The Pi-Rate Ratings

September 27, 2011

PiRate Ratings: NFL For Week 4–October 2-3, 2011

An Interesting Phenomenon

After three games of the 2011 NFL season, in each of the eight divisions, a team that did not make the playoffs last year is either leading or tied for the lead.  In the AFC East, the Buffalo Bills own sole possession of first place.  The Cleveland Browns are in a tie for first in the AFC North.  Tennessee and Houston are tied for the lead in the AFC South, and Oakland and Kansas City are tied for first in the AFC West.

 

In the NFC East, the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys are in a tie for first.  Detroit is tied for first in the NFC North, while Tampa Bay is tied for first in the AFC South.  San Francisco leads the NFC West.

 

The only teams that made the playoffs last year to be tied for the lead in their division are Baltimore, Green Bay, and New Orleans.

 

PiRate QB Passer Formula Returns Next Week

Beginning next week, we will once again carry the PiRate Passer Ratings for the NFL quarterbacks. 

 

The official NFL Passer Rating is out-dated.  There are several different sabermetric methods to judge passer efficiency these days, and most of these new versions put the official version to shame.

 

Here is the official version the NFL uses:

 

I.      (Completion Percentage-30.0) * 0.05 +

II.     (Yards per attempt-3.0) * 0.25 +

III.    (20 * touchdowns per pass attempt) +

IV.    2.375 – (25 * interceptions per pass attempt)

 

If any of these four components are greater than 2.375, then cap the value at 2.375

 

Add these four stats together and multiple them by 16.667 to get the passer rating.  For example, let’s look at Aaron Rodgers to date.

 

Here are his stats.

 

Completion Percentage         71.84

Yards Per Attempt               8.9

TDs Per Attempt                  .078

INTs Per Attempt                 .01

 

(71.84-30.0)*.05 = 2.092

(8.9-3.0)*.25 = 1.475

.078*20 = 1.560

(2.375-(25*.01)) = 2.125

 

(2.092+1.475+1.560+2.125)*16.667=120.9

 

Once you know this formula, you can easily plug it into a spreadsheet and figure the ratings.  However, these ratings are a poor way to select the most efficient passer.

 

Let’s take a look at two opposing passers, Smith and Jones.

 

Smith completes 15 of 24 passes for 3 touchdowns with no interceptions.

 

Jones completes 10 of 24 passes for 0 touchdowns and 1 interception.

 

Smith is obviously much better, correct?  No, not correct.  It depends on several other things.  What if Jones has a lousy offensive line or receivers that drop every other pass thrown to them?  What if Smith has all day to pass with Jerry Rice-type receivers?  All these stats show us are just that—their stats.

 

Smith could have completed six passes to backs behind the line of scrimmage with the backs following blocking for long gains.  Jones could have threaded the needle with 30 yard passes to the deep sidelines only to have had them dropped by inept receivers.

 

In essence no pass-rating formula is worth a grain of salt.  Let’s look at two separate plays.  Passer A completes a 13-yard pass for a touchdown.  It is a dump pass into the flat to the tailback with the tailback avoiding three defenders as he streaks into the end zone.  This one pass gets the NFL Maximum rating of 158.3.

 

Now, let’s look at Passer B.  His team is backed up at their own 1 inch line. He drops back and fires a bomb 55 yards through the air that comes down perfectly in the hands of his flanker.  The flanker takes off down the sideline and is knocked out just one inch away from scoring.  This 98-yard pass gives Passer B a rating of 118.8, which is 2.1 points less than Aaron Rodgers’ current rating!  Rodgers is not worth more than a 98-yard completion every time he throws a pass.

 

Can this be?  You betcha!  The rating is flawed.  Obviously the brilliantly thrown pass that travelled 55 yards past the line of scrimmage that comes down perfectly in the hands of the intended receiver should be worth a lot more than the dump pass that I could complete given two seconds of protection.

 

Here is where the PiRate Pass Rating Formula tries to correct the incorrect values of the NFL Pass Rating Formula.

 

Our formula looks at just two statistics.  The first is interception percentage.  An intercepted pass is worth anywhere from 3 to 7 points for the other team on average.  We realize that all interceptions are not the same.  A poorly thrown pass into the flat at the offense’s 20-yard line hurts much more than a 3rd and 25 pass thrown 40 yards downfield and intercepted by the defense. 

 

The second stat is called “Air Yards Per Attempt,” or AYPA.  It is simply the passing yardage minus the yards after catch.  If Passer A completes a 51-yard pass for a touchdown, but the play consists of a pass completed to a tailback one yard past the line of scrimmage with that back running for 50 yards, the passer gets credit for an AYPA of 1 yard (51 yard pass – 50 yards after the catch).

 

Here is the PiRate Pass Rating Formula:

[AYPA * 7 – (11 * Interception %) + 105] * 0.8

 

Interception percentage is figured as: (Interceptions/Attempts) *100

 

Anything over 100 is an excellent rating.  Over 90 means the QB is above average.  80 would be considered average; below 80 means this QB should be looking over his shoulder for a replacement to take his job.

 

In our passer rating, we don’t include passing percentage or touchdown passes.  Yards gained are what matters.  Three consecutive completed passes that gain a total of nine yards means 4th & 1.  Two incomplete passes followed by an 11 yard completion means 1st & 10.  Which outcome is better?

