The 2012 NFL Regular Season heads into Week 7 and some NFL Clubs playoff hopes are already dashed, the specter of a Top 10 2013 Draft pick looking them square in the eyes. A few of those teams are looking to pull themselves out of the hole and no better time to start than now. Another loss will only reduce their chances of making the playoffs to next to nil.
6 with 2
Currently there are six clubs with 2 wins to show for the first month and a half of regular season play. Dallas, Detroit, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, and Tennessee are at various levels of “struggle”. Certainly most of us thought the Colts would take time to grow after taking Andrew Luck #1 overall in the 2012 Draft. That reclamation project will need a little more time.
Tennessee, Tampa Bay, and Detroit aren’t thought to be the class of their divisions, but with quality young quarterbacks in Jake Locker, Josh Freeman, and Matt Stafford you’d expect some competitive effort. At times that exactly what we’ve seen, though way too inconsistently to expect enough improvement over the long haul.
It’s Dallas and Pittsburgh that continue to befuddle even the odds makers. Expectations were much higher for the Cowboys and Steelers just a few weeks ago, and now both face almost certain elimination if they fall Week 7 (though not mathematically).
What are the odds?
The boys in Las Vegas have Super Bowl odds and final records as follows;
- Indianapolis 250/1 (5-11)
- Tennessee 200/1 (5-11)
- Tampa Bay 150/1 (5-11)
- Detroit 80/1 (8-8)
- Dallas 50/1 (9-7)
- Pittsburgh 30/1 (10-6)
As for the percentage chance of winning their division or even making the playoffs, Rant Sports reports;
- Tennessee 8/17%
- Tampa Bay 10/19%
- Detroit 13/22%
- Dallas 19/25%
- Indianapolis 14/28%
- Pittsburgh 14/29%
What do other numbers say that correlate most to winning? Having quarterbacks like Tony Romo and Ben Roethlisberger under center alone gives you a shot at catching your division. The AFC North is ultra competitive with Baltimore one of the elite teams in the conference and Cincinnati coming off last year’s playoff run. The NFC East is once again beating itself into mediocrity with all 4 teams separated by only a game and a half (NYG 4-2, PHI 3-3, WAS 3-3, DAL 2-3).
If you read The Football Educator often, you know how I feel about predictive stats and correlation to winning in the NFL. Offensive Pass Efficiency (NY/A) and Offensive Pass Success Rate lead the way in correlation and consistency, equating to overall predictivity. Here are the League rankings for all 12 stats in the prediction model.
Even if you’re not a “Moneyball” disciple on the gridiron, these stats are visually telling. Dallas is fully capable of throwing and running the football at a level commensurate with playoff ability. Their defense is a bit below average, but certainly adequate enough to get them in. It’s the little things killing the Cowboys at the moment; turnovers (both giving and taking) and penalties. This is a team that is highly skilled and yet mentally complacent, if not at times downright weak. The Steelers stand toe to toe in the passing game, but can’t run the ball with any efficiency or success. Penalties have uncharacteristically plagued Pittsburgh this season as well, and though Big Ben hasn’t thrown many picks, the “Steel Curtain” hasn’t made many either.
Remember, these predictive statistics are in order of strength, and Offensive Pass Efficiency and Pass Success Rate more than double the 3rd – Offensive Run Success Rate.
So I put my money on the “blue star” and Tony Romo, looking for Dallas to have the highest odds of pulling themselves out of this two win hole they’ve dug themselves in.