Monday, October 7, 2019

Week 5 Thoughts

There were a few surprise performances this week. The Packers big win over Dallas, the Colts outright win in Kansas City, the Broncos taking care of business against the Chargers, the Texans demolition of the Falcons, the Raiders hard-fought victory against Chicago, and the Patriots blowing out Washington (I may be kidding about one of these). With that being said I wanted to look at how all of the games went (besides the Monday night game tonight with Cleveland and the Niners) when filtering out garbage time and looking at specific splits. So, I scrapped together some visuals that will help give us some insight into how these teams played: 

Here is a visual of how each team's offense performed in all situations this past week. The Broncos effectiveness is notable given the public's opinion on Joe Flacco and the massive fall from grace of the Chargers defense following a string of injuries. Maybe, just maybe, defensive performance is subject to large amount of variance year over year and week over week, and we should stop touting great defenses as consistent difference making units. The Jets only threw the ball about 50% of the time in their blowout at the hands of the Eagles. This was essentially a bye week for Philly. The Cowboys, after a tough game against the Saints, had another bad offensive showcase against the Packers. The Chiefs did not play up to their usual standard and with respect to EPA per play, were about even with the Colts in their game on Sunday night. Also, nothing seems to jump-start an offense like a contest with the Giants. 

The ineptitude of the Chargers on early downs was impressive against a Denver defensive unit which has had a slow start to the season. The Eagles early down performance was a bit troubling, even worse than their opponent, the Jets. The Eagles were buoyed by a couple of defensive touchdowns that helped them build a massive lead. This was definitely not a great performance from Wentz and co. Given the construction of the Panthers and Jaguars' rosters, the degree to which this game was a shootout was surprising to say the least. We see a much bigger disparity in offensive performance between the Chiefs and Colts when looking at early downs. 

If the Chiefs were not so efficient on third down, the game against the Colts would have yielded a much worse result. This was the worse performance of the Mahomes era. The Jets and Cowboys lost more than two expected points per play on third down. Given the turnovers by the Jets and the margin in the Cowboys Packers game, the fact that these offenses performed so dreadfully on third down makes sense. In all situations, the Vikings really carved up the Giants, which hopefully will, for Vikings fans' sake, springboard the offense back into competency. Given the Giants depth chart, however, defensive mishaps will probably continue to be a theme throughout the year. 

Here is a plot of the scripted plays for each team (for reference, see my first post on scripted plays). The Chiefs, as they are wont to do, threw that ball a ton to start the game. What is more surprising is the Patriots, despite being 16.5 point favorites were also very pass happy to start. The Bengals were by far the most run-heavy team on their scripted plays. Given they handed the Cardinals their first win of the season, all we should be expecting from Cincinnati for the rest of the season is a top-three pick. After their opening game against Seattle, many (including myself) thought this Bengals offense could be a middle of the pack unit and would keep the team from being truly terrible. This take did age particularly well. Green Bay continues to signal they want to throw the ball a lot in neutral game scripts. The Colts and Broncos show out strong here despite their reliance on the run. And given the final score of the game, the Giants also started off their game well. Unfortunately for Daniel Jones and the rest of the Giants organization, this success was fleeting. 

Finally, I thought it would be useful to show the landscape of the league through 5 weeks on offense and defense. While only 4 or 5 games in, I am sure many are interested in how the league is beginning to sort itself out (note, on defense negative EPA is good):

Mostly unsurprising results here. Washington, the Jets, Miami, and Cincinnati are in a tier of their own. The Chiefs and Patriots are dominant. The degree to which the Niners have succeeded thus far has been very impressive. And the Raiders offense, after a horrendous season last year, is actually showing some life, putting up the second most EPA per play in the entire league (when filtering out garbage time) behind their division rival. Kudos to Gruden and co. on a successful offensive start to the season after their win against the Bears. While I still do not think this team has a playoff caliber roster, given the relative mediocrity of the AFC (excluding Kansas City and New England), I would not be shocked to see Oakland play meaningful games at the end of the season. 

No comments:

Post a Comment