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Final 2011 Offensive and Defensive Efficiency Scores

January 3, 2012 Leave a comment

With the 2011 regular season in the books, here are the final efficiency scores:

Offense:

2011 All Time Tm OSCORE
1 2 Green Bay Packers 53.95
2 10 New Orleans Saints 48.95
3 17 New England Patriots 42.35
4 144 Carolina Panthers 20.45
5 182 San Diego Chargers 17.65
6 198 Detroit Lions 16.40
7 202 Atlanta Falcons 16.25
8 243 San Francisco 49ers 13.90
9 280 New York Giants 12.60
10 348 Dallas Cowboys 9.85
11 365 Houston Texans 9.10
12 490 Minnesota Vikings 3.60
13 503 Baltimore Ravens 3.20
14 626 Philadelphia Eagles -1.70
15 675 Oakland Raiders -3.10
15 675 Miami Dolphins -3.10
17 681 Pittsburgh Steelers -3.25
18 723 New York Jets -4.50
19 733 Cincinnati Bengals -4.85
20 739 Tennessee Titans -5.25
21 771 Buffalo Bills -6.10
22 865 Seattle Seahawks -10.10
23 919 Arizona Cardinals -12.95
24 993 Chicago Bears -16.65
25 1012 Denver Broncos -17.25
26 1035 Washington Redskins -18.60
27 1096 Cleveland Browns -22.80
28 1108 Jacksonville Jaguars -23.50
29 1135 Tampa Bay Buccaneers -26.40
30 1149 Indianapolis Colts -27.80
31 1201 Kansas City Chiefs -37.95
32 1209 St. Louis Rams -40.70

Defense:

2011 All Time Tm DSCORE
1 20 San Francisco 49ers 36.65
2 84 Baltimore Ravens 25.11
3 135 Seattle Seahawks 20.17
4 195 Houston Texans 16.48
5 211 Chicago Bears 15.81
6 270 New York Jets 12.88
7 300 Detroit Lions 11.78
8 314 Pittsburgh Steelers 11.42
9 324 Green Bay Packers 10.70
10 404 Jacksonville Jaguars 7.44
11 446 New England Patriots 5.93
12 465 Atlanta Falcons 5.42
13 514 Tennessee Titans 4.11
14 565 Cincinnati Bengals 2.28
15 575 Miami Dolphins 1.94
16 578 Cleveland Browns 1.88
17 620 Philadelphia Eagles 0.56
18 621 Kansas City Chiefs 0.54
19 637 Dallas Cowboys 0.13
20 644 Arizona Cardinals -0.08
21 771 New York Giants -4.42
22 781 Denver Broncos -4.86
23 915 Washington Redskins -11.14
24 921 Buffalo Bills -11.45
25 943 New Orleans Saints -12.46
26 955 St. Louis Rams -13.10
27 982 San Diego Chargers -14.61
28 1019 Oakland Raiders -16.24
29 1089 Minnesota Vikings -21.47
30 1110 Indianapolis Colts -24.07
31 1137 Carolina Panthers -26.99
32 1190 Tampa Bay Buccaneers -34.40

Offensive Efficiency Rankings Through Week 16

December 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Offensive Efficiency Rankings Through Week 16

2011 All Time Tm OSCORE
1 2 Green Bay Packers 54.25
2 14 New Orleans Saints 45.45
3 21 New England Patriots 40.55
4 123 Carolina Panthers 22.25
5 202 Detroit Lions 16.05
6 233 San Diego Chargers 14.35
7 263 Atlanta Falcons 13.30
8 282 Dallas Cowboys 12.35
9 320 San Francisco 49ers 10.95
10 336 Houston Texans 10.20
11 352 New York Giants 9.75
12 386 Minnesota Vikings 7.95
13 548 Baltimore Ravens 1.40
14 603 Pittsburgh Steelers -0.55
15 646 Miami Dolphins -2.15
16 678 New York Jets -3.15
17 701 Cincinnati Bengals -3.95
18 724 Oakland Raiders -4.60
19 733 Philadelphia Eagles -4.90
20 736 Buffalo Bills -5.10
21 758 Tennessee Titans -5.85
22 863 Seattle Seahawks -10.05
23 919 Denver Broncos -12.95
23 919 Arizona Cardinals -12.95
25 943 Chicago Bears -13.95
26 1012 Washington Redskins -17.20
27 1075 Cleveland Browns -20.85
28 1125 Jacksonville Jaguars -25.50
29 1129 Tampa Bay Buccaneers -25.70
30 1137 Indianapolis Colts -26.60
31 1199 Kansas City Chiefs -36.40
32 1217 St. Louis Rams -47.05

