Tag Archives: Baltimore Ravens

Is Joe Flacco Elite? Barnwell strikes again!

Bill Barnwell is up to his usual tricks at Grantland. This time, he’s tired of hearing that Flacco is an elite quarterback and wants a new measure of quarterback value. Flacco gets credit for piling up wins, which Barnwell thinks is unfair:

For whatever good or bad Flacco provides, he has spent his entire career as the starting quarterback of the Baltimore Ravens, who perennially possess one of the league’s best defenses. He also has Ray Rice and a solid running game to go alongside him on offense. It’s safe to say that a win by, say, Cam Newton usually requires more work from the quarterback than one by Flacco.

I agree with this wholeheartedly. In response, Barnwell tries to capture quarterback value by creating an “expected wins” measure based on points allowed by the defense and comparing this to actual wins. He argues that a quarterback with more actual wins than expected wins is doing well because he is scoring more points than average.

An example helps explain the concept. First, Barnwell notes that teams have won 86.5% of games recently when allowing between 8 and 12 points. Imagine a team that allows between 8 and 12 points in all 16 games. They are expected to win 86.5% of those games, or 13.8 games. If the team won 14-16 games, Barnwell would argue that the quarterback is doing better than average, while if the team won fewer, Barnwell would argue that the quarterback is doing worse.

As hoped, Flacco is unimpressive by this measure (while the usual suspects — Tom Brady and Peyton Manning — are top dogs). He has 44 wins in 64 regular season games, but because the Ravens D is so good, an average QB would have managed about 42.

Before going farther, I’ll warn you: these numbers are pretty meaningless. I’ll start by explaining Continue reading

Advertisements

Are the Patriots truly being punished for their insolence?

The last five years for the Patriots would make many people believe in karma. Since Tom Brady left his baby mama Bridget Moynahan for Gisele and Bill Belichick got caught videotaping other teams’ run throughs, here are the Patriots season results:

  • 2007: Crazy late game Super Bowl loss to the underdog Giants
  • 2008: Brady tore his ACL early in the season and they missed the playoffs despite going 11-5
  • 2009: Brady had a stinker in a first round loss to the Ravens
  • 2010: Finished 14-2, but Brady had another stinker in a second round loss to the rival Jets
  • 2011: Brady nearly blew it against the Ravens again in the AFC championship game and they sneaked into the Super Bowl, only to suffer another late game loss to the underdog Giants

Gisele continued her negative influence by blaming the loss on drops by the Patriots receivers (only Aaron Hernandez had a truly bad drop, and it was probably too late to matter). The Patriots have 60 wins over the last five years (12 per year), but no rings. If the Patriots go 15-1 next year and get a rematch with a 9-7 Giants team, the Giants will probably be favored. They can’t get past those guys.

Close games are generally decided by luck — Bill Barnwell gets into this at Grantland, but finds himself backtracking almost immediately to avoid angering Giants fans (“The Giants were not lucky to win Super Bowl XLVI because they fumbled twice and fell on both of them.”). There will be no backtracking from me! The Giants were lucky to win (as the Patriots would have been if they had won). Here’s the way the ball bounced Continue reading

Why try your luck on Luck?

The Colts are going to take Andrew Luck first overall in the draft. No one will blame them if he doesn’t work out because every team without a star quarterback would draft him, given the chance. However, is this the right choice? Here are the career numbers for all first pick QBs since 1990 (from Pro Football Reference):

I listed each quarterback’s draft year, games played, winning percentage, completion percentage, TDs and INTs as a percentage Continue reading

Part 2: did Lee Evans make the catch?

One post was not enough to sort through the deepest, darkest corners of the NFL rule book on the Lee Evans catch/no catch at the end of the Ravens – Patriots game. I posted a general commentary on the games earlier, but for those of you that love these details, Adrian the Canadian breaks the play down from a few more angles:

So I was hoping to delve into some nasty, ugly, complicated issues with the NFL’s instant replay system today, but, before doing so, I think we have to spin out the Lee Evans non-catch and the NFL’s awkward touchdown catch rule. First, Mike Pereira’s brief take at Football ZebrasContinue reading

Rematch!

There were no True Wins handed out yesterday. The Ravens, Patriots, Giants, and 49ers treated us to two extremely close football games. Close games generally come down to luck to determine the winner; indeed, I thought both games would be close but was fortunate to pick both winners last week. Regular season True Wins and actual wins both predicted the Patriots victory but failed on the Giants, who are underrated by wins measures due to their ridiculous strength of schedule. For the first time since 2007 (and only the fourth time since 2002), actual wins is going to beat out True Wins in predicting playoff games. Both measures suggest the Patriots will win the Super Bowl, since they have far more wins and True Wins than the Giants, and actual wins are a half game up going into the final (5.5 games correct to 5 games correct):

The two championship games had some common themes, actually. The “offensive” teams (Patriots, Giants), playing against good defenses, did not have their usual panache. However, they both stacked the box Continue reading

Part 1: did Lee Evans make the catch?

“Upon further review,” Lee Evans catch/non-catch at the end of the Ravens – Patriots game has become a hot topic today. No one thought it was a catch yesterday, but the discussion is heating up. Should the Ravens be in the Super Bowl? It comes down to Evans’s second foot. Or, should I say, it’s all about whether Evans’s second foot came down. Here’s my take on Sunday’s games, but I rely on the lawyerly Adrian the Canadian to sort this call out. Here’s his quick take (check out his second post for even more gory details):

THE LEE EVANS “CATCH”

One of the many hot topics in the wake of yesterday’s conference championship games is Lee Evans non-catch at the end of regulation in the Pats-Ravens game. Over on Slate, Josh Levin has a good analysis of the catch. Levin seems to think that a strict application of the NFL rule Continue reading

Ravens – Patriots notes

I skimmed through Aaron Schatz’s Football Outsiders preview of the Ravens – Patriots game today. As usual, he gives a lot of interesting numbers. Football Outsiders has better data than anyone else. Just like everyone in the world, Schatz picks the Patriots as the clear favorites in the end; I agree, though I think the Patriots’ edge is subtle. The Patriots have home field and finished second to the Packers in True Wins with 12, but the Ravens played a harder schedule (7.8 average True Wins for Ravens opponents versus 7.3 for the Patriots, including a game against the Vick-less Eagles).

I often find that stats-based previews list a lot of numbers that don’t mean much. Here’s an example from Schatz’s piece: Continue reading