Wednesday, October 6, 2010

New Defensive Rankings

Who has is the best defense in the NFL? The team with the least yards allowed? The team with the least points allowed? What about the team with the most turnovers? Sacks? In any article mentioning defensive rankings, the default is yardage, followed by points. Even in 2000, when the Ravens set a record for least points allowed and regarded as one of the best defenses of all time, the Titans were the “#1 defense” that season. Allowing the least amount of points seems like the most logical choice to help your team win. So why the disparity? I couldn’t find the grand conspiracy, so I made my own rankings.

The Steelers and the Chargers are tops in points and yards allowed, but what about the other factors? I ranked the top defenses in points allowed, yards allowed, 3rd down conversion %, penalty yardage, sacks, and turnovers. I even threw in subtracted a point for each TD scored by the defense, the most direct contribution to team victories. Here is the chart showing the combined rankings (click on the picture to actually be able to read it):

San Diego tops the list due in part to being the top 11 in each of the categories. #2 Pittsburgh also is in all top 11, including top’s in turnovers as well, coming in second overall. The #3 Cowboys were #1 in both 3rd down conversion and penalty yardage, but only caused three turnovers in their three games, contributing to their 1-2 start. #3 Titans lead the sacks with two other teams and are in the top 14 in four other categories. Some of the outliers are that #16 Baltimore is #2 in yards and #5 in points, but gave up the most penalty yardage in the league and only have two turnovers. Meanwhile Buffalo has committed the least amount of penalties, but is dead last on this list since they are 27th or worse in the other five categories. If you look at the conditional formatting colors, you can see the correlation between the categories, and the standings on the left. This is only based off a quarter of the season, curious to see what it looks like at the end.

1 comment:

  1. Uh oh, looks like Danny's trying to play with some big boy math. How do you support your claim that def TD is the most direct contribution to team victories, did you run a PCA? Can you state, via Wilcoxon, that #1 San Diego is significantly different/better than #2 Pittsburgh? How does that jargon taste? Bitter? Pretentious?