The Patriots Arent Quite Their Usual Dominant Selves This Year

Playoff %Playoff % This year, though, New England is a perfect 5-0 at home but only 3-3 on the road — respectable but nowhere near the league’s best. (The Pats have also been outscored by 11 points in away games, against a road schedule that ranks just 28th in average opposing Elo.) And this might come up in the playoffs, unlike so many seasons in which the Pats had home-field advantage through the AFC title game.1Since 2010, New England has played a total of 15 non-Super Bowl playoff games — of which 13 have been hosted at Gillette Stadium. Right now, New England is in line for the AFC’s No. 2 seed behind the Kansas City Chiefs, but only a half-game separates them from the fourth-seeded Steelers.Owning the turnover battleTurnover margin is one of the most important factors in determining who wins or loses any football game. Conventional stathead wisdom, though, tells us that outlier turnover seasons — whether avoiding them on offense, forcing them on defense, or both — are unsustainable. While there are some ways a team can influence its tendency to have more takeaways than giveaways, a lot of it also comes down to luck.Unless, of course, you’re the Patriots. New England perennially dominates this category, ranking first by a mile from 2010 through 2017 with a +116 turnover differential, almost double that of the next-best team. A lot of that is a function of having Tom Brady at QB; he’s tied for the second-lowest interception percentage of any passer in NFL history. But the Pats are also great at avoiding fumbles — only the Falcons had coughed it up fewer times since 2010, and no team had lost fewer fumbles than the Pats. And their defense had forced the second-most turnovers of any team this decade (behind the Giants), ranking second in interceptions and tied for third in fumbles recovered.Such opportunism has historically paid big dividends for New England, but this year’s squad is still trying to recapture that formula. The Pats are currently +5 in turnovers, which ranks ninth in the league but is nothing special by their standards. Brady has his highest interception rate since 2013 (his seven picks already are only one off of his full-season total from last year), driving a big overall increase in giveaways per game, though the team is being more careful in recent weeks. And while the Pats have forced at least one turnover in all but one game this season, they are tied for eighth-to-last in the league in games with three or more takeaways, six behind the league-leading Bears.Yards and pointsIn addition to — and correlated with — their dominant turnover differential, the Patriots have always had another trick up their sleeves in terms of winning extra games. It involves their yards per point (YPP): essentially, how efficiently they turn field position into scores on offense and how inefficiently they force opponents to do the same. By definition, when you have a lower YPP than the opponent, you will win more often because you’re trading field position for points at a more favorable rate than they are.Like turnover margin, YPP is supposed to be pretty inconsistent from year to year, bouncing around with a team’s luck at picking up key first downs and converting red zone chances, along with the all-important knack for “bending but not breaking” on defense. Yet the Pats dominate this category so thoroughly and so consistently, it might be the single biggest factor in their ongoing success. Not only had they ranked first in both offensive and defensive YPP since 2010, but their net YPP differential of +5.6 was more than double the No. 2 Packers’ +2.5 mark over that span.(This is one of the big reasons that worries about the Patriots’ defense always need to be tempered. Belichick’s team has traditionally punched above its weight in terms of points allowed, just because it always makes opponents work so hard to turn gains on the field into rewards on the scoreboard.)This season, the Pats remain among the top net YPP teams, ranking fourth, but they are not quite dominating like usual. They rank just seventh in offensive YPP and sixth on defense, with a net YPP of +2.8, which trails the Bears, Saints and Chiefs. On top of the increase in turnovers per game from above, New England’s efficiency rankings on third down and in the red zone are worse, and the team has slipped in those same “situational” categories on defense. And if you want another cause for the Patriots’ YPP decline, their net starting field position is -2.6 yards per drive this season (meaning the opponent starts 2.6 yards closer to the end zone than the Pats), after a decade in which that number was a league-best +4.6.In other words, many of the little things that usually add up to that massive YPP advantage for New England aren’t quite working as well so far this year. But the good news for the Pats is that their turnover margin and net YPP tend to improve radically from this point in the season onward, in no small part because Belichick specifically tries to build a tough, physical team that thrives in bad weather. So even in a relative down season by their key indicators, don’t be surprised if the Patriots build them up at least some before season’s end.Gronk smash!Tight end Rob Gronkowski has long been the Pats’ not-so-secret weapon on offense, helping the team transition seamlessly from the powerful Randy Moss-Wes Welker offense of a previous era to the version that’s been terrorizing the league for most of this decade.But the famously fragile Gronk has appeared to show his age and mileage this season more than perhaps ever before. He’s missed three games with various ailments, and when he has played, he’s been limited to just 63.0 yards per game with a career-low 0.25 touchdown catches per contest. Gronkowski’s reduced mobility has hurt his trademark ability to rumble after the catch for spectacular gains, and it’s made him much less of a focal point in the offense than he’s accustomed to being. When on the field, Gronk has seen only 18.7 percent of the targets in the Pats’ passing game, his lowest number since getting 17.7 percent as a rookie.But Gronk’s influence on the Patriots’ offense remains undeniable. In the eight games the star tight end has played in 2018, Brady’s passer rating is 98.2; in the three he missed, it dropped to 91.6 (league average is 94.9). Even with Gronkowski playing in a more limited physical condition than usual, producing less of a statistical footprint than before, this is confirmation that he’s still one of the biggest engines driving the Patriots’ success. The biggest question might simply be what kind of durability Gronkowski’s banged-up body will have over the rest of the season.Brady stays ageless … sort ofAlong with Belichick, the one constant in New England’s dynasty has been No. 12 under center. Brady has probably been the single most valuable player in the NFL this century, and he’s been crucial in engineering five Super Bowl titles for the Patriots with his consistency, leadership and ability to rally the team back from seemingly insurmountable deficits.But at 41 — an age at which almost no other QB has ever been productive — there is a near-constant watch for any sign of slippage in Brady’s performance. And he has been a bit less sharp statistically than in years past. His adjusted net yards per attempt index at Pro-Football-Reference.com, which measures passing efficiency relative to the league (where 100 is average), is 111 this year, down from 117 last season and 138 the year before that. It hadn’t been so low since Brady was barely above average (102) in 2013.Of course, there are reasons for Brady’s decline that go beyond his advanced age, from Gronk’s aforementioned absences to a four-game suspension for top target Julian Edelman at the start of the season and a WR corps in flux early on before adding Josh Gordon and shuffling roles for the likes of Phillip Dorsett and (WR-turned-RB) Cordarrelle Patterson. But Brady has managed to work around weird receiving situations before — and, in fact, his passer rating was better over the season’s first four games (94.0) than it’s been over the four most recent ones (90.8).Combine that with a ProFootballFocus grade that’s down a bit from last season (though still sixth-best among QBs) and those ubiquitous stats about Brady’s off-target throws (at 22.1 percent, no qualified passer has thrown an errant pass more frequently this year), and it’s fair to ask whether Brady is playing at quite the same level as he did over the past few seasons. Whether because of Brady or the receivers, the Pats are currently tied for eighth in adjusted net yards per attempt — their worst showing since (again) 2013, a season that saw New England fall short in the AFC title game.2Though it does bear mentioning that six of the eight Super Bowl champs this decade ranked among the top 10 in ANY/A, right in line with the Pats’ current performance. Taken altogether, these numbers reveal a Patriots squad that is not fully playing at the level it’s used to at this stage of the season. And that shows up in big-picture indicators such as Elo or even point differential, where the Pats’ +58 margin is its weakest of the decade through 11 contests. But even so, a lessened version of the Patriots still ranks among the league’s top teams. And as we mentioned above, the Vikings will be a good opponent for Belichick to use as a measuring stick for his roster. According to our combination of matchup quality (i.e., the harmonic mean of the teams’ Elo ratings in each game) and game importance (how likely it is to swing either team’s odds of making the playoffs), this will be the fourth-best game of the week: HOU95.73.8CLE1.31.45.21462 GB6.13.0ARI<0.1<0.13.01412 BUF56JAX55BUF 24, JAX 21-13.0– WSH38.9%+/-19.5PHI23.7%+/-11.130.61525 NO81NO83NO 31, ATL 17-0.9– CIN75%CIN63%CLE 35, CIN 20+13.4– The best matchups of Week 13Week 13 games by ranking of average Elo ratings (using the harmonic mean) plus ranking of total potential swing for the two teams’ playoff chances, according to FiveThirtyEight’s NFL predictions CHI96.33.9NYG<0.1<0.13.91474 KC99.90.2OAK<0.1<0.10.21479 IND29.514.5JAX0.10.114.71468 IND68IND70IND 27, MIA 24-0.6– SEA74.910.5SF<0.1<0.110.51460 HOU58HOU63HOU 34, TEN 17+2.3– PIT70PIT69DEN 24, PIT 17+0.0 Home teams are in bold.The scoring system is nonlinear, so readers’ average points don’t necessarily match the number of points that would be given to the average reader prediction. DEN13.010.7CIN6.45.316.01453 Game quality is the harmonic mean of the Elo ratings for the two teams in a given matchup.