When judging total defense in the NFL, many often point to yards allowed as the primary measure for a unit’s effectiveness. ESPN analyst Tedy Bruschi sees that as a flawed analysis.
Bruschi instead has put together his own formula, averaging what he views as the four key statistics: points allowed (only on defense, not including pick-sixes or special-teams scores), red zone defense (measured by percentage of touchdowns allowed versus total trips), third-down percentage and total turnovers (created solely by the defense, not including special teams).
What results, with an assist from Jason Vida of ESPN’s Stats & Information department, is the “Bruschi defensive index.”
This week, there is also an “offensive index” and some thoughts on this week’s indexes include:
1. The NFC’s top-seeded team at this time, the Seahawks, leads the defensive index while the AFC’s top-seeded team at this time, the Broncos, leads the offensive index.
2. The Patriots slip to 10th in the offensive index after being in the top 5 earlier in the year. Losing Rob Gronkowski has hurt them.
3. The growth of the Ravens’ defense shows as they are at No. 6.
4. A well-deserved move into the top 10 on defense for the Dolphins. Coach Joe Philbin deserves praise for keeping things together.
5. The Cowboys, at No. 5 on offense, might be a surprise to some.