Who needs power rankings when you have the ANY/A differential stats?
As many of you know that have read here for a while, I am a big fan of adjusted net yards per passing attempt differentials as I believe it gives you a true measurement of teams throughout the season. In case this stat is new to you, here is a post from 2011 that better explains the stat. In addition, here is a post that includes the final ANY/A stats from the 2012 season.
Keep in mind that these stats are only though week three of the season and in my experience with the stat, it really starts coming into focus at about week four or five, so you could see some serious shuffling in the middle over the course of the next few weeks.
The Steelers are of course 0-3 right now and it’s hard not to point to sacks and turnovers as the reason for that. Despite everything that has happened up until now, however, they still only have a -.04 ANY/A differential. Does that make you feel any better? Probably not, but that’s not bad for an 0-3 team all things considered.
The last time the Steelers were 0-3 to start a season was 2000, so I went back and pulled the numbers to see what the ANY/A differential was for that team through the first three games.
With Kent Graham at quarterback, the offense registered a 5.03 ANY/A number on offense despite having zero passing touchdowns. That offense, however, only had one interception through the first three games and the quarterback was sacked seven times in total.
The 2000 defense, on the other hand, was really poor as their ANY/A number came in at a whopping 7.83.
The ANY/A differential for that 2000 team after the first three games was -2.81 and that number is certainly one that’s representative of an 0-3 team.
I’m not going to try to blow smoke up anyone’s rear-end here because 0-3 is the only real stat that counts. Regardless of what the Steelers ANY/A differential number is after the Sunday game against the Minnesota Vikings, if they lose, their season is pretty much over.
Should the Steelers win in London, however, their ANY/A differential number should turn into a positive one as they head into the bye week and when you consider the fact that they face the New York Jets and rookie quarterback Geno Smith the following week, you would then have to like their chances of registering a second win which would put them at 2-3 heading into their first meeting against the Baltimore Ravens.
At the conclusion of week five, I will start posting these ANY/A differential numbers weekly for the remainder of the season and hopefully the Steelers number will have meaning at that time.
Like all stats, this one is not perfect, but it’s history is pretty impressive nonetheless and that’s why I use it as my own personal power ranking.