Predictive Yards per Play Rankings: 2005

A quick note before we dive into the 2005 rankings: today’s Predictive Yards per Play post will be the last in this series for a little while. My feeling is throwing so many numbers at the reader week after week after week is leading to nothing sinking in and there’s only so many times in a six week period you can feign serious interest in who should have won the Comeback Player of the Year award. So I’ll probably give this series a break and start it back up after the draft’s over. Sound good? It better! Here’s your PY/P ratings for 2005…

Predictive Yards per Play Differential (league average: 0.00): a metric which uses probabilities drawn from research Brian Burke did back in 2008 in trying to determine which stats best correlated with future play.

  1. Denver Broncos (13-3)1.66 (2006 ranking: #15)
  2. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)1.53 (2006 ranking: #12)
  3. San Diego Chargers (9-7)1.34 (2006 ranking: #3)
  4. Indianapolis Colts (14-2)1.25 (2006 ranking: #1)
  5. Washington Redskins (10-6)1.04 (2006 ranking: #24)
  6. New York Giants (11-5)0.97 (2006 ranking: #17)
  7. Seattle Seahawks (13-3)0.97 (2006 ranking: #29)
  8. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)0.97 (2006 ranking: #8)
  9. Cincinnati Bengals (11-5)0.62 (2006 ranking: #11)
  10. Jacksonville Jaguars (12-4)0.39 (2006 ranking: #2)
  11. New England Patriots (10-6)0.29 (2006 ranking: #6)
  12. Dallas Cowboys (9-7)0.23 (2006 ranking: #10)
  13. Oakland Raiders (4-12)0.20 (2006 ranking: #30)
  14. Philadelphia Eagles (6-10)0.15 (2006 ranking: #4)
  15. Arizona Cardinals (5-11)0.12 (2006 ranking: #31)
  16. Miami Dolphins (9-7)0.09 (2006 ranking: #7)
  17. Carolina Panthers (11-5)0.07 (2006 ranking: #16)
  18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5)-0.07 (2006 ranking: #28)
  19. Baltimore Ravens (6-10)-0.07 (2006 ranking: #5)
  20. Green Bay Packers (4-12)-0.23 (2006 ranking: #13)
  21. Atlanta Falcons (8-8)-0.44 (2006 ranking: #18)
  22. Tennessee Titans (4-12)-0.48 (2006 ranking: #23)
  23. St. Louis Rams (6-10)-0.55 (2006 ranking: #21)
  24. Cleveland Browns (6-10)-0.58 (2006 ranking: #32)
  25. Chicago Bears (11-5)-0.68 (2006 ranking: #14)
  26. Minnesota Vikings (9-7)-0.70 (2006 ranking: #22)
  27. New Orleans Saints (3-13)-0.77 (2006 ranking: #9)
  28. New York Jets (4-12)-0.88 (2006 ranking: #20)
  29. Detroit Lions (5-11)-0.98 (2006 ranking: #25)
  30. Buffalo Bills (5-11)-1.30 (2006 ranking: #19)
  31. Houston Texans (2-14)-1.85 (2006 ranking: #26)
  32. San Francisco 49ers (4-12)-2.68 (2006 ranking: #27)

Offensive Predictive Yards per Play (league average: 4.38)

