For the first week I tested the Massey-Peabody rankings that the Wall Street Journal has been featuring this season vs. the Las Vegas line and what did we get? In Week 5 we got a 9-4 record by both. Massey-Peabody had the Vikings as ranked only 22nd while they had Arizona ranked 13th. The odds makers had Vikes up by 3.
On the other hand Vegas whiffed on the Eagles-Bills. Here M-P has the advantage because its rankings are only based on this season. One can assume that there was a fair amount of the "prejudice of history" in favoring the Eagles over the Bills in Buffalo's own stadium. On the other hand there were some common misses: both teams had Houston over the Raiders and both had the Giants big over Seattle. As a Giants fan I can only say "ugh!"
More broadly what we learned on Sunday is that there are those elements of football that always hold true. For example those who say Eli Manning caused the Giants to lose are dead wrong. He was one of their few bright spots along with his WR Cruz. That and the Giants defense's ability to force turnovers is all that kept them in the game. While Eli's had 3 picks including that really bad one to end the game where he threw a 94 YDs pick with the game on the line and the Giants seemingly ready to score, his 420 yards are what kept them in the game.
What really hurt the Giants is their continuing inability to run the ball-they also can't stop the run. In this sense it's impressive that they were 3-1 coming into the game as they haven't either run or stopped the run all year.
For when you examine the stats from all 13 games what is clear is the team that throws for more YDs doesn't necessarily win. Eli had more YDs Sunday that Tavaris Jackson and his replacement Charlie Whitehurst. In fact Manning had the most YDs of any QB on Sunday. But then again second behind him was Houston's Matt Schaub with 416 who also lost to the Raiders. In fact of the top quarterbacks by YDs last Sunday the record was 3-5 while the top 8 runners were 6-2.
This will be true most weeks. For the week the team with more rushing YDs was 6-7 while the team with more YDs was 9-4.
This too you will find most weeks to be true. While the team with more rushing YDs usually wins the team with more passing at best breaks even or maybe a little worse. This despite the fact that the Giants had some wins before last Sunday and the Packers are largely an exception to this rule.
Bascially the team with more rushing YDs usually wins. But the team with the QB who throws for more YDs is mostly a pick em. Sometimes like when Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady are at QB it indicates domination. Yet just as often it means that the losing team had to throw a lot in the second half because it was behind.
Yet if the QB with more YDs doesn't usually win the QB with the better rating does it turns out. Last week the QB with the better rating was 11-2. So the better QB usually does win but the better QB is not always the one with more YDs.