Alex Smith, 24th Best QB in the NFL (FootballOutsiders.com)
Last week, I posted the Footballoutsiders stats for Alex, which put him 6th or 7th in the NFL in passing (stats adjusted for defensive strength and situation).
This week, he dropped to 23rd. Most of that drop is due to the fact that the 49ers played the worst (statistically) pass defense in the NFL.
In fact, FO predicted, based on opponent strength and situation, for Alex to throw for 113 yards more than he actually did -- that would make it about 400. Basically, FO considers the yards racked up during the late drive as "garbage yards" and less valuable.
I think his ranking was punished more than it should have been for two reasons:
1. The Titans D has dramatically improved since their bye week, but stats are adjusted for past performance
2. The Titans secondary is much better with Courtland Finnegan back there
3. FO considers and INT and INT regardless of the circumstances. So if it bounces off a WR and he volleys it up for the defender, its on the QB, regardless.
At #23, Alex is sandwiched between McNabb and Garrard -- he was rated the 24th best QB of the week...on par w/ Rodgers performance vs. the Titans. I predict the Titans Defense will continue to play at 2008 levels, so these week 9 sats will improve. To note, Shaun Hill is ranked 33rd, with numbers comparable to Matt Cassell, Kyle Boller, and Kerry Collins.
This week, the 49ers are playing the 25th-best (according to FO) pass defense in Chicago, so Smith will have to "light it up" just to meet expectations.
Of note, Chicago is 27th vs. #1 WRs, 22nd vs slot WRs and others, and 6th vs TEs and 11th vs RBs.