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Finding the Winning Factors - Yards per Drive

This week in the Finding the Winning Factors series, let's take a look at another semi-conventional stat:  Yards per Drive.  This was suggested by Nideak, so a special thanks goes out to him.  This is a very simple calculation, once you get the number of drives in a game:

(Passing Yards + Rushing Yards) / Drives

To make it a little more accurate, I've removed all drives that only consist of kneel downs.  I hope nobody objects.

Since this involves searching through the play-by-play data (to find the number of drives), I can only go back to 2001 to see how teams do.  That means I'll be looking at 4,080 games over the past 8 years.  I did this calculation for every game, then found the overall average for a game.  I then went back and compared every game to this average, and found wins/losses based on being above or below average.

Here are some interesting (and exciting) findings:

• The Overall Average for the past 8 years is 28.4 Yards / Drive.  I really didn't have any idea about how this number would turn out, but this seems like a reasonable amount.  This also means, on average, that any drive starting from the Opponent's 40 should result in at least a FG attempt.
• Like every other category we've looked at, the Colts' Offense was #1 in the league, at 35.8 Yds/Drive.  What is most surprising is how dominant the Colts have been in the category when compared to every other team.  They are 4.1 Yds/Drive higher than the next best team (Patriots).  That is a bigger difference between the Patriots and the 19th best team (Cowboys).  Unbelievable.
• The Defensive numbers prove what we've all seen as well:  The Colts give up lots of Yards/Drive at 30.8, which is 29th in the league.  The Ravens, again, are the best defensively at 23.9 Yds/Drive.
• How often do teams win when they are Above Average on Offense?  1302-757-1, which is 63.2%.  Much better than we have been seeing lately.  Having an Above Average defense produces a record of 1282-735-3, which is 63.5%, pretty much the same as the offense.  It looks like this stat may be a keeper.
• When both the Offense and Defense are Above Average, their record is 706-160-1, or 81.5%.  The only thing higher was Adjusted Net Passing Yards per Attempt.  It's a keeper.
• The best game since 2001?  Week 16 this past season, where the Saints had 66.5 Yds/Drive against the Lions.  The Colts best game was Week 11 last year against the Texans, with 59.3 Yds/Drive.  They did own the game on Offense.
• The worst game since 2001?  Week 14 in 2004, where the Browns only had 1.9 Yds/Drive against the Bills.  Yes, you read that right.  26 yards in 14 drives.
• The Colts have the 2nd Fewest Drives in the NFL on both offense and defense since 2001, only behind the Texans.  Makes a lot of sense after seeing the average yardage for each unit.
• Only 1 team has not lost a game when both the Offense and Defense have been Above Average, the Lions!.  They are 8-0 in such games, which averages out to only 1 per year.  The Colts have 40 such games, ranking 2nd only behind the Steelers 45.
• The Bears are the worst Offensive team over the past 8 seasons, almost 2 full yards lower than #31, the Browns.  That's really bad.  Maybe that Cutler guy will help this stat out, especially after the season the Broncos had on offense last year.

After the jump you'll see the offensive and defensive numbers for each team, as well as Win/Loss records when going above/below the league average.  Click on the headers to sort.  Here's a link to the last 5 years worth of data.  There's not much of a difference, especially since it only took out 3 years worth of data.

Here are the Offensive and Defensive Numbers...

