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NFL NOTES

   by Larry Ness - 11/27/2004

Defense wins championships! I've been hearing that statement since I was a little kid and that's a LONG time ago! As the NFL season enters Week 12 , I thought I'd do a little checking using NFL team rankings prior to the Thanksgiving Day games so that all teams will have played the same amount of games (10)....

Just FOUR of the teams ranked in the top-10 in total defense this year have winning records. The Giants (8) are at 5-5. Starting with the highest ranked teams, the list of teams with losing records includes Washington (2) at 3-7, Buffalo (4) at 4-6, Tampa Bay (5) at 4-6, Miami (7) at 1-9 and Tennessee (10) at 4-6....

EIGHT of the league's top-10 offensive teams own winning records with only Kansas City (1) at 3-7 and St Louis (6) at 5-5 failing to be above .500. Looking at the teams ranking in the bottom-half of the league in offense, only Atlanta (20) at 8-2 and Baltimore (30) at 7-3 have winning records. Conversely, there are FOUR teams at better than .500 and one at .500 that rank among the league's lower-half in defense. That list includes Green Bay (19) at 6-4, Atlanta (20) at 8-2, Minnesota (26) at 6-4 and Indianapolis (31) at 7-3 plus St Louis (28) at 5-5....

To this point in the 2004 season, it seems as if the teams with the better offenses are the ones that are at the top of the standings. A bad defense hasn't hurt the Colts and a mediocre defense hasn't limited the Falcons ability to win. On the other hand, excellent defensive efforts haven't helped the Redskins or Dolphins very much. Maybe the saying should go "offense wins championships"?...

Getting the MOST out of its offensive efforts are the following teams. Baltimore ranks 30th in total yards but is 15th in scoring at 20.4 PPG. San Diego ranks 10th in yards but 2nd in scoring at 28.5 PPG. Pittsburgh is 16th in yards but 8th in scoring at 24.0 PPG. Getting the LEAST from its offensive effort is Jacksonville which ranks 17th in yards but just 29th in scoring at 16.6 PPG....

On the defensive side, there is Philadelphia ranking just 17th in yards allowed but 2nd in points allowed (15.8) and New England ranking 14th in yards allowed but 6th in points allowed (17.1). As you know, BOTH are 9-1! Miami ranks 7th in yards allowed but just 18th in points allowed (21.0). San Francisco ranks 21st in yards allowed and 32nd in points allowed (29.6). Tennessee ranks 10th in yards allowed but 19th in points allowed (21.2)....

Turnover margin is almost ALWAYS an indicator of a team's success or lack of it and 2004 is no different. Indianapolis (+ 12) is 7-3, Pittsburgh (+ 11) is 9-1, Philadelphia (+ 11) is 9-1 and the NY Jets (+ 10) is 7-3. Dallas (-16) is 3-7, Miami (-16) is 1-9, San Francisco (- 15) is 1-9 and Oakland (- 15) is 3-7. Ironically, the Colts, Steelers, Eagles and Jets cumulative record is 32-8 while the Cowboys, Dolphins, 49ers and Raiders combined record is 8-32!...

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