This week featuring nudity
Do you want to know more about why the Vikings should crush the Lions out of Thunderdome?
According to Football Outsiders’ DVOA ratings, the Lions are the worst team in the league, with the 30th ranked offense, 30th ranked defense, and 29th ranked special teams.
According to Advanced NFL Stats’ Efficiency Rating, they aren’t that bad: they are #31 (Bryan Burke of Advanced NFL Stats also posts at the New York Times that the Vikes have a 92% probability of winning).
Don’t like metrics and prefer simpler numbers? The 2009 Lions are 1-7, rank 26th in points scored, 31st in points allowed, and 29th in point differential. They rank 25th in offensive yards, and 26th in defensive yards allowed. They appear to me equally bad at stopping the run or stopping the pass (#28 in net yards per pass attempt allowed, #28 in rush yards per attempt allowed).
If you want to get more specific, the Lions also starting a rookie quarterback that has thrown interceptions on 5.6% of his pass attempts and been sacked on 6.1% of his dropbacks. Roughly speaking, the Lions should expect disaster once every 9-10 times Stafford drops back. If they try play it safe and run, they can hand it to Kevin Smith, their leader in rushing yards that averages 3.3 yards per attempt.
I really went into this trying to justify why I wasn’t going to write up a preview of the Viking-Lion game. It seems that in doing so, I’ve written up a preview of the Viking-Lion game. I expect the offense, defense, and special teams to put on a Thunderdome show (I have a weird feeling that Bernard Berrian is going to have like a million yards on Sunday). But we’re Viking fans, so perhaps we shouldn’t be too confident: the Lions put the fear of the Olympian gods into us last year at the Metrodome.
Other Games of Interest
When the season reaches its second half, any games featuring teams .500 or better are interesting. This week, each such game is also a wicked busy fantasy matchup.
Bengals-Steelers. a matchup between 6-2 division opponents.
Eagles-Chargers. an inter-conference game between 5-3 teams with loads of talent and a tendency to underachieve and/or blow close games.
Cowboys-Packers. when you think about it, "going for the jugular" is a surprisingly violent metaphor involving biting into a living neck and tearing until the victim bleeds out.
Patriots-Colts. Sure fantasy starters include Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, Tom Brady, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, and Stephen Gostkowski. Possible fantasy starters include Joseph Addai, Laurence Maroney, the Patriot Defense, the Colt Defense, and whatever the name of the current Colt kicker is. Fringe starters might include Austin Collie or Ben Watson. That's really what I want out of a night game: loads of fantasy interest.
Always nice to find fellow travelers. See more on Tony Gonzalez at PETA here and here.
In other PETA/football news, PETA ranks the Metrodome #7 among NFL stadiums for offering vegetarian food options. I'm always able to eat heartily at the Dome. I eat the veggie burger rather as a formality: I figure it exists primarily for me.
Basketball: like football but for liberals. I don't know what that means but it feels sort of true.
I won tickets to most of the Wolves' games this season. This week I watched the Blazers run an alley-oop offense. Drive and dish: dunk. Throw the ball up: dunk. If you like to watch players dunk, watch teams play the Wolves.
I do find it relaxing at the Target Center: basketball is a great game to watch live, and the Wolves are so dreadful there's no emotional investment involved. I brought a book to read during timeouts (John Fowles' The French Lieutenant's Woman, which I teach for the first time this week), and frankly, it's as easy to concentrate in the Target Center as at a library.
Friday night: the Mavericks.
Free advertising on a little-read niche blog
Glee is freaking fantastic. You should watch it.
This has been free advertising on a little-read niche blog. But if Ryan Murphy sends me a Lea Michele poster, I wouldn't turn it down.
Percy Harvin (Pioneer Press).
The Vikings-Bears game on Nov. 29th is moved to 3:15 (Vikings.com). I welcome this news, as it allows me to both manage Sunday's return-home-from-Thanksgiving drive at a time with little traffic, while still getting to watch the entire game. I don't know if it does anything for you.
Peter King's midseason All-Pro Team includes Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, and Percy Harvin (Sports Illustrated).
Have a good weekend everybody. Except Packer and Lion fans.