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Super Bowl preview

In what stacks up as one of the all-time great Super Bowl matchups, the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers matchup up evenly across the board -- setting up a potential thriller Sunday in Dallas.

By Doug Farrar | February 4, 2011; 06:21 AM ET | Comments (0)

Conference Championships preview

The emergence of James Starks makes Aaron Rodgers an even more dangerous quarterback for the Bears to face Sunday in Chicago while the Jets-Steelers matchup could become an battle of passing games - which would give Pittsburgh a decided advantage.

By Doug Farrar | January 21, 2011; 08:36 AM ET | Comments (2)

Divisional round preview

The Ravens and Steelers are as evenly matched as ever while the emergence of a running game in Green Bay could give the Falcons real problems. Special teams play and rookie tackle Russell Okung could be the key if the Seahawks spring another upset in Chicago while the Patriots are on the upswing defensively. All that and more in a full statistical breakdown of the four divisional playoff matchups.

By Doug Farrar | January 14, 2011; 08:27 AM ET | Comments (1)

Wild Card week preview

With the Saints' backfield in shambles, don't count the Seahawks out just yet while Kansas City's Jamaal Charles and Eagles QB Michael Vick will see plenty of carries in their first round matchups. All that and plenty more in your full statistical preview of the NFL's Wild Card weekend.

By Doug Farrar | January 7, 2011; 01:45 AM ET | Comments (1)

Week 17 NFL Preview

Jamaal Charles is looking to make history for the Chiefs while the Dolphins still don't have a 100-yard rusher this season. Meanwhile the Saints backfield is finally healthy and just in time for the playoffs. All that and more in your full statistical preview of the final week of the NFL regular season.

By Doug Farrar | December 31, 2010; 02:22 AM ET | Comments (0)

Week 16 NFL preview

It's shotgun or bust for the Lions, Baltimore's defense is regaining its status as one of the league's best just in time for a postseason push and the Falcons should be checking their rear-view mirror. All that and more in your full statistical breakdown of Week 16 in the NFL.

By Doug Farrar | December 24, 2010; 01:23 AM ET | Comments (0)

Week 15 NFL preview

The Eagles continue to gash opposing defenses with big plays through the air while the Redskins remain consistently putrid on offense this season. And don't bother to set your DVR for Arizona-Carolina. All that and more in your full statistical preview for Week 15 in the NFL.

By Doug Farrar | December 17, 2010; 02:27 AM ET | Comments (0)

Week 14 NFL preview

Roddy White is the top receiver in the NFL on third downs, but the guy right behind him might surprise you. Which Kansas City running back deserves more love for his production this season and how is former Redskin Jason Campbell matching up with Donovan McNabb in Oakland? All that and more in your full statistical breakdown of Week 14 in the NFL.

By Doug Farrar | December 9, 2010; 11:57 AM ET | Comments (0)

Week 13 NFL Preview

One Buffalo defensive lineman is quietly putting together a stellar season while the Chargers will have their hands full on special teams yet again this week. Meantime, the Patriots have the second-most efficient offense in the history of Football Outsiders' metrics. All that and more in your full NFL Week 13 statistical preview.

By Doug Farrar | December 3, 2010; 02:46 AM ET | Comments (0)

Week 12 NFL preview

Minnesota's struggling pass rush might give the Redskins' depleted offensive line a rest while the Texans have sunk to historical lows in their pass defense. That and more from each of the weekend's matchups in your full statistical preview.

By Doug Farrar | November 26, 2010; 01:26 AM ET | Comments (0)

Thanksgiving Day NFL preview

A full helping of all you need to know heading into three Thanksgiving Day football games.

By Doug Farrar | November 24, 2010; 11:32 AM ET | Comments (0)

Week 11 NFL preview

Which player has nearly locked up defensive rookie of the year honors, which 3-5 is far better than its record and which quarterback has the edge on the surging Michael Vick for NFL MVP? All those questions and more are answered in your weekly statistical breakdown of every game in the NFL.

By Doug Farrar | November 18, 2010; 12:16 PM ET | Comments (0)

Week 10 NFL Preview

Find out which running back is making a strong case for league MVP and which hyphenated tailback is having the most efficient season: (Hint: it's not MJD). How will Randy Moss fare in Tennessee and can the Redskins stop red-hot Michael Vick? All that and more in your full statistical breakdown of Week 10 in the NFL.

