Well, last week’s Watchtower had an obvious error:
My instincts tell me that a team the Packers shut out at home won’t put up 24-27 against this defense in front of a sold-out Ford Field. Despite all the ways I could be proven wrong, I’m going to go with the data and my gut. The most likely outcome of the game is a 17-13 Lions win.
On the positive side, this is only the second game I’ve been wrong enough on to actually get the winner incorrect. On the negative side, damn. I’ll admit, I did not think Sanchez had that just-before-halftime bomb in him. Not only did it unquestionably deflate the crowd, and reverse the tide of momentum as they went into the lockers, it also accounted for a huge percentage of the Jets’ offense that day. That pass was the difference between 336 yards passing and 262 yards passing. It was the difference between 8.62 YpA and 6.89 YpA. It was the difference between 23 points and 16 points. It was the difference in the game.
If we assume that the 2004-2005 Chargers provide a representative sample of Brian Schottenheimer’s schematic and playcalling tendencies, the Jets’s offense will either meet—or vastly underperform—expectations against Gunther Cunningham’s aggressive 4-3 defense, depending on which phase of the offense the Lions attack. Given the recent success of the Lions’ pass rush and secondary, I expect the Lions to attack the pass—and therefore, I project the Jets to score 10-13 points. Unfortunately, because we’re working off of a possibly fallacious assumption—the 2004-2005 Chargers’s offense being interchangeable with the 2010 Jets—I have very low confidence in this projection. If there were no systemic advantage or disavantage, the expectation for the Jets’ offense against the Lions’ defense would be 24-27 points.
Okay so. The assumption has been proven fallacious. [[ Martyball == Brianball ]] returns false. Looks like either there’s no systemic advantage or disadvantage for Gunther against Brian Schottenheimer, or that one lapse in coverage threw everything out of whack. Either way, this half gets a grade of FAIL.
With no systemic advantage or disadvantage, expectations for the Lions’ offense versus the Jets’ defense would be set at 17-21 points. However, if we apply this perceived disadvantage when facing Rex Ryan defenses, I project the Lions will score 15-17 points. I have low-to-medium confidence in this projection.
This is not a big surprise; the only data point for Linehan against Ryan was the 2007 Rams, after they’d lost Steven Jackson and anyone else who had any shot of being a productive offensive football player. The only reasons I considered a possible advantage in effect were: A) how mediocre the Ravens’ defense was that season, and B) how thoroughly said defense scoured the Earth clean of Gus Frerotte on that day.
Seems like I have to keep learning this one, but: if you have very low confidence in your analysis because of sample size or mitigating factors, do not roll with it anyway because it sounds right.