Thursday, January 13, 2011

Looking inside the numbers

Many guys who cover the National Football League don't take a lot of stock in what's reported on internet sites, particularly some of the "stat-drive" sites.

But there are a couple that I follow pretty closely.

The first is linked to on this site, 4for4.com, which, in my opinion, is the best fantasy football site out there. Greg Alan, the site's founder, has computer programs that more often than not nail a player's production within a few yards. It's amazing.

ColdHardFootballFacts.com is another site I pay attention to.

And that's why, despite Baltimore's dismantling of Kansas City last week, a closer look at the Ravens' numbers this season show a team that's ripe for picking by the Steelers.

In the site's Quality stats, which measure a team's strength, the Steelers are tops among playoff teams - thanks to New England's bad defense - while the Ravens ranked fourth.

Kansas City ranked ahead of just Seattle, Indianapolis and New Orleans in those rankings.

It's no surprise that three of those four teams lost last weekend, with the one victory, Seattle over New Orleans, coming because somebody had to win.

And for those who think the Steelers' offense line will be the weak link in this game, in the site's Offensive Hog stats, which measure the effectiveness of a team's offensive line, the Steelers were a respectable 14th in the league, their worst ranking in any category.

Baltimore's offensive line? It finished the season ranked 22nd.

Given the fact the Steelers are at home, everything adds up to a Pittsburgh victory.

17 comments:

Steve-O said...

I tend to agree Dale, the numbers favor the Steelers but I'm not a numbers guy I'm more of an instinctive kind of person. And my instincts are telling me the Steelers have what it takes to win this game. Unlike the Chiefs, if the Steelers get behind early (doubtful) they have the mettle to stick with it to the very end. Unlike the Chiefs the Steelers will stick to their game plan and unlike the Chiefs the Steelers have been there and done that so the game won't be too big for them.

On the Ravens side of the ball, I see RayRay getting frustrated if the offensive play calling doesn't meet his expectations, I also see a team that will wear down in the 4th quarter. I say spread em' out early, run them up and down the field and then pound it in the 4th quarter.

This game should end with a Steeler win and I for one look forward to watching the Ravens do the walk of shame, particularly their linebacker with the lame assed t-shirt.

Robbie said...

Good post, Dale. I also like advancednflstats.com, as well as pro-football-reference.com's "SRS" system.

Everyone picking the Ravens to win is using some variation of "the Ravens are due," "the Ravens are hot," or other such hocus-pocus as rationale.

The only clear advantage the Ravens have is on special teams. So anyone who picks the Ravens to win with the reason being anything except special teams is just talking out of their rear end.

This doesn't mean the Ravens can't win, just that all meaningful statistical analysis says that it's more likely that they won't win.

Dale Lolley said...

I agree. The Ravens do have a decided advantage on special teams. That's why I expect the Steelers to try to negate that - squib kicks and opening up their offense a little bit.
The Sepulveda injury is an interesting one in that it forces the Steelers to get beyond trying to play a field position game and, in my opinion, open things up in the passing game a little more.

ibygeorge said...

I agree with your field position battle observation. But this may work in the Steeler's advantage if we are on the negative side of this battle and we can drive the field and get in the endzone, thus controlling the time of position battle. If the Steelers pull ahead I believe the Ravens will self destruct and the game will not be as close as expected. A Steeler game with low penalties and no turnovers will be a good game.

keevin said...

I think our O-line is starting to come together. The only worry is LT Scott facing Suggs. But I like how Tomlin is not afraid to sub in Essex if Scott is doing poorly. Plus they should plan on doubling Suggs w a TE or RB as much as possible

Ravens o-line sucks imo. Center Birk and RT Yanda barely made it through the last game. Look for the Steelers to exploit that (aka big game for Woodley who always steps it up in the playoffs anyways). One other thing to watch is how many penalties Oher gets away with. Its almost like the refs feel bad for him from that movie.

keevin said...

Dale - why did you say squib kicks? Ravens advantage in special teams is that their punter and kicker are awesome. Their return game sucks

Anonymous said...

Love the optomism Dale.

You're turning me into a believer. Its always a tight game, but Id love to see a game where I dont have to chew my fingernails off in the 4th quarter.

Darren said...

The Ravens and Steelers have played very close "one play turned the tide" games over the last few years and it will be a brutal, hard hitting match-up for both teams.

BUT... the Steelers are the more rested team and they are at home. That pushes the slight edge the Steelers have on even terms up slightly higher. They may even win by more than 3 or 4 points this time.

But it will be a good one. They have been for years.

joe said...

taking nothing away from the ravens, we all know the games are whisker close, as long as we don't turn the ball over (might survive one turnover) we should win.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't really matter what happens tomorrow, "We" and "US" are NOT going to the Super Bowl this season. The Stealers... er, Steelers are not capable of beating the Pats. Period!!

Dale Lolley said...

Baltimore's KR Reed led the NFL in return average. He hardly sucks.

joe said...

anonymous....this is this week....don't care about next week. every fan i know talks about their favorite team with us and we.
so enjoy this weekend and think about next weekend if we are still playing !

keevin said...

"Baltimore's KR Reed led the NFL in return average. He hardly sucks."

Dale - Reed didnt even play last week and his status is uncertain for this week. He has a broken hand or something. Anyways, if you think they will squib kick to Reed, you are dilusional. He's nothing special

Dale Lolley said...

He's expected back this week. He practiced all week.
I guess leading the league in kick returns is nothing special to you.
Whatever.
Suisham's kicks lack distance even on a good day. They'll squib.

Anonymous said...

Feisty Dale.

I like it.

Mrs. Isaac Redman

Anonymous said...

Hey keeven, good call on not needing to squib kick...not. Kudos Dale.

Old Hindi Songs said...

Nice one...
i liked it.