Monday, November 3, 2008

Midseason Review: Part 1. Inside the Numbers

This week I will provide some of the numbers behind the 5-3 Jets this season. Some interesting, some startling, some confusing, but all important so far.

905-608. That is the difference in rushing yards between the Jets and their opponents this year. Gone are the days of teams gashing the Jets on the ground, while Thomas Jones and Leon Washington have done the job behind a revamped offensive line.

15. The number of touchdown passes Brett Favre has thrown in half a season. Also the number of touchdown passes Chad Pennington and Kellen Clemens combined totaled last season.

29. The number of sacks the Jets have tallied this season, with Shaun Ellis having 7, Bryan Thomas, David Bowens, and Calvin Pace 4, Kris Jenkins 3, and Eric Barton, Kerry Rhodes, Darrelle Revis, and Hank Poteat each getting 1. 29 is also the number of sacks the Jets' defense manufactured all of last season.

16. The number of times Brett Favre has been sacked. Compare this to the 53 times Jets quarterbacks were taken down last season. The offensive line has been night and day compared to last season, and that should only get better.

-4 With all the new sacks, protection, and touchdown-scoring the Jets have added this season, you would expect a better turnover ratio than -4. The dull, overmatched, dink and dunk Jets last season were -4 last season, too.

7. The number of tackles Vernon Gholston has recorded so far. Add in the number of sacks, forced fumbles, recovered fumbles, and interceptions he's had so far, and it's still 7. The Jets insist he's making progress, but add another impact pass rusher to the defense, and think of the possibilities.

4. Number of kickers and punters used by the Jets so far. Throw in Waylan Prather's short stay on the practice squad, and Ben Graham's return after his initial release, and it has been a crazy ride for the kicking game. Mike Nugent is still out, and who knows when he will be back. One note about Graham, the Saints just released him after one game last week.

12.75 and 12.98.

What are these numbers? Well, 12.75 is the "scoreability index," created by Cold Hard Football Facts to rank efficiency in terms of yards and points. For every 12.75 yards the Jets earn, they score a point, good for 6th in the NFL and 3rd in the AFC. This shows the Jets have been very efficient, though we know at times that has not been the case. The 12.98 number is more disturbing, as it means the defense has only allowed 12.98 yards per point, 27th in the NFL. I imagine both of these numbers will regress to the mean, but the defense surely has more room to improve.

4. Number of interceptions for Darrelle Revis, tied for the league lead. This despite teams rarely targeting him in favor of rookie Dwight Lowery who has held his own.

5-3, 2-1, 4-3. 5-3 is the Jets' overall record, tied for the division lead. 2-1 is the Jets' divisional record, with road wins over Miami and Buffalo and a home loss to New England. 4-3 is the Jets' conference record. These are the most three pieces of information when gauging a team and looking at their playoff chances, and the Jets are in good shape.

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