The /r/NFL All-Time Season: The Midseason Note

Posted on: Apr 20, 2018   |   Posted by: Refs4Pats NFL Blog2

Hey, /r/NFL! I'm simulating the 2017-2018 season using the teams from each team's greatest season. I do not control these results, so I have no personal biases in this simulation. If you want to see what happened last week, you can do so over here! Midseason Recap: Statsheets & Standings We're now officially finished with 8 fantastic weeks of the /r/NFL All-Time Season, which means we're halfway through the regular season. This is where I give an update on cumulative stats for significant players, give a breakdown of how each team is performing, and comment on this such as the playoff race, the MVP race, etc. Before we get to everything, though, I have some things to explain. #1 - The simulator is flawed. Yes, yes, you heard me right, the simulator is flawed. Remember, this was meant to simulate single games, not entire seasons, so when you begin to add up numbers throughout several games, there are going to be slight inconsistencies and things that aren't as they should be. Because it's not built like Madden, where stats are meant to be somewhat "normal" across an entire season, some things are not as accurate as they could be. I'll list a few. #2 - Teams run the ball too much. The vast majority of the teams run the ball way too much. You'll notice a lot of the running backs have unusually high rushing yards and rushing attempts. And then realize there's probably a secondary back who is also rushing relatively often. I've noticed this since the beginning of the season (every game I've simulated thus far, I've set the playbook to "favor pass" in an attempt to correct this) but it's still a bit unrealistic for me. This leads to a decrease in passing attempts, of which there probably should be a good bit more. Speaking of quarterbacks... #3 - A lot of quarterbacks suck and throw way too many interceptions. I've noticed this ESPECIALLY on the AFC side. In the AFC North, 79.3 is the highest passer rating by about 16 points. Quarterbacks aren't throwing enough passes, completing enough passes, or really being competent at their job at all. I guess you could look at this as more "old school" football though, when the ball was ran more and QBs weren't putting up crazy numbers like they are now. #4 - WRs are suffering as a result of the QB crisis. A lot of teams have an incredibly weak (stat-wise) #1 receiver, partially because of the QB crisis and also partially because of the simulator. Most receivers don’t get more than like 4 or 5 receptions a game, which should most definitely be higher. QBs always spread the ball around, but sometimes this means that their team ends up lacking a #1 receiver. There’s just deflated passing yards, attempts, receiving yards, and receptions all around. #5 - This took a lot longer than I expected. Frankly, I'm glad that I got through 200+ games and was able to sort through stats and all that stuff in basically a week. I was gonna do stuff like total offense and defense, point differential, and turnover differential, but I had no idea how LONG this would take to do correctly. I got into a rhythm by the end, but sheesh. It took forever. I'll eventually do that for the end of the year stats. I might try to "adjust" the end of the year stats so they'd be more normal and not the somewhat out of whack numbers you see here. However, I've already simulated through Week 12 so, y'know. These write-ups were made after Week 8, however. I simulated because I got bored adding up all the stats. Last thing before we get onto the breakdowns: If you like this series, then PLEASE support it by upvoting, commenting, and interacting. Each week takes a lot of effort and I consistently try to make sure I can give the best product possible. Thanks. Anyways, let's get to pick apart the teams of the /r/NFL All-Time Season! AFC NORTH '00 Ravens (4-4) Tony Banks: 118/232, 1,547 yards, 6 TDs, 13 INTs, 50.8% completion percentage, 57.5 passer rating Jamal Lewis: 154 carries, 594 yards, 3 TDs Quadry Ismail: 28 receptions, 374 yards, 1 TD Tony Banks might take the cake for the worst QB so far. With a terrible passer rating of 57.7 and being on pace for 26 interceptions, he’s the main person holding the Ravens back from elevating their game. Their defense (and partially running game) has been what’s keeping them floating near the top of the AFC North. If their offense can kick into gear, than this team has a good shot of going far in the