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)

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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)