As the NFL playoffs approach, I was looking around for some good, adjusted performance data on the teams. In the NBA, we would immediately look at adjusted efficiencies–Points per 100 Possessions, adjusted for opponent.
That data isn’t available in the NFL; in fact, it is hard to locate data on possession-based stats at all. Many stats are stated per game, which bothers me when pundits discuss the quality of the defense or offense–maybe New England just allows opponents more possessions, not more points per possession! However, Jim Armstrong at Football Outsiders compiles a number of possession-based stats.
Those aren’t adjusted for opponent, so I took the Pts/Dr data and recursively adjusted based on opponents, yielding an Adjusted Points per Possession value for both offense and defense for each NFL team.
Here are the results:
- The Patriots have an average defense!
- Seattle, San Fransisco, and Atlanta (slow paced teams) look better by this than by looking at pure points (SRS); Chicago, Houston, New England, and Denver look a little worse.
- As I thought, New England’s O looks worse and D looks better looking through this lens… a little.
- There are 4 elite teams: Seattle, New England, San Fransisco, and Denver.
- The Giants are not far back… too bad they missed the playoffs!
- The Colts… how did they do it? They are ranked 27th by this measure!
- It looks like the Arizona defensive ratings are a bit out there. Not sure if there is a bug with that.