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tiptap
11-05-2006, 08:43 AM
http://www.footballoutsiders.com/2006/11/04/ramblings/game-previews/4496/


There are two big non-divisional rivalry games on the NFL slate this Sunday, but the rivalries could not be more different. One is a geographical rivalry which matters more to fans than to players; the teams face each other every preseason but only once every four years in the regular season. The other rivalry is bitter both for the players involved and for two fan bases that despise each other. Two great quarterbacks lead teams with two opposing personalities that have met in both the regular season and the playoffs year after year.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (4-3) at ST. LOUIS RAMS (4-3)

(Sunday, 1pm)

Both Missouri teams have shared the same persona for years now: high-powered offenses, porous defenses. Both teams changed head coaches in the off-season, but only one changed its personality.

The Rams signed a number of big defensive free agents, and there was excitement after they held Denver to 10 points on opening day. Since then, things have returned to normal in St. Louis. Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjusted Value Over Average ratings (DVOA) – which break down each play of the season and compare it to the NFL average based on situation and opponent – rank the Rams sixth in offense and 25th in defense.

There have been many articles detailing the transformation of the Rams offense from the high-flying Mike Martz style to the run-oriented style of new head coach Scott Linehan. Yet the numbers show very little difference between the two. If anything, the current offense is less successful running the ball; the Rams were eighth in yards per carry last year, 22nd this year. Quarterback Marc Bulger has the lowest completion percentage of his career, yet has thrown just one interception. Something has to give: eventually, some of those incompletes are bound to find the arms of defenders.

Kansas City’s drafts have concentrated on defense in recent years, and that unit took a big step forward this season, ranking 10th in DVOA against the run and 13th against the pass. The passing game is also strong, with backup Damon Huard playing surprisingly well after an opening week concussion knocked out started Trent Green.

Unfortunately, the running game expected to rank among the league’s best instead struggled early. Larry Johnson has dropped from 5.2 yards per carry last year to just 3.7 this year, although he seems to be turning things around. The last two weeks he has 287 yards and five touchdowns against San Diego and Seattle, which are not great run defenses but aren’t terrible either. St. Louis ranks 26th in run defense, so Johnson’s resurgence should continue.

Research has shown that when two teams face each other in both the preseason and the regular season, the first half of the preseason game (when the starters play) is an excellent predictor of the regular-season result. In the first half of this year’s preseason meeting, Kansas City shut out St. Louis 16-0.

On the other hand, that game was in Kansas City, this game is in St. Louis, and both of these teams are known for enjoying a home-field advantage greater than the NFL norm.

Guru
11-05-2006, 08:44 AM
gotta love the double post.

boogblaster
11-05-2006, 08:50 AM
2 is better than 1 GO CHIEFS ...

milkman
11-05-2006, 09:03 AM
gotta love the double post.

Deja vu, all over again.

CoMoChief
11-05-2006, 09:09 AM
The last two weeks he has 287 yards and five touchdowns against San Diego and Seattle, which are not great run defenses but aren’t terrible either.


:spock: I thought SD had a great run defense.

Direckshun
11-05-2006, 09:32 AM
I love how, walking into a game, everybody's like "how will LJ fare against this great SD run defense?"

Then after he torches them, they say "LJ did great against a fairly good SD run defense."

milkman
11-05-2006, 10:45 AM
I love how, walking into a game, everybody's like "how will LJ fare against this great SD run defense?"

Then after he torches them, they say "LJ did great against a fairly good SD run defense."

I would guess with the stat system they use, the Charger run defense isn't as good as the numbers would indicate otherwise.