The Red Zone Chicken Tenders: Are they a ConTender or PreTender?

Records/winning percentages are great. They get to decide who is playing football in January and who is sitting at home trying to piece together where it all went wrong. However, they do not always tell the full story. All too often, a team will sneak on in to the playoffs who really doesn’t belong there, while a team who is much better barely missed out.

To fully analyze this, let’s take a journey into the numbers. We really want to focus on how you are doing against your competition. Are you winning games against superior competition? Do you have some embarrassing losses? The schedule will each and every season hook up/screw over some teams in regards to how difficult they will have it. We are also not going to limit this to just the playoff teams. We want to include everyone, minus the Panthers/Giants/Eagles, who have all had new coaching changes.

The teams under “contenders” might not have the best records, but rather they are performing well given their circumstances. They have big wins and aren’t losing many games that they shouldn’t have. “Pretenders” are teams that might have some wins, but they just aren’t showing anything special. That being said, let’s dive on in!

 

Contenders

Indianapolis Colts (4-7)

What a weird team to list first. Now hear me out here. I know they aren’t technically “contending” for anything, but this team and schedule is the biggest outlier we have and it is not close. They are actually the highest strength of victory in the league at .523 (2nd is at .463). Their schedule is TOUGH. Through 11 games, the have faced 9 teams with winning records, going 3-6 in that span. They also rank 30th in their Strength of Schedule, with only the Panthers and Broncos having a harder schedule so far. Their record is not great, but quality wins over the Steelers, Titans, and Texans are impressive. Let’s just chalk this season up to the scheduling Gods taking a giant shit in Indiana, and hope that next season is a little easier.

 

Green Bay Packers (9-1-1)

We all too often write off Pat and what he is doing with his teams, but we should probably start keeping him on our radars. He ranks 5th in SOV (.461), and has gone 5-1-1 against winning teams. He has also gone 4-0 versus losing teams, so he’s not dropping games he should win. Wake up NFC, Pat is trying to take over the conference.

 

 

Dallas Cowboys (9-2)

This isn’t really surprising, but Lefty is getting it done. He is 7th in SOV, has gone 4-2 vs. winning teams, and is undefeated against losing teams at 5-0. Consistent as they come.

 

 

 

Washington Redskins (9-3)

Very similar stats as Lefty and the Cowboys. They are 8th in SOV, but also have the 4th easiest SOS. 4-2 against winning teams and 5-1 against losing teams. It’s hard to trust this team, as they lost to the hapless Eagles and almost blew it against the Bengals. A likely playoff team at this point, it will be interesting to see if Jake can string games together back to back without the random bad game interrupting the post season push.

 

 

Oakland Raiders (7-4)

Killah is very quietly in contention, coming off of a season where he went 6-10 prior. New addition and upcoming household name Hunter Montgomery is leading the defensive charge as he fights with the Chiefs and Chargers for control of the AFC West. Currently, the Raiders have the 4th highest SOV and the 5th hardest SOS. Coming in at 7-4 is a great feat when you see those numbers. You’d love to see a tad higher number vs winning teams (3-3), but time will tell if that .500 record will be a foreshadowing of how things may look if they make it to the post season.

 

Pretenders

Arizona Cardinals (4-7)

Sorry Adel. The tables are safe from the Cardinals stomping on through them. The Cardinals have the 3rd lowest SOV in the league (.227), with only the Giants (who technically have a 0 in SOV) and Chad and the Ravens (.159) having lower SOV’s. Their schedule has been middle of the pack in regards to difficulty, and they are a whopping 0-5 against winning teams. When your pedigree wins are the Giants, Dolphins, Bills, and Eagles…. It is hard to be excited for this team right now.

 

Baltimore Ravens (4-7)

I am so confused. How did an 11-5 playoff team from last season become so bad in just one year? The SOV is putrid (.159), they have a top 10 easiest schedule, and they still managed to go 0-6 vs. winning teams. Sure, they have gone 4-1 against losing teams, but you’d like to see them compete against the “big boys”.

 

 

Detroit Lions (6-5)

Here’s the facts. The Lions have the 4th lowest SOV, have the 2nd easiest schedule, but are just 1-4 vs winning teams, and that one win was a mysterious s2w from the Titans. They are 5-1 against teams they should beat, but like the Ravens, they are a different team against better competition. We need to see more.

 

 

Chicago Bears (7-4)

No, Tiko, I am not personally attacking you. I am just looking at the numbers. The Bears currently have the 7th lowest SOV, a middle of the pack SOS (.500), and are just 1-4 against winning teams. (You will also argue that the s2l you took against Pat was wrong, unfair, WITCHHUNT!…. but based on the numbers and stats the Packers were probably favored to win regardless.) Tiko is definitely getting it done against the bad teams (6-0), so we have a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde type of team here.

 

Miami Dolphins (4-7)

This team…. I just don’t know. We all know about their defense and how scary they can be, but they are underperforming so bad!! Sure, they have the 6th highest SOV, but they are losing games that they frankly should be winning. They are 2-2 vs. winning teams… GREAT! But alas, they are 2-5 against losing teams. Like…. How?! I know they have lost MANY close games, so let’s just chalk this up to Jim being one of the least clutch guys in close games, regardless of who he is facing.

 

For reference, here are the stats to see where each team sits right now:

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