Introducing the Bruschi defensive index

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-6s or special teams scores), red zone defense (measured by percentage of touchdowns allowed vs. 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” and a few highlights include:

* The Broncos and Patriots are “surprise” teams.

* The Falcons’ struggles are reflected.

* The Jets are solid but lag in the turnover area, which will be key for them in the second half.

* It is uncharacteristic to see the Steelers so low.

* The Texans’ defense moves up the rankings when eliminating the seven returns against them for touchdowns this season. Those 49 points aren’t on the defense. But the Texans have struggled creating turnovers and in the red zone.