By Doug Farrar | November 11, 2010; 01:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

Week 10 Thursday night preview

The Falcons and Ravens both have strung rushing attacks with inconsistent front sevens, which could produce a number of lengthy drives when they take the field Thursday night. Check out a full statistical breakdown of the showdown.

By Doug Farrar | November 11, 2010; 10:09 AM ET | Comments (0)

Week 9 NFL preview

Discover the strengths and weaknesses of the defenses in the NFL, what matchups quarterbacks will be looking to exploit this week, and which young player has already become the most disruptive defensive line force in the league. All that and more in your full statistical preview for Week 9.

By Doug Farrar | November 4, 2010; 12:56 PM ET | Comments (0)

Week 8 NFL preview

The Jets go into their matchup with the Packers boasting perhaps the two best lines in the NFL while the Dolphins look to go 4-0 on the road at Cincinnati. Meantime, despite strong DVOA stats, the Chargers continue to kill themselves with turnovers and miserable special teams. All that and more in your Week 8 statistical preview from around the NFL.

By Doug Farrar | October 28, 2010; 10:52 AM ET | Comments (0)

Week 6 NFL preview

Do the Chargers have the worst special teams units in NFL history? Find out why they've struggled so much and get forensic in what may be the least talked about best matchup of the week. All that and statistical previews from all 14 Week 6 games inside.

By Doug Farrar | October 15, 2010; 09:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

NFL Week 5 preview

Expect Atlanta's offense to have a field day at the Dog Pound while the Redskins will look to exploit Green Bay's banged up secondary. All that and more in this week's statistical look at the full slate of NFL games.

By Doug Farrar | October 8, 2010; 08:13 AM ET | Comments (1)

Week 4 NFL Preview

Peyton Manning is having a regular season for the record books but the No. 2 quarterback in the game this season might surprise you. Find out which unheralded QB out West is tearing it up along with what you need to know heading into every Week 4 contest.

By Doug Farrar | September 30, 2010; 10:33 AM ET | Comments (0)

Week 3 NFL preview

Can the Bucs survive Pittsburgh's defense to go 3-0? What is wrong with the Cowboys' offense? Answers to those questions plus complete statistical breakdowns of all 16 Week 3 NFL matchups.

By Doug Farrar | September 23, 2010; 02:31 AM ET | Comments (0)

Week 1 NFL Preview

A full statistical breakdown of the opening week of NFL games. Are you ready?

By Doug Farrar | September 7, 2010; 09:35 AM ET | Comments (1)

Smarter Stats: The Hurry-Up Defense

In the last 10 years, use of the shotgun formation in offensive plays has literally tripled in the NFL, but defensive pressure schemes are catching up.

By Doug Farrar | August 20, 2010; 02:22 AM ET | Comments (0)

Five reasons we should have believed in the Saints

Even after their decisive 31-17 Super Bowl win over the Indianapolis Colts, the New Orleans Saints can't get much respect, but they should...

By Doug Farrar | February 15, 2010; 10:07 PM ET | Comments (0)

Individual Defensive Numbers

On defense, it's not just about tackles, it's also about where those tackles happen and what effect they have. We have two stats to reflect this.

By Doug Farrar | January 29, 2010; 12:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Weighted DVOA -- The Divisional Round

The New Orleans Saints face an uphill battle as their late-season stats indicate they're the favorite most likely to tumble.

By Doug Farrar | January 13, 2010; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Weighted DVOA changes outlook

Could we be looking at another postseason in which a member of the Wild Card crew steps up and surprises us all?

By Doug Farrar | January 6, 2010; 03:26 PM ET | Comments (0)

Chris Johnson's journey

With 1,509 rushing yards on 244 carries through 12 games, Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson is on the verge of some interesting benchmarks.

By Doug Farrar | December 9, 2009; 12:15 PM ET | Comments (0)

The 3-4 Switch

Teams can't just wave a magic wand, change a lineman into a linebacker, and see positive results -- success requires the marriage of scheme and personnel with the right defensive coordinator.

By Doug Farrar | December 1, 2009; 10:25 PM ET | Comments (0)

Strength of schedule and DVOA

Strength of schedule is often used as a benchmark for the ease or difficulty with which a team will navigate a full season. But simple won-loss records tell an incomplete story.

