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Old 12-10-2009   #1
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Default Football Outsiders Revisits Houston Texans Predictions

In the preseason, I did a series of posts on the Chron.com blog with Football Outsider's managing editor Bill Barnwell. The Football Outsiders Almanac had just come out and we discussed some of the predictions, specific to some topics that Texan fans were interested in.

With 3/4 of the season gone, we decided to revisit those predictions. Here's the blog post:


For an 'Outsiders' view of the Houston Texans, read this post


Contains some interesting stuff that I didn't know prior to our chat.
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Old 12-10-2009   #2
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Default Re: Football Outsiders Revisits Houston Texans Predictions

It's unbelievable that us not having OD on offense doesn't change our DVOA or whatever it is. Watching the team with and without him is like night and day, so that simple fact makes me very suspicious of these statistics.
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Old 12-10-2009   #3
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Default Re: Football Outsiders Revisits Houston Texans Predictions

So we are what our record says we are. I can live with that.
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Old 12-10-2009   #4
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Default Re: Football Outsiders Revisits Houston Texans Predictions

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Old 12-10-2009   #5
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Default Re: Football Outsiders Revisits Houston Texans Predictions

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Yup, my post broke the Chronicle. I'm having issues approving posts and am getting the same message, but do check back because I think the post is cool.
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Old 12-10-2009   #6
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Default Re: Football Outsiders Revisits Houston Texans Predictions

If I recall correctly, my prediction was 7-9. My thought was the team could be better and still not have the Ws. Injury was a big concern and that happened again. We've lost two starting guards, starting TE(OD was a morale boost like Cushing) starting RB (Slaton) and our QB missed a half that could have been a win. Would we be better if the Oline had remained together and healthy like last season?

If these same positions were effected on the Saints would they be undefeated? It is obvious we are not deep enough to overcome, but should that cost Kubiac his job?
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Old 12-10-2009   #7
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Default Re: Football Outsiders Revisits Houston Texans Predictions

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Originally Posted by badboy View Post
If I recall correctly, my prediction was 7-9. My thought was the team could be better and still not have the Ws. Injury was a big concern and that happened again. We've lost two starting guards, starting TE(OD was a morale boost like Cushing) starting RB (Slaton) and our QB missed a half that could have been a win. Would we be better if the Oline had remained together and healthy like last season?

If these same positions were effected on the Saints would they be undefeated? It is obvious we are not deep enough to overcome, but should that cost Kubiac his job?
I'm in the same boat. The texans are a " but her " face. Sexy at certain positions but when you really look at them, they can't control the line of scrimmage where most games are won. Fantasy points don't equal wins. I think I was on the 10 win bandwagon.
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Old 12-10-2009   #8
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Default Re: Football Outsiders Revisits Houston Texans Predictions

Nice article but I'd like to hear his thoughts on how to improve this team more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Barnwell
they've dominated the Colts at times before losing, handily beat those same Bengals, and lost six games by a touchdown or less. With a little luck -- a couple of bounces here or there, a fumble recovery, a swatted ball that hit the ground instead of falling into a defender's arms -- they could very easily be 7-5 or 8-6.
Isn't this what every losing team says? I admit it, I thought this last year. Here we are a year later and we're still saying it. I'm with Bill in thinking statistics don't lie, but they don't tell the whole story either. Again, it would be interesting to hear his thought about our weaknesses ~ player, coaching, front office.

Point Counterpoint: Lee Marvin & Michelle Triola
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Old 12-10-2009   #9
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Default Re: Football Outsiders Revisits Houston Texans Predictions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texans_Chick View Post
Yup, my post broke the Chronicle. I'm having issues approving posts and am getting the same message, but do check back because I think the post is cool.
Hon, the Chronicle been broken for years.
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Old 12-10-2009   #10
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Default Re: Football Outsiders Revisits Houston Texans Predictions

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Hon, the Chronicle been broken for years.
LMAO!
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Old 12-11-2009   #11
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Default Re: Football Outsiders Revisits Houston Texans Predictions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hagar View Post
Nice article but I'd like to hear his thoughts on how to improve this team more.



