Checking the Numbers: Jets-Patriots Game

Nick Laham / Getty Images

Nick Laham / Getty Images

On Sunday afternoon, the New England Patriots and New York Jets played a game that had been prefaced by much talk, mainly from the Jets’ side. Given the past fate of teams making similar comments to Kerry Rhodes’ victory guarantee, many people considered the Patriots heavy favorites. Few expected the Jets to repeat their Week 1 success against the Texans. The Jets won a hard-fought, close game, but how did each team look compared to what we would expect statistically? As I did with a few games last week, here I wanted to look at this game from my own analytical perspective.

In this post, I took the box score stats from the game and compared how each team did against their season averages from the 2008 season. Soon, I may begin incorporating the 2009 numbers with those from last years, giving a weighting to each game, but that will require some background work that I haven’t completed yet. So, since the previous season usually serves as the baseline for predictions going into a new year, I think that analyzing against the previous season’s numbers will be acceptable for now.

So, anyway, on to the numbers! (Box Scores taken from Yahoo! Sports and 2008 averages from Below, I have four tables.

Patriots’ Offensive Boxscore vs. Patriots’ 2008 Offensive Averages

The first table is a comparison of New England’s offensive numbers from this game with their average numbers from the 2008 season. This gives an indication as to how well the Jets’ defense performed in this game because it shows whether the Patriots’ offensive numbers were above or below their 2008 averages.

Team Statistics Jets’ Def vs. Patriots’ Off
  NE NEAvgOff % Difference
  First Downs 18 22.25 -19.10%
    Passing 10 11.63 -13.98%
    Rushing 5 9.06 -44.83%
  TOTAL NET YARDS 299 365.44 -18.18%
    Total Plays 67 68.44 -2.10%
    Average Gain Per Play 4.5 5.3 -15.09%
  NET YARDS RUSHING 83 142.38 -41.70%
    Rushes 20 32.06 -37.62%
    Average Per Rush 4.2 4.4 -4.55%
  NET YARDS PASSING 216 223.06 -3.17%
    Yards Per Pass Play 4.6 6.1 -24.59%
    Times Sacked 0 3 -100.00%
    Had Intercepted 1 0.69 45.45%
    Fumbles Lost 0 0.63 -100.00%

The Jets’ defense did an amazing job on the Patriots’ offense, holding them below their 2008 average offensive output in just about every category. Most significantly, the Jets held the Pats to nearly 42% below their 2008 averages in rushing. The Jets even held them slightly below their passing averages. The only statistic that the Jets did not outperform New England’s 2008 numbers was in sacks; the Jets sacked Tom Brady zero times.

Jets’ Offensive Boxscore vs. Patriots’ 2008 Defensive Averages

The second table is a comparison of the Jets’ offensive numbers from the game to the Patriots’ defensive averages from 2008. This tells us how the Jets’ offense performed compared to Patriots’ defensive averages from last year.

Team Statistics Jets’ Off vs. Patriots’ Def
  NYJ  NEAvgDef % Difference
  First Downs 14 16.75 -16.42%
    Passing 10 11 -9.09%
    Rushing 4 4.88 -17.95%
  TOTAL NET YARDS 254 309 -17.80%
    Total Plays 55 57.5 -4.35%
    Average Gain Per Play 4.6 5.4 -14.81%
  NET YARDS RUSHING 117 107.63 8.71%
    Rushes 31 25.94 19.52%
    Average Per Rush 3.8 4.1 -7.32%
  NET YARDS PASSING 137 201.38 -31.97%
    Yards Per Pass Play 5.7 6.4 -10.94%
    Times Sacked 2 1.94 3.23%
    Had Intercepted 0 0.88 -100.00%
    Fumbles Lost 1 0.5 100.00%

The Jets’ offense certainly didn’t light up the Patriots’ defense. On this side of the ball, New York only outperformed New Englands’ 2008 numbers in one area, rushing the ball. They ran 31 times, which was nearly 20% above the 2008 average allowed by the Pats, for 117 yards, nearly 9% above the 2008 numbers.

Jets’ Offensive Boxscore vs. Jets’ 2008 Offensive Averages

The third table compares the Jets’ offensive output in this game against their average offensive output from 2008. So, it gives an indication as to how the Patriots’ defense performed against the Jets’ 2008 offensive averages.