By Doug Farrar | November 18, 2009; 09:42 AM ET | Comments (0)

Adjusted Line Yards -- the defense

Arizona and Pittsburgh lead the way in defensive value yards allowed and taken away.

By Doug Farrar | November 11, 2009; 08:16 AM ET | Comments (0)

Adjusted Line Yards -- the offense

No matter how microscopic we get with stat separation, we're limited by the team aspect of football -- the very thing that makes it great.

By Doug Farrar | November 4, 2009; 12:36 AM ET | Comments (0)

Sack Leaders Aren't Built in a Day

A quick look at the NFL's sack leaders over the last decade tells us that it usually takes time to develop a great pass rusher.

By Doug Farrar | October 28, 2009; 10:38 AM ET | Comments (2)

The Brady Rule Effect

Is the NFL's increased focus on quarterback safety allowing a disproportionate amount of protection to its star quarterbacks

By Doug Farrar | October 14, 2009; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (2)

Smarter Stats: The Blame Game

Here are the real reasons that eight disappointing teams can't find their way.

By Doug Farrar | September 30, 2009; 02:04 AM ET | Comments (1)

Winning's a Brees?

Do incendiary single games lead to outstanding seasons at a rate that would lead us to take them seriously as indicators?

By Doug Farrar | September 22, 2009; 03:18 AM ET | Comments (0)

Quarterback Accuracy: Beyond the Ratings

The QB Rating metric was a handy-dandy shortcut (to what, we're not sure), but it's time to put away the abacus and opt for the exploded view of the game.

By Doug Farrar | September 16, 2009; 07:01 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Bart Scott All-Stars

Total number of tackles mean absolutely nothing. Defenders should care more about total Stops and total Defeats, the rest is just fluff -- here are the best from 2008.

By Doug Farrar | September 11, 2009; 04:38 PM ET | Comments (0)

Covering the Spread, Part Two

Which offenses are most effective in the shotgun formation, and which defenses are best at stopping it?

By Doug Farrar | September 5, 2009; 12:01 PM ET | Comments (0)

Smarter Stats: Covering the Spread Part One

Which quarterbacks are most effective in the shotgun, and which are better off sticking with the traditional setup?

By Doug Farrar | August 27, 2009; 01:48 AM ET | Comments (1)

Jim Johnson: A Decade in Review

Assistant coaches are a woefully underrepresented class in Canton, and this needs to change. Johnson's name wouldn't be a bad place to start.

By Doug Farrar | July 29, 2009; 01:08 AM ET | Comments (0)

Steve McNair: A Statistical Retrospective

Beyond the intangibles that made him such a memorable person and player from a statistical perspective Steve McNair was just about as good as you could get in the early part of this decade.

By Doug Farrar | July 6, 2009; 12:48 PM ET | Comments (3)

The AFC East Draft

Doug Farrar continues his DVOA statistical breakdown of the NFL Draft with the Dolphins, Jets, Bills and Patriots.

By Doug Farrar | July 4, 2009; 02:38 AM ET | Comments (0)

The NFC North Draft

Doug Farrar continues his DVOA statistical breakdown of the NFL Draft with the Bears, Lions, Packers and Vikings.

By Doug Farrar | June 30, 2009; 02:05 AM ET | Comments (0)

The AFC North Draft

Doug Farrar continues his DVOA statistical breakdown of the NFL Draft with the Ravens, Bengals, Browns and Steelers.

By Doug Farrar | June 26, 2009; 10:46 AM ET | Comments (0)

The NFC South Draft

Doug Farrar continues his DVOA statistical breakdown of the NFL Draft with the Falcons, Panthers, Saints and Buccaneers.

By Doug Farrar | June 24, 2009; 04:31 AM ET | Comments (0)

The AFC South Draft

DVOA breakdown of the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars draft picks going into the 2009 season.

By Doug Farrar | June 5, 2009; 08:26 AM ET | Comments (0)

The NFC West Draft

Doug Farrar continues his by-division statistical look at every team's first pick.

By Doug Farrar | May 29, 2009; 10:13 AM ET | Comments (1)

The AFC West Draft

In the first of an eight-part offseason "Smarter Stats" series, Doug Farrar looks back at the draft by division.