2011 Efficiency Rankings Through Week 15

December 20, 2011 Leave a comment

With 15 weeks of the NFL season in the books, here are the OSCORE and DSCORE rankings:

2011 All Time Tm OSCORE
1 3 Green Bay Packers 52.35
2 14 New Orleans Saints 43.20
3 21 New England Patriots 40.05
4 185 San Diego Chargers 17.05
5 215 Detroit Lions 15.05
6 231 Atlanta Falcons 14.50
7 241 Dallas Cowboys 14.05
8 252 Carolina Panthers 13.65
9 301 Houston Texans 11.70
10 339 San Francisco 49ers 10.15
11 371 New York Giants 8.90
12 524 Baltimore Ravens 2.10
13 533 Minnesota Vikings 1.90
14 565 New York Jets 0.90
15 672 Buffalo Bills -2.90
16 673 Cincinnati Bengals -2.95
17 687 Oakland Raiders -3.55
18 688 Philadelphia Eagles -3.55
19 700 Pittsburgh Steelers -3.85
20 702 Miami Dolphins -3.90
21 771 Tennessee Titans -6.10
22 840 Seattle Seahawks -9.05
23 858 Chicago Bears -9.90
24 865 Denver Broncos -10.05
25 931 Arizona Cardinals -13.25
26 1056 Washington Redskins -19.75
27 1076 Cleveland Browns -21.05
28 1110 Tampa Bay Buccaneers -23.65
29 1129 Jacksonville Jaguars -25.70
30 1138 Indianapolis Colts -27.00
31 1192 Kansas City Chiefs -35.25
32 1213 St. Louis Rams -43.55
2011 All Time Tm DSCORE
1 8 San Francisco 49ers 44.34
2 106 Baltimore Ravens 22.88
3 145 Seattle Seahawks 19.38
4 151 Chicago Bears 18.92
5 157 Houston Texans 18.32
6 252 New York Jets 14.02
7 275 Detroit Lions 12.80
8 318 Green Bay Packers 11.18
9 403 Atlanta Falcons 7.46
10 427 Dallas Cowboys 6.64
11 431 Pittsburgh Steelers 6.44
12 446 New England Patriots 5.98
13 453 Tennessee Titans 5.74
14 530 Miami Dolphins 3.56
15 552 Jacksonville Jaguars 2.94
16 589 Cincinnati Bengals 1.56
17 662 Cleveland Browns -0.76
18 673 Arizona Cardinals -1.18
19 735 Philadelphia Eagles -3.18
20 752 Washington Redskins -3.54
21 814 Denver Broncos -6.48
22 843 San Diego Chargers -7.76
23 852 Kansas City Chiefs -8.18
24 864 St. Louis Rams -8.52
25 886 New York Giants -9.74
26 948 Buffalo Bills -12.66
27 1005 New Orleans Saints -15.72
28 1024 Oakland Raiders -16.54
29 1115 Tampa Bay Buccaneers -25.00
30 1127 Carolina Panthers -25.98
31 1143 Indianapolis Colts -27.38
32 1152 Minnesota Vikings -28.44

2011 Offensive Efficiency Scores

December 2, 2011 Leave a comment

Yesterday, I posted my final Offensice Efficiency (O-SCORE) rankings for 1970-2010 (you can find them here: 1970-2010 Rankings). Here are the 2011 scores, along with their all-time rank:

2011 All Time Tm OSCORE
1 3 Green Bay Packers 52.46
2 18 New Orleans Saints 39.56
3 38 New England Patriots 33.02
4 121 Houston Texans 21.73
5 251 Detroit Lions 13.20
6 292 Atlanta Falcons 11.63
7 302 Dallas Cowboys 11.13
8 354 San Francisco 49ers 9.07
9 385 New York Giants 7.69
10 448 Carolina Panthers 5.05
11 451 Minnesota Vikings 4.95
12 457 Pittsburgh Steelers 4.82
13 460 Buffalo Bills 4.78
14 473 Chicago Bears 4.19
15 513 Oakland Raiders 2.80
16 552 Cincinnati Bengals 1.53
17 567 Baltimore Ravens 0.81
18 582 San Diego Chargers 0.52
19 621 Philadelphia Eagles -1.00
20 665 Miami Dolphins -2.63
21 731 Tennessee Titans -4.71
22 814 New York Jets -7.70
23 894 Denver Broncos -10.67
24 913 Cleveland Browns -11.83
25 996 Arizona Cardinals -15.90
26 1042 Tampa Bay Buccaneers -17.60
27 1053 Seattle Seahawks -18.21
28 1105 Washington Redskins -22.08
29 1145 Jacksonville Jaguars -26.49
30 1182 Indianapolis Colts -31.45
31 1193 Kansas City Chiefs -33.77
32 1209 St. Louis Rams -37.79

Through 11 weeks, the Packers have the 3rd most efficient offense since the 1970 NFL/AFL merger. They still trail the 2007 Patriots significantly in most variables, so I doubt they will get to #1. It’s possible that they overtake the 1984 Dolphins (52.64) though, given Green Bay’s fairly soft schedule the last 5 weeks.

On the other end of the spectrum, the 2011 Rams have the 13th worst offense since 1970. It’s possible (especially if A.J. Feeley gets more starts) that they drop into the bottom 10 but even a total collapse probably wouldn’t get them in the bottom 3.¬† St. Louis’ 2009 offense was 5th worst since 1970. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1976, 1977) are the only other team to have two appearances in the bottom 20 within 5 years of each other. The 1977 and 1985 Buffalo Bills and 1972 and 1998 Eagles are the other repeat offenders.

The big surprise for me here is the Minnesota Vikings being a little better than the Steelers. This is mostly due to turnover % (the Steelers  have had 5% more offensive drives end in a turnover than Minnesota) and Yards Per Point (the Steelers are 23rd best, the Vikings are 16th).

Revisiting Russell Wilson and The Defensive Impact On O-SCORE

December 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Getting caught up on a couple emails:

Jay writes:

Outstanding job on your offensive efficiency rankings, but you didn’t mention the quality of defense faced by each team. Surely a team which faces soft defenses is going to appear to be more efficient than one who plays the Ravens, Steelers etc?

It’s a good observation.¬† The quality of defense a team faces definitely has an effect on offensive production. The next series of posts I do will be on a corresponding defensive efficiency ranking (called, unsurprisingly, “D-SCORE”). I thought it would be more useful to get the defensive piece of the puzzle out of the way before adjusting O-SCORE to reflect opponent defensive quality. I suspect though, that in most cases there will be only a modest-to-small impact over the course of a season. It’s very rare for a team to play more than 3-4 really good or really bad defenses. Because football sample sizes are so small, and each sample has a ton of variables for which stats can’t account, I’ve found that it’s often better to take a slightly broader view of things than you would with other sports. Sometimes mincing things too finely can skew your data more than if you had gone with a broader-than-ideal way of looking at things.

That said, it’s definitely something that I’ll be looking into and presenting for discussion.

GoHawks writes:

During a Wisconsin game, the announcers were making the case that Russell Wilson’s height shouldn’t be an issue because he plays behind an “NFL sized” OL already….thoughts?