*Average change is weighted by the likelihood of a win or loss. (Ties are excluded.)Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group LAC88.27.0PIT93.95.612.61619 DET1.31.6LAR>99.9<0.11.61550 LAC84LAC85LAC 45, ARI 10-0.9– MIA5.13.9BUF1.31.35.21425 Here’s a surprise: The New England Patriots are 8-3, leading the AFC East, with some of the best odds in the conference of winning the Super Bowl.Oh, right. I’ve just described basically every Pats season in recent memory. This is the ninth consecutive season that New England has won at least eight of its first 11 games. The team’s current Elo rating of 1641, however, is the lowest it’s been through the same stage of the season since 2009 (and we don’t talk about that season).So what are we to make of these Patriots, then? After overcoming the typical early season hiccups, is this year’s version ready to build championship momentum down the stretch like normal? Or is there still something a little bit off about a team that was showering its punter (of all players) with praise after an uncharacteristically modest win over the lowly New York Jets last week?In advance of New England’s showdown Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, let’s take a look at some of the Patriots’ calling-card metrics to see whether this season is business as usual in Foxboro.Road warriors?One of the Pats’ most eye-catching statistics during Bill Belichick’s time as head coach has been their near-invincibility at home, where they’ve won 87 percent of their games this decade. But their road record — winning more than 70 percent of the time away from Gillette Stadium — could be even more remarkable. From 2010 to 2017, the Pats’ winning percentage on the road was about 10.5 percentage points higher than what we’d expect from their home record — the third biggest gap in the NFL (behind the Cowboys and Eagles): NE77NE82NE 27, NYJ 13+0.4– Team ACurrentAvg. Chg*Team BCurrentAvg. Chg*Total ChangeGame Quality BAL46.118.0ATL4.23.121.01539 While the game has a lot more at stake for Minnesota, whose spot in the playoffs is still not fully locked in, there is still plenty for the Patriots to play for as well. Not only will this game affect seeding for the postseason (Elo says the Pats currently have a 60 percent chance of securing a first-round playoff bye), but it will also be another telling data point as to whether the Pats can get back to their mega-dominant form of the recent past, or if they’ll be merely good — but mortal — according to their signature metrics.FiveThirtyEight vs. the readersIf you want to know where your team stands, FiveThirtyEight’s Elo ratings are a good indicator. You can check them out in our NFL prediction interactive, which simulates the rest of the season 100,000 times and tracks how often each team should make the playoffs and win the Super Bowl. Did you know you can also pick against the Elo algorithm in our prediction game? Try it out, and maybe you can climb up our giant leaderboard.Here are the games in which Elo made its best — and worst — predictions against the reader picks last week: CHI53CHI59CHI 23, DET 16+2.9– MIN62.813.6NE99.11.014.61610 OUR PREDICTION (ELO)READERS’ PREDICTION MIN71MIN60MIN 24, GB 17-10.0– DAL65DAL67DAL 31, WSH 23-0.5– Elo’s dumbest (and smartest) picks of Week 12Average difference between points won by readers and by Elo in Week 12 matchups in FiveThirtyEight’s NFL prediction game On average, Elo beat our readers by 18.9 points in the game last week, bringing its record to 11 wins and one loss so far this season. Readers had the best pick of Week 12 — rightly pumping the brakes on Cincinnati’s chances of beating the Browns — but they were punished for picking against Elo in the Bills’ upset over the Jaguars, and they didn’t show enough faith in the victorious Vikings, Eagles and Bucs.Among individual users who did better than average, congrats are in order to Ryan Gnizak, who led all users in Week 12 with 263.5 points, and to Greg Chili Van Hollebeke, who held on to a slim lead for the entire season with 934.5 points. Thanks to everyone who has been playing — and if you haven’t, be sure to get in on the action! You can make picks now and still try your luck against Elo, even if you haven’t played yet.Check out our latest NFL predictions. CAR62CAR57SEA 30, CAR 27+4.1– BAL83BAL81BAL 34, OAK 17-2.3– TB63TB58TB 27, SF 9-5.7– PHI80PHI69PHI 25, NYG 22-8.1– DAL60.313.3NO>99.90.113.31635 PICKWIN PROB.PICKWIN PROB.ResultREADERS’ NET PTS TEN20.57.2NYJ<0.1<0.17.21417 CAR30.914.9TB0.70.815.71492 read more

