Great Defenses and Missing the Playoffs

August 25, 2014 Data Dump

Ten years ago, the teams with three of the four best defenses in football missed the playoffs. The Buffalo Bills ranked 1st in Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt allowed and 2nd in Adjusted Yards per Carry allowed. That year, Sam Adams, Takeo Spikes, Terrence McGee, and Nate Clements made the Pro Bowl, while Aaron Schobel […]

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Weekend Trivia: Sack Differential

June 14, 2014 Defense

Last year, the Denver Broncos led the NFL in sack differential — that is, sacks recorded by the defense minus sacks allowed by the offense. Having Peyton Manning really helps, as the Broncos had essentially an average number of defensive sacks (41) but ranked first in offensive sacks (20). So Denver ranked 1st in 2013 […]

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Longest Streaks Without Allowing a 100-Yard Rusher

May 21, 2014 Defense

Last year, I looked at the longest streaks by teams without producing a 100-yard rusher. Today, the reverse: the run defenses that didn’t allow any opposing backs to hit the century mark week after week, year after year (note: all streaks are regular season only, unless otherwise specified). Two teams have gone 50+ straight games […]

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The Best Scoring Defenses In NFL History

February 3, 2014 Defense

Congratulations to the Seattle Seahawks and their fans on winning Super Bowl XLVIII. With the win, Seattle has confirmed its status as one of the greatest defenses in NFL history. The Seahawks defense produced a game for the ages on Sunday: facing Peyton Manning, Demaryius Thomas, and one of the greatest offenses ever, Seattle’s defense […]

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Putting the 2013 Seahawks Pass Defense in Perspective

January 7, 2014 Defense

After 15 weeks, I wrote that Seattle’s pass defense looked to be one of the most dominant since the merger. With the regular season now over, and the Seahawks getting ready for their first playoff game, I wanted to revisit this question and slightly tweak the methodology. We begin with the base statistic to measure […]

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Is change always good? The Cowboys move back to a 4-3 defense

August 22, 2013 Defense

Depending on whom you ask, Tom Landry either revolutionized or invented the 4-3 front. When he became head coach of the expansion Cowboys, Landry’s teams always fielded four down linemen. And by the time he was forced out, the 3-4 fad that dominated the ’80s had subsided, resulting in Dallas running a 4-3 front every […]

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Fantasy Football: Defensive Team By Committee (FBG)

July 21, 2013 Defense

For eleven straight years, I’ve written an article called “Defensive Team By Committee.” This year’s version is up at (subscriber only). Fantasy defenses are inconsistent from year to year, making it difficult to predict which defenses and special teams (D/STs) will excel. And, at least in theory, the teams available at the ends of […]

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Best Games by Fantasy Defenses

December 11, 2012 Defense

Bill Barnwell wrote yesterday about the dominant fantasy performance by the Seahawks defense against Arizona on Sunday. The Seahawks scored two touchdowns, forced 8 turnovers, recorded three sacks, and pitched a shutout. That made me wonder: which defense produced the best fantasy in NFL history? I used’s scoring system in the Footballguys Players Championship […]

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Super Bowl champions and how they passed, ran and played defense

August 21, 2012 Defense

I broke down each of the NFL and AFL champions since 1950 into three categories: Pass Efficiency, measured by a modified version of ANY/A. The formula was (Passing Yards + 10*TD – 22.5*INT – Sack Yards)/(Pass Attempts + Sacks). This strikes a middle ground between traditional ANY/A and NY/A. Rushing Success, according to the following […]

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Is Rex Ryan the best defensive coach in the league?

July 31, 2012 Coaches

[Note: I'm scheduled to appear on The Bobby Curran Show on ESPN 1420 at just after 2:00 today. If you're interested, you can listen here.] Rex Ryan is the Tim Tebow of coaches: whatever he says tends to get magnified. I was sitting a few feet from Ryan when he made his latest controversial comment. […]

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The greatest pass rushers of the last 30 years

July 11, 2012 Defense

Thirty years ago, the NFL began officially recording defensive player sacks. Prior to 1982, all teams kept their own individual sack data, but those records (with few exceptions) have never been verified. As a result, it’s an unfortunate reality that for much of NFL history, we simply do not have reliable sack data for individual […]

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Random Perspective On: The 2012 San Francisco 49ers

July 9, 2012 Defense

[You can find lots of websites previewing each team as we head towards the 2012 season. You won't find that at, but instead, I'll share some random thoughts on each franchise based on well, whatever springs to mind. We'll kick things off with look at the San Francisco 49ers.] The 49ers are an interesting […]

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