2015 NFL Season – Offense & Defensive Team Rankings Heading Into Week 14

Kuechly Interception

What makes the best defense or offense in the NFL? Is it their ability to keep teams from gaining yards or first downs, or is it simply a case of not giving up points or scoring a lot themselves, regardless if it comes with an offense that gains a lot of yards or not?

There’s no clear answer. Probably points matter more, obviously. You score more, you win the game, as John Madden would probably say. There are three teams with more than 400 yards of offense this season – Cardinals, Patriots and Steelers. The first two lead the league in points per game as well. The Steelers rank sixth. But there are teams like the Panthers, Chiefs and Bills who aren’t too impressive in their ability to get the ball down the field, but all three rank in the top 10 scoring offenses in the league.

Offensive Ranking (by Points Per Game)

RK TEAM YDS YDS/G PASS P YDS/G RUSH R YDS/G PTS PTS/G
1 Arizona 5034 419.5 3592 299.3 1442 120.2 382 31.8
2 New England 4852 404.3 3790 315.8 1062 88.5 375 31.3
3 Carolina 4333 361.1 2630 219.2 1703 141.9 373 31.1
4 Cincinnati 4515 376.3 3095 257.9 1420 118.3 334 27.8
5 Kansas City 4096 341.3 2640 220.0 1456 121.3 321 26.8
6 Pittsburgh 4909 409.1 3432 286.0 1477 123.1 311 25.9
7 NY Giants 4256 354.7 3199 266.6 1057 88.1 307 25.6
8 Seattle 4545 378.8 2786 232.2 1759 146.6 305 25.4
9 New Orleans 4747 395.6 3614 301.2 1133 94.4 299 24.9
10 Buffalo 4208 350.7 2517 209.8 1691 140.9 296 24.7
11 NY Jets 4386 365.5 3039 253.3 1347 112.3 295 24.6
12 Green Bay 4097 341.4 2757 229.8 1340 111.7 289 24.1
13 Oakland 4352 362.7 3196 266.3 1156 96.3 284 23.7
14 Atlanta 4640 386.7 3335 277.9 1305 108.8 279 23.3
15 Philadelphia 4225 352.1 2837 236.4 1388 115.7 278 23.2
16 Jacksonville 4204 350.3 3067 255.6 1137 94.8 275 22.9
17 Baltimore 4354 362.8 3177 264.8 1177 98.1 272 22.7
18 Tampa Bay 4439 369.9 2719 226.6 1720 143.3 271 22.6
19 Denver 4100 341.7 2843 236.9 1257 104.8 269 22.4
20 Indianapolis 4035 336.3 2969 247.4 1066 88.8 259 21.6
21 Washington 4001 333.4 2870 239.2 1131 94.3 257 21.4
22 Detroit 4100 341.7 3180 265.0 920 76.7 253 21.1
Houston 4338 361.5 3137 261.4 1201 100.1 253 21.1
24 Chicago 4175 347.9 2787 232.3 1388 115.7 251 20.9
25 San Diego 4567 380.6 3575 297.9 992 82.7 247 20.6
26 Tennessee 3926 327.2 2691 224.3 1235 102.9 245 20.4
27 Miami 3914 326.2 2768 230.7 1146 95.5 240 20.0
28 Minnesota 3790 315.8 2149 179.1 1641 136.8 238 19.8
29 Dallas 3963 330.3 2598 216.5 1365 113.8 223 18.6
30 Cleveland 3969 330.8 3082 256.8 887 73.9 216 18.0
31 St. Louis 3556 296.3 2136 178.0 1420 118.3 189 15.8
32 San Francisco 3541 295.1 2352 196.0 1189 99.1 178 14.8

Defensive Rankings (by Points per Game)

RK TEAM YDS YDS/G PASS P YDS/G RUSH R YDS/G PTS PTS/G
1 Cincinnati 4050 337.5 2884 240.3 1166 97.2 196 16.3
2 Denver 3416 284.7 2347 195.6 1069 89.1 210 17.5
3 Seattle 3699 308.3 2646 220.5 1053 87.8 229 19.1
4 Minnesota 4108 342.3 2718 226.5 1390 115.8 232 19.3
Arizona 3802 316.8 2734 227.8 1068 89.0 232 19.3
6 Green Bay 4282 356.8 2940 245.0 1342 111.8 238 19.8
7 Kansas City 4050 337.5 2896 241.3 1154 96.2 240 20.0
Pittsburgh 4390 365.8 3306 275.5 1084 90.3 240 20.0
9 Carolina 3772 314.3 2726 227.2 1046 87.2 243 20.3
10 New England 4094 341.2 2899 241.6 1195 99.6 247 20.6
11 NY Jets 3918 326.5 2916 243.0 1002 83.5 248 20.7
12 Atlanta 4110 342.5 2879 239.9 1231 102.6 257 21.4
St. Louis 4275 356.3 2879 239.9 1396 116.3 257 21.4
14 Houston 3988 332.3 2619 218.3 1369 114.1 264 22.0
15 Dallas 3918 326.5 2669 222.4 1249 104.1 277 23.1
16 Buffalo 4316 359.7 3068 255.7 1248 104.0 278 23.2
17 Washington 4351 362.6 2861 238.4 1490 124.2 286 23.8
18 Chicago 4065 338.8 2530 210.8 1535 127.9 290 24.2
19 San Francisco 4741 395.1 3239 269.9 1502 125.2 291 24.3
Baltimore 4097 341.4 2927 243.9 1170 97.5 291 24.3
21 Tennessee 4033 336.1 2767 230.6 1266 105.5 296 24.7
NY Giants 5079 423.3 3774 314.5 1305 108.8 296 24.7
23 Tampa Bay 4046 337.2 2910 242.5 1136 94.7 298 24.8
24 Miami 4684 390.3 3067 255.6 1617 134.8 300 25.0
25 Philadelphia 4601 383.4 3105 258.8 1496 124.7 302 25.2
26 Indianapolis 4789 399.1 3365 280.4 1424 118.7 305 25.4
27 Oakland 4533 377.8 3253 271.1 1280 106.7 314 26.2
28 Detroit 4214 351.2 2910 242.5 1304 108.7 315 26.3
29 San Diego 4447 370.6 2952 246.0 1495 124.6 324 27.0
30 Jacksonville 4411 367.6 3175 264.6 1236 103.0 341 28.4
31 Cleveland 4786 398.8 3150 262.5 1636 136.3 347 28.9
32 New Orleans 5102 425.2 3448 287.3 1654 137.8 380 31.7

While offenses aren’t usually ranked like that, the most important stat is putting points on the board. For example, the Carolina Panthers are only 14th this season in offensive yards per game with 361.1. The 6-6 Falcons, 4-8 Saints and even 3-9 Chargers rank higher than them in this category. But the Panthers score points. Maybe it has a lot to do with their defense but the bottom line is that Cam Newton and the team get into the end zone regularly, with 31.1 points per game, third in the NFL. The Panthers only give up 20.3 points per game.

But there’s another side to shit tale. The Minnesota Vikings average just 19.8 points per game. Their defense, holding teams to 19.3 points per game, has been the driving force behind their 8-4 record this season. Yards do matter, don’t get me wrong; the top 4 defenses in the NFL in terms of keeping teams from moving forward (Broncos, Seahawks, Cardinals, Panthers) all happen to be on their way to the playoffs, three of them as division winners.

But the Patriots, for years, have been easy to gain yards against (341 per game this season) yet they don’t bend when it matters, allowing only 20.6 points per game, which is more than enough cushion when you score more than almost anyone in the NFL.

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