regresses them for their next year predictions.

The "D" in DVOA (they also have raw VOA) means opponent adjusted. This is a little circular as they use DVOA itself to measure strength of opposition, but they do it separately for Offense and Defense which I think is proper. For example - both SF and Seatlle (and Kapernick and Wilson) have "surprisingly" good passing DVOAs - a chunk of which was due to excellent performaces against Chicago's #1 (by DVOA) pass defense.

On strength of schedule - this is clearly important but you have to pick a metric to compare team strength! The "D" in DVOA (they also have raw VOA) means opponent adjusted. This is a little circular as they use DVOA itself to measure strength of opposition, but they do it separately for Offense and Defense which I think is proper. For example - both SF and Seatlle (and Kapernick and Wilson) have "surprisingly" good passing DVOAs - a chunk of which was due to excellent performaces against Chicago's #1 (by DVOA) pass defense.

Pro-football-reference has a very nice "simple rating system" based on point-differential and uses it for strength of schedule. Advanced Football stats also has a metric adjusted for opponents.
   738. SoSH U at work Posted: December 17, 2012 at 01:52 PM (#4326824)
W/R/T the schedule, compared to SF, the Falcons may end up playing just one game against a double digit win team, depending on how the NFC East shakes out, and eight games (half the schedule!) against double digit loss teams. The Niners may end up playing four games against double digit win teams and four against double digit loss teams. New Orleans is probably the 5th toughest team the Falcons had to play, and probably the 5th worst the Niners had to play. There's a huge schedule difference here.


Of course, the Niners schedule would feature more double-digit loss teams if they'd managed to beat the Rams. And the Falcons would feature more double-digit win teams if they'd manage to lose more games.

That's one of the problems with looking at schedules in the NFL.

The Falcons have undoubtedly played a softer schedule than San Fran (but let's not pretend the Niners have had to navigate some murderer's row of opponents). They've also won 1.5 more games, which should count for something.
   739. DA Baracus Posted: December 17, 2012 at 01:58 PM (#4326833)
The small schedule of the NFL means that "X amount wins against Y teams" is significantly dependent on the team in question beating those teams. It's a repeat of the "the Patriots didn't beat anybody" from last year, and nobody changed their mind then either.
   740. cmd600 Posted: December 17, 2012 at 02:06 PM (#4326846)
738 - I fully understand all of that. Normally I wouldn't make such a simple comparison, but Rickey is determined to throw out anything more than simply glancing at the results. We can do that and still see that the Niners schedule was tougher.

Edit: can't edit my previous post, but I completely recant it. I was just trying to make an appeal to Rickey at his level. I fully understand the problems with simply looking at W/L record. I did not intend to devolve the discussion.
   741. zenbitz Posted: December 17, 2012 at 02:06 PM (#4326849)
So - what I like to do is look at all 3 sites (FO/ADFS/PFR) and see where they are agreeing and/or disagreeing.

From all of them I think the AFC/NFC are pretty close at the top 4 teams (NE, DEN, SF, SEA) but the next tier the NFC has 5 teams - GB, ATL, CHI, NYG, and the AFC has the Texans (the various metrics argue somewhat about the ranking of the top 10, and I am not going to list them).

Note that ATL is second tier BEFORE crushing the Giants, they will go up. Also, Advanced Football Stats bizzarely has Carolina 3rd (FO has and WAS > GB (both CAR and WAS have terrible special teams performances).

But the AFC has the 5 WORST teams in the league, so the overall conference strength is much worse. PFR has only the Jets playing an above average SoS (and only the Bucs and Falcons below average in the NFC).

On Atlanta - they are 6th by Simple Rating System, 11th by DVOA, and 8th by Advancedfootballstats. Their SoS from PFR is 16th in the NFC but would be 6th in the AFC. Football Outsiders rates them 32nd in (past) SoS - while the Niners and Seahawks have had a very tough schedule.


   742. zenbitz Posted: December 17, 2012 at 02:08 PM (#4326851)
Of course, the Niners schedule would feature more double-digit loss teams if they'd managed to beat the Rams. And the Falcons would feature more double-digit win teams if they'd manage to lose more games.