Isn't this what every losing team says? I admit it, I thought this last year. Here we are a year later and we're still saying it. I'm with Bill in thinking statistics don't lie, but they don't tell the whole story either. Again, it would be interesting to hear his thought about our weaknesses ~ player, coaching, front office.

Point Counterpoint: Lee Marvin & Michelle Triola

Bounce here or there is the NFL. They've done a ton of numbers work that shows that some important NFL stats are totally random and are based on luck. For example, they do not believe that forced fumbles are a skill but do have a huge effect on outcomes. That typically, teams that have a lot of forced fumbles tend to win more but that their numbers tend to regress to the mean the next year and they get much fewer forced fumbles the next year. There's a number of NFL statisticians who have actually tried to quantify how much of the NFL is luck, and in a short 16 game season where players get hurt for no reason other than chance, a ton of it is luck.

They do not believe the winning close games is a skill that is associated with winning but rather has a huge luck component. They believe that the best predictor of winning is crushing bad teams. That the teams that win the Super Bowl tend to be teams that crush the bad teams versus teams that win close games against good opponents. Crushing bad teams regularly is an indicator of dominance.

Lots of interesting things over at the FO website that challenge commonly held assumptions. I don't buy into all of it, and know the limits of numbers.

I don't think Bill has a big opinion on what the Texans need to do to take the next step--but yeah, he was skeptical of them doing well this year because of the roster youth, lack of continuity of players on defense, his belief that the Texans were likely to have more injuries on the offensive line because last year they were unusually healthy. He does say that young defenses tend to get better all at once, but he didn't see that happening for this year, and he will need more data to make a prediction for next year.
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Old 12-11-2009   #12
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Default Re: Football Outsiders Revisits Houston Texans Predictions

A couple of years ago, before the board merged, I did a few studies about some of the misconceptions of football. A dominant running back for example. I think that faulk was the only superbowl winner to have more than 70% of his teams yards.

Defensive wins (wins where teams gave up fewer than 17 pts I think) basically came down to 1/(yards/pass attempt)*(percent of plays that were passes) + (ypc*percent of plays that were runs) - (turnovers/drive*drives/game))
I think that was it but I don't have access to my notes and apparently the posts were lost when the boards merged.

The reason I say that is that the turnovers wound up as a factor over years but it was a relatively small percentage.

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Old 12-11-2009   #13
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Default Re: Football Outsiders Revisits Houston Texans Predictions

We are currently at -1 on turnover ratio and were -10 last year. Another good guy that we are unable to take advantage of this year.
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Old 12-11-2009   #14
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Default Re: Football Outsiders Revisits Houston Texans Predictions

Wasn't football outsiders the group that said if the Texans finished with an average ranked defense, that we would be a lock for the playoffs?
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Old 12-11-2009   #15
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Default Re: Football Outsiders Revisits Houston Texans Predictions

Quote:
Originally Posted by ATXtexanfan View Post
I'm in the same boat. The texans are a " but her " face. Sexy at certain positions but when you really look at them, they can't control the line of scrimmage where most games are won. Fantasy points don't equal wins. I think I was on the 10 win bandwagon.
Has Smith had time to build the depth of the team? We have to remember that the Oline we see is not the one we began year with. Don't look at the perennial power teams but say the Vikings.

Remove both starting guards; Adrian Petersen gets hurt and misses five games, TE V. Shiancoe misses 1/2 season;DE Jared Allen suffers a shoulder injury; Favre gets knocked from the Oct 18th game against Baltimore & misses the entire first half. Would Minnesota be 10-2?

My concerns: If Kubes remains will he draft a power back? He did not last year and he and Smith said a power back to score in Red Zone and to move the ball on 3rd and short was a priority. Will he address the relatively weak O line or tell us how pleased he is with Studdard? My understanding is Caldwell was drafted for skills as a center and guard yet got little chance to get plays at either position until Chris White could not replace Brisiel late in season & I don't remember him getting a rep at center. Gary refused to adapt from a run first team when it was obvious we had no run "anything". He may be a nice guy and a "players coach". Is he a winning coach? Again, although for different reason our starting TE may not be here; does he draft two more TEs that cannot help the team? Are there any older, coming off injury running backs we can give money to left in the NFL? What if Slaton injury turns out to be spinal & career ending?
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Old 12-11-2009   #16
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Default Re: Football Outsiders Revisits Houston Texans Predictions