playoffs, but if that never happens they’ll continue to struggle. Best case scenario is probably 10-6, worst case 7-9. Do they have a real shot in the playoffs? I think so. Their remaining schedule isn't too hard either. '78 Steelers (4-4) Terry Bradshaw: 107/237, 1559 yards, 11 TDs, 12 INTs, 45.1% completion percentage, 61.5 passer rating Franco Harris: 167 carries, 672 yards, 1 TD Rocky Bleier: 67 carries, 223 yards, 4 TDs Lynn Swann: 32 receptions, 458 yards, 3 TDs John Stallworth: 26 receptions, 412 yards, 3 TDs Well, look at the former 0-4 Steelers! They've won 4 in a row (albeit against relatively weak competition) and their remaining schedule isn't too much more difficult than the Ravens'. It'll be a much tougher fight for the division than it initially appeared, and Pittsburgh could realistically steal the division from Baltimore if they up their game. Bradshaw has some crazy bad numbers, but I'm gonna place most of that blame on the simulator, which both underrates him and is already biased against QBs. Franco Harris isn't doing too bad, but his low TD numbers leave a little to be desired. Pittsburgh has struggled to score in general this season, something they'll need to improve upon if they want to be a top dog in the AFC. I could see them making the playoffs, but getting past the Divisional Round would be an immense challenge. '64 Browns (3-5) Frank Ryan: 109/204, 1414 yards, 5 TDs, 11 INTs, 53.4% completion percentage, 61.19 passer rating Jim Brown: 158 carries, 910 yards, 10 TDs Paul Warfield: 35 receptions, 530 yards, 2 TDs Jim Brown is literally carrying this whole team on his back, with his ridiculous 910 rushing yards so far (however, if you remove his 250 yard, 5 TD rushing game from these numbers, they become a little bit more realistic). The unfortunate thing about this: he's carried them to a 3-5 record, and these numbers don't appear to be sustainable. It'll be tough for the Browns to make the post season, especially with Frank Ryan playing as poor as he is. The Browns also have a 5 game stretch to end off the season where they play the Chargers, Packers, Ravens, Bears, and Steelers. It'd be impressive if they could scratch out 8 wins. '88 Bengals (2-5) Boomer Esiason: 92/176, 1281 yards, 13 TDs, 9 INTs, 52.3% completion percentage, 79.3 passer rating James Brooks: 97 carries, 464 yards, 2 TDs Ickey Woods: 103 carries, 463 yards, 1 TD Eddie Brown: 28 receptions, 442 yards, 4 TDs Esiason's been easily the best QB in the AFC North thus far (especially if you remove his atrocious Week 2, 5 INT game) but the Bengals still remain at 2-5. Their defense has been an issue thus far and their offense is often sluggish, aside from their 51 point outburst last week. Perhaps that's a sign of things to come. Overall, though, I think they could play spoiler to a few teams in the closing weeks of the season (Baltimore, Week 17!) but overall will languish where they are. AFC SOUTH '99 Jaguars (4-3) Mark Brunell: 125/211, 1647 yards, 9 TDs, 3 INT, 59.2% completion percentage, 92.3 passer rating Fred Taylor: 94 carries, 507 yards, 3 TDs James Stewart: 132 carries, 510 yards, 2 TDs Jimmy Smith: 50 receptions, 734 yards, 3 TDs Brunell has limited the turnovers, the run game is on fire, and Jimmy Smith has emerged as one of the few true #1 WRs in the league so far. This is good news for the Jags. They're 4-3, on top of the division, and I think this team is LEGIT. Their only 3 losses in their real season were against the Titans, so who knows what they could do against the rest of the league. They have some challenges going forward (read: @San Francisco) but I think they're a formidable team that, when clicking, could be among the best. They're just under that top echelon, but at full potential could compete with those teams. Also, Jimmy Smith is probably the only WR on pace for 100 receptions. Cool! '99 Titans (3-4) Steve McNair: 91/189, 1227 yards, 9 TDs, 6 INTs, 48.1% completion percentage, 71.9 passer rating Eddie George: 142 carries, 780 yards, 6 TDs These two have been carrying the team, as no #1 WR has emerged in Tennesse... at all. In fact, the team hasn't emerged at all IN Tennesse. They're 0-3 at home, and 3-1 on the road. They'll need to improve that if they want a playoff spot in this tight AFC. They have about 4 easily loseable games (Ravens, 49ers, Rams, Jags) left on the schedule, but if the Jags start to falter over the second half of the season, a clutch division win at 9-7 looks reasonable for this team. Steve's gonna have to complete