Welcome to PatsFans.com

The little things that matter

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by ivanvamp, Jan 27, 2012.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. ivanvamp

    ivanvamp Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    Messages:
    2,684
    Likes Received:
    2
    Ratings:
    +10 / 0 / -0

    This installment will look at two little things that don't often show up - well, they're not usually focused on, anyway. But they can have a huge impact on the game: penalties and average field position. Let's start with penalties.

    2011 Regular Season Stats
    NY - 5.9 penalties per game, 50.4 penalty yards per game
    NE - 5.0 penalties per game, 46.7 penalty yards per game

    Last 5 games (carrying on with my theme of this being the "Giants are hot" period of the season)
    NY - 5.4 penalties per game, 47.2 penalty yards per game (last two games: 12 penalties for 90 yards total)
    NE - 3.2 penalties per game, 36.4 penalty yards per game (last two games: 3 penalties for 25 yards total)

    So over the past 5 games, the Giants have committed about 2 penalties and 10+ yards per game more than the Pats have. A couple of extra penalties here and there could prove to be very costly. An illegal contact - 5 yds, automatic first down - could extend a key drive. A false start penalty could stall a drive in the red zone and force a FG instead of a TD.

    The Pats are playing more disciplined football than the Giants are recently. Probably a small factor, especially since one big PI penalty could sway the game either way, but still, it's something to throw into the mix.

    Now, what about the hidden yardage of starting field position? On the season, here's where each team ranked in terms of average starting field position:

    NY - 26 (25.97 to be technical)
    NE - 29 (28.94 to be technical)

    NY's opponents - 29 (28.56)
    NE's opponents - 24 (24.06)

    So the Pats have a +5 average starting position over their opponents. The Pats had 173 drives this season. That's an average of about 11 drives per game. That means that the Pats have a "hidden yardage advantage" of +55 per game.

    The Giants have a -3 average starting position relative to their opponents. The Giants had 191 drives this season. That's an average of about 12 drives per game. That means that the Giants have a "hidden yardage disadvantage" of -36 per game.

    Therefore, the Pats have, in total, an average of +91 hidden yard advantage over the Giants per game during the course of the regular season.

    Over the last 5 games? Here are their average starting positions:

    NY - 29 (28.9); Opp - 28 (28.1)
    NE - 32 (31.9); Opp - 24 (23.9)

    So the Giants, over their last 5 games, are +1 per drive, at 13 drives per game, that's a net +13 hidden yard advantage per game for the Giants.

    The Patriots, meanwhile, over their last 5 games, are +8 per drive, at 11.6 drives per game (call it 12). That's a net +96 hidden yard advantage per game for the Pats.

    So the Giants, over their last 5, have seen an improvement of +49 hidden yards per game. The Pats, meanwhile, have seen an improvement of +5 hidden yards per game. In other words, the Giants are getting a bigger field position boost, relatively speaking, than the Pats are, over their last 5 games.

    Now, it's still clear that the Pats have a decided advantage in hidden yards. We can probably chalk their advantage in hidden yards up to a couple of important factors:

    (1) Special Teams. The Pats have a 41.4 net punt yds per attempt this year, while their opponents have a 38.9. That's a +2.5 hidden yard advantage per punt for the Pats in the punting game over their opponents. The Giants, meanwhile, have a 39.5 net punt yds per attempt this year while their opponents have a 40.5. That's a hidden yard disadvantage of -1.0 yards per punt. There's an average of 4.8 punts per team (9.6 for both teams) per game this year in the NFL, meaning that the Pats, roughly, gain about 24 yards per game on their opponents in the punting game, while the Giants lost about -9.6 yards per game in the punting game.

    In terms of kickoffs, the Giants average 23.3 yds per kickoff return and their opponents average 22.9 yds per return. Thus, the Giants are +0.4 yds per kickoff return over their opponents. The Giants average 2.0 touchbacks per game and their opponents average 2.1 touchbacks per game.

