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Ranking NFL Teams by Success Ratings - Opposing Views

Ranking NFL Teams by Success Ratings

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Most readers are familiar with the weekly efficiency rankings, but that's not the only way to get a sense of team success.

Another way is by looking at Success Rate (SR). SR is only counting up successes and failures, so it excludes the magnitude of play results. The more random types of outcomes, such as turnovers and very long plays are counted only as a single success or failure, no different than a 6 yard gain on first down or a stop on 3rd down. It also considers a successful red zone play no differently than one at midfield.

As I've been playing around with SR, I've noticed a few things. First, it correlates well with winning. And second, it correlates well with itself, meaning it is relatively stable throughout the season. These are the two attributes we want in a stat for it to be predictive of future outcomes. I'll have a future article that goes into this in more depth.

SR has been a feature on the individual player pages and on the advanced team stat page all season. I thought it would be interesting to sum up offensive and defensive SR and then rank each team by total SR. We'll see how well these rankings agree with team records at the end of the year.

A few notes about SR. In my implementation of SR, any play that produces positive Expected Points Added (EPA) is a success for the offense and any play that results in negative EPA is a success for the defense. I include run and pass plays on all 4 downs. One of my current projects is to automatically calculate opponent-adjusted SR for each team.

Your SR Rankings heading into week 6 are listed below. Click on the table headers to sort.

Team
Off SR(%)
Def SR(%)
Total SR(%)

NYG
47.0
61.5
108.5

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DAL
49.8
57.6
107.4

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NYJ
49.2
56.5
105.7

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GB
48.3
57.3
105.6

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SD
45.1
59.4
104.5

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NO
48.3
55.0
103.3

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BAL
43.6
59.4
103.0

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PHI
46.2
56.2
102.4

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CIN
46.1
56.0
102.1

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IND
50.4
51.6
102.0

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KC
41.0
60.9
101.9

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OAK
44.6
55.8
100.4

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NE
53.5
46.8
100.3

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ATL
43.9
55.6
99.5

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TEN
42.2
56.3
98.5

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SEA
41.0
57.4
98.4

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MIA
44.7
53.7
98.4

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DET
47.2
51.1
98.3

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SF
42.5
55.2
97.7

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CLE
40.9
56.4
97.3

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DEN
41.9
55.0
96.9

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JAX
44.6
51.2
95.8

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CHI
38.7
56.7
95.4

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TB
39.5
55.6
95.1

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MIN
41.1
53.4
94.5

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WAS
43.0
51.5
94.5

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STL
38.9
54.3
93.2

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ARI
38.2
54.8
93.0

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PIT
39.3
53.6
92.9

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HOU
47.5
44.1
91.6

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BUF
41.3
48.4
89.7

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CAR
32.1
56.6
88.7

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Right away, I notice that teams like BAL, CIN, and NO are much higher in terms of SR than they are in the efficiency rankings. PIT, HOU, and CHI are much lower. I'm betting these teams are the ones that tend to rely on the big play, either offensively or defensively, for their success.

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