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Baltimore Ravens (W13): A Statistical Appendix

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Baltimore Ravens (W13): A Statistical Appendix

So, basically, I decided that my normal stats overview wouldn’t be enough for this game.  If this is a show-me game for the Packers, I ought to put in my best effort as well.  Through the lens of Football Outsiders, the matchup is a unique one for the Packers on both sides of the ball.  Instead of taking you to FO, I’ve decided to bring the stats to you.  I warn you that this post is not for the faint of heart – if you are anti-math, I understand if you don’t read further.  Numbers, ahoy!

Let's start with the big picture -- basically, from what I said in the main Opposition Research post, the Ravens and Packers are evenly matched.

TEAM EFFICIENCY (DVOA = Defense-Adjusted Value Over Average)

6 BAL 27.2% 6 6-5 9 4 16
7 GB 26.6% 7 7-4 8 1 32

As you can see, the Packers and Ravens are neck and neck in the overall team efficiency rankings.  FO takes into account strength of schedule, and while the Packers are ranked ahead of Baltimore in both offense and defense, we’re holding a comfortable lead over Pittsburgh for the worst special teams in the league.


16 BAL 0.7% 19 -5.1 7.7 3.4 0.5 -3.7
32 GB -7.9% 31 -1.6 -7.3 -5.5 -15.8 -2.0

Ugh, even looking at it makes me sad – we’re miserable in kickoff and punt coverage, and we really don’t excel in the kickoff return game.  We do have a slight edge in field goals and extra points, but it can’t begin to make up for the enormous deficiencies everywhere else.  Baltimore is excellent on kickoffs, so Jordy? Hang. On. To. The. Ball.

In terms of offense, one of the things I like about FO is that they don’t just rely on straight-up stats.  While Rodgers’ 344 yds/3TD performance was impressive, it was against the Lions, who really suck.  I don’t necessarily think that they suck enough that scoring only 27 points should move the Packers from 4th to 8th on offense, but I don’t make the rules.


8 GB 18.1% 4 31.1% 11 12.5% 7
9 BAL 17.0% 10 30.4% 12 12.4% 8

We’d all like to say that Rodgers is far and away a better passer than Flacco, but when FO adjusts for schedules (and sacks), the teams are fairly comparable in the passing game.  So, to my surprise, are the teams on the ground.  But here’s an eye-opener:


Player Team DYAR Rk DVOA Rk Passes Yards TD INT C%
J.Flacco BAL 702 12 17.1% 14 395 2,613 13 7 65.9%
A.Rodgers GB 683 13 14.7% 15 427 2,894 22 5 66.4%

Even with Rodgers boasting 9 more passing TDs and 2 fewer INTs, when you adjust for the yards Rodgers has lost on 44 sacks, Flacco comes out ahead as a pure passer.  Surprised?  You shouldn’t be – he had a stellar game against the Vikings in W6.  That, and his offensive line has kept him fairly upright despite his limited mobility (24 sacks).


Player Team DYAR Rk DVOA Rk Runs Yards TD FUM
A.Rodgers GB 91 1 42.9% 5 32 246 3 1
J.Flacco BAL -21 38 -31.4% 33 19 46 0 0

Now, when you look at QBs on the run, Rodgers is second to none, while Flacco is second-to-last (KC’s Cassel brings up the rear).  The Ravens let Dennis Dixon run 24 yds into the end zone last week, so this may be something the Packers can use.

I’m not going to go deep into the WR discussion on the offensive side, because I think the key matchup for this game is going to come from the running backs.  Take Ryan Grant and Ray Rice.


Player Team DYAR Rk DVOA Rk Runs Yards EYds TD FUM Suc Rate Rk
R.Grant GB 162 4 11.9% 10 189 829 942 5 0 52% 10
R.Rice BAL 151 7 17.4% 5 148 733 741 6 0 52% 9

Looking at the ground game more closely, it appears that Rice and Grant are neck-and-neck in several of FO’s metrics (DYAR = defense-adjusted yards above replacement, EYds = Effective Yards, Success Rate = rate play results in 1st down or TD), but the place where Rice has a leg up is in DVOA, which FO describes as “a running back with more value per play.”  Simply put, Ray Rice makes more of his rushing opportunities than does Ryan Grant.


