Through 14 games, the Jacksonville Jaguars may be the best team in the NFL. Jacksonville ranks first by an enormous margin in pass defense, which is the main driver of the team’s success. The Jaguars are 0.90 ANY/A better than the second-ranked pass defense (Baltimore), and 1.37 ANY/A better than the third-ranked pass defense (Chargers). Jacksonville’s rush defense on a per-carry basis ranks just 29th, but the Jaguars are still the best defense in the NFL.
To measure defenses on per play basis, I took a weighted average of a defense’s yards per rush allowed (40%) and adjusted net yards per attempt allowed (60%). The Jaguars allow 3.87 yards per play, the best in the league by a good margin, followed by the Ravens, Vikings, and Eagles.
We can do the same thing for offense. Jacksonville ranks 8th in yards per carry and 12th in ANY/A, which may surprise folks, but Blake Bortles has been white hot the last three weeks. The best offense belongs to the Saints, who rank 1st in ANY/A (by a razor thin margin of the Patriots) and 2nd in YPC (by a razor thin margin behind the Chiefs). The Saints have the best offense in the NFL on a per-play basis (using the same 40%/60% split) and the 11th-best defense, good enough for New Orleans to rank as the 3rd best team overall.
But Jacksonville ranks 9th in offense, and with that pass defense, that’s enough to put the team in first place on a per-play basis overall. Take a look: [click to continue…]