Archive for November, 2009

How Likely is it that Emmitt Smith’s Career Rushing Yardage Record Will be Broken?

November 30, 2009

Emmitt Smith (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

A couple of weeks ago, Jason Lisk wrote this post over at the PFR.com blog on the likelihood of Frank Gore becoming the 49ers all time leading rusher. In that post, he referred to another post from three years ago, which looked at the probability of certain players breaking Emmitt Smith’s career rushing record. Two years ago, I thought that LaDainian Tomlinson had the best shot at breaking Emmitt’s record of anyone currently playing. But, he seems to be slowing down quite a bit recently. With these posts in mind, I started to think that the changes in the NFL game may actually make it less likely for any RB to break Emmitt’s record.

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The Pittsburgh Steelers are not a Championship Caliber Team Right Now

November 24, 2009

Can Ben put himself back together? (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

Earlier this season, there was talk on Behind the Steel Curtain that the Pittburgh Steelers’ defense is not playing championship caliber football this season. Early on, most fans were ecstatic about the offensive production, although the offense left points on the field. While I agree that the Steelers defense is not as dominant as it was last year, I put more of the blame on the offense and special teams. Having seen the games this year, I am convinced that the problem with the team lies more in mental toughness than anything else. In at least two of the losses, the team dominated in most categories but found ways to lose. Offensive and special teams miscues have spelled doom for this team on multiple occasions so far this year.

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Did Bill Belichick Make the Right Call?

November 19, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS - NOVEMBER 15: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots watches play in the fourth quarter of the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 15, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts won the game 35-34. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Well, there has been a ton of discussion about whether Bill Belichick made the right call in the instant classic game between the Patriots and the Colts this past Sunday night. Because of that, I thought I’d compile a list of links to several stories (with synopses of some) to get many different takes on this. At the end, I’ll throw in my own thoughts on the call.

Tedy Bruschi’s take: It was an insult to the defense.

Gene Wojciechowski: Belichick flunked his open-book test

Mike Nadel: It’s what Belichick does.

Ron Borges: Maybe temporary insanity?

Advanced NFL Statistics: Statistically, the 4th down call made more sense.

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A Playoff Argument for Terrell Davis being a Hall of Famer

November 17, 2009

Denver Broncos runningback Terrell Davis(30) slips the tackle attempt by Cincinnati Bengals safety Greg Meyers as he breaks into the secondary to pickup a first down during the second quarter of their game at Denver's Mile High Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 21, 1997. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

Over the past couple of years, I have analyzed some of the top running backs in NFL history, both on Checking the Numbers (here) and at Behind the Steel Curtain (here and here). In each of these analyses, I have shown that, on a per game basis, Terrell Davis was one of the top RBs in NFL history. In some analyses he showed up as a top 3 player, but in all he was at least top 10. The knock on him has been that he did not play long enough for serious consideration, although for a 4 year stretch, he was every bit as good at Emmitt Smith and very close to Barry Sanders. So, as I did recently for Hines Ward, I am going to look at how Terrell Davis’s playoff numbers compare with other greats in NFL history.

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Checking the Numbers: Pats-Colts Game Week 9

November 16, 2009
brady-manning

INDIANAPOLIS - NOVEMBER 15: Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts greets Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots after the game at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 15, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts won the game 35-34. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

On Sunday Night Football, the New England Patriots traveled to Indianapolis to face the Colts. If Brett Favre had stayed retired, this would clearly have been the marquee game of this season. As it was, this game played out to be perhaps the most exciting finish this season. In a game where Tom Brady and the Pats appeared to be in control, a late gamble gave Peyton Manning and the Colts a short field and ultimately the 35-34 victory. Since you can get the game recaps plenty of places, here we will take a look at the teams stats and compare them with their opponents averages to this point in the season.

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Checking the Atlanta Falcons Numbers Halfway Through the Season

November 10, 2009
Redskins Falcons Football

AP Photo/Erik S. Lesser

Prior to the start of this season, I wrote a statistical analysis of the upcoming Atlanta Falcons’ schedule. Since we are now halfway through the season, I thought this would be a good time to review how they have done thus far. As always, the ultimate determination of success is wins and losses. So far, Atlanta is 5-3 on the season, and they appear to be in good shape to finally break through and have consecutive winning seasons for the first time in franchise history. That’s great news for Falcons fans, but I wanted to dig a little deeper into their performance and analyze their performances compared against their opponents’ averages so far this year. On a game by game basis, these numbers can be misleading, but as more games accumulate, I think it will be good indicator as to the quality of the team.

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Do Roughing the Passer calls apply differently to Tom Brady?

November 7, 2009

In a recent interview on NFL Total Access, Joey Porter stated that different rules apply to Tom Brady when it comes to calling Roughing the Passer penalties. As the linked article says, there was some controversy over a couple of calls in the Ravens – Patriots game a few weeks. Ray Lewis complained about the calls after the game as well, and the penalty where the Ravens defender made almost no actual contact with Brady raised the most concern. So that go me thinking, is there actual evidence that Brady gets preferential treatment? Is this comment by Porter accurate?

When a guy can tell a ref when to throw a flag and he gets it and stuff like that, I mean he got his own rules

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Colts or Saints? Who is the Best of the Undefeateds?

November 4, 2009
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Peyton Manning (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

drew brees

Drew Brees (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Both ESPN.com and NFL.com have their power rankings as to where teams rank in NFL after the first 8 weeks of the regular season. Everyone that I have seen ranks the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints as the top two teams in the league, but there is some disagreement as to which should be ranked number 1. Both teams have become known for explosive passing games behind future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, who may be making his case for the Hall as well. But as I mentioned in an earlier post on the Saints, New Orleans now also has a serious rushing attack. Let’s see if the Colts have also found that kind of balance. We’ll also compare each team’s opposing offensive and defensive ranks to see what level of competition that they have faced this year.

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