Archive for the ‘NFL Review’ Category

Colts versus Saints: Pre-Super Bowl Statistical Comparison

January 28, 2010

Drew Brees and Peyton Manning (Michael Conroy / AP file)

The Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints were the best teams in their respective conferences this year. So for the first time in years, we get to see the top seeds meet in the Super Bowl. Earlier this year, we were wondering if two teams could possibly go 16-0 in the same year, just two years after the Patriots’ run of 2007. Prior to this season, the NFL had never seen two teams even 11-0 in the same season. This year, these teams reached 13-0 before the Saints fell in week 15 to the Cowboys, and, some believe, the Colts turned their backs on history by resting their starters in the second half of week 16 against the Jets. Regardless of how the final 2-3 weeks ended, both teams showed that they were the class of their conferences in playoffs.

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Steelers – Packers Game: Best Game this Year?

December 21, 2009

Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Mike Wallace, right, catches a touchdown pass from Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in front of Green Bay Packers' Josh Bell (26) with time running out in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 20, 2009, in Pittsburgh. The Steelers won 37-36. (AP Photo/Gene Puskar)

Wow, what a game! Yesterday afternoon, I watched the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Green Bay Packers in a game that went about the way I expected, until the final drive. For most of the game, I had steeled myself for the inevitable meltdown I was sure would come. Even so, despite my best attempts to not care about the fourth quarter, I was really nervous in the final minutes. But, when Mike Wallace caught that TD pass from Big Ben with no time left on the clock, I yelled like a little kid. I’m normally pretty reserved, so this is unusual for me. But, anyway, that was among the best finishes to game that I can ever remember. Here are my thoughts on the game.

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NFL Should Suspend Flozell Adams

December 7, 2009

Until reading this story about Flozell Adams’ conduct in this past Sunday’s Cowboys-Giants game, I had not heard of his previous misconduct this season. In fact, I might have thought that he was a relatively classy player, just because I hadn’t heard anything negative up to that point. But, considering that he has been fined twice already this season, and particularly in light of the fact that this is his second run-in with Tuck in as many games, I definitely think the NFL needs to suspend him, perhaps for the rest of this year. If they don’t take a harsh stance on this, it makes it more likely for retaliatory escalations in games between the two teams. Anyway, that’s just my two cents on this issue. Kudos to the Cowboys fans in the comments of the ESPN story that call Adams’ behavior out.

Could Two NFL Teams Go 16-0?

December 1, 2009

Peyton Manning (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Drew Brees (AP Photo/Bill Feig)

For the first time in NFL history, two teams, the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts, have started out 11-0. With just 5 games left in the regular season, we now face the possibility that not one, but two, teams could go 16-0 in the regular season. Since that is the case, I wanted to take a quick look at how these two teams compare against the 2007 New England Patriots, the only team to complete an undefeated regular season in the NFL.

Tom Brady & Randy Moss

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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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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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Surprise Team of the NFL: Checking the Numbers on the Denver Broncos

October 22, 2009
Is Josh McDaniels a coaching genius? (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Is Josh McDaniels a coaching genius? (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Coming into the 2009 season I, along with many others, thought that Josh McDaniels was an egomaniac who had made a huge mistake in getting rid of Jay Cutler. I know I heard at least one pundit say that the Denver Broncos’ ceiling this year was 3 or 4 wins. Well, so far, the Broncos’ are 6-0, they have the top ranked defense in points allowed (2nd in yards), Elvis Dumervil leads the league in sacks, and McDaniels is looking like a genius. In fact, Neil Paine over Pro-Football-Reference.com wrote a post showing the top season performances in Broncos’ history through the first 5 games of a season. Several players are in the top ten and several more in the top 20 in those lists.

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