Week 5 Predictive Yards per Play Rankings

Here are Week 5’s Predictive Yards per Play ratings for your viewing pleasure. Don’t worry! Houston’s no longer #1 overall! They’re now a much more sensible #2.

Offensive Predictive Yards per Play, through Week 5:

Rank Team Yards Plays Passing TDs INTs Rushing TDs Fumbles SOS PY/P (Ball-Control Adjusted
1 Denver Broncos 2449 357 20 1 6 10 -0.26 6.66
2 Green Bay Packers 1813 269 9 3 3 6 0.05 6.51
3 New Orleans Saints 2025 340 12 4 2 2 -0.07 6.11
4 Philadelphia Eagles 2274 344 8 2 6 7 -0.20 6.04
5 San Diego Chargers 2008 323 13 5 1 6 0.07 5.94
6 Atlanta Falcons 1957 325 10 3 3 6 0.03 5.87
7 Indianapolis Colts 1812 322 7 2 7 4 0.05 5.70
8 Seattle Seahawks 1832 323 9 4 4 8 0.29 5.51
9 Dallas Cowboys 1886 304 13 2 2 9 -0.23 5.45
10 Houston Texans 1954 373 8 9 1 4 0.36 5.34
11 Chicago Bears 1843 307 10 6 4 7 -0.14 5.28
12 Detroit Lions 1905 330 8 3 5 9 -0.23 5.10
13 Washington Redskins 1563 266 6 4 3 6 -0.19 5.08
14 San Francisco 49ers 1609 296 6 4 7 6 0.14 5.05
15 Kansas City Chiefs 1742 342 7 3 3 3 -0.17 4.84
16 New York Jets 1753 322 7 8 2 7 0.20 4.82
17 Minnesota Vikings 1402 247 4 5 7 7 -0.02 4.75
18 Miami Dolphins 1583 301 6 5 5 7 0.19 4.70
19 Tennessee Titans 1590 329 8 2 3 6 0.07 4.69
20 New England Patriots 1717 347 7 3 1 8 0.16 4.62
21 Pittsburgh Steelers 1365 250 5 5 2 8 -0.02 4.53
22 Carolina Panthers 1316 266 6 5 2 5 0.05 4.52
23 Oakland Raiders 1651 295 6 3 3 9 -0.36 4.49
24 Baltimore Ravens 1654 352 5 8 5 4 0.13 4.39
25 Buffalo Bills 1743 363 5 4 5 10 0.15 4.34
26 Cincinnati Bengals 1651 324 5 5 5 10 -0.09 4.26
27 St. Louis Rams 1558 339 10 3 0 6 -0.18 4.16
28 Arizona Cardinals 1531 308 5 9 3 7 0.18 4.15
29 Cleveland Browns 1585 345 8 6 1 5 -0.08 4.00
30 New York Giants 1685 309 8 13 2 8 -0.14 3.93
31 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1099 257 3 5 1 5 0.13 3.63
32 Jacksonville Jaguars 1259 311 3 9 2 6 0.19 3.28

Defensive Predictive Yards per Play Rankings, through Week 5:

Rank Team Yards Plays Passing TDs INTs Rushing TDs Fumbles SOS PY/P (Ball-Control Adjusted
1 Seattle Seahawks 1518 315 5 7 3 11 0.23 3.60
2 Houston Texans 1301 285 7 2 4 6 0.28 3.67
3 Kansas City Chiefs 1564 321 4 7 2 11 -0.15 3.92
4 San Francisco 49ers 1512 331 5 6 6 6 0.28 3.96
5 New York Jets 1495 333 9 1 3 8 0.14 4.01
6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1329 274 5 6 0 5 0.06 4.16
7 Cleveland Browns 1509 354 2 4 8 6 -0.27 4.17
8 Baltimore Ravens 1677 327 9 3 1 8 0.26 4.22
9 New England Patriots 1725 339 4 6 2 7 0.07 4.27
10 Cincinnati Bengals 1584 324 6 5 2 7 -0.07 4.33
11 Carolina Panthers 1206 242 3 6 2 3 -0.15 4.46
12 Tennessee Titans 1606 313 6 6 3 6 0.04 4.47
13 Arizona Cardinals 1717 335 8 7 1 5 0.12 4.59
14 Buffalo Bills 1887 363 9 9 2 5 -0.21 4.92
15 Indianapolis Colts 1652 303 4 7 4 6 -0.25 4.96
16 Miami Dolphins 1965 351 8 6 4 6 0.33 5.01
17 New Orleans Saints 1652 278 6 7 2 7 -0.18 5.05
18 Pittsburgh Steelers 1287 253 4 0 6 3 -0.09 5.11
19 Chicago Bears 1883 315 8 6 3 12 -0.12 5.17
20 Detroit Lions 1964 323 5 8 5 8 0.10 5.17
21 New York Giants 1976 367 12 4 5 6 0.20 5.20
22 Oakland Raiders 1820 322 9 3 3 7 0.03 5.28
23 Jacksonville Jaguars 1899 332 12 2 4 7 0.12 5.42
24 Philadelphia Eagles 2170 368 11 5 4 6 0.12 5.53
25 Green Bay Packers 1499 253 9 2 3 6 -0.10 5.57
26 St. Louis Rams 1912 314 11 3 5 11 -0.21 5.60
27 Minnesota Vikings 1723 295 10 7 4 7 -0.13 5.70
28 San Diego Chargers 2030 312 10 1 2 7 0.15 5.86
29 Atlanta Falcons 1861 302 12 3 2 3 -0.07 6.01
30 Dallas Cowboys 2046 334 14 5 2 6 -0.10 6.05
31 Washington Redskins 1762 278 9 2 4 5 0.03 6.11
32 Denver Broncos 2083 330 11 7 5 3 -0.38 6.39

Predictive Yards per Play Differential, through Week 5:

Rank Team PY/P Diff. Remaining SOS Projected Wins
1 Seattle Seahawks 1.91 -30.69 12.84
2 Houston Texans 1.67 -38.01 11.39
3 San Francisco 49ers 1.09 -30.41 11.38
4 New Orleans Saints 1.06 -6.23 12.41
5 Green Bay Packers 0.94 -12.54 9.97
6 Kansas City Chiefs 0.92 13.65 10.35
7 New York Jets 0.81 -8.36 8.92
8 Indianapolis Colts 0.74 2.75 9.05
9 Philadelphia Eagles 0.51 -21.23 7.38
10 New England Patriots 0.36 14.21 9.60
11 Denver Broncos 0.27 -8.31 12.74
12 Tennessee Titans 0.22 -10.69 7.51
13 Baltimore Ravens 0.17 6.67 8.40
14 Chicago Bears 0.11 -10.47 8.92
15 San Diego Chargers 0.08 -8.61 8.27
16 Carolina Panthers 0.06 -2.43 5.75
17 Detroit Lions -0.07 -16.09 9.19
18 Cincinnati Bengals -0.07 -9.73 9.34
19 Atlanta Falcons -0.14 -9.06 7.53
20 Cleveland Browns -0.17 1.11 6.91
21 Miami Dolphins -0.30 -12.23 8.29
22 Arizona Cardinals -0.44 16.11 6.46
23 Tampa Bay Buccaneers -0.53 8.04 2.13
24 Buffalo Bills -0.58 -11.00 6.72
25 Pittsburgh Steelers -0.58 -5.28 6.33
26 Dallas Cowboys -0.61 -10.69 8.10
27 Oakland Raiders -0.79 13.81 5.92
28 Minnesota Vikings -0.95 6.08 5.58
29 Washington Redskins -1.03 6.66 6.10
30 New York Giants -1.27 4.32 3.58
31 St. Louis Rams -1.44 18.90 4.87
32 Jacksonville Jaguars -2.15 19.04 1.00

Notes on Week 5’s ratings:

