2020 NFL Pass Coverage Analysis

Throughout the season we used opponent’s coverage use and success relative to their opponent’s QB success within the same guidelines to help us predict outcomes the market did not account for. Today we’re doing a deep dive on NFL Pass Coverage, to help understand what defenses use, what they do well and where they can improve.

You can find how every NFL defense deployed coverages, and how successful each were below. The chart is formatted by Coverage percentage use, and then success rate based on the SIS Datahub (remember a low success rate is good for defense). For example, the second column can be read “Cover 0 and Cover 1 combined percentage of total coverage” and the third column can be read “Cover 0 and Cover 1 Success Rate”.

Note: all garbage time plays were excluded (any plays when one team is up 17 or more points, only within the middle 70 yards of the field)

Team0/1 #0/1 suc rt2/T2 #2/T2 suc rt3 #3 suc rt4 #4 suc rt
49ers31%377%4829%4834%53
Bears27%419%5242%5322%54
Bengals42%5215%5327%5216%52
Bills31%457%3237%4725%52
Broncos43%435%5728%5523%50
Browns22%595%5940%5633%47
Buccaneers22%5413%5443%5423%42
Cardinals48%476%5530%5315%54
Chargers27%435%5046%5222%44
Chiefs41%3820%6120%5819%48
Colts20%4122%5640%4618%51
Cowboys30%4417%5233%4620%50
Dolphins46%406%5339%5310%54
Eagles40%5013%4733%4414%46
Falcons44%4619%6431%456%30
Football Team24%3810%6239%4527%41
Giants14%4821%5355%5610%53
Jaguars46%537%5837%5810%36
Jets31%4721%6238%5610%48
Lions41%5813%6739%608%50
Packers28%3716%4435%5621%55
Panthers12%4611%5756%5621%51
Patriots44%449%5939%597%54
Raiders32%5426%4827%5315%62
Rams23%3610%5842%4425%42
Ravens42%419%3935%5814%53
Saints40%4616%4626%5119%38
Seahawks20%4316%4748%4816%60
Steelers34%3917%4535%4714%55
Texans34%4614%6340%5512%53
Titans38%5218%5431%5913%55
Vikings30%4827%5527%6117%43
NFL AVG33%4613%5336%5318%49
Note 1: Cover 1 and Cover 0 combined. Note 2: Cover 2 and Tampa 2 combined.

General takeaways:
-The NFL’s most used Coverage is 3 (36%), followed closely by 0/1 (33%), then 4 (18%) and finally 2 (13%). Given the league’s midseason realization that the way to stop “unstoppable offenses” (vs. Seahawks, Chiefs, etc) is to use a double-high safety defense, its interesting to see almost 70% of defenses are using single-high.
-Defenses have the most success (NFL average) in man, and least in Cover 2/Tampa 2.

Color coated version to view strengths and weaknesses:

-The Falcons really should run more Cover 4
-The Jets should run Cover 2 far less
-Bills, just the opposite
-WFT, Colts and Rams should run more Cover man
-Bengals and Jaguars should run man less

Use the data as you see fit, we will be taking more deep dives into some basic, yet critical data in the coming weeks.

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