2013 COAS/SSLYAR Pigskin Pick’Em: Week 13

Apologies to everyone involved for throwing these picks up late – traveling 370 miles to visit family on Thanksgiving Day doesn’t leave much time for writing NFL synopses, but better late than never! At least that’s what I’m hoping. In the interest of full disclosure, here’s how Lucas and I picked yesterday’s games:

Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions (-5.5)

Lucas: Packers. I know, Aaron Rodgers isn’t playing, and this isn’t 2011, but remember the last time Matt Flynn played Detroit? Also, it’s Thanksgiving, so Ndamukong Suh is due to do something that reminds us all that he’s a dirty player. If you don’t believe me, Evan Dietrich-Smith’s arm and Matt Schaub’s balls would like a word with you.

Nathaniel: Lions. I predict the Lions will rack up over 500 yards of offense and the Packers won’t crack 100 until James Jones catches a long pass on their last possession of the game. I also predict Aaron Rodgers’ mustache will look awesome on the sideline.

Oakland Raiders at Dallas Cowboys (-9.5)

Lucas: Raiders. This is less about Matt McGloin starting and more about I don’t trust the Cowboys to win by double digits. I think they win; it is November, after all, but I like the points here.

Nathaniel: Raiders. I predict that the Cowboys will find a way to give up a touchdown on their opening kickoff return of the game, but still win anyway. I also predict Sebastian Janikowski will lead an inspiring last second backdoor cover for the Raiders.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens (-2.5)

Lucas: Ravens. General rule of thumb: take the Ravens at home. Pitt will make this a game, but the Ravens are a better team at home than they are on the road.

Nathaniel: Ravens. I predict the Steelers will score three touchdowns on their final possession but only one of them will stand. I also predict that Emmanuel Sanders will suck at catching passes like he always does.

Okay, fine, I wrote my synopses retroactively – all the picks are accurate, however. Lucas went 1-2 yesterday and I went 2-1. Lucas still leads overall this year by five games. Here’s how we’re picking the rest of Week 13′s games:

Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (-0.5)

Lucas: Vikings. Be prepared to hear a lot of this on Sunday, Bears fans.

Nathaniel: Bears. You don’t have to remind me how bad the Bears defense has been this year, but how exactly does a matchup with 2-8-1 team vs. a 6-5 team get called a virtual pick’em? There’s a reason the 2-8-1 team’s only won two games all year.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Cleveland Browns (-7.5)

Lucas: Jaguars. Why am I on a Jaguars kick lately? This was a team that just a month ago was being hyped up as maybe the worst team ever! Hey, morons, still think the best college teams can beat Jacksonville? Also, Brandon Weeden.

Nathaniel: Jaguars. In five short weeks, Browns fans will (Lord-willing) never be subjected to Brandon Weeden’s sadistic forms of torture ever again. For the love of God, please find something else to do at 1 o’clock on Sundays in December, Browns fans.

Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts (-4.5)

Lucas: Colts. Indy has been kind of awful lately, but coming home to face a mediocre Titans team might be just what the doctor ordered.

Nathaniel: Titans. I don’t like having to put my faith in Ryan Fitzpatrick, but I really don’t think the Colts are a good team right now and Reggie Wayne isn’t walking through that door any time soon.

Miami Dolphins at New York Jets (-1.5)

Lucas: Jets. Maybe Nathaniel is right and the Jets can only win in odd numbered weeks.

Nathaniel: Dolphins. Sure hope I’m wrong this week, though!

New England Patriots at Houston Texans (+8.5)

Lucas: Patriots. I’d make a “Bill Belichick takes the wind” joke here, but it wouldn’t fit indoors. What also won’t fit indoors will be the sound of the boos coming from the Texans fans after another clunker.

Nathaniel: Patriots. Who thought in August that the Texans would be the favorite to secure the #1 pick in the 2014 draft going into December? This after starting 2-0, too! What a bizarre tailspin this team’s been in.

Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5)

Lucas: Cardinals. I know the Eagles offense has been pretty good, but why is there no real fear in Vegas of the Arizona defense? I feel like they can contain Nick Foles and company.

Nathaniel: Cardinals. The NFC representative in this year’s Super Bowl seems likely to be either Seattle or New Orleans, but Arizona would be a pretty intriguing dark horse if they could sneak in as a wild-card. They’re secretly one of the ten best teams in the league and nobody would want to see that defense in January. This is definitely the best of the early games.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers (-8.5)

Lucas: Panthers. This is a pretty big spread considering Tampa has won three in a row. Carolina has had a resurgence though, and I’m not sure they can contain Cam Newton and company.

Nathaniel: Buccaneers. Is Greg Schiano actually saving his job now? Cue to all seven Buccaneers fans screaming, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!”

Atlanta Falcons at Buffalo Bills (-3.5)

Lucas: Falcons. As bad as the Falcons are, I don’t think they’re 2-9 bad. Give them one.

Nathaniel: Falcons. Only because the Bills’ excellent home-field advantage goes out the window when they play in Toronto.

St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers (-9.5)

Lucas: Rams. To my chagrin, I picked the Rams last time, but I’m sticking to my guns. Mainly because I think Tavon Austin is still running.

Nathaniel: Rams. The Rams are back to being the team Jeff Fisher always hopes his teams will be at the end of the year – .500 and not having any chance at the playoffs, but a real pain in the tucus to play. Doesn’t seem likely that the 49ers will have enough offensive firepower to make this line stand up.

Cincinnati Bengals at San Diego Chargers (-1.5)

Lucas: Bengals. I’m already supporting one ginger quarterback. Why not another?

Nathaniel: Chargers. If anyone of those AFC wild-card hopefuls in that 5-6 quagmire has a real shot of reaching 9-7, it’s probably the Chargers. They’ve got four home games left and they may very well have the best offense in the league. They also may very well have the worst defense, but let’s forget about that for now.

Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs (+4.5)

Lucas: Broncos. Andy Reid was going to take the wind, but he was too busy wolfing down his 34th barbecued turkey.

Nathaniel: Broncos. Just can’t envision the Chiefs scoring enough to win this game.

New York Giants at Washington Redskins (+1.5)

Lucas: Giants. I just don’t trust the Skins this year. I feel like there’s too much dysfunction in that locker room and RGIII isn’t the same and their defense sucks… there’s probably more, but I think that suffices.

Nathaniel: Giants. Looks like NBC forgot they can flex games out of Sunday Night Football late in the year. Blech.

New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks (-5.5)

Lucas: Seahawks. Originally, I was going to pick the Saints. I feel like they’re one of only a handful of teams that can take the Seahawks in Seattle. Then I saw the weather forecast for Monday and remembered that Drew Brees sucks in the cold. Also, the last time the Saints were in town, Marshawn Lynch caused an earthquake.

Nathaniel: Saints. Nothing much on the line here, just home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. Let’s enjoy this one, folks!

2013 records:

Lucas: 92-88 (7-7 last week, 1-2 so far this week)

Nathaniel: 87-93 (7-7 last week, 2-1 so far this week)

Also, here’s this week’s Predictive Yards per Play rankings (not including Thanksgiving’s games):

Offensive Predictive Yards per Play Rankings, through Week 12:

Rank Team Yards Plays Passing TDs INTs Rushing TDs Fumbles SOS Predictive Yards per Play
1 San Diego Chargers 4485 722 22 8 6 8 -0.22 6.91
2 New Orleans Saints 4565 739 28 8 7 9 -0.06 6.67
3 Green Bay Packers 4668 746 17 10 11 13 -0.02 6.42
4 Atlanta Falcons 3830 682 18 12 5 12 0.42 5.93
5 Denver Broncos 4967 803 36 7 14 26 -0.32 5.62
6 Indianapolis Colts 3738 692 15 8 11 6 0.22 5.59
7 Philadelphia Eagles 4536 719 21 7 10 14 -0.25 5.58
8 Chicago Bears 4097 703 20 9 9 13 -0.04 5.56
9 Detroit Lions 4533 762 24 12 9 17 -0.19 5.51
10 Carolina Panthers 3507 711 17 9 11 10 0.27 5.46
11 Seattle Seahawks 3943 673 20 6 11 20 0.02 5.44
12 New England Patriots 4080 784 17 7 12 19 0.15 5.04
13 Houston Texans 3998 764 16 13 2 14 0.19 5.03
14 Tennessee Titans 3672 696 15 8 10 20 0.08 4.89
15 Pittsburgh Steelers 3734 716 19 10 4 12 0.13 4.87
16 Dallas Cowboys 3605 653 23 7 6 12 -0.17 4.82
17 Cincinnati Bengals 4010 756 21 15 7 15 0.12 4.80
18 St. Louis Rams 3571 687 18 6 6 15 0.02 4.77
19 Washington Redskins 4311 768 14 13 12 18 -0.54 4.76
20 San Francisco 49ers 3394 651 14 7 15 16 0.10 4.50
21 Arizona Cardinals 3674 694 16 15 8 17 0.09 4.44
22 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3337 705 16 7 4 13 -0.02 4.41
23 Kansas City Chiefs 3595 728 14 5 9 12 -0.15 4.38
24 Minnesota Vikings 3624 687 11 13 15 17 -0.15 4.35
25 Buffalo Bills 3642 774 12 9 9 20 0.35 4.34
26 Cleveland Browns 3548 751 18 13 1 13 0.13 4.33
27 Miami Dolphins 3410 683 15 12 7 10 -0.08 4.25
28 Baltimore Ravens 3397 749 14 14 6 11 0.17 4.14
29 Oakland Raiders 3671 692 11 12 10 17 -0.22 4.11
30 New York Jets 3468 702 9 18 6 13 0.12 3.92
31 Jacksonville Jaguars 3113 692 5 16 7 13 0.20 3.68
32 New York Giants 3563 694 14 18 7 16 -0.53 3.50

Defensive Predictive Yards per Play Rankings, through Week 12:

Rank Team Yards Plays Passing TDs INTs Rushing TDs Fumbles SOS Predictive Yards per Play
1 San Francisco 49ers 3428 712 11 12 9 17 0.28 3.77
2 Arizona Cardinals 3488 729 19 15 4 12 0.27 3.84
3 Seattle Seahawks 3226 697 12 16 4 23 -0.07 3.90
4 Baltimore Ravens 3619 716 17 9 1 17 -0.15 4.26
5 New York Jets 3552 715 20 6 6 15 0.05 4.30
6 Cincinnati Bengals 3444 745 14 12 4 12 -0.19 4.34
7 New York Giants 3688 729 16 12 7 16 0.16 4.36
8 Houston Texans 3194 644 18 4 8 11 -0.06 4.38
9 Cleveland Browns 3367 757 18 8 9 9 -0.19 4.40
10 Carolina Panthers 3272 658 9 15 3 14 -0.26 4.47
11 Kansas City Chiefs 3860 718 13 12 6 17 -0.13 4.50
12 Tennessee Titans 3655 692 8 9 15 17 -0.08 4.64
13 New Orleans Saints 3409 652 11 10 9 13 -0.13 4.68
14 Buffalo Bills 3826 752 22 16 4 10 -0.22 4.70
15 Miami Dolphins 3944 764 12 14 11 9 0.32 4.74
16 Oakland Raiders 3929 716 21 7 7 22 0.05 4.76
17 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3807 702 22 15 5 12 0.34 4.76
18 Denver Broncos 4158 767 21 13 10 18 -0.09 4.76
19 New England Patriots 3961 783 18 13 5 17 -0.04 4.77
20 St. Louis Rams 3942 688 17 12 12 20 0.11 4.83
21 Pittsburgh Steelers 3775 711 13 7 13 14 -0.27 5.12
22 Detroit Lions 4013 691 21 11 5 11 -0.07 5.12
23 Jacksonville Jaguars 4134 721 20 5 15 19 0.14 5.14
24 Washington Redskins 4203 696 22 10 15 10 0.34 5.36
25 Chicago Bears 4136 685 16 14 14 19 0.10 5.43
26 Philadelphia Eagles 4597 824 17 13 7 15 -0.08 5.69
27 Indianapolis Colts 4060 696 16 8 9 14 -0.03 5.71
28 Minnesota Vikings 4411 786 24 8 13 12 0.21 5.83
29 Green Bay Packers 3956 700 19 4 9 11 -0.24 5.96
30 Dallas Cowboys 4754 772 22 12 11 14 0.10 6.10
31 Atlanta Falcons 4193 692 23 6 8 7 0.08 6.43
32 San Diego Chargers 4285 668 18 6 9 10 -0.11 6.69

Predictive Yards per Play Differential, through Week 12:

Rank Team PY/P Diff. Remaining SOS Projected Wins
1 New Orleans Saints 1.99 12.33 12.40
2 Seattle Seahawks 1.54 6.52 13.46
3 Carolina Panthers 0.99 7.96 10.75
4 Denver Broncos 0.85 1.16 12.09
5 San Francisco 49ers 0.73 -0.85 9.96
6 Houston Texans 0.64 -1.72 4.65
7 Arizona Cardinals 0.60 10.14 9.67
8 Cincinnati Bengals 0.47 -12.80 10.16
9 Green Bay Packers 0.45 -6.68 8.14
10 Detroit Lions 0.38 -16.46 9.04
11 New England Patriots 0.27 -3.74 10.82
12 Tennessee Titans 0.25 0.00 7.62
13 San Diego Chargers 0.23 -9.55 7.88
14 Chicago Bears 0.13 -13.44 8.81
15 St. Louis Rams -0.06 22.79 6.55
16 Cleveland Browns -0.07 -6.90 6.44
17 Philadelphia Eagles -0.11 -11.80 8.65
18 Indianapolis Colts -0.12 -6.65 9.16
19 Kansas City Chiefs -0.12 -2.57 11.51
20 Baltimore Ravens -0.12 -5.79 7.57
21 Pittsburgh Steelers -0.25 -4.73 7.61
22 Tampa Bay Buccaneers -0.34 14.33 4.65
23 Buffalo Bills -0.37 -12.65 6.52
24 New York Jets -0.38 -8.94 7.26
25 Miami Dolphins -0.49 -4.94 7.31
26 Atlanta Falcons -0.50 2.09 4.00
27 Washington Redskins -0.60 -22.26 5.57
28 Oakland Raiders -0.65 0.08 5.91
29 New York Giants -0.86 4.65 5.62
30 Dallas Cowboys -1.29 -11.67 8.11
31 Jacksonville Jaguars -1.46 -8.96 3.60
32 Minnesota Vikings -1.48 -4.63 4.15

Projected AFC Playoff Picture, through Week 12:

RDS PER PLAY RANKINGS

Busy week offline for me, so this will mostly just be a data dump. One important thing to note: Denver’s win over Kansas City Sunday Night reinstalled the Broncos as slight favorites to win the AFC West and, by extension, home field advantage throughout the playoffs in Predictive Yards per Play’s eyes. Of course, the rematch at Arrowhead Stadium on Thanksgiving Weekend will ultimately be the deciding factor.

