NFL Week 10: Making You the Smartest Fan in the Room
Week 10 Discussion Points
Admit it, no matter where you watch football on Sundays, you’d love to be the smartest fan in the room, especially if you watch the games with people who claim to be “experts.” Just once you’d love to see the look on their face when you spit out a random, but accurate, statistic in the middle of an average conversation. Luckily, you’re not the only one. My girlfriend lives for these moments, and I know she’s not alone. So, instead of searching the internet for a trend or a tidbit that you may or may not ever find, allow me to lay out a handful of stats that even the most astute NFL fan would find interesting and enlightening.
These stats are easy to remember, but they are numbers/trends that your football friends likely failed to notice. This set of data is strictly from last week, as the most useful statistics are the most recent statistics.
That’s right, I’m making you the most interesting fan in the world. Do what you want with this knowledge, but you will have the opportunity to contribute some impressive tidbits to any football conversation. Some perceived trends were disproved last week, thus giving you the chance to back your arguments with some cold hard data.
Should offenses rely more on the pass or the run? How do home teams perform following a bye week? Those answers and more are provided in an effort to increase your football credibility.
5. Pass Completions
Seven quarterbacks completed 24-plus passes, six lost. Eight attempted at least 41 passes, six lost. Everything depends on roster construction, but balance still wins games. Listen, I’m not saying that chucking the ball all over the field is necessarily a bad thing, but the threat of a running game allows the pass game to flourish. I equate this to a fastball pitcher in baseball. Eventually, they say, any hitter can turn around a bullet (stop an exclusive offensive game plan), but if an off-speed pitch (run game) is mixed in, the fast ball can be thrown with regularity.
Three players recorded eight-plus catches in Week 9, and every one of them lost (five of the six players with at least eight catches lost). It may be a passing league, but if the cheerleaders, fans and (more importantly) opposing defenses know who the pass is going to, the level of effectiveness can only be so high.
3. Rushing Yardage
Three of the four leading rushers (in terms of yardage) in Week 9 not only played for a losing team, but their team scored 20-24 points and surrendered exactly 27 points. It may seem like an odd coincidence that all of these scores were so similar, but I few this trend as a way for undermanned teams to stay competitive. Eddie Lacy, Adrian Peterson and Mike James all kept their offensive inept teams in their respective game (yes, a Packers team with Seneca Wallace calling the shots with no practice qualifies as “inept") while Chris Johnson led his team to a win.
2. Passing Yardage
Quarterbacks who threw for over 400 yards: 2-0
Quarterbacks 300-400 yards: 1-5
Quarterbacks with fewer than 210 pass yards (must have started and completed at least 15 passes): 4-1
If you’re going to go with a one dimensional offense, you better be damn good at that one dimension. Either you’re Tom Brady or Nick Foles putting up video game numbers (combined for 838 yards on only 45 completions for 11 touchdowns, no turnovers and a cumulative 310.1 QB Rating out of a possible 316.6), or you have the last name Smith and have a stable run game/defense. Balance wins out more often than not, but in the end, teams must play to the strength of their roster. For a few teams, that doesn’t mean balance.
1. Bye Week Disadvantage?
Since Week 6, home teams are just 3-4 following a bye. The three home teams following a bye (Arizona Cardinals, New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers) are all favored this week, but if the first nine weeks of the season have taught us anything, it is unlikely that all three win. This is an interesting trend that I would have never guessed to be true. The physical nature of the NFL results in everyone being banged up, so maybe a week of rest is a bit overrated. Also, with maybe the exception of a few teams, the “home-field advantage” in the NFL isn’t as valuable as we once thought. This isn’t baseball where home teams are built to fit their home park.