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Week 8 Offensive Rankings and Analysis:

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NFL: New Orleans Saints at Indianapolis Colts Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Each week during the season, I will be walking through the data from the previous Colts game and analyzing the numbers to form a sort of “what happened” narrative, as well as comparing the Colts against all other teams in the league. For a glossary of the stats listed, reference Season Stats. Thanks to Pro Football Reference,, Football Outsiders, and the nflFastR project for being awesome sources of weekly data.

The Colts offense was hot in the first half, scoring on 4 of 6 drives for 20 points, but then went cold, opening the 2nd half with a three-and-out followed by a disastrous turnover and only 7 more points the rest of the game.

They were able to string a decent amount of first downs together to put up some points, but they also had 5 drives that averaged 4.4 net yards. This hot and cold execution resulted in a “meh” 70.4% Drive Success Rate.


(Use the right-left arrows to toggle between stats for the week and the season).

Mouseover for definitions: Adj PPD, Team PPG, Off PPG, Yds, P/R%, DSR, yds/srs, Strt Fld, xOPPD, yds/ply, EPA/ply, adj TSR, 1st/ply, Pen 1st/ Yds, 3DC, 3rd ytg, Expl Plys, TO, TOP%

Point-wise, 2.25 points per drive is the 11th best offense of the week and a full +0.37 more ppd than the first 7 weeks. That lifts their season ranking 2 spots to 14th best.

Against the strong Saints defense, the Colts ovecame the 8th worst starting field position and notched the 12th best yards per play, but penalties and a turnover killed 4 of their drives, limiting their conversion rate (26th).

A 70.4% Drive Success Rate ranks 18th, but that hides that the offense was so boom or bust putting up four three-and-outs alongside 5 scoring drives. There wasn’t really any consistancy.


(Use the right-left arrows to toggle between stats for the week and the season).

Mouseover definitions: EPA/db, PSR, Cmp, Att, Yds, TD, Int, Sk, Sk Y, 1st/db, ny/d, cmp %, aDOT, cpoe, YBC, YAC, 20+ #/Yd

Minshew ends up 15th by EPA per dropback but only 26th by Success rate. He wasn’t getting good yardage and he wasn’t moving the chains consistantly through the air (25th ny/d, 23rd 1st/d). He minimized negative plays, which is why his EPA gets a boost, but he didn’t have a lot of big positive plays.

On the year, the Colts’ passing stays just below average at 17th EPA/d. I don’t see it getting much better than that.


(Use the right-left arrows to toggle between stats for the week and the season).

Mouseover definitions: adj RSR, Yds, Car, TD, 1st, Fum Lost, RSR, 1st/c, YPC, 10+ #/Yd, 3rd, 3DC, epa/c,

The run game was a bit more successful, coming in 13th in adjusted Rush Success Rate, which puts them at 15th on the year.

Moss and Taylor combined for the best yards per carry of the week and also managed the 10th highest conversion rate. Unfortunately, game script prevented the Colts from running the ball later in the game and so this strong efficiency could not be leveraged.


This is just an offense that puts up middling efficiency numbers, which might win games if combined with a good defense, but that is another story. I don’t see the passing game getting better, so prepare for mediocrity unless the run game can find its footing (see what I did there).

In week 9, the Colts will visit the 1-6 Carolina Panthers. The Carolina defense gives up the 3rd most points per drive and the 5th highest Drive Success Rate. They have the 2nd fewest take-aways per game (tied) and they give up the 6th most explosive yards per game of any team.

Their passing defense is around league average, ranking 17th in defensive EPA/d. However, they rank 27th in defensive success rate, which means they give up small value pass plays a lot. This is reflected in their 3rd worst conversion rate against. If Minshew can manage quick, short, accurate throws, he should be able to dink and dunk his way down the field.

The Panther rushing defense is league worst. Their opponents have the highest adj Rush Success Rate, the 5th highest convesion rate, the 2nd most yards per carry and the most EPA per carry. If ever there was a game that the Colts should run the ball, this is it.

Colts are favored by 2.5.