Of course, this is why you don't use W/L record to determine Strength of Schedule. Because (not just the Niners/Rams games) there are lots of games that are coinflips at the end. (Sometimes quite literally). If there was a 82 game schedule this would probably all work out.
   743. DA Baracus Posted: December 17, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4326857)
Yeah, Carolina third at ADFS is bizarre. But that's why you don't take any singular one as gospel, you aggregate them, and even then don't take them as gospel. Or you could unskew them...
   744. zenbitz Posted: December 17, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4326878)
should I value an abstract statistical ranking that says the Falcons are worse than three teams they beat in head to head


Wait, what? The Broncos - sure. The Giants - well that game hasn't yet been considered. Oh, the Redskins are essentially tied with the Falcons in DVOA and one notch above.

I did not expect the Falcons to shellack the Giants. Nor did any abstract statistical ranking. Did anyone? The fact that they DID shellack them is, indeed evidence that they are better than the 8th-11th best team in the NFL. DVOA and point-differential systems are based on the observation that really good teams don't just win close games, they beat down bad teams by 21+.

Ancedotally - the Falcons squeaked by the Cards at Home, a team that lost 9 in a row (including the falcons game) and such gems as:

SF 24 ARZ 3
STL 17 ARZ 3
STL 34 ARZ 17
GB 34 ARZ 17
SEA 58 ARZ 0

That is what the abstract statistical ranking systems are seeing. On a neutral field - I will take SF and SEA over the Falcons (and I think vegas will too). A healthier GB team would beat them too.

The Falcons have faced the 32nd, 31st, 30th (twice), 27th, 24th (twice), 23rd and 20th best Pass Defenses (DVOA) this year.
   745. zenbitz Posted: December 17, 2012 at 02:31 PM (#4326884)
The Niners and the Giants by the way have a HUGE game-to-game variance. Really tremendous beat downs and really flat out poor performances mixed together.
   746. DA Baracus Posted: December 17, 2012 at 02:35 PM (#4326891)
Ancedotally - the Falcons squeaked by the Cards at Home, a team that lost 9 in a row (including the falcons game) and such gems as:

SF 24 ARZ 3
STL 17 ARZ 3
STL 34 ARZ 17
GB 34 ARZ 17
SEA 58 ARZ 0


The Cardinals weren't that good at the beginning of the season, but they are significantly worse right now. They lost their starting QB and a bunch of offensive lineman. Only the best teams in the league can survive that. To consider a game against them in September as the same as a game against them in November is unfair.

   747. DKDC Posted: December 17, 2012 at 02:36 PM (#4326893)
As a Redskins fan, I’d feel very good about facing the Falcons if you told me RG3 was going to play all 4 quarters.
   748. zenbitz Posted: December 17, 2012 at 02:41 PM (#4326902)
Oh, and on the Patriots - Niners.

"The Comeback that Wasn't" I think was a function of three things.

Harbaugh goes ultra-conservative offensively with a 2 score lead. They only reason he GOT a 4-score lead was the early turnovers in the 3Q. They have a good running game but only when teams kinda respect the pass. I think this is actually a valid strategy against teams with non-elite QBs. But against Brady, Brees, Mannings it's going to cost them a game. (And while Eli isn't in this class, he excels at this type of play). Not sure what would happen against Matt Ryan, Russell Wilson, RGIII and the like... but I hope they figure out a way to keep moving the ball without turning it over.

Maybe this game will teach him to be a little less risk-adverse up 14+. Also, when Akers was on they could settle for FGs. I dunno whats wrong with him but... "That man is un-reliable".

Justin Smith was out of the game for the 4th Q and some of the 3rd. Zone defense is one thing (and possibly they over did it) but coverage patterns aren't that important when you aren't getting the pass rush. Maybe one drive was pure zone, but then they went back to man-under and Lloyd kept burning them on the sideline anyway. Eventually they got a pass-rush with the B-team and iced the game. There are rumors of lots of uncalled holding during the comeback... but whatever.

The weather cleared up a bit - not as wet and colder and it was easier to throw and catch and not fumble the ball. I think this sort of explains the soft-ish zone early in the 4Q. They are forcing a lot of plays and trying to make big hits and force mistakes while chewing the clock a bit.

   749. Kurt Posted: December 17, 2012 at 02:52 PM (#4326913)
The Cardinals weren't that good at the beginning of the season, but they are significantly worse right now. They lost their starting QB and a bunch of offensive lineman. Only the best teams in the league can survive that. To consider a game against them in September as the same as a game against them in November is unfair.

Which September game is being considered here? The Cardinals played Atlanta in mid-November.


   750. DA Baracus Posted: December 17, 2012 at 03:00 PM (#4326917)
Which September game is being considered here? The Cardinals played Atlanta in mid-November.


