I always enjoy Football Outsider’s efficiency-based DVOA rankings and think they paint a far more telling story about how teams have performed thus far. Here are my Patriots-related notes.
Total Offense: 1st (Pass 2nd, Run 3rd)
Total Defense: 20th (Pass 29th, Run 4th)
Let’s just take a moment to ponder the fact that they Patriots are top five in three of the four categories, and just fourth from the bottom on pass defense.
Pass Defense Rankings (vs. specific targets):
- vs. #1 WR = 7th
- vs. #2 WR = 8th
- vs. other WR = 32nd
- vs. TE = 27th
- vs. RB = 28th
Last year, when Devin McCourty was awful, the Pats were the worst in the NFL against #1 WRs. Now? It’s 3rd and 4th receivers that are killing them. Who does this point to? Well in sub-packages it would have to be Kyle Arrington. The coverage on TEs and RBs isn’t much better and I’d say that’s a function of not having any good coverage linebackers, though the safeties have to take some heat for that too.
This also points to the Pats getting eaten alive in the middle of the field. Is this ironic to anyone else? The Pats offense lives off of passes to the short middle and the defense has the most trouble there? Maybe even more interesting is that the Pats have very little deep ball threats on offense, and on defense they can’t stop the deep ball.
Based on the current rankings the Patriots will face every top ten defense in DVOA except #1 (Bears), #8 (Eagles), and #10 (Packers). That’s a tough slate, though the offenses “Schedule” ranking is just 15th.
Pats D is ranked 27th in “Schedule”, meaning the DVOA of the offenses they’ve faced is near the bottom of the league. Not encouraging.