2020 NFL Coverage Elasticity

NFL 2020 Defensive Deployment

Seahawks Losing the 'Tuff' Cover 3 Buzz and Sky Scheme Battle - Sports  Illustrated Seattle Seahawks News, Analysis and More

FootballPredictionSystems knows the value of understanding a defense’s coverage tendency, and the corresponding expected QB performance vs. said coverage. FPS leverages this information to profit greatly from finding value in the prop/derivative market (remember the +1100 we advised for Aaron Rodgers during the playoffs) that most books don’t account for.  However, FPS is just as much a proponent of discovering the empirical truth, vs. what you “think is true/assume” since profits aren’t derived from anecdotal, bargument or “Homer” data.

Much of the FPS QB vs COV data relies on knowing a defense will deploy a coverage (at a high expected rate). But how often does that ACTUALLY happen? How often is the coverage we can expect based on a defense’s historical usage, actually comes to fruition in real time? Let’s examine the following hypothetical scenario:

  • The Packers Offense and Aaron Rogers perform extremely well (vs. league expectation) vs. Cover-2, and poorly vs. Cover-3
  • The Packers are playing the Colts that play the league’s highest ratio of Cover-2 (say, 40%) and lowest rate of Cover-3 (say, 25%)
  • Any “Coverage-Based” projection system would likely call for Rodgers to have a big game, right?
  • However, just because on average the Colts have deployed a 40%/25% split between Cover-2 and Cover-3 respectively, how consistent do they deploy said split? On any given week, even within that average there’s probably games that deviate, where the Colts actually used Cover-3 more than Cover-2
  • Heck, especially given how good professional scouting departments are, wouldn’t you think that same “Cover-2 Colts team” knows how good Rodgers is vs that coverage/won’t use it as much?

Therein lies the core issue, frankly, with FPS’ own Coverage-Based Model. What we hadn’t considered, and will remedy immediately for next season, is a component or adjustment made for Coverage Consistency, or even Coverage Elasticity of a defense.

In other words, if we are trying to better predict QB outcomes based on how well they fare vs. a certain coverage, and how their opponent typically deploys coverages, shouldn’t we also include an additional component to increase the predictability, i.e. Coverage Consistency to adjust for how often that team deviates from their “normal deployment”?. 

In order to do this, we needed to do a deep dive on how defenses used different coverages on a week-to-week basis. This piece will be the start of a series investigating this subject, starting with the overall breakdown of how all 32 defenses in the NFL used each coverage along with an average and  standard deviation (to measure consistency) from this past season. We will continue in the coming week(s) with actionable insights from the data, but you can find the full dataset below (to use as you see fit), thanks to our friends at SIS.

Dataset notes:

  • Below you will find 2020 weekly percentage deployment of Cover 0/1, 2, 3 and 4
  • All other coverages (6, screen, triangle) are ignored as they encapsulate a tiny percentage of NFL use
  • Tampa 2 is included in Cover 2
  • Each of the 32 segments represents one NFL DEFENSE, broken down by week, listed on the bottom left of that subsection
1234567891011121314151617Avg.St. Dev.
0/111%15%41%54%50%21%30%45%42%53%27%28%33%29%28%34%34%13%
27%38%4%0%0%3%5%17%13%21%8%3%0%11%2%9%9%10%
314%12%15%38%9%58%35%21%25%16%35%21%26%25%21%22%24%12%
468%35%41%8%41%18%30%17%21%11%31%48%41%36%49%34%33%16%
49ers22%13%
0/121%38%55%46%15%29%17%27%26%19%17%24%64%14%16%17%28%15%
29%3%3%4%4%4%3%3%16%11%17%6%5%21%36%44%12%13%
333%32%18%35%27%54%52%58%42%56%50%38%18%39%28%22%38%13%
436%26%24%15%54%13%28%12%16%15%17%32%14%25%20%17%23%11%
Bears24%13%
0/159%43%57%35%24%38%46%33%31%68%35%74%50%44%36%16%43%16%
215%14%17%19%0%28%13%13%21%0%0%6%18%19%4%0%12%9%
315%29%17%41%21%19%29%29%38%32%39%16%14%28%36%16%26%9%
411%14%9%5%55%16%13%25%10%0%26%3%18%9%24%68%19%18%
Bengals19%13%
0/132%45%26%21%48%5%32%45%17%21%26%26%44%4%33%20%28%13%
218%11%13%3%0%9%9%5%26%21%4%6%16%4%0%17%10%8%
327%18%30%34%30%14%36%30%34%38%35%49%28%50%61%32%34%12%
423%26%30%42%22%73%23%20%23%21%35%20%13%42%6%32%28%15%
Bills24%12%
0/129%34%52%74%35%16%52%11%38%37%8%74%27%59%34%23%38%20%
29%13%4%0%0%16%3%11%14%3%0%4%0%3%0%3%5%5%
329%28%11%21%35%26%18%36%38%13%50%7%59%12%22%47%28%15%
432%25%33%5%29%42%27%43%10%47%42%15%14%26%44%27%29%13%
Broncos21%13%
0/116%15%31%23%17%38%36%5%35%16%37%19%26%26%29%13%24%10%
20%4%8%0%0%6%3%0%0%6%4%3%5%4%0%29%4%7%
328%40%46%18%43%31%41%47%52%32%41%27%42%33%43%35%38%9%
456%40%15%59%40%25%21%47%13%45%19%51%26%37%29%23%34%15%
Browns25%10%
0/152%28%22%21%25%15%26%29%27%19%27%17%16%16%0%9%22%11%
20%17%8%5%0%15%13%26%6%23%14%15%19%5%38%16%14%10%
333%28%42%37%38%54%39%26%39%38%57%26%35%57%38%56%40%11%
414%28%28%37%38%15%23%20%27%19%3%41%29%22%24%19%24%10%
Buccaneers26%10%
0/156%58%59%48%64%38%46%31%45%26%60%36%67%53%30%64%49%13%
20%6%3%11%4%12%15%15%24%4%7%6%8%0%0%0%7%7%
319%26%28%19%25%43%23%38%18%48%33%42%21%27%35%30%30%9%
426%10%10%22%7%7%17%15%13%22%0%17%4%20%35%6%14%9%
Cardinals17%10%
0/136%17%29%18%29%23%11%65%17%43%16%59%18%19%23%36%29%16%
27%7%8%18%13%0%3%0%0%4%0%0%7%4%0%0%4%5%
339%29%54%47%47%41%56%30%74%54%58%29%50%63%37%32%46%13%
418%46%8%16%11%36%31%5%9%0%26%12%25%15%40%32%21%14%
Chargers24%12%
0/136%43%60%32%24%44%29%48%23%23%45%58%53%41%36%41%40%12%
232%22%10%14%36%6%44%24%13%0%27%17%32%23%36%7%21%13%
312%22%20%25%40%11%9%24%23%35%15%17%15%23%18%15%20%8%
420%13%10%29%0%39%18%5%40%42%12%8%0%14%11%37%19%14%
Chiefs20%12%
0/120%20%36%9%23%30%14%6%61%13%48%19%12%8%39%23%24%15%