Their win against the Patriots has been mentioned a few times as an example of how the Falcons haven't had an easier schedule.

   751. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: December 17, 2012 at 03:15 PM (#4326936)
i just think the packers are a bad matchup for the falcons


I think you're wrong. The matchup that concerns me as a Falcons fan is San Fran and their new, Cam Newton-lite QB. The Falcons have real trouble defensively with the run, and with big running QBs. I think the secondary has improved enough to hang with Rodgers and the Pack. I don't know that they can stop Kaepernick if he's on.
   752. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: December 17, 2012 at 03:23 PM (#4326948)
And the Falcons played Arizona with a banged up Julio Jones. NFL teams play through injuries.
   753. OsunaSakata Posted: December 17, 2012 at 03:48 PM (#4326980)
It doesn't matter to me, but I'm hearing the whispers that Adrian Peterson could not produce a record-breaking year immediately after such a devastating injury without having some chemical help.
   754. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 17, 2012 at 04:00 PM (#4326992)
The Niners and the Giants by the way have a HUGE game-to-game variance. Really tremendous beat downs and really flat out poor performances mixed together.


As do the Packers, who destroyed the Texans but got blown out by the Giants. And the Texans have blown out the Ravens and the Broncos but have been destroyed by the Packers and the Patriots.

The only NFL team that hasn't had a bad beatdown this year has been the Patriots, and they sure looked like they were headed for one last night.
   755. zack Posted: December 17, 2012 at 04:00 PM (#4326993)
Enough about irrelevant teams like the Falcons. Are there any advanced stats that say the Bills are just totally unlucky you guys they're going to win 10 next year while totally playing in Buffalo still?
   756. Tripon Posted: December 17, 2012 at 04:02 PM (#4326999)
I'm sure he had a doctor's note for it. If Peterson is taking something illegally for it. I think it shows how beneficial some of this stuff actually is, and should be under allowed under doctor's supervision.

If something works to help promote healing, there shouldn't be a ban on it.
   757. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 17, 2012 at 04:03 PM (#4327002)
sam

what works against green bay is a superlative pass rush. period. you pass rush with 4 guys and 7 guys drop off. that has been the basic formula that has repeatedly stymied the packer offense because mccarthy is too stubborn to commit to running the ball enough to get a team out of that approach

atlanta has a below average pass rush any way you slice it. rodgers kills teams who don't get in his face

   758. smileyy Posted: December 17, 2012 at 04:28 PM (#4327040)

I'm sure he had a doctor's note for it. If Peterson is taking something illegally for it. I think it shows how beneficial some of this stuff actually is, and should be under allowed under doctor's supervision.

If something works to help promote healing, there shouldn't be a ban on it.


Doesn't the entire NFL season consist of "healing" though? That "performance recovery" or "performance maintenance" is just as much as a "performance enhancement" as surpassing some sort of arbitrary physical "baseline".

IOW, if there were a substance that kept an NFL player 100% wear-and-tear free for the season, would that be a PED? Should it be allowed?
   759. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: December 17, 2012 at 04:44 PM (#4327054)
atlanta has a below average pass rush any way you slice it.


Evidence? The Falcons have a pretty solid front four now that they've dumped Ray Edwards and started Kroy Bierman.
   760. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 17, 2012 at 05:00 PM (#4327088)
sam

atlanta is 26th in the nfl in total sacks.

you are on record as stating your doubt on footballoutsiders but that site has them below the league average in sack efficiency.

are you going to tell me the nfl isn't counting correctly?

are you going to point to some number as an alternative?

i have provided a source and its related numbers

your turn

and please, stop being a parrot. bwack, where's your evidence, bwakc,where's your evidence?

you are better than that
   761. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: December 17, 2012 at 05:17 PM (#4327105)
atlanta is 26th in the nfl in total sacks.


They do tend to pressure more than sack, and they have only notably improved the last couple of weeks, so I don't doubt this. But since the second Saints game the defensive four has been pretty good.

you are better than that


Where's your evidence?
   762. jmurph Posted: December 17, 2012 at 05:34 PM (#4327135)
As a Patriots fan, I'm not remotely concerned that Ridley is going to lose two fumbles again in the same game that Hernandez has a ball bounce off his hands into the waiting arms of a defender. That was bad luck, bad luck for which they were due.