Player Team DYAR Rk DVOA Rk Passes Yards EYds TD Catch Rate FUM
R.Rice BAL 166 2 27.5% 9 74 582 630 1 82% 0
R.Grant GB 40 24 12.2% 23 28 197 190 0 82% 1

Where Rice really pwns Grant, though, is in the passing game.  If the Packers want to even the score a little in this area, expect to see more screens to Grant (or, more likely, Jackson) and flip plays like this one.  As you’ll see below, it’s one of the few areas where the Baltimore defense is mediocre.

Switching sides to the defensive side of the ball, FO puts the Packers at #1, even though they’ve had the easiest schedule in the league up to this point (BAL = 9th hardest).


1 GB -16.4% 1 -16.3% 3 -16.5% 3
4 BAL -9.5% 4 -8.1% 6 -11.0% 9

3rd against both the pass and the run…looks pretty good for the Pack, right?  Well, let’s look a little closer.


vs. #1 WR

vs. #2 WR

vs. Other WR

Rk Team DVOA Rk Pa/G Yd/G DVOA Rk Pa/G Yd/G DVOA Rk Pa/G Yd/G
3 GB 5.9% 21 7.3 55.9 -23.8% 4 6.2 26.2 -28.2% 2 6.0 47.0
6 BAL 1.2% 14 7.0 67.0 -9.5% 15 7.5 59.4 -8.4% 10 4.3 39.2

While they are extremely effective against the rest of the receiver corps, the Packers are surprisingly poor against #1 WRs.  Going up against Derrick Mason, Joe Flacco’s primary target, this will be a challenge for Dom Capers’ defense.  The Ravens, meanwhile, appear to be fairly pedestrian against all opposing wideouts, and with CB Fabian Washington on IR, these rankings may be heading south as the season wears on.  (Caveat – Green Bay has yet to be challenged by a strong WR tandem, which would expose the holes in our own secondary.  Luckily, the Ravens don’t threaten much in this regard.  Mark Clayton was a 1st round pick in 2005, and can get the YAC, but with the Steelers smothering Mason, Flacco had few other options.)

vs. TE

vs. RB

Rk Team DVOA Rk Pa/G Yd/G DVOA Rk Pa/G Yd/G
3 GB -27.8% 1 6.4 51.7 -14.2% 6 6.6 36.6
6 BAL -24.3% 3 6.3 33.0 10.8% 20 6.8 40.2

Where the rubber hits the road for the Packer passing defense is against tight ends, where the Packers are tops – thanks in large part to Charles Woodson’s roving LB-CB-S role against Witten, Winslow, and Davis.  What I said earlier about expecting more from Grant in the passing game? Well, it’s the weakest part of Baltimore’s passing defense, by a good margin.  I don’t think we can expect Jermichael Finley to have a breakout game, but I would not be surprised to see Brandon Jackson gobbling chunks of yardage in key situations.

So, what do all these stats tell me?

  1. This will be a hard-fought game on both sides of the ball.  When everything is boiled down, the teams are very similar.
  2. Rodgers sets himself apart from Flacco with his feet, not his arm.
  3. Ray Rice is dangerous on the ground or out of the backfield, but Green Bay should be able to mirror some of Rice’s effectiveness with screens to Grant and Jackson.
  4. I expect Charles Woodson to reprise his role from the Lions game – cover their #1 receiver and make plays wherever possible.  Heap isn’t enough of a threat at TE to warrant Woodson’s overwhelming attention, although Rice must be accounted for by more than LBs.

What do these stats tell you?