That argument seems to be gaining a little traction and I suspect we’ll be hearing about it more as we get closer to April. My problem with it is that the size of the OL is fine, but what about the size/length/speed of the defensive players he’s facing? That’s really the challenge. Too much of the “height discussion” has centered around his ability to see over the line – which is only a part of the problem small QB’s face. There are other factors to consider:

– I think we can assume that NFL DL and LB are better than their college counterparts. Furthermore, they’re usually the best physical specimens in the country. The biggest guys who can run the fastest, or the most agile 350 lbs guys, or the guys with the longest and strongest arms. These guys can tip passes and disrupt QB’s far better than college players. The taller a QB, the easier it is for him to get the ball over the line and avoid tips (unless he has a funky delivery/release point).

– Along the same lines, Wilson is protected by a very good Wisconsin OL which is better relative to their opponents DL than most pro OL’s. In other words, unless Wilson is playing behind a top 5 NFL OL, he is going to be challenged significantly. Combined with the “bigger, faster” point, he is unlikely to have the kind of time in the pocket he enjoys now. And when he had less time, at N.C. State, he looked like a guy who was just another short college QB with very limited pro potential.

– It’s not just height, it’s overall size. Wilson makes a fair number of plays with his legs, and chances are he’d have to make more in the pros because defenses are better and his OL will (most likely) be worse relative to his opponent’s DL. While he’s RB sized (5’11, 210), as a QB he can’t afford to take the beating a RB would and still remain effective. How many times have we seen a “mobile” QB who becomes less effective after taking a bunch of hits? I’m not saying Wilson couldn’t take the pounding, but it’s certainly something to consider for any QB who relies on extending plays with his legs. Furthermore, I’m not sure Wilson is athletic enough to have a ton of success extending plays in the NFL (again, NFL players are faster and bigger and Wilson isn’t Michael Vick in terms of athletic ability).

– For all the talk about Drew Brees, people forget that Brees has a somewhat unusually high release point. I’m guessing he developed that somewhere along the line to compensate for his height. Wilson is not only shorter, but releases the ball lower which could present problems for him.

I don’t like to categorically dismiss players based on one physical attribute, so I’m not going to say Wilson will definitely flop in the NFL. But the track record for short QB’s is abysmal for a reason. So while Wilson has shown he can succeed behind a “big” OL, I’m not sure that means he can succeed behind the average NFL line. Much of his success comes from him being able to compensate for his small stature because the Wisconsin OL is bigger and better than their opponents. When his line breaks down, he can outrun many of his pursuers to make a play out of the pocket. I don’t foresee him having that type of advantage in the pros, which to me is a much bigger concern than the height of his OL.

O-Score: Final Rankings

December 1, 2011 1 comment

In case you missed it, here are the first five parts to this series:

O-Score: Measuring Offensive Efficiency (A Preface)

Offensive Efficiency: Yards Per Drive

Offensive Efficiency: Turnovers

Offensive Efficiency: TD% And Points Per Drive

Offensive Efficiency: Yards Per Point

Some final thoughts on our variables before we look at the final scores:

– Turnovers: It seems like common sense that a team that turns the ball over a lot is unlikely to score a lot of points – but that’s not necessarily the case. In fact, a team’s turnover rate is only very weakly linked to their points scoring. The 1977 Cleveland Browns, 2001 St. Louis Rams and 1993 Houston Oilers all had offenses which scored 10%+ more than league average but are all bottom 2o (since 1970) teams in turnover ratio. However, of the 50 teams which turned the ball over the least, only 5 had worse-than-average scoring offenses (measured by points per drive). The conclusion here seems to be that great scoring offenses who turn the ball over a lot aren’t hurt too much since they are so efficient at turning their other drives into points. Offenses which turn the ball over a lot tend to be mediocre or worse at scoring points, but some of that is probably due to a lack of talent. After all, how many great QB’s turn the ball over a ton? How many high-quality RB’s fumble a lot? A few, for sure. But in general, elite scoring offenses are laden with elite talent – the type of which doesn’t turn the ball over and can overcome the mistakes they do make. The negatives effects of offensive turnovers are more likely to appear in their team’s defensive stats.

