Alright so I've been putting this off during the preseason, but a couple years ago I decided I wanted to look at Defensive and Offensive stats in a different way. Most commentators and talk about Offense and defense in terms of total yards (either gained or given up) or scoring (scored or given up). But as we have seen with the Colts, their Defense has given up yardage the past couple years but always seems to do well on scoring. Is there a better way to judge defense, offense and overall teams?
This certainly comes nowhere close to the amazing work done at Football Outsiders, whom I highly recommend. Not is it as technologically cool as what is being done at Beatpaths. They've done real statistical work on things that go far beyond this. But before the 2004-2005 playoffs I decided to look at offense and defense in terms of Points Per Yard. Here is the page I put together right before the playoffs: http://www.xtra-rant.com/nflstats/
Basically, we end up with three stats:
* Offensive Points Allowed Per Yard (OPAPY) : This uses offensive points allowed, basically the TDs, extra points and field goals scored by the offense divided by the offensive yards allowed by the defense.
* Offensive Points Scored Per Yard (OPSPY) : This uses the offensive points scored by the offense and also penalizes for safeties given up, divided by the offensive yards gained by the team.
* Points per Yard Aggregate (PPYA) : This is simply OPAPY - OPSPY. The higher the number, the better the team should be.
The numbers I did before the 2004-2005 playoffs showed some very interesting results. Indianapolis had an underrated defense (as did New England, San Diego and Philadelphia). San Diego's offense was also underrated (as was Pittsburgh's). The most interesting result was that Denver had the most overrated Offense and Defense of the playoffs teams - and got smoked in the first round. Also interesting was that of the AFC playoffs teams, all but one (Denver) had a positive PPYA while of the NFC playoffs teams all but one (Philly) had a negative PPYA. This did seem to tie into the apparent strength of the AFC.
I'm not saying these stats give us a great view of things, but it's an other interesting way to view the performance of a team's offense and defense. I'm going to try to keep the bloviating and opinionating to a minimum and attempt to let the numbers speak for themselves. I'll post the PPYA rankings each week, as well as the OPAPY and OPSPY. As the year goes on I may tweak the stats or add other things (depends on my free time) but if you enjoy the stats stay tuned.
So where does that bring us this year? The Week 1 PPYA Power Rankings! Stay tuned for those in my next diary entry.