  1. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)5.66 (2006 ranking: #13)
  2. Denver Broncos (13-3)5.57 (2006 ranking: #20)
  3. Cincinnati Bengals (11-5)5.48 (2006 ranking: #5)
  4. Indianapolis Colts (14-2)5.38 (2006 ranking: #1)
  5. San Diego Chargers (9-7)5.34 (2006 ranking: #2)
  6. New England Patriots (10-6)5.21 (2006 ranking: #9)
  7. Seattle Seahawks (13-3)5.14 (2006 ranking: #30)
  8. New York Giants (11-5)5.05 (2006 ranking: #16)
  9. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)4.82 (2006 ranking: #6)
  10. Washington Redskins (10-6)4.76 (2006 ranking: #11)
  11. Oakland Raiders (4-12)4.54 (2006 ranking: #32)
  12. St. Louis Rams (6-10)4.51 (2006 ranking: #10)
  13. Atlanta Falcons (8-8)4.50 (2006 ranking: #12)
  14. Jacksonville Jaguars (12-4)4.48 (2006 ranking: #7)
  15. Carolina Panthers (11-5)4.37 (2006 ranking: #21)
  16. Tennessee Titans (4-12)4.36 (2006 ranking: #18)
  17. Arizona Cardinals (5-11)4.32 (2006 ranking: #28)
  18. Dallas Cowboys (9-7)4.19 (2006 ranking: #8)
  19. Philadelphia Eagles (6-10)4.17 (2006 ranking: #4)
  20. Miami Dolphins (9-7)4.16 (2006 ranking: #17)
  21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5)4.15 (2006 ranking: #31)
  22. New Orleans Saints (3-13)4.09 (2006 ranking: #3)
  23. Minnesota Vikings (9-7)4.06 (2006 ranking: #27)
  24. Green Bay Packers (4-12)4.00 (2006 ranking: #19)
  25. Cleveland Browns (6-10)3.89 (2006 ranking: #29)
  26. Detroit Lions (5-11)3.85 (2006 ranking: #23)
  27. Baltimore Ravens (6-10)3.74 (2006 ranking: #14)
  28. Buffalo Bills (5-11)3.47 (2006 ranking: #22)
  29. Houston Texans (2-14)3.38 (2006 ranking: #25)
  30. New York Jets (4-12)3.29 (2006 ranking: #15)
  31. Chicago Bears (11-5)3.19 (2006 ranking: #26)
  32. San Francisco 49ers (4-12)2.83 (2006 ranking: #24)

Defensive Predictive Yards per Play (league average: 4.38)

  1. Washington Redskins (10-6)3.72 (2006 ranking: #32)
  2. Baltimore Ravens (6-10)3.81 (2006 ranking: #2)
  3. Pittsburgh Steelers (11-5)3.86 (2006 ranking: #13)
  4. Chicago Bears (11-5)3.87 (2006 ranking: #5)
  5. Denver Broncos (13-3)3.91 (2006 ranking: #9)
  6. Dallas Cowboys (9-7)3.95 (2006 ranking: #19)
  7. San Diego Chargers (9-7)4.00 (2006 ranking: #14)
  8. Philadelphia Eagles (6-10)4.02 (2006 ranking: #12)
  9. Miami Dolphins (9-7)4.07 (2006 ranking: #1)
  10. New York Giants (11-5)4.08 (2006 ranking: #15)
  11. Jacksonville Jaguars (12-4)4.09 (2006 ranking: #3)
  12. Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)4.13 (2006 ranking: #17)
  13. Indianapolis Colts (14-2)4.13 (2006 ranking: #18)
  14. New York Jets (4-12)4.16 (2006 ranking: #23)
  15. Seattle Seahawks (13-3)4.18 (2006 ranking: #20)
  16. Arizona Cardinals (5-11)4.21 (2006 ranking: #27)
  17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5)4.22 (2006 ranking: #16)
  18. Green Bay Packers (4-12)4.23 (2006 ranking: #10)
  19. Carolina Panthers (11-5)4.29 (2006 ranking: #8)
  20. Oakland Raiders (4-12)4.34 (2006 ranking: #6)
  21. Cleveland Browns (6-10)4.47 (2006 ranking: #28)
  22. Minnesota Vikings (9-7)4.76 (2006 ranking: #7)
  23. Buffalo Bills (5-11)4.77 (2006 ranking: #11)
  24. Detroit Lions (5-11)4.83 (2006 ranking: #25)
  25. Tennessee Titans (4-12)4.84 (2006 ranking: #22)
  26. New Orleans Saints (3-13)4.86 (2006 ranking: #24)
  27. Cincinnati Bengals (11-5)4.86 (2006 ranking: #26)
  28. New England Patriots (10-6)4.92 (2006 ranking: #4)
  29. Atlanta Falcons (8-8)4.93 (2006 ranking: #21)
  30. St. Louis Rams (8-8)5.05 (2006 ranking: #31)
  31. Houston Texans (2-14)5.23 (2006 ranking: #29)
  32. San Francisco 49ers (4-12)5.50 (2006 ranking: #30)

