Just for kicks, I plugged last year's results (regular-season + playoffs) into the SRS formula -- except instead of using point differential as the inputs, I used per-game yardage differential, a quick-n-dirty favorite of oddsmakers when determining if a team has played above or below what its W-L record would indicate. Broadly speaking, the outcome of a game can be retrodicted reasonably well using some combination of yardage differential and turnover differential, and we know that turnover differential is somewhat unreliable from year to year, so this SOS-adjusted ypg differential could provide insight into which teams will play better or worse than expected in 2010:
|2||New England Patriots||77.8|
|4||Green Bay Packers||69.4|
|5||New York Jets||62.5|
|6||New York Giants||55.8|
|13||San Diego Chargers||31.3|
|14||New Orleans Saints||30.7|
|24||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-49.5|
|25||San Francisco 49ers||-50.5|
|29||Kansas City Chiefs||-83.2|
|31||St. Louis Rams||-103.0|
What this basically says is that to produce a prediction for a game's yardage differential last season, you subtract one team's rating from the other's and add the HFA term to the home team. Doing this for every game last season, this set of ratings produced the smallest squared error.
What jumps out? The Super Bowl participants (Indy & New Orleans) rank surprisingly low; the Cowboys could very well validate Chase's gut feeling about a big year in 2010; the Jets were probably better than their record would indicate (as evidenced by their playoff run); the Patriots might not be finished quite yet; and trendy hopes for a 49ers resurgence (beyond winning the weak West) could be misguided.
Of course, none of this takes into account offseason player movement or the million other factors at play here. But it is interesting as an additional piece of info about which teams played better or worse than you might have thought last season.
This entry was posted on Friday, August 13th, 2010 at 12:24 pm and is filed under Insane ideas, Statgeekery. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.