more passes though, smh. (All love. <3) '12 Texans (3-4) Matt Schaub: 104/191, 1375 yards, 8 TDs, 5 INTs, 54.5% completion percentage, 80.5 passer rating Arian Foster: 142 carries, 587 yards, 5 TDs Andre Johnson: 37 carries, 523 yards, 5 TDs The Texans are off to a good start, and Matt Schaub has actually been playing pretty decently! This team has somewhat put it together over the beginning of the year, but they've gone 1-4 over the past 5 weeks. If they keep they downward spiral going (their next two weeks are the Colts and Rams) then this could be a hopeful season gone south for the Texans. Unfortunately, I just don't see them competing with the Titans and Jaguars at the top of the division. But hey, this is a crazy season, and nothing's completely out the picture. I think the Texans can get around 7-9, but a +2 or -2 differential wouldn't surprise me. '06 Colts (2-6) Peyton Manning: 159/248, 2168 yards, 19 TDs, 3 INTs, 64.1% completion percentage, 112.4 passer rating Joseph Addai: 108 carries, 440 yards, 5 TDs Reggie Wayne: 43 receptions, 745 yards, 5 TDs Marvin Harrison: 44 receptions, 623 yards, 2 TDs The Colts are 2-6, but Peyton is playing like one of the best QBs in the league so far (except for Brady, but... we'll get to that later). Why, you ask? Their defense has been abysmal thus far, and they'll face even more high powered offenses (Denver, Buffalo, Jacksonville) down the stretch. It's a lost season for the Colts here, which is unfortunate for Manning and co. AFC EAST Patriots (7-1) Tom Brady: 151/199, 2037 yards, 25 TDs, 1 INT, 75.9% completion percentage, 145.4 passer rating Laurence Maroney: 116 yards, 363 yards, 3 TDs Wes Welker: 47 receptions, 643 yards, 7 TDs Randy Moss: 43 receptions, 566 yards, 9 TDs Look, I hate this just as much as you do. Brady on pace for 50 TDs in the All-Time Season? That shouldn't be happening. (Just for the record: I've simulated to Week 12 so far, and his ridiculous stats don't continue, so, thank the Lord.) The Pats are 7-1 and are basically a lock for the division title and most likely the #1 seed. Their main competition at this point is Denver, who they play AT Denver in Week 10. If Denver grabs a win there, the Patriots lose another random game in the season, and both teams finish around 13-3 or 12-4, the playoffs could get real interesting. So far, the Pats are only 1-1 against winning teams and 6-0 against losing teams. Maybe they don't have what it takes to compete with elite teams and they haven't been exposed so far. Whatever the case, the Pats will be an exciting team to follow in the upcoming weeks. '72 Dolphins (4-3) Earl Morrall: 114/249, 1696 yards, 11 TDs, 7 INTs, 45.7% completion percentage, 71.6 passer rating Mercury Morris: 110 carries, 406 yards, 4 TDs Larry Csonka: 76 carries, 347 yards, 3 TDs Paul Warfield: 28 receptions, 473 yards, 3 TDs The Dolphins are a fun team. They're somewhat hard to judge, but fun to follow. 0-3 at home and 4-0 on the road. Getting blown out by the Titans and winning 3-0 against the Ravens. Paul Warfield is the leading receiver for both these Dolphins and the Browns, but his Browns counterpart is currently performing best. I could easily see this team reaching a Wild Card spot, where they will be just that - a wild card. They might reach the Conference Championship, and might get blown out in the first round. (Think about how fun a Dolphins/Pats conference championship would be.) They haven't played the Patriots yet, and don't until Week 12, but we'll find out a lot about them when they do. Until then, it might be unfair to judge this team. '68 Jets (4-4) Joe Namath: 132/236, 1981 yards, 13 TDs, 14 INTs, 55.9% completion percentage, 77.3 passer rating Don Maynard: 42 receptions, 785 yards, 6 TDs Matt Snell: 121 carries, 547 yards, 3 TDs The Jets have been one of the big surprises of the year thus far. I thought they'd completely flop and be at the bottom of the barrel, but they've shown that they're competitive and can compete with some of the big boy teams. So far, the Jets have easily the toughest schedule of their AFC East counterparts at 0.559 but are right in the thick of it in regards to a Wild Card spot. For some reason, I still hesitate to give them their props. I feel like they're not quite as talented as some teams with weaker records ('76 Raiders, '99 Titans, maybe even the '90 Bills). I wouldn't place money on them to make the playoffs, but I hope they do. '90 Bills (3-4) Jim Kelly: 106/211, 1317 yards, 5 TDs, 6 INTs, 50.2% completion