  • Despite losing for the first time this season, Seattle nonetheless rises to the #1 spot in the overall rankings and now has the highest projected win total for the season, narrowly edging out still-unbeaten Denver (more on them in a minute) and New Orleans in PY/P’s win projection model. Their division rival 49ers have risen up to third in the overall rankings, largely due to a very tough opening schedule. In fact, the Seahawks and 49ers have faced two of the four toughest schedules in the league so far…but are projected to have two of the three easiest schedules going forward. Seems safe to pronounce those two teams as playoff locks, just like we all figured they would be before the season started.
  • Sandwiched in between those two teams in the overall rankings is the squad that lost to both of them in the past two weeks – the Houston Texans. Sunday Night’s disaster against the 49ers was clearly their worst game of the season and their PY/P rating took a hit as a result – but not as large of a hit as you would expect. The Texans actually outgained the 49ers in yardage Sunday Night and still are averaging 5.2 yards per play on offense, compared to 4.6 yards per play on defense. And they’ve been doing that against the hardest schedule in the league so far.
  • With that said, though, I’m still proclaiming PY/P’s win projection for Houston of 11.4 wins completely foolhardy and not something that should be taken seriously. In the long run, the Texans are a good franchise with a very strong foundation on both sides of the ball and at some point they’re going to get out the monstrous rut they’re currently in and get back to winning. The emotional trauma that Matt Schaub is going through right now, however, isn’t going to suddenly disappear in an instant and I’m not sure how a schedule filled with two games against the Colts (plus matchups with Denver, Kansas City and New England) could possibly be considered the easiest remaining in the league. Oh wait, actually now I know – they still have two games with Jacksonville. My mistake. Nevertheless, 11 or 12 wins is still crazy at this point.
  • Denver is still projected as the #1 seed in the AFC this year, mainly because the team’s offensive Consistency Index is off the charts (it’s almost as if they have a good offense this year or something). In the actual PY/P rankings this week, though, the Broncos only come in at #11. The two reasons for this are as follows: 1): the Broncos have faced by far the easiest schedule in the league so far, according to Predictive Yards per Play (just think how much further their schedule strength will sink after facing Jacksonville this week) and 2): (closely correlated with #1) they currently have the worst-rated defense in the league, an extremely easy statement to believe if you watched their performance against Dallas Sunday. Getting Von Miller and Champ Bailey back will obviously help and it’ll come at a good time because after their upcoming slaughter of the Jaguars, the Broncos get into the tough portion of their schedule. They still have two games against Kansas City and two against the Chargers, plus the assorted tough teams of the AFC South and the Patriots.
  • The NFC East race – or light jog, if we’re being honest with ourselves – provides an interesting dichotomy among the two main projection models I use. Strictly going by Predictive Yards per Play, Philadelphia is rated well ahead of everyone else in the division and should wind up running away with the ignominious title of 2013 NFC East Champion. But the wins projection model using Consistency Index is enamored with Tony Romo’s 71.8% completion rate and not very excited by Philadelphia’s 55.6% completion percentage. Thus, according to the official wins projection model, Dallas is still projected to win the NFC East and wind up as the Wild-Card Round sacrificial lamb for either the 49ers or Seahawks. For accuracy’s sake, I’ll be interested to see which team winds up winning the division because it’ll provide a good litmus test for which prediction model winds up being more accurate.
  • Two slight changes came about in this week’s playoff projections. First, in the NFC, Green Bay’s win over Detroit made them the favorite to win the NFC North again, which they honestly should have been all along. In the AFC, Indianapolis is now projected to earn the final Wild-Card slot instead of San Diego – the Chargers are still amongst a group of four teams closely nipping at the Colts’ heels in the projections. Remember, though, that these projections still carry a slight weight of the preseason forecast PY/P had made for all teams and the Colts’ preseason projection was actually worse than every team’s other than Jacksonville. As the preseason forecast slowly gets phased out over the next few weeks, expect the Colts’ win projection to jump each time because it now appears that they’re a legitimately good team.

Projected AFC Playoff Picture, through Week 5:

  1. Denver (12.7 wins)
  2. Houston (11.4 wins)
  3. New England (9.6 wins)
  4. Cincinnati (9.3 wins)
  5. Kansas City (10.4 wins)
  6. Indianapolis (9.1 wins)

In the hunt: NY Jets (8.9 wins), Baltimore (8.4 wins), Miami (8.3 wins), San Diego (8.3 wins), Tennessee (7.5 wins)

Mediocre: Cleveland (6.9 wins), Buffalo (6.7 wins), Pittsburgh (6.3 wins), Oakland (5.9 wins)

Teddy Bridgewater Sweepstakes: Jacksonville (1.0 win)

Projected NFC Playoff Picture, through Week 5:

  1. Seattle (12.8 wins)
  2. New Orleans (12.4 wins)
  3. Green Bay (10.0 wins)
  4. Dallas (8.1 wins)
  5. San Francisco (11.4 wins)
  6. Detroit (9.2 wins)

In the hunt: Chicago (8.9 wins), Atlanta (7.5 wins), Philadelphia (7.4 wins)

Mediocre: Arizona (6.5 wins), Washington (6.1 wins), Carolina (5.8 wins), Minnesota (5.6 wins)

Teddy Bridgewater Sweepstakes: St. Louis (4.9 wins), NY Giants (3.6 wins), Tampa Bay (2.1 wins)

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QB Charting, Week 4: Eagles-Broncos, Dolphins-Saints, Seahawks-Texans and Ravens-Bills

 

On a time crunch this week, so this’ll mainly just be a data dump post, but I’ll add any nuggets of information from the action I saw that I deem absolutely necessary and/or compelling.

Philadelphia Eagles

Michael Vick: Week 4, at Denver.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 10 18 163 2 10 0 0 7.65
Play-Action 2 6 44 1 3 0 0 5.86
Screen 2 3 41 0 0 0 0 13.67
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 14 27 248 3 13 0 0 7.83

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 5 33 0 0 3 3
Play-Action 2 9 0 0 1 0
Screen 0 0 0 0 1 0
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 7 42 0 0 5 3

Got victimized by a bunch of drops that dragged his completion percentage lower than it should have been – Vick played really well last Sunday. Take a look at the Eagles’ next five games: a home-and-home with the Giants, a road game at Tampa Bay and home games against Dallas and Oakland. As well as they’ve been able to move the ball this year, there’s certainly a possibility they could go on a bit of a run this next month.

Nick Foles: Week 4, at Denver.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 2 3 43 0 0 0 0 14.33
Play-Action 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Screen 1 1 6 0 0 1 0 26.00
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 3 4 49 0 0 1 0 17.25

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 0 0 0 0 0 1
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 0 0 1

Denver Broncos

Peyton Manning: Week 4, vs. Philadelphia.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 16 20 129 1 6 3 0 8.71
Play-Action 11 13 190 0 0 1 0 16.15
Screen 1 1 8 0 0 0 0 8.00
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 28 34 327 1 6 4 0 11.46

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 0 0 0 1, 6 yards 1 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 0 0 0 1, 6 yards 2 2

Good luck, Dallas.

Brock Osweiler: Week 4, vs. Philadelphia.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 1 2 5 0 0 0 0 2.50
Play-Action 1 1 5 0 0 0 0 5.00
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 2 3 10 0 0 0 0 3.33

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 0 0 0 1, 16 yards 1 0
Play-Action 1 4 0 0 0 0
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 0
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 1 4 0 1, 16 yards 1 0

Miami Dolphins

Ryan Tannehill: Week 4, at New Orleans.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 17 26 204 4 33 1 3 1.87
Play-Action 4 6 44 0 0 0 0 7.33
Screen 1 3 1 0 0 0 0 0.33
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 22 35 249 4 33 1 3 2.59

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 2 23 1 0 2 3
Play-Action 0 0 0 0 2 0
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 1
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 2 23 1 0 4 4

New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees: Week 4, vs. Miami.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 18 23 282 2 16 2 0 12.24
Play-Action 7 10 64 0 0 2 0 10.40
Screen 5 6 67 0 0 0 0 11.17
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 30 39 413 2 16 4 0 11.63

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 0 0 0 0 2 2
Play-Action 1 5 0 0 0 0
Screen 0 0 0 0 1 0
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 1 5 0 0 3 2

Brees’ performance Monday Night had Jon Gruden achieving football nirvana, especially when they ran one of Jon’s favorite plays, Spider 7 Y Banana. Actual quote from Gruden: “There’s a beautiful banana…doesn’t that look like a banana, Mike [Tirico]?” Whatever you say, Jon!

Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson: Week 4, at Houston.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 4 10 36 2 16 0 1 -2.08
Play-Action 3 7 35 3 16 0 0 1.90
Screen 4 5 46 0 0 0 0 9.20
Designed Rollout 1 1 6 0 0 0 0 6.00
Total 12 23 123 5 32 0 1 1.64

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 3 23 0 1, 15 yards 0 3
Play-Action 3 42 0 1, 33 yards 1 2
Screen 0 0 0 1, 15 yards 0 1
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 6 65 0 3, 63 yards 1 6

Something that worries me about the otherwise-nearly-impossible-to-stop Seahawks juggernaut: the amount of times they run the ball. They might be more talented than every other team in the NFL, but more running plays means fewer plays over the course of a game and more chances for a low-scoring, high-variance game where an inferior team could hang around, hand around, hang around and then steal a win at the end. If they wind up losing in the playoffs, I’m 85% positive that’s the way they’re going to end up losing. Also, Russell Wilson played much worse than Matt Schaub for most of the game Sunday. Just for the record.

Houston Texans

Matt Schaub: Week 4, vs. Seattle.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 23 36 276 2 19 1 1 6.10
Play-Action 6 10 63 2 11 1 1 2.25
Screen 2 3 16 0 0 0 0 5.33
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 31 49 355 4 30 2 2 5.19

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 1 5 0 2, 29 yards 2 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 5 0 2, 29 yards 2 6

Now seems like a good time to point out to the Texans fans who burned Matt Schaub’s jersey after last week’s pick-sixaggedon that the next four career passing yards leaders in Texans history are, in order: David Carr, Sage Rosenfels, T.J. Yates and Tony Banks. Matt Schaub’s no Peyton Manning, but he’s sure as hell no Sage Rosenfels, either.

Baltimore Ravens

Joe Flacco: Week 4, at Buffalo.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 19 40 306 4 26 1 5 1.71
Play-Action 5 9 37 0 0 1 0 6.33
Screen 1 1 4 0 0 0 0 4.00
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 25 50 347 4 26 2 5 2.52

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 0 0 0 2, 27 yards 4 7
Play-Action 0 0 0 0 0 1
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 0
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 2, 27 yards 4 8

Buffalo Bills

EJ Manuel: Week 4, vs. Baltimore.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 6 11 79 1 2 0 1 2.67
Play-Action 4 11 88 1 9 1 1 4.50
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Designed Rollout 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 10 22 167 2 11 1 2 3.58

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 1 5 0 1, 6 yards 1 3
Play-Action 1 3 1 0 3 2
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 0
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 1 0
Total 2 8 1 1, 6 yards 5 5

2013 COAS/SSLYAR Pigskin Pick’Em: Week 5

Here’s the Week 5 picks against the spread from Confessions of a Sportscaster and Someone Still Loves You Alberto Riveron. Richard Sherman’s pick-six against Matt Schaub last week sent Lucas to a winning 8-7 record and yours truly to a losing 7-8 record – for the season, we’re still both above .500. This week, we’re only disagreeing on two games, which has to be the fewest games in a week we’ve ever disagreed over – feel free to scroll through the COAS/SSLYAR category to see if my preliminary hunch is wrong. At any rate, check out our apparently groupthink-filled picks below.

Thursday Night: Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns (-4.5)

Lucas: Browns. Brian Hoyer as the new Eff You Quarterback? Brian Hoyer as the new Eff You Quarterback.

Nathaniel: Browns. Funny how fast the Browns went from completely hopeless to having as good a chance as anyone to win the AFC North.

Sunday, Early Afternoon: New Orleans Saints at Chicago Bears (-0.5)

Lucas: Saints. This past Sunday was an enjoyable experience for me as I got to relive my days in 2009 as an intern for ESPN Chicago where I was in for every Bears game and took great joy in every Cutler interception. The Onion article on him published on Monday was the proverbial cherry.

Nathaniel: Saints. I’m relatively flabbergasted how this is a virtual pick’em. I’m rooting for the Bears as much as any Chicagoan (not named Lucas Mitzel, anyway), but I don’t think anybody debates that the Saints are a considerably better team.

New England Patriots at Cincinnati Bengals (-1.5)

Lucas: Patriots. Yeah, I know Vince Wilfork is probably done for the year, but I feel like the Pats offense can put up enough points to not worry about it this week.

Nathaniel: Patriots. Getting tired of doubting Belichick and expecting the Bengals to actually play as well as their talent level suggests they should play.

Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (-6.5)

Lucas: Packers. Detroit still hasn’t won in Green Bay since I was like 2 and didn’t know anything about the NFL. Detroit’s defense took advantage of turnovers that Aaron Rodgers is probably 89% less likely than Jay Cutler to commit, yet they still gave up 32 points to the Bears. Ah, the joys of having the best quarterback in the league…

Nathaniel: Packers. Rule of thumb: no matter how good a team has looked in the first four weeks of the season, always pick against them if they’re facing an opponent in a stadium they haven’t won at in 22 years.

Kansas City Chiefs at Tennessee Titans (+2.5)

Lucas: Chiefs. I was originally thinking the Titans based on home field and some regression to the mean, but with Jake Locker hurt after looking really good for a while this past week… I just can’t take them.

Nathaniel: Titans. On the one hand, Ryan Fitzpatrick tends to throw as many passes to the other team as he does his own. On the other, Kansas City hasn’t really played anybody yet and there’s still a good chunk of me that questions how good they actually are.

Seattle Seahawks at Indianapolis Colts (+2.5)

Lucas: Colts. Maybe this is one of the supervisors at work (who’s from Indy and is a Colts fan) rubbing off on me. But Seattle hasn’t played quite as well away from the Link and would likely be 3-1 if Matt Schaub would quit throwing pick-6’s. Maybe I’m wrong, but Indy is starting to round back into decent form.

Nathaniel: Colts. Indianapolis has played really well the past two weeks and Seattle doesn’t look anywhere near as terrifying on the road as when they’re back home in CenturyLink Field.

Jacksonville Jaguars at St. Louis Rams (-11.5)

Lucas: Rams. If for no other reason than I felt like an idiot for taking the points with Jacksonville last week. I’m just really looking forward to the 27.5 point spread next week…

Nathaniel: Rams. It ought to say something that the Rams have lost their last two games by 24 points each and are still 11.5 point favorites against the Jaguars. At this point, I’d have to say Florida International should be giving 3.5 points to the Jags.

Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins (-2.5)

Lucas: Dolphins. Riding the “Miami is pretty good” and “Baltimore sucks on the road” bandwagons this week. Seems safe with this spread.

Nathaniel: Dolphins. Things are usually pretty simple with the Ravens: pick them at home and pick against them on the road. Don’t you dare muck up my complicated formula this week, Joe Flacco!

Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants (-2.5)

Lucas: Eagles. Through four weeks, I’m not really impressed with Chip Kelly at the NFL level so far. Fortunately for him, the reeling Giants were just what he needed.

Nathaniel: Eagles. I honestly don’t understand how the Giants could be favored over anybody right now – other than Jacksonville, of course.

Sunday, Late Afternoon: Carolina Panthers at Arizona Cardinals (+2.5)

Lucas: Cardinals. I don’t know if it’s home field, Arizona’s decent defense, Ron Rivera, or what it is… but it’s sure smarter than Scott Burnside taking hallucinogens before picking the Phoenix Coyotes to win the Stanley Cup.

Nathaniel: Panthers. I can’t underestimate the misgivings I have with this pick, though – they’ve only played three games so far, but the Panthers already look like this year’s team that no one can figure out. Well, I take that back – we know that if they play a close game, they’ll undoubtedly lose. Other than that, we know nothing.

Denver Broncos at Dallas Cowboys (+7.5)

Lucas: Broncos. I have yet to meet the man who can stop this Denver offense. I don’t think Jerry Jones is that man, unless DeMarcus Ware injures Peyton in taking advantage of Ryan Clady being gone.

