A Carpenter and His (De)Fense

by: Dana Fesjian And we are back. After six weeks of emotional ups and downs, the Bills have reached their first eight-win season in ten years, thanks to a Week 15 upset over the Packers. How long ago was that last eight-win season? Well, for starters, Sammy Watkins was 11 years old in 2004. Fred Jackson was earning $200 a week playing indoor football for … Continue reading A Carpenter and His (De)Fense

There is No Place Like Home

By Jeffrey Gleason

Nine weeks into the NFL season, no teams remain unbeaten. This could’ve actually been said after eight weeks, after seven weeks, and after six weeks as well. Week 5 was the last time an unbeaten team remained, when both the Cardinals and Bengals were sitting at 3-0.

However, after these same nine weeks, five teams remain unbeaten at home. The Patriots, Broncos, Eagles, Packers, and Cardinals have yet to lose on their own turf.

Home field advantage is a phenomenon that gets a lot of traction in sports. Experts often use it to justify their predictions and betting lines usually reflect the perceived advantage of the home side. However, people often generalize home field advantage with a “one size fits all” approach, acknowledging its presence, but assuming it displays a constant impact across different situations.

With five unbeaten NFL home teams and the recent impetus of a road team finally winning Game 7 of the World Series (the Giants topped the Royals on October 29th to capture their third championship in five years), I was interested in how home field advantage was quantitatively different in different situations. How does it vary across sports? Do both good teams and bad teams experience the same advantage? Is it magnified in the postseason? What about differences in earlier eras? These are the questions I set out to resolve.

Continue reading “There is No Place Like Home”

Betcha Can’t Choose Just One

By Dana Fesjian I started writing this article after the Bills went 1-3 in the preseason. But after they won their first two regular season games I thought Buffalo’s quarterback quandary had been resolved. Unfortunately I was wrong. Last November I also wrote an article about the uncertain future of Bills’ backup quarterbacks. Now that very same uncertainty has enveloped EJ Manuel. You’d think after … Continue reading Betcha Can’t Choose Just One

Third and Six

By Max Kaplan

League-wide, the conversion rate on 4th down is 50% but it jumps to 65% on 4th and 1. Ever wonder how likely it is to convert in a given situation? I ventured to find out, armed with the entire season’s worth of data from 2012.

The goal of 1st down is to create a manageable 2nd down. The goal of 2nd down is to create a manageable 3rd down. But you have to convert, eventually. What are the percentages of converting on a given down and distance?

1st down conversion by situation
*2012 Season
Note: Bigger rectangles are ranges of situations – used when
there weren’t enough plays in a given down and distance.

Continue reading “Third and Six”

Who’s Your Quarterback?

by Dana Fesjian

Every week after the Bills lose I always think, “If they just win every game from now on they can still make it to the playoffs.” Eventually, I start losing hope, but that hasn’t happened yet! They can still make it to the playoffs if they win every game from now on. They’ll be 10 and 6. That works. We just have to make sure the Patriots and the Jets stop winning. Good luck. OH, and one more thing, we may need a quarterback to play and not get injured for the next seven weeks. Again, good luck.

O Come, O Come EJ Manuel

After last year’s draft I was ecstatic that we (I consider myself a part of this team, true fan.) got EJ Manuel, finally a quarterback that could have some star power – no offense Ryan Fitzpatrick or Trent Edwards. Manuel had been playing great in the first 4 games and even though there was definitely room for improvement, the Bills were 2-2 and still in contention with the rest of the AFC East.

During a week 1 loss against the Patriots, Manuel completed 18 for 27 with 150 yards and 1 TD. In week 2 versus the Panthers he had many more snaps and completed 27 for 39 with 296 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT. Plus, the Bills won! Week 3 versus the Jets was similar to week 2, but Manuel made fewer completions. He went 19 for 42 with 243 yards and 1 TD. Manuel did not play as well in week 4 versus the Ravens and they relied more on CJ Spiller and the running game. He only completed 10 for 22 attempts with 167 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INTs.

In week 5 Manuel was on the track for having his strongest game of the season. But, as I watched Manuel carry that ball down the field on October 3rd’s game versus the Browns, I knew it wasn’t going to end well. He should have slid or gone out of bounds sooner! I was yelling at the television and then when he got hit and didn’t come up I was furious. He should have known better than to do something so ambitious. So that was a nice good bye to EJ for 4 to 6 weeks with a sprained LCL in his knee. He left the game in the third quarter having completed 11 for 20 with 129 yards.

Continue reading “Who’s Your Quarterback?”