Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Football Muse You Can Use

For our Wednesday NFL Reset column this week, I wanted to get something for you to examine that I have been meaning to publish for a few weeks. It is a trend that I love to follow because September is always the month everyone projects their own personal playoff predictions.

I am no different, and this year I predicted (before the season started) that the Eagles, Cowboys, Packers, Saints, Seahawks, and Falcons would make the NFC Playoffs, and the Patriots, Colts, Bengals, Steelers, Chargers, and Titans would make the AFC Playoffs. I had the Saints-Chargers in the Super Bowl, with the Saints winning it all.

Anyway, the reason I wanted to print it here (rather than just say it on the radio) was to show you a very interesting trend that one should consider before guessing who is going to be in the 2009 playoffs. And, I should have shown you this 3 weeks ago so you could have known this before you made your own predictions. Sorry. I have been really busy with all of this Football 301 stuff.

The Trend is this - Since 1991, when the NFL Expanded its playoffs to 12 teams, each year has averaged 5.8 new teams each year. To say it slightly differently, only 6 teams make it back to the playoffs the next year - and the other 6 teams are brand new.

Obviously, this flies in the face of most of our predictions. Because we look at each season and assume those who made it to last year's tournament will no doubt have good years - and those who failed in 2008 are doomed to fail in 2009. It just isn't true. In the chart below, I will show you each year, and list the new teams who made the playoffs that year, but weren't in the playoffs the year before. The teams in the 1991 playoffs (the 1st year - so they were all new) were Dal, Atl, NO, Chi, Wash, and Det in the NFC; KC, Oak, Hou, NYJ, Den, and Buf in the AFC:
Year# NewNew Teams making Playoffs
19926Min, SF, Phi, Mia, Pit, KC
19935Det, GB, NYG, Oak, Den
19945Chi, Mia, Clev, NE, SD
19954Phi, Atl, Ind, Buf
19965Min, Car, Jac, Den, NE
19975NYG, Det, TB, KC, Mia
19985Arz, Dal, Atl, NYJ, Buf
19997Det, TB, StL, Was, Sea, Ten, Ind
20006Phi, NYG, NO, Den, Bal, Oak
20016SF, GB, Chi, Pit, NE, NYJ
20025NYG, Atl, Ten, Cle, Ind
20038Stl, Car, Dal, Sea, NE, KC, Bal, Den
20045Min, Atl, SD, Pit, NYJ
20057Was, Car, TB, NYG, Chi, Cin, Jac
20067Phi. Dal, NO, SD, Bal, NYJ, KC
20076Was, TB, GB, Pit, Ten, Jac
20087Phi, Atl, Car, Min, Arz, Mia, Bal

Table Tutorial

Shocking right? It seems impossible but there is your evidence. Every year when picking your NFL playoff picture, you should pick 6 teams who made it last year - and 6 who did not.

In 2008, the NFL Playoff field had the Eagles, Falcons, Panthers, Giants, Vikings, and Cardinals in the NFC; And Dolphins, Chargers, Steelers, Titans, Colts, and Ravens in the AFC.

So, I have 6 new teams making the playoffs - Dallas, New England, Green Bay, New Orleans, Seahawks, and Bengals. And, no, I am not sure if Hard Knocks sucked me in on the Bengals. And yes, I already want do-overs.

Just some meat for you to chew on today-


Here, let's check in with our "winning correlation" numbers for the week. If you are familiar with what I am doing here, it is to check what people say about winning. Is it important to win the turnover battle to win a game? Absolutely, Positively! What about 100 yard rushers? Or 300 yard passers? Not as much. Here are the latest results:

Week 2 Turnover results:

Totals for Week11-1
Totals for Season20-4, 83%

Table Tutorial

Wow. Every team that won the turnover battle also won the game? How did Houston win in Tennessee? Turnovers. How did Oakland win on the road while being outgained by a mile? Turnovers. How about the Colts winning with fewer than 15 minutes of possession? +1 didn't hurt the cause. The one exception this week is a rare 10 point underdog road win by the Bengals in Green Bay. Mike McCarthy must be beside himself this week.