Football The Barrettera comes to an end in Ohio Stadium Saturday

Ohio State redshirt senior quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) runs the ball in for a touchdown in the first half of the Ohio State-Michigan State game on Nov. 11. Credit: Nick Clarkson | Social Media EditorSaturday will mark the final time quarterback J.T. Barrett will sprint through the Hazelwood Family Tunnel in Ohio Stadium to take the field as a Buckeye. He has made that run every home game over the past five seasons, the first as a redshirt and each of the past four as the starting quarterback. Between that first game on Aug. 31, 2013 and Saturday, spanning 1,540 days, Barrett has set 22 Ohio State records, led the team to a national championship-winning season in his first year as a starter, and brought the team to two playoff appearances in three full seasons as a starter. Saturday will mark the end of an era in Ohio Stadium. Love him, hate him or stand somewhere in the middle, Ohio State fans will never again see Barrett doing quick cals with the students before the game, never again see Barrett stand at the Block O in the center of the field for the coin toss, never again see Barrett lock arms with head coach Urban Meyer and the rest of the team to sing “Carmen” at the end of every game. No longer seeing that familiar No. 16 taking snaps under center will be strange for those fans. He has seemingly been the quarterback for as long as anyone can remember. “I haven’t had time to look on it too much, but just a little bit looking back, it’s been a long time,” Barrett said Tuesday. “Five years is quite some time.”Barrett’s path to the final step in his career in Columbus has been a long, winding and often complex road. The Wichita Falls, Texas, native took over the starting quarterback position as a redshirt freshman after Braxton Miller injured his shoulder and missed the season. He lost the second game of his career as a starter, sparking questions that seems to have lingered throughout his entire career as to whether he should be the starter.Since then, he’s won a national championship and battled for a starting spot the following season. He’s been at the helm of two teams that reached the College Football Playoff and has always faced criticism from the fanbase. He has won 40 games and lost just six games over a span of nearly four years, and even in this final year, it took one loss to a top-five team for people to ask for him to be replaced by a quarterback who had made one total collegiate appearance.Through the trials and tribulations he’s faced every season, Barrett has been the most productive quarterback in program history. “Even if you get like a new job, you have certain goals you write out for yourself that you want to achieve and kind of like I said, you have a path on how to get there and you know what you want to accomplish,” Barrett said. “Then it’s almost like, well hold on now. God has a path too and it’s not always the same path. With that, there’s things along the way that I didn’t expect. God knew what was happening I think with those things. Positive or negative, I was able to build from them and I think at the end of the day, I think I’m a better person for all the things I went through.”His journey as an Ohio State quarterback does not end Saturday. Barrett knows this. Following the game against Illinois, he will travel up north to Ann Arbor, Michigan, for a matchup against the rival Wolverines. Depending on the outcome, he could then be headed to Indianapolis for the Big Ten championship game.Ohio State redshirt senior quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) signals to the offense in the second quarter of the Ohio State-Iowa game on Nov. 4. Ohio State lost 24-55. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorBut Barrett is not looking past this game. He knows the significance of the game, even if it is coming against an opponent the Buckeyes are heavily favored to beat. Senior Day means the final home game for many players considered to be staples in Ohio State’s team dating back to its national championship winning season. As a redshirt freshman playing on his first Senior Day, Barrett remembers feeling motivated to compete as hard as possible for more than just the chance at a title, but for the seniors who would be competing in their final home game.“I remember looking at the older guys on our offense … playing for those guys and how much that meant to them that that was going to be their last time playing at Ohio Stadium,” Barrett said. “I think if anything that’s what’s going to be talked about as far as playing for something because you ain’t going to get that again.”That season, Barrett watched seniors like Jeff Heuerman, Evan Spencer and Devin Smith run onto the field to receive that final ovation from the fans, hug their parents and deliver them flowers. Saturday, it will be Barrett’s turn to make that run.Barrett has yet to give serious thought to the Senior Day ceremony, but he knows it will be an emotional moment when his name is called and he runs out onto the field for the final time to deliver roses to his parents.“I might see my mom cry for the first time,” Barrett said. “That’s a big deal. I’m 22 years old and haven’t seen that.”Barrett has taken the field at Ohio Stadium 33 times. Saturday will mark the 34th and final time. That run from the tunnel will mark the beginning of the end for Barrett. When he runs back into that tunnel at the end of the game, he will leave Ohio Stadium as one of the most accomplished quarterbacks to ever play on that field. read more

