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WELCOME to QuantCoach.com, the only site on the world-wide web that provides meaningful professional football coaching statistics. QuantCoach.com's revolutionary coaching statistics are derived from a peer-reviewed and generally accepted theory of competition known as Growth Theory. Veteran coach Bill Parcells once said, "If they want you to cook the dinner, at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries." But Growth Theory teaches us that success "springs from better recipes, not just from more cooking." In professional football, those "recipes" are the plays that coaches design. Simply, QuantCoach.com's coaching statistics separate the contribution of plays to pro football success from the contribution of players.

THE ARCHIVES (2018-Part 2)

 

QC's Week 5 Thoughts

It is pleasing to see Paul Romer win the Nobel Prize for Economics today. As most people who read this site or follow the @QuantCoach twitter account know, coaching statistics are based on Professor Romer's seminal paper, Endogenous Technological Change. Here is a link to QC's original paper based on Professor Romer's theory: Quantifying NFL Coaching: A Proof of New Growth Theory. Here is a detailed summary of Professor Romer's accomplishments. As the summary states, Professor Romer won the prize for his work on the "non-rival nature of ideas." In layman's terms, this means ideas can be copied and reused. The book that is referenced in the summary, David Warsh's Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations, mentioned that Professor Romer said he never "traced a specific piece of knowledge" to see if his theory held up in the real world. So QC took up the challenge to if a NFL plays--specific pieces of knowledge that can be copied--would hold hold up. As QC tracks his 10th NFL season using Professor Romer's Nobel Prize winning theory, his conclusion is: The theory holds up in the real world.

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You can find evidence of Professor Romer's theory in the work of others too, although he has never cited. For instance, @footballperspective has started tracking "passing first down percentage." Remember, when a team makes a first down, it is making a copy (the first down) of the resource it is consuming (the down used to make the first down). Whether he knows it or not, this resarch has its roots in Professor Romer's Nobel Prize winning theory. Thus, it is not surprising that the initial research indicates that teams who excel at passing first down percentage tend to be successful even when they are below average in standard completion percentage and vice versa. Teams that excel at first down completion percentage are copying resources inexpensively. Teams that excel in standard completion percentage also may be doing so (if they are also exceling at passing first down percentage), but it is not a given.

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Professor Romer's theory also has made an appearance in at last one other sport. In 2010, Professor Brian Skinner's The Price of Anarchy in Basketball won the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference paper competition. Professor Skinner's paper saw basketball as a network problem similar to the network problem that Professor Romer saw in the line for a chair lift at a ski slope. As the detailed summary mentions, economists Tyler Cowen and Amihai Glazer wrote a comment about Professor Romer's paper about the chair lift, which sparked Professor Romer to rethink non-rival ideas and led to his theory for which he received the Nobel Prize.

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Week 5: QC's Best Bets

0-5. Bill Parcells said, "You are what your record says you are." That stings. QC screwed up in just about every way imaginable in Week 4. Bet against the Patriots at home off a loss? Check. Math error? Check (Sorry, Buccaneers fans, infinite productivity minus your defense allowing infinte productivity is zero, not infinity productivity. Obviously, there are no math majors from Tampa/St. Pete/Clearwater Beach following QC.) Missed field goals? Check (The Seahawks and Cardinals combined to miss 4 field goals in game in which the over missed by 1.5 points). Fail to get the best of the number? Check (QC advised jumping on the Chiefs at -4.5 because he thought the number would go to -6. It went to -3.5.) Neglect the infalliable X-ray vision of NFL central command? Check (Al Riveron needs to hook QC up with his optometrist.) There is nowhere to go up but in Week 5.