233%35%36%23%31%32%3%6%13%26%0%13%22%17%35%38%23%13%
333%25%27%31%29%19%34%59%13%26%52%55%51%69%26%28%36%16%
413%20%0%37%17%19%49%29%13%35%0%13%15%6%0%10%17%14%
Colts25%15%
0/143%20%20%29%36%32%38%69%25%42%40%7%14%9%6%35%29%17%
25%27%17%7%4%5%5%0%17%8%25%7%17%12%61%30%15%15%
343%33%20%43%48%32%29%23%50%42%30%50%34%50%15%25%35%11%
410%20%43%21%12%32%29%8%8%8%5%36%34%29%18%10%20%12%
Cowboys24%14%
0/169%76%23%27%30%45%30%32%39%57%45%48%36%54%69%47%45%16%
26%0%0%3%3%5%4%24%22%0%5%0%12%0%0%17%6%8%
325%24%58%43%48%43%49%32%17%39%40%35%52%42%28%28%38%11%
40%0%19%27%18%8%17%12%22%4%10%17%0%4%3%8%11%9%
Dolphins18%11%
0/146%70%62%26%45%36%32%37%50%39%72%45%10%47%39%25%42%16%
24%0%10%26%0%5%0%13%13%0%0%3%47%17%18%11%10%12%
333%30%21%23%35%32%48%37%29%39%28%34%23%30%29%50%33%8%
417%0%8%26%20%27%20%13%8%22%0%17%20%7%14%14%15%8%
Eagles19%11%
0/160%26%49%38%44%35%37%39%22%50%31%44%39%63%28%33%40%11%
23%42%23%21%28%19%22%26%22%6%24%15%29%13%19%7%20%10%
333%13%28%33%25%39%37%30%51%31%41%38%23%25%50%53%34%11%
43%18%0%8%3%6%4%4%5%13%3%3%10%0%3%7%6%5%
Falcons20%9%
0/122%21%11%24%20%24%24%41%26%38%26%31%13%4%22%37%24%10%
23%11%11%5%30%6%0%0%4%5%19%17%13%43%13%4%11%12%
342%11%47%19%25%65%38%50%44%38%15%21%45%35%48%37%36%15%
433%57%32%52%25%6%38%9%26%18%41%31%29%17%17%22%28%14%
Football Team25%13%
0/148%35%45%10%19%9%9%21%13%7%8%4%15%14%9%13%17%13%
25%13%3%3%15%38%13%21%34%17%20%46%15%21%9%19%18%12%
310%39%48%83%46%50%75%39%53%59%44%46%58%55%65%45%51%16%
438%13%3%3%19%3%3%18%0%17%28%4%12%10%17%23%13%11%
Giants28%13%
0/131%50%61%30%61%54%27%68%43%30%28%57%45%22%61%53%45%15%
217%15%0%7%0%8%5%7%5%6%4%0%5%13%13%5%7%5%
344%35%28%47%36%23%35%18%43%55%56%27%40%52%23%26%37%12%
48%0%11%17%3%15%32%7%10%9%12%16%10%13%3%16%11%7%
Jaguars18%10%
0/136%48%21%30%27%16%20%3%23%47%61%60%11%32%23%25%30%17%
245%35%42%25%13%40%17%21%17%29%13%16%22%10%20%14%24%11%
312%17%32%45%60%36%43%70%47%18%19%22%44%58%33%46%38%17%
46%0%5%0%0%8%20%6%13%5%6%2%22%0%25%14%8%8%
Jets23%13%
0/161%88%50%32%31%46%37%47%35%44%55%26%37%50%14%43%43%17%
20%12%3%18%19%29%19%6%14%15%0%6%10%5%28%9%12%9%
327%0%33%45%38%15%37%41%47%37%45%52%47%45%53%40%38%14%
412%0%13%5%12%10%7%6%5%4%0%16%7%0%6%9%7%5%
Lions19%11%
0/16%28%14%13%39%13%67%22%58%8%10%58%30%16%8%17%25%20%
212%24%28%19%22%10%0%19%17%4%10%0%17%26%25%14%15%9%
318%32%31%31%17%35%11%19%17%54%60%21%33%48%50%39%32%15%
465%16%28%38%22%42%22%41%8%33%20%21%20%10%17%31%27%14%
Packers25%14%
0/129%4%6%26%6%17%7%15%16%53%8%18%26%21%7%4%16%13%
20%17%14%4%16%3%32%15%13%12%0%8%0%11%0%0%9%9%
342%58%60%30%58%73%57%52%9%29%79%50%70%63%58%77%54%19%
429%21%20%39%19%7%4%19%63%6%13%25%4%5%35%19%20%16%
Panthers28%14%