Kohler Where is Ronaldo in the big games

first_imgFormer Juventus and Germany star Jurgen Kohler has questioned Cristiano Ronaldo’s big game recordThe five-time Ballon d’Or winner ended his nine-year stay at Real Madrid for a move to Juventus this summer.However, he has yet to find the back of the net in his three Serie A appearances.And Kohler, who won one Scudetto, one Coppa Italia and the UEFA Cup at Juventus, questioned Ronaldo’s ability to perform in the biggest matches.The 33-year-old didn’t score in last season’s Champions League final and has never managed to find the net in a knockout match at a World Cup following Portugal’s last-16 exit at Russia.“There are no two opinions about Ronaldo’s qualities. He holds many records in Spain,” said Kohler, as stated on AS.“He has managed to win the major trophies. You have to pay tribute to him.“However, I must say that you rarely see Ronaldo in the decisive matches.Cristiano Ronaldo, Nemanja Vidic, Manchester UnitedVidic: “Ronaldo is the most professional footballer I’ve seen” Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Nemanja Vidic opened up on how a 21-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo’s professionalism left him stunned at Manchester United.“Then he goes on to score the goal to make it 4-1, with a penalty, and wants to be celebrated for it. But that’s the way he is, too.”Despite the criticism, Kohler did acknowledge Ronaldo as a “true champion” due to his outstanding work ethic.“I talked about him to a lot of people,” he said.“Everyone is fascinated because he also works a lot on the pitch.“Only the true champions are willing to work more. That applies to Ronaldo.“That’s the difference between world-class players and the regulars.”Kohler spent four years at Juventus and he also played for Cologne, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.The 52-year-old was also a part of the Germany squad that won the 1990 FIFA World Cup and the 1996 UEFA European Championship.last_img read more

The golden colour of joy

first_imgPaying A tribute to renowned art critic Late Keshav Malik, a group exhibition titled Golden Moments is being organised by artist Arshi Hafeez. The show will display the works of 19 artists from across the country. Hafeez, also the curator of the show, tries to bring forward the innermost elation and joy of the golden moments in the form of paintings and sculptures installations.Some of the participant artists are – Yasin Sahab, Mahesh Kumar, Naresh Kapuria, Parul Arya, Alpana and others. The show will display a diverse mediums and art forms , from paintings to sculptures and installation art. Golden Moments is a potpourri of the innermost elation and joys of an artist exploring his creativity.When: On till 31 JulyWhere:  Visual Art Gallery, India Habitat Centre Timing: 11 am – 7pmlast_img read more

October 16 2003 CROSSING 32ND STREET top row f

first_imgOctober 16, 2003CROSSING 32ND STREET: (top row from left): David Sharpe, Andria Fennig, Eric Schultz, Brett Reed, Kortney James. (bottom row from left): Douglas Nottingham, Christopher Scinto.[Photo: sa & text: kh] Crossing 32nd Street is an ensemble dedicated to the performance of contemporary classical music. (Left) Andria Fennig plucks the strings inside the piano. (Right) Brett Reid and Douglas Nottingham play a duet on the marimbas[Photo: sa & text: kh] The entire ensemble takes the stage for the final piece.[Photo: sa & text: kh]last_img read more