1. Browns +3 over Ravens
A lot of folks seem to be in love with Baltimore, which has won back-to-back games over respectable opponents (Denver, Pittsburgh). Joe Flacco has looked good in both games. But here is the thing: It is the first time Flacco has ever won two consecutive games in which he has attempted 40 or more passes. Moreover, since 2013, Flacco is 8-23 SU (.258) in games in which he has attempted 40 or more passes. He is averaging 43.75 passes per game this year because the Ravens' ground game is pretty anemic (averaging less than 80 yards rushing per game in the last 3 games). On the other side of ball, Cleveland QB Baker Mayfield's play in his first start at Oakland was uneven. But since taking control of the offense, Mayfield has generated 6 scoring drives that consumed at least 6 plays and at least 39 yards. That might not sound like much, but what it means is that the Browns can SUSTAIN offense. Sprinkle some sustained offense on the home field advantage, some turnovers Myles Garrett and the Cleveland defense have been creating, and a solid kicking game and you have a recipe for an upset against an opponent coming off a huge divisional road win (Pittsburgh) and looking ahead to another road game at a divisional leader (Tennessee).

2. UNDER 39: Bills vs Titans
This game should be positively Neanderthalic. Tennessee has rushed the ball on 47.8% of its plays, No. 2 in the NFL. Despite all that effort, the Titans rank just No. 26 in explosive runs (>10 yards). Tennessee also ranks No. 26 in explosive passes (>25 yards). Buffalo ranks No. 25 in explosive runs and No. 24 in explosive passes. Moreover, Bills QBs, primarily Josh Allen, lose -1.322 sack yards per pass attempt. It is nearly impossible to sustain offense while going backward at that rate. Buffalo's pass defense has played better the last 2 weeks, yielding just 1 TD pass apiece to Kirk Cousins and Aaron Rogers. Disregad the Bills' stunning upset of Minnesota, which was aided by +3 TO, and Buffalo is averaging just 7.7 points per game. Disregard special teams and overtime TDs and Tennessee is averaging just 13.75 point per game. 13-7 sounds about right here.

3. OVER 41: 49ers vs Cardinals
QC is going to be stubborn about this one. Arizona is 4-0 to the under this year, but they should have gone over the total last week when Phil Dawson and Seattle's bike-shorts wearing K Sebastian Janikowski combined to miss 4 field goals. This total is just 2.5 points higher than last week. And San Francisco's defense is simply awful when it is not DeForest(ing) [Buckner] QBs. Cardinals RB David Johnson should enjoy his best game of the year and that should open throwing lanes for rookie QB Josh Rosen and receivers Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk, and Ricky Seals-Jones. Most of the reviews of Rosen's first start were positive and he does not lack for confidence. That should lead to increased production ... and maybe some turnovers. Nobody designs offensive plays better than San Francisco HC Kyle Shannahan. He can make QB C.J. Beathard effective against most defenses. Thanks to Shannahan's design, TE George Kittle averages 17.6 yards per catch, FB Kyle Juszczk averages 15.3 yards per catch and RB Matt Breida averages 7.6 yards per rush. A few big plays and a few more turnovers (the 49ers had 2 last week in a loss to the Chargers) should be plenty of fuel to generate at least 42 total points.

4. UNDER 52.5: Saints vs Redskins
Is this total heaven? No, but it is under heaven. Washington runs the ball more frequently (49.3%) than any other team in the NFL and throws the third shortest passes (footballs originating in QB Alex Smith's hand travel on average just 6.3 yards in the air). For good measure, the Reskins rank No. 28 in explosive pass plays. New Orleans is not much more electric in many areas. Drew Brees, who failed to throw a TD pass last week against the Giants, has thrown the 6th shortest passes in the NFL (6.7 air yards per attempt). Meanwhile, the Saints rank No. 6 in first downs from rushing and No. 8 in rushing yards on first down. Now, HC Sean Payton welcomes RB Mark Ingram back from a 4-game suspension. Washington has given up the least rushinig yards in the NFL on first down, but opponents average 4.5 yards per try on first down. So QC expects Payton to try to run on Washington in order to keep his highly suspect pass defense off the field. Six of New Orleans' last 8 games in the Super Dome have finished under 52.5 total points.

Last Week: 0-5
Season: 14-10-1 (.583)

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QC's Week 4 Thoughts

Tampa Bay and Miami were exposed as impostors in 45-10 and 38-7 losses to Chicago and New England, respectively. The Buccaneers' play design differential decreased by -6.98% and the Dolphins' differential decreased by 4.15%. The season is just at the quarter pole, but those still are huge single week moves for teams that had already played 3 games.

