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)

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