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (9) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

holly's picture

In the <a href=";seasonType=REG&am... rel="nofollow">traditional sense</a>, they don't - and there, Rodgers beats Flacco 104.9 - 90.2. I don't mind FO including sacks in their analysis, mostly because we know that Rodgers has contributed to (though is not solely responsible for) his sack total this year. If you want a more nuanced approach that tries to splice the sacks into only those the QB invites and <strong>does </strong>take the running into account, Pro Football Focus does a nice job. By their metric, which has <a href=";season=2009&... rel="nofollow">Rodgers owning only 7</a> of his sacks, he outranks <a href=";season=2009&... rel="nofollow">Flacco </a>40.0 to 26.5 (although they haven't included the BAL-PIT game yet).

PackersRS's picture

You got this idea from that SF's page on SB nation blog, right?

It was actually a very good idea, people usually just go for what they think are the matchups... I've heard a lot of Ravens fans saying that the Packers can't stop the run...

Anyway, I've already recommended your posts to everyone, Holly, as I trully find amazing the job you do with it. It takes you, what a whole day of research to put it up? And now 3 posts? Awesome.

holly's picture

What the SF blog does is stellar, but really, I just got leery after hearing how the Packers would definitely win, and wanted to look closer. Initially, I just planned to pull out stats like I normally do, but then I got carried away.

Thanks for recommending these - I'm glad you like them, they're fun to do. I started the normal write-up on Monday, but I kept finding things I wanted to add. Go figure.

PackersRS's picture

And one more thing, Holly. I find it outrageous that they take sacks into consideration for QB ratings. Unless they're willing to merge the qb running stats, that shouldn't have been done.

PackersRS's picture

That was an excelent site. Though they don't exactly say HOW they evaluate the categories... But thanks a lot Holly

bucky's picture

Actually, what the stats you posted tell me is that we don't have an offense that is built to take advantage of the weaknesses of Baltimore's defense. It's great to hear that they do a lousy job against passes to RBs, except that we do a lousy job executing those plays. Grant is average catching the ball out of the backfield, and Jackson is a disaster looking for a place to happen. What we do well is throw the ball down the field- when our QB has time to do it. Against the Ravens, I don't know that Rodgers will have that much time.

What I'd be interested to see is what our prospects would be of running against the Ravens' D. Pitt looked like they ran the ball pretty well against the Ravens (and despite common belief, the Steelers are not a great running team), so that's where we ought to focus. Unfortunately we have a coach committed to throwing the ball 60% of the time or more. That could be a big problem.

PACKERS.'s picture

Wow. These numbers are interesting, but I don't really understand them. How exactly to they determine them?

PackerRS: I agree that not all stats should be attributed to the quarterback, but some of the sacks are a quarterback's fault, like when Rodgers holds the ball to long or isn't aware of his sorroundings, which happens on occasion. They should come up with a system that attributes sacks to quarterbacks, like if they are sacked after a certain amount of time or something like that.

holly's picture

PACKERS - I tried to only include those columns that were relevant (ranks, DVOA, etc), but I know their methods are still bizarre. If you want the technical analysis, <a href="" rel="nofollow">here is their official page</a>, but basically it boils down to this: they took the raw numbers, and weighted them based on the teams against which those numbers were achieved. So, a 100yd game against Detroit by Grant may be worth less than a 60yd game against San Fran, for a number of reasons:
1) maybe 10 of those runs against SF went for a first down, while only 5 did in the Detroit game;
2) SF's run defense is stingier, so each yard is harder to earn, etc.
Make any better sense? There's a lot of regression analysis that goes on here, so it's not easy to replicate any of their numbers, but the premise is that FO takes into consideration that the Lions and Browns really suck, and weights the stats in order to put all teams on basically the same footing.

PACKERS.'s picture

Now that you explained that, it makes a lot of sense. You should use those stats on all of your Opposition Researches. On this site we're always saying that, whenever the Pack have a really great game, it was against a lousy opponent, so it doesn't matter. So using these numbers makes a lot more sense, especially with the Pack.

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