Nathaniel: Broncos. I feel a certain sense of loyalty to Peyton and will continue to pick the Broncos until he throws an interception. After that, though? Never again. A SACRED BOND HAS BEEN DESTROYED.

Sunday Night: Houston Texans at San Francisco 49ers (-6.5)

Lucas: Texans. San Fran beat the Rams pretty convincingly last week, but I’m still not sure how I feel about them after 4 weeks. This isn’t an advocation of Houston by any means, I just think the points are safer.

Nathaniel: Texans. I feel like 6.5 points gives Matt Schaub leeway to play really well for most of the game and ensure the cover while ultimately throwing the game-killing pick-six that sends Houston to 2-3.

Sunday, Late Night: San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders (+4.5)

Lucas: Chargers. If you were going to reschedule a Raiders game to accommodate the MLB, at least it involved another West Coast team so biorhythms don’t get all wacked out. Though Phillip Rivers’ biorhythm being out of wack wouldn’t be the most surprising thing to find out.

Nathaniel: Chargers. By far the coolest thing about this game is that it’ll get started a few minutes before midnight on the East Coast. Thank you, Oakland, for reminding us how weird scheduling can be when you have a playoff baseball team and a football team sharing the same stadium!

Monday Night: New York Jets at Atlanta Falcons (-9.5)

Lucas: Jets. It’s an odd numbered year, so the Falcons are holding tradition by being down this season. I know, the Jets are the Jets, but 9 ½ is still a lot to be giving.

Nathaniel: Jets. That’s a mighty big line for a 1-3 team with little to no defense to be covering!

2013 Records:

Lucas: 37-26 (8-7 last week)

Nathaniel: 32-31 (7-8 last week)

Week 4 Predictive Yards per Play Rankings

Today brings the first batch of Predictive Yards per Play rankings for the season. I didn’t bother running them for the first three weeks because there’s little to no actual insight they can provide that early in the year. Even now, things are very fluid and one or two outlier games can massively monkey wrench the results. A quarter of the way through the season seems like a good time to take the first statistical litmus test of the season, though, so here’s how each team has fared in the first four weeks of the year.

Strength of schedule is incorporated into the rankings; however, I’m only inputting those figures at 17% strength this week because some teams have played ridiculously lopsided schedules in one direction or another. I’ll up the schedule strength by one-sixth each week until it reaches 100% at the season’s virtual midway point after Week 9. Below are the offensive and defensive rankings, followed by the overall team rankings. Included with the individual team rankings are each team’s remaining strength of schedule and the projected wins Predictive Yards per Play thinks each team will wind up by the end of the season. Those two metrics are half comprised of this year’s results; the other half is comprised of each team’s preseason projection in the hopes of not overreacting to unexpected starts (looking at you, AFC West and South.)

Remember, Predictive Yards per Play seeks to measure the aspects of play so far that correspond best with future success – it is not a descriptive measure of how teams have played so far. That’s an important piece of information to keep in mind because the current #1 team in the overall rankings doesn’t have a winning record right now and probably isn’t ranked in the top five of any subjective power rankings.

Offensive Predictive Yards per Play, through Week 4:

Rank Team Yards Plays Passing TDs INTs Rushing TDs Fumbles SOS PY/P
1 Denver Broncos 1932 284 16 0 4 8 -0.15 6.66
2 New Orleans Saints 1678 275 10 4 2 2 0.24 6.51
3 Green Bay Packers 1364 205 8 3 3 4 -0.06 6.41
4 San Diego Chargers 1585 253 11 2 1 4 0.00 6.10
5 Houston Texans 1641 302 8 6 1 2 0.51 5.92
6 Indianapolis Colts 1495 262 5 2 6 2 -0.01 5.83
7 Atlanta Falcons 1594 255 8 3 1 4 -0.11 5.81
8 Philadelphia Eagles 1835 267 6 2 5 7 -0.62 5.67
9 Seattle Seahawks 1409 256 7 3 4 6 0.57 5.66
10 Detroit Lions 1619 266 7 3 5 8 -0.18 5.41
11 New England Patriots 1469 287 7 2 1 4 0.43 5.39
12 New York Jets 1465 276 4 8 2 7 1.00 5.36
13 Minnesota Vikings 1402 247 4 5 7 7 0.25 5.02
14 Tennessee Titans 1251 263 7 0 2 4 0.20 4.97
15 San Francisco 49ers 1325 244 5 4 5 5 0.00 4.88
16 Chicago Bears 1409 253 8 6 4 5 -0.17 4.86
17 Kansas City Chiefs 1389 275 7 2 2 2 -0.24 4.84
18 Carolina Panthers 963 200 6 2 2 4 0.16 4.75
19 Buffalo Bills 1400 288 5 3 2 10 0.67 4.72
20 Dallas Cowboys 1362 250 8 1 1 8 -0.36 4.54
21 Pittsburgh Steelers 1365 250 5 5 2 8 -0.01 4.54
22 Miami Dolphins 1289 244 5 5 5 6 0.04 4.54
23 Washington Redskins 1563 266 6 4 3 6 -0.82 4.45
24 Oakland Raiders 1352 240 4 3 3 6 -0.58 4.41
25 Arizona Cardinals 1281 250 4 6 2 7 0.21 4.33
26 Baltimore Ravens 1270 278 5 7 3 3 0.24 4.29
27 Cincinnati Bengals 1310 254 5 4 4 9 -0.15 4.15
28 Cleveland Browns 1295 280 7 6 0 3 -0.03 4.10
29 St. Louis Rams 1207 267 7 3 0 5 -0.03 4.10
30 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1099 257 3 5 1 5 0.30 3.80
31 New York Giants 1302 239 6 10 1 7 -0.28 3.67
32 Jacksonville Jaguars 896 252 1 7 2 3 -0.01 2.76

Defensive Predictive Yards per Play Rankings, through Week 4:

Rank Team Yards Plays Passing TDs INTs Rushing TDs Fumbles SOS PY/P (Ball-Control Adjusted
1 Houston Texans 1017 233 6 2 2 5 0.06 3.66
2 Cleveland Browns 1166 279 2 3 5 6 -0.11 3.76
3 Kansas City Chiefs 1225 255 3 5 1 9 -0.16 3.81
4 Seattle Seahawks 1201 255 3 7 2 9 -0.37 3.98
5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1329 274 5 6 0 5 0.00 4.22
6 Tennessee Titans 1253 246 6 5 2 5 0.21 4.25
7 New Orleans Saints 1218 224 4 7 2 5 0.10 4.30
8 San Francisco 49ers 1199 260 5 3 6 4 0.09 4.39
9 Baltimore Ravens 1383 270 8 3 1 7 0.09 4.42
10 New England Patriots 1384 269 4 5 1 6 -0.17 4.47
11 Indianapolis Colts 1229 236 2 6 4 4 -0.03 4.49
12 Carolina Panthers 956 184 2 3 1 3 -0.09 4.55
13 New York Jets 1132 263 7 1 1 6 -0.72 4.56
14 Cincinnati Bengals 1336 264 6 4 2 3 -0.03 4.81
15 Arizona Cardinals 1364 269 8 4 1 4 -0.11 4.90
16 Chicago Bears 1536 250 6 6 3 12 -0.10 5.01
17 Oakland Raiders 1397 252 7 0 3 5 0.30 5.02
18 Detroit Lions 1515 259 4 8 5 6 -0.05 5.13
19 Pittsburgh Steelers 1287 253 4 0 6 3 -0.11 5.13
20 Miami Dolphins 1581 277 8 5 2 5 0.08 5.31
21 New York Giants 1537 290 10 4 4 6 -0.11 5.35
22 Buffalo Bills 1597 298 8 9 1 3 -0.46 5.38
23 St. Louis Rams 1549 255 9 1 5 8 0.22 5.39
24 Denver Broncos 1561 276 6 6 4 2 -0.05 5.40
25 Philadelphia Eagles 1787 298 9 2 3 5 0.32 5.53
26 Washington Redskins 1762 278 9 2 4 5 0.57 5.57
27 Atlanta Falcons 1573 256 9 3 2 3 0.34 5.60
28 Dallas Cowboys 1529 261 10 4 0 4 -0.13 5.67
29 Jacksonville Jaguars 1548 260 9 2 4 6 -0.01 5.69
30 Green Bay Packers 1213 189 8 2 3 5 -0.03 5.98
31 Minnesota Vikings 1723 295 10 7 4 7 -0.66 6.22
32 San Diego Chargers 1729 257 8 1 2 5 0.04 6.31

