Week nine of the NFL season is already underway – at least outside of New England. The Patriots are currently enjoying their bye, getting some well-needed rest and re-tuning after their first eight games.
While this means that there will be no Patriots football on TV this week, it gives us the chance to look back and analyze New England’s 2016 season thus far. For this purpose, we will look at some of the key numbers and compare them to other teams around the league.
Despite starting three quarterbacks over the first eight games, New England is the lone team in the NFL to not have thrown an interception so far. If the team does not throw one next week against the Seattle Seahawks, it would tie a 56-year old record.
The Patriots have not yet attempted to go for two after a touchdown, one of 10 teams to do so.
The Patriots, as of now, are the number one seed in the AFC thanks to their 7-1 record. This also makes New England the lone AFC East team to currently be in the playoff picture, as the other divisional teams are ranked 8th (Buffalo), 11th (Miami) and 12th (New York).
Only two teams in the NFL have one loss right now: the Patriots and the 6-1 Dallas Cowboys.
Dont’a Hightower is tied for the league-lead in safeties with one.
Kicker Stephen Gostkowski has missed two extra points this season – the same number of missed tries he has had in the first 10 seasons of his career. His 92.3% accuracy on extra points ranks him 21st in the NFL.
Only two Patriots have rushed for touchdowns this season: LeGarrette Blount (9) and rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett (1).
The current team leader in interceptions is no longer on the team: Linebacker Jamie Collins, whom the Patriots traded to the Cleveland Browns on Monday, has picked off two opposing passes.
New England’s offense scores 2.44 points per series, good for the fourth best number in the league.
Three times in eight games, the Patriots have won the turnover battle; being undefeated in those games: New England defeated Miami (+3) in week two, the Texans (+3) the following week and finally the Browns (+1) in week five.
Three times in eight games, the Patriots have lost the turnover battle. The team won on opening day against the Arizona Cardinals (-2) and in week seven against the Pittsburgh Steelers (-1), while losing in week four against the Buffalo Bills (-1).
Speaking of turnovers, the Patriots’ +3 turnover differential is good for eighth best in the NFL.
Julian Edelman (9), Danny Amendola (9) and Cyrus Jones (4) are the only three players to return a punt so far this year.
The Patriots have three players on PUP: OG Tre’ Jackson, RB Dion Lewis, OT Sebastian Vollmer.
Edge defender Jabaal Sheard leads the team with 3.5 sacks. After eight weeks last year, the team lead in sacks was Chandler Jones’ 9.5.
Only eight teams rush for fewer yards per attempt than the Patriots’ 3.9. While the team rushes often, it does not exactly run efficiently.
Currently, the Patriots have four players on injured reserve: QB Jacoby Brissett, LB Jonathan Freeny, TE Greg Scruggs, TE Michael Williams.
Martellus Bennett leads the team with four receiving touchdowns. Compared to the rest of the league, he is tied for ninth among pass catchers, and first among tight ends.
On four percent of dropbacks, the Patriots’ defense has registered a sack. Five teams in the league get to the quarterback less frequently.
The Patriots’ defense gave up 4.1 yards per rushing attempt over the first half of the season. This ties Matt Patricia’s unit for 13th best.
New England’s opponents have missed five field goal attempts this season, tied for most in the league (Browns, Ravens).
The Patriots have recorded five interceptions this season.
Five times this season, New England has lost the battle for time of possession. The team is 4-1 in those games.
The Patriots’ defense surrendered 2,833 yards on 524 plays for an average of 5.4 yards per play. This ties the unit for 12th best in the league.
5.7 percent of the Patriots’ offensive drives have ended in turnovers, the third-lowest number in the NFL.
New England has turned the ball over six times on offense and special teams (all fumbles); the fourth-lowest number in the NFL.
Six Patriots have returned kickoffs this season; Cyrus Jones has attempted the most returns (4), while Danny Amendola has gained the most yards (103 on three returns).
The Patriots’ offense has gained 3,042 yards on 506 plays for average gain of 6.0 yards per offensive play. The team ranks sixth in the NFL in that category.
Of the team’s nine 2016 draft selections, six are currently on the active roster, with one apiece on injured reserve and the practice squad.
Nine teams have not yet given up a defensive or special teams score; the Patriots are one of them.
LeGarrette Blount’s nine rushing touchdowns are the most in the NFL and, naturally, also on the Patriots.
Tom Brady’s 9.0 touchdown percentage is by far the best in the league. To illustrate, the difference between Brady and number two Matt Ryan (1.7%) is as big as the difference between Ryan and numbers seven Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston.
