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WAR, what is it good for? For the Jets defense, definitely not absolutely nothing

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Syndication: The Record Danielle Parhizkaran/ / USA TODAY NETWORK

Earlier this week, @PFF_BenBrown released a tweet breaking down the Wins Above Replacement (WAR) for each team as calculated by ProFootballFocus (PFF).

What I found particularly interesting is the author broke these figures up by Total WAR, WAR Without QB, and the WAR credited to the offensive and defensive units. For those interested in how these values are calculated, information is provided by PFF here:

Rather than examine the entire table, I’d like to highlight the New York Jets and some aspects of their related scores that paint a picture of a dominant defense that seems to have been forgotten in the endless Zach Wilson v. Mike White quarterback discussions of the last month.

To begin, based on this PFF analysis, the Jets have accumulated 4.09 Team WAR. Of this 4.09:

  • 1.33 WAR was generated by the offensive unit
  • 2.76 WAR was generated by the defensive unit
  • 3.95 WAR are attributed to players that did not play QB.

In viewing the table in its entirely, this sets the Jets up as an outlier in a few important ways that highlight just how valuable the defense has been this season.

First, the Jets’ 2.76 defensive WAR rank first in Defensive WAR added.

Second, the Jets ‘outearned’ the second highest team by .33 defensive WAR, which is 15% more than the 2.40 earned by the San Francisco 49ers.

Third, they are one of only three teams where the defensive WAR was greater than the offensive WAR, painting them as the rare “defense first” team in 2022.

While no statistic paints a perfect picture, this table paints a pretty clear picture of how highly PFF thinks of the Jets defense.

So what do you think? Did PFF get this one right? Are the Jets a top defense in football?