Week Seven Football Rankings

Posted on October 25, 2008 by

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Here are the Week Seven Quarterback and Running Back Rankings:

Table One: Quarterback Rankings for Week Seven

Table Two: Running Back Rankings for Week Seven

Checking in on the Favre Trio

Perhaps this is as good a time as any to review the recent game of musical chairs – at the quarterback position — played by Green Bay, the New York Jets, and the Miami Dolphins.  After seven weeks, here are the numbers on the quarterbacks involved:

  • Chad Pennington: 0.316 net points per play (ranked #2)
  • Aaron Rodgers: 0.235 net points per play (ranked #12)
  • Brett Favre: 0.100 net points per play (ranked #24)

An average quarterback posts a per play mark of 0.159.  So Pennington and Rodgers have been above average this year while Favre has not.  Much of the difference in these players can be linked to yards (passing yards + rushing yards – yards lost from sacks) per play (passing attempts + rushing attempts + sacks).  Here is where these quarterbacks rank in this stat:

  • Chad Pennington: 7.21 yards per play (ranked #4)
  • Aaron Rodgers: 6.45 yards per play (ranked #11)
  • Brett Favre: 5.53 yards per play (ranked #22)

If we turn to the other primary element of The Wages of Wins quarterback metrics – turnovers (interceptions + fumbles lost) per play – we see that Pennington continues to lead this trio:

  • Chad Pennington: 1.579 turnovers per 100 plays (ranked #2)
  • Aaron Rodgers: 2.273 turnovers per 100 plays (ranked #10)
  • Brett Favre: 4.545 turnovers per 100 plays (ranked #31)

In sum, whether we look at efficiency in moving the ball (yards per play) or the propensity to give the ball away, Favre is lagging behind the player he replaced in New York and the player who replaced the legend in Green Bay.  Of course, quarterbacks are very inconsistent.  So this ranking can certainly change before the season is over.

Predicting One Turnover

Speaking of turnovers, Jason Campbell is the only quarterback who has not lost the ball this season. And this week he plays the Detroit Lions.  Detroit and Seattle are the only teams who have only intercepted one pass this year.   Given these two stats, one would expect Campbell to keep his interception record clean for one more week.

One should note, though, that turnovers – as I noted in The New York Times about two years ago – are not predictable.  How much a quarterback turns the ball over per play last season tells us very little about his propensity to give the ball away this season.  This tells us that what Campbell and the Lions have done thus far this season is not going to give us much insight into the game on Sunday.

Consequently, I am going to make a bold prediction.  I am going to watch the entire Detroit -Washington game (much to my wife’s chagrin).  And I expect to see Campbell throw at least one interception.  This is technically a guess (and a hope).  But Campbell is probably going to throw an interception at some point this season and I see no reason why it can’t happen against the Lions.

Two more notes on the Lions… Dan Orlovsky and Kevin Smith – Detroit’s starting quarterback and running back – do not have enough attempts this year to be ranked.  But if they were ranked, each wouldn’t look too bad.  Orlovsky’s net points per play stands at 0.152, a mark that would rank 21st (out of 34) quarterbacks in the league.  This is not a great mark by NFL standards, but it’s pretty good for a Detroit quarterback. 

As for Smith, the Lions are known for great running backs (see Barry Sanders and Billy Sims).  Smith may not become Sanders or Sims, but he’s off to a good start.  Per play, Smith is producing 0.204 points, a mark that would rank fourth in the NFL.  And Smith has done this behind nine different starting offensive linemen. 

So although the Lions are 0-6, there are some bright spots.  Detroit has Kevin Smith, Calvin Johnson, and….. Okay, they have Smith and Johnson.  And a defense that I really think will get one interception this week.

– DJ

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For more on the Wages of Wins football metrics see

The New QB Score

Consistent Inconsistency in Football

Football Outsiders and QB Score

The Value of Player Statistics in the NFL