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Cleveland suffered some questionable (to say the least) calls in a 45-42 OT loss at Oakland. But the Raiders were better designed and +2 TO. A couple of missed field goals by Oakland's new K, Matt McGrane, helped the Browns considerably. Notwithstanding the result, it is hard to see Cleveland's future as anything but bright. There will still be some growing pains, but it is nearly certain that days of hoping the team can compete are in the past. From here forward, expect the Browns to be a tough out for every other NFL team.

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Speaking of missed field goals, hope you were not on the OVER 38.5 in Seattle's 20-17 win over Arizona. That game featured 4 missed field goals, the bane of favorite and OVER bettors everywhere.

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The "4DN Pharisees" were at it early in Jacksonville when Jaguars HC Doug Marrone was furthering his reliance interest and getting what his team put into it by kicking field goals to end drives. Ultimately, Jax pounded the Jets, 31-12, and Marroune rubbed it in a little with a 2-point PAT late in the game. However, by that time the 4DN Pharisees as moved on.

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After the Falcons lost 37-36 to the Bengals, HC Dan Quinn said, "We're a good team and our record does't show it at this point." Coaching stats mostly agree with Quinn's assessment. Atlanta's +6.36% play design differential ranks No. 6 in the NFL and its +2 TO is just fine. But Quinn forfeited a win Week 1 by failing on 4DN and not payhing his team for what they put into it and the Falcons suffered a momentum turning blocked punt two weeks ago against the Saints. Atlanta could easily be 3-1 instead of 1-3.

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Week 4: QC's Best Bets

QC's straight bets were a perfect 4-0 last week, but the exotic plays on the Jaguars (parlay) and Chargers +7 did not come through. We won't chase anything fancy in Week 4 or, as QC calls it, "Belief Revision Sunday." After 3 games, there are 4 NFL teams that are infintely productive: LA Rams, Buccaneers, Dolphins and Chiefs. Since 2004, there have never been more than two infinitely productive teams after Week 3. The Rams are looking like it at halftime against the Vikings. QC will be looking to the other 3 to carry his card in Week 4.


1. Buccaneers +3 over Bears
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick morphed back into Ryan FitzPICKtrick for a quarter last Monday night (3 interceptions), but he still almost rallied Tampa Bay to a victory, falling just short against Pittsburgh, 30-27. A team that is efficient as Dirk Koetter’s Buccaneers are at the moment is never out of a game. TE O.J. Howard has developed into a monster, particularly when he is in the slot (according to Pro Football Focus). Tampa cannot run the ball, so they don’t even try. But that might good against the Bears. Chicago has yet to give up more than 74 yards rushing in a game, but their pass coverage has been vulnerable to shock plays. On offense, the Bears’ passing game is prehistoric. Under QB Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago’s player productivity (2.18) is barely above the JaMarcus Cable. On the other hand, Tampa’s player productivity is as infinite as its 11.820 QCYPA suggests. Since 2009, 10 teams have come into Week 4 infinitely productive. 8 won in Week 4. The two that lost had big trouble with pass protection. In 2010, the Giants sacked Chicago's Jay Cutler 9 times and knocked him out of the game. In 2015, the Steelers Ben Roethlisberger did not even make it to kickoff. A knee injury kept him out againt winless Baltimore. The Ravens sacked backup Mike Vick 5 times and won 23-20 in OT. Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks and Leonard Floyd (-.899 sack yards lost per game) can get after QBs. If they can do that here, the Bears’ have a chance. If not, the Bucs should have no trouble winning SU and ATS.

2. Dolphins +7 over Patriots
Of all the problems New England has, its biggest are up front on defense. Opposing teams are averaging over 30 rushes per game against the Patriots. Teams that run the ball 30 or more times in a game usually win. Miami HC Adam Gase is a guy who likes to run the ball. The Dolphins did not do that much last week against Oakland because they fell behind. But if they can get to the lead or stay even with New England, Gase will try to sock it to Bill Belichick with Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore running behind his big tackles, Laremy Tunsil and Ja’Wuan James. On offense, Tom Brady’s QCYPA is a replacement level 6.670 and that includes a game against Houston’s soft coverage. The Dolphins pass coverage in the field has not been anything to celebrate (7.5 D-QCYPA), but the Dolphins have yielded just 2 TD passes in 3 games. This game looks a lot like 2014 when New England limped into a home game off an embarrassing prime time loss (41-14 to the Chiefs) and met a surging undefeated opponent (the Bengals). But at that time, the bookmakers made the line pick 'em. QC won’t be surprised if the Patriots win this game and get back into the race in the AFC East. But there are too many deficiencies in New England to lay a full 7 points against a team that has played as well Miami has for most of the year.