Offensive Predictive Yards per Play Rankings, through Week 11:

Rank Team Yards Plays Passing TDs INTs Rushing TDs Fumbles SOS Predictive Yards per Play
1 San Diego Chargers 3994 655 19 8 4 7 -0.26 6.78
2 New Orleans Saints 4191 680 26 8 7 9 0.05 6.61
3 Green Bay Packers 4174 657 16 10 9 13 0.10 6.54
4 Denver Broncos 4555 717 34 6 13 21 -0.30 5.79
5 Atlanta Falcons 3475 616 18 12 4 11 0.38 5.79
6 Detroit Lions 4143 690 21 8 9 14 -0.16 5.72
7 Indianapolis Colts 3499 637 14 7 11 6 0.09 5.66
8 Philadelphia Eagles 4536 719 21 7 10 14 -0.18 5.63
9 Carolina Panthers 3212 642 16 8 10 10 0.23 5.55
10 Chicago Bears 3673 629 18 8 8 10 -0.06 5.50
11 Seattle Seahawks 3943 673 20 6 11 20 -0.02 5.39
12 New England Patriots 3640 700 14 7 11 13 0.15 5.20
13 Houston Texans 3780 707 16 12 2 14 0.27 5.20
14 Washington Redskins 4121 710 14 12 12 17 -0.67 4.94
15 Pittsburgh Steelers 3432 648 17 10 4 12 0.13 4.88
16 Cincinnati Bengals 4010 756 21 15 7 15 0.12 4.79
17 Dallas Cowboys 3278 591 21 6 6 11 -0.26 4.67
18 Tennessee Titans 3246 623 13 8 10 17 0.08 4.65
19 San Francisco 49ers 3090 592 11 7 15 13 0.18 4.60
20 St. Louis Rams 3165 634 17 6 3 15 0.05 4.51
21 Kansas City Chiefs 3200 669 11 4 7 11 0.03 4.47
22 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3108 656 14 7 4 12 -0.04 4.46
23 Minnesota Vikings 3177 608 10 13 14 15 -0.03 4.38
24 Cleveland Browns 3181 678 17 12 1 10 0.15 4.36
25 Buffalo Bills 3642 774 12 9 9 20 0.35 4.33
26 Arizona Cardinals 3264 623 14 15 7 16 0.11 4.16
27 Miami Dolphins 3078 621 14 11 7 10 -0.11 4.16
28 Baltimore Ravens 3085 687 13 13 6 11 0.15 4.04
29 New York Jets 3248 647 9 16 6 12 0.02 4.00
30 Oakland Raiders 3318 637 10 11 10 15 -0.26 3.92
31 Jacksonville Jaguars 2780 627 5 16 6 12 0.19 3.55
32 New York Giants 3207 632 12 18 7 15 -0.40 3.51

Defensive Predictive Yards per Play Rankings, through Week 11:

Rank Team Yards Plays Passing TDs INTs Rushing TDs Fumbles SOS Predictive Yards per Play
1 Arizona Cardinals 3249 674 18 14 4 12 0.23 3.88
2 San Francisco 49ers 3238 654 11 11 9 16 0.26 3.92
3 Seattle Seahawks 3226 697 12 16 4 23 -0.11 3.93
4 New York Jets 3240 653 19 5 6 15 0.11 4.21
5 New York Giants 3361 667 14 11 7 15 0.24 4.24
6 Cincinnati Bengals 3444 745 14 12 4 12 -0.15 4.29
7 Baltimore Ravens 3399 661 17 7 1 16 -0.01 4.30
8 Cleveland Browns 3065 689 16 8 9 9 -0.17 4.33
9 Houston Texans 2861 579 18 4 7 10 -0.05 4.38
10 Kansas City Chiefs 3369 651 10 12 4 16 -0.30 4.39
11 Carolina Panthers 2940 596 8 14 3 14 -0.25 4.43
12 Tennessee Titans 3302 637 7 8 15 15 -0.03 4.53
13 Oakland Raiders 3503 643 19 7 7 19 0.09 4.61
14 New Orleans Saints 3054 586 11 10 8 12 -0.27 4.63
15 Buffalo Bills 3826 752 22 16 4 10 -0.19 4.66
16 St. Louis Rams 3518 614 15 11 11 17 0.05 4.81
17 Miami Dolphins 3649 695 11 13 10 9 0.28 4.82
18 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3417 630 19 11 5 9 0.29 4.90
19 Denver Broncos 3718 683 18 13 9 12 -0.15 4.93
20 New England Patriots 3549 697 16 12 4 12 -0.10 4.95
21 Pittsburgh Steelers 3408 638 12 6 13 11 -0.25 5.21
22 Chicago Bears 3730 632 15 14 11 19 0.15 5.22
23 Detroit Lions 3784 642 19 11 5 10 -0.04 5.25
24 Jacksonville Jaguars 3916 664 20 4 15 19 0.10 5.33
25 Washington Redskins 3899 637 19 10 15 7 0.44 5.38
26 Indianapolis Colts 3650 625 14 8 8 13 -0.02 5.56
27 Philadelphia Eagles 4597 824 17 13 7 15 -0.06 5.65
28 Minnesota Vikings 3917 697 23 8 11 12 0.14 5.86
29 Green Bay Packers 3509 621 18 4 8 9 -0.18 5.94
30 Dallas Cowboys 4398 710 20 12 11 13 0.26 5.96
31 Atlanta Falcons 3819 633 21 6 8 7 -0.08 6.53
32 San Diego Chargers 3890 609 15 5 7 9 -0.07 6.77

Predictive Yards per Play Differential, through Week 12:

Rank Team PY/P Diff. Remaining SOS Projected Wins
1 New Orleans Saints 1.99 12.33 12.40
2 Seattle Seahawks 1.54 6.52 13.46
3 Carolina Panthers 0.99 7.96 10.75
4 Denver Broncos 0.85 1.16 12.09
5 San Francisco 49ers 0.73 -0.85 9.96
6 Houston Texans 0.64 -1.72 4.65
7 Arizona Cardinals 0.60 10.14 9.67
8 Cincinnati Bengals 0.47 -12.80 10.16
9 Green Bay Packers 0.45 -6.68 8.14
10 Detroit Lions 0.38 -16.46 9.04
11 New England Patriots 0.27 -3.74 10.82
12 Tennessee Titans 0.25 0.00 7.62
13 San Diego Chargers 0.23 -9.55 7.88
14 Chicago Bears 0.13 -13.44 8.81
15 St. Louis Rams -0.06 22.79 6.55
16 Cleveland Browns -0.07 -6.90 6.44
17 Philadelphia Eagles -0.11 -11.80 8.65
18 Indianapolis Colts -0.12 -6.65 9.16
19 Kansas City Chiefs -0.12 -2.57 11.51
20 Baltimore Ravens -0.12 -5.79 7.57
21 Pittsburgh Steelers -0.25 -4.73 7.61
22 Tampa Bay Buccaneers -0.34 14.33 4.65
23 Buffalo Bills -0.37 -12.65 6.52
24 New York Jets -0.38 -8.94 7.26
25 Miami Dolphins -0.49 -4.94 7.31
26 Atlanta Falcons -0.50 2.09 4.00
27 Washington Redskins -0.60 -22.26 5.57
28 Oakland Raiders -0.65 0.08 5.91
29 New York Giants -0.86 4.65 5.62
30 Dallas Cowboys -1.29 -11.67 8.11
31 Jacksonville Jaguars -1.46 -8.96 3.60
32 Minnesota Vikings -1.48 -4.63 4.15

Projected AFC Playoff Picture, through Week 12:

  1. Denver (12.1 wins)
  2. New England (10.8 wins)
  3. Cincinnati (10.2 wins)
  4. Indianapolis (9.2 wins)
  5. Kansas City (11.5 wins)
  6. San Diego (7.9 wins)

In the hunt: Tennessee (7.6 wins), Pittsburgh (7.6 wins), Baltimore (7.6 wins), Miami (7.3 wins), NY Jets (7.3 wins), Buffalo (6.5 wins), Cleveland (6.4 wins)

Mediocre: Oakland (5.9 wins)

Teddy Bridgewater Sweepstakes: Houston (4.7 wins), Jacksonville (3.6 wins)

Projected NFC Playoff Picture, through Week 12:

  1. Seattle (13.5 wins)
  2. New Orleans (12.4 wins)
  3. Detroit (9.0 wins)
  4. Philadelphia (8.7 wins)
  5. Carolina (10.8 wins)
  6. San Francisco (10.0 wins)

In the hunt: Arizona (9.7 wins), Chicago (8.8 wins), Green Bay (8.1 wins), Dallas (8.1 wins)

Mediocre: St. Louis (6.6 wins), NY Giants (5.6 wins), Washington (5.6 wins)

Teddy Bridgewater Sweepstakes: Tampa Bay (4.7 wins), Atlanta (4.0 wins), Minnesota (4.2 wins)

Week 12 Predictive Yards per Play Rankings

Busy week offline for me, so this will mostly just be a data dump. One important thing to note: Denver’s win over Kansas City Sunday Night reinstalled the Broncos as slight favorites to win the AFC West and, by extension, home field advantage throughout the playoffs in Predictive Yards per Play’s eyes. Of course, the rematch at Arrowhead Stadium on Thanksgiving Weekend will ultimately be the deciding factor.

Offensive Predictive Yards per Play Rankings, through Week 11:

Rank Team Yards Plays Passing TDs INTs Rushing TDs Fumbles SOS Predictive Yards per Play
1 San Diego Chargers 3994 655 19 8 4 7 -0.26 6.78
2 New Orleans Saints 4191 680 26 8 7 9 0.05 6.61
3 Green Bay Packers 4174 657 16 10 9 13 0.10 6.54
4 Denver Broncos 4555 717 34 6 13 21 -0.30 5.79
5 Atlanta Falcons 3475 616 18 12 4 11 0.38 5.79
6 Detroit Lions 4143 690 21 8 9 14 -0.16 5.72
7 Indianapolis Colts 3499 637 14 7 11 6 0.09 5.66
8 Philadelphia Eagles 4536 719 21 7 10 14 -0.18 5.63
9 Carolina Panthers 3212 642 16 8 10 10 0.23 5.55
10 Chicago Bears 3673 629 18 8 8 10 -0.06 5.50
11 Seattle Seahawks 3943 673 20 6 11 20 -0.02 5.39
12 New England Patriots 3640 700 14 7 11 13 0.15 5.20
13 Houston Texans 3780 707 16 12 2 14 0.27 5.20
14 Washington Redskins 4121 710 14 12 12 17 -0.67 4.94
15 Pittsburgh Steelers 3432 648 17 10 4 12 0.13 4.88
16 Cincinnati Bengals 4010 756 21 15 7 15 0.12 4.79
17 Dallas Cowboys 3278 591 21 6 6 11 -0.26 4.67
18 Tennessee Titans 3246 623 13 8 10 17 0.08 4.65
19 San Francisco 49ers 3090 592 11 7 15 13 0.18 4.60
20 St. Louis Rams 3165 634 17 6 3 15 0.05 4.51
21 Kansas City Chiefs 3200 669 11 4 7 11 0.03 4.47
22 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3108 656 14 7 4 12 -0.04 4.46
23 Minnesota Vikings 3177 608 10 13 14 15 -0.03 4.38
24 Cleveland Browns 3181 678 17 12 1 10 0.15 4.36
25 Buffalo Bills 3642 774 12 9 9 20 0.35 4.33
26 Arizona Cardinals 3264 623 14 15 7 16 0.11 4.16
27 Miami Dolphins 3078 621 14 11 7 10 -0.11 4.16
28 Baltimore Ravens 3085 687 13 13 6 11 0.15 4.04
29 New York Jets 3248 647 9 16 6 12 0.02 4.00
30 Oakland Raiders 3318 637 10 11 10 15 -0.26 3.92
31 Jacksonville Jaguars 2780 627 5 16 6 12 0.19 3.55
32 New York Giants 3207 632 12 18 7 15 -0.40 3.51

Defensive Predictive Yards per Play Rankings, through Week 11:

Rank Team Yards Plays Passing TDs INTs Rushing TDs Fumbles SOS Predictive Yards per Play
1 Arizona Cardinals 3249 674 18 14 4 12 0.23 3.88
2 San Francisco 49ers 3238 654 11 11 9 16 0.26 3.92
3 Seattle Seahawks 3226 697 12 16 4 23 -0.11 3.93
4 New York Jets 3240 653 19 5 6 15 0.11 4.21
5 New York Giants 3361 667 14 11 7 15 0.24 4.24
6 Cincinnati Bengals 3444 745 14 12 4 12 -0.15 4.29
7 Baltimore Ravens 3399 661 17 7 1 16 -0.01 4.30
8 Cleveland Browns 3065 689 16 8 9 9 -0.17 4.33
9 Houston Texans 2861 579 18 4 7 10 -0.05 4.38
10 Kansas City Chiefs 3369 651 10 12 4 16 -0.30 4.39
11 Carolina Panthers 2940 596 8 14 3 14 -0.25 4.43
12 Tennessee Titans 3302 637 7 8 15 15 -0.03 4.53
13 Oakland Raiders 3503 643 19 7 7 19 0.09 4.61
14 New Orleans Saints 3054 586 11 10 8 12 -0.27 4.63
15 Buffalo Bills 3826 752 22 16 4 10 -0.19 4.66
16 St. Louis Rams 3518 614 15 11 11 17 0.05 4.81
17 Miami Dolphins 3649 695 11 13 10 9 0.28 4.82
18 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3417 630 19 11 5 9 0.29 4.90
19 Denver Broncos 3718 683 18 13 9 12 -0.15 4.93
20 New England Patriots 3549 697 16 12 4 12 -0.10 4.95
21 Pittsburgh Steelers 3408 638 12 6 13 11 -0.25 5.21
22 Chicago Bears 3730 632 15 14 11 19 0.15 5.22
23 Detroit Lions 3784 642 19 11 5 10 -0.04 5.25
24 Jacksonville Jaguars 3916 664 20 4 15 19 0.10 5.33
25 Washington Redskins 3899 637 19 10 15 7 0.44 5.38
26 Indianapolis Colts 3650 625 14 8 8 13 -0.02 5.56
27 Philadelphia Eagles 4597 824 17 13 7 15 -0.06 5.65
28 Minnesota Vikings 3917 697 23 8 11 12 0.14 5.86
29 Green Bay Packers 3509 621 18 4 8 9 -0.18 5.94
30 Dallas Cowboys 4398 710 20 12 11 13 0.26 5.96
31 Atlanta Falcons 3819 633 21 6 8 7 -0.08 6.53
32 San Diego Chargers 3890 609 15 5 7 9 -0.07 6.77

