Rankings

NFL Week 18 Offensive Efficiency Rankings

On Monday, one of the season’s most anticipated matchups — with two top teams on the list below — turned into a completely different scene than expected following a devastating injury to Damar Hamlin. So much credit goes to the medical team on-site for jumping in quickly to aid him.

I’d like to highlight the generosity extended toward Hamlin’s Chasing M’s Foundation. Bills Mafia and fans of other teams went all-in on their GoFundMe page, with over $4 million in donations thus far. Keep Hamlin and his family and friends in your hearts as we continue the season.

Offensive Efficiency Rankings Explained

This season, we’ve taken a weekly temperature on the efficiency of each offense and defense. This article will once again check in on how each NFL offense ranks in EPA/Play. If you’re unfamiliar with EPA, it stands for expected points added and is simply a way to measure whether or not a play brought a team closer to scoring.

For example, it’s easy to understand that a gain of five yards on fourth-and-4 is good, whereas a gain of five yards on fourth-and-6 is bad, and EPA can contextualize that in a way that net yards cannot. 

To put into context the worth of a big turnover, another example would be a quarterback throwing a pick-six on first-and-goal from the opponent’s 1-yard line. Conventional wisdom would say that was a 14-point swing – because we expected the offense to score a touchdown in that situation – and EPA would reflect roughly that. 

1. Kansas City Chiefs

EPA/Play = 0.11

Last Week = 1

2. Philadelphia Eagles

EPA/Play = 0.06

Last Week = 2

If you look at the EPA per play of the teams around them, the Eagles are more accurately described as a top-five offense than the second-best in the NFL. The last two weeks with Gardner Minshew at the helm have been a rollercoaster, primarily based on the backup’s handling of the pocket. He took six sacks against New Orleans (five on short dropbacks and RPOs), contrasting the zero he took the week before against the much-more-fearsome Cowboys pass rush. 

Minshew’s overall accuracy numbers from these two games look very similar, but he pushed the ball downfield and allowed his receivers to make plays in Week 16, but not so much in Week 17. Minshew averaged 5.8 adjusted net yards per attempt (ANY/A) in Week 17, while averaging 7.6 in Week 16.

3. Buffalo Bills

EPA/Play = 0.05

Last Week = 3

4. Detroit Lions

EPA/Play = 0.04

Last Week = 4

5. San Francisco 49ers

EPA/Play = 0.03

Last Week = T-5

6. Cincinnati Bengals

EPA/Play = 0.01

Last Week = T-5

T-7. Dallas Cowboys

EPA/Play = 0.00

Last Week = T-5

T-7. Jacksonville Jaguars

EPA/Play = 0.00

Last Week = T-5

T-7. Las Vegas Raiders

EPA/Play = 0.00

Last Week = 10

If we adjusted these rankings for quality of competition (and quality of your quarterback), the Raiders would look much better after their recent matchups. They’ve played the Patriots, Steelers, and 49ers in consecutive weeks, and in their most recent outing, their quarterback was making his first career start.

Jarrett Stidham rewarded his coaches with the team’s best adjusted net yards per attempt of the year, a week after Derek Carr posted the team’s worst. Credit to Davante Adams for continuing to make incredible plays after a somewhat disappointing year. He is second in the NFL in targets but has had a lower completion percentage than anyone else in the top 20 in targets.

T-7. Miami Dolphins

EPA/Play = 0.00

Last Week = T-5

T-11. Baltimore Ravens

EPA/Play = -0.02

Last Week = T-11

T-11. New York Giants

EPA/Play = -0.02

Last Week = 13

T-13. Los Angeles Chargers

EPA/Play = -0.03

Last Week = T-16

T-13. Seattle Seahawks

EPA/Play = -0.03

Last Week = T-11

Geno Smith has plummeted back to earth after an impressive start, aside from a “revenge game” victory against the Jets. Over the last four weeks, Smith’s dropbacks have produced -40 EPA, which puts him at second-worst in the NFL (and above Russell Wilson on a per-play basis). He has been off-target on at least a third of his throws in two of those games, which he did not do over the first 12 weeks. The Seahawks are in position for a playoff spot, though, meaning there’s still room for a successful first year out from the Wilson trade. 

T-15. Atlanta Falcons

EPA/Play = -0.04

Last Week = T-14

T-15. Cleveland Browns

EPA/Play = -0.04

Last Week = T-14

T-15. Green Bay Packers

EPA/Play = -0.04

Last Week = T-16

T-15. Pittsburgh Steelers

EPA/Play = -0.04

Last Week = T-16

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

EPA/Play = -0.05

Last Week = T-20

Much had been made of the fizzled connection between Tom Brady and Mike Evans, but the duo made up for lost time in Week 17. Evans posted season highs in receptions (10), yards (207), and touchdowns (3), partially thanks to having 10 catchable targets. He has had high-profile drops, but his 54% catch rate over the last six weeks isn’t his fault. He’s caught every on-target pass over that span.

20. Minnesota Vikings

EPA/Play = -0.06

Last Week = T-16

T-21. Carolina Panthers

EPA/Play = -0.07

Last Week = T-20

T-21. New Orleans Saints

EPA/Play = -0.07

Last Week = T-20

T-23. Arizona Cardinals

EPA/Play = -0.09

Last Week = T-24

T-23. Chicago Bears

EPA/Play = -0.09

Last Week = 23

Justin Fields has been as-advertised as a rusher in his first full year as a starter. He has generated 54 EPA with his legs, producing more than four times as many “boom” plays (+1 EPA) as “bust” plays (-1 EPA). His skill as a rusher has hurt him as a passer, unfortunately, as he’s been sacked nearly 15% of the time just on short dropbacks and RPOs. The offensive coaching staff has done a better job of playing to his skills—more than half of his carries this season have been designed, compared to about a quarter last year—but he’ll need to improve on his throwing consistently, particularly on the deep ball, to make a leap.

T-25. Los Angeles Rams

EPA/Play = -0.10

Last Week = T-27

T-25. New England Patriots

EPA/Play = -0.10

Last Week = T-27

T-25. Tennessee Titans

EPA/Play = -0.10

Last Week = T-24

T-25. Washington Commanders

EPA/Play = -0.10

Last Week = T-24

29. New York Jets

EPA/Play = -0.13

Last Week = 29

The skill position players for this team scream “surprise team” in 2023. Rookie receiver Garrett Wilson is one of only a handful of receivers whose targets have been uncatchable more than a third of the time (along with Mike Evans, referenced above). Running backs Breece Hall and Michael Carter are among the most elusive ballcarriers in the league, or at least Hall was before his season-ending injury. Carter is in the top 10 at the position in broken/missed tackles per carry each of the last two years (among those with at least 100 carries). We’ll see if more consistent and accurate quarterback play is attainable in 2023—the Jets are bottom-three in both Catchable% and On-Target% this year and were the worst in both in 2021.

30. Denver Broncos

EPA/Play = -0.15

Last Week = 30

T-31. Houston Texans

EPA/Play = -0.19

Last Week = 31

T-31. Indianapolis Colts

EPA/Play = -0.19

Last Week = 32

Alex Vigderman contributed to this report.

WATCH: Why Vikings Must Beat Bears in Week 18

 

Scroll to the Top