I think the only concern about last night (and it's a big one) is the peeling away of the curtain on the idea that their defense was improving. They made the 49ers look like the 80s version of same. Short field caveats apply, absolutely, but still, you can't give up that many points to that team, especially the big throws. Houston or in-form Denver getting another shot at them in the playoffs is definitely cause for concern. But hey, this is the story of their last 6 seasons. Otherworldly offense, terrible defense that leaves little room for error. Kind of a bummer that they haven't figured out how to solve that.
   763. SoSH U at work Posted: December 17, 2012 at 05:41 PM (#4327149)
Houston or in-form Denver getting another shot at them in the playoffs is definitely cause for concern.


Houston had to be delighted with that result last night. Win once more and they lock up HFA in the AFC, plus NE is now likely to have to visit Denver in the second round while the Texans feast on either the freefalling Ravens or the Colts, the latter of whom is like the 2012 Baltimore Orioles, if the O's had a better record, a worse pythag and had played an awful schedule.

   764. jmurph Posted: December 17, 2012 at 05:46 PM (#4327153)
The seeding part is disappointing- prior to the Houston game, I had assumed they would have lost one of the two anyway, thus gifting Denver the 2nd bye. But I'll admit after they beat Houston, I was expecting them to beat SF, too. Oh well.

The only problem with the freefalling of the Colts/Ravens is this: NY Jets, possible playoff team. American doesn't need that.
   765. Eddo Posted: December 17, 2012 at 05:49 PM (#4327157)
you are better than that
Where's your evidence?

I laughed at this, Sam. Nicely done.
   766. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: December 17, 2012 at 05:58 PM (#4327164)

I think the only concern about last night (and it's a big one) is the peeling away of the curtain on the idea that their defense was improving.


I wouldn't go that far. The defense was hit-or-miss, as it has been all season. There were a number of in-game injuries that exposed the thinness of the Patriots' secondary, which we already knew about. The San Fran offense had the benefit of a number of short fields. I still think it is a middle-of-the-pack defense. Also, note that by DVOA San Francisco has the #2 offense in the nation.

So the Patriots gave up 38 points to the #2 offense in the nation, in a game in which the latter had the benefit of four turnovers. Meanwhile the #4 San Francisco defense gave up 31 to the #1 offense. I wouldn't be surprised if New England had a better defensive DVOA for that game than the 49ers.

   767. Nasty Nate Posted: December 17, 2012 at 06:04 PM (#4327173)
Let's not etch in stone a W for Denver over Cleveland next week just yet.
   768. DA Baracus Posted: December 17, 2012 at 06:11 PM (#4327178)
Let's not etch in stone a W for Denver over Cleveland next week just yet.


I'm chiseling it in stone.
   769. Langer Monk Posted: December 17, 2012 at 06:29 PM (#4327190)
Not on your life, they're going to court. The PA is moving to decertify the union, but to my knowledge hasn't actually voted on it yet. In response, the league is suing the player's association, claiming they are barganing in bad faith, as if the exact opposite weren't the case.

They're really too close to be going to court, but ######## will be ########. If it does, the season is toast.


The players vote over the next couple days, but the disclaimer of interest will almost certainly pass (it's like decertification, at least close enough for this post's needs). So, unless the owners suddenly decide that the NBA playbook isn't working for them, it's lawsuits and no season. Which is jaw-droppingly stupid.
   770. Tripon Posted: December 17, 2012 at 06:38 PM (#4327198)

The players vote over the next couple days, but the disclaimer of interest will almost certainly pass (it's like decertification, at least close enough for this post's needs). So, unless the owners suddenly decide that the NBA playbook isn't working for them, it's lawsuits and no season. Which is jaw-droppingly stupid.


Even the NBA owners realized that they kicked the crap out of the NBAPA by just enough to go back to work.
   771. Langer Monk Posted: December 17, 2012 at 06:52 PM (#4327207)
Even the NBA owners realized that they kicked the crap out of the NBAPA by just enough to go back to work.


Which is our only hope, but I have little faith the NHL figures that out. Pre-emptive lawsuit that argues the decertification, which hasn't happened yet, is bargaining in bad faith. Sometimes it looks like the league just read this all on the back of a book jacket.
   772. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: December 17, 2012 at 09:39 PM (#4327313)
[748] Maybe this game will teach him to be a little less risk-adverse up 14+.

If a tie and a loss to the Rams didn't teach him that, beating the Pats in Foxboro certainly won't, and likely nothing will.
   773. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: December 17, 2012 at 11:34 PM (#4327384)
The police reported that Garrett Reid had 19 vials of steroids on him when he died. He was working in the weight training dept. of the Eagles. His dad and Jeffrey Lurie were shocked, shocked, to hear that he had steroids.