– Yards Per Drive: Again, the takeaway point here is that great scoring offenses generate a lot of yards per drive. Teams who have high points-per-game or points-per-drive tend to have high TD%. Because TD drives are (usually) longer than drives which end in field goals or punts, a high YPD is very common amongst high TD% teams. Since 1970, there have been 571 offenses which have been below-average in terms of YPD. Of those, only a mere 83 (14.5%) put up a PPD better than league average.

-TD% – A variable which is closely tied to Points Per Drive. Touchdown drives maximize the number of points your team scores (i.e. it’s unlikely you will be outscored in a game if you score a TD on every drive, assuming a PAT conversion, your opponent would either need an extra drive or to make a 2 point conversion). Furthermore, drives which end in TD’s obviously cannot end in turnovers or punts – both of which can lead to an opponent scoring a non-offensive TD.

– Yards Per Point – At the risk of sounding redundant, great scoring offenses almost always have high YPP rankings. However, there is a large “middle class” of YPP offenses which under-perform their expected PPD ranking. This could be due to a number of variables (shaky field goal kicker, red zone troubles, turnovers, etc). It’s rare for a below average YPP offense to have an above average PPD (about 15%). This stat can be skewed a little by a team having an elite defense or special teams – creating an unusually high number of short fields for the offense.

-Points Per Drive – This is the most important measure of an offense. It tells us what the offense does with what they are given. It’s a much better way to measure an offense than Points Per Game – as teams with terrible defenses will have fewer offensive opportunities. The problem with using PPD as the sole measure of offensive efficiency is that it doesn’t the whole story. Imagine these two scenarios:

Team A: 8 offensive drives, 8 FG’s = 3 PPD

Team B: 8 offensive drives, 4 TD, 2 punts, 2 turnovers = 3.5 PPD

While team B scored 4 more points (assuming XP and not 2 point conversions), the 2 turnovers and 2 punts are more likely to lead to their opponent scoring than Team A’s 8 kickoffs (even more the case with the new kickoff rules). Therefore, while team B scored more points, they are more likely to give up more points – assuming league average defense and special teams for both Team A and Team B. Another way to think of this is that Team B’s offensive points are worth less than Team A’s

So, in coming with my final scoring system, I took these five variables and weighted them in this order:

Points Per Drive

Yards Per Point

TO%

TD%

Yards Per Drive

All variables were taken as a percentage of league average. For example the 2007 New England Patriots had a YPD of 43.58, which was 40% better than league average. So for my rankings, I assigned them a YPD value of 45. The 2007 San Francisco 49ers had a YPD of 20.98, 33% worse than league average, so they get a value of -33.

The coefficients by which I weighted each variable were determined largely by a series of linear regression models. If you’re unfamiliar with regression analysis, it’s a way of mathematically determining the effect a variety of different variables have on another variable. The goal was to determine which offense gave their team the best overall chance to win, assuming a league average defense. Because the math is as boring as it is complicated for most, I’ll skip it for now (and revisit it perhaps in a future post for the math geeks out there).

The other, smaller, part of the coefficients is much less scientific. There’s a point to which stats unfortunately can’t explain everything. There’s simply no way to know how many times a drive which ends in a turnover would have otherwise ended in a score. Furthermore, there is very limited data (in terms of years) available on things like points of turnovers and red zone scoring %. There’s also stuff which isn’t reflected in stats, such as “can this offense effectively run out the clock when they’re winning, even if they’re not a high-scoring team” (YPD is probably the closest we can come to figuring that out statistically). To this end, I put a little additional weight on TO% and YPD and a little less weight on TD% (which is partially overlapped by PPD anyway).

