Friday's CFL game between the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Edmonton Eskimos (9 p.m. Eastern, TSN/ESPN3) sets up as a matchup of top defences, and both of these teams' defences have been very good. Qualitative analyses of the various players and matchups, such as this one from CFL.ca's Jamie Nye, haven't been able to find much between them. What about a quantitative analysis, though? To do that, I examined the CFL's league stats after eight weeks, which track 25 different defensive categories. They suggest that, by the numbers recorded to date at least, one of these defences has been substantially better.
The surface-level analysis is just comparing how many of those 25 categories each team leads, and that leads to an easy victor: Edmonton leads 14 to Hamilton's four. However, it's important to consider not just who's at the top in a given category, but where the other team ranks in the category in question. Towards that goal, I converted the Ticats' and Eskimos' relative standings in every category into numerical values from one to nine; nine means they're leading the category, one means they're last. (If a team was tied for a position, they receive the highest value possible for that tie; thus, a tie for second earns eight points, not seven.) I then summed each team's values across all categories, which gave Edmonton 196 points to Hamilton's 167.Read More »from Which defence is better, Hamilton's or Edmonton's?