Relying on the Run Game

Matt Sullivan

Let's look at the strength-of-schedule for the opposing team's run game!

Every year, any given team will change. One year they may have a potent offense, the next year it's average. However, there usually isn't a drastic change among units. If a team has a fantastic aerial attack, it's rare they'll drop to the bottom of the league the next year. It happens, but not consistently. Therefore, previous years generally give some indication as to the immediate future.

The New York Jets do not have an easy schedule. The fact is, they are playing the AFC North and NFC South, two powerful divisions. But that does not mean they are impenetrable. In fact, I saw the following tweet and was immediately intrigued:

I decided to investigate this subject. I've listed the teams the Jets play next year, and their respective ranking as far as how stout their run defense is. For the rankings, I just used ESPN's statistics for simplicity.

WK TEAM RUN-D
1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1
2 New England Patriots 9
3 Buffalo Bills 31
4 Tennessee Titans 24
5 Atlanta Falcons 21
6 Pittsburgh Steelers 2
7 New England Patriots 9
8 Cincinnati Bengals 12
9 New Orleans Saints 32
10 BYE
11 Buffalo Bills 31
12 Baltimore Ravens 20
13 Miami Dolphins 13
14 Oakland Raiders 18
15 Carolina Panthers 14
16 Cleveland Browns 19
17 Miami Dolphins 13

That works out to an average ranking of 16.81, which is pretty average strength-of-schedule, as far as defending against the run is concerned. Obviously, the rankings will change this season, but this gives you a rough guide as to the schedule and the team's ability to run the ball.

So, what does this mean? It means that the offseason's theme of stocking up on the offensive line may have been the best possible course of action. If Chris Ivory and Mike Goodson are healthy, there's some offensive promise on the horizon.

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