Quality Standings: Colts, Patriots still unproven
Cold, Hard Football Facts for Nov 08, 2009
The season is now at its halfway mark for every NFL team, with the exception of MNF combatants Pittsburgh-Denver.
Seems like a natural time to take a quick look at some of the winners and losers so far this season, as sized up through the lens of our Quality Standings. It's also time for a lot of us to take a hot shower after a long weekend without one on the road to and from Penn State, but you don't care about our hygiene. Hell, we don't care about our hygiene. But more on that later.
Denver – The Broncos enjoy a league-leading 4-0 mark against Quality Teams heading into another quality showdown against Pittsburgh Monday night. Denver has bested Cincinnati , Dallas , New England and San Diego , four teams who are a combined 23-9. Denver has also outscored these Quality Opponents by a consistent average of about one touchdown per game.
New Orleans – The Saints toyed with another second-rate team Sunday, like a cat playfully pawing at a mouse before then tearing it to shreds – much like they did two weeks again against Miami . New Orleans trailed Carolina 14-0 after one quarter, and 17-6 at the half, before storming back for a 30-20 win. New Orleans is one of two 8-0 teams, and leads the NFC with a 3-0 mark against Quality Opponents, beating Philly, N.Y. Giants and Atlanta . Most impressive is that they've averaged 43.7 PPG against these three, better than their overall average of 37.9 PPG. Both marks lead the NFL. Indianapolis – The Colts were the only team in football with just one game against a Quality Opponent, so their impressive 7-0 start had at least some air of suspicion around it. Indy now has a 2-0 mark against Quality Teams after beating upstart Houston at home Sunday, but the other Quality win came against Arizona. These two victims are a combined 10-7 – it's not exactly on the caliber of the slate the Broncos have faced. But we'll know more about the Colts Sunday night, after they host the Patriots in what seems like an annual grudge match against the AFC powers. LOSERS Minnesota – The Favrkings schedule had looked tough heading into the team's Week 9 bye. They had a 3-1 mark against Quality Teams. But then today some of their opponents don't look quite as hot as they did just a few days ago. Green Bay's embarrassing 38-28 loss at Tampa Sunday stripped the Vikings of two of their Quality Wins this year – as the Packers fell to 4-4 and suddenly beating them twice seems like no great shakes for the Favrkings. Baltimore, a 33-31 victim to Minnesota a few weeks ago, also fell to 4-4 this week. As of today, Minnesota has played just one team with a winning record – the Steelers – and the Favrkings lost that game by 10. Minnesota is 7-1 right now. And by the end of the year the Packers and Ravens could prove to be quality playoff teams. But as of right now, Minnesota 's schedule raises more suspicion than Col. Mustard in the living room with his bloody candlestick.
For you CHFF newcomers, our Quality Standings are merely our simple way to quantify who's built their record against the iron of the NFL, and who's fattened themselves on cupcakes.
SOMETHING TO PROVE
New England – Oh, look, how convenient: the Patriots, like the Colts, actually still have something to prove. Oh, and look, the two teams play Sunday night. New England , like Indy, easily controls its division at the halfway mark. And both have won impressively: the Patriots have outscored their opponents by 110 points this year; the Colts by 109. Only New Orleans (+129 is better). But the Patriots are a meager 1-1 against Quality Teams through Week 9. The only Quality Opponent the Patriots have bested this year are the 5-3 Falcons, who New England handled fairly easily (26-10). In retrospect, New England's best game of the year might have been its 59-0 thrashing of the Titans in the snow, but its 20-17 overtime loss at 6-1 Denver .
N.Y. Giants – A popular favorite at the start of the year, and again after they raced out to a 5-0 start, with a win at Dallas and wipeouts of second-class citizens like Tampa and Oakland . But now the Giants are 5-4 and look like a classic Sunshine Superman: beating up bad teams and then folding like a guy with a pair of 3s against Quality Teams. The Giants beat Dallas nearly two months ago, and over the last month have been wiped out by the Saints, Cardinals, Eagles and Chargers – two of those games at home. Based on that track record, we're looking at eight straight losses for the popular G-Men. Their next four come against Atlanta , Denver , Dallas and Philly.
2009 Quality Standings (through Week 9, pending MNF)
|AFC East||NFC East|
|AFC North||NFC North|
|AFC South||NFC South|
|AFC West||NFC West|
|San Diego||1||2||24.0||30.7||San Francisco||1||4||17.8||26.0|
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