3. Browns +2.5 over Raiders
Cleveland QB Baker Mayfield could not ask for a softer defense to face in his first NFL start. The Raiders pass coverage (9.076 D-QCYPA) collapsed at Miami and the pass rush (-.239 sack yards lost per pass attempt) has been even more anemic than the numbers indicate. Mayfield looked great in rallying the Browns to victory against the Jets. He did everything but throw a TD pass. QC thinks he will throw a few this week because he has all the skills that should make him effective in the red zone and Cleveland is averaging over 30 rushes per game. Such a strong commitment to the run should create throwing lanes for Mayfield. QC will get Browns TE David Njoku back in his fantasy line up and look for him to grab a scoring pass. On the other side of the ball, Oakland QB Derek Carr seems to have forgotten how to throw TD passes. He has only 2 so far in 2018. Red zone effectiveness was Carr's strength early in his career, but it just has not been there this year. The Browns defense has created 11 TOs and allows just 6.701 D-QCYPA. As long as Cleveland consumes the turnovers and their Baker does not serve up turnovers, Hue Jackson should get a win in his return to Oakland where he was HC in 2011.

4. OVER 38.5: Cardinals vs. Seahawks
Arizona turns to rookie QB Josh Rosen. It will not be easy. Seattle has two of best safeties (Earl Thomas and Bradley McDougal) in the NFL (per Pro Football Focus) and a tremendous MLB (Bobby Wagner). Last week HC Pete Carroll's pass rush sacked Dallas QB Dak Prescott 5 times. Yikes. Seattle's defense has forced 3 TOs twice and 2 TOs in its other game. TOs lead to points and QC will be surprised if Rosen does not subsidize Seattle with at least 2 TO. On offense, the Seahawks blocking looked much better last week against Dallas' nasty front. RB Chris Carson and friends piled up 39 carries. They will average better than 2.9 per try versus the Arizona front. With a lead and commitment to the run, QB Russell Wilson was solid (7.769 QCYPA and a TD pass). The Cardinals can generate some pressure but nothing like Seattle saw the first 3 weeks versus Denver, Chicago, and Dallas. And the Arizona pass coverage has been leaky (8.381 D-QCYPA). Look for the Seahawks to enjoy their first 30 point game of the season and Rosen to generate a first half score and a score or two in garbage time.

5. Chiefs -4.5 over Broncos
Nobody likes to play a road favorite. Home underdogs are 10-3 so far in 2018. And in the second half of Week 3, you could see the Chiefs blisteringly efficienct offense coming back to reality a little bit. QB Patrick Mahomes has yet to encounter any significant adversity in 2018 and "Whatever Stadium at Mile High" is a less than ideal place for any QB to break in coping skills for the first time. So many bettors will be looking to the Broncos in this matchup. But one who will not is QC who will respect the Andy Reid Streak for at least one more game. The Chiefs' offensive design has been so precise that Mahomes usually only has the ball for a few seconds. The result is a measley one TO and miniscule -.118 sack yards lost per pass attempt. If Denver is going to keep up with KC, Von Miller and company are going to have to increase those figures significantly. The Broncos' got to Russell Wilson in Week 1, but it has not done much since then and the pass coverage has been below average (7.981 D-QCYPA). When Denver has the ball, QB Case Keenum will have to be better to keep Chiefs' DC Bob Sutton from focusing on rookie RB Royce Freeman. Keenum hasn't thrown a TD pass in his last 2 games. If Keenum can mix effective passing and Freeman running to control the clock and Miller can bring the heat on Mahomes, Denver will have a chance to win SU. QC just doesn't think all of that can come together at once and Kansas City will win SU and cover its fourth in a row.

Last Week: 5-2
Season: 14-5-1 (.737)

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