By Doug Farrar | May 21, 2009; 11:21 AM ET | Comments (0)

Wildcat Widens Roles in NFL

What's so special about the Wildcat, and why has it worked so well? It's basically a derivation of the old single-wing, and the player receiving the ball from center in a shotgun set has multiple options. As Lee explained it on CSTV in 2007 (and as I detailed for Football Outsiders after the Miami win over New England), there are three primary plays:

By Doug Farrar | March 4, 2009; 12:03 AM ET | Comments (0)

Harrell's Folly: The Spread Offense in the NFL

From Andre Ware to Alex Smith, the NCAA has been throwing system quarterbacks in pass-heavy, shotgun schemes to the NFL for decades, and the NFL has been chewing them up and spitting them back out the whole time. While the college ranks can support formations in which five-receiver sets and minimal blocking allow protection problems to be overwhelmed by aerial advantages, the NFL is a faster, far more complicated, and far more physical game. When those same quarterbacks try the pros for size, they find that their inability to emply proper mechanics leave them ill-equipped for their new surroundings.

By Doug Farrar | February 24, 2009; 08:07 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Five Linemen

For the second straight year, the NFL draft class is full of talented linemen. Maybe not to the level it was last year, when eight were taken in the first round and Denver's Ryan Clady had one of the better...

By Doug Farrar | February 19, 2009; 11:42 PM ET | Comments (0)

Smarter Stats All-Pros -- Offense

From quarterback to center here are the statistically superior offensive players of the 2008 season.

By Doug Farrar | February 4, 2009; 12:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

DVOA Matchup: Super Bowl Edition

Pittsburgh's offense and Arizona's defense are each better than you might think, though not quite as good as they perhaps should be.

By Doug Farrar | January 29, 2009; 08:10 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Worst Winners

According to the Pythagorean Theorem, the Cards have about as much business being in the Super Bowl as Johnny Knoxville has at the Inaugural Ball.

By Doug Farrar | January 22, 2009; 01:37 PM ET | Comments (4)

DVOA Matchup: Conference Championship Edition

It's quite certain that Arizona's the Cinderella here.

By Doug Farrar | January 13, 2009; 07:20 AM ET | Comments (0)

DVOA Matchup: Divisional Playoff Edition

The divisional playoff round may have some familiar match-ups, but according to Doug's numbers, there could be some surprises.

By Doug Farrar | January 6, 2009; 01:58 AM ET | Comments (0)

DVOA Matchup: Wild-Card Edition

Ah, the postseason. The focus narrows, the intensity increases, and we don't have to watch the Lions anymore.

By Doug Farrar | December 30, 2008; 10:28 AM ET | Comments (0)

No Holds Barred?

The better the defense the less likely their opponents will be called for holding.

By Doug Farrar | December 23, 2008; 10:45 AM ET | Comments (1)

Penalties for Potential Playoff Teams

Breaking down the playoff potential teams, the NFL's five most frequently called infractions.

By Doug Farrar | December 16, 2008; 02:11 AM ET | Comments (1)

Divisional DVOA, The Sequel

Statistics help make sense of the volatile NFC East and NFC South.

By Doug Farrar | December 9, 2008; 11:11 AM ET | Comments (0)

Second Half Ups and Downs

With three-fourths of the regular season in the books, who's making a late stretch run, and who's falling behind?

By Doug Farrar | December 2, 2008; 10:08 AM ET | Comments (2)

Easy Targets

Last week we dealt with the NFL's best pass defenses, this week we reveal the worst situational defenses.

By Doug Farrar | November 25, 2008; 01:02 PM ET | Comments (0)

Hard Targets

Ranking pass defenses against situational and opponent strength.

By Doug Farrar | November 18, 2008; 12:43 PM ET | Comments (0)

Divisional DVOA Rankings

DVOA shows a major shift in power from AFC to NFC.

By Doug Farrar | November 11, 2008; 12:39 PM ET | Comments (4)

Ten Great Assistants

Ten coaches who make a big difference on their teams, despite the fact that most of them have never been coordinators.

By Doug Farrar | November 4, 2008; 02:32 AM ET | Comments (3)

Seven Week 7 Awards

The Midseason awards column is the last desperate act of the idea-impaired football writer.

By Doug Farrar | October 28, 2008; 08:59 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Curse of 370, Part 2

Like, what does it all MEAN, man?

By Doug Farrar | October 24, 2008; 11:52 AM ET | Comments (5)

The Value of Rushing Titles

Do NFL rushing champions require that the majority of their yards come against creampuff defenses?

By Doug Farrar | October 14, 2008; 02:00 AM ET | Comments (4)

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