Patriots

NFL Notebook: Patriots not AFC faves for Football Outsiders; Changes to safety group?

We'll get to a few surprising things we've seen out of the safety group so far in training camp and what that might mean, and we'll take a quick camp spin around the AFC East to see what's up with the divisional rivals but, first, we'll start with an annual preseason reaching tradition: 

PATRIOTS NOT AFC FAVORITE, ACCORDING TO FOOTBALLOUTSIDERS.COM

One of my must-reads prior to each NFL season is the almanac put out by the good folks over at FootballOutsiders.com. I always learn something, especially about the Patriots. A few nuggets you might find interesting:

  • New England is tied with the Chargers for highest amount of average wins (10.2) behind the Saints (10.3). Patriots lead with a 72.2 percent chance of making the playoffs.
  • Saints and Chargers lead the Patriots in odds to make the Super Bowl. Saints (12.5) lead the Chargers (10.5) and Patriots (9.2) in percentage chance to win the Super Bowl.
  • New England is predicted to have the fifth-best DVOA overall, fifth in offense, 17th in defense and 2nd in special teams.
  • Patriots have the easiest schedule in the league.

The chapter, which is penned by veteran NFL scribe Mike Tanier, is not especially kind to Tom Brady, who Tanier says is "starting to decline," and he backs it up with FO data:

Signs of age were visible all across Brady’s statistics last season. He finished with his lowest DYAR (1,034) and DVOA (15.4 percent) since 2013. He ranked seventh in the NFL in DVOA, his lowest finish since 2013, and ninth in DYAR, his lowest finish since way back in 2003. In a season when passing statistics around the league dramatically increased, Brady posted his lowest QBR (68.8) since 2015, his lowest passer rating (97.7) since 2014, his lowest touchdown total (29) and rate (5.1 percent) since 2013, his highest interception rate (1.9 percent) since 2011, his lowest yards per attempt (7.6) since 2015 and yards per completion (11.6) since 2014. Pick just about any other meaningful metric, and Brady posted his lowest figure of the last three to seven years.

Some other nuggets from our friends at FootballOutsiders.com: