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Opponent Adjusted Efficiency Per Drive


Friday I posted some per drive efficiency numbers for offenses. But after I posted them it occurred to me that with just two weeks of data, the numbers were likely to be heavily skewed by strength of schedule. So I went back into the lab and adjusted offensive and defensive ratings based on opponents.

So I started with the points/drive each team has averaged, then adjusted those numbers based on where the drives started on the field, and the opponent involved. After that’s done, I have ratings for each offense and defense. The table below reflects the combined rating. OAEFF is Offensive Adjusted Efficiency, while DAEFF is the same thing for defenses. The TOTAL is just OAEFF minus DAEFF (a positive offense minus a negative defense is a positive number).

This is just two weeks, so a really small sample, but I still like to look at it. Some comments below the table.


The “lookout below” group consists of JAC, KC, TB and STL. STL has a bad loss to MIN (which has a bad loss to NE), and a narrow win over TB (which has a bad loss to ATL).

On the flip side, CIN has solid win over BAL, who might be underrated in their own right, and a solid win over ATL. The table is per drive efficiency, not just point results of the games, but I’m trying to walk you through remembering how each team has fared.

DEN has put up two good offensive games, but has done it against two pretty suspect defenses. Again, this is all small samples, so next week I could look at the new numbers and draw a totally different conclusion. I’m just describing what’s happened so far. But I think you would have to guess that a DEN team that has seven point wins over basement looking KC and middle of the pack looking IND (both at home), will have a much tougher time going to SEA and winning.

NE’s offense, which didn’t look good in Friday’s run of the numbers, looks better in this exercise. The MIN defense is probably better than people think.

MIA’s offense could be a little stronger than people think and they could surprise this weekend. Their two initial matchups against NE and BUF appear to be on the more difficult side.

PIT beat CLE, who beat NO, so it seems like there’s some reason to expect PIT to be decent. But on a per drive basis the PIT offense has been below average and the PIT defense has also been below average.

Assuming that the SEA defense bounces back from the efficient day it allowed SD, that should help GB’s offensive rating. Right now all the ratings see is a GB team that struggled against a SEA defense, that struggled against a SD offense, that struggled against the ARI defense. Assuming that the SEA defense just had a bad day is probably reasonable.

I’ll try to re-post these as the season goes along. Early in the season it’s tough to get a sense as to who is good, and who has just faced easy opponents. So this is a fun exercise that can maybe shed a little bit of light on the matter.

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