I previewed this study yesterday (it should take me about a week to run all the stats and write up all the results), but now it’s time to get the first look at some of the numbers. I thought we’d start at the basics, and look at the number of drives that each defense was on the field for, and how that related to the number of points scored.
The Seahawks rank 1st in both categories. They were on the field for the least amount of drives (164) of any team, and also gave up the fewest number of total points (245). That shouldn’t come as a surprise if you read yesterday’s preview, since it was that combination that got me interested in undertaking this exhaustive study in the first place.
The league average drives was 181.2. That means that the Seahawks defense played approximately a game and a half less than the average NFL defense. This is significant. That’s a lot less time on the field, and a lot less opportunities for the opposing team to score points.
The Arizona Cardinals were on the other end of the spectrum, their 205 defensive drives was by far the most in the league. That’s 23 more than average, which is almost 2 full game’s worth of possessions. It’s also 41 more drives than the Seahawks defense was on the field for, or about 3 and a half games worth.
That is a mind boggling result to me. I never expected the difference to be that extreme.
I ran a correlational study there’s a a reasonable correlation between the number of drives and number of points given up. Notice I said reasonable, not high. The variables are correlated, but they are not highly correlated. That just means that there are other competing factors going on here, which should come as no surprise.
There are some interesting outliers. Only 3 defenses were on the field more than that of the Bears, and yet they were 3rd in total points allowed. That’s pretty damn impressive. I think it has to do with that defense’s ability get turnovers to end drives early, but that’s just a guess at this point.
Another interesting outlier are the Arizona Cardinals. Despite being ont he field more than any other defense, they were right in the middle of the pack in terms of points allowed. That’s pretty impressive if you think about it. I bet the Cardinals will miss former defensive coordinator Ray Horton more than they expect they will.
On the other end of the spectrum are the Dallas Cowboys. Only the Seahawk’s defense was on the field less, and yet they were 24th in scoring defense. That’s impressive, but its a “damn they were awful” sort of impressive.
Here’ the full data for all 32 teams:
|1||Seattle Seahawks||164||1||Seattle Seahawks||245|
|2||Dallas Cowboys||168||2||San Francisco 49ers||273|
|3||Carolina Panthers||170||3||Chicago Bears||277|
|4||New York Giants||170||4||Denver Broncos||289|
|5||Indianapolis Colts||173||5||Atlanta Falcons||299|
|6||Kansas City Chiefs||173||6||Pittsburgh Steelers||314|
|7||San Francisco 49ers||173||7||Miami Dolphins||317|
|8||Pittsburgh Steelers||174||8||Cincinnati Bengals||320|
|9||Atlanta Falcons||176||9||New England Patriots||331|
|10||Philadelphia Eagles||176||10||Houston Texans||331|
|11||San Diego Chargers||176||11||Green Bay Packers||336|
|12||St. Louis Rams||176||12||New York Giants||344|
|13||Washington Redskins||177||13||Baltimore Ravens||344|
|14||Miami Dolphins||178||14||St. Louis Rams||348|
|15||Buffalo Bills||179||15||Minnesota Vikings||348|
|16||Oakland Raiders||180||16||San Diego Chargers||350|
|17||Minnesota Vikings||181||17||Arizona Cardinals||357|
|18||Jacksonville Jaguars||183||18||Carolina Panthers||363|
|19||Green Bay Packers||184||19||Cleveland Browns||368|
|20||Tennessee Titans||184||20||New York Jets||375|
|21||Detroit Lions||185||21||Indianapolis Colts||387|
|22||Cincinnati Bengals||186||22||Washington Redskins||388|
|23||Denver Broncos||186||23||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||394|
|24||New Orleans Saints||187||24||Dallas Cowboys||400|
|25||New York Jets||187||25||Kansas City Chiefs||425|
|26||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||187||26||Buffalo Bills||435|
|27||Baltimore Ravens||190||27||Detroit Lions||437|
|28||New England Patriots||191||28||Oakland Raiders||443|
|29||Chicago Bears||192||29||Philadelphia Eagles||444|
|30||Cleveland Browns||194||30||Jacksonville Jaguars||444|
|31||Houston Texans||196||31||New Orleans Saints||454|
|32||Arizona Cardinals||205||32||Tennessee Titans||471|