Predictive Yards per Play Differential, through Week 11:

Rank Team PY/P Diff. Remaining SOS Projected Wins
1 New Orleans Saints 1.98 7.98 12.29
2 Seattle Seahawks 1.46 6.34 13.27
3 Carolina Panthers 1.12 7.64 10.48
4 Denver Broncos 0.87 4.93 12.74
5 Houston Texans 0.82 -14.42 5.71
6 San Francisco 49ers 0.68 -7.83 9.70
7 Green Bay Packers 0.60 -17.88 8.36
8 Cincinnati Bengals 0.50 -16.10 10.14
9 Detroit Lions 0.47 -23.03 9.80
10 Chicago Bears 0.28 -13.43 9.34
11 Arizona Cardinals 0.28 1.87 9.28
12 New England Patriots 0.25 0.04 10.17
13 Tennessee Titans 0.12 -2.04 7.05
14 Indianapolis Colts 0.09 -3.48 9.64
15 Kansas City Chiefs 0.07 -2.35 12.14
16 Cleveland Browns 0.03 -11.28 7.12
17 San Diego Chargers 0.02 -4.80 7.25
18 Philadelphia Eagles -0.02 -15.31 8.74
19 New York Jets -0.21 -8.92 7.83
20 Baltimore Ravens -0.26 -11.30 7.07
21 St. Louis Rams -0.30 16.84 5.96
22 Pittsburgh Steelers -0.33 -5.21 7.08
23 Buffalo Bills -0.33 -21.77 6.77
24 Tampa Bay Buccaneers -0.44 18.84 3.81
25 Washington Redskins -0.45 -21.82 6.01
26 Miami Dolphins -0.67 -1.34 7.42
27 Oakland Raiders -0.70 -0.36 6.21
28 New York Giants -0.73 -4.45 6.32
29 Atlanta Falcons -0.74 11.68 4.07
30 Dallas Cowboys -1.29 -12.84 7.47
31 Minnesota Vikings -1.48 1.43 3.75
32 Jacksonville Jaguars -1.78 -2.10 2.34

Projected AFC Playoff Picture, through Week 11:

  1. Denver (12.7 wins)
  2. New England (10.2 wins)
  3. Cincinnati (10.1 wins)
  4. Indianapolis (9.6 wins)
  5. Kansas City (12.1 wins)
  6. NY Jets (7.8 wins)

In the hunt: Miami (7.4 wins), San Diego (7.3 wins), Cleveland (7.1 wins), Pittsburgh (7.1 wins), Baltimore (7.1 wins), Tennessee (7.1 wins), Buffalo (6.8 wins), Oakland (6.2 wins)

Mediocre: Houston (5.7 wins)

Teddy Bridgewater Sweepstakes: Jacksonville (2.3 wins)

Projected NFC Playoff Picture, through Week 11:

  1. Seattle (13.3 wins)
  2. New Orleans (12.3 wins)
  3. Detroit (9.8 wins)
  4. Philadelphia (8.7 wins)
  5. Carolina (10.5 wins)
  6. San Francisco (9.7 wins)

In the hunt: Chicago (9.3 wins), Arizona (9.3 wins), Green Bay (8.4 wins), Dallas (7.5 wins)

Mediocre: NY Giants (6.3 wins), Washington (6.0 wins), St. Louis (6.0 wins)

Teddy Bridgewater Sweepstakes: Atlanta (4.1 wins), Tampa Bay (3.8 wins), Minnesota (3.8 wins)

2013 COAS/SSLYAR Pigskin Pick’Em: Week 11

Here are this week’s picks against the spread courtesy of Confessions of a Sportscaster and yours truly, followed by Week 10′s Predictive Yards per Play Rankings at the very end if you’re interested. Last week, I went 10-4 and Lucas went 5-9, so Lucas’s lead got a little less lopsided. He still leads by four games overall with seven weeks left. This week, we only disagree on three games, which are…detailed below for your enjoyment, along with the eleven games we agreed upon.

Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans (+3.5)

Lucas: Colts. Look, I have no idea what happened to Indy on Sunday either (my supervisor from Indy blames himself for not being able to watch much of it until the very end), but if Tennessee can’t beat freaking Jacksonville, unless the spread is really huge, why should I pick the Titans?

Nathaniel: Titans. The Colts have had one of the highest variance defenses in the league this season – they’ve alternated between looking dominant (at San Francisco and home against Denver) and looking awful (the opener against Oakland and last week’s blowout loss to the Rams). Ryan Fitzpatrick will give them plenty of chances to look good tonight, but he’s also capable of putting up big numbers if their level of play is like last week’s.

Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+1.5)

Lucas: Buccaneers. It’s amazing that, at least for a week, this was the “stable” football team compared to its opponent. Don’t know that we can say that here, but I figure Revis Island becomes a bit of a hotspot again.

Nathaniel: Buccaneers. The wheels have completely fallen off in Atlanta, which is probably a better harbinger for their chances next season than if they had gamely held down the fort after Julio Jones’ injury and wound up in the neighborhood of 7-9. The way things are going now, it certainly looks like a top-five draft pick and an opportunity to properly revamp a truly awful defense is in play for the Falcons. This is really a game where it would be in both teams’ better interests to lose.

New York Jets at Buffalo Bills (+1.5)

Lucas: Jets. Based on the last two weeks, I can’t take the Bills seriously. Then again, when could any of us take the Bills seriously?

Nathaniel: Jets. After each of their nearest foes for the last wild-card slot in the AFC lost last week, the Jets somehow, someway have become a favorite to make the playoffs. That they’ve been able to do this with yet another shaky quarterback and lack of talent at the skill positions speaks to how good a coach Rex Ryan really is. Playing at Buffalo’s been tricky for everyone this season, but EJ Manuel’s scattershot accuracy doesn’t inspire much confidence right now.

Baltimore Ravens at Chicago Bears (-2.5)

Lucas: Bears. Josh McCown has looked pretty good when pressed into service. Were this game in Baltimore I’d think twice, but the Ravens aren’t the same team away from M&T.

Nathaniel: Bears. The one-two punch of Charles Tillman’s torn triceps and being swept by the Lions probably leaves too steep a climb for the Bears to make their way back into the playoffs this year. The Ravens hardly seem like the type of team who can exploit the Bears’ rash of injuries of defense, however, so that truth may not yet be apparent on Sunday.

Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (-6.5)

Lucas: Browns. Maybe I’m putting too much faith in a not-that-great Cleveland team. Maybe it’s more so “Cincy has found ways to lose two games they could (and maybe even should) have won.”

Nathaniel: Browns. It’s probably a bit much to think the Browns will actually win outright in Cincinnati (though I am leaning towards them being able to cover), but if they could accomplish that, they would accomplish a season sweep of the Bengals and their next two games are home dates against the Steelers and Jaguars. If the Bengals aren’t careful Sunday, the AFC North could actually turn into a real race again.

Detroit Lions at Pittsburgh Steelers (+2.5)

Lucas: Lions. Did I Google “Pittsburgh Steelers Bee Uniforms” before the season, find this news article about how they’re wearing them this week, then set a reminder on my phone to make sure I didn’t pick Pittsburgh out of sheer spite against those hideous things? Of course not; that would be silly. I remembered that they were wearing them this week without needing the reminder on my phone to go off, then still picked against Pittsburgh out of sheer spite against those hideous things.

Nathaniel: Lions. There’s no team in the league that hopes Aaron Rodgers’ recovery from his fractured collarbone continues to drag longer and longer than the Lions – each passing week that Scott Tolzien starts makes the first Lions’ division title in 20 years look all the more likely.

Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans (-6.5)

Lucas: Raiders. I’m sorry, but why is Houston favored by this much, exactly? Not that I trust the Raiders either after they choked away the Giants game, but I’m taking the points.

Nathaniel: Texans. Terrelle Pryor’s been electric as a runner this year, but only Brandon Weeden and Josh Freeman have lower Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt figures as passers this season. If he is truly going to be the Raiders quarterback of the future, he has to start doing more through the air or I’d have to believe Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie would take a long look at this year’s deep quarterback class in the draft.

Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5)

Lucas: Redskins. Don’t get me wrong, Nick Foles has looked good. But this has the makings of a shootout much like we had in Week 1, only this time I think RG3 has the firepower from the get-go to keep up.

Nathaniel: Redskins. In a vacuum, the fact that the Eagles have four home games remaining out of their final six games overall would make them the NFC East favorite over the Cowboys. Well, that and the fact they’re a considerably better team than the Cowboys. But so far this year, the Eagles are 0-4 at home and their tendency has been to start wobbling as soon as the public starts to believe in them again. If the Redskins lose this game, they’re done: they’d be 2.5 games behind the Eagles and would lose the head-to-head tiebreaker. So for this week, erring on the side of desperation doesn’t seem like a bad idea.

Arizona Cardinals at Jacksonville Jaguars (+6.5)

Lucas: Cardinals. 

Nathaniel: Cardinals. Arizona is suddenly 5-4, owners of possibly the best defense in the league and just a game back in the wild-card chase. It seems next-to-impossible that they could really catch Carolina or San Francisco by year’s end, but their schedule isn’t too taxing the rest of the way. They get to face Indianapolis and San Francisco at home and the Eagles in Philadelphia, which is where you apparently want to play the Eagles this year. I can’t imagine them beating the Seahawks in Seattle in Week 16 unless the Seahawks have home-field advantage all wrapped up by then, but every other game remaining on Arizona’s schedule is winnable the rest of the way. Don’t sleep on them.

San Diego Chargers at Miami Dolphins (+1.5)

Lucas: Chargers. I like what Phillip Rivers has done this year. That, and until Miami gets its collective crap together, I’m not sure I can trust them.

Nathaniel: Chargers. Possibly an AFC Wild-Card elimination game for the loser, although the Jets aren’t likely to run away from anyone in December. The Chargers don’t have near enough a pass rush to take advantage of the Dolphins’ terrible offensive line – but then again, the Dolphins probably don’t have near enough offensive firepower to take advantage of the Chargers’ horrible defense.

Green Bay Packers at New York Giants (-6.5)

Lucas: Giants. Look, I love how well the Immortal Scott Tolzien did filling in for Seneca Wallace, given the circumstances (you know, other than that one pick). And I know Eli is prone to throwing picks, but Green Bay’s defense is awful, and Scott Tolzien isn’t Aaron Rodgers. Thus:

Nathaniel: Packers. Scott Tolzien’s arm strength (or lack thereof) last Sunday made Jeff Tuel look like Jeff George, but the Giants’ offense simply can’t be trusted to cover even a medium-sized line like this right now. The NFL’s decision to flex this from Sunday Night Football a few weeks ago looks more prescient by the second.

Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks (-13.5)

Lucas: Seahawks. Christian Ponder is not going into CenturyLink and winning a football game there. Heck, I don’t think this is much of a game.

Nathaniel: Seahawks. A contrarian might point to Seattle’s last two home victories (decided by a total of ten points) and decide to take a calculated risk on the Seahawks sleepwalking through another first half at home and allowing the Vikings to cover. I am not that contrarian.

San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints (-3.5)

Lucas: Saints. After a year off, we’re back to the “These guys scare me” Saints instead of the “Our assistant head coach moonlights as a janitor on Tuesdays” Saints. The Superdome is this year’s Georgia Dome, and San Francisco doesn’t seem as good this year.

Nathaniel: Saints. The Saints remain the #1 team in this week’s Predictive Yards per Play rankings after having just about as dominant a performance from the line of scrimmage as you can possibly have against the Cowboys. The 49ers should be able to take advantage of the Saints’ one weakness – run defense – but it’s another question entirely as to whether Colin Kaepernick can match Drew Brees throw for throw.

Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos (-8.5)

Lucas: Chiefs. I don’t think Kansas City wins in Denver, but I do think with as shaky as Denver’s defense is, combined with KC’s defense being pretty good.

Nathaniel: Chiefs. Given Denver’s offensive performance in their last four games, this will likely be a low-scoring game, which would obviously favor Kansas City. Since they put up 51 points on the Cowboys in Week 5, the Broncos have had below-average Predictive Yards per Play averages in each of their last four games. It didn’t matter as much because they were playing bad defenses, but performing at that same level Sunday night against the Chiefs would make the dropoff look much more glaring. So while it’s still tough for me to imagine Kansas City strolling into Denver and coming away with a victory, this line looks eminently coverable.

New England Patriots at Carolina Panthers (-2.5)

Lucas: Panthers. “Do not believe in you, Riverboat Ron! Believe in the me that believes in you! Your going-for-it-on-4th-and-short is the going-for-it-on-4th-and-short that will pierce the plane of the end zone! WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK I AM?!”

Nathaniel: Panthers. Carolina’s win at San Francisco was a loss for the rest of the NFC because there may not be a more balanced team in the whole conference. Now after beating the 49ers, a playoff berth of some type seems likely and a dark horse Super Bowl contender appears to have been born.