Can you imagine the self-righteous uproar if this were baseball?

On philly.com the reporter's name was Jason Nark.
   774. zack Posted: December 18, 2012 at 12:36 AM (#4327413)
Something I was thinking about earlier today: would football be a better sport if there were no field goals? I can see what extra points provide, but what does a field goal give us? A link to history?

At least if they were drop kicks or kicked by non-specialists there'd be some interesting skill tradeoffs. Anyone want to defend them?
   775. DA Baracus Posted: December 18, 2012 at 12:42 AM (#4327416)
The Jets are entertaining, I'll give them that.

Something I was thinking about earlier today: would football be a better sport if there were no field goals?


No. If you're going to get rid of a kick, get rid of the extra point.
   776. SoSH U at work Posted: December 18, 2012 at 12:51 AM (#4327421)

At least if they were drop kicks or kicked by non-specialists there'd be some interesting skill tradeoffs. Anyone want to defend them?


I don't mind them, not necessarily as a play worth watching, but as a means of providing a different type of score and how that affects the way the game plays out.

On a sidenote, it's always bugged me that the NFL did away with the old drop kick rule, whereby you could do it from any place on the field. That would have been fantastic to see some guy take a pass and drop kick one home from the 25 as time expired.

   777. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: December 18, 2012 at 01:00 AM (#4327423)
Did they do away with it, or has it just died? I seem to recall somebody doing this in my teens (late 80s/90s)
   778. DA Baracus Posted: December 18, 2012 at 01:02 AM (#4327425)
It's still alive. Doug Flutie did the drop kick when he was on the Patriots.
   779. Howie Menckel Posted: December 18, 2012 at 01:03 AM (#4327426)

Doug Flutie did an NFL drop kick a few years back...

   780. JJ1986 Posted: December 18, 2012 at 01:03 AM (#4327427)
Fluite was behind the line of scrimmage. You used to be able to do it from in front.
   781. Rear Admiral Piazza Posted: December 18, 2012 at 01:10 AM (#4327429)
Pats with Flutie did a drop kick one game. I recall it being an FU from Belichick to the opponent, or that's how it was spun. Around 2005.
   782. SoSH U at work Posted: December 18, 2012 at 01:13 AM (#4327431)
Fluite was behind the line of scrimmage. You used to be able to do it from in front.


That's the change I was referring to. Until around 10-15 years ago, you were allowed to do it from any place on the field - now the rules governing it are the same ones covering conventional field goals. A long time ago, before the change, I read where Flutie and some of his teammates had worked on a play to run where a team was outside conventional field goal range in the closing seconds, but only needed 3 to tie or win. In the play, they would get the ball to the unguarded middle of the field and then drop-kick it. I always thought that would have been ####### awesome.

   783. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: December 18, 2012 at 01:24 AM (#4327434)
Ok, now I remember what I was thinking about.

Landry's attempt at the 'Fair Catch Kick' in 1986

Cowboys v Oilers '86 Fair Catch Kick.
   784. SoSH U at work Posted: December 18, 2012 at 01:28 AM (#4327435)
Ok, now I remember what I was thinking about.

Landry's attempt at the 'Fair Catch Kick' in 1986

Cowboys v Oilers '86 Fair Catch Kick.


Damn, you remember stuff from preseason games played 26 years ago?

The free kick after the fair catch rule is stilll in effect, to the best of my knowledge.

   785. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: December 18, 2012 at 01:29 AM (#4327436)
   786. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: December 18, 2012 at 01:30 AM (#4327437)
I think my only connection that preseason game (which I have zero recollection of) was it was mentioned over and over after Mike Cofer tried it in the '89 playoffs, that's what I remember seeing attempted.
   787. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 18, 2012 at 03:03 AM (#4327466)
It's time to cut bait with Sanchez. If he is an NFL quarterback - and there is ever-vanishing evidence of that - he simply will not succeed in the Jets' laughable system. The Jets have a horizontal offense at a time when the league rules almost demand a vertical one.

It's time to see if Sanchez sinks or swims in a non-retarded offensive system.

Rex Ryan should be demoted to defensive coordinator since that's all he is - it being the requirement of a head coach to exhibit the faintest understanding of how to score points in the 2012 NFL - or, given that a demotion is not practical, should be fired. Along with the OC.

Sanchez made horrible decisions all night long, throwing into double coverage time and again. The kicker was when he was driving with the season on the line and threw off his back foot into triple coverage for no reason at all, it being first and ten on the 23 with 5 minutes to play. The botched shotgun snap was just the final joke.

