If the NFL season had ended today, there would be no playoffs or the Super Bowl because very few teams are worthy of the postseason. Or maybe that’s how he feels because many of the league’s top contenders have been stunned by recent woes.
The Buffalo Bills lost to the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. The Dallas Cowboys lost to the middling Denver Broncos. The Despicable Giants took down the growing Las Vegas Raiders.
NS Los Angeles Rams lost to Tennessee Titans, without escaping Derrick Henry, who is the bulldozer focus of their attack. Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost to the injured New Orleans Saints before saying goodbye in Week 8; The Saints celebrated by losing to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. And while not technically a sorry, the Green Bay Packers have largely Aaron Rodgers’ absence from Covid.
The upsets practically add to the NFL’s league-wide pair’s “Any Sunday” ethos. Yet the results of the last two weeks have caused chaos for anyone trying to block the playoff zone. Heck, it’s arguable (not convincing) that the Giants should face the Jets in the Super Bowl, as the Giants beat the Saints who defeated the Pirates and the Jets beat the Titans who defeated the Rams.
If the sadness is really mounting, here are some possible reasons:
Examine a defect closely and you’ll often find a large penalty distance disparity. For example, the Bills thwarted themselves both offensively and defensively by placing 12 penalties at 118 yards against the Jaguars. The Buccaneers handed out 11 penalties in their Week 8 defeat, while the Saints only handed two penalties.
There may be three categories of punishment in favor of the oppressed this season:
Crushing a passerby: Officials now call the setter 0.56 hard tackles per team per game, the highest rate in history. Since this foul often turns a sack or turnover into a positive outcome for offense, it can work like a winning lottery ticket for the weaker team assuming the quarterback survives, which is more likely to be a push than a serious blow.
Defensive Pass Blocking: This foul occurs 1.18 times per game per team in 2021. NFLpenalties.com, again the highest rate in history. This year’s increase is due to desperate quarterbacks making off-target passes under the field and defenders hoping to smash into their receivers while chasing them. A penalty that favors the wrong quarterbacks naturally favors the underdogs.
to make fun of: Any offense that punishes players for taking a little too much pride in their achievements will likely work against the better team.
going for it
Teams are attempting more fourth-down conversions than ever before: from just 0.57 times per game per team five years ago, to 1.42 times per game per team in 2021. While analytics often say it’s the right tactic, a failed turnaround can create a dramatic surge in favor of the underdog.
The Cowboys failed two fourth and short conversions in the first quarter last week, one in the field goal range. Had they taken a shot and kicked in these situations, Dallas could still have lost, but not so dramatically (they trailed 30-0 at one point), attracting national attention.
Overconfidence and distractions
“Distractions” is football talk that can encompass a wide variety of situations, from a wide receiver seeking more passes to a franchise quarterback declaring on YouTube that tracks behind airplanes cause male pattern baldness.
Overconfidence can be dangerous for a team of young athletes who are at the pinnacle of their recent success. The Cowboys, in particular, are famous for declaring themselves Super Bowl champions in early November.
Distraction and overconfidence can be post-hoc rationalizations for failures. “Overconfidence” may have caused those Bills penalties or failed Cowboy conversions, but it could also be a narrative tool to explain a few mundane mistakes.
As for the distractions, Cleveland Browns beat Cincinnati Bengals, 41-17, after announcing plans to waive eccentric wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Now, all of the franchise’s misfortunes have been retaken as Beckham’s fault, which relied on Earnest Byner’s ineptitude in the 1987 AFC championship game.
The Arizona Cardinals defeating the Titans 38-13 in Week 1 seemed like a dizzying upset at the time. It’s now clear that the Cardinals are raising Super Bowl contenders.
When the Bengals are 5-2 fell on the jets Last week’s blast loss to the Browns in Week 8 reveals they’re not as strong as their record suggests.
A series of overmatched opponents can get a team ready to topple. For example, the Rams feasted on the Giants, Detroit Lions, and Houston Texans before facing the Titans. Again, overconfidence can be blamed, but it’s more likely that the Rams’ records aren’t as good as they suggest as they enter Week 9.
The home advantage is almost entirely gone from the NFL Road teams are 58-49 (54.2 percent) against the spread in 2021, while the Road unders are even better at 36-26 (56.2 percent) against the spread. Similar splits from last year were attributed to empty stadiums, but of course that is no longer a factor.
The analytics community was stunned by the disappearance of an advantage as old as professional sports. Some experts suggest a similar trend in the NBA. originating from online dating apps It’s like Tinder: Athletes on the road can now enjoy both a romantic getaway and a refreshing night’s sleep instead of the past or-or scenario.
NFL players are typically older than NBA players and endure far less strenuous journeys, and linking ailments to proper canodling is challenging on many levels. The Tinder theory has been put forward here only in the name of scientific rigor.
it seems only Six preferred teams with 7 or more points We lost outright in one game this season. Fourteen favorites lost under these conditions in 16 games in both 2020 and 2019. While trends in penalties and fourth downturns require monitoring, disturbances may not be increasing at all; We may be reacting to a series of dramatic events in Week 9.
At almost one major upset per week, the NFL’s Any Given Sunday mission statement still stands. Some Sundays give more than others.