Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Killing Time: Win Expectancy, the Wild Card and the Return of Dontarrius

  • Gridironmine figured out the play by play win expectancy for Sunday's game (something they've been doing for the entire season). Personally, I love win expectancy--there are very few ways to figure out the importance of a play. For example, the pass interference call changed the win expectancy 47% in the Vikings favor. Another good example--the Lions had an 85% chance of winning (their highest of the game) when they had the ball at 3rd and 1 on the Vikings' 44 with 5:33 left in the game. Without Kevin Williams stopping Justin Felton for no gain, the Purple probably lose.
  • The NFC East may not have surrendered the crown of "Best Division" with three losses this week, but the Cowboys, Giants and Redskins' losses created an opening for a team from another division to grab a wild card spot. I think it'll require the right 10-6 record (with most of the 6 losses to AFC teams), but I wouldn't be surprised to see the second wild card team come from the NFC South (or maybe, just maybe the NFC North. And there I go being unrealistically optimistic again. But the Vikings are 3-1 against the NFC...). I definitely would not be surprised if the Cowboys missed the playoffs, especially with Brad Johnson at quarterback for 4 games. It might just be me, but I don't see him matching Tony Romo's 7.94 yards per pass attempt.
  • Speaking of Brad Johnson, Kevin Seifert has a breakdown of his final year in Minnesota. Let's just say it's not a favorable breakdown for Brad Childress' coaching style.
  • Was Brad Childress' decision to kick the extra point on Sunday a good one? I'm not actually sure. On one hand, it's not a bad idea to ensure you'll only need to score once, even if the other team scores a touchdown (there was no way the Lions would go for two). On the other, the Vikings' offense was playing horrible (and needed an iffy pass interference call to get the field goal they needed). I'm pretty sure that the decision came down to Childress' confidence in the KAO, along with some concerns about a possible punt return touchdown or another big play for a touchdown putting the game out of reach. I'm not going to complain to much about the decision, mainly because I don't think it's too unreasonable to expect the Vikings' offense (or defense, via a turnover) to get in field goal range with 20 minutes remaining in the game and because I don't think the Vikings would have completed the two point conversion.
  • Dontarrius Thomas is a Viking again. He's an upgrade over Vinny Circiu at middle linebacker, but no matter what happens (there really aren't a whole lot of available options at MLB in Week 6), the loss of E.J. Henderson is a big one for the Vikings and it makes it less likely that the Vikings' defense can carry the team to the playoffs.
  • Football Outsiders on why Adrian Peterson's performance on Sunday was a lot worse than you'd think, even after factoring in the two fumbles (and, in a related post, Smarter Stats on why a rushing title doesn't mean a running back had the best season). Also, according to their statistics, Gus Frerotte's performance on Sunday was the 6th worst by a quarterback. Bernard Berrian's performance, however, was the 5th best of any wide receiver.

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