The NFL football season is an emerging thought for teams about to make deals in trades and free agency. For bettors, this might seem like a slow time of year, and in terms of actual games to bet on, it is. However, preparing for the next season cannot steer you wrong. There is always value in collecting more context on essential football statistics, such as the five of the most important defensive statistics in football, shared here:
This is a defense’s most important job: Get off the field. A team’s offense can be very productive regardless of whether it scores quickly or after a long drive. A defense has to get off the field as soon as possible. A defense can never have a bad possession in which it forces a punt after three plays. An offense can have a great possession if it holds the ball for only three plays but scores. A defense must always try to shorten the amount of time it is on the field. If an opponent has a smashmouth, ball-control offense, a defense saves itself from a physical pounding. If an opponent has an aggressive passing game, the value of a defense getting off the field is not so much a physical test, but a matter of saving itself the additional pass plays a quarterback can use to attack its secondary. Quarterbacks can get into a rhythm, and so a defense’s ability to get off the field in three plays prevents that quarterback from attaining a groove. No statistic matters more to a defense than third-down conversion rates.
Time Of Possession
This is more important for a defense than an offense, for the various reasons outlined above. Offenses can live with little time of possession if they hit 75-yard touchdown plays. Defenses, though, always need to find ways to limit the amount of time they are on the field, which is the amount of time the opposing offense has the ball. Some of these statistics we are studying have more inherent value for one side of the ball than the other.
Yards Per Pass Attempt Allowed
This is something defenses have to be concerned about because they are focused on not giving up the big play. Defenses are taught to keep the ball in front of them. It is also obviously important for defenses to force opposing quarterbacks to complete 10 passes on a drive instead of one or two. Forcing the quarterback to make more plays puts more pressure on a quarterback and increases the odds the quarterback will make a key mistake. Allowing 70-yard plays takes a lot of the burden off a quarterback and an offense. Defenses know this very clearly.
Plus-Minus On Turnover Differential
Another central aspect of great defense is the ability to take the ball away. This is not only another way to get off the field quickly, but to flip field position and change the leverage in a given situation. Defenses have to become proficient at raking the ball away if they want to succeed in the NFL.
Performance When Playing From Behind Or When Ahead
This is important because in football, defenses can give up lots of yards and some points when leading by 14 points with two minutes left in a game. They are focused not on shutting down the opposing offense, but on keeping the clock running and making sure receivers don’t get out of bounds. Allowing a touchdown when leading by 14 with two minutes left is not bad defense. What is bad defense is allowing that touchdown in 30 seconds instead of five minutes. This is why defensive stats when leading or trailing should be highly studied.