2013 Records:

Lucas: 77-71 (5-9 last week)

Nathaniel: 73-75 (10-4 last week)

**************************************************************************

Offensive Predictive Yards per Play Rankings, through Week 10:

Rank Team Yards Plays Passing TDs INTs Rushing TDs Fumbles SOS Predictive Yards per Play
1 New Orleans Saints 3804 613 25 7 6 6 -0.01 6.69
2 San Diego Chargers 3559 592 18 7 4 7 -0.29 6.65
3 Green Bay Packers 3780 603 16 7 8 13 -0.08 6.53
4 Atlanta Falcons 3055 550 16 10 3 10 0.50 5.82
5 Denver Broncos 4128 641 33 6 11 20 -0.40 5.74
6 Detroit Lions 3692 617 19 7 8 12 -0.20 5.68
7 Seattle Seahawks 3620 623 18 6 9 19 0.19 5.59
8 Philadelphia Eagles 4134 657 21 7 7 14 -0.21 5.52
9 Houston Texans 3386 635 15 11 2 11 0.35 5.49
10 Indianapolis Colts 3133 568 14 7 8 6 0.03 5.45
11 Chicago Bears 3354 570 17 8 8 8 -0.20 5.44
12 Carolina Panthers 2912 588 13 8 10 10 0.21 5.32
13 Cincinnati Bengals 3786 697 18 13 7 15 0.10 5.14
14 Washington Redskins 3694 633 12 11 12 14 -0.71 4.96
15 San Francisco 49ers 2894 536 9 6 15 12 0.33 4.92
16 New England Patriots 3250 633 13 6 10 12 0.08 4.90
17 Pittsburgh Steelers 3034 575 13 10 4 12 0.15 4.76
18 St. Louis Rams 3165 634 17 6 3 15 0.16 4.62
19 Dallas Cowboys 3278 591 21 6 6 11 -0.33 4.59
20 Cleveland Browns 2851 599 16 9 1 8 0.09 4.55
21 Tennessee Titans 2906 569 12 8 8 16 0.13 4.47
22 Kansas City Chiefs 2856 596 9 4 7 9 -0.03 4.42
23 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2698 591 12 7 2 12 0.20 4.41
24 Minnesota Vikings 2841 538 8 10 14 13 -0.13 4.40
25 Buffalo Bills 3329 707 10 9 8 19 0.35 4.34
26 Miami Dolphins 2735 563 13 10 6 10 0.06 4.20
27 New York Jets 2981 591 8 13 5 10 0.01 4.16
28 Arizona Cardinals 2848 554 12 15 6 15 0.22 4.09
29 Baltimore Ravens 2768 612 12 11 5 9 0.10 4.00
30 Oakland Raiders 2977 572 7 11 9 14 -0.36 3.97
31 Jacksonville Jaguars 2506 567 4 14 5 12 0.09 3.47
32 New York Giants 2873 569 11 17 6 15 -0.39 3.26

Defensive Predictive Yards per Play Rankings, through Week 10:

Rank Team Yards Plays Passing TDs INTs Rushing TDs Fumbles SOS Predictive Yards per Play
1 Arizona Cardinals 2975 614 17 12 3 12 0.48 3.78
2 Seattle Seahawks 2890 627 10 13 4 21 -0.06 3.92
3 San Francisco 49ers 2851 587 10 10 8 13 0.11 3.95
4 Carolina Panthers 2550 529 7 13 2 13 -0.24 4.05
5 Baltimore Ravens 3080 602 16 7 1 14 0.05 4.16
6 New York Jets 2927 586 17 5 5 14 0.10 4.30
7 Tennessee Titans 2936 568 7 8 12 15 0.00 4.32
8 New York Giants 2967 613 14 8 6 15 0.05 4.32
9 Kansas City Chiefs 2942 575 9 12 2 15 -0.46 4.34
10 Houston Texans 2520 514 15 4 6 9 0.04 4.37
11 Cincinnati Bengals 3114 666 13 9 4 10 -0.15 4.48
12 Cleveland Browns 2841 630 13 6 9 9 -0.17 4.59
13 New England Patriots 3249 643 13 12 4 12 -0.11 4.67
14 Miami Dolphins 3214 632 10 12 10 9 0.14 4.71
15 Buffalo Bills 3559 696 21 13 3 8 -0.13 4.77
16 St. Louis Rams 3518 614 15 11 11 17 0.06 4.80
17 New Orleans Saints 2858 530 9 9 8 11 -0.31 4.81
18 Oakland Raiders 3109 571 18 6 7 16 0.01 4.85
19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2997 564 17 9 4 8 0.19 4.90
20 Denver Broncos 3374 610 16 13 9 10 -0.18 5.06
21 Detroit Lions 3386 569 15 11 5 10 0.00 5.16
22 Chicago Bears 3413 557 14 12 10 17 0.26 5.16
23 Jacksonville Jaguars 3500 595 18 4 14 18 0.22 5.26
24 Indianapolis Colts 3310 571 13 8 6 12 0.09 5.27
25 Pittsburgh Steelers 2957 565 10 5 12 9 -0.39 5.28
26 Washington Redskins 3497 575 19 10 12 7 0.39 5.36
27 Green Bay Packers 3175 558 17 3 7 9 0.02 5.66
28 Philadelphia Eagles 4170 747 15 12 7 12 -0.13 5.77
29 Dallas Cowboys 4398 710 20 12 11 13 0.25 5.97
30 Minnesota Vikings 3594 647 21 8 9 11 0.03 6.05
31 Atlanta Falcons 3409 568 19 6 6 7 -0.05 6.49
32 San Diego Chargers 3547 551 14 4 6 9 -0.03 6.75

Predictive Yards per Play Differential, through Week 10:

Rank Team PY/P Diff. Remaining SOS Projected Wins
1 New Orleans Saints 1.88 11.75 11.98
2 Seattle Seahawks 1.67 28.93 13.40
3 Carolina Panthers 1.27 6.83 10.27
4 Houston Texans 1.12 -24.11 6.86
5 San Francisco 49ers 0.97 7.27 10.08
6 Green Bay Packers 0.87 -21.30 9.03
7 Denver Broncos 0.68 3.86 12.34
8 Cincinnati Bengals 0.66 -21.03 9.62
9 Detroit Lions 0.52 -26.03 10.57
10 Arizona Cardinals 0.30 -3.10 9.05
11 Chicago Bears 0.28 -17.35 8.90
12 New England Patriots 0.23 9.02 10.33
13 Indianapolis Colts 0.18 -0.80 9.07
14 Tennessee Titans 0.15 -6.50 7.61
15 Kansas City Chiefs 0.08 4.45 12.60
16 Cleveland Browns -0.04 -10.42 7.49
17 San Diego Chargers -0.10 -7.84 7.81
18 New York Jets -0.14 -8.28 8.44
19 Baltimore Ravens -0.16 -10.56 7.63
20 St. Louis Rams -0.18 20.54 6.12
21 Philadelphia Eagles -0.25 -20.88 8.18
22 Washington Redskins -0.40 -21.22 6.46
23 Buffalo Bills -0.42 14.01 6.20
24 Tampa Bay Buccaneers -0.48 14.91 3.09
25 Miami Dolphins -0.51 -3.05 7.07
26 Pittsburgh Steelers -0.52 -5.52 6.35
27 Atlanta Falcons -0.67 11.22 4.60
28 Oakland Raiders -0.88 6.85 5.13
29 New York Giants -1.06 -3.86 5.21
30 Dallas Cowboys -1.38 -19.72 7.64
31 Minnesota Vikings -1.64 9.00 3.80
32 Jacksonville Jaguars -1.80 -0.59 2.38

Projected AFC Playoff Picture, through Week 10:

  1. Kansas City (12.6 wins)
  2. New England (10.3 wins)
  3. Cincinnati (9.6 wins)
  4. Indianapolis (9.1 wins)
  5. Denver (12.3 wins)
  6. NY Jets (8.4 wins)

In the hunt: San Diego (7.8 wins), Baltimore (7.6 wins), Tennessee (7.6 wins), Cleveland (7.5 wins), Miami (7.1 wins), Houston (6.9 wins)

Mediocre: Pittsburgh (6.3 wins), Buffalo (6.2 wins), Oakland (5.1 wins)

Teddy Bridgewater Sweepstakes: Jacksonville (2.4 wins)

Projected NFC Playoff Picture, through Week 10:

  1. Seattle (13.4 wins)
  2. New Orleans (12.0 wins)
  3. Detroit (10.6 wins)
  4. Philadelphia (8.2 wins)
  5. Carolina (10.3 wins)
  6. San Francisco (10.1 wins)

In the hunt: Arizona (9.1 wins), Green Bay (9.0 wins), Chicago (8.9 wins), Dallas (7.6 wins), Washington (6.5 wins)

Mediocre: St. Louis (6.1 wins), NY Giants (5.2 wins)

Teddy Bridgewater Sweepstakes: Atlanta (4.6 wins), Minnesota (3.8 wins), Tampa Bay (3.1 wins)

Week 9 Predictive Yards per Play Rankings

After a very strange week that saw the playoff picture tighten considerably, here are the Predictive Yards per Play rankings at the midpoint of the season

Offensive Predictive Yards per Play, through Week 9:

Rank Team Yards Plays Passing TDs INTs Rushing TDs Fumbles SOS PY/P (Ball-Control Adjusted
1 San Diego Chargers 3230 524 17 7 3 6 -0.27 6.83
2 Green Bay Packers 3384 528 15 5 8 12 0.06 6.67
3 New Orleans Saints 3179 533 21 7 3 5 0.13 6.28
4 Denver Broncos 3731 581 29 6 11 18 -0.20 5.91
5 Atlanta Falcons 2829 496 15 10 3 8 0.31 5.90
6 Detroit Lions 3328 556 16 6 8 11 -0.07 5.81
7 Carolina Panthers 2662 522 13 7 9 7 0.17 5.64
8 Indianapolis Colts 2727 499 13 3 8 5 -0.07 5.58
9 Houston Texans 3151 568 12 11 2 10 0.17 5.55
10 Chicago Bears 3016 499 15 7 8 8 -0.13 5.54
11 Philadelphia Eagles 3719 599 18 7 7 13 -0.15 5.47
12 Cincinnati Bengals 3422 610 16 10 7 14 0.06 5.32
13 San Francisco 49ers 2743 484 9 5 15 11 0.25 5.23
14 Seattle Seahawks 3130 554 16 6 8 19 0.22 5.17
15 New England Patriots 3250 633 13 6 10 12 0.07 4.88
16 Pittsburgh Steelers 2734 508 12 9 3 11 0.13 4.82
17 Washington Redskins 3261 556 9 11 12 13 -0.60 4.73
18 Dallas Cowboys 3085 548 20 6 5 11 -0.37 4.68
19 Tennessee Titans 2544 499 10 7 7 11 0.16 4.68
20 Cleveland Browns 2851 599 16 9 1 8 0.16 4.62
21 St. Louis Rams 2793 579 15 6 2 13 0.17 4.53
22 Buffalo Bills 3102 643 9 8 8 18 0.38 4.48
23 Kansas City Chiefs 2856 596 9 4 7 9 -0.02 4.44
24 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2434 531 11 6 1 12 0.15 4.41
25 Minnesota Vikings 2534 486 6 9 12 12 -0.05 4.38
26 Baltimore Ravens 2579 541 10 9 5 8 0.12 4.28
27 Miami Dolphins 2522 505 11 9 6 10 0.09 4.24
28 New York Jets 2981 591 8 13 5 10 -0.03 4.12
29 Arizona Cardinals 2516 492 10 14 6 13 0.10 3.93
30 Oakland Raiders 2764 517 7 10 8 13 -0.56 3.90
31 Jacksonville Jaguars 2292 511 4 12 3 9 -0.03 3.61
32 New York Giants 2622 506 10 16 5 12 -0.43 3.36

Defensive Predictive Yards per Play, through Week 9:

Rank Team Yards Plays Passing TDs INTs Rushing TDs Fumbles SOS PY/P (Ball-Control Adjusted
1 Arizona Cardinals 2740 547 14 12 3 11 0.45 3.92
2 Seattle Seahawks 2664 573 9 13 4 19 -0.13 4.02
3 San Francisco 49ers 2601 521 10 9 7 10 0.04 4.23
4 Baltimore Ravens 2716 515 14 4 1 13 0.08 4.27
5 Kansas City Chiefs 2942 575 9 12 2 15 -0.43 4.31
6 New York Jets 2927 586 17 5 5 14 0.08 4.32
7 New York Giants 2754 558 14 7 5 14 0.14 4.33
8 Houston Texans 2188 452 13 3 6 7 0.18 4.33
9 Cleveland Browns 2841 630 13 6 9 9 -0.04 4.46
10 Carolina Panthers 2399 477 7 12 2 12 -0.36 4.52
11 Tennessee Titans 2722 512 7 6 10 12 0.09 4.60
12 Cincinnati Bengals 2925 595 11 7 4 9 -0.04 4.69
13 New England Patriots 3249 643 13 12 4 12 -0.14 4.71
14 Miami Dolphins 2950 572 9 11 9 9 0.23 4.73
15 Oakland Raiders 2858 508 17 5 6 13 0.21 4.81
16 Buffalo Bills 3259 629 20 12 2 7 -0.11 4.81
17 St. Louis Rams 3112 545 14 7 11 16 0.02 4.88
18 New Orleans Saints 2665 487 8 9 7 11 -0.33 5.01
19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2784 506 15 8 4 8 0.17 5.06
20 Detroit Lions 3048 498 13 10 5 10 -0.02 5.09
21 Washington Redskins 3190 523 17 9 10 6 0.57 5.18
22 Indianapolis Colts 2938 516 11 8 5 10 0.13 5.21
23 Denver Broncos 3045 542 15 13 8 9 -0.39 5.23
24 Chicago Bears 3049 496 11 11 10 16 0.18 5.31
25 Pittsburgh Steelers 2730 501 9 4 12 8 -0.33 5.46
26 Green Bay Packers 2760 500 14 3 7 8 0.03 5.47
27 Jacksonville Jaguars 3138 525 16 3 13 13 0.30 5.53
28 Dallas Cowboys 3773 630 16 12 8 12 0.09 5.61
29 Minnesota Vikings 3161 570 18 8 9 10 0.12 5.65
30 Philadelphia Eagles 3774 672 14 10 7 11 -0.28 5.90
31 Atlanta Falcons 2919 499 17 6 5 7 -0.23 6.26
32 San Diego Chargers 3150 491 10 4 6 7 -0.15 6.94

Predictive Yards per Play Differential, through Week 9:

Rank Team PY/P Diff. Remaining SOS Projected Wins
1 New Orleans Saints 1.27 -1.70 11.49
2 Houston Texans 1.22 -23.28 7.68
3 Green Bay Packers 1.20 -21.31 9.72
4 Seattle Seahawks 1.15 -17.69 13.01
5 Carolina Panthers 1.13 6.79 9.79
6 San Francisco 49ers 1.00 -2.98 10.99
7 Detroit Lions 0.73 -23.04 10.21
8 Denver Broncos 0.67 8.49 11.90
9 Cincinnati Bengals 0.63 -15.64 10.11
10 Indianapolis Colts 0.37 -13.39 10.07
11 Chicago Bears 0.24 -16.83 9.32
12 New England Patriots 0.18 12.86 10.21
13 Cleveland Browns 0.15 -14.80 7.78
14 Kansas City Chiefs 0.12 7.03 12.56
15 Tennessee Titans 0.08 -19.09 8.34
16 Arizona Cardinals 0.02 -10.61 8.44
17 Baltimore Ravens 0.01 -10.36 7.20
18 San Diego Chargers -0.11 -3.58 8.29
19 New York Jets -0.20 -9.08 8.41
20 Buffalo Bills -0.33 -25.98 6.61
21 St. Louis Rams -0.35 10.80 4.44
22 Atlanta Falcons -0.36 11.17 5.29
23 Philadelphia Eagles -0.43 -12.75 7.32
24 Washington Redskins -0.45 -23.20 6.82
25 Miami Dolphins -0.50 -7.27 7.58
26 Pittsburgh Steelers -0.65 -4.77 5.67
27 Tampa Bay Buccaneers -0.66 3.13 2.55
28 Oakland Raiders -0.90 7.04 5.39
29 Dallas Cowboys -0.92 -7.31 8.16
30 New York Giants -0.97 -8.75 4.70
31 Minnesota Vikings -1.27 -23.23 3.90
32 Jacksonville Jaguars -1.91 2.93 1.40

Obviously, the biggest development to come out of Week 9 – arguably also the single biggest development of the season to date – was the fractured collarbone suffered by Aaron Rodgers in the first series of Monday night’s game against the Bears. It’s the first major in-season injury to a starting quarterback on a Super Bowl-contending team since Matt Schaub’s lisfranc injury derailed the Texans’ Super Bowl hopes two years ago (my, how things have changed quickly). Obviously, though, Rodgers is a better quarterback than Schaub ever was and the effect his absence will have on the Packers offense is likely to be more in line with how the Colts fared without Peyton Manning in 2011.

