Interesting matchup today, right? Have you ever seen so much talk about a regular-season game featuring an eight-point spread (the third-biggest one behind Packers/Chiefs and Saints/Vikings)? It's pretty bizarre, but that's the power of Tim Tebow. He's all anyone ever wants to talk or read about (just ask Skip Bayless about his show's ratings), except of course for when the author/commentator's viewpoint doesn't match that of the readers/viewers/listeners.
This is the animal we're dealing with. Anyway, big betting line or not, this is an exciting day to be a Broncos fan, because we get to see how our team measures up against NFL royalty (if not the far-from-perfect class of the conference). Let's see how the two teams match up.
Tim Tebow attempted 40 passes last week, so he finally qualifies to be ranked in NFL QB rate stats. In terms of traditional QB rating, Tebow sits at 14th among 32 qualifiers at 83.9, and in terms of PFR's NY/A and ANY/A he ranks 29th and 18th, respectively, out of 32 quarterbacks.
Those rankings aren't so bad, especially relative to the criticism lobbed at Tebow's play from folks like, well, this guy. Of course, the whole point of doing this is to see how much Tebow's running adds to his offensive contribution to the Broncos as compared to other QBs who run less, or not as well. Let's see how the numbers have changed since the first and second weeks we've done this.
On Thursday we covered Tim Tebow's stats through Week 13; today let's examine the full team's numbers and how they match up with the Bears. Of course, Chicago's offense will be without Jay Cutler and Matt Forte, who have been responsible for 82.1% of the Bears' net offensive yardage but just 57% of their touchdowns. Chicago has also scored a combined six touchdowns on interceptions and Devin Hester's punt and kick returns. Marion Barber (five rushing scores) and Cutler's backup Caleb Hanie (two TD passes) round out their scoring. The absence of Cutler and Forte is sure to loom large tomorrow, but keep in mind that the following numbers were achieved largely on their broad shoulders.
So, it turns out that Tim Tebow's 15 pass attempts on Sunday weren't enough for his 2011 stats to qualify for rate stats leaderboards, but that won't stop us from updating the numbers. Last week, Tim ranked 19th in ANY/A and 36th in NY/A out of 39 QBs with 100 or more pass attempts. Incidentally, Tyler Palko became the 40th passer to cross that threshold with his 30 attempts against Denver's upcoming opponent.
As one might expect, Tim's sparkling second-half performance in Minnesota served to move him significantly higher in both categories. This speaks to two factors: one, we're still looking at a relatively small sample size which can be easily influenced by a single game; two, his results Sunday were that much better than his prior ones.
We're going to change things up a little bit with Week 13's STDL. As I mentioned last week, I'd been thinking of switching the passing numbers here to NY/A (Net Yards per Attempt) from ANY/A (Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt) since NY/A is better at predicting future results, which is the whole point of this column. NY/A adds sack data to plain old YPA (Yards per Attempt), while ANY/A adds the weight of touchdowns and interceptions to the mix. Why is NY/A more predictive, while ANY/A is more retrodictive (better at explaining why something already happened, rather than what's likely to happen next)?
Touchdowns and interceptions are more random than YPA. Not random, mind you, just more random than YPA - in other words, if your offense is effective at moving the ball down the field, it's likely to score more than an offense that doesn't move the ball well. Naturally, the 2008 Broncos would stand as a stark exception (2nd in Yards per Play, 16th in Points). Of course, this means I need to reconsider whether to keep touchdowns in with the rushing data. That could be next week's tweak...
Plus, we'll take a look at how Tim Tebow stands in relation to the other QBs in the league via NY/A and ANY/A data, but with rushing stats baked in! As always, there'll be something in it for Tebowmaniacs and Tebow Skeptics alike.
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:
The Broncos are undoubtedly in the thick of things in the AFC West, and a victory tomorrow could all but end the Chargers' chances to take back the division they had ruled for five out of six years prior to last year's stumble. San Diego is reeling, having lost five straight games (the first four by a single score) and turning the ball over an astonishing 14 times during that stretch. Of course, the Broncos are on the upswing, have won four of their last five, and they've given it away just once in three games. Just how likely is Denver to pull of their (previously unimaginable) third road divisional win in four weeks' time? Let's check out the Stats That Don't Lie to find out:
The Broncos and Jets open Week 11 tonight, and the rest of the country will get its first look at Tim Tebow as a starting NFL QB. What will they get? Three yards and a cloud of dust from both teams, with the defenses and punters as the stars of the show? Or will Sexy Rexy's defense dare Tebow to air it out and find a willing adversary? Some are suggesting that Rexy's D won't allow the Broncos to run the ball with any sort of success, while the extra-short week (the Jets played Sunday night) and travel across two time zones and up to altitude could help to level any talent deficit Denver may be facing. Let's see if the Stats That Don't Lie will offer any hints:
Welcome to the Week 10 Edition of The Stats That Don't Lie. Let's be blunt, here. This is one of those games that nobody outside of Broncos and Chiefs fans want to watch (Gators?). Denver and Kansas City rank 30th and 31st according to Brian Burke's efficiency numbers, respectively, ahead of only the winless Colts.
I'd like to make a point about these metrics (and any stats) - the goal here isn't to predict what's going to happen in any given game (win/lose/magnitude), because no set of numbers can do that - rather, it's just some commentary on what's likely to happen based upon past performance. These numbers are a guide to show you how efficient teams are in the various phases of the game, and of course a team can break out of a pattern of ineptitude or suddenly fail in a phase they've thrived in at any moment. Just because the Broncos don't fare well in turnover differential overall doesn't mean they can't win that battle on any given Sunday (like last week).
Welcome to the Al Davis Memorial Edition of the Stats That Don't Lie. Being that this Sunday will mark the first matchup between the Broncos and their fiercest rivals* since the passing of The Crypt Keeper, I thought it appropriate to honor some of Big Al's finest personnel moves with today's STDL.
As for the game, this is not much of a rematch from the MNF opener, as both teams have new QBs (neither of whom has played as well as the guy they replaced, although it's early) and the Raiders will likely be without their best offensive player, RB Darren McFadden. DMC has 510 yards from scrimmage in the teams' last three matchups, helping turn both 2010 meetings into blowouts. Hopefully the absence of McFadden and the newness of Carson Palmer to Oakland helps narrow the gap between these two teams:
* If you think it's the Chargers, ask your dad or older brother