percentage, 66.0 passer rating Thurman Thomas: 137 carries, 619 yards, 3 TDs Andre Reed: 37 receptions, 455 yards, 2 TDs The Bills have struggled to get it going early on, largely in part because of the struggles of Jim Kelly. He's part of the pack of "The Awful AFC Quarterbacks" (TAAQ) that have appeared due to the simulator's tendency to underrate the passing game. How Buffalo ends up this season will come down to how it does in Weeks 13-17. During that time, they play both the Dolphins and Patriots twice. Their best case scenario for this season is probably 9-7. AFC WEST '98 Broncos (5-2) John Elway: 101/166, 1365 yards, 6 INTs, 4 INTs, 60.8% completion percentage, 89.1 passer rating Terrell Davis: 162 carries, 855 yards, 9 TDs Rod Smith: 33 receptions, 508 yards, 3 TDs Terrell Davis has been by far the most impressive RB in the league so far, even more than Jim Brown. Brown has about 50 more yards and one more TD, but has played in one more game than Davis and Brown also had a ridiculous Week 3 performance that inflates his stats a little bit. TD's put the Broncos on his back and is the main reason that they're such a threat thus far. To me, this is a team with potential to go all the way. They have some tough road trips ahead and an important Week 10 game against the Pats, which they'll need to handle in order to try and secure home-field advantage. I could see a first round bye being in sights. '78 Raiders (3-5) Ken Stabler: 126/217, 1672 yards, 12 TDs, 7 INTs, 58.1% completion percentage, 87.6 passer rating Mark Van Eeghen: 128 carries, 561 yards, 3 TDs Cliff Branch: 28 yards, 451 yards, 4 TDs The Raiders have been severely underperforming this year. I expected them to contend for the division title with the Broncos, but that doesn't appear to be the case. Their next 3 games is a Dolphins-Patriots-Broncos stretch. If they can go 2-1 over that period, I think they can get back on their feet and possibly end the season on a hot streak. '81 Chargers (3-5) Dan Fouts: 152/257, 1909 yards, 15 TDs, 2 INTs, 59.1% completion percentage, 98.5 passer rating Chuck Muncie: 153 carries, 624 yards, 7 TDs Wes Chandler: 40 receptions, 530 yards, 3 TDs Dan Fouts has been performing incredibly well, but this Chargers team has been wildly inconsistent this year. Going into overtime 3 weeks out of the first 4, and losing on a last second Hail Mary are just a few examples. I think I've found somewhat of a method to their madness, however - they're 3-1 at home and 0-4 on the road. Perhaps this is simply not a good team that's gotten a little lucky over the beginning of the season. I predict they'll make a late playoff push that will ultimately fail, because that's one of the most Chargers things to ever happen. '69 Chiefs (3-5) Len Dawson: 129/258, 1576 yards, 10 TDs, 10 INTs, 50.0% completion percentage, 66.0 passer rating Mike Garrett: 125 carries, 385 yards, 3 TDs Otis Taylor: 38 receptions, 466 yards, 4 TDs This is a team that I think is overperforming so far. They don't have anyone that jumps out to me, and their schedule gets increasingly difficult as the year progresses. If they only manage to scratch out one more win over the remainder of the season, I wouldn't be surprised. NFC NORTH '85 Bears (7-1) Jim McMahon: 99/209, 1284 yards, 5 TDs, 10 INTs, 47.4% completion percentage, 55.2 passer rating Walter Payton: 161 carries, 890 yards, 8 TDs Willie Gault: 25 receptions, 447 yards, 3 TDs I'm secretly hoping this season doesn't end the boring way - with the '85 Bears capturing the championship in dominant fashion. However, that appears a likely scenario if things continue to go their way. Their Achilles' heel may be Jim McMahon, however. He's playing like basically the worst QB in the league at this point, but the Bears kinda have an easy schedule to finish the season off (TWO games against the Lions!). I think they'll lock up the #1 seed, easily. The Wild Card race in the NFC is going to be the fun part. '96 Packers (5-2) Brett Favre: 100/173, 1384 yards, 11 TDs, 5 INTs, 57.8% completion percentage, 92.7 passer rating Antonio Freeman: 25 receptions, 407 yards, 2 TDs Edgar Bennett: 112 carries, 416 yards, 3 TDs The Packers have played excellently with a difficult schedule so far. They've got another rough patch coming up in a few weeks (@Bears, Ravens, @Steelers, Buccaneers) which will tell us if this team is here to stay or not, but they're playing better than I expected them to. They are serious contenders for a Wild Card spot and, if things get crazy, they