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Jacksonville Jaguars v. Indianapolis Colts: By the Numbers

Jaguars v. Colts: Series History

Update [2007-11-29 13:16:53 by River City Rage]:: Welcome to all the Colt's fans who have stumbled upon this post from the Colts.com or Indy Star fourms. Please, make yourself at home. If you'd like, Register for the site and make some comments. For more infomation about the game, check out the Main Page!. Thanks for stopping by!

Happy Wednesday everyone!

One of my biggest pet peeves in following the Jaguars and the NFL in general is the serious lack of depth in the coverage of big games.  It's almost as though the bigger the game the less actual research goes into the x's and o's, the real numbers, etc.

I'm going to attempt to fill some depth in the Jaguars game this weekend against the Colts by taking a closer look at the "numbers" behind the game.  While I'm no statistics guru, I am pretty good at finding the smartest writers out there that actually have something to say.  So this will be a mixture of my commentary and analysis, as well as a smattering of other sites/news outlets.  What I'd like you, the reader, to take out of this is two fold.  1.  On any given sunday (sorry about the cliche) the numbers going into the game can be rendered absolutely meaningless.  It's very likely that all the numbers that we'll address below are worthelss as the game situation is so drastically different than what we've see, with different players and a different approach.  2. When the Jaguars play the Colts, weird things have happened.  We've lost games that we statically dominated and we've won close ones.  I'll be the first to admit, we've lost far more than we've won in the series.  You only have to refer to the table on the right to feel nothing but sad at the history between the two teams.

In all fairness, only the last two have any real significance, given all the changes, but let's see what the stats and numbers have to say.

Statistical Comparison: Generic:

Jaguars v. Colts: Stats

To our left we have the basic statistical comparison between the two teams.  These numbers are not adjusted for strength of schedule, game situation, or anything of that sort, just a straight across comparison when ranked against the rest of the NFL.  

There are still some surprises, or at least a few facts of interest.  First, look at the passing yards per game, Jacksonville has 192.5 to the Colt's 248.1.  I'd have expected that gap to be much wider considering the Colt's passing game.  Though, on further reflection, the Colts have suffered from some major injuries in their passing attack and have a good but not great (yet) back in Joseph Addai.  In rushing yards, Jacksonville has the edge, but by only 15 yards per game.  I think this is skewed a bit by an outlier game on the Jaguars side, which is why I treat these stats as "generic", rather than "in depth".

By far the most imposing number here is the amount of allowed passing yards by the Jaguars.  We're letting quarterbacks throw for 246.5 yards per game, and that's terrible.  It's a HUGE part of why our defense is ranked so low.  Now, I think it's meaningless that we're allowing that many yards when the same "bad" defense has allowed 17 points or less in 8 of 11 games, and 14 or fewer in 6 games.  In fact, our average per game is 17.7, which is pretty respectable.  By contrast, however, the Colts are allowing only 15.6 points per game.

As we get toward the bottom, we learn that the Jaguars and Colts are penalized at about the same amount, but the Jaguars take more yards (pass interference, probably).  The Colt's are turning the ball over more in the air (12 interceptions to 5),  we both take the ball away from other teams far more than we give it up (+8 and +10 differential, respectively)  and the Jaguars have a slight edge in time of possession.

Statistical Win Probability: WARNING MATH AHEAD!

There is a fantastic statistics guru in Brian Burke.  He's got a "Game Predictions System" that is fascinating in its ability to cut through the "garbage stats" and determine a probability of each team winning.  It's so good, in fact, that I still like referencing it even if I don't particularly  like what it says.  Before I show us his prediction, let's take a second and see his methodology.

Brian takes 8 efficiency statistics into account in producing his results.
    * Offensive pass efficiency, including sack yardage
    * Defensive pass efficency, including sack yardage
    * Offensive run efficiency
    * Defensive run efficiency
    * Offensive interception rate
    * Defensive interception rate
    * Offensive fumble rate
    * Penalty rate (penalty yards per play)
This system gives a result that's 69.8% accurate, compared to everyone else (57%)

Sadly, we need Brian's super accurate system to be completely wrong, as he's showing a Colts win.

His numbers indicate a 19% probability of a Jaguars win, and a 81% probability of a Colts win.   Hopefully, my previous statement of how the numbers could go out the window this week is accurate.

Jaguars v. Colts: at the RCA Dome

Note: All numbers in this section are from NFL.com

In the last 5 games at the RCA Dome, the Colts have a 4-1 record to the Jaguars 1-4 (duh).  In these games, the Jaguars have been outscored 145 to 70.  Over 2-1 in points.  

Digging a little deeper, the Colts convert 45% of 3rd downs against the Jaguars when at home, while the Jaguars have a terrible 39% conversion rate against the very loud home field crowd.

Jacksonville has a pretty respectable rushing average at the RCA Dome, 150 yards per game, to the Colts 144 ypg.  Passing is a completely different story, with the Colts burning the Jaguars for 224 ypg at home to the Jaguars 172.4.

On Defense, the Jaguars have only gotten to Manning 7 times at home, and we all know how key this is to flustering the Colt's offensive machine.

Just through this quick look, I see one critical number that must be addressed.  The Jaguars have 20 penalties for 231 yards at the RCA Dome to the Colt's 16 for 90 yards.  Jacksonville has done a good job in avoiding penalties this season, but we can't afford to give the Colts any free yards this week.  Especially false starts in the Extra Loud RCA Dome.

Interestingly, time of possession is nearly identical, 31:11 for the Colts, 31:55 for the Jaguars.

Conclusions:

I'm sure by now you're asking "what the hell does this all mean?", and I don't have a great answer.  The Jaguars have not played their best football in Indianapolis.  I've discussed earlier about how the Jaguars win over the Bills showed that they have grown past their "lose the games they're supposed to win" complex.  Now we're having to address our "win the games we can win, but blow through dumb mistakes".  The Colts play nearly perfect at home.  The Jaguars don't play nearly perfect in Indianapolis.  If we make mistakes like dumb penalties, turnovers, poor special teams play, etc, we will lose this game.  The Colt's have a lot of advantages this week, where Jacksonville can find the winning edge is in careful decision making and mistake-free play.

It's really quite simple when it comes down to it.  Don't make mistakes and we'll be competitive and quite possibly win, make mistakes and go home defeated.  The Jaguars have to get over this hump of playing the Colts well at home.  A win now, even if it doesn't give us the division lead as we'd like it, gives us a better shot at going into Indianapolis in the Playoffs and winning.  Thats the prize I'm looking at.

-Chris

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