Team Offense Defense
Pass Yds Rush Yds Drives Yds/Drive Pass Yds Rush Yds Drives Yds/Drive
Chiefs 28794 16187 1444 31.150 28694 16515 1441 31.373
Colts 33377 13519 1311 35.771 24690 16331 1331 30.820
Chargers 26691 16578 1425 30.364 29304 13083 1481 28.621
Seahawks 27164 15547 1472 29.016 28435 15034 1480 29.371
Patriots 29506 14650 1395 31.653 26477 13440 1431 27.894
Saints 31131 13586 1460 30.628 27215 15939 1448 29.802
Broncos 27813 17615 1439 31.569 26197 13893 1419 28.252
Eagles 28990 14739 1517 28.826 25163 14540 1514 26.224
Panthers 24681 14230 1510 25.769 25986 14465 1504 26.896
Packers 30796 14509 1488 30.447 25817 14933 1496 27.239
Rams 31209 13068 1473 30.059 26110 16173 1452 29.121
Texans 21159 11815 1227 26.874 24538 14348 1219 31.900
Titans 26262 15287 1486 27.960 28238 13254 1471 28.207
Jaguars 25178 16277 1412 29.359 26361 13344 1401 28.340
Redskins 24000 15621 1482 26.735 25273 14010 1468 26.760
Bengals 27277 13883 1447 28.445 27484 15485 1441 29.819
Dolphins 25164 14349 1479 26.716 24835 14552 1459 26.996
Steelers 26004 16915 1429 30.034 24175 11120 1425 24.768
49ers 23733 15153 1478 26.310 28744 14281 1432 30.045
Vikings 27698 16541 1458 30.342 29670 13091 1447 29.551
Falcons 22974 18199 1455 28.298 28493 15786 1454 30.453
Jets 24637 14466 1340 29.181 25709 15930 1365 30.505
Raiders 25793 13494 1449 27.113 25935 17045 1470 29.238
Cowboys 26500 14969 1489 27.850 25491 13326 1483 26.175
Cardinals 28860 11573 1474 27.431 28144 15113 1479 29.247
Bears 22518 13493 1555 23.158 27172 13994 1590 25.891
Lions 25937 11210 1474 25.201 29255 16344 1462 31.189
Buccaneers 26711 13123 1466 27.172 22735 14044 1464 25.122
Giants 26677 16146 1478 28.974 26690 14012 1485 27.409
Browns 23915 12637 1464 24.967 25168 17694 1451 29.540
Ravens 23094 15754 1507 25.778 24948 11771 1537 23.890
Bills 23855 13621 1435 26.116 24952 15864 1418 28.784
Total 848098 468754 46418 28.369 848098 468754 46418 28.369

Here are the Win/Loss records of teams when they go above/below average:

Team Offense Defense
Above Average Below Average Above Average Below Average
Win Loss Tie Pct Win Loss Tie Pct Win Loss Tie Pct Win Loss Tie Pct
Patriots 69 11 0 0.863 28 20 0 0.583 53 7 0 0.883 44 24 0 0.647
Steelers 59 16 1 0.783 26 26 0 0.500 60 20 1 0.747 25 22 0 0.532
Colts 81 25 0 0.764 10 12 0 0.455 41 8 0 0.837 50 29 0 0.633
Chargers 49 28 0 0.636 22 29 0 0.431 48 16 0 0.750 23 41 0 0.359
Packers 53 26 0 0.671 22 27 0 0.449 50 24 0 0.676 25 29 0 0.463
Cowboys 46 16 0 0.742 20 46 0 0.303 44 39 0 0.530 22 23 0 0.489
Eagles 51 18 0 0.739 30 28 1 0.517 56 21 1 0.724 25 25 0 0.500
Ravens 31 22 0 0.585 40 35 0 0.533 56 32 0 0.636 15 25 0 0.375
Seahawks 44 24 0 0.647 27 33 0 0.450 44 11 0 0.800 27 46 0 0.370
Jets 38 28 0 0.576 24 38 0 0.387 36 18 0 0.667 26 48 0 0.351
Broncos 53 26 0 0.671 21 28 0 0.429 49 18 0 0.731 25 36 0 0.410
Rams 42 37 0 0.532 18 31 0 0.367 35 22 0 0.614 25 46 0 0.352
Dolphins 32 20 0 0.615 29 47 0 0.382 48 32 0 0.600 13 35 0 0.271
Panthers 32 20 0 0.615 32 44 0 0.421 45 27 0 0.625 19 37 0 0.339
Bears 25 9 0 0.735 44 50 0 0.468 54 27 0 0.667 16 31 0 0.340
Giants 38 26 0 0.594 30 34 0 0.469 43 25 0 0.632 25 35 0 0.417
Titans 35 22 0 0.614 35 36 0 0.493 48 15 0 0.762 22 43 0 0.338
Falcons 44 18 0 0.710 18 47 1 0.280 31 21 0 0.596 31 44 1 0.414
Buccaneers 37 20 0 0.649 29 42 0 0.408 50 32 0 0.610 16 30 0 0.348
Saints 39 32 0 0.549 21 36 0 0.368 32 17 0 0.653 28 51 0 0.354
Chiefs 44 35 0 0.557 15 34 0 0.306 29 13 0 0.690 30 56 0 0.349
Vikings 43 27 0 0.614 18 40 0 0.310 35 23 0 0.603 26 44 0 0.371
Bills 29 22 0 0.569 23 54 0 0.299 38 27 0 0.585 14 49 0 0.222
Jaguars 39 31 0 0.557 23 35 0 0.397 37 26 0 0.587 25 40 0 0.385
Browns 29 18 0 0.617 20 61 0 0.247 34 28 0 0.548 15 51 0 0.227
49ers 35 24 0 0.593 18 51 0 0.261 28 20 0 0.583 26 54 0 0.325
Bengals 39 30 0 0.565 15 43 1 0.263 31 28 1 0.525 23 45 0 0.338
Redskins 36 17 0 0.679 22 53 0 0.293 41 35 0 0.539 17 35 0 0.327
Cardinals 32 31 0 0.508 17 48 0 0.262 24 29 0 0.453 25 50 0 0.333
Raiders 37 21 0 0.638 8 62 0 0.114 25 33 0 0.431 20 50 0 0.286
Texans 24 26 0 0.480 16 46 0 0.258 18 18 0 0.500 22 54 0 0.289
Lions 17 31 0 0.354 14 66 0 0.175 19 23 0 0.452 12 74 0 0.140
Total 1302 757 1 0.632 735 1282 3 0.365 1282 735 3 0.635 757 1302 1 0.368