Predictive Yards per Play Differential, through Week 4

Rank Team PY/P Diff. Remaining SOS Projected Wins
1 Houston Texans 2.27 -30.48 12.12
2 New Orleans Saints 2.21 2.96 12.31
3 Seattle Seahawks 1.68 -29.14 13.47
4 Indianapolis Colts 1.34 11.45 8.21
5 Denver Broncos 1.26 -5.28 13.02
6 Kansas City Chiefs 1.03 15.35 9.64
7 New England Patriots 0.91 18.38 11.04
8 New York Jets 0.81 -1.54 7.96
9 Tennessee Titans 0.72 -11.14 8.20
10 San Francisco 49ers 0.49 -15.64 10.61
11 Green Bay Packers 0.44 -9.77 9.39
12 Cleveland Browns 0.34 -4.22 6.60
13 Detroit Lions 0.28 -14.49 9.98
14 Atlanta Falcons 0.21 -3.25 8.26
15 Carolina Panthers 0.20 1.17 6.47
16 Philadelphia Eagles 0.14 -26.75 6.36
17 Baltimore Ravens -0.13 2.44 7.71
18 Chicago Bears -0.15 -3.40 9.27
19 San Diego Chargers -0.21 -14.10 8.73
20 Tampa Bay Buccaneers -0.42 14.32 2.57
21 Arizona Cardinals -0.57 13.65 5.49
22 Pittsburgh Steelers -0.59 -7.64 6.52
23 Oakland Raiders -0.62 16.18 5.10
24 Cincinnati Bengals -0.65 -5.99 7.79
25 Buffalo Bills -0.67 -14.14 7.50
26 Miami Dolphins -0.78 -6.88 8.40
27 Washington Redskins -1.11 8.24 6.27
28 Dallas Cowboys -1.13 1.35 8.39
29 Minnesota Vikings -1.20 3.70 5.77
30 St. Louis Rams -1.29 9.14 4.48
31 New York Giants -1.67 -1.21 4.22
32 Jacksonville Jaguars -2.93 16.69 1.03

Yes, the 2-2 Houston Texans have the best Predictive Yards per Play differential in the league through four weeks, narrowly edging the undefeated Saints. This is partly because the Texans have had the toughest schedule in the league so far, but also because they really have outplayed all of their opponents in the indicators that usually point to future success. They needed the final play of the game to notch both their victories against San Diego and Tennessee, but they outgained both those teams by roughly 200 yards and 10 first downs. They lost by 21 to the Ravens, but actually gained more yards and averaged more yards per play. And they somehow found a way to lose to Seattle last week despite gaining 200 more yards and 14 more first downs than the Seahawks.

So far on the season, they’re averaging 5.4 yards per play and their opponents have averaged 4.4. They’ve fumbled twice, their opponents have fumbled five times. And they’ve gained a staggering 39 more first downs than their opponents. If you didn’t know anything about their won-loss record other than those above facts, you would assume the Texans would be at least 3-1 or, more likely, 4-0.

Now, not to pull a Dan Dierdorf on you all, but just because the Texans have been very impressive in most important aspects doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to be 2-2. Matt Schaub has thrown three interception that have been returned for touchdowns so far this year, including last week’s soul-crushing pick-six to Richard Sherman, and their special teams also allowed a punt return for a touchdown to Tandon Doss of the Ravens. They’ve beat themselves the past two weeks and tried their very best to throw away the Titans game as well. The good news for Texans fans is return touchdowns are fairly uncommon and (typically) don’t have any predictive value. Then again, sometimes we see teams like last year’s Lions that catch on unlucky streaks like that over an entire season and don’t see any regression towards the mean until the next season. We’ll have to see if that’s the case with this year’s Texans.

After Houston’s unexpected slot at #1, the PY/P rankings fall a little more in line with conventional wisdom. The undefeated Saints and Seahawks come in at #2 and #3, followed by the Colts and then the Broncos. No single unit’s been more terrifying so far this year than the Broncos offense, whose PY/P figure of 6.66 falls in line with Bill Simmons’ Evil Peyton theory, but their defense is currently ranked just 24th. Rounding out the top ten are the Chiefs, Patriots, Jets, Titans and 49ers. The Jets are the only team out of that bunch whose ranking doesn’t really jive with the eye test – I, for one, do not believe for a second that they have the 12th-best offense in the league – but maybe the computer knows something we don’t.

The AFC’s performed unexpectedly well in interconference play thus far and seven of the top ten teams in overall PY/P come from the AFC. Overall, though, the top half of the rankings are evenly split with eight AFC teams and eight NFC teams. The NFC East has been (deservedly) derided so far as the biggest laughingstock division in the league, but PY/P doesn’t seem to think the AFC North is much better. Cleveland – CLEVELAND! – is the only team in that division that currently has an above-average rating, thanks to their #2 rating defensively. Cincinnati’s #24 ranking overall is one of the most surprising to me – just watching their games, they look like one of the most talented teams in the AFC.

Finally, teams that had both a strong preseason projection and have started the season well tend to do the best in PY/P’s wins projection, but Consistency Index is another important component in those projections. For example, Dallas is rated well below Philadelphia in pure Predictive Yards per Play, but the Consistency Index trusts Tony Romo’s ability to complete passes infinitely more than Michael Vick’s going forward. Thus, Dallas is currently the odds-on favorite to win the NFC East. Honestly, though, I wouldn’t put too much trust in the final wins projections just yet – midseason is really the first point where we have a firm grasp of each team’s real quality for the season.

Most of my free time this week has been devoted to generating these rankings and writing the analysis, so quarterback charting from Week 4’s games will probably be mainly delayed until next week and will then appear in truncated form. Thanks to all who have read those so far.

Projected AFC Playoff Picture, through Week 4:

  1. Denver (13.0 wins)
  2. Houston (12.1 wins)
  3. New England (11.0 wins)
  4. Cincinnati (7.8 wins)
  5. Kansas City (9.6 wins)
  6. San Diego (8.7 wins)

In the hunt: Miami (8.4 wins), Indianapolis (8.2 wins), Tennessee (8.2 wins), NY Jets (8.0 wins) Baltimore (7.7 wins), Buffalo (7.5 wins)

Mediocre: Cleveland (6.6 wins), Pittsburgh (6.5 wins), Oakland (5.1 wins)

Teddy Bridgewater Sweepstakes: Jacksonville (1.0 win)

Projected NFC Playoff Picture, through Week 4:

  1. Seattle (13.5 wins)
  2. New Orleans (12.3 wins)
  3. Detroit (10.0 wins)
  4. Dallas (8.4 wins)
  5. San Francisco (10.6 wins)
  6. Green Bay (9.4 wins)

In the hunt: Chicago (9.3 wins), Atlanta (8.3 wins)

Mediocre: Carolina (6.5 wins), Philadelphia (6.4 wins), Washington (6.3 wins), Minnesota (5.8 wins), Arizona (5.5 wins)

Teddy Bridgewater Sweepstakes: St. Louis (4.5 wins), NY Giants (4.2 wins), Tampa Bay (2.6 wins)

QB Charting, Week 4: Bears-Lions

Chicago Bears

Jay Cutler: Week 4, at Detroit.

Passing Breakdown

  Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 23 42 238 3 25 2 3 2.62
Play-Action 3 4 76 0 0 0 0 19.00
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 26 46 314 3 25 2 3 3.96

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

  Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 1 9 1 1, 5 yards 6 6
Play-Action 0 0 0 0 0 1
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 0
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 1 9 1 1, 5 yards 6 7

Cutler suffered his first poor game of the season and was further betrayed by a number of drops from five different receivers. All three interceptions were undoubtedly Cutler’s fault, however. The first came when he stared Alshon Jeffery too long in the middle of the field and Louis Delmas read his eyes for the pick. The second was a fade route to Brandon Marshall that Cutler didn’t get nearly enough on and threw towards the middle of the field, which gave Glover Quin all the opportunity he needed to cement the interception. And the last interception was an airmailed throw deep over the middle, which was one of the easiest interceptions Delmas will ever get.

