by Scott Benson, Patriots Daily Staff
October 18, 2009
The Pats are back home this week after the team’s second tough road loss in its first five games. At first blush a 0-5 opponent looks like the right medicine, but nothing is coming easy for your New England Patriots. Let’s look at our weekly distortion of a few perfectly innocent numbers.
Combined Record of Opponents
Pats: 15-9 (BUF, NYJ, ATL, BAL, DEN)
Titans: 15-10 (PIT, HOU, NYJ, JAX, IND)
Lies, damned lies – Pretty even. This seems like a good time to point out that the Titans have gone oh-for-five against this particular degree of difficulty, while the Pats have managed three wins. I should also point out that last week, some people thought the Broncos hadn’t played anybody, ergo, they would buckle under the Pats. The point is, next question.
Pats Offense: 20th, 101.0 YPG, 3.6 AVG (139 attempts)
Titans Defense: 3rd, 75.4 YPG, 2.8 AVG (136 attempts)
Titans Offense: 8th, 127.6 YPG, 5.3 AVG (120 attempts)
Pats Defense: 11th, 96.8 YPG, 4.4 AVG (109 attempts)
Lies, damned lies – The Pats aren’t getting any breaks when it comes to drawing weak rushing defenses. It’s no better on the other side of the ball, even though the Pats are somehow 11th in the league while giving up almost four and a half yards per carry.
Pats Offense: 6th, 260.8 YPG, 6.5 AVG (207 attempts)
Titans Defense: 31st, 303.0 AVG (193 attempts)
Titans Offense: 21st, 208.2 YPG, 5.7 AVG (188 attempts)
Pats Defense: 13th, 218.0 YPG (170 attempts)
Lies, damned lies – I don’t want to go on a rant here, but twice this week I’ve read that Tom Brady doesn’t look like he did in 2007. Hmmm, 2007…2007….oh, yeah, you mean the season he threw for more touchdowns and directed his team to more points than anybody ever has? The one he (anyone) would have had a tough time following even if he DIDN’T BLOW HIS FUCKING KNEE OUT? Well, no shit, Sherlock. It’s five weeks, by the way. Isn’t the story that it took Peyton Manning about half a season before he regained his form? Wasn’t that the story with Carson Palmer too? Everybody can see he’s playing like shit – which has been pointed out – but let’s not burden him with unrealistic expectations, like children. Regarding the stats, this may be a good week for the Pats to do something about their awful big-play numbers. The secondary seems to have a chance at redemption too.
Pats 3rd Down Offense: 10th, 44% (32-73)
Titans 3rd Down Defense: 14th, 37% (27-73)
Titans 3rd Down Offense: 15th, 38% (26-68)
Pats 3rd Down Defense: 24th, 41% (24-58)
Lies, damned lies – Our eyes are immediately drawn to the Pats third down defense, because we know what happens to you when you can’t get off the field.
Pats Offense: 18th, 20.8 AVG
Titans Defense: 29th, 27.8 AVG
Titans Offense: 24th, 16.8 AVG
Pats Defense: 11th, 18.2 AVG
Lies, damned lies – This all looks good, even with the Pats bottom-half offense. At home, against a team that’s struggling against the pass… like I said, it looks good. The truth is they have to win two games against teams with (at the moment) combined record of 0-10, and then get to the break to retool. If the Palmer and Manning examples mean anything, we may see a more approximate version of Brady emerge by then. It seems to me that consistency team-wide would follow.
Pats Kickoff: 4th, 69.6 AVG (8 touchbacks in 23 kicks)
Pats Kick Coverage: 28th, 26.1 AVG (19 returns)
Titans Kick Return: 29th, 19.9 AVG (21 returns)
Titans Kickoff: 23rd, 64.1 AVG (4 touchbacks in 22 kicks)
Titans Kick Coverage: 18th, 23.2 AVG (17 returns)
Pats Kick Return: 14th, 23.0 AVG (21 returns)
Lies, damned lies – I suppose we could argue that the Pats have a chance to fluff up those kick coverage numbers this week, but this all looks like middling crap to me. Draw. I mentioned last week how good Stephen Gostkowski’s kickoffs are and how bad the Patriots’ coverage is of them. I now realize this is probably a function of longer kickoffs; the top four longest hitters (Jacksonville, Denver, Carolina and the Patriots) all have return averages of at least 23 yards. I probably should have figured that out without looking anything up.
Titans Punt: 22nd (Net), 37.2 AVG (26 punts)
Titans Punt Coverage: 11 returns, 114 yards, 10.3 AVG
Pats Punt Return: 13th, 7.6 AVG (10 returns)
Pats Punt: 30th (Net), 34.5 AVG (17 punts)
Pats Punt Coverage: 5 returns, 40 yards, 8.0 AVG
Titans Punt Return: 24th, 5.7 AVG (13 returns)
Lies, damned lies – Julian Edelman brought a little spark last week, desperately needed across all of Scott O’Brien’s very average units.
E-mail Scott Benson at firstname.lastname@example.org