Thursday Morning 3rd and Long: Ranking Offensive and Defensive Efficiency

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 1: Sterling Moore #29 of the New England Patriots celebrates his touchdown, which followed his interception, against the Buffalo Bills in the second half at Gillette Stadium on January 1, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

My article this week is going to be a bit short, but I'm not certain that disappoints anyone.

As I'm sure all of you know, sometimes life can get busy- even for a one-article-a-week sports blogger/enthusiast.

Quickly though- last week's win was fantastic. After being down 17 points the week before, I wasn't surprised when the Patriots buckled their seat belts and pitched a shutout over the last three quarters against the Buffalo Bills. I've been watching highlights of Sterling Moore ever since. I guess I'm not used to seeing a defensive back actually making plays on the ball instead of catching underthrown and tipped passes for interceptions.

I was quite happy this week to hear the statistic from last week's article- that the Patriots had (at the time) held 6 of their last 7 opponents to a score or less in the second half- on the Big Show with Glen Ordway of WEEI.

I was even happier to hear the Big O dismiss the caller with a patented "I don't think that's true" and hang up. Earlier in the day, Lou Merloni also dismissed this statistic.

I guess the Boston sports media doesn't want to admit that there is something strange and special happening with this years Patriots team. Mike Reiss is the exception- he gets it (catch his chemistry article from Wednesday).

In one of Greg Knopping's article earlier this week, a commenter asked to get the final "bendability index" figures on the season.

I'll do a full breakdown of the Patriots next week, but as they aren't playing this weekend I wanted to compare some statistics across the league. All of this data has been compiled from Pro Football Reference- since they do not total the time of possession, I excluded the yards and points per minute stats from these breakdowns.

Without further ado, let's check out how the Patriots ranked across the league in some key stats.

DEFENSIVE YARDS PER POINT

OFFENSIVE YARDS PER POINT

Team

Pts

Yds

Def Y/P

Team

Pts

Yds

Off Y/P

1

San Francisco 49ers

229

4930

21.53

1

Green Bay Packers

560

6482

11.58

2

New England Patriots

342

6577

19.23

2

San Francisco 49ers

380

4974

13.09

3

Pittsburgh Steelers

227

4348

19.15

3

New York Jets

377

4989

13.23

4

Green Bay Packers

359

6585

18.34

4

New England Patriots

513

6848

13.35

5

Tennessee Titans

317

5682

17.92

5

Detroit Lions

474

6337

13.37

6

Miami Dolphins

313

5522

17.64

6

New Orleans Saints

547

7474

13.66

7

New Orleans Saints

339

5895

17.39

7

Chicago Bears

353

5026

14.24

8

Baltimore Ravens

266

4622

17.38

8

Baltimore Ravens

378

5419

14.34

9

Cleveland Browns

307

5318

17.32

9

Cincinnati Bengals

344

5118

14.88

10

Seattle Seahawks

315

5315

16.87

10

Atlanta Falcons

402

6026

14.99

11

Chicago Bears

341

5607

16.44

11

Buffalo Bills

372

5624

15.12

12

Houston Texans

278

4571

16.44

12

Seattle Seahawks

321

4860

15.14

13

Arizona Cardinals

348

5682

16.33

13

Carolina Panthers

406

6237

15.36

14

Philadelphia Eagles

328

5198

15.85

14

Miami Dolphins

329

5078

15.43

15

Dallas Cowboys

347

5491

15.82

15

San Diego Chargers

406

6290

15.49

16

Kansas City Chiefs

338

5333

15.78

16

Minnesota Vikings

340

5275

15.51

17

Cincinnati Bengals

323

5060

15.67

17

Houston Texans

381

5954

15.63

18

Atlanta Falcons

350

5338

15.25

18

New York Giants

394

6161

15.64

19

Jacksonville Jaguars

329

5008

15.22

19

Philadelphia Eagles

396

6386

16.13

20

Detroit Lions

387

5881

15.20

20

Dallas Cowboys

369

6008

16.28

21

New York Giants

400

6022

15.06

21

Denver Broncos

309

5066

16.39

22

Washington Redskins

367

5437

14.81

22

Tennessee Titans

325

5361

16.50

23

San Diego Chargers

377

5546

14.71

23

Arizona Cardinals

312

5192

16.64

24

Denver Broncos

390

5725

14.68

24

Oakland Raiders

359

6072

16.91

25

Oakland Raiders

433

6201

14.32

25

Jacksonville Jaguars

243

4149

17.07

26

St. Louis Rams

407

5734

14.09

26

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

287

5108

17.80

27

Carolina Panthers

429

6042

14.08

27

Pittsburgh Steelers

325

5957

18.33

28

Indianapolis Colts

430

5935

13.80

28

Washington Redskins

288

5387

18.70

29

New York Jets

363

4993

13.75

29

Indianapolis Colts

243

4589

18.88

30

Buffalo Bills

434

5938

13.68

30

Cleveland Browns

218

4621

21.20

31

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

494

6311

12.78

31

Kansas City Chiefs

212

4973

23.46

32

Minnesota Vikings

449

5731

12.76

32

St. Louis Rams

193

4537

23.51

Strangely enough, this season the Patriots ranked second in both yards categories- gained, and given up. However, New England's stinginess in the red zone has helped them ranked 2nd in the bendability index- defensive yards given up per point allowed- with 19.23 yards they allowed per every point they gave up.

We commonly hear that Pittsburgh and San Francisco are the best defenses in the league- I guess it would probably surprised many to see that the Patriots sit right between both of those defenses in defensive yards per point, showing how hard New England makes their opponents work to score.

On the other side of the coin, New England is also fourth most efficient in scoring points- right behind some familiar faces in Green Bay and San Francisco.

Next, let's look at yards per turnover- another measure of efficiency as it relates to how many yards a team gains and gives up per turnover surrendered and won.