    The Pats, meanwhile, average 21.4 yds per kickoff return and their opponents average 21.6 yds per return. Thus, the Pats are -0.2 yds per kickoff return over their opponents. The Pats average 2.6 touchbacks per game and their opponents average 1.4 touchbacks per game.

    Long story short, the Pats' special teams give them an edge in field position.

    (2) Turnovers. The Giants had 31 takeaways compared with 24 giveaways, which amounts to just under a half a turnover difference per game on the positive side of the ledger for NY. The Pats had 34 takeaways to just 17 giveaways, which comes to just over a full turnover difference per game on the positive side of the ledger. The average turnover costs a team about 59 yards of field position versus a punt (from a study I did earlier in the year). So that half-turnover difference between the Giants and the Pats is a huge factor in hidden yards.


    Obviously, in one game anything can happen. But the Pats' edge in special teams and giveaway/takeaway ability could mean much improved field position over the course of an entire game.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2012
  2. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Messages:
    6,009
    Likes Received:
    69
    Ratings:
    +139 / 10 / -8

    Ivanvamp,

    I really appreciate the effort you have invested in these studies. They are most illuminating.

    Until I saw your sack and pass rush stats I thought this game was probably a tossup. But I now am inclined to respect the team scoring and defensive averages accumulated over a full season.

    We can run on this team, and dominate in the run. That opens the short over the middle completions, and eventually the long sideline or deep out passes.

    In combination with the injuries that the Giants have sustained, that no one speaks of, to Nicks, Bradshaw, and Blackburn, this game will be a lopsided Pats victory.:snob::snob:
  3. ivanvamp

    ivanvamp Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2007
    Messages:
    2,684
    Likes Received:
    2
    Ratings:
    +10 / 0 / -0

    Thanks.

    Geez, I hope you're right. I still think it's anybody's game, with the scores ranging from 22-28 points per team.
  4. oldskool138

    oldskool138 Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2006
    Messages:
    2,719
    Likes Received:
    2
    Ratings:
    +2 / 0 / -0

    #75 Jersey

    Little things? Like Danny Woodhead and Wes Welker?
  5. TheBostonStraggler

    TheBostonStraggler Rookie

    Joined:
    May 21, 2006
    Messages:
    1,969
    Likes Received:
    1
    Ratings:
    +3 / 0 / -0

    Good breakdown. The title of your thread is appropriate. Field position is a little mentioned item but it has been a real advantage this year for the Patriots.
  6. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2005
    Messages:
    20,431
    Likes Received:
    114
    Ratings:
    +205 / 4 / -5

    [​IMG]
  7. Metaphors

    Metaphors Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2005
    Messages:
    3,670
    Likes Received:
    8
    Ratings:
    +8 / 0 / -0

    Excellent breakdown and I agree that these are key areas the Pats need to win to get a victory. To reinforce this, the November game against the Giants produced the following:

    Penalties
    NYG: 6-50, 0 1st downs for Pats
    NE: 7-81, 3 1st downs for Giants

    Starting Field Position
    NYG: own 33
    NE: own 20 (own 11 in the first half)

    Punting
    NYG: 41 net (misleading due to pinning Pats inside 20 five times)
    NE: 45 net

    Turnovers
    NYG: 1 int, 1 fumble lost
    NE: 2 int, 2 fumbles lost

    So losing all of your key indicators clearly cost the Pats in November. If they can play clean and efficient in these areas next Sunday, the outcome should be much different. In such a evenly matched game, special teams (where the Pats should have a significant advantage) could be the difference.
  8. Patspsycho

    Patspsycho Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Messages:
    9,930
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0 / -0

    Even then, after the four turnovers, the Pats were still up 13-10, but once Spikes went out, Chung went out, and you had Tracy White giving up a crucial pass, a TD, and Brown incurring that DPI, the complexion of the defense just changed. It had a different personality towards the end.

    Also don't forget that Haynesworth got benched after giving up that rushing TD, so that had to have an effect.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page

unset ($sidebar_block_show); ?>