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2015 Billick/Coryell Team of the Year

In 2014, I came up with the Billick Index and the Coryell Index, which provide a simple measure of the degree to which a team is one-sided.

Let’s use the 2015 Broncos as an example. Denver’s offense scored 32 touchdowns this year, while the average offense scored 37.7. As a result, Denver’s offense was 5.7 touchdowns below average. Meanwhile, the defense allowed only 29 touchdowns, meaning the Broncos were 8.7 touchdowns below average here. Add those two together, and there were 14.4 fewer offensive touchdowns scored in Denver games than in the average 16 games in 2015.

That would put Denver pretty high on the Billick Index, which measures touchdowns scored at lower rates than average. The strongest Billick Index team was the Rams, who finished in the bottom five in offensive touchdowns scored and whose defense ranked in the top five in touchdowns allowed. There were just 55 touchdowns scored in St. Louis games this season.

But the Rams were not the most extreme team this year. Consider that the Saints allowed more touchdowns to opposing offenses — 57 — than offensive touchdowns scored in Rams games on both sides of the ball!

RkTmOffDefOffDefTD Above Avg.
1New Orleans Saints485710.319.329.6
2New York Giants41463.38.311.6
3Carolina Panthers543216.3-5.710.6
4Detroit Lions40452.37.39.6
6Arizona Cardinals513313.3-4.78.6
6Jacksonville Jaguars40442.36.38.6
6Philadelphia Eagles38460.38.38.6
8.5New England Patriots503212.3-5.76.6
8.5Buffalo Bills42404.32.36.6
10Tennessee Titans3545-
11.5Washington Redskins39401.32.33.6
11.5Miami Dolphins3544-
13Oakland Raiders41373.3-0.72.6
14.5Pittsburgh Steelers42354.3-2.71.6
14.5Tampa Bay Buccaneers3443-
16.5Cincinnati Bengals492611.3-11.7-0.4
16.5Indianapolis Colts3243-5.75.3-0.4
18Chicago Bears3440-3.72.3-1.4
20New York Jets44296.3-8.7-2.4
20Atlanta Falcons3439-3.71.3-2.4
20San Diego Chargers3439-3.71.3-2.4
22Green Bay Packers39331.3-4.7-3.4
23Kansas City Chiefs39321.3-5.7-4.4
24.5Houston Texans3634-1.7-3.7-5.4
24.5Cleveland Browns2545-12.77.3-5.4
26Baltimore Ravens2940-8.72.3-6.4
27Seattle Seahawks44246.3-13.7-7.4
28San Francisco 49ers2341-14.73.3-11.4
29Minnesota Vikings3231-5.7-6.7-12.4
30Denver Broncos3229-5.7-8.7-14.4
31Dallas Cowboys2435-13.7-2.7-16.4
32St. Louis Rams2728-10.7-9.7-20.4

St. Louis is your “half-team” of the year without much doubt, at least according to these indexes. A more advanced approach would be to use something like DVOA, and there the results get pretty interesting. New Orleans had an offensive DVOA of 10.5% and a defensive DVOA of 26.10%, which sums to 36.6%. No other team combined to even a positive 20%. Meanwhile, Denver was at -8.8% on offense and -25.8% on defense which sums to -34.6%. The Rams (-15.0%, -10.5%, -25.5%) were the only other team whose units summed to less than -20.0%.

Given the Broncos playoff effort, where the defense largely carried the team, it’s pretty easy to argue that Denver, rather than New Orleans, was the most one-sided team of the year. What do you think?

  • When I ran the numbers on the final team strength stats of the year (shameless plug http://www.thegridfe.com/2016/02/23/2015-final-team-strength-stats/ ), the Saints stood out to me more than any other team. Their offense contributed a close second most EP per game (9.01, behind Arizona’s 9.15, and well ahead of Seattle’s 7.18), while their defense was leagues behind anyone else (-12.76, well behind the penultimate Browns at -7.17. Their defense was so bad that, despite ranking second in offensive EP/G, they had the 12th worst total EP/G (-3.74). Looking at the absolute value of the difference between offensive and defense EP/G contributed, New Orleans ranked first with 21.77. Denver was second with 14.54, and the Giants were third with 10.24. Interestingly, the Jets had the lowest delta; with 3.49 from offense and 3.40 from defense, they had a mere 0.09 difference.

    If I use my TAY/P, New Orleans rated as the league’s top offense (Arizona’s postseason knocked them out of the top spot) and, by far, the league’s worst defense. Denver, for their part, only featured the seventh worst offense to go along with the top defense.

    I imagine part of the difference between our two methods is that I looked at the playoffs, where the Saints didn’t get a chance to help or hurt their numbers, and the Broncos were able to add a few more mediocre offensive games to offset the week 10 meltdown.

    • Andrew Healy

      Interesting that the Saints were so good here. I was already thinking that 7th (their DVOA ranking) felt a bit too high, but it’s probably perception getting biased by that terrible defense.

      • One reason they rate so highly in TAY/P is that they were really good in many areas and not bad in any area, while some teams had huge issues in one or two areas. Using regular season stats (so ignoring the Arizona meltdown), the Saints rank 4th in Y/P, 5th in TD/P, and 2nd in 1D/P. They were 11th in INT/P and 9th in FMB/P, but their combined turnover penalty (-45 for INT and -25 for FMB) ranked 6th. That’s because teams like the Broncos and Ravens did a great job not fumbling, but they had many interceptions. Teams like the Packers and Bills avoiding interceptions, but they fumbled a lot. The Saints were decent in both areas, so their combined rating is higher than their ratings in either area.

        Using the regular season only, the Cardinals had the top rated offense, and the Saints barely came out ahead of the Seahawks for second place. The Patriots and Panthers were also hot on their trail. However, the Saints didn’t have to add a game against the Panthers or Broncos like the other teams did, so they got to keep their regular season TAY/P while everyone else’s took a pretty big hit.

        In the image attached, I included a breakdown of the stats that go into TAY/P. The TD20/INT45/etc. columns are the stats times the bonuses/penalties. The columns with the octothorps are the per-play scores for each category. You can add them up to get TAY/P (so for Arizona, 6.28 + 0.54 – 0.56 – 0.55 + 2.84 = 8.54).

        Another reason the Saints rate so highly is that they passed often. The Cardinals, Panthers, Seahawks, and Bengals didn’t come close to passing as often. The Patriots were the only team with a good offense that approached New Orleans’s passing frequency.