AFC North Stats ‘N At, Week 13 Edition
Week 13 in the AFC North saw the rich get richer (the Bengals,) the poor get poorer (Browns and Ravens), and the Steelers win big but still fall short securing a wild card spot. The AFC North contest last Sunday was Bengals/Browns, and the results were predictable.
This coming week features another—the Steelers travel to Cincinnati to take on the Axis of Evil (Andy Dalton, Tyler Eifert, and Vontaze Burfict.) Like most such characterizations, the “Axis of Evil” is rather overstated. Andy Dalton may have fiery red hair, but he seems like a nice enough guy, if annoyingly proficient this year. Eifert deserves a chance to excel, what with all the injuries he has dealt with since coming into the league. I just hope he doesn’t do so against the Steelers.
Ah, but then there is Vontaze Burfict. After shredding Le’Veon Bell’s knee he exhibited not the slightest sense of remorse, or so it seemed to Bell’s teammates, who have made rather dark and portentous remarks about how such things come back to haunt people. While one might assume Burfict was merely pleased at making a big stop, his actions in the following week’s game indicate he’s just not a very nice person:
After the Burficting of the cameraman the Bengals decided to take the high road by issuing this statement:
He ([the cameraman] and all other people that work those jobs are fully aware those positions entail some physical risk because [they are] close to action and [the] course of the play is unpredictable.
Their official spokesperson might consider having someone edit his/her statements.
Okay, I’m getting really snarky now. Just getting prepped for the game, I guess. And to be fair, Marvin Lewis forced Burfict to apologize to the cameraman. I’m sure that made his $80,000 camera feel much better.
- Bengals +104
- Steelers +36
- Ravens -17
- Browns -97
This is all you need to know about the Browns:
Johnny Manziel was still out on Sunday, benched for Austin Davis, presumably to teach him a lesson. The lesson it taught the Browns is, you’re probably not going to score many points against the Bengals playing Davis at quarterback. And they didn’t, either. To be precise, they scored three points. Davis’ picture heads the article, as this may be the last time anyone sees him.
As to how Andy Dalton is doing, all you need to know is, he put up 37 points against the Browns. He must not have been trying very hard.
The Joe Flacco-less Ravens lost a heartbreaker to the Dolphins. (My heart is not broken, you understand…) Matt Schaub continues to demonstrate why he was the “forgotten” quarterback in the 2004 draft. Since the 2013 season he has been active for 23 games. During the course of those games he has thrown 13 touchdown passes. During the same games he has thrown 20 interceptions. In the course of 10 games played in 2014 he threw no touchdown in 10 attempts, but 2 picks. His average QBR for that season was 0.5. It’s only fair to note he looks considerably better than that in relief of Joe Flacco, but he still has more picks (4) than touchdowns (3) in the two games he’s played.
On the other hand, Ben Roethlisberger showed just why it was so many people were bullish on the Steelers offense going into the season. In fact, you can see an NFL video breaking it down, here.
Here are the NFL Passer Ratings for Week 12, for purposes of comparison to the QBR. The most interesting is Andy Dalton and Ben Roethlisberger’s figures, which are quite different from the QBR. (Ben has a QBR of 95.9 for that game, to Dalton’s 93.1—not too shabby in either case.) This is consistent with Pro Football Focus’s ranking of the two—Ben is their top quarterback, with a 99.9 rating (out of 100) while Dalton is № 4, with an 86.5 rating:
- Andy Dalton: 146.8
- Ben Roethlisberger: 126.4
- Matt Schaub: 77.1
- Austin Davis: 71.2
Here are the Football Outsiders rankings:
- Cincinnati: № 1
- Pittsburgh: № 3
- Baltimore: № 22, last week № 19
- Cleveland: № 29, last week № 27
If you aren’t familiar with DVOA, the idea is, they adjust the offensive numbers for the quality of the defense for each game.
- Cincinnati: № 2
- Pittsburgh: № 4
- Baltimore: № 10, last week № 14
- Cleveland: № 32
- Ravens: № 4, last week № 3
- Bengals: № 7, last week № 8
- Steelers: № 16, last week № 17
- Browns: № 26
Football Outsiders Individual rankings for the best player from each team:
- Antonio Brown: 357 (№ 1)
- A.J. Green: 315 (№ 3)
- Travis Benjamin: 90 (№ 36)
- Kamar Aiken: 21 (№ 52)
And in honor of the death of the Ravens’ passing game, here is an item from Football Guys Random Shots:
- Tyler Eifert: 194 (№ 2)
- Gary Barnidge: 167 (№ 4)
- Crockett Gilmore: 93 (№ 10)
- Heath Miller: 29 (№ 20)
- Gio Bernard: 130 (№ 5)
- DeAngelo Williams: 108 (№ 8)
- Buck Allen: 25 (Would be around № 22 if he had enough rushes to qualify.)