This "playoff run" was fueled by barely squeaking out wins against bad teams - Arizona and Jacksonville, and then finally falling to the Titans.

   788. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 18, 2012 at 03:15 AM (#4327468)
How long do good quarterbacks take to "find themselves"? My impression is 1-2 years (*) and if they're not good in year 3 then there is a serious question whether they'll ever be good. Sanchez will be going into year 5.

(*) Although maybe I'm thinking of the great QBs.
   789. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: December 18, 2012 at 08:49 AM (#4327505)
I looked at it a little bit before the season, Ray, and I want to say 2-3 years, with the 27-28 year old season as the hinge where the great ones - Brady, Manning, etc - really kick into gear.
   790. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 18, 2012 at 10:03 AM (#4327524)
There are examples of QBs coming into their own later than that, even into their 30s. Rich Gannon knocked around with several teams until landing in Oakland in his mid-30s, where he turned into an MVP. Vinny Testaverde was bad through his Tampa Bay years (although the team around him was horrible too), then finally made All-Pro as a Jet at the age of 35. Jim Plunkett lost his job with two bad teams before becoming a Super Bowl quarterback with the Raiders at age 33.

All those guys had obvious physical skills, though, and just took time to learn how to play quarterback. Sanchez makes bad decisions, which would seem to be potentially correctable, but he also doesn't seem to have a particularly strong or accurate arm.
   791. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: December 18, 2012 at 10:19 AM (#4327533)
All those guys had obvious physical skills, though, and just took time to learn how to play quarterback. Sanchez makes bad decisions, which would seem to be potentially correctable, but he also doesn't seem to have a particularly strong or accurate arm.


I think a lot of that had to do rule changes, Tom. Gannon and Testaverde "came into their own" in 1999-2000, right when the league was switching to the "no bad touch on the QB" and offensive friendly rules re: pass interference, etc. They also picked up with much better teams (in OAK and NYJ respectively) than they'd been saddled with previously.
   792. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: December 18, 2012 at 10:24 AM (#4327537)
Rex Ryan should be demoted to defensive coordinator since that's all he is - it being the requirement of a head coach to exhibit the faintest understanding of how to score points

Like father, like son.
   793. jmurph Posted: December 18, 2012 at 10:48 AM (#4327556)
Rex Ryan should be demoted to defensive coordinator since that's all he is - it being the requirement of a head coach to exhibit the faintest understanding of how to score points in the 2012 NFL - or, given that a demotion is not practical, should be fired.


It's worse than that, I think. He's bad at every publicly knowable part of the job of a head coach, outside of calling defensive plays. His guys constantly ##### about each other anonymously in the press. The locker room, by all accounts, is a mess. He has shown no talent at all for picking players, or understanding fit. And he also just constantly embarrasses the team with his mouth (or at least they should be embarrassed). I don't get his value at this point.
   794. jmurph Posted: December 18, 2012 at 10:49 AM (#4327560)
Also, who could have predicted the Sanchez/Tebow thing would have backfired? Aside from absolutely everyone, I mean. Whoever was responsible for that decision should not be employed next year.
   795. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: December 18, 2012 at 10:55 AM (#4327565)
Also, who could have predicted the Sanchez/Tebow thing would have backfired? Aside from absolutely everyone, I mean. Whoever was responsible for that decision should not be employed next year.

so Woody Johnson should fire himself?
   796. jmurph Posted: December 18, 2012 at 10:57 AM (#4327569)
so Woody Johnson should fire himself?


Seriously, that was at the owner-level? Yikes. Good luck Jets fans.
   797. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: December 18, 2012 at 10:59 AM (#4327570)
Tim Tebow is a *fantastic* personal protector for the punter.
   798. Random Transaction Generator Posted: December 18, 2012 at 11:06 AM (#4327578)
Mark Sanchez (after 61 games)
68 TD, 68 INT, 72.0 Rating, 55.2% completion

Joe Namath (after 61 games)
88 TD, 98 INT, 69.5 Rating, 50.2% completion

Sounds like Sanchez is on his way to a HOF career!
   799. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: December 18, 2012 at 01:37 PM (#4327700)
And he also just constantly embarrasses the team with his mouth (or at least they should be embarrassed).

He does have a tendency for putting a foot in his mouth.
   800. JJ1986 Posted: December 18, 2012 at 01:46 PM (#4327705)
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