Here is the sliding scale for the season to date. You can see that -4 is not a good number if you are a Dallas fan.

TotalRecordWin %

Table Tutorial

And our other projects to track showed no correlation to winning for the week, but both 100 yard rushers and 300 yard passers still have nice win percentages for the season:

100+ Yard Rushers in Week 2:

Frank GoreSFSea207W
Chris JohnsonTennHou197L
Fred JacksonBufTB163W
Cedric BensonCinGB141W
Marion BarberDalNYG124L
Michael TurnerAtlCar105W
Steven JacksonStlWsh104L
Totals for Week 4-3
Totals for Season 9-3, 75%

Table Tutorial

300 Yard Passers in Week 2:

Phil RiversSDBal436L
Kevin KolbPhilNO391L
Matt SchaubHouTen358W
Eli ManningNYGDal330W
Drew BreesNOPhil311W
Jake DelhommeCarAtl308L
Peyton ManningIndMia303W
Totals for Week 4-3
Totals for Season 10-3, 77%

Table Tutorial


First, a Romo/Cowboys email:

A couple of comments on the Giants game:

1. Romo is not a "clutch" player. I understand he has had great numbers over his short career, with a gaudy passer rating. But anytime the Cowboys are faced with a key game (playoffs, or games in December to get us into the playoffs), he chokes. The home opener had a playoff feel to it...key rival, winner takes early edge in the division, and of course the opening of JerryWorld. And what happens? Romo chokes. He can't handle high pressure games.

He's still a much better quarterback than what most teams have, obviously. But I don't put him in the elite category of quarterbacks, guys like Peyton Manning, Ben Ben Roethlisberger, etc. The reality is that quarterbacks who can consistently win games in playoff situations are pretty damn rare, and right now Romo just doesn't seem to be at that level.

2. Is it time to admit Newman is overrated? He may be the top cornerback on this team, but that's not saying much. He's not a shutdown corner that you can just stick on the team's best receiver. Feels like he gets beat just as often as anyone else. And that whole secondary just seems like a mess right now. Eli was 25 of 38, but I swear the majority of his missed passes were his own fault...the receiver was usually wide open, even the ones he missed.



And here is some college football stuff worth looking at:

Yes I am a Tech fan and I was at the game. From my seats I didn’t think it warranted a flag. What do you think? Take a look at the last frame, not complaining just wondering. Also there has been a lot of talk about the hit but not enough about his toughness. He came back in and kept throwing strikes. Thanks!

Nate P1 Keller

A couple things about this stunning play that helped turn the game for Texas. If you were watching, you know that there was significant doubt at this point of the game in the minds of the 102,000 in Austin. Tech was not playing well for the first half, but then as the 3rd Quarter developed, Taylor Potts started orchestrating that Tech spread with ease. The Raiders were getting points, and the Horns were still in good shape - but were being made to work pretty hard as the game went to the 4th.

On this drive, it sure looked like the Longhorns defense decided that they should turn it up to 11. This sequence was the final hit in about 3 or 4 plays in a row where the Horns defenders had very bad intentions behind their collisions.

So here is Sergio Kindle, who is thought of as a Top 10 pick if he picks his production up, but a 1st Round pick even if he doesn't make another play in college.

A few things to look at:

1) Tech Right Tackle Marlon Winn hardly touches him.
2) Kindle's speed off the snap is absurd.
3) The final replay shows Kindle deserved a 15 yarder for trying to decapitate Potts.

Amazing play, and since it wasn't called, it was the play that I will always remember that turned that game into a Longhorns victory. If it is called, Tech may have been able to put a drive together. But, Tech fans, it isn't illegal if it isn't called. That kid is scary as a 3-4 edge rusher at the next level.

Speaking of, has a good draft page up already.

Kindle's scouting report on Insider.

And, right below Sam Bradford on their mock, is Eric Berry from Tennessee. Kiper called him Ed Reed as a playmaking safety. He may be, but I am not sure I recall Ed Reed being knocked back by a QB like Tim Tebow rocks him here:

Great stuff. Tomorrow, we begin to analyze the Carolina Panthers.

No comments: