Death Watch: 5 Contenders Plagued By Scoring Inefficiency

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Nov 21, 2013



By Justin Henry
Cold Hard Football Facts' Dr. Death (@jrhwriting)

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Points are the currency in all sports, and the game is but an auction. Outbid the other, and you purchase victory. As each game or match is self-contained, there's no such thing as inheritance; onlyyour own work can fill your purse.

In football, the work is the drive. The more yards you gain, the better chance you have of purchasing points. Chances are, since you're on a website that puts pigskin-viewing above family, friends, showering, social obligations, and sometimes breathing, you knew this already.

Here at Cold Hard Football Facts, among our Quality Stats, there's a specific metric that determines a team's scoring efficiency.

Scoreability is a measurable that is determined with a simple formula: divide the points you score by the yards you gain. The number you're left with is how many yards you average per point scored, or Yards Per Point Scored. The lower the number, the better you are.

No surprise that the Denver Broncos are top dog in this category. Their Scoreability rating is 11.44 Yards Per Point Scored. If you multiply it by seven, they average a touchdown every 80.08 yards gained.

Compare this efficiency to the worst Scoreability team, the Jacksonville Jaguars, who own a rating of 21.55 Yards Per Point Scored. In other words, they average a touchdown every 150.85 yards gained.

It's my belief that an efficient team should be lower (that is better) than 15.0 Yards Per Point Scored (105.00 yards per TD). As a baseline, in 2012, 16 teams had a rating lower than that benchmark. Of the top 15 in Scoreability, 11 of those teams made the playoffs. The lone exception was comeback-happy Indianapolis, who came in 22nd with a 16.24 rating.

Of the other five teams that filled out the top 16, all of them either finished with a winning record (Chicago, New York Giants) or had at least seven wins and were inhibited by a bad pass defense (San Diego, New Orleans, Tampa Bay).

In other words, finishing with a rating below 15.00 (while being reasonably sound on defense) will make a playoff run almost assured.

What could harm your rating? Turnovers, for one. You know, driving all the way to the opposing red zone before a butterfingered fumble or tip-drill pick squanders all of your work. Settling for a field goal is a killer too; three instead of seven is cerainly reflected in Scoreability.

You want something to show for your work, and that's what Scoreability is. The more you seize rewards, the deeper the balance, and the more capable the paying off.

If my theory about sub-15.00 ratings is to be believed, then there are five teams that are .500 or better who are bloated over that mark.

Five teams whose playoff chances are far from assured, and are put at risk by a statistic that proves their occasional ineptitude.

FIVE INEFFICIENT CONTENDERS

ARIZONA CARDINALS

Rating: 15.25 (touchdown every 106.75 yards)

Worst Game: Week Three, a 31-7 loss to New Orleans. On 247 yards of offense, Arizona trudged through a daunting 35.29 Yards Per Point Scored, or rather precisely, a touchdown every 247 yards gained (duh).

Outlook: Three remaining foes have demonstrated stingy defenses. San Francisco and Seattle are havoc-wreakers with high capacity for turnovers and sacks, while Philadelphia has developed a knack for the bend-but-don't-break containment D that stands up in the red zone. Carson Palmer's thrown 15 interceptions, and the team just recently had its first game without turning the ball over once. If not for their cagey secondary, they'd be far worse off.


DETROIT LIONS

Rating: 15.63 (touchdown every 109.41 yards gained)

Worst Game: Week Five, a 22-9 loss to Green Bay. Calvin Johnson sat with a knee injury, and the Lions simply had problems moving the ball. Detroit didn't turn it over once, but still scored just nine points on 286 yards, for a 31.78 rating. That's a touchdown every 222.44 yards gained.

Outlook: Three lousy pass defenses remain: Tampa Bay, Green Bay, and the finale at Minnesota. Winning the last two games (the former of which could see Aaron Rodgers remain out) would ensure a 5-1 division record. Winning one other game against either Philadelphia, Baltimore, or the New York Giants virtually guarantees the North crown.


GREEN BAY PACKERS

Rating: 16.18 (touchdown every 113.26 yards gained)

Worst Game: Week Ten, a 27-13 defeat at the hands of the Eagles. Seneca Wallace was sidelined after a series for inexperienced Scott Tolzien, and the Packers squandered several red zone opportunities, with an interception and a fourth-down failure ending two drives. Green Bay gained 394 yards, but mustered just a 30.31 rating, or a TD every 212.15 yards.

Outlook: It's hard to predict the depths this team will further plummet without Rodgers. A rematch with the Vikings isn't a guaranteed win, and Rodgers will likely also miss Thanksgiving with the Lions. Without a true timetable in place, that Scoreability rating (which is 23.97 in the games Rodgers has missed) will just balloon further.


PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

Rating: 16.43 (touchdown every 115.01 yards gained)

Worst Game: Week Seven, a 17-3 clunker vs. the Cowboys. Nick Foles' combination of forcefulness, nerves, and a concussion led to his worst performance, and temporary lost faith from the fickle Eagles fanbase. With just a field goal on 278 yards, that meant a rating of 92.67, or a score every 648.67 yards.

Outlook: Pretty good, actually. Poor performances against the Chiefs and Giants also notwithstanding, the Eagles have had new life since Foles' return. Over the last three games, all wins, the team has posted a 13.59 rating (95.13 yards per touchdown), and is looking to keep the Foles momentum going after the bye. With Arizona, Detroit, Chicago, and Dallas on the calendar, it's a chance to knock back the Wild Card, and division, competition.


NEW YORK JETS

Rating: 17.75 (touchdown every 124.25 yards gained)

Worst Game: Week Six, a 19-6 defeat against the once-hapless Steelers. A pair of Geno Smith interceptions kept the Jets from their best shot at back-to-back wins this season, despite the Jets defense's best efforts. A pair of field goals on 267 yards goes for a 44.50 Scoreability rating, or a TD every 311.50 yards gained.

Outlook: Much like the Packers, the Jets are going to be hard to predict. Unlike Green Bay, the Jets have been this way all season. Smith alternates between prodigy and pathetic at a blink, and he's coming off a dreadful loss to the Bills, in which his passer rating was 10.14. There's two must-win games with the Dolphins coming (including the finale), and a date with the defensively-killer Panthers. Winning the East is a tall order; getting a Wild Card is looking just as daunting.


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