0/165%50%66%50%65%44%47%43%30%41%21%16%37%33%47%46%44%14%
20%19%14%17%10%11%6%4%0%9%14%37%21%0%3%4%11%10%
317%31%14%17%15%39%24%30%63%47%48%33%37%46%43%50%35%15%
417%0%7%17%10%6%24%22%7%3%17%14%5%21%7%0%11%8%
Patriots19%12%
0/123%19%53%21%15%47%28%29%33%15%30%41%53%55%47%35%34%14%
214%22%11%36%42%13%28%45%36%8%33%29%24%14%40%35%27%12%
341%52%32%32%36%13%33%10%15%28%13%24%6%27%13%27%25%13%
423%7%5%11%6%28%11%16%15%50%23%6%18%5%0%3%14%13%
Raiders22%13%
0/129%40%21%36%5%24%11%21%0%20%25%43%18%21%19%5%21%12%
229%6%8%3%16%14%23%0%7%3%8%7%0%7%19%5%10%8%
314%31%38%52%26%24%34%50%38%54%33%36%59%39%56%53%40%13%
429%23%33%9%53%38%31%29%55%23%33%14%24%32%7%37%29%13%
Rams26%12%
0/122%55%43%56%23%58%41%35%47%44%42%37%35%56%39%61%43%12%
28%6%14%3%0%0%33%8%7%15%2%11%0%8%8%11%8%8%
349%13%37%25%64%31%19%35%40%30%37%29%45%28%42%22%34%12%
422%26%6%16%14%11%7%23%7%11%19%24%20%8%11%6%14%7%
Ravens19%10%
0/152%46%35%36%32%50%32%29%44%53%50%68%61%31%52%18%43%13%
217%26%4%21%8%23%26%21%13%11%0%18%4%8%6%24%14%9%
313%17%35%25%16%18%23%13%31%5%50%5%22%31%29%33%23%12%
417%11%27%18%44%9%19%38%13%32%0%9%13%31%13%24%20%12%
Saints19%11%
0/121%25%15%5%16%0%21%51%20%22%28%35%25%15%18%18%21%12%
27%8%26%16%6%27%15%14%8%16%25%10%25%20%15%18%16%7%
336%44%43%41%78%43%56%26%56%56%42%55%29%39%63%41%47%13%
436%22%15%38%0%30%9%9%16%6%6%0%21%26%5%24%16%12%
Seahawks26%11%
0/139%46%27%31%38%35%20%38%41%16%15%18%55%20%31%13%30%12%
23%14%14%4%38%17%8%7%25%32%23%9%8%50%23%58%21%17%
329%37%45%31%5%35%48%41%34%35%31%48%34%20%35%17%33%11%
429%3%14%35%19%13%24%14%0%16%31%24%3%10%12%13%16%10%
Steelers23%13%
0/160%21%28%42%42%26%62%11%39%32%33%37%42%38%41%63%39%14%
212%5%25%16%12%23%4%17%6%7%0%10%10%23%21%4%12%8%
320%58%34%32%7%32%31%66%39%50%64%47%35%35%24%13%37%17%
48%16%13%11%40%19%4%6%17%11%3%7%13%4%14%21%13%9%
Texans20%12%
0/150%59%43%23%31%34%34%34%63%25%33%41%49%38%43%42%40%11%
213%22%17%33%25%16%11%18%16%0%13%11%15%22%9%3%15%8%
321%11%22%33%34%26%34%32%16%50%36%22%32%25%39%32%29%10%
417%8%17%10%9%24%20%16%6%25%18%26%4%16%9%23%15%7%
Titans20%9%
0/150%32%38%34%40%21%28%28%25%27%16%38%18%52%42%29%32%11%
213%11%9%45%24%16%24%47%50%35%25%18%35%14%4%29%25%14%
327%21%32%14%24%37%24%22%17%27%25%26%35%29%38%13%26%8%
410%37%21%7%12%26%24%3%8%12%34%18%12%5%15%29%17%10%
Vikings23%11%

As you can see above, this dataset is full of critical insights, specifically that you can not always “count on” a team’s typical coverage to be deployed. Think of it this way, we know all about the Seahawks and their Cover-3 base, but take a look at week 9. 

We will dive into analysis and how to use this information in 2021 and onward in the coming weeks, stay tuned.

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