Wednesday, October 29, 2008

what do the numbers say?

When it comes to sports stats I don't think there's anything more important than points. This is an area that other sports seem to understand better than football. There are indicators as to how a team is scoring but the important point is the points. Footballoutsiders in particular undervalue points in their analysis. There is just no credible way to rank the 4-3 Eagles as the top team in the league. But thats an aside.
When looking at the numbers the Bears are well on top of the division and there's no real reason to think that will change. Chicago ranks second in the NFL scoring 28 points a game. I knew they were good this year but that is still surprising. Green Bay isn't far behind at fourth with 27.7 a game. But the maligned defense offers another surprise. Chicago is 13 not great but not at all bad giving up 21.4 a game. Green Bay again isn't too far behind at 22.7, but Chicago's 6.6 scoring advantage versus GB's 5 is I think significant at this point. Minnesota by the way is at -1.9, they're not going to the playoffs.
Moving beyond points there are three important indicators that the Bears are on a better path than the packers. Chicago has created 16 turnovers, two more than GB's 14; the Bears also have two more sacks than the pack. As well Chicago is only relinquishing 86 yards a game on the ground. Green Bay on the other hand is giving up 141 yards rushing a game. That doesn't bode well for a cold weather team entering November. The Bears are a more dangerous defense for opponents who won't be able to rely on keeping the ball on the ground and shortening the game in cold weather when mistakes become more common.
Ultimately these are very close teams but I agree with Lovie, in November you start to see true separation in the NFL and the Bears look a lot better going into the second half than Green Bay does.

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