The AFC North Stats Watch, Week 6
There’s Landry, pointing out all the haters…
And here’s the AFC North record, for all you naysayers out there who didn’t think the Steelers could win without Ben…
Admittedly, the wins weren’t pretty. But there were some pretty ugly losses in there by the other AFC North teams not based in Cincinnati. I think we have to resign ourselves—the Bengals have clearly gone to Georgia and sold their collective souls to the devil, and they aren’t going to lose a game this regular season. The only question is, does the devil have sufficient power to get them a post-season win? Furthermore, if the Bengals had just given in and lost today the chart would have been a perfect mirror image. This would have been much more attractive than the Bengals leading by two games, but I suppose it’s better than the alternative. (Leading by three or four games, I mean.)
I usually put this lower down, but there is such an interesting aspect to the Points Gained vs. Points Allowed numbers that I’m going to put it up here:
- Bengals: +60
- Steelers +37
- Browns -17
- Ravens: -19
What you can’t see is the total number of points gained. Obviously the Bengals are dominating, with 182 points gained. But here are the other numbers: 145, 143, 141. As you can tell, any of those numbers could be any of the teams, but as it happens it is the Steelers first, then the Ravens, and finally the Browns.
The Steelers’ season is now a combination of Ben Roethlisberger, Michael Vick, and Landry Jones. Let us sincerely hope that’s as far as it goes, and we’re back to our No. 1 soon. Jones had a monster performance under the circumstances last Sunday. Whether he can sustain that in the face of Justin Houston, Tamba Hali, and a green left tackle remains to be seen.
The Browns are still playing Josh McCown, who earned it, but he didn’t look nearly as good last Sunday. In the meantime Johnny Manziel got himself into a pickle again. How much longer are they going to be patient with him? I’m guessing about as long as it takes to be sure McCown is a viable NFL quarterback, or not.
I wonder if there is some sort of confidence-enhancing drug, and how soon the NFL is going to ban it. It’s really hard to explain the difference in Andy Dalton this season. But heck, maybe it’s just experience and maturity. Now if someone could come up with a drug to accelerate those things, they would make a lot of money…
Joe Flacco continues to find new ways to confound the team and himself. I really would love to know the explanation. Is he hurt? Was he always bad? If so, how do you explain the post-season a couple of years ago? Is Ozzie second-guessing that giant contract? Because Joe Cool certainly isn’t playing up to it this season.
How do these scores compare to the NFL Passer Ratings for Week 6? (The Game 6 QBR number is the next-to-last data point above.)
- Joe Flacco: 38.2, down from 81.8 last week
- Andy Dalton: 118.6, up from last week’s 95.9
- Josh McCown: 63.3, down from 111.3 last week
- Michael Vick: 45.8, down from 73.1 last week
- Landry Jones: Much better news here: 149.3. Can he keep it up? Not likely. I would settle for around 100, personally…
Here are the Pro Football Focus QB ratings. Like QBR, they are on a scale of 1-100. Unlike QBR, they are cumulative, so you don’t see the individual scores for each week. Compare the Game 6 number to the Season number for QBR.
The colors represent the following: Blue: All-Pro; Dark Green: Pro Bowl; Light Green: Above-Average Starter; Yellow: Average Starter; Orange: Below Average Starter; Lighter Red: Back-up; Dark Red: Below Replacement.
Unfortunately you can’t go back and look at them week by week, so the chart begins with Game 3. Here are the rankings:
- Cincinnati: No. 2, last week No. 2
- Pittsburgh: No. 5, last week No. 4
- Baltimore: No. 16, last week No. 13
- Cleveland: No. 23, last week No. 19
If you aren’t familiar with DVOA, the idea is, they adjust the offensive numbers for the quality of the defense for each game. This is presumably why the Ravens looks better than the Browns, despite their record and the Browns beating them and minor issues like that.
For individual players it’s back to Pro Football Focus. I don’t have it color-coded as I do with the quarterbacks, but a score of above 90 is All-Pro; 85-89.9 is Pro Bowl; 79 – 84.9 is Above-Average Starter; 73-78.9 is an Average Starter; 67 to 72.9 is Below Average Starter; 60 to 66.9 is Back-up level, and below 60 is Below Replacement level. I am only listing the top-ranked player for each team. In some cases (running backs, for instance) there may be additional players on one team who are ahead of the best ranked player on another team.
- Antonio Brown: 92.2, (No. 2)
- Steve Smith: 90.7 (No. 5)
- A.J. Green: 86.8 (No. 9)
- Travis Benjamin: 78.8 (No. 27)
- Tyler Eifert: 91.3 (No. 2)
- Maxx Williams: 78.5 (No. 9)
- Gary Barnidge: 73.9 (No. 16)
- Heath Miller: 71.4 (No. 24)
- Le’Veon Bell: 95.0 (No. 1)
- Gio Bernard: 79.8 (No. 7)
- Robert Turbin: 74.2 (No. 18)
- Justin Forsett: 73.7 (No. 21)
Lorenzo Talliaferro’s numbers are better than Forsett, but he’s on season-ending IR.