could steal the division from Chicago. They've already beaten them once - let's see if they have what it takes to do it again. '98 Vikings (5-3) Randall Cunningham: 135/212, 1912 yards, 11 TDs, 9 INTs, 63.7% completion percentage, 92.3 passer rating Robert Smith: 142 carries, 661 yards, 5 TDs Jake Reed: 27 receptions, 413 yards, 4 TDs The leading receiver for the Vikings so far has been... Jake Reed! The WR numbers have been somewhat split between Moss and Carter, and I guess it's left Jake to flourish. (If you want the Moss/Carter numbers, just ask) Minnesota has won 3 in a row but unfortunately is in the most competitive division in football so far, aside from the Lions. If 3 teams from the NFC North end up in the playoffs, I wouldn't be surprised. '91 Lions (1-6) Barry Sanders: 153 carries, 692 yards, 7 TDs I didn't take Rodney Peete's stats because I'm sure they would set a new record for awfulness. Barry is the only bright spot in this team that will probably finish 1-15. Sorry, Lions fans. :( NFC SOUTH '98 Falcons (5-2) Chris Chandler: 98/208, 1510 yards, 9 TDs, 9 INTs, 46.9% completion percentage, 68.0 passer rating Jamal Anderson: 182 carries, 953 yards, 5 TDs Tony Martin: 35 receptions, 597 yards, 5 TDs Jamal Anderson is actually going insane. Although his stats are boosted by a 32 carry, 250 yard game, he's still been amazingly consistent and vital for this Falcons team. As much as it pains me to say it, they look like the most competent team in the NFC South so far, with the Saints being inconsistent so far and the Bucs trying to rebound from a terrible start. However, this is the NFC South and ANYTHING is possible. Atlanta has played 0 divisional games thus far. '02 Bucs (3-4) Brad Johnson: 129/232, 1653 yards, 7 INT, 5 INTs, 55.6% completion percentage, 79.2 passer rating Michael Pittman: 99 rushes, 277 yards, 1 TD Keyshawn Johnson: 32 receptions, 490 yards, 1 TD The Bucs have rebounded nicely from an 0-4 start to make it to second (!!) place in their division, but they're still 0-3 against winning teams. Whether or not they can actually compete with formidable teams will make all the difference in determining if they can win the division or not. They play the Saints next week in a must-win game for both teams. '09 Saints (3-4) Drew Brees: 131/214, 1831 yards, 12 TDs, 4 INTs, 61.2% completion percentage, 99.6 passer rating Pierre Thomas: 91 carries, 420 yards, 4 TDs Marques Colston: 29 receptions, 439 yards, 5 TDs I've had a few people cite this as the reason that they know I'm running this sim fairly, because my beloved Saints are currently 3-4. They've just been a tad too inconsistent so far, but three of their losses have come to the Patriots, Bears, and Packers, all of whom are formidable teams. Also, they've got road wins @Miami and @Minnesota, so you never know when it comes to this team. Can they put it together down the stretch? If they want to reach the postseason, the road begins with a win next week at home against Tampa Bay. '15 Panthers (2-6) Cam Newton: 99/188, 1372 yards, 7 TDs, 5 INTs, 52.7% completion percentage, 77.7 passer rating Johnathan Stewart: 144 carries, 586 yards, 6 TDs Ted Ginn Jr.: 24 receptions, 419 yards, 3 TDs The Panthers have been very sluggish and have lost 3 in a row. They simply don't have the offensive firepower needed to take on the better teams in the league, although their defense has kept them in some games. I don't see them reaching the playoffs at this. NFC EAST '86 Giants (4-3) Phil Simms: 116/186, 1782 yards, 11 TDs, 6 INTs, 62.4% completion percentage, 100.2 passer rating Stacy Robinson: 24 receptions, 356 yards, 3 TDs Joe Morris: 142 carries, 693 yards, 4 TDs New York has to be careful. Their season started off 4-1 but in recent weeks the Broncos and Seahawks have caught them slipping, and their descent may take them out of the division lead, with both the Cowboys and Redskins at 3-4. The Giants, so far, appear to be a team with a bubble ready to burst. I'm not optimistic about them going forwards. '92 Cowboys (3-4) Troy Aikman: 117/184, 1580 yards, 14 TDs, 5 INTs, 63.6% completion percentage, 104.9 passer rating Emmitt Smith: 140 carries, 659 carries, 3 TDs Michael Irvin: 31 receptions, 544 yards, 6 TDs The Cowboys are 3-4, but they've had easily the hardest schedule in the league so far, with a SOS of .620. This team is most definitely talented, and with Aikman shredding the passing game like he has been so far, they're on an upward trajectory while the Giants are sloping down. It'll..