In between, Cutler was able to hit a number of big plays through the air but couldn’t convert a third down until the Bears’ final attempt of the game, the 10-yard touchdown pass to Earl Bennett with less than a minute left in the fourth quarter that cut the final deficit down to eight. After throwing a grand total of six inaccurate passes in the Bears’ first three games combined, Cutler threw seven against the Lions. It’s tough to sugarcoat the outing as anything other than a shoddy one, but one bad game for every three good ones is ultimately a ratio the Bears would be satisfied with going forward.

Detroit Lions

Matthew Stafford: Week 4, vs. Chicago.

Passing Breakdown

  Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 11 18 104 1 8 1 0 6.11
Play-Action 11 15 129 0 0 0 1 5.60
Screen 1 2 9 0 0 0 0 4.50
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 23 35 242 1 8 1 1 5.81

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

  Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 0 0 1 0 2 5
Play-Action 1 9 0 0 2 2
Screen 0 0 0 0 1 0
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 1 9 1 0 5 7

That’s right – by my count, each one of Stafford’s incompletions were caused by either a poor throw or a drop and not anything the Bears defense did to disrupt the Lions’ timing. Stafford’s lone pick came in the second half when his throw deflected off a diving Calvin Johnson and into Major Wright’s hands. He, of course, also had a second fumble on his quarterback sneak attempt at the goal line in the second quarter that he was fortunate to latch onto before falling back to the ground. 

Though they often got in their own way Sunday afternoon, the Lions were still basically able to do whatever they wanted offensively and that’s been the case in every game they’ve played thus far. Reggie Bush so far is fitting in even better than anyone could have expected and Scott Linehan has done an excellent job of tailoring the Lions’ game plan to exploit their opponents’ weaknesses. Detroit is a legitimate 3-1 team and they could make an even louder statement in the NFC North next week if they were able to beat Green Bay.

QB Charting, Week 4: 49ers-Rams

San Francisco 49ers

Colin Kaepernick: Week 4, at St. Louis.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 7 11 106 0 0 2 0 13.27
Play-Action 7 10 61 1 8 0 0 4.82
Screen 1 2 0 1 8 0 0 -2.67
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 15 23 167 2 16 2 0 7.64

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 0 0 0 2, 32 yards 0 1
Play-Action 2 11 0 0 2 0
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 1
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 2 11 0 2, 32 yards 2 2

Kaepernick made a few silly mistakes, such as getting sacked on a screen pass and losing control of the ball on a handoff. Otherwise, he had infinity times more success passing than he did against the Seahawks and Colts. After watching three weeks worth of games so far and watching him in the second half of last season, I’d personally say that Kaepernick has the strongest arm in the league and it’s not particularly close. That showed up on the deep out routes that made up the majority of his throws Thursday Night – and more importantly, in the wake of last Sunday’s mild disaster against the Colts, his accuracy returned as well.

It seemed like the Rams’ defensive scheme also helped the 49ers get back on track, however, as Anquan Boldin magically started getting wide open again after being completely blanketed by man coverage the past two weeks. Could that possibly have had something to do with the fact that the Rams predominantly played zone coverage Thursday Night? PERHAPS. It also helped Kaepernick that Vernon Davis was back in the lineup and that the running game got fully on track for the first time all season. But, really, the 49ers’ improved performance through the air against the Rams doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve solved the problems that plagued them the previous two weeks – they simply faced a defense that couldn’t (or, perhaps, wouldn’t) take advantage of their weaknesses. With Houston and their aggressive man coverage scheme coming to Candlestick next Sunday Night, Kaepernick and Co. will learn soon enough whether they’ve made any real progress.

St. Louis Rams

Sam Bradford: Week 4, vs. San Francisco.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 13 32 132 4 20 1 1 2.42
Play-Action 3 5 58 1 6 0 0 8.67
Screen 3 3 14 0 0 0 0 4.67
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 19 40 204 5 26 1 1 3.40

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 0 0 1 1, 6 yards 5 7
Play-Action 0 0 0 1, 15 yards 0 1
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 0
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 1 2, 21 yards 5 8

Bradford started 11-of-17 for 140 yards befor e throwing an interception in the end zone that was tipped by Tramaine Brock and spectacularly intercepted by Donte Whitner. After that, things got brutal for the Rams – Bradford went 8-for-22 for 64 yards the rest of the way, got sacked four times, lost a fumble and had six of his eight inaccurate throws. It’s the second game in a row where the Rams offense has had 13 combined inaccurate throws and dropped passes, which is a good way to score 18 combined points in two games and lead to a montage of tortured fan reactions around the Edward Jones Dome. Take out the garbage time production after they fell behind by 21 to Atlanta and you’ve got a legitimate streak of nasty offensive performances.

It’s still early, but right now the Rams’ offseason shuffling of their skill position players hasn’t paid many dividends this season. Tavon Austin has been more productive than Danny Amendola by default since Amendola’s been hurt, but he hasn’t really shown any of the agility and acceleration he was purported to have coming out of West Virginia. Jared Cook’s shown why the Titans were okay letting him walk in free agency, following up a huge game against the Cardinals with three forgettable ones. And the Rams also miss the possession receiving qualities Brandon Gibson is currently providing the Dolphins, not to mention the yards after the catch Steven Jackson provided as a receiving running back. It’s shaping up as yet another poor supporting cast for Bradford, who certainly hasn’t shown the ability to overcome a lack of talent around him. Getting the Jaguars at home next week will provide an opportunity to feel better about themselves for a week, but there’s not a whole lot of other reasons to feel optimistic about the Rams right now.

QB Charting, Week 3: AFC Roundup

Houston Texans

Matt Schaub: Week 3, at Baltimore.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 21 28 181 3 24 0 1 3.61
Play-Action 4 6 14 0 0 0 0 2.33
Screen 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 25 35 195 3 24 0 1 3.32

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

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

Baltimore Ravens

Joe Flacco: Week 3, vs. Houston.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 13 21 157 1 9 0 0 6.73
Play-Action 1 1 7 1 8 0 0 -0.50
Screen 1 1 5 0 0 0 0 5.00
Designed Rollout 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 2.00
Total 16 24 171 2 17 0 0 5.92

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 0 0 1 3, 43 yards 2 3
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 1 3, 43 yards 2 3

Flacco’s first two throws of the game, and then his last, were inaccurate. In between, though, he was able to coax some offense out of an overmatched group of receivers and get his patented two defensive pass interference penalties per game. It looks like Ray Rice will be back for Week 4’s game at Buffalo, but even with him back in the lineup the Ravens look like a team that’ll still have to win with defense and grinding out enough first downs to come up with 20 points on offense.

The good news is that after the opening night catastrophe at Denver, the defense looks capable of shouldering that load again. Schaub played better than his stat line would indicate, but the Ravens took away the Texans’ screens and play-action passes, forcing Schaub and his receivers to beat them with dropback, down-the-field passing. Schaub doesn’t quite have the arm to pull those types of plays off and when Andre Johnson is hobbled like he was last week, the Texans’ depth at receiver gets very shallow, very fast. Remember, however, that the Ravens scored two non-offensive touchdowns in this game and that the Texans gained more yards and had a higher yards per play average. Baltimore ultimately outplayed Houston, but not by nearly as a wide margin as the final score would indicate.

