Atlanta's defense keys success, Detroit's D disappoints

Updated: November 14, 2006, 1:32 PM ET
By John Hollinger | ESPN Insider
Surprise, surprise.

Two weeks into the season, not only is there a shocking level of parity but the standings seem almost upside down. Atlanta, projected by many of us experts to be the worst team in the East, is in first place in the Southeast Division and last year's Eastern Conference finalists, Miami and Detroit, are struggling.

It's the same story in the West, where conference finalists Dallas and Phoenix are 13th and 14th, respectively, and Northwest Division champ Denver isn't faring much better.

Whether it's a surprise or a disappointment, each team has a statistical story behind its success or lack of it. Much as I looked at the surprises and disappointments among individuals last week, now I'm going to examine surprises and disappointments at the team level -- not necessarily in terms of wins and losses but in terms of some of the other metrics I measure. Those, in turn, help inform us exactly why these teams are performing the way they are.


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