Here are the top and bottom 20 offenses of all time. For rankings of every team since 1970 click here. Keep in mind that an OSCORE of 0 would be exactly average

Top 20:

Rank Year Tm OSCORE
1 2007 New England Patriots 65.48
2 1984 Miami Dolphins 52.64
3 2010 New England Patriots 50.26
4 2004 Indianapolis Colts 49.62
5 1994 San Francisco 49ers 49.22
6 1993 San Francisco 49ers 49.19
7 1998 Minnesota Vikings 49.04
8 1992 San Francisco 49ers 48.86
9 1982 San Diego Chargers 47.26
10 1976 Baltimore Colts 45.80
11 2000 St. Louis Rams 45.25
12 2006 San Diego Chargers 43.11
13 2005 Indianapolis Colts 41.36
14 2006 Indianapolis Colts 41.29
15 1998 Denver Broncos 41.19
16 1983 Washington Redskins 39.80
17 1977 Miami Dolphins 39.40
18 1991 Washington Redskins 38.55
19 2002 Kansas City Chiefs 38.33
20 1973 Los Angeles Rams 37.69

Bottom 20:

Rank Year Tm OSCORE
1170 1973 San Diego Chargers -35.44
1171 2000 Cleveland Browns -35.54
1172 1997 New Orleans Saints -35.55
1173 1990 New England Patriots -36.01
1174 2000 Cincinnati Bengals -36.37
1175 1985 Buffalo Bills -36.39
1176 2002 Dallas Cowboys -36.75
1177 1998 Philadelphia Eagles -37.60
1178 2004 Chicago Bears -38.34
1179 1977 Buffalo Bills -38.37
1180 1976 New York Jets -38.76
1181 1991 Indianapolis Colts -40.04
1182 2010 Carolina Panthers -40.35
1183 1972 Philadelphia Eagles -40.50
1184 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers -40.56
1185 2009 St. Louis Rams -41.96
1186 1992 Seattle Seahawks -45.35
1187 2006 Oakland Raiders -55.49
1188 1974 Atlanta Falcons -59.13
1189 1977 Tampa Bay Buccaneers -61.32

Offensive Efficiency: Yards Per Drive

November 8, 2011 2 comments

As I mentioned previously, in determining offensive efficiency I chose five variables with which to work. The first of which is Yards Per Drive (YPD). Now I know what you’re thinking: football games aren’t scored in yards so why should we look at it when examining the quality of an offense? While it’s true that yards, in a vacuum, don’t mean much, they should be considered for a few reasons:

– Offenses which generate more yards per drive tend to score more points. But this doesn’t tell us all that much about offensive efficiency because a team which drives 80 yards every time they have a ball but never get touchdowns (instead settles for field goals) isn’t a model of efficiency.

– Long drives which don’t necessarily end in points can still be productive. The chances of scoring on a particular drive are somewhat dependent upon a team’s starting field position. Starting a drive at the 50 is more likely to result in points than starting a drive at your own 1 yard line. Teams which generate a lot of yardage per drive are more likely to win the field-position battle in a given game. Indirectly, this should lead to more points in the long run.

Here we see that there’s definitely a correlation between offenses which score a lot of points and offenses which generate a lot of yards per drive. Again, this doesn’t really tell us much about an offense as any team which scores a lot of points is going to have to get a lot of yards unless they have extremely good special teams or a defense which creates a lot of turnovers (in either case, the average starting field position would be improved to the point where less yards would be needed to score points).

Here are the best and worst YPD offenses of the last 40 years:

You’ll notice a lot of the same teams as in yesterday’s post.

And here are the highest PPG offenses and their corresponding rank by YPD:

What we see is that while high yards-per-drive offenses tend to score a lot of points, there are a few teams which scored a lot of points but weren’t particularly high in yards-per-drive. The most noticeable example is the 1983 Washington Redskins who had the 4th highest scoring offense of all-time but aren’t in the top 25% of best YPD offenses (and they were only 5th best in 1983).

Here are the best YPD offenses and how they stack up in terms of PPG:

Five of the top 10 PPG teams are in the top 20 of YPD but there are seven teams here outside of the top 100, including the 2nd and 3rd best YPD offenses. The reason (which you might have guessed) the 2008 Broncos vastly underperformed relative to their YPD is the same reason the 1983 Redskins over-performed: turnovers – which will be the subject of tomorrow’s discussion.

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