FanPost

The MOTHER of All Statistics (Part 1)


Offensive Statistics

I have been thinking to myself recently: what is the mother of all statistics? Is there any stat which can be looked at in isolation, and be used to predict success in the W/L column? I will look at this in 2 segments: Offense and Defense.

My Musings…

Offense – The goal of offense is points. Teams that score points generally win games (unless their defense is pathetic -- and even then sometimes they still win!). So I am going to look at which statistics this year were most closely related to point-scoring. I will look at total yards/game, passing yards/game, rushing yards/game, passing yards/attempt, number of 1st downs, 3rd down efficiency, kick returns, and turnovers. I will show the ranking of each team in each category. Only teams that scored 25 points or more per game will be considered.

Yards/game

Passing

Rushing

Pass YPA

1st Down

3rd

Kick Return

Give/Take

GB

3

3

27

1

5

3

12

2

NO

1

1

6

4

1

1

3

20

NE

2

2

20

2

2

5

29

3

Det

5

4

29

12

6

20

14

4

SD

6

6

16

6

3

2

6

25

Car

7

13

3

8

8

10

16

15

Atl

10

8

17

13

6

6

19

5

So, which statistic most clearly influenced points per game?

As expected, yards/game correlated remarkably well to points/game. But with an even higher correlation, 1st downs is our winner! Teams that get 1st downs also score points. I guess it isn’t brain surgery.

Which statistic most clearly influenced 1st downs?

However, this begs the question: what makes a team get 1st downs?? The clear answer here, based on the data, is passing ability. If a team can pass effectively, they will complete many first downs and score points. New Orleans’ statistics show us that having an effective running attack helps, but it is not required. Look at Detroit! They were the 29th best running attack this year, but still had a top 10 unit in terms of 1st downs. Strangely, 3rd down efficiency didn’t seem to be related to 1st downs. So, what matters more is getting 10 yards before you reach 3rd down, and doing that through an effective passing game.

What had the least effect on points?

Rushing and kick returns did not relate to points. The only way you’ll be a playoff team if your goal is rushing/special teams is if you have a ROCK SOLID DEFENSE (Denver, SF, etc…). Otherwise, you need to be able to pass the football.

What about turnovers?

Turnovers were the bane of NO and SD. These are two teams that had tremendous passing attacks, were fantastic 1st down machines. However, they gave away points, and this lost them games (for NO, it probably lost them a playoff game). So, turnovers don’t create winners… only losers!

Conclusion:

For the Bills to win games, we need to score more points by getting more first downs, by creating an even more effective passing attack! Easy as pie… isn’t it?

Just another great fan opinion shared on the pages of BuffaloRumblings.com.

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