Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

2017 DEFENSIVE LINES

Regular season totals, through Week 17

Revised as of 4/13/2018

Teams are ranked according to Adjusted Line Yards. Based on regression analysis, the Adjusted Line Yards formula takes all running back carries and assigns responsibility to the offensive line based on the following percentages:

  • Losses: 120% value
  • 0-4 Yards: 100% value
  • 5-10 Yards: 50% value
  • 11+ Yards: 0% value

These numbers are then adjusted based on down, distance, situation, opponent, and the difference in rushing average between shotgun compared to standard formations. Finally, we normalize the numbers so that the league average for Adjusted Line Yards per carry is the same as the league average for RB yards per carry. Defensive line stats (more accurately, defensive front seven stats) represent the performance of offensive lines against each defense, adjusted for the quality of offensive opponents. These stats are explained further here.

The following stats are not adjusted for opponent:

  • RB Yards: Yards per carry by running backs against this defense, according to standard NFL numbers.
  • Power Success: Percentage of runs on third or fourth down, two yards or less to go, that achieved a first down or touchdown. Also includes runs on first-and-goal or second-and-goal from the two-yard line or closer. This is the only statistic on this page that includes quarterbacks. Teams are ranked from lowest power success percentage allowed (#1) to highest power success percentage allowed (#32).
  • Stuffed: Percentage of runs where the running back is tackled at or behind the line of scrimmage.Ranked from most stuffs (#1) to fewest stuffs (#32).
  • Second Level Yards: Yards earned by opposing running backs against this team between 5-10 yards past the line of scrimmage, divided by total running back carries.
  • Open Field Yards: Yards earned by opposing running backs against this team more than 10 yards past the line of scrimmage, divided by total running back carries.

NFL averages for each stat given in red.

Why are these rankings different from the team defense DVOA ratings for rushing? Among other reasons, they don't include quarterbacks or fumbles, long runs are truncated, and a different set of adjustments is used, attempting to isolate line play rather than total team defense.

A team with a high ranking in Adjusted Line Yards but a low ranking in Open Field Yards has a strong defensive line but its linebackers and secondary have difficulty in pursuit and tackling. A team with a low ranking in Adjusted Line Yards but a high ranking in Open Field Yards generally allows runners to get past the defensive line but the linebackers and secondary are good at pursuit and tackling. A low ranking in Adjusted Line Yards with a high ranking in Open Field Yards is often an indicator of a 3-4 defensive scheme, though there are exceptions.

Stats in blue represent pass rush. Teams are ranked according to Adjusted Sack Rate, which gives sacks (plus intentional grounding penalties) per pass attempt adjusted for down, distance, and opponent. Pass rush stats are explained further here. Our sack totals may differ slightly from official NFL totals depending on the league's retroactive statistical adjustments.

