This article is part of our Breakfast Table series.
From: Michael Salfino
Date: Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 11:19 AM
Subject: Old School YPA Breakfast
To: scott pianowski
The quant guys like Massey-Peabody have passed me by, but I still like to kick it old school with my back of the napkin rankings in how teams are doing in net yards per pass attempt (including sacks) gained minus allowed. Hat tip to the late, great Bud Goode - the Bill James of the NFL. Three weeks of data is pretty useful. The basis is that teams that win yards per pass attempt by any margin irrespective of any other stat win 75-80% of games every year since 1965. Yes, kids, it's always been a passing league (football's dirty little secret). Here's a link to the chart:
Of course my first thought is maybe Mark Stopa was right all along about the Jets making the playoffs. When you are 2.0 or better, you can reasonably be thinking even bigger than the playoffs. The top five: Seattle (plus-3.8), Denver (plus-2.4), Jets (plus-2.0), Detroit (plus-1.9), Saints (plus-1.6). Bottom five: Jaguars (minus-2.4), Redskins (minus-2.1), Rams (minus-1.9), Bears (minus-1.6), Cardinals (minus-1.6). Remember, these numbers only are predictive to the extent they continue. Clearly, there can be randomness to them, especially after just three weeks. But it's a useful check, I firmly believe. The outliers are the key because the records generally line up pretty well with the rankings.
Week 4 big games we should discuss: Bears at Lions, Eagles at Broncos, Patriots at Falcons,