San Diego Chargers

Philip Rivers: Week 3, at Tennessee.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 17 21 157 2 9 1 0 7.30
Play-Action 3 3 54 0 0 0 0 18.00
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 20 24 211 2 9 1 0 8.54

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 0 0 0 4, 32 yards 1 1
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 4, 32 yards 1 1

Tennessee Titans

Jake Locker: Week 3, vs. San Diego.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 21 32 304 1 7 1 0 9.61
Play-Action 1 3 0 1 10 0 0 -2.50
Screen 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 1.00
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 23 36 305 2 17 1 0 8.11

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 0 0 0 0 5 4
Play-Action 3 59 0 0 0 1
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 0
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 3 59 0 0 5 5

Week 3’s award for Most Dramatic Improvement from the First Two Weeks of the Season undoubtedly goes to Locker, who occasionally missed some throws but looked nothing like the grossly incompetent passer who appeared in his uniform against the Steelers and Texans. He was consistently accurate on deep out routes and even made one of the best throws anyone’s made this year so far midway through the fourth quarter. With a blitz in his face and while throwing off his back foot, Locker perfectly arced a rainbow to Kenny Britt 35 yards down the sideline. This being 2013 Kenny Britt, of course, the pass was dropped (one of his three drops on the day). I watched that throw on Game Rewind three times in a row, though, and said “HOLY BALLS” or some derivation thereof every time. That, plus the impressive scrambling numbers for as a runner, shows the vast potential Locker possesses and will make watching him ten times more frustrating when he inevitably goes back to firing every other throw three feet away from his intended receiver.

Over on San Diego’s side, the Chargers are officially back to being the team that can rack up a lot of yards through the air yet still ultimately find ways to derp away games at the end. Rivers’ unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, coming swiftly on the heels of an OPI call in the end zone in the first half, ruined any chance the Chargers had of scoring a touchdown on the drive, but there’s nothing to critique about Rivers’ performance as a passer. He stood in against the Titans’ blitz-happy pass rush and carved their single coverage up basically every time he went back to pass. Apparently this went unnoticed by Mike McCoy and Ken Whisenhunt at the end of the game, because before the Chargers got the ball back down three with under 30 seconds left, their run-pass distribution in the fourth quarter consisted of eight runs and one pass. That’s a pretty conservative way to sit on a lead, especially considering how well the Titans had been able to move the ball.

And they still probably would have won the game if John Pagano hadn’t called a blitz with the Titans facing a 3rd-and-10 from the Chargers 34-yard line with only 21 seconds left and no timeouts remaining. If there’s ever a situation to call for a prevent defense and allow a 15-yard completion in the middle of the field, that would be the one. Instead, Locker took advantage of single coverage on the outside and hit Justin Hunter for the game-winning touchdown. Baffling call.

QB Charting, Week 3: Buccaneers-Patriots, Browns-Vikings and Jaguars-Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Josh Freeman: Week 3, at New England.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 14 34 204 2 9 0 1 4.17
Play-Action 5 7 32 1 1 0 0 3.88
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 19 41 236 3 10 0 1 4.11

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 0 0 0 1, 20 yards 7 4
Play-Action 1 4 0 0 0 2
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 0
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 1 4 0 1, 20 yards 7 6

New England Patriots

Tom Brady: Week 3, vs. Tampa Bay.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 18 26 161 1 9 2 1 5.44
Play-Action 4 7 40 2 14 0 0 2.89
Screen 3 3 24 0 0 0 0 8.00
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 25 36 225 3 23 2 1 5.05

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 0 0 0 2, 33 yards 3 3
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 2, 33 yards 4 5

Josh Freeman’s benching was probably fait accompli after his two awful games to start the season. That it happened after easily his best game of the season, though, is somewhat strange. Two of Freeman’s inaccurate throws came on forced throws into the end zone when the team was down by 20 points with under two minutes left and you sort of feel compelled to try those low-percentage throws at that point. He also made a number of terrific throws deep and down the sideline that his receivers dropped, including two drops by Tim Wright and Vincent Jackson that would have gone for touchdowns had they hung on.

It’s probably safe to say that Freeman will never fulfill the franchise quarterback potential he showed back in 2010, so Greg Schiano’s choice to likely punt on the rest of 2013 and see what he has in Mike Glennon makes sense in the long-term. If the Buccaneers’ skill players don’t start playing at a much higher level, though, it won’t matter who’s at quarterback this year. Jackson, Doug Martin and Kevin Ogletree have all dropped roughly as many passes as the Bengals have as an entire team. You expect that sort of thing out of Ogletree because he sucks, but Jackson and Martin both have far superior talent than they’ve shown this year. Freeman’s benching is as much a result of their struggles as it is his own.

Back over in Foxboro, it’s 2006 all over again – the defense looks like one of the best in the league and Tom Brady’s being a good soldier by being willing to work with a batch of inexperienced/non-NFL quality receivers. His performance against the Bucs was probably his best – and also his receivers’ best – day of the season, though sort of by default. The problems the passing game showed in the first two games – miscommunications on routes, frequent drops, Brady’s own occassional inaccuracy – were all on display again against Tampa Bay, just in shorter supply. Sunday Night’s game against Atlanta will be the Patriots’ first this year against a quality offense, so I’m looking forward to seeing how well the Patriots’ defense matches up against Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Co. They’ll likely need another strong game because, with Gronk once again looking doubtful to play, the chances of their offensive counterparts suddenly getting back to scoring 30 points per game like clockwork seem slim.

Cleveland Browns

Brian Hoyer: Week 3, at Minnesota.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 22 39 209 2 18 2 3 2.34
Play-Action 8 15 112 1 8 1 0 7.75
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 30 54 321 3 26 3 3 3.86

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 0 0 0 0 4 7
Play-Action 0 0 0 1, -12 yards 1 2
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 0
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 1, -12 yards 5 9

Minnesota Vikings

Christian Ponder: Week 3, vs. Cleveland.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 17 27 126 5 27 0 0 3.09
Play-Action 7 14 87 1 7 0 1 2.33
Screen 1 1 15 0 0 0 0 15.00
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 25 42 228 6 34 0 1 3.10

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 4 40 1 1, 15 yards 3 3
Play-Action 0 0 0 0 0 5
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 0
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 4 40 1 1, 15 yards 3 8

The best harbinger of sustainably good play to come out of Hoyer’s performance Sunday was repeated accuracy and touch on deep passes down the sideline – those are generally the toughest passes to throw accurately, so showing that ability on multiple occasions suggests Hoyer has potential. Two of his three interceptions occurred when he was completely fooled by Vikings coverage schemes (not exactly the Rosetta Stone of NFL pass defenses) and wound up throwing passes straight to Harrison Smith and Chad Greenway. His pocket presence also got progressively more statuesque as the game wore on and he finished with nine inaccurate throws, though that’s not a horrendous figure for 54 attempts. Hoyer did some things well, but considering Josh Gordon was back in action for the first time this season, Brandon Weeden probably would have played just as well, if not better.

Ponder, on the other hand, looks like he might be turning into the statistical doppelganger of Alex Smith, though the two quarterbacks take drastically different paths to their league-average destinations. Smith is much more cautious and doesn’t turn the ball over often but doesn’t come up with many big plays; Ponder forces the ball down the field a lot more and generates his fair share of bigs plays, but winds up with more turnovers than coaches would prefer. Both quarterbacks are arguably better scramblers than passers and both take more sacks than necessary. At the moment, though, it’s certainly better to be Alex Smith: his team is 3-0 and he’s being lauded as one of the main reasons for that turnaround, while Ponder fractured a rib in the Vikings’ third straight loss to start the season and now is in danger of getting Wally Pipped out of his job by the guy Smith replaced in Kansas City, Matt Cassel.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Chad Henne: Week 3, at Seattle.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 11 23 164 2 12 0 1 4.28
Play-Action 6 11 62 1 9 0 1 0.67
Screen 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Designed Rollout 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 17 37 226 3 21 0 2 2.88

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 0 0 1 1, 4 yards 4 3
Play-Action 0 0 0 0 0 1
Screen 0 0 0 0 1 0
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 1 1, 4 yards 5 4

Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson: Week 3, vs. Jacksonville.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 7 12 125 2 15 1 1 6.07
Play-Action 7 9 77 0 0 3 0 15.22
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 14 21 202 2 15 4 1 9.65

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 1 10 1 1, 25 yards 3 1
Play-Action 0 0 0 0 0 1
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 0
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 1 10 1 1, 25 yards 3 2

Tarvaris Jackson: Week 3, vs. Jacksonville.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 3 4 49 0 0 1 0 17.25
Play-Action 3 3 66 0 0 0 0 22.00
Screen 1 1 14 0 0 0 0 14.00
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 7 8 129 0 0 1 0 18.63

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 0 0 0 0 0 0
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 0 0 0

Maybe it was just a small sample size fluke, but Chad Henne actually looked good in both of his starts against the Raiders and Seahawks. As in, maybe another team should give him a shot as a starting quarterback again? The Jaguars are committed to tanking the entire season (as they should be), so they’re starting Blaine Gabbert again this Sunday now that he’s healthy again, but Henne’s been by far the least of the Jaguars’ offensive problems the last two weeks. Even when he’s throwing interceptions off his offensive lineman’s helmet, he’s doing it because he’s trying to hit Maurice Jones-Drew over the middle and throwing the ball normally means the ball goes two feet over MJD’s head. He only threw a total of six inaccurate passes in his two starts and gave the Jags offense a very faint whiff of professionalism. Which is something to be proud of, because holy Moses is the Jaguars offense a crapshow.