Some thoughts on the above ratings…

  • My guess is Super Bowl XL will probably forever be the closest matchup according to Predictive Yards per Play – since we’re into splitting hairs around here, the Seahawks had a positive differential of +0.969736 and the Steelers were ONLY +0.965407. If we were to convert those PY/P figures to points, our numbers would have suggested that the Seahawks deserved to be favorites in Super Bowl XL by a robust .02 points. WHAT A SPREAD. Of course, the Steelers’ offensive rating was brought down significantly by the four games that Ben Roethlisberger missed during the year. Tommy Maddox lost the two games he started and generally played horribly in both; Charlie Batch, on the other hand, won both games he started and performed slightly above-average but nowhere near Roethlisberger’s 7.5 Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt figure. So if we ran the numbers and included only the games that Roethlisberger started for Pittsburgh in 2005, their offensive rating would have jumped and, if we were around back in 2005 to make predictions on the internet, we would probably would have picked the Steelers over the Seahawks in the Super Bowl. HUZZAH WE WOULD HAVE GOTTEN ONE RIGHT!
  • Neither the Steelers nor the Seahawks were near the top of the leaderboard for the season, however. A crazy AFC West triumvirate of Denver, Kansas City and San Diego (only one of which actually made the playoffs in 2005) took the top three spots in the Predictive Yards per Play differential rankings for the season. Largely only remembering Jake Plummer crapping the bed in the AFC Championship Game, this came as a surprise to me. The answer, as usual, lies in strength of schedule – all three teams played schedules that were among the five hardest in the league, with San Diego playing the absolute toughest. The Broncos were very good at everything, the Chargers had a strong defense to go along with LaDainian Tomlinson and the last year of Drew Brees’ stay in San Diego and the Chiefs were in the last year of one of the most underrated offensive runs of all time. Hold on, this deserves its own paragraph…
  • When people talk about great offenses from the past, you NEVER hear the early-to-mid 2000s Chiefs mentioned. Ever. Yet who led the league in points scored from 2002 to 2005? Why, that would be Kansas City, sir. If we wanted to measure these things by Predictive Yards per Play, the Chiefs rank first offensively in every year during that span except 2004 – and that season was actually their highest rating out of the whole bunch (6.26), there’s just no way they were going to beat out Peyton Manning that year. For some perspective, the Patriots since 2007 have ranked #1 in PY/P three times, the Colts in Peyton Manning’s prime (2003-2007) ranked #1 only twice and the Greatest Show on Turf Rams did the same. So, ahem…excuse me while I bust out the all-CAPS for a second, but…THE 2002-05 CHIEFS OFFENSE WAS PRETTY DAMN GOOD. The reasons we never think of them in such lofty terms, I think, are twofold. First, they never won a playoff game, primarily because their defense was horrible in every year except ’05. And, second, most of their Hall of Famers came from non-glamour positions. Willie Roaf is in the Hall of Fame, Tony Gonzalez will get in five years after he retires and Will Shields should get in sometime in the next couple years. But those are two offensive linemen and a tight end. Trent Green and Priest Holmes will never get into Canton unless they buy a ticket and that’s not the end of the world. But let’s just take a moment to recognize how good they were for a few years last decade.