 

Touchdowns skew the ratings.  If one coach sends in passing plays at the opponents’ one yard line, while another sends his 240-pound power back to plunge over the goal, the quarterbacks will get too much credit in once instance and no credit in the other. 

 

Let’s take a look at the PiRate Rating in action.  First, you must be wondering where can you find AYPA?  There is an excellent website that carries this stat, so you don’t have to try to figure out the YAC for each QB.  Go to: www.advancednflstats.com

 

For this example, we will compare two quarterbacks, Eli Manning and Tony Romo.  Manning has the better official NFL passer rating, leading Romo 104.3 to 95.8.

 

Here are the components for the PiRate Passer Ratings.

 

Manning: AYPA = 6.0  Int% = 2.35

Romo: AYPA = 7.4  Int% = 1.90

 

Manning = [6.0 * 7 – (11 * 2.35) + 105] * .8 =96.9

Romo = [7.4 * 7 – (11*1.90) + 105] * .8 = 108.7

 

According to our formula, Romo has been the better passer after three weeks of the 2011 season. 

 

This Week’s NFL PiRate, Mean, and Bias Ratings

 

NFC East

PiRate

Mean

Biased

HFA

New York Giants

105.6

102.3

103.2

3

Philadelphia Eagles

104.0

101.0

101.4

2

Dallas Cowboys

101.7

102.1

102.4

3

Washington Redskins

96.7

99.5

100.9

2.5

 

 

 

 

 

NFC North

PiRate

Mean

Biased

HFA

Green Bay Packers

107.9

108.2

109.0

3

Detroit Lions

104.4

103.6

103.8

4

Chicago Bears

101.3

101.0

102.2

2.5

Minnesota Vikings

98.0

98.5

96.2

2.5

 

 

 

 

 

NFC South

PiRate

Mean

Biased

HFA

New Orleans Saints

108.9

105.6

105.5

3

Atlanta Falcons

103.6

100.7

102.4

2

Tampa Bay Bucaneers

98.9

100.3

99.7

2.5

Carolina Panthers

92.9

95.3

97.2

2

 

 

 

 

 

NFC West

PiRate

Mean

Biased

HFA

San Francisco 49ers

96.5

100.1

100.0

3.5

Arizona Cardinals

94.6

95.6

95.3

3.5

St. Louis Rams

92.0

90.9

89.2

1.5

Seattle Seahawks

91.0

92.7

91.8

3.5

 

 

 

 

 

AFC East

PiRate

Mean

Biased

HFA

New England Patriots

107.7

108.1

106.4

4

New York Jets

104.6

105.0

103.9

3.5

Buffalo Bills

100.0

101.9

105.4

3.5

Miami Dolphins

97.8

97.1

97.2

0.5

 

 

 

 

 

AFC North

PiRate

Mean

Biased

HFA

Baltimore Ravens

107.0

107.3

105.7

4

Pittsburgh Steelers

106.9

103.8

102.3

4

Cleveland Browns

96.3

96.3

97.5

2.5

Cincinnati Bengals

94.8

97.1

99.4

2

 

 

 

 

 

AFC South

PiRate

Mean

Biased

HFA

Houston Texans

105.7

104.1

104.2

3

Tennessee Titans

99.1

100.6

100.4

3.5

Indianapolis Colts

97.0

95.4

92.9

2

Jacksonville Jaguars

93.9

94.6

93.4

2.5

 

 

 

 

 

AFC West

PiRate

Mean

Biased

HFA

San Diego Chargers

103.5

100.3

99.9

3.5

Oakland Raiders

99.4

101.6

102.5

3

Kansas City Chiefs

94.8

92.7

92.0

1.5

Denver Broncos

94.1

96.3

96.8

1.5

Here are this week’s PiRate, Mean, and Bias Spreads.

This Week’s Games

Home Team in CAPS

(n) Denotes Neutral Site

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

Week 4: October 2-3, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

Vegas Line as of: Tuesday, September 27, 2011  8:30 AM EDT

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

Favorite Underdog

PiRate

Mean

Bias

Vegas

Totals

DALLAS Detroit

0.3

1.5

1.6

3   

47 1/2

New Orleans JACKSONVILLE

12.5

8.5

9.6

7   

46 1/2

PHILADELPHIA San Francisco

9.5

2.9

3.4

6   

41 1/2

Washington ST. LOUIS

3.2

7.1

10.2

Pk

44 1/2

Tennessee CLEVELAND

0.3

1.8

0.4

-1 1/2

38   

Buffalo CINCINNATI

3.2

2.8

4.0

3   

44   

Minnesota KANSAS CITY

1.7

4.3

2.7

1   

40   

CHICAGO Carolina

10.9

8.2

7.5

6 1/2

44   

HOUSTON Pittsburgh

1.8

3.3

4.9

4   

45   

Atlanta SEATTLE

9.1

4.5

7.1

4 1/2

41 1/2

ARIZONA New York Giants

7.5

3.2

4.4

-1   

45   

SAN DIEGO Miami

9.2

6.7

6.2

7 1/2

45 1/2

GREEN BAY Denver

16.8

14.9

15.2

13   

47 1/2

New England OAKLAND

5.3

3.5

0.9

4 1/2

53 1/2

BALTIMORE New York Jets

3.3

6.3

5.8

3 1/2

40 1/2

TAMPA BAY Indianapolis

4.4

7.4

9.3

10   

41 1/2

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