NFL Previews: Raiders-Bills, Packers-Panthers, Chargers-Patriots

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This week's edition of The Weekly League features

1. Previews for the Oakland-Buffalo, Green Bay-Carolina, and San Diego-New England games.

2. Some surprising facts about the Buffalo Bills and their Week One accomplishment.


3. Considerably more sass than frass.

Note: the author has replaced yards per run with success rate as the standard by which ORUN+ and DRUN+ are evaluated, on account of run success rate correlates with winning more strongly.

Oakland at Buffalo | Sunday, September 18 | 1:00pm ET
Four Factors

• Last week, the Buffalo Bills were the only team in the league to post above-average numbers in every one of the four factors (pass efficiency, pass efficiency allowed, run success rate, and defensive run success rate) en route to beating Kansas City, 41-7.
• Of course, one will note, a single game is a small sample.
• One will also note, however, that Kansas City was a better team than Buffalo last season and playing at home -- an advantage that would give one completely average team about a 57% chance of victory over another completely average team.
• Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick's relationship with tight end Scott Chandler proved particularly fruitful, as Chandler caught all five passes thrown to him, for an average of 12.6 yards per target (YPT) and 1.71 expected points added per play (EPA/P).
• This is the same Scott Chandler who had one reception in 14 career games entering the season.

Green Bay at Carolina | Sunday, September 18 | 1:00pm ET
Four Factors

• You, reader, are very probably a lying liarface if you claim not to've been surprised by Cam Newton's NFL debut last week in Arizona.
• Newton's line from that game (with ranks among all QBs where relevant): 37 Att, 27 Cmp, 422 PassYds, 11.4 Y/A (1), 8.7 AYPA (3), 0.25 EPA/P (7).
• This, from a quarterback praised considerably more for his athleticism than for his quarterback-specific skills.
• Unfortunate for Carolina is how their defense allowed the second most yards per pass attempt in Week One.
• And how the Green Bay passing offense is likely stronger than the Arizona one.

San Diego at New England | Sunday, September 18 | 4:15pm ET
Four Factors

• In this game, one can find last year's best offense (New England) against last year's second-best offense (in San Diego).
• The Patriots, with their performance against Miami, also enter Week Two of this season as the league's best offense, after recording 10.5 net yards per pass (NY/A) and a 60.9% success rate on the run (relative to a league average of about 40%).
• The Charger passing game was less stellar (6.6 NY/A), but the pass defense absolutely dominated Donovan McNabb and the Vikings.
• To wit: McNabb's adjusted yards per attempt (AYPA, which includes adjustments for interceptions and touchdowns) was actually negative (-1.6).
• That's the wrong direction, Donovan McNabb.

The Four Factors you see for each game represent each team's performance in four important categories (pass efficiency, pass efficiency allowed, run success rate, and defensive run success rate) relative to league average (where 100 is league average and anything above is good).

Along with the Four Factors, you'll see two other headings: Generic Win Probability (GWP) and Game Probability (PROB). The GWP is the probability a team would beat the league average team at a neutral site. Final GWPs from 2010 for all teams here. The PROB is each respective team's chance of winning this particular contest. Your host, Brian Burke, provides PROBs to the New York Times each week starting in Week Five. Those numbers from 2010 (along with methodology) can be found here.

The above games have been chosen as they'll be available to the greatest portion of the network-watching audience, per the NFL maps at

Finally, a glossary of all unfamiliar terms can be found here.

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