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Stats v. Stats: Week 16 or "Why Our Secondary (Probably) Won't Get Owned"

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Now that we've wrapped up our Statistics 101 Series (statistical primer of sorts), we're moving on to bigger and better things. Our good friend orang3b more or less created this way back when, and I remember thinking it was an AWESOME idea. Hopefully you all will feel the same, because I'm picking up trying to pick up where he left off.

I'm going to dissect each upcoming game from a statistic-driven viewpoint, basically focusing in on one or more position battles of interest. I'm not predicting what will happen, just trying to narrow down what could happen, assuming past performance tells us something about future performance.

Predictions go out the window come game time, but I'm a huge proponent of prognostication for prognostication's sake.

Mr. NyQuil might wanna stay lucid. Because our secondary isn't getting owned. No sir. Not going to happen. Join me after the jump and I'll show you why.

Saints with the Rock - Breezy Getting Loose (a.k.a. The Saint's Passing Game)

Meachem and Roby are questionable. I'm actually hoping that Meachem doesn't play. Because he's better than some might think. Humphrey doesn't play and Roby doesn't count because he doesn't catch passes (he just returns kicks and gets kicked in the head). 

First here are some numbers to ignore and skip over consider ...

Saints Pass Offense DVOAs are all over the board:

Meachem - 29.3 percent; 2nd in the league (29.3 percent more successful than the league average)

Henderson - 1.3 percent; 45th in the league

Colston - 10.4 percent; 25th in the league

Moore - 21.7 percent; 7th in the league

Bush (RB but he's averaging 4+ receptions/game) - 7.8 percent; would be 33rd in the league (among WRs)

Shockey (TE) - 7.8 percent; would be 33rd in the league (among WRs)

Graham (TE) - 20.6 percent; would be 8th in the league (among WRs)

Targets from previous game v. Atlanta:

Meachem - 2

Henderson - 5

Colston - 5

Moore - 7

Bush - n/a (DNP)

Shockey - 8

Graham - 1

Targets in previous 5 games:

Meachem - 16

Henderson - 12

Colston - 48

Moore - 28

Bush - 18

Shockey - 14

Graham - 26

Targets in previous 3 games:

Meachem - 12

Henderson - 6

Colston - 28

Moore - 16

Bush - 15

Shockey - 14

Graham - 11

Falcons' Pass Defense DVOA is currently sitting at 7 percent; 12th in the league (7 percent LESS successful than the league average).

Grimes has the 6th highest EPA+/game (Positive Expected Points Added Per Game) in the league and Robinson is paid to play like a Pro Bowler. Brees' 2010 TD/Int Ratio is a pathetic 1.6 (31/19). His TD/Int Ratio over the past five games is slightly better at 1.85 (13/7). Not saying he's a bad QB. He's a Super Bowl winning QB, and Trent Dilfer showed us why that means something. But he will, without a doubt, throw one or more picks tomorrow night. Turn Overs are absolutely essential in Falcons Land, because we win by dominating Time of Possession (Falcons have the third highest TOP/game at 32:28). 

Falcons will have to contend with Bush for the first time this year. And Graham has really progressed since Week 3. We have to find a way to deal with those two, otherwise bad stuff could happen. Bad stuff should be avoided. While they've played what are arguably less-talented teams, Falcons have only surrendered 5 passing TDs over the past 5 weeks. They gave up 5 passing TDs in the two preceding games - Weeks 9 and 10 - dating back to the bye week.

They'll undoubtedly target Colston quite a bit, and I'd also imagine they'll attempt to use Moore like they did in Week 3. Like it or not, the Shockey/Graham combo is anything but gobblety gook. Spoon's innate pass defense skills need to come out in full force and, with any luck, Stevey Nicholas will get his fair share of snaps.

At the end of the day, I'd say it's a pretty even match up; and we're far from screwed. In fact, I'd personally say ADVANTAGE FALCONS, and I'm coming to that conclusion from a totally objective perspective. Really I am (wink wink). I'm curious what you all think ... how will the Falcons Pass D/Saints Passing Game battle play out. Will our boys in Black and Red emerge from the battle playing field victorious? I say yes! And if you say nay, then I say explain!

Go forth and be statistical Falcoholics.