Hello, Pats Pulpit readers! Here is another statistical post. This one is a preview of the upcoming Falcons game. Many thanks to MaPatsFan, who has graciously given me the go ahead to post another excerpt for you. Hope you enjoy!
Yesterday, I said that the most exciting game of the coming NFL weekend may be the Sunday Night Football game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Arizona Cardinals. If that’s so, this weekend’s meeting between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots should be right up there as well. This game will feature an intriguing matchup between one of the NFL’s budding stars in Matt Ryan, whose rookie season last year was among the best ever, and Tom Brady, considered by many the best QB in the game today, but who was also known for his early career success. Ryan has looked strong so far this year, while Brady has struggled. Will that trend continue, or will Brady return more to his 2007 form?
I don’t really know, but I hope that by reviewing some of the statistics for each team (from Pro-Football-Reference.com) thus far in the season, I will get a better idea of who we can expect to win this game. Last week, I previewed the Giants-Cowboys game, and from what I saw statistically, I sort of favored the Giants’ defense and thought they would pull it out by running the ball well and shutting down the Cowboys’ running game. As it turns out, it was Dallas that rushed ball well, but Romo’s 3 INTs did them in. So, we’ll see if I can do any better with this one.
In that post, I pulled the per game data for the Giants and Cowboys and compared them to each other. Then I compared their per game data to their respective Week 1 opponents’ averages per game from 2008. Having reviewed that approach, I decided that it really won’t work long term. I would have to begin averaging data from multiple opponents, with the number of opponents for each team increasing each week. By the end of the season, I would have to average the data for 16 different opponents. So, I decided that I would just compare the Falcons’ and Patriots’ per game statistics so far this season and then compare the average offensive and defensive ranks of their opponents so far this season. Although it’s very early in the season, this should still give some indication of the teams’ strengths relative to each other. For future games, it should become more accurate.
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