Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016 Total Defense Champions: Arizona Cardinals

By John Turney

James Bettcher, Cardinals Defensive Coordinator
Who is the best defensive team? Who wins the Super Bowl? Fewest total yards? Fewest points? We've looked at those and tweaked a few stats then a reverse ranking in the categories that seem to best represent total defensive effort.

These are the categories:
  1. Net points is points allowed plus safeties minus any pick 6s or scoop and scores allowed by the offense minus any kick or punt returns by the special teams plus any pick 6s and scoop and scores tallied by the defense.
  2. Net-net yards per game is total yards allowed minus sack yardage minus interception return yardage minus fumble recovery yardage.
  3. Rush Y/A is simple, it's just rushing yards per attempt allowed.
  4. Sack percentage is simple as well. It is the percentage of sacks per attempt plus sacks.
  5. Pass rate is the NFL Passer rating for the defense.
  6. FR is fumble recovers and ties are broken by yardage
We rank them inversely for those categories, then total them. The lowest score wins (Pts on the chart). It is not, of course, perfect. All football statistics are skewed in some way but we wanted to represent stopping the run, being efficient against the pass, allowing few years but adding in nose for loose balls and turnover yardage and also being able to get after the passer.

Here are the results for 2016 (We will go back and add years in near future):

Had the Broncos been able to stop the run better, they'd have won this, but their 4.3 yards per rush allowed is below average and allowed the Cardinals to rank higher and have a lower point total.

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