1) SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (1): Only the 49ers throw the ball less.
2) NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (2): If there’s a Super Bowl in the future, must diminish the two-TD gap between home scoring average of 34 points and the 20 points averaged on the road…biggest home/road scoring difference in the league.
3) CAROLINA PANTHERS (3): Best red zone defense allowing only 38 percent of all red zone possessions to become TDs…also allowing a league low 1.2 TDs/game by the opposing offense.
4) NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (4): Scoring eight points a game less than last year’s group with Hernandez, Gronk and Welker…completely based on a drop in red zone efficiency (averaged 4.4 trips to the red zone in 2012 and still averaging 4.2 in 2013).
5) DENVER BRONCOS (5): Only team averaging more than a TD in the first quarter…no other team even averages a TD in the third quarter but Denver averages over 10 points (halftime adjustments?)
6) SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (8): Struggling to make life easy since only 29 percent of all plays go for a first down (23 teams average more first downs per play).
7) CINCINNATI BENGALS (6): One of the biggest improvements is going from converting 53 percent of 2012 red zone possessions to touchdowns to 69 percent this year…fourth-best at giving up the fewest points in the fourth quarter.
8) KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (7): Of course, KC doubled theirs from 27 percent to 54 percent…defense has scored more points than any other.
9) PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (9): One of only three teams converting less than 30 percent of third downs at home…only team averaging five yards/carry.
10) ARIZONA CARDINALS (11): Heard all about chunk plays in the offseason, but ranking 12th in yards/attempt leaves a large chunk to move up…as bad this O-line is perceived to be, they’re right in the middle sacks/attempt.
11) BALTIMORE RAVENS (14): A lot of pressure is put on the offense by leading the lead in third downs needing to be converted (facing a third down conversion attempt over 16 times/game)…maybe that pressure is due to ranking 32nd in yards/carry.
12) MIAMI DOLPHINS (15): Same QB and same OC but they rush the ball on first down 20 percent less this year than last year.
13) DETROIT LIONS (10): Despite all the issues, best third down defense is in Detroit…has 13 turnovers in their first 9 games and 15 in their last four.
14) CHICAGO BEARS (17): Defense doesn’t score TDs anymore and gives up almost 80 more yards/game than last year. Defense as bad as Atlanta and Washington giving up six yards/play.
15) DALLAS COWBOYS (13): Not only are they 32nd in total defense, the number is 427 yards given up per game.
16) INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (12): Allowed Cincinnati to score 16 points above their average…one of only two teams to give up a TD every first quarter.
17) SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (20): Averaging 100 more yards/game this year with Ken Whisenhunt (second-best increase is Chicago at over 80 yards better)…really surprised he’s remembered the run game (11th in rushing attempts/game).
18) GREEN BAY PACKERS (21): Aaron Rodgers has nothing to do with being ranked 25th in rush defense.
19) NEW YORK JETS (22): Averaging league-low 1.5 points/first quarter on the road.
20) ST. LOUIS RAMS (16): Granted, Carson Palmer was uncanny last week but allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete 68.5 percent of their passes on the season is terrible (of course, that’s 32nd).
21) PITTSBURGH STEELERS (18): Being 31st in kickoff touchback percentage means it’s even harder to create good field position for the offense.
22) NEW YORK GIANTS (19): The only team besides Tennessee to give up no fourth-down conversions at home.
23) TENNESSEE TITANS (23): Weird that they’ve never given up a fourth down conversion at home yet they have the worst fourth down defense in the league.
24) JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (26): Second quarter points/average measure if you’re winning the field position game in the first quarter and every team in the league is averaging at least five points in the second, except Jacksonville who scores below four every second quarter.
25) MINNESOTA VIKINGS (24): As if things aren’t bad enough, they’re even last in extra point conversions…gives up the most fourth-quarter scoring of any defense.
26) TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (28): So you’ve seen the opposing defense for 30 minutes, yet you’re the only team in the league averaging under a FG for the third quarter?…of course they’re last in fourth quarter scoring, too.
27) BUFFALO BILLS (25): Shocking they’re second best in completion percentage against but they allow 4.2 yards/rush, so why throw?
28) CLEVELAND BROWNS (27): Really hard to make it to the end zone when you only average two red zone possessions/game…First in passing attempts and 31st in completion percentage (wake up Norv Turner).
29) OAKLAND RAIDERS (29): Completely changes play calling when you average nine first quarter points at home and only 4.5 on the road.
30) ATLANTA FALCONS (30): Only team giving up double-figure points in the second quarter.
31) WASHINGTON REDSKINS (31): Take out any TD scored by the opposing defense and special teams, Washington’s defense gives up 3.5 touchdowns to the opposing offense every game.
32) HOUSTON TEXANS (32): Only team that has a whole half-time to figure out what the offense is trying to do and still gives up a TD every third quarter.