OFFENSIVE YARDS PER TURNOVER

DEFENSIVE YARDS PER TURNOVER

Tm

Yds

TO

Yrds/ TO

Tm

Yds

TO

YRD/ TO

1

San Francisco 49ers

4974

10

497.4

1

San Francisco 49ers

4930

38

129.7

2

Green Bay Packers

6482

14

463.0

2

New York Jets

4993

31

161.1

3

New England Patriots

6848

17

402.8

3

Houston Texans

4571

27

169.3

4

New Orleans Saints

7474

19

393.4

4

Seattle Seahawks

5315

31

171.5

5

Houston Texans

5954

20

297.7

5

Detroit Lions

5881

34

173.0

6

Atlanta Falcons

6026

21

287.0

6

Green Bay Packers

6585

38

173.3

7

Dallas Cowboys

6008

21

286.1

7

Baltimore Ravens

4622

26

177.8

8

Detroit Lions

6337

23

275.5

8

Jacksonville Jaguars

5008

28

178.9

9

Carolina Panthers

6237

23

271.2

9

Chicago Bears

5607

31

180.9

10

New York Giants

6161

24

256.7

10

Atlanta Falcons

5338

29

184.1

11

Tennessee Titans

5361

22

243.7

11

Buffalo Bills

5938

31

191.5

12

Cleveland Browns

4621

19

243.2

12

New England Patriots

6577

34

193.4

13

San Diego Chargers

6290

27

233.0

13

New York Giants

6022

31

194.3

14

Cincinnati Bengals

5118

22

232.6

14

Kansas City Chiefs

5333

26

205.1

15

Baltimore Ravens

5419

24

225.8

15

Philadelphia Eagles

5198

24

216.6

16

Pittsburgh Steelers

5957

28

212.8

16

Dallas Cowboys

5491

25

219.6

17

Seattle Seahawks

4860

23

211.3

17

Cincinnati Bengals

5060

22

230.0

18

Miami Dolphins

5078

25

203.1

18

Oakland Raiders

6201

26

238.5

19

Minnesota Vikings

5275

26

202.9

19

Tennessee Titans

5682

23

247.0

20

Oakland Raiders

6072

30

202.4

20

Minnesota Vikings

5731

23

249.2

21

St. Louis Rams

4537

23

197.3

21

Carolina Panthers

6042

24

251.8

22

Buffalo Bills

5624

30

187.5

22

Washington Redskins

5437

21

258.9

23

Jacksonville Jaguars

4149

23

180.4

23

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

6311

24

263.0

24

Kansas City Chiefs

4973

28

177.6

24

San Diego Chargers

5546

21

264.1

25

Chicago Bears

5026

29

173.3

25

Cleveland Browns

5318

20

265.9

26

Denver Broncos

5066

30

168.9

26

Pittsburgh Steelers

4348

15

289.9

27

Philadelphia Eagles

6386

38

168.1

27

Miami Dolphins

5522

19

290.6

28

Arizona Cardinals

5192

32

162.3

28

Arizona Cardinals

5682

19

299.1

29

Indianapolis Colts

4589

29

158.2

29

Denver Broncos

5725

18

318.1

30

Washington Redskins

5387

35

153.9

30

St. Louis Rams

5734

18

318.6

31

New York Jets

4989

34

146.7

31

Indianapolis Colts

5935

17

349.1

32

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

5108

40

127.7

32

New Orleans Saints

5895

16

368.4

As many of you many start to realize, the 49ers are as advertised. They are #1 in both defensive and offensive yards per turnover. This may have a lot to do with their being #1 in the league in a statistic I'll show later, turnover differential.

However, the Patriots are no slouches. As they have been stingy with the ball over the last 8 weeks, they have been able to move to third in yards gained per turnover.

On the other side of the ball, the Patriots were more towards the middle of the pack in defensive yards allowed per turnover caused. However, they were still ahead of more lauded defenses like the Steelers. More true to form , check out the points per turnover statistics:

OFFENSIVE POINTS PER TURNOVER

DEFENSIVE POINTS PER TURNOVER

Team

Off TO

PTS

PTS/TO

Tm

DEF TO

PA

PA/TO

1

Green Bay Packers

14

560

40.0

1

San Francisco 49ers

38

229

6.0

2

San Francisco 49ers

10

380

38.0

2

Green Bay Packers

38

359

9.4

3

New England Patriots

17

513

30.2

3

New England Patriots

34

342

10.1

4

New Orleans Saints

19

547

28.8

4

Seattle Seahawks

31

315

10.2

5

Detroit Lions

23

474

20.6

5

Baltimore Ravens

26

266

10.2

6

Atlanta Falcons

21

402

19.1

6

Houston Texans

27

278

10.3

7

Houston Texans

20

381

19.1

7

Chicago Bears

31

341

11.0

8

Carolina Panthers

23

406

17.7

8

Detroit Lions

34

387

11.4

9

Dallas Cowboys

21

369

17.6

9

New York Jets

31

363

11.7

10

New York Giants

24

394

16.4

10

Jacksonville Jaguars

28

329

11.8

11

Baltimore Ravens

24

378

15.8

11

Atlanta Falcons

29

350

12.1

12

Cincinnati Bengals

22

344

15.6

12

New York Giants

31

400

12.9

13

San Diego Chargers

27

406

15.0

13

Kansas City Chiefs

26

338

13.0

14

Tennessee Titans

22

325

14.8

14

Philadelphia Eagles

24

328

13.7

15

Seattle Seahawks

23

321

14.0

15

Tennessee Titans

23

317

13.8

16

Miami Dolphins

25

329

13.2

16

Dallas Cowboys

25

347

13.9

17

Minnesota Vikings

26

340

13.1

17

Buffalo Bills

31

434

14.0

18

Buffalo Bills

30

372

12.4

18

Cincinnati Bengals

22

323

14.7

19

Chicago Bears

29

353

12.2

19

Pittsburgh Steelers

15

227

15.1

20

Oakland Raiders

30

359

12.0

20

Cleveland Browns

20

307

15.4

21

Pittsburgh Steelers

28

325

11.6

21

Miami Dolphins

19

313

16.5

22

Cleveland Browns

19

218

11.5

22

Oakland Raiders

26

433

16.7

23

New York Jets

34

377

11.1

23

Washington Redskins

21

367

17.5

24

Jacksonville Jaguars

23

243

10.6

24

Carolina Panthers

24

429

17.9

25

Philadelphia Eagles

38

396

10.4

25

San Diego Chargers

21

377

18.0

26

Denver Broncos

30

309

10.3

26

Arizona Cardinals

19

348

18.3

27

Arizona Cardinals

32

312

9.8

27

Minnesota Vikings

23

449

19.5

28

St. Louis Rams

23

193

8.4

28

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

24

494

20.6

29

Indianapolis Colts

29

243

8.4

29

New Orleans Saints

16

339

21.2

30

Washington Redskins

35

288

8.2

30

Denver Broncos

18

390

21.7

31

Kansas City Chiefs

28

212

7.6

31

St. Louis Rams

18

407

22.6

32

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

40

287

7.2

32

Indianapolis Colts

17

430

25.3

Once again, we see some familiar company in the 49ers and the Packers. All of these teams thrive off of the turnover differential, and also the points differential.

TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL

POINTS DIFFERENTIAL

Team

Off TO

Def TO

TO Differential

Tm

Off Pts

Def Pts

PTS Differential

1

San Francisco 49ers

10

38

28

1

New Orleans Saints

547

339

208

2

Green Bay Packers

14

38

24

2

Green Bay Packers

560

359

201

3

New England Patriots

17

34

17

3

New England Patriots

513

342

171

4

Detroit Lions

23

34

11

4

San Francisco 49ers

380

229

151

5

Atlanta Falcons

21

29

8

5

Baltimore Ravens

378

266

112

6

Seattle Seahawks

23

31

8

6

Houston Texans

381

278

103

7

Houston Texans

20

27

7

7

Pittsburgh Steelers

325

227

98

8

New York Giants

24

31

7

8

Detroit Lions

474

387

87

9

Jacksonville Jaguars

23

28

5

9

Philadelphia Eagles

396

328

68

10

Dallas Cowboys

21

25

4

10

Atlanta Falcons

402

350

52

11

Baltimore Ravens

24

26

2

11

San Diego Chargers

406

377

29

12

Chicago Bears

29

31

2

12

Dallas Cowboys

369

347

22

13

Tennessee Titans

22

23

1

13

Cincinnati Bengals

344

323

21

14

Carolina Panthers

23

24

1

14

Miami Dolphins

329

313

16

15

Buffalo Bills

30

31

1

15

New York Jets

377

363

14

16

Cleveland Browns

19

20

1

16

Chicago Bears

353

341

12

17

Cincinnati Bengals

22

22

0

17

Tennessee Titans

325

317

8

18

Kansas City Chiefs

28

26

-2

18

Seattle Seahawks

321

315

6

19

New Orleans Saints

19

16

-3

19

New York Giants

394

400

-6

20

New York Jets

34

31

-3

20

Carolina Panthers

406

429

-23

21

Minnesota Vikings

26

23

-3

21

Arizona Cardinals

312

348

-36

22

Oakland Raiders

30

26

-4

22

Buffalo Bills

372

434

-62

23

St. Louis Rams

23

18

-5

23

Oakland Raiders

359

433

-74

24

San Diego Chargers

27

21

-6

24

Washington Redskins

288

367

-79

25

Miami Dolphins

25

19

-6

25

Denver Broncos

309

390

-81

26

Denver Broncos

30

18

-12

26

Jacksonville Jaguars

243

329

-86

27

Indianapolis Colts

29

17

-12

27

Cleveland Browns

218

307

-89

28

Pittsburgh Steelers

28

15

-13

28

Minnesota Vikings

340

449

-109

29

Arizona Cardinals

32

19

-13

29

Kansas City Chiefs

212

338

-126

30

Philadelphia Eagles

38

24

-14

30

Indianapolis Colts

243

430

-187

31

Washington Redskins

35

21

-14

31

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

287

494

-207

32

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

40

24

-16

32

St. Louis Rams

193

407

-214

So what have we learned from all of this? First, that while New England may be 31st in yards given up this year, it's really a misleading statistic. In all measures of efficiency, the Patriots rank in the top five of the league nearly every time with the other top teams in the league. New England isn't blowing anyone out of the water by any means, but they have a 13-3 record, a first overall seed, and the stats to back it up.

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