NFL Team Identities, Offense

How EVERY Team Got Its Name & Identity! - YouTube

So many times when we place a bet, make a fantasy selection or want to win a “bargument”, we hear information cited from some broadcaster or “talking head”. But the sharp bettors ignore most of this anecdotal information and instead want to know what’s ACTUALLY happens, or what kind of team xyz ACTUALLY is. This post will serve as that answer. We will run it annually to provide a “pre-season baseline” of what a team “was” last year to be built upon once enough data during the “in-season” is presented (usually 4-6 weeks in). As many readers know, the biggest chunk of our profit from last season came from diving into specific “matchup-based” advantages a certain team had and leveraging specific props to get a positive ROI.

This series will use a set of objective variables thanks to our friends at SIS and Football Outsiders. The idea is to give you a base level understanding of what a team’s offense and defense identity or personality is. Using this along with adjustments we’ll make to OC and DC changes coming up in the 2021 season, we will have a baseline idea of what a team really does week-in-week-out. Each variable in a vacuum doesn’t provide much, so we ranked each in regards to highest frequency relative to their “peers” in the NFL (Rank 1 = highest usage, and 32 the lowest).

We will release the offense and defense separately, starting with offense this week. All variables will ONLY consider gameplay situations that are relevant, i.e. all data collected only concerns plays where the scoring difference between teams is less than 16 points (or two possessions). You should also know there will be more variables presented for the offense than defense, given the “reactionary nature” of the former. Mind you, the following data records what a team DOES, not necessarily what they are good at. Longtime readers likely remember that exact inspiration that led to this in the Top 5 Quick NFL Team Fixes brought to you by the SIS Rookie Handbook.

You can find the full dataset here. The offensive variables are

  • PSM Rate or Pre-snap Motion Rate
  • SG or Shotgun Rate
  • Neut. Sit. Pace or Neutral Situation Pace Rank (as defined by FO here)
  • NH or No-Huddle Rate
  • 11% or 11 personnel Rate (1 RB and 1 TE)
  • 12% or 12 personnel Rate (1 RB and 2 TE)
  • 21% or 21 personnel Rate (2 RB and 1 TE)
  • 1D Pass (vs Run) or First Down pass rate, used as the best item to judge how often a team passes vs runs (particularly in neutral situations)
TeamPSM Rate RkSG Rate % RkNeut. Sit. Pace RkNH Rate RK11 % Rk.12 % Rk.21 % Rk.1D Pass (vs Run) Rk
49ers12531193126227
Bears2416271610132310
Bengals2681620322268
Bills20111115131321
Broncos2319102213151720
Browns73021262931130
Buccaneers112642811113124
Cardinals322112541919
Chargers27145128281222
Chiefs47732621187
Colts28101897182417
Cowboys1218289122513
Dolphins174257228165
Eagles305175262224
Falcons16278111623812
Football Team991413152476
Giants31151922352126
Jaguars291324254251523
Jets182120215192721
Lions152292312201311
Packers52032272816416
Panthers617292418171414
Patriots14281342732129
Raiders823231724141028
Rams13291231993015
Ravens2130301429531
Saints222428291727618
Seahawks10122218207289
Steelers213614230293
Texans2561510216202
Titans33136301932
Vikings193226313210325

And

  • Zone (vs Gap) Run or the split of zone runs vs gap/power runs called (The higher the rank, the bigger the percentage of zone runs)
  • Outside (vs inside) or the split of outside runs vs inside
  • PA Rate or play-action vs drop-back split
  • Next three items breakdown “drop type”, 0-3 being quick game (0-3 step drops), long game (5 or 7 step drop) and RO = rollout/sprint-out passes
  • The next section measures distribution of target depth, ADOT or average depth of target behind the LOS, or line of scrimmage, short being within 1-14 yards from the line of scrimmage and deep being any pass targeted over 14 yards

Zone (vs Gap) Run RkOutside (vs Inside) Run RkPA Rate Rk.0-3 Step % Rk.5-7 Step % Rk.RO % Rk.Behind LOS (< 1 yd.s) + % Rk.Short (1-14 yd.s) + % Rk.Deep (>14 yd.s) + % Rk.
49ers921210191771227
Bears5591226320257
Bengals1426252302122199
Bills1916542725182311
Broncos288191423730311
Browns271112217228273
Buccaneers253130620328324
Cardinals262182552010828
Chargers13221628715112119
Chiefs109627146161717
Colts830262323142910
Cowboys7172492413141422
Dolphins2027188251123915
Eagles2119147281025318
Falcons24202215162329282
Football Team1829131810272532
Giants3132153291827416
Jaguars15183126429171121
Jets6142113181226138
Lions2325202932421266
Packers22333011512231
Panthers222828191216121623
Patriots30134218289730
Raiders12102320919152412
Rams3371722151529
Ravens3241531931120
Saints1715293212261824
Seahawks1111172415824225
Steelers2912321323033013
Texans1624271613263265
Titans162112114131026
Vikings47103164192014

*All data is only during relevant gameplay (score difference within two possessions)
**All data is ranked relative to highest frequency deployed within the league
*** Pass rates record DROPBACKS, not just attempts (scrambles and sacks are included)


For example, this Chicago Bears offensive personality from 2020 could be summarized as follows:

-Slow paced
-11 and 12 personnel
-Balanced, but leaning towards pass
-Zone and outside heavy runs
-Quick game and rollout based passing offense that pushes the ball down the field (surprisingly, yes)

Again, note this isn’t necessarily what the Bears are good at, NOR what they will deploy in 2021, yet its empirically what they were last season. And with that information we can glean a lot of answers to questions about a team’s true identity.

Defense to come next week.

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