New England has taken the ball away nine times through eight games. 12 teams have registered fewer takeaways.
Brady also leads the NFL in yards per passing attempt at 9.8. His previous best over an entire season is 8.6 (2011).
10 Patriots have recovered fumbles so far this season. Cyrus Jones (2) is the lone player to recover more than one.
Cornerback Malcolm Butler has defended a team-high 10 passes; tied for eighth-most in the NFL.
Nate Ebner’s 10 special teams tackles are not only the most on the Patriots, they are also tied for most in the league.
The Patriots have, on average, outscored their opponents by 10.6 points, the best point differential in the NFL.
Stephen Gostkowski has made 11 of his 14 field goal attempts. His 78.6% success rate is tied for 21st in the league.
11 players have caught a pass for the Patriots this season, one of which is quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo: He caught a tipped pass for a 3-yard gain on opening day.
The Patriots have registered just 13.0 sacks halfway through the regular season, tied for sixth-fewest in the NFL. The projected season total of 26.0 would be the team’s lowest output of the Bill Belichick-era; in fact it would be the fewest sacks since 1992’s 2-14 squad registered a mere 20.0.
15 times this season, New England has fumbled the football. Of those fumbles, six were lost.
The Patriots are ranked third in the NFL in average points allowed per game: 16.5; the best number in the AFC.
The offensive line has given up 17 sacks so far this year, tied for 13th most.
Talk about a workhorse: LeGarrette Blount on average carries the ball 20.1 times per game, tied for second most in the NFL. For comparison, fellow running back James White averages 3.3 carries per game.
Chris Hogan has recorded 20.6 yards per reception. Only two players are better, one of whom is the following:
Rob Gronkowski leads the NFL in yards per reception at 22.0. For a tight end this number is absolutely ridiculous. The next best tight ends, Carolina’s Greg Olsen and San Diego’s Hunter Henry both gain 15.5 yards per catch (17th most in the NFL).
Opponents start their average drive on their own 24.2-yard line, which means that the Patriots pin their opponents as deep as no other team in the NFL.
New England’s 26 total touchdowns are tied for second-most in the league.
New England ranks fifth in the league and number two in the AFC with a scoring average of 27.1 points per game.
On average, the Patriots start their drives at the 30.3-yard line; tied for fourth-best league-wide.
Since Tom Brady’s return, the offense has scored an average of 34.0 points per game; almost two touchdowns more than the 20.3 points the team scored during his suspension.
16 punters have seen more action than Ryan Allen, who kicked the ball away 35 times so far this year.
Julian Edelman’s 41 pass receptions are the most on the team, as are his 62 targets.
Of the Patriots’ possessions, 42% end in a score; only eight offenses are better.
Cornerback Logan Ryan leads the Patriots in tackles with 49. He also has the most solo stops on the team (40).
The Patriots had 52 accepted penalties called on them, resulting in a loss of 495 yards. Joe Thuney leads the team with five penalties called against him.
New England’s opponents have been flagged more often, 57 times, but had to give up less yardage (460 yards) due to penalties.
Even though Tom Brady played only half of the games, New England has the highest pass completion rate in the league: 69.9% of pass attempts have been caught.
Danny Amendola’s 73-yard kickoff return against the Bills is the third longest of the year.
Tom Brady has completed 73.1% of his pass attempts since returning from his four-game suspension. No other passer has been this accurate through the first half of the season.
Opposing quarterbacks have completed 62.5% of their attempts for 2,020 yards, nine touchdowns and five interception. The resulting passer rating of 84.9 is the 10th lowest in the NFL.
Rookie guard Joe Thuney is the lone player on the team to play 100% of snaps in his respective role (i.e. on offense).
While passer rating is no ideal tool to measure how well a quarterback has played, it still gives a glimpse into his effectiveness. Tom Brady has been the most effective quarterback this season, registering a league-leading 133.9 through his first four games.
New England’s defense has given up 166 first downs this season, the 15th fewest in the NFL. The offense, on the other hand has gained...
first downs. Ten teams have amassed more.
Only one team, the Tennessee Titans, has attempted more rushes than the Patriots’ 240. However, six teams have gained more yards than New England’s 931.
Two quarterbacks have thrown for more yards per game than Tom Brady, who averages 329.8 passing yards per contest.
Rob Gronkowski leads the Patriots in receiving yards with 484. He gains a team-high 80.7 yards per game.
LeGarrette Blount has gained 640 yards from scrimmage so far this season, leading the team and being number 14 in the NFL.
The Patriots have had to travel 7,378 miles so far this season. They still have to travel 11,668 miles over the rest of their regular season schedule.