Hog Report: Lions' front a feast or famine

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Dec 22, 2011





By Erik Frenz (Twitter: @ErikFrenz)

Cold, Hard Football Facts Head Butcher of Hog Meat

Detroit, what?

We here at CHFF may be white and obnoxious, but we're not Eminem. The Detroit Lions D-Hogs, though, have taken some tips from the "pride and joy" of their city. 

The Lions D-Hogs rank 10th in the NFL, and are in the hunt for the playoffs just three calendar years removed from capping off the worst season in NFL history. Except now, they are on pace to have one of the 20 worst run defenses in YPA in NFL history.

It's such a complex paradox, it's worthy of a rap.

The Detroit Lions can't stop the run
But quarterbacks be cryin' when they're under the gun
With 38 sacks and 18 picks,
Their Negative Pass Plays make QBs sick
The flow of the game is never the same
It screws with their brain and makes their timing go insane
It's no fun throwing passes when they're on their asses
But the Lions could teach classes on how to be classless
They collapse the pocket with Ndamukong Suh
And give your arm new sockets with the bottom of their shoes
They may be worthy of wearing the turd crown
But have you heard how they get off the field on third down?
Their 30.9 percent is the second best
But their run D is suspect and should be second-guessed
The last run D this bad was the '06 Colts
But that year, they went on to win the Super Bowl
But let's be real, that's probably a stretch
And watching them chase backs is like a dog playing fetch
It should be better with Suh and Nick Fairley,
And sure they'll make the playoffs, but barely.


Word.

Dolphins D-Hogs make up for naughty start with nice finish


Through Week 4, the Dolphins D-Hogs ranked 29th in the NFL. As of Week 15, they rank fifth. Some interesting notes about their resurgence.

Miami Dolphins D-Hogs YPA Rank NPP% Rank 3rd% Rank Overall rank
Through Week 4 4.1 19 5.23 31 43.4 24 29
Through Week 15 3.64 3 8.96 19 32.29 5 5

With almost half a yard less per carry, 3.75 percent more NPP and 11.1 percent less third down conversions allowed, the Dolphins have gone from swimming with the fish to eating them whole and spitting out their bones.

Have the Dolphins faced some carp along the way? No doubt. Most teams would kill for a schedule that includes the Jets, the Broncos, the Chiefs, the Redskins, two bouts with the Bills (more on them later), the Raiders and the Eagles. Well, ask and you shall receive -- the Dolphins face their first true test since Week 1, when they face the very same opponent that demolished them in Week 1, the New England Patriots. 

Bufallo's demise gives you the strange feeling that you've been here before

The Buffalo Bills have come crashing down to Earth after a hot 5-2 start, losing seven straight and blowing any hope of a playoff berth once again. We've heard this story before, as the Bills started 5-1 in 2008 only to finish 7-9 in Dick Jauron's final full season as head coach.

The parallels are striking between the two skids:
  • Turnovers: In '08, the Bills turned the ball over nine times in their 5-1 start. They turned it over nine times in their next three games, all losses, and 21 times in their final 10 games. In 2011, they turned it over nine times in their 5-2 start, with no more than two turnovers in any single game during that stretch. They have turned it over 17 times in their seven-game losing streak.
  • Run defense: Both versions of the Buffalo Bills couldn't stop the run. The '08 version was much less of a sieve against the run than the '11 version, which ranks in the bottom five of the NFL in nearly every rushing category that matters, and gives up 4.85 YPA on the ground.
  • Pressure: Neither team could get after the quarterback. The Bills finished the '08 season with 24 sacks, ranking 29th in the NFL. The '11 Bills currently have 21 sacks, and rank dead last in the NFL.
  • Inconsistent quarterbacking: Trent Edwards' passer rating through the first six games was 98.82, but he finished the season with 76.22 in the final 10 games. Through the first seven games of 2011, Fitzpatrick's passer rating was 97.77. Since then? 66.22. Still liking that contract extension, Buffalo?
Incidentally, the Offensive Hogs are the ones carrying the weight for the Bills this season. They, however, have slipped dramatically in the past few weeks. After starting out as the No. 1 O-Hogs in the NFL through Week 8 (at which point they were still 5-2). They fell to the No. 8 spot by Week 12, and after trending upward two spots per week in Weeks 13 and 14, they came crashing back down to the eight spot with a pitiful performance against the Miami Dolphins' fifth-ranked D-Hogs. Three sacks and three interceptions will do that to a team.

What's worse than that? The Bills didn't convert a single third down against the Dolphins. Not one of their 11 tries. That's been a struggle for them all season long, and they rank 22nd in the NFL in third down conversions at this point.

Quarterbacking and third down conversions are the biggest problems for the offense right now, but the defense has done little -- if anything -- to help. The D-Hogs rank second-worst in the NFL at this stage, and have been rolled through the mud in every indicator, ranking in the bottom 10 in the NFL in all three, allowing 4.85 YPA on the ground, forcing just 7.99 percent NPP and allowing opponents to convert 40.85 percent of third downs. Even if the offense had carried over on their early flashes of playoff potential, the defense would do nothing to inspire confidence in a stretch run.

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