A few weeks ago, I posted a tweet showing the expected points added of each NFL team as broken out by defensive and offensive units. Now that the playoffs have separated the contenders from the pretenders, I thought it would be interesting to refer back to this type of plot to see how far the New York Jets are from the final four. For those unfamiliar with EPA, please feel free to refer back to the aforementioned predecessor to this piece which I have linked at the beginning of this paragraph.
The offensive and defensive regular season EPA/play of the teams playing in the conference championships this weekend— SumerSports (@sumersports) January 24, 2023
Every team has a top-5 offense and every team besides the Chiefs has a top-8 defense pic.twitter.com/6DJeGrJBoG
For those unfamiliar with this plot, a team’s logo being further right suggests the offense was stronger than if they were further left. Similarly, a team’s logo being further up suggests the defense was stronger than if they were further down. Additionally, the dashed lines denote an EPA of 0.00, meaning that the unit was a net neutral. Importantly for our Jets-centric analysis, the Jets logo can be found towards the center of the top-left quadrant, implying that the Jets had a strong defense and poor offense.
In looking at this plot, we can find some solace in knowing that the final four teams were, in fact, among the league’s best this season. More notably, not a single one of these teams had an offense or defense that was credited an EPA that was worse than a net neutral, implying that both units may need to be reasonably formidable for a team to succeed during the playoffs. Additionally, we see that the 4 teams remaining all finished in the top 5 on offensive EPA, suggesting that a strong offense is beneficial during playoff season.
As it pertains to the Jets, their defense seems on par with the 4 remaining teams. More specifically, their defensive productions seems to be approximately on par with the Philadelphia Eagles and Cincinnati Bengals and better than the Kansas City Chiefs, implying that they do have a championship caliber defense. However, the Jets offense clearly lags behind the remaining contenders, implying that significant improvements may be required for the Jets to contend for a Super Bowl next season.
While none of these findings are all that surprising, I found it helpful to see it contextualized and visualized. But what do you think? Is there anything else that stands out to you within this plot?