Welcome to the 2008 Gators Edition of the Stats That Don't Lie. After all, if the Dolphins are honoring Tim Tebow's championship team as he leads our Broncos into town, then who the hell are we not to do the same? In that light, for just this week we're going to name each category for a key figure from that title team.
Obviously, the context that overlies this Gators edition of STDL is that both teams have new quarterbacks - Tebow making his first start of the season, and Matt Moore making just his second for Miami, if his atrocious performance Monday night even counts. Let's get right to it...
As always, an explanation of the figures:
- Tim Tebow ANY/A Differential: This is a marriage of PFR's ANY/A (Adjusted Net Yards Per Attempt) and CHFF's Passer Rating Differential. As we all know, passing the football is the most reliable way to win games in the NFL. That's not to say running the ball doesn't work, or that it's impossible to win by setting out to run the ball and stop the run. It's just that ANY/A has the highest correlation to winning of any stat out there. ANY/A Differential is merely one team's ANY/A minus the ANY/A they've allowed on defense. In other words, how well Denver passes the ball minus how well they defense the pass.
- Percy Harvin ARY/A Differential: The younger sibling of ANY/A Differential (by a week), this is a team's efficiency rushing the football minus the efficiency of their defense in stopping the run.
- Brandon Spikes TO Differential: Takeaways minus giveaways. If you need help with this one, you must be a Raiders fan and probably call this a ratio.
- Brandon James Net Field Position: This is a team's average starting field position in terms of yards, minus the average starting field position they allow their opponents.
- Urban Meyer Strength of Schedule: This is each team's strength of schedule as viewed through the prism of PFR's SRS (Simple Rating System).
The picture is not a pretty one. Yes, the Broncos have faced a very difficult schedule and that obviously influences the other figures, especially with just a five-game sample. But do not be mistaken - these are two poor teams whose records accurately reflect their lack of quality. Thankfully for us, the Broncos are pretty clearly better than the Dolphins, even if that's really just a matter of sucking less.
Both teams lose big in the net passing department, neither team holds onto the ball very well, and both are poor in terms of the field position they provide for themselves and allow their opponents. In all three categories, the Broncos are
better less bad than the Dolphins. Miami and Denver both run the ball better than they allow, so they've got that going for them - Miami a bit better on the strength of their run defense.
All in all, the Broncos are the better team and if the first five games for each are any indication, Denver should win. Oh, and Go Gators!