Originally Posted by Danny Serafini
Yards are nice, but I'm pretty sure the games are decided by points. I've never understood why the NFL ranks them on yards, it's like determining the best offense in baseball by batting average instead of runs scored.
Agreed. Your analogy is spot on. It's why I like to go by the Aikman Efficiency Ratings. They take into account 7 different factors on offense and defense, and measure them against league norms (and extremes) from the last 10 years. The points that are generated by the offensive and defensive units of each team are then ranked against each other. The factors are:
Adjusted Points (20%)
-- Total Points Scored or Allowed minus Points on Returns and Safeties
Red-Zone Efficiency (20%)
-- Measured by Percent of Possible Points (see below)
Yards Per Play
-- divided into Yards Per Rush
(10% of total) and Yards Per Pass Play
(10% of total). Yards Per Pass Play includes yards on plays involving sacks.
-- divided into Total First Downs
(10% of total) and Third-Down Conversion Percentage
(10% of total)
Percentage of Possible Points in the Red Zone is figured by taking the number of Red-Zone Chances times 7, then dividing it by the number of Points Actually Scored (defined as TDs times 7 plus FGs times 3).
At any rate, the AERs haven't been updated after this past weekend's action, but going into Sunday's games the AER defensive rankings (for noted teams) looked like this:
1. Steelers (89.7 points)
2. Ravens (88.7)
4. Titans (82.9)
16. Browns (72.4)
24. Bengals (66.0)
The top points might be slightly different after Week 16, but I wouldn't expect the rankings to change much, if at all.