Friday, August 31, 2012

NFL Preseason Notes

Here's a few stats I thought were interesting on the preseason results:

The Seahawks and Eagles were undefeated. The Bills, Dolphins, and Jets went winless (and the AFC East was 1-15 as a group).

Most points scoredFewest points scored
Seahawks 122Jets 31
Ravens 108Dolphins 43
Eagles 106Patriots 55
Steelers 104Bills 59
Lions 102Buccaneers60
Texans 101Chiefs 61
Jaguars 100Raiders 61
Most points allowedFewest points allowed
Bills 119Seahawks44
Cardinals(*)11949ers 53
Chiefs 116Giants 58
Jaguars 117Redskins59
Bears 99Eagles 60
Dolphins 96Cowboys 60

(*)Through 5 games

Highest net pointsLowest net points
Seahawks 78Bills -60
Eagles 46Jets -57
Redskins 39Chiefs -55
49ers 37Dolphins -53
Steelers 33Buccaneers-35


  • Are the Seahawks a breakout team this year? Most points scored and fewest points allowed can't be a total coincidence. On the other hand, rookie QB Russell Wilson will almost certainly struggle when he starts to face defenses that are actually game planning for him, and not holding back on their playbook.

  • It's hard to come to any conclusion except that the Jets are in big trouble going into this season. If they average 8 points a game starting next week, Rex Ryan will be fired by November.

  • I wonder how much teams really hold back on what they can do in the preseason, just so it can be a "surprise" in the regular season. It seems to me this kind of tactic gets you one game (at best), and denies you opportunity to practice at full speed against a motivated opponent.

  • This sort of thing is particularly unconvincing in the case of teams like the 49ers, who struggled offensively last year. If they're struggling offensively in the preseason, my first thought is not "oh, they must be holding back".

  • Also, Joe Buck? Whoever told you that beard looks good on you was lying.

Monday, August 27, 2012

APR's top 25 regular season upsets: Index

This is just an index post for the "25 Biggest Upsets" series. It's primarily for my own reference, but as with the season indexes, you are welcome to use it as you find it convenient.

In Upset Order

#11972 Redskins @ Patriots  #141979 Falcons @ Chargers
#21973 Dolphins @ Colts  #152009 Eagles @ Raiders
#32011 Saints @ Rams  #161976 Cowboys @ Falcons
#41970 Lions @ Saints  #172000 Broncos @ Bengals
#52004 Patriots @ Dolphins  #182011 Texans @ Colts
#62011 Packers @ Chiefs  #191997 Packers @ Colts
#71970 Vikings @ Jets  #201996 Panthers @ Falcons
#82009 Buccaneers @ Saints  #211985 Dolphins @ Oilers
#92011 Saints @ Buccaneers  #222000 Steelers @ Browns
#101977 Rams @ Saints  #232005 Saints @ Panthers
#112008 Cowboys @ Rams  #241975 Bengals @ Browns
#121983 Redskins @ Packers  #251980 Jets @ Falcons
#132003 Packers @ Cardinals

In Chronological Order

#41970 Lions @ Saints  #222000 Steelers @ Browns
#71970 Vikings @ Jets  #172000 Broncos @ Bengals
#11972 Redskins @ Patriots  #132003 Packers @ Cardinals
#21973 Dolphins @ Colts  #5 2004 Patriots @ Dolphins
#241975 Bengals @ Browns  #232005 Saints @ Panthers
#161976 Cowboys @ Falcons  #112008 Cowboys @ Rams
#101977 Rams @ Saints  #152009 Eagles @ Raiders
#141979 Falcons @ Chargers  #8 2009 Buccaneers @ Saints
#251980 Jets @ Falcons  #9 2011 Saints @ Buccaneers
#121983 Redskins @ Packers  #3 2011 Saints @ Rams
#211985 Dolphins @ Oilers  #6 2011 Packers @ Chiefs
#201996 Panthers @ Falcons  #182011 Texans @ Colts
#191997 Packers @ Colts

Monday, August 13, 2012

APR's top 25 regular season upsets: #1

# 1: 1972 Week 3: Redskins 23, Patriots 24 (ρ=1.4479)
Redskins' season: finished 11-3, won the NFC East, lost Super Bowl VII (thus becoming the final notch in the Dolphins perfect 17-0 season).
Patriots' season: Finished 3-11. Head coach John Mazur resigned 9 games into the season.
What happened: the good news for the 1972 Patriots was, any time they held their opponent under 24 points, they won. The bad news was, they only did that 3 times. The '72 Patriots were bad on both sides of the ball, including a last-place defense (points allowed), and an offense that mostly couldn't even score 21 points.
The same rule held for the '72 Redskins: they won almost every time they held their opponent under 24 points. The difference, of course, is that the Redskins had the #4 defense (points allowed), and only 3 teams managed to get to that 24-point threshold.
Somehow, the Patriots offense managed to shred the Redskins defense, passing for 253 yards (more than any other Redskins' opponent), and scoring 24 points (a season high for the Patriots).
Also of note: the Patriots' starting quarterback in 1972 was Jim Plunkett, much better known for his late-career success with the Oakland Raiders, which included two Super Bowl victories.

That's it. Thanks for hanging around this off-season to read the series. (And if you didn't, you can certainly go back and read them now.) Coming up next: new football!

Monday, August 6, 2012

APR's top 25 regular season upsets: #2

# 2: 1973 Week 13: Dolphins 3, Colts 16 (ρ=1.3806)
Dolphins' season: finished 12-2, won the AFC East, and defeated the Vikings in Super Bowl VIII.
Colts' season: finished 4-10. Head coach Howard Schnellenberger was fired 3 games into the 1974 season.
Was this really an upset? On first glance, this game has the hallmarks of a contest where the better team isn't trying. The Dolphins had lost early in the season, and so didn't have a perfect season to play for. They had already clinched the AFC East, and didn't have anything else to play for in the pre-seeding playoff era. They also played back-up quarterback Earl Morrall in place of starter Bob Griese.
But Earl Morrall wasn't just any backup—he had 9 starts in relief of the injured Bob Griese during the Dolphins perfect season of 1972. He also lead the Colts' to the 1968 NFL championshp (in relief of the injured Johnny Unitas), ultimately losing to the Jets in Super Bowl III. The Dolphins had good reason to think that Morrall could handle a weak team like the Colts.
What happened: the Dolphins' defense did their job, holding the Colts to 16 points. It wasn't the shut-out they had against the Colts in week 9, but for an offense that scored at least 17 points in all but 3 games that season, it should've been enough.
The problem was definitely with the Dolphins' offense. Earl Morrall had a 47.8% completion rate, only managed 153 yards passing and threw two interceptions. The running game wasn't able to bail things out either; the Dolphins 93 yards rushing was their lowest production of the season.
Also of note: I was ready to leave this game off the list until I found that article in the St. Petersburg Times. It just didn't sound like comments of a team playing out the season.

Next week: APR's biggest upset since 1970.