Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

01 Jul 2009

How did New England have such good starting field position?

Their defense was poor (20th in DVOA), they didn't force a lot of turnovers (17th in the NFL in turnovers/drive), their punt returning was about average, their kick returning was good, but it wasn't fantastically awesome like the Bears or Bills. So how did they end up with the 2nd best starting field position in the NFL last year?

Posted by: tuluse on 01 Jul 2009

1 reply , Last at 02 Jul 2009, 12:57am by Doug Farrar

Re: How did New England have such good starting field position?
by Doug Farrar :: Thu, 07/02/2009 - 12:57am

New England actually ranked third in kickoff return average (25.2, behind only Tennessee and Seattle), and third in Kick Return DVOA behind Chicago and Buffalo. I'm not sure what their average starting kickoff return point was, but the Bills ranked 29th in average kickoff distance (61.6), the Jets tied for 26th (62.4), and the Dolphins tied for 20th (63.5). The rest of their 2008 opponents:

Kansas City -- 32nd (60.0)
San Francisco -- T20th (63.5)
San Diego -- 23rd (63.2)
Denver -- 12th (64.8)
St. Louis -- 1st (68.1)
Indianapolis -- T10th (65.0)
Pittsburgh -- T28th (62.2)
Seattle -- 5th (66.6)

Other things would obviously factor in, but short opponent kicks and good return yardage make sense as primary factors.

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