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Originally Posted by Texans_Chick View Post
They do not believe the winning close games is a skill that is associated with winning but rather has a huge luck component. They believe that the best predictor of winning is crushing bad teams. That the teams that win the Super Bowl tend to be teams that crush the bad teams versus teams that win close games against good opponents. Crushing bad teams regularly is an indicator of dominance.
Good response. The section above is the really interesting part to me. It indicates a certain attitude that is captured on winning teams that, with the exception of a few players, I think most people acknowledges isn't in our Texans. Is this characteristic meanness? ....... toughness? ....... dedication? ........ will power? ....... arrogance? Itís probably some portion of each but how do you integrate it?
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Old 12-11-2009   #17
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Default Re: Football Outsiders Revisits Houston Texans Predictions

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Originally Posted by Texans_Chick View Post
Bounce here or there is the NFL. They've done a ton of numbers work that shows that some important NFL stats are totally random and are based on luck. For example, they do not believe that forced fumbles are a skill but do have a huge effect on outcomes. That typically, teams that have a lot of forced fumbles tend to win more but that their numbers tend to regress to the mean the next year and they get much fewer forced fumbles the next year. There's a number of NFL statisticians who have actually tried to quantify how much of the NFL is luck, and in a short 16 game season where players get hurt for no reason other than chance, a ton of it is luck.

They do not believe the winning close games is a skill that is associated with winning but rather has a huge luck component. They believe that the best predictor of winning is crushing bad teams. That the teams that win the Super Bowl tend to be teams that crush the bad teams versus teams that win close games against good opponents. Crushing bad teams regularly is an indicator of dominance.

Lots of interesting things over at the FO website that challenge commonly held assumptions. I don't buy into all of it, and know the limits of numbers.

I don't think Bill has a big opinion on what the Texans need to do to take the next step--but yeah, he was skeptical of them doing well this year because of the roster youth, lack of continuity of players on defense, his belief that the Texans were likely to have more injuries on the offensive line because last year they were unusually healthy. He does say that young defenses tend to get better all at once, but he didn't see that happening for this year, and he will need more data to make a prediction for next year.
Of things that I have read from these guys this is the most useful one that I have found. My instincts have long told me that the thing fans underrate more than anything is beating teams you are supposed to beat. They do go a step further with the idea dominating poorer teams is important, but i am glad there are stats somewhere which back up that assumption.
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Old 12-11-2009   #18
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Default Re: Football Outsiders Revisits Houston Texans Predictions

things like forced fumbles is not so much luck as it is effort. Sure there is some luck mixed in but hard hitting teams that swarm to the ball with high effort tend to force more fumbles. Not all teams or players individually play with the same effort level all the time.
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Old 12-11-2009   #19
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Default Re: Football Outsiders Revisits Houston Texans Predictions

I have watched a lot of camera angles the last two years showing a defensive player punching or pulling a ball from the grasp of the ball carrier. Is that luck?
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Old 12-11-2009   #20
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Default Re: Football Outsiders Revisits Houston Texans Predictions

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I have watched a lot of camera angles the last two years showing a defensive player punching or pulling a ball from the grasp of the ball carrier. Is that luck?
No, but it is lucky that (1) the ball actually comes out and (2) you or one of your teammates are able to recover the ball.

I don't think it's anyone's contention that fumbles are wholly luck or wholly skill, but, like poker, fantasy football, or gambling in general, they're a mix of luck and skill.

A team can hustle to the ball and be in position all they'd like, but if they're trying to pull that ball out on every play and it doesn't come out, they're not getting a turnover. Likewise, if they do happen to get the ball out and it bounces straight into the arms of the opposition, they're not getting the turnover. You also have to consider unforced fumbles, which are statistically categorized the same as forced fumbles you mentioned or gift interceptions like last Sunday. What about the Schaub interception that was caused by a hit and fell straight into the DB's lap? That play is "skill" in that DA was hit as the ball arrived, but luck in that the DB was in the right place at the right time to catch the ball.

There's something to be said for teams that hustle, but there's also something to be said for the amount of luck that factors into how the ball bounces (quite literally).

Last edited by nero THE zero; 12-11-2009 at 04:30 PM.
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