Detroit is a 2 point favorite at home against Tampa Bay, but the efficiency model estimates that the Buccaneers have a 0.82 probability of upsetting the Lions. In this post I'll break down why the efficiency model favors the Bucs.
Detroit (3-2) is known these days for having a potent passing offense, while Tampa (4-2) is best known for its traditionally tough defense. But their efficiency stats tell a slightly different story.
Below is a table that lists each team's generic win probability (GWP) and their opponents' average GWP, each adjusted for to-date opponent strength. Also listed is each team's offensive and defensive GWP.
|Team||GWP||O GWP||D GWP||Opp GWP||Opp O GWP||Opp D GWP|
Tampa has been playing at a much higher level in terms of opponent-adjusted efficiency. The two teams have faced roughly equal opponents through week 6, with Tampa having faced average squads and Detroit facing stiffer defenses but weaker offenses.
The next table breaks down each team's (unadjusted) efficiency stats.
|Team||O Pass||O Run||O Int Rate||O Fum||D Pass||D Run||D Int Rate||Pen Rate|
The Buccaneers are better in every efficiency stat except defensive interception rate. The biggest advantage the Lions have on Sunday will be their home field. We also see that Tampa Bay is no longer a team reliant on its defense, but is a well-balanced team. Garcia has been very efficient and has thrown only one interception in six games. Tampa actually has the 4th most efficient passing game in the NFL. The Bucs appear to be a well disciplined team too, with one of the lowest penalty rates in the league.
A lot has been made of Martz's aggressive passing attack and the Lions' talent at wide receiver, but their offensive pass efficiency is slightly below average. Tampa Bay actually has a much better passing game so far in 2007.
Tampa has recently lost its starter at running back, but the rushing game has not been the strength of this team. Even if we dialed down their expected rushing efficiency, the Buccaneers would still be clear favorites.