The initial timetable for Rodgers’ return, as reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, was three weeks; reports coming out today are now suggesting Rodgers will miss four to six weeks. In this case, the difference between Rodgers missing three games or four is enormous because that fourth game would be the Thanksgiving Day matchup in Detroit against the NFC North co-leading Lions. The three games Rodgers seems certain to miss – home against Philadelphia and Minnesota, away at the Giants – are all still winnable even with Seneca Wallace at quarterback. It’s tough to envision the Packers going into Detroit and beating the Lions, though, without Rodgers and that puts the Packers in a dicey spot in regards to their playoff chances.

Obviously, the dropoff in quality from Rodgers to Wallace is severe and should be accounted for in the Packers’ projection for the rest of the season. But to what degree should we expect the Packers offense to sag? Well, Rodgers’ career Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt figure is 7.61. Wallace’s is 5.16 – actually pretty good for a backup quarterback, but still solidly below average. The difference between the two is 2.45 – in other words,Wallace has averaged about two and a half yards fewer per attempt than Rodgers has. 

Assuming the Packers would normally throw the ball somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 times if Rodgers was healthy and playing, that would mean the dropoff between Rodgers and Wallace is about 98 yards per game. And since it’s generally been held that 14 or 15 yards are worth about one point, 98 fewer yards would likely mean seven fewer points per game.

Additionally, quarterback with higher completion percentages tend to do better in situational football (3rd downs, red zone, etc.) than quarterbacks with low completion rates. Rodgers’ career completion rate of 65.8% is outstanding; Wallace’s completion percentage of 59.1% is poor. Using a regression formula based off of QB completion percentages and its correlation on points scored over the previous five seasons, I estimate that Wallace’s relative inaccuracy compared to Rodgers will cost the Packers an additional four points per game.

So the statistical difference between Rodgers and Wallace looks to be about 11 points per game. In actuality, that may be downplaying the significance of the dropoff between the two. Or it might be overrating it, considering Wallace has never quarterbacked an offense with as much talent surrounding him as the Packers possess. For purposes of projecting the Packers’ future performance, though, I whacked 11 points per game off their total projection for the fewest amount of games Rodgers is projected to miss, which currently is four. In other words, the Packers’ complete projection has now been downgraded by 44 points, which is worth a little more than one projected win.

It’s tough to understate the magnitude of Rodgers’ injury. Had he played the whole game Monday Night, it’s probably fair to say the Packers would have won a game they lost by seven points (although Chicago’s point total of 27 is certainly not something to scoff at). If they had won Monday night, they likely would have improved upon their win projection from last week of 11.7 and would have become the favorite to snag the #2 seed over New Orleans.

Now? After adjusting for Rodgers’ injury, Predictive Yards per Play now projects the Packers to narrowly miss the playoffs – their projected win total of 9.7 games is a half game behind Detroit for the NFC North title and a tenth of a game behind Carolina for the final wild-card spot. Now, a tenth of a game is a silly distinction to make between two teams – for all intents and purposes, Green Bay and Carolina are basically projected to wind up with the same record. And if the Packers still make the playoffs, they would likely enter the postseason with not only Rodgers back but also Clay Matthews and Randall Cobb. Getting to that point no longer is certain, however.

Rodgers’ injury is clearly the most significant in the league this season, but it’s not the only one suffered by a star player. I’ve adjusted several other teams’ projections going forward after determining their ratings don’t adequately account for a key injury suffered. These are the teams whose projection I’ve downgraded and the players/injuries that caused the downgrade.

Atlanta Falcons: Julio Jones, out for the season (-14 points total)

Chicago Bears: Lance Briggs, out approximately 2-5 weeks (-12 points total)

Cincinnati Bengals: Geno Atkins, out for the season (-14 points total)

Houston Texans: Brian Cushing, out for the season (-16 points total)

Indianapolis Colts: Reggie Wayne, out for the season (-20 points total)

St. Louis Rams: Sam Bradford, out for the season (-42 points total)

Week 9 was plenty zany even before Rodgers got hurt Monday Night. New Orleans lost to a team that had lost by 40 points the week before but still wound up rising three spots to become the fourth team to claim the top spot in this year’s Predictive Yards per Play rankings. Seattle and Kansas City both did their best to blow the most winnable games left on their schedules but still project as the #1 seeds in their respective conferences. And after the Jets’ aforementioned win over the Saints and the Chargers’ overtime defeat to the Redskins, there are now SEVEN teams projected to wind up within one game of the final wild-card spot in the AFC. Even after adjusting for PY/P’s morbid fascination with Houston, it’s clear that the race for the #6 seed is going to crazy the rest of the season.

Projected AFC Playoff Picture, through Week 9:

  1. Kansas City (12.6 wins)
  2. New England (10.2 wins)
  3. Cincinnati (10.1 wins)
  4. Indianapolis (10.1 wins)
  5. Denver (11.8 wins)
  6. NY Jets (8.4 wins)

In the hunt: Tennessee (8.3 wins), San Diego (8.3 wins), Cleveland (7.8 wins), Houston (7.7 wins), Miami (7.6 wins), Baltimore (7.2 wins),

Mediocre: Buffalo (6.6 wins), Pittsburgh (5.7 wins), Oakland (5.4 wins)

Teddy Bridgewater Sweepstakes: Jacksonville (1.4 wins)

Projected NFC Playoff Picture, through Week 9:

  1. Seattle (13.0 wins)
  2. New Orleans (11.5 wins)
  3. Detroit (10.2 wins)
  4. Dallas (8.2 wins)
  5. San Francisco (11.0 wins)
  6. Carolina (9.8 wins)

In the hunt: Green Bay (9.7 wins), Chicago (9.3 wins), Arizona (8.4 wins), Philadelphia (7.4 wins), Washington (6.8 wins)

Mediocre: Atlanta (5.3 wins)

Teddy Bridgewater Sweepstakes: NY Giants (4.7 wins), St. Louis (4.4 wins), Minnesota (3.9 wins), Tampa Bay (2.6 wins)

2013 COAS/SSLYAR Pigskin Pick’Em: Week 9

This week’s fail-safe, sure-fire picks against the spread from Confessions of a Sportscaster and yours truly are shown below. If I keep picking up a game a week on Lucas like I did last week, I’ll wind up winning by two games! Marathon, not a sprint! That’s what I keep telling myself, anyway. Also, groupthink is apparently back, as we only disagree on two games this week. Subjectively, my hunch is that means we’ll both wind up 5-8 this week, but maybe I’m wrong! Please read our picks below.

Cincinnati Bengals at Miami Dolphins (+2.5)

Lucas: Bengals. I feel like Cincy might be rounding into form at this point. Also I don’t really trust the Dolphins.

Nathaniel: Bengals. Ryan Tannehill’s on pace to get sacked 73 times this season. 73! If he and the Dolphins offensive line keep this pace up, he’ll be the second-most sacked quarterback in a single season ever. Why not just embrace the whole thing and gun for David Carr’s record, guys? It’d do David a world of good to know someone out there may have POSSIBLY had it worse than him.

Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers (-7.5)

Lucas: Panthers. I’m behind you, Riverboat Ron! Don’t fail me now!

Nathaniel: Falcons. Was Matt Ryan’s four interception game last week a fluke, a sign that the wheels are starting to fall off the Falcons offense without Julio and Roddy White, or a reminder that the Cardinals defense is really good? The answer, of course, could very well be “All three,” but I prefer to live in a world where the truth isn’t multi-faceted and difficult to understand sometimes.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Buffalo Bills (+3.5)

Lucas: Chiefs. KC reloaded big time in the offseason, which is a big reason why they’ve already notched 6 more wins than they had all last year. Adding Andy Reid also helped. Though personally, I’m a bigger fan of Baby Andy Reid. Happy Halloween!

Nathaniel: Chiefs. Usually the longer a backup quarterback has to stay in, the more cracks and flaws in his game appear. Particularly when you have to go up against the best defense in the AFC. I’m rooting for you, Thad Lewis, but I don’t got a good feeling about this!

Minnesota Vikings at Dallas Cowboys (-10.5)

Lucas: Vikings. Look, I know the Vikings aren’t great. I watched most of the second half of Aaron Rodgers taking his time dissecting their defense. And yes, I realize it’s November and this is when Tony Romo and company take off. But I’m not sold on a double-digit spread at this stage.

Nathaniel: Vikings. If I knew for certain that Josh Freeman would be starting Sunday, then I would take Dallas with no hesitation. Unfortunately, Christian Ponder shows enough flashes of competence to make me a think a backdoor cover would be eminently within reach for Minnesota.  Of course, what would make this easier is if Leslie Frazier decided to pick his starting quarterback more than three hours before kickoff. I do realize that’s an unreasonable demand, though.

Tennessee Titans at St. Louis Rams (+2.5)

Lucas: Titans. St. Louis blew an easily winnable game against the Seahawks by sucking on offense. Why should I trust them here?

Nathaniel: Titans. The less said about this game, the better.

New Orleans Saints at New York Jets (+5.5)

Lucas: Saints. This is partially a gut reaction to the Jets getting annihilated by the Bengals last week. This is also a gut reaction to “Hey, the Saints are really, really good.”

Nathaniel: Saints. The Jets’ tendency this season has been to win a close game and then lose their next matchup, usually by a big margin. So, using that logic, the Jets should win a close game this week. Of course, that logic doesn’t know that the Saints are coming into town.

San Diego Chargers at Washington Redskins (-0.5)

Lucas: Redskins. I’ll give the thug Brandon Meriweather a week grace period before he either takes out a guy’s knee or goes back to his headhunting and gets suspended for the rest of the season like he deserves. (In his defense though: he does have a point about defenders being forced to go low.)

Nathaniel: Chargers. Philip Rivers is quietly having a season that’s nearly as good as Peyton Manning’s has been. It’s good that he has, because the Chargers defense has been horrible all year. Another 45-41 game may very well be in the cards at FedEx Field.

Philadelphia Eagles at Oakland Raiders (-2.5)

Lucas: Eagles. ESPN’s Gregg Easterbrook (TMQ) thinks Philly opponents are actually the Borg. These defenses are adapting to the high speed offense Chip Kelly brought over. But unless Terrelle Pryor breaks a 90 yard run again, I think the only Borg in sight might be in the Black Hole.

Nathaniel: Eagles. Chip Kelly’s figuring out it’s tougher to move the ball at warp speed when you don’t have a semblance of a quarterback behind center. That I’m still taking the Eagles anyway either says something about my stupidity or Oakland’s inability to move the ball through the air. Or both!

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Seattle Seahawks (-16.5)

Lucas: Seahawks. Normally I’d be leery here. But I feel like if the Tampa players really want Greg Schiano gone… isn’t this the perfect game to do it? Get the crap kicked out of you, force ownership’s hand… maybe not likely, but there’s no way Tampa is going to keep up with the Seahawks in Seattle.

Nathaniel: Seahawks. Here’s assuming Seattle’s offensive line actually remembers how to block again after briefly forgetting last Monday Night.

Baltimore Ravens @ Cleveland Browns (+2.5)

Lucas: Browns. Is it me, or did Cleveland look serviceable last week? Against KC, no less! Pit them at home against a not-that-great Baltimore team… I could go for that. You know, as long as Brandon Weeden doesn’t play.

Nathaniel: Browns. Once the Browns actually find a quarterback in next year’s draft, they could turn into a legitimately good team. For now, having Jason Campbell as their quarterback makes them competent. Progress over Brandon Weeden!

Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots (-7.5)

Lucas: Steelers. Look, I know this game is in Foxboro. Part of me just isn’t sold on the spread. Of course, now Tom Brady will torch the Steelers and beat them by 30 points.

Nathaniel: Steelers. I think it’s safe to say 2007-12 Tom Brady isn’t walking through that door at this point. The Patriots actually have a better record at the season’s midpoint than they have the past two years, but they feel 10,000 times less dangerous.

Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans (+2.5)

Lucas: Colts. Houston is clearly not the team they’ve been the last couple years. I was talking to my supervisor from Indy the other day, and we marveled at the fact that it’s not inconceivable for the Colts to run the table the rest of the day. I don’t think it’ll happen, but it’s a scary thought.

Nathaniel: Colts. My hunch is Reggie Wayne’s torn ACL is going to wind up being an insurmountable obstacle to the Colts’s Super Bowl hopes this year, but the Texans have reached the point where every home game is toxic. The fans seem ready to turn on this team from the first mistake they make – and it seems likely that Case Keenum will make a bunch of them Sunday Night.

Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers (-11.5)

Lucas: Packers. Bad news for Bears fans: Jay Cutler is out. Bad news for Packers fans: Jay Cutler is out. Seriously, you have no idea how sad I am that he won’t be available to get sacked half a dozen times and throw three picks. Instead, I’ll have to settle for Green Bay rattling Josh McCown while Aaron Rodgers cremates a banged up and past-its-prime Bears defense.

Nathaniel: Packers. This is not going to be fun.

2013 Records:

Lucas: 64-57 (6-7 last week)

Nathaniel: 57-64 (7-6 last week)

 

Week 8 Predictive Yards per Play Rankings

Week 8′s Predictive Yards per Play Rankings are coming up right about…now.