Here is the Football Outsiders rating for the defense. In their system, the lower the number the better the defense, so as you can see the Browns got better, the Steelers faintly better, and everyone else got worse. Despite the better number, the Browns’ ranking is worse…
The rankings are:
- Pittsburgh: No. 14, up from No. 15 last week
- Cincinnati: No. 16, down from No. 14 last week
- Baltimore: No. 18, up from No. 19 last week
- Cleveland: No. 28, down from No. 27 last week
On the left are two of my favorite defensive stats—sacks and passes defensed.
Here are the PFF ratings for the top player from each team in each category.
- Adam Jones 87.3 (No. 6)
- Tramon Williams 82.1 (No. 17)
- Lardarius Webb 76.2 (No. 38)
- Ross Cockrell 72.4 (No. 61)
- Mike Mitchell 87.0 (No. 8)
- Will Hill 85.7 (No. 9)
- George Iloka 68.2 (No. 48)
- Donte Whitner 60.7 (No. 87)
- Rey Maualuga 73.9 (No. 20)
- Karlos Dansby 69.7 (No. 38)
- Vince Williams (No. 51)
- Daryl Smith 62.4 (No. 60)
Craig Robertson actually graded considerably higher than Dansby, but he’s been out the past three weeks with an ankle injury.
- James Harrison 84.2 (No. 7)
- Elvis Dumervil 83.9 (No. 8)
- Carlos Dunlap 81.2 (No. 12)
- Paul Kruger 62.9 (No. 89)
- Brandon Williams 91.2 (No. 2)
- Geno Atkins: 88.5 (No. 5)
- Cameron Heyward 87.7 (No. 7)
- Jamie Meder 77.9 (No. 33)
Return yards gained/allowed:
Last week only the Browns still had more return yards gained than allowed. What a difference a week makes. The totals this week are (gained/allowed):
- Ravens: 393/191
- Bengals: 471/436
- Browns: 537/552
- Steelers: 362/399
Here is the Takeaway to Turnover ratio, in order of awesomeness or lack thereof.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: +6 (up 3)
- Cincinnati Bengals: +2
- Cleveland Browns: -3
- Baltimore Ravens: -5 (down 2)
And I’ll finish with an overview of the week’s power rankings. I thought it would be nice to look at trends, so here is everything since Week 2.
From Elliot Harrison of NFL.com:
Ravens: No. 28 (-7) Hard to believe a John Harbaugh-coached football team is 1-5. As with all of the Ravens’ prior losses this season — to the Broncos, Raiders, Bengals and Browns — one or two plays go slightly differently Sunday in San Francisco, and Baltimore is putting a mark in the win column. The loss to the 49ers was most like the season-opening defeat in Denver, when a contested ball in the end zone slipped through Crockett Gillmore’s hands, as Steve Smith Sr. had one slide through his mitts on Sunday…
Bengals: No. 3 For anyone who didn’t believe in the Bengals, uh, now is the time to start. Putting up 34 points on the Bills’ defense, on the road, in inclement conditions, would meet any sort of litmus test, especially one week after Cincinnati came back from a 17-point deficit against the Seahawks. Sure, this team was fortunate to get EJ Manuel instead of Tyrod Taylor. But that shouldn’t diminish the shine on this win. By the way, Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert is on pace for, like, 91 touchdowns this year.
Browns: No. 20 Last week, we openly fawned all over Josh McCown? (Question mark intended.) This week, a more understated approach to this blurb. McCown’s interceptions were not fun, the second coming with Cleveland driving for a potential game-winning field goal. The ball was lofted across the field, right into the arms of David Bruton Jr. Watch the replay again. See if you can make sense of it. Whew boy, this was the 1987 AFC Championship Game all over again, with the Browns coming back from a multi-score deficit against the Broncos … before committing a terrible, game-altering turnover. Ugh.
Steelers: No. 8 (+5) Landry Jones will be getting free Yuenglings for the next three months following that performance. Maybe my Twitter inbox won’t blow up from all the frustrated Antonio Brown owners in fantasy. I guess one catch for minus-2 yards — Brown’s total production Sunday before Mike Vick left — doesn’t light their fire. Speaking of fires, defensive coordinator Keith Butler is starting to light mine as an Assistant Coach of the Year candidate.
ESPN: Comments from ESPN Stats and Information:
Ravens: No. 28 (-5) All six of the Ravens’ games have been decided by six points or fewer. Their five losses in those games are two more than anyone else in that category.
Bengals: No. 5 Andy Dalton has 14 touchdown passes and two interceptions. Through this point in 2014, he had six touchdown passes and three interceptions.
Browns: No. 27 (-7) The Browns are allowing an NFL-worst 149.8 rushing yards per game this season. Opponents have rushed for at least 150 yards in five of six games.
Steelers: No. 10 (-1) All of the Steelers’ quarterbacks have done well protecting the ball. The team has three giveaways this season, tied for fewest in the NFL.
Uncredited commentary from USA Today Sports:
Ravens: No. 24 (-2) Good luck figuring this team. They’re one Steelers FG from being 0-6. They’re also 27 points from being undefeated.
Bengals: No. 3 Bye weeks are almost always welcome … except when they impede the momentum of a 6-0 start.
Browns: No. 22 (-1) Josh McCown is signed through 2017. Who would’ve thought he might last in Cleveland longer than Johnny Manziel?
Steelers: No. 6 (+3) In hindsight, why wouldn’t they turn offense over to mini-Roethlisberger Landry Jones rather than adjust it to Mike Vick?