Fat Pickins (and probability) - Week 13

Quick, what's more likely?  Me winning a round of picks or Norv Turner keeping his job?

I'd say I've got better odds.  Norv has a quarterback who resides inside his own dome.  At least I tied for first this week.

Another bit of good news: the Broncos are favored against the Vikings today.  The numbers say they've got almost a 53% chance of skull busting the Norsemen.

Enjoy the games, everyone.

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The Daily Lard 12-4-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! As distant and microscopic a possibility playoff contention had appeared just a few weeks back, Denver has a chance to move into a tie for first place in the AFC West today with a victory in Minnesota combined with an Oakland loss at Miami. Key to the Broncos' chances will be the status of Von Miller, who had surgery on Tuesday to repair torn thumb ligaments and will be a game-time decision. But even if he does play, he'll be wearing a cast on his right hand and will likely cede a good deal of playing time to Mario Haggan.

For those of you clamoring for Tebow's pass/run data combined, stay tuned...

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The Daily Lard 12-3-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! I know some of you are probably exhausted by the Tebow/stats talk, but in the comments of yesterday's Lard, reader DavidinLA shared a link to a Mark Kriegel column about those very topics, and I think it's worthy of some discussion. If nothing else, I'd like to share my opinion of stats and writing about them in general.

My first reaction to Kriegel's column is that a red flag goes up for me anytime a sports columnist who rarely or never mention stats in their typical writing decides to suddenly cite them because they happen to support his/her viewpoint. In this case, Kriegel sought out some stats to prove his point, which is the worst mindset from which to turn to stats - when you set out to prove something via stats, you are going to have blinders on, and you're going to get someone to feed you some line of crap, because damnit you've got a deadline to meet and a premise to bolster.

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Miller to be game-time decision; Peterson out for Vikes

Von Miller was a limited participant in practice Friday and will be a game-time decision for Sunday's matchup in Minnesota. Eddie Royal and Willis McGahee also practiced.

Update 2:19pm ET - Miller and Royal are listed as questionable for Sunday, while McGahee, Ryan Clady, Daniel Fells, and David Bruton are probable. In equally big news (if not bigger), Adrian Peterson is listed as out for Minnesota, Percy Harvin did not practice due to illness but is expected to play, as are LB E.J. Henderson, G Anthony Herrera and TE Kyle Rudolph, and CB Asher Allen is questionable.

Digesting the Vikings

Happy Friday, friends.  It’s time to Digest the Minnesota Vikings, who despite their 2-9 record have a bit of power behind their punches, and can knock you out if you don’t come correct.  They’re lining up to have a very high draft pick in 2012, and I think that they can have a pretty quick turnaround in 2012 assuming they pick wisely, and their young QB improves.  For now, though, let’s take a look at them in their current state.

Generally, I’d say that the Vikings profile kind of similarly to the Broncos in some important ways.  To wit:

a.  Both teams start young QBs who can look good one play and bad the next.

b.  Both teams struggle to protect the passer in the straight-up dropback passing game, but both can get the running game blocked a lot of the time.

c.  Both teams can rush the passer creditably from both edges, although the Vikings’ second-best guy (Brian Robison) is not really close to the Broncos’ (Elvis Dumervil) level.

d.  Both teams have a good set of DTs who stuff the run well, and both teams’ LB corps are better against the run than in coverage.

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The Daily Lard 12-2-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! You may recall that the other day I applauded the "spirit of what (Kerry) Byrne and CHFF are trying to do" with their "Real QB Rating" before going on to criticize Byrne's interpretation of the numbers CHFF's new metric had spit out. Well, I guess I should have looked deeper into this Real QB Rating, because as Mike Tanier explains in great detail, it has extreme flaws. Relax, Tebowmaniacs - none of this is a criticism of Tim, but rather of CHFF's methods as they relate to Real QB Rating.

So, here's the problem with it: Real QB Rating relies upon the old-school QB Rating as a framework, and it overcredits completion percentage in a big way - and as my friend Ted Bartlett has written many times already, completion percentage is completely overrated (although I wouldn't go as far as to say it's worthless). As Tanier shows, a slight improvement in completion % without adding even a yard of production has a significant positive impact on a QB rating, and that's just not going to help us evaluate a quarterback.

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Open Thread - Thursday Week 13

Enjoy the game! Mike Tanier, Matt Bowen, Bill Simmons and Joe Fortenbaugh present their thoughts on the matchup.

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The Daily Lard 12-1-11

Good Morning, Broncos fans! I've just sat here for the past 40 minutes trying to respond to complaints about my tone of late, but I've actually run out of time. So, I'm going to get myself to work and finish up my thoughts later when I get a chance. Worst Lard intro ever, I know. More of the self-referencing garbage that I so intently try to avoid - that makes 10 uses of I/me/my/myself, or 10 more than this writer would like to use each day. Sorry, folks - enjoy the links and have a great day!

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Miller had thumb surgery, could miss game

Update: 3:01pm ET - Turns out Vic Lombardi was right about Von Miller having had surgery this week - it was to repair torn thumb ligaments yesterday, and both Miller and Eddie Royal (ankle) might miss Sunday's game in Minnesota.

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Kerry Byrne can cherry-pick with the best of them

Yesterday we again decried ESPN's attempts to paint their own Total QBR as a revolutionary passing metric. Another day, another gross instance of statistical malfeasance, this time delivered by CHFF's Kerry Byrne in a column for SI. It's pretty bad, quite frankly - virtually a page out of the playbook for how to misinterpret and overstate stats and their meaning.

The spirit of what Byrne and CHFF are trying to do (factor rushing into a QB rating) is excellent, and in full disclosure it's something I've also been working on since last year myself. Yet, the manner in which Byrne is presenting the data for Tebow's 2011 starts is completely self-serving and ignores some crucial context. Let's examine some of the more glaring fallacies of Byrne's column:

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