Offensive Predictive Yards per Play, through Week 8:

Rank Team Yards Plays Passing TDs INTs Rushing TDs Fumbles SOS PY/P (Ball-Control Adjusted
1 Green Bay Packers 3072 473 15 4 6 10 0.22 7.20
2 San Diego Chargers 2820 461 15 5 3 6 -0.14 6.82
3 New Orleans Saints 2772 467 19 5 3 4 -0.12 6.08
4 Atlanta Falcons 2540 448 14 7 3 7 0.10 6.05
5 Denver Broncos 3731 581 29 6 11 18 -0.09 6.01
6 Detroit Lions 3328 556 16 6 8 11 -0.01 5.86
7 Carolina Panthers 2289 451 12 5 7 6 0.36 5.68
8 Indianapolis Colts 2413 441 10 3 8 5 -0.07 5.62
9 Houston Texans 2668 500 9 11 2 9 0.28 5.42
10 San Francisco 49ers 2743 484 9 5 15 11 0.42 5.40
11 Cincinnati Bengals 2957 517 16 7 5 13 -0.07 5.33
12 Chicago Bears 2574 424 13 7 7 8 -0.05 5.33
13 Philadelphia Eagles 3178 542 11 7 7 13 -0.18 5.06
14 Seattle Seahawks 2715 493 14 4 7 17 0.19 4.96
15 Tennessee Titans 2181 438 10 5 3 10 0.23 4.79
16 Dallas Cowboys 2735 485 18 5 5 11 -0.20 4.73
17 Washington Redskins 2761 484 9 10 8 13 -0.35 4.70
18 Kansas City Chiefs 2646 542 9 4 7 8 -0.06 4.49
19 Pittsburgh Steelers 2255 435 8 7 3 10 0.03 4.48
20 Cleveland Browns 2536 531 13 9 1 7 -0.01 4.48
21 Baltimore Ravens 2301 474 8 8 5 7 0.07 4.30
22 New England Patriots 2640 562 9 6 7 11 -0.05 4.22
23 Minnesota Vikings 2141 418 5 8 10 10 -0.04 4.21
24 St. Louis Rams 2430 510 14 6 0 11 -0.10 4.09
25 Miami Dolphins 2177 444 11 9 5 9 -0.03 4.07
26 Buffalo Bills 2632 566 8 6 8 17 0.19 4.05
27 Arizona Cardinals 2516 492 10 14 6 13 0.20 4.03
28 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2084 466 8 6 1 11 -0.12 3.92
29 New York Jets 2643 533 8 13 3 10 -0.09 3.88
30 Oakland Raiders 2204 425 7 8 6 11 -0.32 3.83
31 Jacksonville Jaguars 2292 511 4 12 3 9 0.05 3.69
32 New York Giants 2622 506 10 16 5 12 -0.37 3.41

Defensive Predictive Yards per Play, through Week 8:

Rank Team Yards Plays Passing TDs INTs Rushing TDs Fumbles SOS PY/P (Ball-Control Adjusted
1 Seattle Seahawks 2314 508 6 13 4 18 0.02 3.59
2 Kansas City Chiefs 2472 498 8 10 2 14 -0.33 3.91
3 Arizona Cardinals 2740 547 14 12 3 11 0.38 3.98
4 San Francisco 49ers 2601 521 10 9 7 10 0.11 4.15
5 Baltimore Ravens 2401 447 11 4 1 12 0.11 4.16
6 Houston Texans 1874 394 10 3 6 7 0.17 4.18
7 Oakland Raiders 2316 451 10 5 6 13 0.24 4.29
8 New York Giants 2755 558 14 7 5 14 0.14 4.33
9 Cleveland Browns 2563 563 11 5 9 8 0.05 4.43
10 New York Jets 2520 520 15 3 5 13 -0.19 4.46
11 Tennessee Titans 2359 443 6 6 8 10 0.12 4.48
12 New England Patriots 2770 570 9 10 4 11 -0.19 4.58
13 Cincinnati Bengals 2580 534 11 7 3 8 -0.03 4.67
14 St. Louis Rams 2749 484 14 5 7 15 0.15 4.67
15 Carolina Panthers 2110 429 6 9 2 11 -0.59 4.81
16 Pittsburgh Steelers 2120 430 5 4 9 7 -0.28 4.87
17 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2369 445 13 6 3 7 0.10 4.87
18 New Orleans Saints 2327 429 8 9 5 11 -0.34 4.87
19 Miami Dolphins 2485 479 9 8 7 8 0.14 4.88
20 Indianapolis Colts 2455 448 8 8 5 9 0.14 4.92
21 Buffalo Bills 3049 575 20 12 2 6 -0.09 4.93
22 Detroit Lions 3048 498 13 10 5 10 0.02 5.04
23 Denver Broncos 3045 542 15 13 8 9 -0.28 5.12
24 Green Bay Packers 2318 425 12 3 6 8 0.04 5.13
25 Washington Redskins 2780 460 15 7 10 6 0.41 5.20
26 Jacksonville Jaguars 3138 525 16 3 13 13 0.31 5.50
27 Minnesota Vikings 2811 507 16 7 9 10 0.18 5.55
28 Dallas Cowboys 3380 562 15 11 6 10 0.17 5.56
29 Philadelphia Eagles 3214 580 14 8 5 9 -0.18 5.68
30 Chicago Bears 2737 441 11 10 8 14 -0.04 5.68
31 Atlanta Falcons 2546 428 16 4 3 6 -0.45 6.39
32 San Diego Chargers 2650 419 10 3 2 7 -0.07 6.64

Predictive Yards per Play Differential, through Week 8:

Rank Team PY/P Diff. Remaining SOS Projected Wins
1 Green Bay Packers 2.07 -19.45 11.74
2 Seattle Seahawks 1.36 -18.65 13.04
3 San Francisco 49ers 1.25 1.20 11.04
4 Houston Texans 1.24 -15.42 8.72
5 New Orleans Saints 1.21 3.42 12.06
6 Denver Broncos 0.89 18.11 11.80
7 Carolina Panthers 0.87 0.54 9.27
8 Detroit Lions 0.82 -15.80 10.02
9 Indianapolis Colts 0.70 6.75 9.87
10 Cincinnati Bengals 0.66 -8.41 10.98
11 Kansas City Chiefs 0.59 15.79 12.07
12 Tennessee Titans 0.31 -5.15 7.40
13 San Diego Chargers 0.17 1.88 9.04
14 Baltimore Ravens 0.14 -6.76 7.86
15 Arizona Cardinals 0.05 1.49 7.91
16 Cleveland Browns 0.05 -10.97 6.84
17 Atlanta Falcons -0.34 21.88 6.02
18 Chicago Bears -0.35 7.45 8.09
19 New England Patriots -0.36 7.73 9.34
20 Pittsburgh Steelers -0.38 1.48 6.54
21 Oakland Raiders -0.46 6.34 6.42
22 Washington Redskins -0.50 -15.76 5.92
23 New York Jets -0.58 -6.69 7.39
24 St. Louis Rams -0.58 11.43 5.69
25 Philadelphia Eagles -0.63 -4.71 6.25
26 Miami Dolphins -0.81 -11.08 6.59
27 Dallas Cowboys -0.83 -7.16 7.77
28 Buffalo Bills -0.88 -25.85 6.60
29 New York Giants -0.92 5.95 4.68
30 Tampa Bay Buccaneers -0.95 14.61 1.95
31 Minnesota Vikings -1.35 9.06 3.36
32 Jacksonville Jaguars -1.82 8.45 1.62

Green Bay’s nearly-perfect offensive showing Sunday Night against the Vikings boosted their offensive rating through the roof and, as a result, moves them past Seattle for the #1 spot in this week’s rankings. It’s still early, but this Packers offense is actually on pace to fly past the vaunted 2011 unit’s PY/P rating by a full yard per play. Considering Aaron Rodgers submitted one of the four or five best quarterback seasons of all time that year, I’d say that’s a pretty good start to the year for the Packers offense.

Rodgers hasn’t quite played up to his 2011 level this year – he’s merely playing at an MVP level rather than an otherworldly level -but the Packers now have an excellent running attack to back up their top-three (or top-two or top-one) quarterback. Football Outsiders ranked the Packers’ offensive line as the best run blocking unit in the league by their Adjusted Line Yards metric going into last week and I could only assume Sunday Night’s performance didn’t hurt that ranking too badly. Defensively, the Packers still rate well below average but have an ace in the hole whenever Clay Matthews returns from injury. If the Packers maintained this rating for the entire season – an unlikely proposition, but not an impossible one – they would easily rank as the best regular season team of the Rodgers/McCarthy era.

However, Seattle is still the favorite to win the top seed in the NFC despite falling to #2 in the overall PY/P rankings and, given their incredible home-field advantage, have to still be considered the main favorite to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. In fact, despite rating .71 yards per play better than any other team in the league, Green Bay is still currently projected to lose the #2 seed and other first-round bye to New Orleans. Given how top-heavy the NFC is this year, the first-round byes may hold more significance than usual – having to win back-to-back road games at New Orleans or Green Bay and then Seattle seems like a nearly impossible task off-hand.

The rest of this week’s overall top ten consists of San Francisco, Houston (sigh), New Orleans, Denver, Carolina, Detroit, Indianapolis and Cincinnati. Both the Panthers and Lions have come on strong in recent weeks and look like the main challengers for the last wild-card slot in the NFC playoffs. Detroit’s currently the favorite to wrest that spot away because of a significantly easier schedule.

Nothing changed in the AFC playoff projections from last week – Cincinnati became a stronger favorite to pick up the #2 seed after their thrashing of the Jets, but no actual spots changed hands this week. Kansas City and Denver are still projected to be the two winningest teams in the conference, but both are slated to wind up around 12 wins because of schedules that rank as the two toughest remaining in the AFC. The two games the teams play against each other – and the two each will play against San Diego – will probably be the main factors in shaking out the AFC playoff race.

Projected AFC Playoff Picture, through Week 8:

  1. Kansas City (12.1 wins)
  2. Cincinnati (11.0 wins)
  3. Indianapolis (9.9 wins)
  4. New England (9.3 wins)
  5. Denver (11.8 wins)
  6. San Diego (9.0 wins)

In the hunt: Houston (8.7 wins), Baltimore (7.9 wins), Tennessee (7.4 wins), NY Jets (7.4 wins)

Mediocre: Cleveland (6.8 wins), Buffalo (6.6 wins), Miami (6.6 wins), Pittsburgh (6.5 wins), Oakland (6.4 wins)

Teddy Bridgewater Sweepstakes: Jacksonville (1.6 wins)

Projected NFC Playoff Picture, through Week 8:

  1. Seattle (13.0 wins)
  2. New Orleans (12.1 wins)
  3. Green Bay (11.7 wins)
  4. Dallas (7.8 wins)
  5. San Francisco (11.0 wins)
  6. Detroit (10.0 wins)

In the hunt: Carolina (9.3 wins), Chicago (8.1 wins), Philadelphia (6.3 wins), Washington (5.9 wins)

Mediocre: Arizona (7.9 wins), Atlanta (6.0 wins), St. Louis (5.7 wins)

Teddy Bridgewater Sweepstakes: NY Giants (4.7 wins), Minnesota (3.4 wins), Tampa Bay (2.0 wins)

Week 7 Predictive Yards per Play Rankings

Below are Week 7′s rankings for your perusal:

Offensive Predictive Yards per Play, through Week 7:

Rank Team Yards Plays Passing TDs INTs Rushing TDs Fumbles SOS PY/P (Ball-Control Adjusted
1 San Diego Chargers 2820 461 15 5 3 6 -0.03 6.93
2 Atlanta Falcons 2248 369 13 3 3 7 0.12 6.71
3 Green Bay Packers 2608 400 13 4 4 10 0.13 6.56
4 Denver Broncos 3285 501 25 3 10 17 -0.05 6.23
5 New Orleans Saints 2386 403 14 5 3 4 -0.09 6.09
6 Philadelphia Eagles 2977 484 11 5 7 8 -0.13 5.73
7 Indianapolis Colts 2413 441 10 3 8 5 -0.03 5.66
8 Detroit Lions 2705 478 15 4 5 9 -0.07 5.62
9 Carolina Panthers 1965 389 10 5 5 6 0.17 5.43
10 Houston Texans 2668 500 9 11 2 9 0.28 5.42
11 Washington Redskins 2495 414 8 6 7 10 -0.28 5.40
12 Seattle Seahawks 2580 453 12 4 7 17 0.19 5.32
13 Chicago Bears 2574 424 13 7 7 8 -0.17 5.21
14 Cincinnati Bengals 2555 461 11 6 5 11 -0.12 5.09
15 Dallas Cowboys 2467 429 15 5 5 10 -0.25 5.03
16 San Francisco 49ers 2345 429 8 5 11 8 0.27 4.98
17 Pittsburgh Steelers 1979 366 7 5 2 10 0.10 4.90
18 Tennessee Titans 2181 438 10 5 3 10 0.29 4.85
19 Kansas City Chiefs 2315 471 7 4 7 7 -0.01 4.46
20 New England Patriots 2388 500 8 5 5 11 0.08 4.44
21 Oakland Raiders 1925 366 7 6 3 9 -0.23 4.28
22 Cleveland Browns 2196 479 11 9 1 6 -0.04 4.28
23 Baltimore Ravens 2301 474 8 8 5 7 -0.03 4.20
24 St. Louis Rams 2091 439 14 4 0 10 -0.01 4.17
25 Buffalo Bills 2333 498 7 5 7 13 0.19 4.10
26 New York Jets 2403 468 8 11 3 10 -0.03 4.09
27 Miami Dolphins 1876 365 9 7 5 8 -0.01 4.07
28 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1787 398 7 6 1 8 -0.06 3.97
29 Minnesota Vikings 1898 375 5 8 7 10 -0.17 3.89
30 Arizona Cardinals 2168 441 8 13 5 12 0.16 3.82
31 Jacksonville Jaguars 1974 441 3 12 3 8 0.01 3.42
32 New York Giants 2297 435 10 16 5 11 -0.21 3.41

Defensive Predictive Yards per Play, through Week 7:

Rank Team Yards Plays Passing TDs INTs Rushing TDs Fumbles SOS PY/P (Ball-Control Adjusted
1 Kansas City Chiefs 2132 446 6 10 2 13 -0.20 3.57
2 Seattle Seahawks 1975 437 6 11 4 17 -0.05 3.60
3 New York Jets 2118 464 10 2 5 11 -0.06 3.98
4 San Francisco 49ers 2283 451 9 9 7 9 0.16 4.00
5 Baltimore Ravens 2401 447 11 4 1 12 0.08 4.21
6 Houston Texans 1874 394 10 3 6 7 0.11 4.25
7 Arizona Cardinals 2448 468 13 8 3 11 0.16 4.34
8 Cleveland Browns 2232 492 9 5 9 7 -0.07 4.46
9 Tennessee Titans 2359 443 6 6 8 10 0.14 4.46
10 New England Patriots 2469 491 7 8 4 10 -0.03 4.51
11 Oakland Raiders 2040 382 9 3 5 13 0.29 4.54
12 Carolina Panthers 1813 361 5 9 2 8 -0.43 4.73
13 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2045 383 11 6 1 7 0.12 4.73
14 Buffalo Bills 2663 511 15 12 2 6 -0.27 4.84
15 New York Giants 2554 500 14 5 5 9 0.08 4.88
16 Cincinnati Bengals 2340 469 11 5 3 8 0.01 4.90
17 New Orleans Saints 2028 361 7 8 4 7 -0.17 4.92
18 Indianapolis Colts 2455 448 8 8 5 9 0.13 4.94
19 Miami Dolphins 2233 417 8 7 5 8 0.19 4.99
20 Green Bay Packers 2075 382 12 3 3 8 0.00 5.06
21 St. Louis Rams 2614 444 12 5 7 15 0.05 5.17
22 Pittsburgh Steelers 1841 371 5 2 6 5 -0.27 5.21
23 Minnesota Vikings 2347 434 14 7 7 10 -0.14 5.36
24 Dallas Cowboys 2757 484 14 9 3 8 0.17 5.36
25 Jacksonville Jaguars 2740 470 15 3 9 10 0.30 5.40
26 Denver Broncos 2779 472 14 9 7 6 -0.20 5.43
27 Washington Redskins 2334 380 11 4 9 5 0.24 5.49
28 Detroit Lions 2780 442 10 10 5 10 -0.09 5.50
29 Philadelphia Eagles 2889 509 14 8 5 8 0.07 5.61
30 Chicago Bears 2737 441 11 10 8 14 -0.05 5.70
31 Atlanta Falcons 2198 377 14 3 2 5 -0.28 6.23
32 San Diego Chargers 2650 419 10 3 2 7 0.00 6.59

