Franz’s 2013 NFL Power Poll: Week 14

Dec 12, 2013, 5:20 AM | Updated: 5:20 am

1) SEAHAWKS (1): Only the 49ers throw the ball less

2) SAINTS (2): If there’s a Super Bowl in New Orleans’ future, it must diminish the two-touchdown gap between its home scoring average of 34 points and the 20 points averaged on the road … the biggest home/road scoring difference in the league

3) PANTHERS (3): The best red zone defense, allowing only 38 percent of all red zone possessions to become touchdowns … also allowing a league-low 1.2 TDs per game

4) PATRIOTS (4): Scoring eight points per 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 4.2 in 2013)

5) BRONCOS (5): Only team averaging more than a touchdown in the first quarter … no other team averages a TD in the 3rd quarter but Denver averages more than 10 points (halftime adjustments?)

6) 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) 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) CHIEFS (7): Of course, KC doubled its red zone percentage from 27 to 54 … defense has scored more points than any other

9) EAGLES (9): One of only three teams converting less than 30 percent of 3rd downs at home … only team averaging five yards per carry

10) CARDINALS (11): Heard all about chunk plays in the off-season but rank 12th in yards per attempt … as bad as this O-line seems, it’s right in the middle in sacks per attempt

11) RAVENS (14): A lot of pressure is put on the offense by leading the league in third downs faced (facing a 3rd down conversion attempt more than 16 times per game) … maybe that pressure is due to ranking last in yards per carry

12) DOLPHINS (15): Same QB and same OC but they rush the ball on first down 20 percent less this year than last year

13) LIONS (10): Despite all the issues, the league’s best third-down defense is in Detroit … had 13 turnovers in their first nine games and 15 in their last four

14) BEARS (17): Defense doesn’t score TDs anymore and gives up almost 80 more yards per game than last year … defense gives up six yards per play

15) COWBOYS (13): Not only are they 32nd in total defense, the number is 427 yards given up per game

16) COLTS (12): Allowed Cincinnati to score 16 points above its average … one of only two teams to give up a TD every first quarter

17) CHARGERS (20): Averaging 100 more yards per game this year with Ken Whisenhunt (2nd best increase is Chicago at more 80 yards better)

18) PACKERS (21): Aaron Rodgers has nothing to do with being ranked 25th in rush defense

19) JETS (22): Averaging a league-low 1.5 points per first quarter on the road

20) RAMS (16): Granted Carson Palmer was uncanny last week but giving up a 68.5 percent completion percentage on the season is terrible

21) STEELERS (18): Being 31st in kick-off touchback percentage means it’s even harder to create good field position for the offense

22) GIANTS (19): The only team besides Tennessee to give up no fourth-down conversions at home

23) 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) JAGUARS (26): Every team in the league is averaging at least 5 points in the second quarter except Jacksonville, which scores less than four

25) VIKINGS (24): As if things aren’t bad enough, they’re even last in extra point conversions … give up the most fourth-quarter scoring of any defense

26) BUCCANEERS (28): So you’ve seen the opposing defense for 30 minutes yet you’re the only team in the league averaging less than a FG for the third quarter? Of course they’re last in fourth-quarter scoring too

27) BILLS (25): Shocking they’re second-best in completion percentage against but they allow 4.2 yards per rush so why throw?

28) BROWNS (27): Really hard to make it to the end zone when you only average two red zone possessions per game…first in passing attempts and 31st in completion percentage

29) RAIDERS (29): Completely changes play calling when you average nine first-quarter points at home and only 4.5 on the road

30) FALCONS (30): Only team giving up double-figure points in the 2nd quarter

31) REDSKINS (31): Defense gives up 3.5 touchdowns to the opposing offense every game

32) TEXANS (32): Only team that has a whole halftime to figure out what the offense is trying to do and still gives up a touchdown in every third quarter

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Franz’s 2013 NFL Power Poll: Week 14