This year, it’s the New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that are statistically similar (and better than most other teams). In Sporting News’ latest NFL Power Rankings, these three teams are among the top four in the game at the moment. Although some stats need extra context, there are three in particular that are highly correlated with why good teams perform good, as well as why bad teams perform bad. Here they are:
Offensive Scoring Percentage
Highest Rated Teams: NE, BUF, LAR, IND, TB
Lowest Rated Teams: HOU, JAX, DET, SEA, NYJ
Well, let’s just say that the lowest rated teams in this statistic are currently slated as the first three picks in the upcoming draft (that means the teams are not good football teams). The offensive scoring percentage is self-explanatory; it’s a measure of how often an offense scores, in terms of number of drives resulting in a field goal or touchdown.
Typically, scoring the football is a result of converting, whether it be by sustaining a good drive or having the players to turn explosive plays into scores. A team that converts on offense not only controls the flow of the game, but also allows for more game winning drives than an offense with poor conversion abilities.
Bottom line – if the offense is not scoring frequently, there are a good amount of fundamental flaws in the offense that will contribute to poor future performance. On the other hand, if an offense is able to put points on the board every other time they have the ball, it means that they have the ability and execution to contribute to good future performance.
D NY/A (Defensive Net Yards per Pass Attempt allowed)
Highest Rated Teams: BUF, CAR, NE, ARI, GB
Lowest Rated Teams: DET, NYJ, BAL, WFT, JAX
It’s not a secret that the NFL has gotten pass-heavy on offense, especially in the last 10-15 years. Naturally with that transformation comes the growing necessity of a great passing defense to maintain success. This statistic measures the net yards allowed each time an opposing QB throws a pass.
Long 3rd downs and 2-minute drills are some of the most deciding moments in any football game that is played. It just so happens that the most common play call in those situations is a pass, so the ability to stop it will boost a teams potential in every single game they play.
The reason Patrick Mahomes earned a $500 million contract and the reason that most QB’s are the highest earner on the team is because they’re who needs to be making the plays in pivotal moments of a game. That leaves it up to the defense to stop that generational talent, and teams that rank at the top of this category have better chances down the stretch.
Defensive Turnover Rate
Highest Rated Teams: NE, BUF, IND, TB, NYG
Lowest Rated Teams: JAX, NYJ, SEA, PIT, BAL
No play gets the crowd as excited, or as deflated, as a turnover. There is never a good time for a turnover…unless you’re the defense. Then it’s always a good time for a turnover. Being able to generate more chances to score and control the game is a part of the most dangerous teams.
Overall, the good teams share a lot of similarities amongst each other and that’s an effect of adaptive coaching staffs as well as exceptional execution from the players. Don’t be surprised if the team raising the Lombardi at the end of the season is at or near the top of these categories!