Predictive Yards per Play Differential, through Week 7:

Rank Team PY/P Diff. Remaining SOS Projected Wins
1 Seattle Seahawks 1.72 -23.27 12.99
2 Green Bay Packers 1.50 -18.62 11.09
3 Houston Texans 1.18 -23.07 8.65
4 New Orleans Saints 1.17 3.05 11.49
5 San Francisco 49ers 0.97 -5.31 10.77
6 Kansas City Chiefs 0.89 12.35 11.75
7 Denver Broncos 0.80 14.07 11.52
8 Indianapolis Colts 0.72 -2.19 9.80
9 Carolina Panthers 0.69 5.63 8.25
10 Atlanta Falcons 0.48 18.60 7.51
11 Tennessee Titans 0.38 -15.61 7.62
12 San Diego Chargers 0.34 2.41 9.00
13 Cincinnati Bengals 0.19 -14.78 10.45
14 Detroit Lions 0.12 -18.55 9.04
15 Philadelphia Eagles 0.12 -16.07 7.45
16 New York Jets 0.11 -5.02 8.35
17 Baltimore Ravens -0.01 -10.77 7.86
18 New England Patriots -0.06 -2.82 9.50
19 Washington Redskins -0.09 -1.18 6.64
20 Cleveland Browns -0.18 -4.71 6.62
21 Oakland Raiders -0.25 8.58 6.07
22 Pittsburgh Steelers -0.31 -5.83 7.42
23 Dallas Cowboys -0.33 -3.96 8.79
24 Chicago Bears -0.49 1.84 8.19
25 Arizona Cardinals -0.52 2.14 6.57
26 Buffalo Bills -0.74 -7.48 6.77
27 Tampa Bay Buccaneers -0.76 13.11 2.44
28 Miami Dolphins -0.92 -5.63 6.77
29 St. Louis Rams -1.00 12.15 5.79
30 Minnesota Vikings -1.46 15.35 3.50
31 New York Giants -1.47 10.64 3.62
32 Jacksonville Jaguars -1.98 3.27 1.45

The top five teams in this week’s Predictive Yards per Play rankings remain the same and stay in the exact same order. Seattle remains the clear #1 team, although Green Bay did make some notable gains on them this week. Then comes – sigh – Houston, followed by idle New Orleans and San Francisco. The biggest risers this week were Washington and (weirdly, given their blowout loss to the 49ers) Tennessee, both of whom rose four spots. Chicago and New England both fell four spots, making those two the biggest falls in this week’s rankings.

The most interesting development to come out of this week’s rankings, though, is a complete reshuffling of the Predictive Yards per Play playoff projections for the AFC from last week. Five of the six teams remain the same, but each projected seed is different from the post-Week 6 rankings. Most notably, Denver’s loss to Indianapolis has now installed Kansas City as a slight favorite to win the AFC West and the home-field advantage throughout the playoffs that’s likely to come with the title.

Even so, though, the projection model only sees Kansas City going roughly 5-4 the rest of the way – they still have both games against Denver and San Diego (the two current projected wild-card teams) remaining and have to play Indianapolis the second-to-last week of the season. Cincinnati, meanwhile, is the new favorite to get the second bye in the AFC, but is projected to do so with only 10.5 wins.  In other words, Predictive Yards per Play doesn’t really forecast any AFC team to go off on a wild tear in the second half of the season. Well, except for Houston, but that’s a bug in the system that unfortunately doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon.

That probably speaks to the state of the AFC this season – it’s the undeniably deeper conference in 2013, but all of the top contenders have notable flaws. I talked last week about the struggles of Kansas City’s offense and Denver’s defense. Both units trended upward this week, but remain worse than any unit that has ever been apart of a Super Bowl-winning team. Cincinnati is slightly above-average on both sides of the ball – not exactly the most terrifying combination to face in the postseason. It’s possible this is the year that the wheels have actually fallen off for Tom Brady and Indianapolis just lost Reggie Wayne, by far their best receiver, to a torn ACL.

In other words? Things still look pretty wide open in the AFC. In the NFC, on the other hand, it’s pretty tough to imagine the conference’s Super Bowl representative not coming from the Seattle-Green Bay-New Orleans-San Francisco quadrumvirate. Dallas’s victory at Philadelphia re-installed them as the favorites to win the NFC East and Detroit remains the most likely recipient of the last wild-card slot because of a very easy remaining schedule. Seattle’s the highest-rated team in the league so far, however, and also has the easiest remaining schedule in the league. Green Bay and San Francisco also have easier than average schedules the rest of the way and the Saints have three home games in their next four overall that should build some cushion for when they have to play four away games out of five starting in late November.

Projected AFC Playoff Picture, through Week 7:

  1. Kansas City (11.8 wins)
  2. Cincinnati (10.5 wins)
  3. Indianapolis (9.8 wins)
  4. New England (9.5 wins)
  5. Denver (11.5 wins)
  6. San Diego (9.0 wins)

In the hunt: Houston (8.7 wins), NY Jets (8.4 wins), Baltimore (7.9 wins), Tennessee (7.6 wins), Pittsburgh (7.4 wins)

Mediocre: Buffalo (6.8 wins), Miami (6.8 wins), Cleveland (6.6 wins), Oakland (6.1 wins)

Teddy Bridgewater Sweepstakes: Jacksonville (1.5 wins)

Projected NFC Playoff Picture, through Week 6:

  1. Seattle (13.0 wins)
  2. New Orleans (11.5 wins)
  3. Green Bay (11.1 wins)
  4. Dallas (8.8 wins)
  5. San Francisco (10.8 wins)
  6. Detroit (9.0 wins)

In the hunt: Carolina (8.3 wins), Chicago (8.2 wins), Atlanta (7.5 wins), Philadelphia (7.5 wins)

Mediocre: Washington (6.6 wins), Arizona (6.6 wins), St. Louis (5.8 wins),

Teddy Bridgewater Sweepstakes: NY Giants (3.6 wins), Minnesota (3.5 wins), Tampa Bay (2.4 wins)

Week 6 Predictive Yards per Play Rankings

Here are my Week 6 NFL power rankings (which don’t include stats from last night’s Seattle-Arizona game):

Offensive Predictive Yards per Play, through Week 6:

Rank Team Yards Plays Passing TDs INTs Rushing TDs Fumbles SOS PY/P (Ball-Control Adjusted
1 Green Bay Packers 2251 334 10 4 3 9 0.33 6.74
2 Denver Broncos 2856 428 22 2 9 13 -0.11 6.74
3 Atlanta Falcons 1957 325 10 3 3 6 0.06 6.70
4 Philadelphia Eagles 2699 409 11 2 7 8 -0.08 6.32
5 San Diego Chargers 2386 394 14 5 1 6 -0.16 6.29
6 Indianapolis Colts 2079 370 7 3 7 4 0.15 6.14
7 New Orleans Saints 2386 403 14 5 3 4 -0.10 6.07
8 Seattle Seahawks 2236 389 9 4 6 13 0.24 5.53
9 Houston Texans 2374 446 8 11 2 7 0.30 5.49
10 Carolina Panthers 1683 332 9 5 4 5 0.07 5.47
11 Chicago Bears 2215 372 12 6 4 8 0.00 5.38
12 Dallas Cowboys 2099 354 14 3 4 9 -0.17 5.33
13 Detroit Lions 2271 402 12 4 5 9 -0.18 5.10
14 Washington Redskins 1996 341 6 5 4 8 -0.36 4.98
15 Cincinnati Bengals 2134 408 8 6 5 10 -0.07 4.73
16 Tennessee Titans 1813 381 8 4 3 9 0.28 4.61
17 New England Patriots 2093 430 8 4 3 8 0.06 4.60
18 Pittsburgh Steelers 1693 311 6 5 2 9 0.07 4.57
19 San Francisco 49ers 1996 365 8 5 8 8 0.05 4.56
20 Minnesota Vikings 1692 307 5 7 7 8 -0.06 4.45
21 Cleveland Browns 1980 411 10 8 1 6 0.06 4.42
22 Buffalo Bills 2065 432 7 4 6 11 0.29 4.32
23 Miami Dolphins 1583 301 6 5 5 7 0.00 4.27
24 St. Louis Rams 1774 380 13 3 0 6 0.00 4.27
25 Oakland Raiders 1925 366 8 6 3 9 -0.16 4.20
26 New York Jets 2020 379 7 10 2 8 0.01 4.09
27 Kansas City Chiefs 1958 403 7 3 7 9 -0.17 3.91
28 Arizona Cardinals 1934 371 7 11 4 10 0.12 3.89
29 Baltimore Ravens 2014 413 7 8 5 6 -0.12 3.85
30 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1450 323 5 6 1 6 0.01 3.83
31 New York Giants 2040 362 9 16 4 8 -0.30 3.55
32 Jacksonville Jaguars 1621 382 3 11 3 8 0.02 3.02

Defensive Predictive Yards per Play, through Week 6:

Rank Team Yards Plays Passing TDs INTs Rushing TDs Fumbles SOS PY/P (Ball-Control Adjusted
1 Kansas City Chiefs 1838 392 5 10 2 11 -0.20 3.41
2 San Francisco 49ers 1915 394 7 8 7 8 0.33 3.56
3 Seattle Seahawks 1741 367 5 9 3 15 -0.10 3.74
4 Baltimore Ravens 2115 392 10 4 1 11 0.23 3.87
5 New York Jets 1823 394 10 1 3 9 0.02 3.98
6 Houston Texans 1517 326 10 2 4 6 0.03 4.18
7 Cleveland Browns 1875 426 6 5 8 6 -0.23 4.35
8 New England Patriots 2086 402 6 7 3 8 0.05 4.39
9 Cincinnati Bengals 1906 393 8 5 3 8 0.07 4.40
10 Tennessee Titans 2010 379 6 6 5 10 -0.06 4.49
11 Arizona Cardinals 2104 404 10 8 2 7 0.00 4.59
12 Oakland Raiders 2040 382 9 3 5 13 0.10 4.62
13 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1754 339 8 6 1 6 0.01 4.69
14 Carolina Panthers 1496 302 4 8 2 4 -0.21 4.69
15 New Orleans Saints 2028 361 7 8 4 7 -0.06 4.79
16 Pittsburgh Steelers 1554 310 4 2 6 4 -0.16 4.92
17 Buffalo Bills 2370 447 12 10 2 5 -0.21 4.93
18 Jacksonville Jaguars 2306 403 14 3 7 10 0.20 5.01
19 Detroit Lions 2359 389 7 10 5 9 0.00 5.02
20 New York Giants 2348 432 14 4 5 7 0.22 5.26
21 Indianapolis Colts 2026 375 5 7 4 6 -0.11 5.27
22 St. Louis Rams 2332 387 11 5 6 14 -0.03 5.40
23 Green Bay Packers 1859 314 11 2 3 8 -0.21 5.40
24 Miami Dolphins 1965 351 8 6 4 6 0.27 5.41
25 Washington Redskins 1975 328 10 3 6 5 0.30 5.43
26 Chicago Bears 2238 368 9 9 5 12 -0.13 5.54
27 Minnesota Vikings 2090 361 13 7 6 7 -0.02 5.79
28 San Diego Chargers 2297 360 10 2 2 7 0.24 5.88
29 Denver Broncos 2445 401 11 9 6 5 -0.28 5.93
30 Dallas Cowboys 2479 409 14 6 3 8 -0.02 5.95
31 Philadelphia Eagles 2521 434 13 6 4 7 -0.07 6.10
32 Atlanta Falcons 1861 302 12 3 2 3 -0.12 6.28

Predictive Yards per Play Differential, through Week 6:

Rank Team PY/P Diff. Remaining SOS Projected Wins
1 Seattle Seahawks 1.79 -25.65 12.86
2 Green Bay Packers 1.34 -15.71 10.28
3 Houston Texans 1.31 -22.59 9.64
4 New Orleans Saints 1.28 -0.44 11.40
5 San Francisco 49ers 1.00 -11.00 10.86
6 Indianapolis Colts 0.86 -1.71 9.12
7 Denver Broncos 0.80 10.65 12.41
8 Carolina Panthers 0.77 -4.17 7.71
9 Kansas City Chiefs 0.50 17.30 10.48
10 Atlanta Falcons 0.42 1.90 7.36
11 San Diego Chargers 0.41 -11.07 8.81
12 Cincinnati Bengals 0.32 -8.21 9.89
13 Philadelphia Eagles 0.22 -19.20 8.15
14 New England Patriots 0.20 0.71 10.37
15 Tennessee Titans 0.11 -14.15 7.50
16 New York Jets 0.11 -7.58 7.71
17 Detroit Lions 0.09 -17.32 9.71
18 Cleveland Browns 0.07 5.25 7.08
19 Baltimore Ravens -0.02 0.58 7.98
20 Chicago Bears -0.16 3.00 8.94
21 Pittsburgh Steelers -0.34 -6.19 7.12
22 Oakland Raiders -0.42 6.10 6.06
23 Washington Redskins -0.46 -4.19 5.91
24 Buffalo Bills -0.61 -12.29 6.33
25 Dallas Cowboys -0.62 -2.31 8.15
26 Arizona Cardinals -0.70 7.68 6.45
27 Tampa Bay Buccaneers -0.85 17.46 2.46
28 St. Louis Rams -1.13 12.80 6.14
29 Miami Dolphins -1.14 -11.19 7.37
30 Minnesota Vikings -1.34 11.08 4.87
31 New York Giants -1.71 -0.73 3.07
32 Jacksonville Jaguars -2.00 3.14 1.45

After outplaying Tennessee by a significantly larger margin than the 20-13 final score would indicate, Seattle widens its lead as the #1 team in Predictive Yards per Play Differential this week. Green Bay leapfrogs Houston, who have now thoroughly perfected the art of outplaying their opponents in most key statistical indicators and still get blown out anyway, for the #2 position. New Orleans and San Francisco round out the top five, perhaps indicating the prevailing preseason view of the NFC being the superior conference wasn’t so wrong after all.

