Offensive Efficiency Rating

This was based off a previous comment when someone believed a team averaging 5.0 yards per play (YPP) on offense would lead to a successful offense.  I quickly debated that fact by showing how 5.0 YPP is inflated because of big plays and does not necessarily mean the offense can consistently move the ball.  In fact, only Arizona (4.9 YPP) and Carolina  (4.5 YPP) averaged less than 5.0 YPP last year.

I decided to take this a step further.  Ok, I took this several steps further.  I tried to create my own rating system to show how efficient a team's offense is.  Here is how I created the formula to determine this.  I took each team's YPP and multiplied that number by 10.  I added their third down conversion percent and then subtracted that by the offensive turnovers.  My reasoning for this?  I believe 3rd down conversion percentage is a great indicator how well a team can sustain a drive.  I included turnovers because that too is indicative how successful a team is driving the ball down the field.  What does a 90-yard drive mean if the ball is picked off in the endzone?

The other reason for creating this formula is because of the popular belief that you win by passing.  Having a top tier QB is definitely a huge advantage to have as a legitimate passing game allows for quick points and prevents the defense from focusing on the run.  Tampa Bay, Baltimore, and Chicago all finished in the lower half of the league in passing, showing that great passing is not a must.  Additionally, the Steelers ranked 14th in the NFL in passing and the Falcons finished 15th.  Miami finished immediately behind them at 16, but were nowhere near successful on offense as the Falcons or Steelers.  The Cowboys, Broncos, and Redskins all finished in the top 10 of passing, showing that more is needed from a successful offense besides a great deal of passing yards.  My belief is you don't need a top passing game or a top running game.  A balanced offense can be the best in the NFL as long as they can excel at the little things, such as taking care of the ball and picking up 3rd down conversions to keep the drive alive.

I did not include points per game for a few reasons.  First, these numbers can be skewed by the defense allowing the offense to start in terrific field position.  Additionally, defensive and special teams touchdowns would further skew the numbers in favor of the offense.  I feel that YPP, 3rd down conversions, and turnovers are solely reliable of the offense and present an unbiased look.  Of course, this is not a perfect stat.  Some teams, like Miami, can drive the ball down the field, but struggle to get the ball into the endzone and settle for FGs.  But again, scoring is not the point here.  Below is the ratings for each team.


1) New England Patriots: 99.2

2) Houston Texans: 85.1

3) Pittsburgh Steelers: 83.1

4) Atlanta Falcons: 80.7

5-T) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 79.5

5-T) Green Bay Packers: 79.5

7) San Diego Chargers: 78.9

8) Philadelphia Eagles: 77.7

9) Kansas City Chiefs: 76.7

10) Indianapolis Colts: 76.6

11) New Orleans Saints: 75.8

12) New York Jets: 72.6

13 Baltimore Ravens: 72.0

14) Dallas Cowboys: 68.8

15) Detroit Lions: 67.1

16) Oakland Raiders: 65.1

17) San Francisco 49ers: 63.9

18) Jacksonville Jaguars: 62.9

19) Denver Broncos: 62.4

20) Seattle Seahawks: 61.5

21) Miami Dolphins: 61

22) Tennessee Titans: 60.8

23) St Louis Rams: 60.2

24) Cleveland Browns: 60.1

25) Cincinnati Bengals: 56.8

26) Chicago Bears: 54.8

27) Washington Redskins: 54.3

28) New York Giants: 53.9

29) Buffalo Bills: 51.9

30) Minnesota Vikings: 50.6

31) Arizona Cardinals: 41.8

32) Carolina Panthers: 38.4 


Not surprisingly, the Patriots really lead the pack with their superb number.  The Patriots are in the top five in YPP and finished with 48.2% of third downs converted, second to the New Orleans Saints.  Their league low 10 turnovers also helps them build a cushion over the entire league.  There are a few surprises here, such as the New York Giants being ranked so low.  The Giants rank in the top 10 in points per game and top five in offensive yards per game.  But as you look at their offense, would anyone really think the Giants have a top ten offense?  As someone that watches the majority of their games as I am a fan of them and am in their market, I can tell to the Giants do not deserve to be mentioned as one of the top offenses in the NFL.  The Giants get their fair share of big plays through the running game and the passing game, but they have been below average on third down conversions, finishing with 35.9% of third downs being picked up.  The Giants have also turned the ball over 42 times, most in the NFL.  The good part about the Giants?  They know how to score when they get in the redzone.

10 of the top 13 teams in this formula reached the playoffs.  The Chargers, plagued by awful special teams, missed the postseason by a single game.  The Bucs played very well, but their 10-6 record was not enough in a division featuring the Saints and Falcons.  As for the Texans?  Well, they gave up the most yards on defense and surrendered 26.7 PPG, 4th worst in the NFL.  That is very difficult to overcome.

Please share your thoughts on this formula.  Again, I do not believe this is a perfect stat to rate the offense, but I don't believe we will ever find the perfect stat.  If this is a stat that does interest you, I will try to keep track of this stat throughout the season and may create a formula for defensive efficiency.


This post has been updated to reflect new ratings, weighing YPP with a multiplier of x10 instead of x5.

This post has been brought to you by Finhead83, the unofficial statistician of The Phinsider!

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Phinsider's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of The Phinsider writers or editors.

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