Team Statistics Patriots’ Def vs. Jets’ Off
  NYJ  NYJ AvgOff % Difference
  First Downs 14 19.25 -27.27%
    Passing 10 11.63 -13.98%
    Rushing 4 5.88 -31.91%
  TOTAL NET YARDS 254 331.69 -23.42%
    Total Plays 55 61.31 -10.30%
    Average Gain Per Play 4.6 5.4 -14.81%
  NET YARDS RUSHING 117 125.25 -6.59%
    Rushes 31 26.38 17.54%
    Average Per Rush 3.8 4.7 -19.15%
  NET YARDS PASSING 137 206.44 -33.64%
    Yards Per Pass Play 5.7 5.9 -3.39%
    Times Sacked 2 1.88 6.67%
    Had Intercepted 0 1.44 -100.00%
    Fumbles Lost 1 0.5 100.00%

Here again, in most statistics, the Jets did not perform even up to their 2008 statistical averages. They did rush more times than they averaged last year, though, and had zero interceptions.

Patriots’ Offensive Boxscore vs. Jets’ 2008 Defensive Averages

The fourth table compares the Patriots’ offensive output with the Jets’ average defensive numbers from 2008. So, this gives an indication as to how the Patriots’ offense performed against the Jets’ defense.

Team Statistics Patriots’ Off vs. Jets’ Def
  NE NYJ AvgDef % Difference
  First Downs 18 19.69 -8.57%
    Passing 10 13.06 -23.44%
    Rushing 5 5.38 -6.98%
  TOTAL NET YARDS 299 329.38 -9.22%
    Total Plays 67 63.75 5.10%
    Average Gain Per Play 4.5 5.2 -13.46%
  NET YARDS RUSHING 83 94.88 -12.52%
    Rushes 20 25.44 -21.38%
    Average Per Rush 4.2 3.7 13.51%
  NET YARDS PASSING 216 234.5 -7.89%
    Yards Per Pass Play 4.6 6.1 -24.59%
    Times Sacked 0 2.56 -100.00%
    Had Intercepted 1 0.88 14.29%
    Fumbles Lost 0 1 -100.00%

Again, this table shows that the Patriots’ offense underperformed compared to the Jets’ defensive statistics from 2008. Only in sacks allowed were they significantly better than New York’s averages from a year ago.

Overall, this was another tight game with the Patriots having the edge in yards gained but coming up just short. What this game may have come down to is the so-called “hidden yards.” Since both teams turned the ball over once, that was a wash. But, when I re-checked the Box Score, I saw that the Jets had the more explosive return game. In fact, the lone TD of the game was scored after Leon Washington’s 43 yard KR. Of course, that should not minimize the job that Rex Ryan’s defense did in slowing down the Tom Brady/Randy Moss juggernaut that we have been expecting based on their 2007 performances.

Let me know your thoughts.


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6 Responses to “Checking the Numbers: Jets-Patriots Game”

  1. Dennis Partlow Says:

    I think the only r3eason, the patriots lost, was the offensive line didn’t protect the QB long enought. They need to be more physical up front and establish the run prior to opening the passing game.

    • wolfpacksteelersfan Says:

      Which raises the question as to whether the sacks last year were a reflection on Cassel holding the ball too long, or is the OL declining? It may also be what I’ve heard on NFL Network. Other teams may just have decided to start rushing Brady more, even if he burns them deep, as long as they knock him down. The idea being that if they don’t knock him down, he’ll probably burn them anyway.

  2. Dennis Partlow Says:

    The real test will come this weekend when they play alanta. The test, meaning the protection of the OF Line protecting the QB.

    • wolfpacksteelersfan Says:

      Not sure what you mean. Are you saying that if the Falcons pressure Brady, you know there are issues with the OL? The Falcons’ pass rush isn’t great, basically John Abraham and that’s it. It’s not like the Cowboys or Steelers from last year.

  3. Phantaskippy Says:

    The one thing I took from this game is Mark Sanchez. A rookie doing well against a Belichick defense? That is rare. Either Sanchez is wise beyond his years or the Pats defense is slipping enough that they couldn’t take advantage of a rookie. Probably some of each.

    • wolfpacksteelersfan Says:

      The Pats replaced so many veterans this year, that I don’t know that the defense is going to be as confusing as it was, say, 3 years ago. Those complexities certainly confuse offenses, but you need every player to know each play inside and out. That takes time to learn and build the cohesion they’d need.

      Agreed, though, so far Sanchez looks like the real deal.

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