Russell Wilson rebounded from a shaky game against the 49ers with an on-point performance that was nearly perfect until the Seahawks went up 31-0 – after that, he threw his interception (off Golden Tate’s hands) and both of his inaccurate throws on his final three passes of the night. So suffice it to say, he was pretty darn good when the game was actually (relatively) close. And Tarvaris was pretty darn good when the game was a blowout! Win-win.

QB Charting, Week 3: NFC Roundup

St. Louis Rams

Sam Bradford: Week 3, at Dallas.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 23 39 160 6 43 1 0 3.04
Play-Action 4 7 65 0 0 0 0 9.29
Screen 2 2 16 0 0 0 0 8.00
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 29 48 241 6 43 1 0 4.04

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 0 0 0 3, 37 yards 6 5
Play-Action 0 0 0 0 0 2
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 0
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 3, 37 yards 6 7

Dallas Cowboys

Tony Romo: Week 3, vs. St. Louis.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 13 19 148 1 7 2 0 9.05
Play-Action 3 4 56 0 0 1 0 19.00
Screen 1 1 7 0 0 0 0 7.00
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 17 24 211 1 7 3 0 10.65

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 0 0 0 1, 6 yards 1 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 0 0 0 1, 6 yards 2 2

Easily the best performance from any NFC East team so far this year, the Cowboys completely dominated the Rams, who also made things pretty easy for Tony Romo and Co. Sunday afternoon. Tally up the drops and inaccurate throws from St. Louis’s side and you get a baker’s dozen unforced errors, which helps explain how the Rams only scored seven points. To their credit, though, the Cowboys defensive line wreaked havoc on Bradford all day, several times getting pressure from both the edge and up the middle and leaving Bradford nowhere to run. Of course, Bradford has poor mobility to begin with, so he wouldn’t have run very fast even if he was afforded the opportunity.

The Rams also helped out Tony Romo tremendously by continuously playing off coverage on the Cowboys receivers, leaving Romo’s favorite six-to-eight yard slants wide open all day (I know you saw that too, Jon Gruden!). Romo was very sharp, though, and took advantage of that poor play in the Rams secondary.

Detroit Lions

Matthew Stafford: Week 3, at Washington.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 16 26 265 1 7 2 0 11.04
Play-Action 7 12 116 0 0 0 1 5.92
Screen 2 4 4 0 0 0 0 1.00
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 25 42 385 1 7 2 1 8.67

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 0 0 0 1, 15 yards 1 7
Play-Action 0 0 0 0 0 2
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 1
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 1, 15 yards 1 10

Washington Redskins

Robert Griffin III: Week 3, vs. Detroit.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 22 31 220 1 8 0 0 6.63
Play-Action 9 17 101 1 13 0 1 2.39
Screen 1 1 5 0 0 0 0 5.00
Designed Rollout 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 32 50 326 2 21 0 1 5.04

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 1 3 1 3, 14 yards 0 2
Play-Action 2 23 1 0 2 3
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 0
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 1
Total 3 26 2 3, 14 yards 2 6

It should probably say something about the state of the Redskins defense that Matt Stafford had 10 inaccurate throws Sunday afternoon (seven more than he had tallied in the first two games combined) and still threw for nearly 400 yards and over nine yards per attempt. Or maybe it says something about the mercurial nature of Stafford’s play, who typically made either an outstanding, ridiculous throw (like his final touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson in between four Redskins defenders) or an errant, off-the-mark pass. Joique Bell helped him out by consistently gaining yards after the catch and the Redskins secondary also aided in forgetting how to tackle at times (though not as prevalently as in their first two games).

As for RGIII, it was sad that the most explosive running play he’s had all season (and, really, the first time he’s really looked like RGIII as a runner all season) was punctuated by a goofy fumble when he awkwardly slid to the ground without being touched. That was the second of Griffin’s two turnovers deep in Lions territory – the first came when he was scrambling towards the sideline at full steam and either unsuccessfully tried to throw the ball out of bounds or made a remarkably poor decision to try to hit Pierre Garcon. Either way, Chris Houston was the beneficiary and that turnover, along with the aborted slide fumble later on, wound up being a large reason why the Redskins lost their third straight game to start the season.

Arizona Cardinals

Carson Palmer: Week 3, at New Orleans.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 15 29 171 3 16 0 2 2.03
Play-Action 1 3 -2 1 10 0 0 -3.00
Screen 2 3 18 0 0 0 0 6.00
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 18 35 187 4 26 0 2 1.82

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 0 0 0 1, 5 yards 3 5
Play-Action 0 0 0 0 0 1
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 0
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 1, 5 yards 3 6

New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees: Week 3, vs. Arizona.

Passing Breakdown

Comp. Att. Yards Sacks Sck Yards TDs INTs ANY/A
Dropback 21 30 270 3 19 3 1 8.06
Play-Action 5 11 53 1 4 0 0 4.08
Screen 3 5 19 0 0 0 0 3.80
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00
Total 29 46 342 4 23 3 1 6.68

Rushing/Miscellaneous Stats

Scrambles Yards Fumbles Penalties Drops Inaccurate throws
Dropback 3 24 0 1, 8 yards 3 5
Play-Action 0 0 0 0 2 1
Screen 0 0 0 0 0 1
Designed Rollout 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 3 24 0 1, 8 yards 5 7

The Saints are 3-0 even though their offense has hardly been working on all cylinders yet, which is a scary thought for the rest of the NFL to ponder. Brees had his least accurate day of the year so far, throwing many uncatchable passes as I’ve ever seen from him. And his receivers dropped five more passes, including three by Jimmy Graham alone. On the other hand, Brees also made a ton of throws into small windows as usual and Graham ended up with 134 yards and two touchdowns. I’ve been infinitely more impressed with that offense’s performances in past years – but then again they’ve kind of spoiled us, haven’t they?

Palmer started out 8-of-10 for 88 yards, then went 10-of-25 for 99 yards and two interceptions the rest of the way. He had a bout of inaccuracy in the first half, with all but one of his inaccurate throws coming before halftime. He was also sidled with a poor offensive line, however, as Levi Brown continues to be a turnstile for any edge rusher looking for a sack. And the Cardinals also had the misfortune of playing a Rob Ryan defense early in the season – for whatever reason, the Black Sheep Ryan defensive coordinator’s tactics always seemed to work infinitely better in September and October than they do when the games actually matter. I have no idea why this is the case, but I am pretty sure a heavy use of profanity mixed with references to strippers and sweet live ass champagne are probably culprits in some way, shape or form.

2013 COAS/SSLYAR Pigskin Pick’Em: Week 4

Like the third day of the NCAA Tournament, Week 3 of the NFL season is usually where my picks start to go haywire and I become 11% more insane with each passing day trying to figure out why Colin Kaepernick could only put up seven points on the Colts defense. NFL teams are so easy to figure out!

Lucas had another strong week, going 10-6; I, on the other hand, had my first off week of the season, going 6-10. Week 4’s picks are up over at Confessions of a Sportscaster. If nothing else, I suggest you head over there just to hear Demaryius Thomas’s Nelson Muntz impersonation from Monday Night.

2013 Records:

Lucas: 29-19 (10-6 last week)

Nathaniel: 25-23 (6-10 last week)