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Keepin' the Faith

You know the good ole days weren't always good
And tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems

-Billy Joel, Keepin' the Faith

Damn you, XM Radio, for putting that song in my head.

(Actually, I take that back. . .I really can't say anything bad about XM, particularly since they keep me connected to the Twins all baseball season. Yeah, I know that the other satellite radio company has the NFL, but really. . .it's not like I leave my house on game days or anything anyway).

Yesterday, we briefly discussed some of the greatness that is Football Outsiders. Another site that one can turn to for some good, stat-nerdy goodness is Cold Hard Football Facts. They're another good site, similar to Football Outsiders, but with some slightly different stats that they've figured out. Some of them might not be as complex as the stuff on FO, but it's pretty good none the less.

The stat we're going to take a look at today is Defensive Passer Rating. Now, as we established with yesterday's post, ranking pass defenses based solely on yardage allowed is stupid. So, using the NFL's QB rating formula, the people at CHFF figured out exactly how opposing quarterbacks ACTUALLY performed against every defense in the NFL.

Since they were so kind as to do that for us, let's compare the pass defense rankings that are based on yards allowed to the Defensive Passer Rating numbers figured out by CHFF. Teams in italics performed worse than their yards allowed rating would imply, while teams in bold performed better than their yards allowed rating would imply.

Team Pass Yds Allowed Rank Defensive QB Rating Rank Difference in Rank

Oakland

2,413

1

74.1

7

-6

Indianapolis

2,548

2

80.4

15

-13

New Orleans

2,854

3

85.1

23

-20

Carolina

3,000

4

80.8

16

-12

Miami

3,007

5

84.4

21

-16

Baltimore

3,011

6

63.4

1

+5

Buffalo

3,019

7

82.5

19

-12

St. Louis

3,035

8

81.1

17

-9

Philadelphia

3,067

9

73.6

6

+3

Jacksonville

3,078

10

66.8

4

+6

Chicago

3,116

11

66.5

3

+8

New England

3,203

12

66.1

2

+7

San Diego

3,212

13

76.6

11

+2

New York Jets

3,222

14

78.0

12

+2

Cleveland

3,242

15

75.9

10

+5

Seattle

3,256

16

86.1

26

-10

Green Bay

3,309

17

75.4

8

+9

Kansas City

3,334

18

82.3

18

+/-0

Tampa Bay

3,354

19

91.0

29

-10

Pittsburgh

3,393

20

78.3

13

+7

Denver

3,410

21

75.6

9

+12

Houston

3,444

22

91.8

30

-8

Washington

3,491

23

97.8

32

-9

Dallas

3,506

24

83.2

20

+4

Detroit

3,520

25

92.3

31

-6

San Francisco

3,571

26

90.9

28

-2

Tennessee

3,602

27

86.0

25

+2

New York Giants

3,649

28

79.0

14

+14

Atlanta

3,668

29

88.8

27

+2

Arizona

3,694

30

85.3

24

+6

Cincinnati

3,818

T-31

84.9

22

+9

Minnesota

3,818

T-31

73.1

5

+26

So. . .we have 18 teams that played above their yards allowed ranking, and 13 teams that played below it. One team (Kansas City) managed to be ranked the same on both scales.

The top 4 teams on CHFF's scale are (in order) Baltimore, New England, Chicago, and Jacksonville. The top 4 defenses in terms of points allowed are (in order) Baltimore, New England, Chicago, and Jacksonville.

As you can see, the Vikings' pass defense is worlds better than it's portrayed in the yards allowed rankings. Top 5 in the NFL, even.

All the more reason to keep the faith in this defense, and to hope they can add a solid pass rusher (or two) this off-season to make an already good defense into a truly great one.