  • We’re obligated to mention the NFC somewhat, even if they were still in the midst of a long downtrodden stretch. 2005 wasn’t actually too bad for the conference according to PY/P – seven of the 16 teams finished with above-average differentials. However, three of those teams missed the playoffs (including the 6-10 Eagles and 5-11 Cardinals – I’m particularly perplexed at how Arizona ended rating decently, but that’s a question that’s not particularly interesting or relevant) and the Bears wound up with a bye despite finishing 25th overall (thanks to the legend of rookie Kyle Orton). I’ve never Joe Gibbs’ second stint as Redskins coach described in particularly glowing terms, but Washington DID rate as the best team in the conference in 2005, largely thanks to the best-rated defense in the league – a defense that would go on to finish dead last in 2006 and then back at the top in 2007. You look up the term “mercurial” in the dictionary and you’ll see a picture of Gregg Williams’ creepy mug staring right back at you. Given Seattle’s tremendous home-field advantage, however, it was always probably a long-shot for any other NFC team to make it to the Super Bowl once the Seahawks wrapped up their 12th win.
  • On the futility side of the equation, just try to look at that 49ers rating without throwing up. Can’t be done. To put things into perspective, Alex Smith threw one touchdown against eleven interceptions this season…and wasn’t even the worst performing quarterback on his team (hello, Cody Pickett!). The fact that Mike McCarthy somehow got the Packers’ head coaching job after offensive coordinating this disaster either speaks to the brilliant foresight Green Bay’s front office had or the incredible good fortune they lucked into after hiring him. For me, personally, it’s a toss-up between the two.
  • In the 2005 individual awards watch…Shaun Alexander won the MVP award for having the good fortune of running behind a great offensive line and getting every conceivable red zone and goal line carry so he could break the single-season touchdown record. Even if you didn’t think giving the MVP to a running back was stupid, you could make a strong argument that Alexander wasn’t even the best running back that season – go check out Tiki Barber and Larry Johnson’s all-around stats and tell me Alexander was THAT much better than them. Harrumph. As usual, the guy who actually deserved it was Peyton Manning, although Carson Palmer was actually a close second. Oh, if only his knee hadn’t got Kimo von Oelhoffen’d…MVP was actually the second of two undeserved awards Alexander won in 2005, as he also took home Offensive Player of the Year. Not to beat a dead horse, but Thomas Jones probably could have broken the single-season touchdown record running behind Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson. Peyton or Tiki Barber would have been better choices…As a Bears fan, I obviously love the crap out of Brian Urlacher, but even I have to admit he probably didn’t deserve Defensive Player of the Year this year. Jason Taylor had twelve sacks, four forced fumbles and ten pass deflections, but Champ Bailey had eight picks (two of them returned for touchdowns), twenty-three pass deflections and played great in run support. Plus he almost single-handedly ended the Patriots’  dynasty with his 100-yard interception return in the playoffs. That doesn’t technically count for anything here, but…okay, it means a lot…Cadillac Williams eked out a close Offensive Rookie of the Year win over Kyle Orton (he went 10-5 as Bears starting quarterback! He was a stabilizing influence and THE main reason the Bears won the NFC North!)…Shawne Merriman picked up ten sacks for the Chargers, won Defensive Rookie of the Year and proceeded to have one more good season before falling off the face of the earth. That’s a good job by you, Shawne!…Steve Smith and Tedy Bruschi shared Comeback Player of the Year and while you’d have to be a PRETTY BIG CURMUDGEON to begrudge media members voting for a guy who came back from a stroke…I mean, do you remember the way Steve Smith played that year? He was frigging terrifying! I still have nightmares of him running circles around Peanut Tillman and humping the Soldier Field goalposts in the playoffs. GAHHHHHHH. Let’s just forget I brought that up…And I was about to launch into a spiel saying that Joe Gibbs should have won Coach of the Year this year. But then I remembered that Lovie Smith got the Bears into the playoffs with Kyle Orton as his quarterback. So…touche, Lovie. 
  • Coming at some point in the future: 2004 – where Peyton Manning has arguably the best season of all time and it only gets the Colts a #3 seed…
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