- Isaiah Crowell: -52 (No. 39)
The chart at left gives the Football Outsiders scoring for the defense. In their system, the lower the number the better the defense.
The rankings are:
- Cincinnati: № 8
- Pittsburgh: № 13, up from № 16 last week
- Baltimore: № 21, up from № 26 last week
- Cleveland: № 30, down from № 29 last week
- Cincinnati: № 4, up from № 9
- Pittsburgh: № 9, up from № 19
- Baltimore: № 18, up from № 26
- Cleveland: № 26, up from № 29
- Cincinnati: № 11, up from № 10
- Pittsburgh: № 16, down from № 9
- Baltimore: № 19, down from № 13
- Cleveland: № 30, down from № 28
Return yards gained/allowed:
- Ravens: 873/363
- Browns: 971/952
- Bengals: 883/873
- Steelers: 796/1015
All teams have now gained more yards than they’ve lost except the Steelers, who are behind by a large margin. Conversely the Ravens, who are № 1 in a lot of areas of special teamdom, have gained over twice as many yards as they’ve given up. I guess there is something to be said for a kicker who almost always kicks touchbacks.
Here are the Football Outsiders Special Teams rankings:
- Baltimore № 2
- Cincinnati: № 4, up from № 7
- Cleveland: № 14, down from № 10
- Pittsburgh: № 15, up from № 21
Takeaway to Turnover ratio, in order of awesomeness or lack thereof.
- Cincinnati Bengals: +2
- Pittsburgh Steelers: -1 (down 2)
- Cleveland Browns: -5 (down 2)
- Baltimore Ravens: -12 (down 2)
From Elliot Harrison of NFL.com:
Ravens: № 27 (-2) There were plenty of positives to take away from the Ravens’ loss in Miami. You want ’em? Fine, I’ll pick six:
1) Buck Allen’s 170 yards and a touchdown.
2) The Ravens’ defense allowed one touchdown.
3) There is a running back who goes by “Buck.”
4) Baltimore played its 99th one-score game this season.
5) Sam Koch had a helluva day punting the ball (46.4 net average. Work with me here).
6) Matt Schaub
Bengals: № 3 (+1) Cincy sure looked darn good Sunday. (Of course, if you divide by the Browns factor, maybe they were simply solid.) Everyone got into the act: Jeremy Hill rushed for 98 yards, A.J. Green posted 102 yards in the first half and Marvin Jones contributed a nice touchdown late. Meanwhile, the defense accomplished something no NFL team has been able to do: contain Austin Davis.
Browns: № 32 Mike Pettine is allegedly on thin ice in Cleveland — and that’s not just an overreaction to a 2-10 season and a home blowout loss. There is no such thing as an overreaction in pro football to such a dismal record. Still, there is plenty of blame to go around in Cleveland outside of Pettine. … For instance, he is now reportedly going to start Johnny Manziel after instilling vast confidence in him.
Steelers: № 7 (+2) Was going to write some good rot about the dominance of Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant following the Sunday night win over Indy, but DeAngelo Williams impressed so much that we audibled. Those jump cuts — and the explosion the 10-year vet displays over and over again — provide a different dimension to this offense, and jussst enough balance for the Steelers to make you think they don’t actually want to throw the ball all over the park like Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and John Taylor in Tecmo Super Bowl.
ESPN: Comments from ESPN Stats and Information:
Ravens: № 30 (-5) Matt Schaub has had an interception returned for a touchdown in each of his past three games. He gets to face the “Legion of Boom” in Week 14.
Bengals: No. 3 (+2) A.J. Green has eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards in a season once again. The list of those with 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first five seasons? Green and Randy Moss.
Browns: № 32 Monday’s heartbreaking loss clinched another losing season for the Browns. Since returning to Cleveland in 1999, the Browns will have finished below .500 in 15 of 17 seasons, including each of the past eight
Steelers: № 8 (+1) The Steelers are averaging 35.8 points in their past four games. Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton have combined for 1,251 yards and nine touchdowns receiving in those games.
Uncredited commentary from USA Today Sports:
Ravens: № 30 (+1) Matt Schaub has six TD passes over the last two seasons — three to his guys, and three to the guys in different jerseys.
Bengals: № 4 (+1) League’s stingiest defense has allowed 10 points or fewer in five of last six weeks and 10 total over last two games.
Browns: № 32 Happy belated 23rd birthday, Johnny Football — you get your job back, basically because you’re lone option left at this point.
Steelers: № 7 (+2) They’ve averaged 35.8 points over last four games but face NFL’s top two scoring defenses (Bengals, Broncos) next two weeks.