And finally, Win/Loss records when the offense is above average, and the defense holds the other team below average

Team Above Average Below Average
Win Loss Tie Pct Win Loss Tie Pct
Patriots 34 1 0 0.971 9 14 0 0.391
Steelers 37 7 1 0.833 3 13 0 0.188
Jets 17 4 0 0.810 5 24 0 0.172
Packers 31 8 0 0.795 3 11 0 0.214
Falcons 21 1 0 0.955 8 27 1 0.236
Chargers 30 6 0 0.833 4 19 0 0.174
Giants 20 5 0 0.800 7 14 0 0.333
Ravens 21 8 0 0.724 5 11 0 0.313
Seahawks 23 1 0 0.958 6 23 0 0.207
Rams 22 9 0 0.710 5 18 0 0.217
Eagles 28 5 0 0.848 2 12 0 0.143
Jaguars 17 7 0 0.708 3 16 0 0.158
Bears 16 2 0 0.889 6 24 0 0.200
Broncos 32 5 0 0.865 4 15 0 0.211
Cowboys 28 8 0 0.778 4 15 0 0.211
Panthers 20 5 0 0.800 7 22 0 0.241
Colts 33 7 0 0.825 2 11 0 0.154
Buccaneers 27 5 0 0.844 6 15 0 0.286
Dolphins 23 6 0 0.793 4 21 0 0.160
49ers 20 5 0 0.800 11 36 0 0.234
Chiefs 23 2 0 0.920 9 23 0 0.281
Saints 18 3 0 0.857 7 22 0 0.241
Titans 22 1 0 0.957 9 22 0 0.290
Raiders 22 6 0 0.786 5 35 0 0.125
Cardinals 11 9 0 0.550 4 28 0 0.125
Vikings 19 5 0 0.792 2 22 0 0.083
Bengals 21 6 0 0.778 5 21 0 0.192
Browns 15 4 0 0.789 1 37 0 0.026
Bills 18 8 0 0.692 3 35 0 0.079
Redskins 22 8 0 0.733 3 26 0 0.103
Texans 7 3 0 0.700 5 31 0 0.139
Lions 8 0 0 1.000 3 43 0 0.065
Total 706 160 1 0.815 160 706 1 0.185