The most noticeable trend I saw this week when compiling the ratings is how one-dimensional most of the highly ranked teams seem to be this season. That is, most well-rated teams are performing extremely well on either offense or defense but poorly on the other side of the ball. All of the current top six teams on offense – Green Bay, Denver, Atlanta, Philadelphia, San Diego and Indianapolis – rate well below average on defense. And on the other side, Kansas City, San Francisco, Baltimore and the New York Jets are all in the top five defensively but come out well below average on offense.

Only four teams right now have above-average ratings on both offense and defense – two you would expect (Seattle and New Orleans) and two you wouldn’t (Houston and Carolina). Since the Texans have crossed over into full-blown implosion mode and the Panthers can’t be taken seriously in any game that’s not decided by fewer than 25 points, that would seem to suggest that the Seahawks and Saints deserve to be the two biggest favorites to win Super Bowl XLIII, right?

In actuality, while those two teams deserve to be mentioned at the top of any Super Bowl contenders list, history suggests that not all hope is lost for the rest of the league. I looked back at the Predictive Yards per Play ratings that I’ve run back to the 1970 season and compiled a list of all the Super Bowl champions that rated below average on one side of the ball or the other. The list, as you can see below in reverse chronological order, is rather larger than I expected.

  • 2009 Saints (-0.32 defensively)
  • 2008 Steelers (-0.01 offensively)
  • 2006 Colts (-0.08 defensively)
  • 2002 Buccaneers (-0.31 offensively)
  • 2000 Ravens (-0.28 offensively)
  • 1998 Broncos (-0.31 defensively)
  • 1995 Cowboys (-0.02 defensively)
  • 1987 Redskins (-0.26 defensively)
  • 1984 49ers (-0.16 defensively)
  • 1983 Raiders (-0.11 offensively)
  • 1980 Raiders (-0.22 offensively)
  • 1978 Steelers (-0.01 offensively)
  • 1976 Raiders (-0.27 defensively)
  • 1974 Steelers (-0.19 offensively)
  • 1970 Colts (-0.36 offensively, -0.49 defensively)

So 15 of the past 43 Super Bowl champions – about 35% of the title winners since 1970, in other words – have been below average on offense and/or defense. Clearly, being subpar on one side of the ball or the other isn’t an insurmountable barrier to winning the Super Bowl. It obviously helps to be good at both offense and defense, but being great at one or the other certainly seems to have worked out for a lot of teams.

The main kernel of wisdom I take away from that list is that you can definitely win a Super Bowl with a below-average unit as long as that unit isn’t truly terrible. Some of the teams showing up on that list were so slightly below average on one side of the ball that it’s probably splitting hairs to call them something other than “roughly average.” The others were all within enough shouting distance of league average to not wipe out their vastly superior units’ gains and could all potentially provide something of value to the team. The 1970 Colts are the only exception provided in the past 43 seasons and their postseason success can be easily explained away as a byproduct of the turmoil the AFC went through in its first post-merger season in the NFL.

With that last paragraph in mind, let’s take a look at the two undefeated AFC West teams, Denver and Kansas City. Both are in virtual ties for first place on one side of the ball – the Broncos obviously on offense and the Chiefs on defense – but rate so far below average on the other that it would be historically unprecedented for either team to win the Super Bowl if they maintained their current ratings throughout the course of the season. Denver’s defense rates a full yard below average and gave up 362 yards of offense last week to Jacksonville, who had seemingly only gained 362 yards of offense in the five games prior. Champ Bailey came back from injury in that game and Von Miller’s six-game suspension is now in the books, so that unit will likely improve but right now they’re not even in the same zip code as league average.

The Chiefs’ offense is almost as bad – they rank 27th this week with 3.91 Predictive Yards per Play, also a yard below average. Excluding the fluky 1970 Colts, the two other worst offensive Super Bowl champions – the 2002 Bucs and 2000 Ravens – both had historically great defenses to fall back on. If the Chiefs maintained their current defensive performance, they would probably deserve to be called a historically great defense – however, this is the same defense that finished 26th in the league in Defensive PY/P last season, so a drop-off in quality could very well be forthcoming.

Other Super Bowl contenders that may be in danger of being too one-sided are the Packers and 49ers – Green Bay’s defense rates .48 yards per play below average and the 49ers’ offense is currently .37 yards per play below average. Both those marks would also rate as the worst Super Bowl champion unit (non-1970 Colts division) of all time.

The only change in this week’s playoff projections comes from the NFC East, where Philadelphia is now expected to win .003 games more than Dallas. PRINT THOSE PLAYOFF TICKETS NOW, EAGLES FANS. For all intents and purposes, let’s just say that the NFC East is probably going to come down to the two games between the Cowboys and Eagles. Otherwise, the computer is still stubbornly clinging to its vision of a 2013 AFC South title for the Texans, not knowing that one more pick-six will cause the fanbase to burn Reliant Stadium to the ground. I pray next week will finally be the time the computer agrees with the other 99.9999999% of Football America and predicts the Colts will win the AFC South.

Projected AFC Playoff Picture, through Week 6:

  1. Denver (12.4 wins)
  2. New England (10.4 wins)
  3. Cincinnati (9.9 wins)
  4. Houston (9.6 wins)
  5. Kansas City (10.5 wins)
  6. Indianapolis (9.1 wins)

In the hunt: San Diego (8.8 wins), Baltimore (8.0 wins), NY Jets (7.7 wins), Tennessee (7.5 wins), Miami (7.4 wins)

Mediocre: Pittsburgh (7.1 wins), Cleveland (7.1 wins), Buffalo (6.3 wins), Oakland (6.1 wins)

Teddy Bridgewater Sweepstakes: Jacksonville (1.5 wins)

Projected NFC Playoff Picture, through Week 6:

  1. Seattle (12.9 wins)
  2. New Orleans (11.4 wins)
  3. Green Bay (10.3 wins)
  4. Philadelphia (8.2 wins)
  5. San Francisco (10.9 wins)
  6. Detroit (9.7 wins)

In the hunt: Chicago (8.9 wins), Dallas (8.2 wins)

Mediocre: Carolina (7.7 wins), Atlanta (7.4 wins), Arizona (6.5 wins), St. Louis (6.1 wins), Washington (5.9 wins)

Teddy Bridgewater Sweepstakes: Minnesota (4.9 wins), NY Giants (3.1 wins), Tampa Bay (2.5 wins)

COAS/SSLYAR Pigskin Pick’Em: Week 7

Busy week offline this time, so an abbreviated and tardy Confessions of a Sportscaster/Someone Still Loves You Alberto Riveron Week 7 picks against the spread column appears below. Hope you guys enjoy it!

 

Thursday Night: Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals (+6.5)

Both Lucas and Nathaniel: Cardinals. We’re off to a great start!

Sunday, Early Afternoon: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons (-7.5)

Lucas: Buccaneers. I know this game is in Atlanta, but what have they shown this year that should make them this big a favorite against anyone? Yeah, Tampa is bad too, but I’m taking the points.

Nathaniel: Buccaneers. I’m gonna miss the crap out of Julio Jones for the rest of the season – that guy was probably the most fun receiver to watch over the first month of 2013.

Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins (-8.5)

Lucas: Dolphins. Still not quite sure what to make of Miami, but without Manuel I don’t know that the Bills can pull it off.

Nathaniel: Bills. My new strategy this week is to generally pick the teams that are getting points, unless I don’t see any possible way they can cover. Ryan Tannehill will probably let himself get sacked enough for the Bills to get the cover this week.

Chicago Bears at Washington Redskins (-1.5)

Lucas: Redskins. Anyone else think Deangelo Hall has had this game circled on his calendar?

Nathaniel: Bears. Thanks for the reminder of one of the most painful Bears losses of the past five years, Lucas!

Cincinnati Bengals at Detroit Lions (-2.5)

Lucas: Lions. I think Ndamukong Suh is as big a scumbag as anyone, but I’m not so sure the hit on Brandon Weeden he had this past week is deserving of a fine for once. Give him and the Lions the benefit this time.

Nathaniel: Bengals. My faith in the Bengals flip-flops tremendously every week. Right now, I think they’re the odds-on favorites to win the NFC North. Tune in next week when I pronounce them chokers and the heirs to an eventual 7-9 record!

Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles (-2.5)

Lucas: Cowboys. Dallas already showed they can get into a shootout with elite offenses. Even on the road I think they can pull this one off.

Nathaniel: Eagles. I’ve always been a big Nick Foles supporter, ever since he started playing well last week.

St. Louis Rams at Carolina Panthers (-6.5)

Lucas: Rams. Taking the points despite feelings of “Holy crap! Ron Rivera is reading Bill Barnwell!”

Nathaniel: Rams. Can’t take the Panthers in good conscience unless I feel confident their game is going to be decided by 25 points or more.

New England Patriots at New York Jets (+4.5)

Lucas: Patriots. At this point I feel like Nathaniel and I could be Tom Brady’s wide receivers and the Pats could still be 5-1. I’m just waiting to see what happens when Gronk comes back.

Nathaniel: Jets. No, I haven’t heard that Gronk is coming back this week, why do you ask?

San Diego Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars (+7.5)

Lucas: Chargers. I’m much more comfortable picking a 7.5 point spread than the one 20 points bigger. And Phil Rivers has been better this year. I’ll pounce on this one.

Nathaniel: Jaguars. No, I haven’t heard that the Jaguars haven’t lost a game by fewer than 10 points this season, why do you ask?

San Francisco 49ers at Tennessee Titans (+4.5)

Lucas: 49ers. People have been kind of quiet about the Niners for much of the season. I think this might be a statement game.

Nathaniel: 49ers. That poor schmuck Ryan Fitzpatrick gets another chance at starting and the first three defenses he has to face are the Chiefs, Seahawks and 49ers? NOT COOL.

Cleveland Browns at Green Bay Packers (-10.5)

Lucas: Packers. I was going to take Cleveland at first based on the size of this spread, plus Jarret Boykin potentially being Green Bay’s #2 wide receiver. Then I remembered Brandon Weeden is Cleveland’s quarterback.

Nathaniel: Browns. Equally as ugly as the above Weeden-ception was virtually any attempt Jarret Boykin made at catching a pass last week – and he might be Rodgers’ #2 receiver.

Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs (-6.5)

Lucas: Chiefs. Brandon Flowers pick six? Anyone?

Nathaniel: Chiefs. Feeling roughly a zillion times more confident about this one after Gary Kubiak pushed the panic button and decided to start CASE KEENUM at quarterback this week. In case there was any doubt that the Texans are headed for a raging tire fire of a 2013 season, that move erased any of those lingering feelings.

Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers (-1.5)

Lucas: Ravens. Yeah, Baltimore is a shell of itself, but so is Pittsburgh. I feel the only thing the Steelers could do would be to have Bane blow up Heinz Field when the Ravens step out.

Nathaniel: Steelers. Coin flip said, “Take Pittsburgh.” So I am!

Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts (+6.5)

Lucas: Colts. This is going to be a cool game. As much as I’m sure Manning will be energized by going back to his old stomping grounds, Indy seems to have some magic at home. I’ll take the points, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Indy can pull this one off.

Nathaniel: Broncos. Time to amend the “Never bet against Peyton Manning at night” rule to include the following provision: “Never, ever, ever under any circumstances bet against Peyton Manning at night when he’s playing his first game back at Indianapolis.”

Minnesota Vikings at New York Giants (-3.5)

Lucas: Vikings. Lol Eli Manning. …please don’t hurt me.

Nathaniel: Vikings. HOW ARE THE GIANTS FAVORED OVER ANYONE OTHER THAN JACKSONVILLE? Sorry, that deserved all CAPS.

2013 Records:

Lucas: 52-41 (6-9 last week, 0-1 so far this week)

Nathaniel: 45-48 (6-9 last week, 0-1 so far this week)

QB Charting, Week 4: Patriots-Falcons, Bengals-Browns and Cowboys-Chargers

Just a straight data dump this time, but hopefully some of you will find this interesting!

New England Patriots

Tom Brady: Week 4, at Atlanta.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 9 16 120 0 0 1 0 8.75
Play-Action 10 14 201 0 0 1 0 15.79
Screen 1 1 -5 0 0 0 0 -5.00
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 20 31 316 0 0 2 0 11.48

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 0 0 0 1, 15 yards 3 4
Play-Action 0 0 0 0 1 2
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 0
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 1, 15 yards 4 6

Atlanta Falcons

Matt Ryan: Week 4, vs. New England.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 29 46 391 2 22 2 0 8.52
Play-Action 2 4 19 0 0 0 1 -6.50
Screen 3 3 11 0 0 0 0 3.67
Designed Rollout 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 34 54 421 2 22 2 1 7.04

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 0 0 0 2, 20 yards 8 3
Play-Action 0 0 0 1, 38 yards 0 1
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 0
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 1
Total 0 0 0 3, 58 yards 8 5

Cincinnati Bengals

Andy Dalton: Week 4, at Cleveland.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 17 32 172 1 5 0 1 3.70
Play-Action 1 5 2 1 1 0 0 0.17
Screen 5 5 32 0 0 0 0 6.40
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 23 42 206 2 6 0 1 3.52

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 2 11 1 0 3 6
Play-Action 0 0 0 1, 40 yards 1 2
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 0
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 2 11 1 1, 40 yards 4 8

Cleveland Browns

Brian Hoyer: Week 4, vs. Cincinnati.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 15 25 158 2 18 1 0 5.93
Play-Action 8 11 64 1 4 1 0 6.67
Screen 2 2 47 0 0 0 0 23.50
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 25 38 269 3 22 2 0 7.00

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 1 8 0 0 3 4
Play-Action 0 0 0 0 0 2
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 0
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 1 8 0 0 3 6

Dallas Cowboys

Tony Romo: Week 4, at San Diego.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 25 34 202 2 15 1 0 5.75
Play-Action 2 3 48 1 4 1 0 16.00
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 27 37 250 3 19 2 0 6.78

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 1 15 0 1, 25 yards 4 2
Play-Action 0 0 0 0 1 0
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 0
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 1 15 0 1, 25 yards 5 2

San Diego Chargers

Philip Rivers: Week 4, vs. Dallas.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 22 28 247 1 7 2 1 8.10
Play-Action 9 10 140 0 0 1 0 16.00
Screen 4 4 14 0 0 0 0 3.50
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 35 42 401 1 7 3 1 9.51

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 0 0 0 1, 3 yards 0 2
Play-Action 0 0 0 0 0 0
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 0
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 1, 3 yards 0 2