The favorite passing stat of many in the advanced stat world is adjusted net yards per attempt, or ANY/A.
Despite this, there does not exist on the internet (to my knowledge) any database of single game ANY/A, or, more interestingly, ANY/A differential and its correlation with winning football games. You can get yards per attempt differential correlated with wins, or passer rating differential -- but not ANY/A differential.
I took both challenges on in my spare time this past week to bring you such data today. And as the season rolls forward, I will continue looking back into seasons past to both establish a database of single game ANY/As and also see what use ANY/A might serve as a predictive tool.
To start, the first 4 weeks' worth of ANY/A has been calculated for every game. In case you are unaware of the formula, as defined by Pro-Football-Reference, it goes as follows:
The two resulting differentials were then put side-by-side to see how often ANY/A differential matched offensive point differential. 62 games have been played so far (not counting the most recent Thursday game), and in all but 8 of the contests ANY/A differential correlated with offensive point differential. In other words, the team with more adjusted net yards per attempt also scored more points in about 87% of games played in 2013.
The actual correlation coefficient of ANY/A differential to offensive point differential is a pretty awesome 0.83 through 4 weeks.
As I said, I will keep looking back into past seasons to see the correlation, as well as move forward this season with ANY/A as a possible predictive tool. Perhaps even more awesome, however, by establishing quarterback and team ANY/A for single games, we can see defensive performance in a new way.
Defensive ANY/A takes into account a defensive's ability to (a) create turnovers, (b) cause pressure, and (c) play well in the secondary. Perhaps more than any one stat, it can be used to holistically categorize and rank passing defenses from front to back.
What follows this week is the ranking of each team in ANY/A differential: offensive ANY/A minus defensive ANY/A. Below that are my thoughts on a couple games using ANY/A as the primary statistical tool.
|New Orleans Saints||4.25||7.98||3.73|
|Kansas City Chiefs||2.83||6.09||3.26|
|New England Patriots||1.7||6.59||4.89|
|San Diego Chargers||0.07||8.47||8.4|
|San Francisco 49ers||-0.07||5.3||5.37|
|New York Jets||-0.49||4.95||5.44|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-0.85||3.73||4.58|
|Green Bay Packers||-0.94||7.7||8.63|
|New York Giants||-2.41||4.31||6.72|
|St. Louis Rams||-3.05||5.4||8.44|
This chart can be viewed in a sort-able fashion by following this link to a Google Document. Also in the document are several other spreadsheets with the information mentioned above.
I'll conclude with some thoughts on a few of today's outings as considered through the lens of adjusted net yards per pass attempt. If you have any thoughts/ideas on how this statistic might be used, or if you would enjoy seeing single game ANY/A data for past seasons, please reply with words of encouragement and/or suggestions.
Can the Dallas Cowboys stop Peyton Manning?
Peyton Manning leads the league in ANY/A in 2013, just as he did in 2012. Through 4 games, he is posting a ridiculous 10.96 adjusted net yards per attempt.
With only 5 sacks acquiesced in 161 dropbacks (sacks + attempts), the 37 year old veteran is being protected at a better rate than any other quarterback. He is showing his appreciation with league-leading numbers in all the following: 9.42 yards per pass, 75% completion rate, 16 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions.
The Dallas Cowboys rank 9th in defensive ANY/A so far, but that comes against a struggling Sam Bradford, a "why did I draft David Wilson in the 2nd round of my fantasy draft?" Eli Manning, and a Chiefs squad led by Alex Smith in his 200th new offensive system.
The best preview of this match might be Dallas' contest last week against San Diego. Philip Rivers ranks 2nd to Manning in our featured stat and he handled the Cowboys to the tune of a 9.51 ANY/A, throwing 3 touchdowns and only being sacked once and picked off once.
Rivers is starting this season very strong, but even he could only dream of the run Manning is enjoying through 4 games. Thus, if the Dallas defense and coaching staff are going to prevent any quarterback from winning today, it will be their usual target: Tony Romo.
Colin Kaepernick's roller-coaster ride continues
San Francicso's burgeoning young star, Colin Kaepernick, posted the 7th highest single game ANY/A of the year so far in his first bout against Green Bay at 11.32. He followed that up with a Blaine Gabbert-esque -0.90 in Seattle. Indeed, only Kaepernick and Gabbert have recorded negative ANY/A games in 2013.
For the following two weeks, the cycle of variance continued: Kaepernick had trouble against the Colts (3.13) in Week 3, but bounced back 4 days later verse St. Louis (7.64). Which of these kids will show up in today's contest with the Texans is anyone's guess, and probably only something 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh and Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman can control.
On the other side of the line of scrimmage, the Houston defense will do their best to make Kaepernick's performance his third dud of the season. The squad ranks 9th in defensive ANY/A and has 13 sacks, but they are giving up over 110 yards on the ground per game. A heavy dose of Frank Gore worked for San Francisco last week against St. Louis, and the team might be wise to stay the course.
After all, more dropbacks for Kaepernick provide more opportunities for last season's Defensive Player of the Year, J.J. Watt, to wreak havoc. His 2 batted passes so far are below his 2012 pace, But J.J. "Swatt" still has 4 sacks, 6 QB hits, and 13 hurries in only 126 snaps rushing the passer -- meaning he leads the league in Pass Rush Productivity for 3-4 DEs (as measured by Pro Football Focus' Signature Stats).
The best way to neutralize this weapon may be to run the ball away from him. If the 49ers do that, Kaepernick should enjoy a second week of highs on the variance swing.
Bad time for a back-up as Titans take on Kansas City
Coming into Week 5, Jake Locker was one of only two quarterbacks (Peyton Manning being the other) to attempt at least 30 passes this season without throwing an interception. He was averaging a more-than-respectable 6.46 ANY/A -- which believe it or not is good for top 10 in the league.
Replacing him for at least the month of October is Ryan Fitzpatrick. The former Buffalo Bill averaged a bottom-third 5.33 ANY/A through 4 years of football there, and he brings that level of below-par play to a Kansas City squad with the 1st ranked ANY/A defense in the NFL.
The Chiefs, under new Defensive Coordinator Bob Sutton, are killing opposing quarterbacks with the deadly combination of sacks and interceptions. They lead the league in downing the signal-caller behind the LOS with 18 sacks for 118 yards.
The team also has 5 picks. With Fitzpatrick averaging a high 3.7 INT% in Buffalo, we can expect Sutton's crew, with returning cornerback Brandon Flowers, to take advantage of the gunslinger.
The Seahawks and Colts are 13th and 12th in offensive ANY/A and 2nd and 4th on the other side of the ball, respectively. The two are more evenly matched on the raw ANY/A data rankings than any other Week 5 pair.
If this game were in Seattle, one would expect them to win; but the undefeated NFC West leaders are a different team on the road, where they have taken two games only by a combined 8 points. This includes an overtime victory last week verse a Houston squad that would have won were it not for a late-inning gaffe by quarterback Matt Schaub. Through 4 weeks, 8 games have had offensive point differentials not go the way of ANY/A differential, and last week in Texas was one of them.
Andrew Luck is the better quarterback, and it will show at home in the 4th quarter as Seattle takes their first loss of the season in a close defensive struggle.