August 18, 2009

NFL Team Offense Efficiency

Filed under: Uncategorized — wwinston @ 9:03 am

How should we evaluate the offensive efficiency of an NFL team? Just because a team scores lots of points does not necessarily mean they have a great offense. It may be that their great defense gave the team the ball in great field position. The best way to evaluate a team’s offense is to look at the average number of points generated by the team’s offensive plays.  We have done this for the 2008 season. Our metric gives you the number of points better than average a team’s offense is than an average NFL offense. (per 100 plays) We adjust for strength of defenses faced. We find that during 2008 the three best offenses were

  1. Colts +13
  2. Giants +11
  3. Saints +10

In other words per 100 offensive plays, the Colts offense generated 13 more points than an average NFL team.

The three worst offenses were

30. Raiders -10

31. Browns -12

32. Rams -16.

Thus Rams offense generated 16 points less than average per 100 plays.

What are the three best passing offenses?

  1. Colts +22
  2. Saints +19
  3. Chargers +16

What are the three best rushing offenses?

  1. Giants  +16
  2. Patriots +11
  3. Redskins +6

In our next post we will examine NFL defensive efficiency and we will see how amazing the Steelers defense was in 2008!

Note that NFL evaluates offenses on yards per game Our approach is better  because our metric is closely tied to points generated by the offense rather than yards. Points generate wins!  Also yards per game does not factor in the true cost of a turnover which is between 3 and 4 points in most cases.

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