RUN BLOCKING PASS PROTECTION
Team Adj. Line
Yards
RB
Yards
Power
Success
Power
Rank
Stuffed Stuffed
Rank
2nd Level
Yards
2nd Level
Rank
Open Field
Yards
Open Field
Rank
Team Rank Sacks Adjusted
Sack Rate
1 PHI 2.99 3.35 55% 6 29% 2 0.88 1 0.83 23 PIT 1 56 9.8%
2 CLE 3.27 3.35 56% 8 30% 1 1.08 12 0.60 8 JAC 2 55 9.1%
3 ARI 3.34 3.36 62% 12 23% 6 0.96 6 0.56 6 CAR 3 50 9.1%
4 DEN 3.37 3.44 45% 1 26% 3 0.91 3 0.60 9 WAS 4 42 8.1%
5 CAR 3.51 3.89 47% 2 26% 4 1.12 18 0.94 27 LARM 5 48 7.9%
6 NYJ 3.77 3.67 70% 24 22% 8 0.93 4 0.66 12 NO 6 42 7.8%
7 BAL 3.85 4.12 62% 14 21% 15 1.10 14 0.87 26 LACH 7 43 7.8%
8 HOU 3.86 3.93 70% 25 22% 7 1.11 17 0.75 17 CHI 8 42 7.6%
9 GB 3.93 3.81 56% 7 20% 21 1.08 10 0.57 7 GB 9 37 7.3%
10 MIA 3.94 4.13 50% 3 24% 5 1.26 27 0.85 25 NE 10 42 7.1%
11 DAL 3.95 4.12 83% 32 22% 11 1.25 25 0.76 20 DEN 11 33 6.9%
12 PIT 3.96 4.47 82% 31 20% 18 1.31 30 1.04 30 TEN 12 43 6.9%
13 MIN 3.99 3.56 55% 5 19% 26 0.91 2 0.33 2 BAL 13 41 6.8%
14 TEN 4.07 3.44 65% 20 20% 22 0.94 5 0.23 1 DAL 14 38 6.7%
15 SF 4.09 3.82 64% 17 22% 9 1.05 8 0.62 10 SEA 15 39 6.6%
16 IND 4.09 3.96 64% 18 20% 20 1.11 16 0.69 15 ATL 16 39 6.6%
RUN BLOCKING PASS PROTECTION
Team Adj. Line
Yards
RB
Yards
Power
Success
Power
Rank
Stuffed Stuffed
Rank
2nd Level
Yards
2nd Level
Rank
Open Field
Yards
Open Field
Rank
Team Rank Sacks Adjusted
Sack Rate
17 NO 4.10 4.11 66% 21 21% 13 1.08 11 0.80 22 CLE 17 34 6.5%
18 SEA 4.10 4.01 67% 22 18% 27 1.00 7 0.75 18 MIN 18 37 6.3%
19 ATL 4.15 3.84 76% 29 20% 17 1.09 13 0.51 4 CIN 19 41 6.3%
20 TB 4.16 4.18 62% 13 21% 14 1.19 21 0.84 24 PHI 19 38 6.3%
21 BUF 4.18 4.48 76% 28 22% 10 1.36 32 1.00 29 HOU 21 32 6.2%
22 OAK 4.26 4.10 67% 22 19% 24 1.11 15 0.68 14 DET 22 35 6.1%
23 NYG 4.30 4.22 53% 4 22% 12 1.23 22 0.79 21 OAK 23 31 6.1%
24 LACH 4.31 4.82 64% 18 20% 16 1.27 28 1.26 32 ARI 24 37 5.9%
25 DET 4.32 4.18 61% 11 17% 29 1.23 24 0.66 13 NYJ 25 28 5.8%
26 KC 4.35 4.23 60% 10 20% 23 1.35 31 0.55 5 KC 26 31 5.8%
27 LARM 4.36 4.65 63% 16 18% 28 1.14 19 1.19 31 MIA 27 30 5.7%
28 JAC 4.37 4.27 59% 9 20% 19 1.16 20 0.76 19 BUF 28 27 5.4%
29 CIN 4.38 4.06 70% 25 19% 25 1.26 26 0.49 3 SF 29 30 5.0%
30 CHI 4.50 4.16 79% 30 14% 32 1.06 9 0.62 11 NYG 30 27 4.9%
31 NE 4.51 4.69 62% 15 16% 30 1.28 29 0.95 28 IND 31 25 4.5%
32 WAS 4.91 4.49 74% 27 15% 31 1.23 23 0.71 16 TB 32 22 4.3%
x NFL x 4.03 64% x 21% x 1.00 x 0.65 x NFL x 37 6.7%

This second table lists each team's Adjusted Line Yards in each direction listed in official NFL play-by-play, along with rank among the 32 teams. Only five directions are listed because research so far shows no statistically significant difference between how well a team performs on runs listed middle, left guard, and right guard. These runs are from the perspective of the OFFENSE, so a run listed as LEFT TACKLE is actually at the RIGHT defensive end.

LEFT END LEFT TACKLE MID/GUARD RIGHT TACKLE RIGHT END
TEAM ALY Rank ALY Rank ALY Rank ALY Rank ALY Rank
1 PHI 2.43 2 2.82 4 3.04 1 3.24 10 3.28 10
2 CLE 3.05 4 3.14 7 3.49 2 3.04 7 2.08 3
3 ARI 3.80 15 2.59 3 3.81 8 2.76 3 2.38 4
4 DEN 3.19 9 3.30 10 3.54 3 1.90 1 3.94 17
5 CAR 2.77 3 2.35 2 3.92 10 4.15 21 3.31 11
6 NYJ 3.62 13 3.99 16 4.11 15 2.87 5 3.17 8
7 BAL 1.08 1 4.50 25 3.79 6 4.21 23 4.36 21
8 HOU 3.10 6 3.06 5 3.79 7 3.85 18 6.05 32
9 GB 3.34 12 5.02 28 4.62 29 3.40 12 1.53 2
10 MIA 4.85 27 4.68 26 3.61 4 3.23 9 5.89 31
11 DAL 3.13 8 4.01 17 3.99 11 4.73 29 3.89 15
12 PIT 6.27 32 4.25 22 3.82 9 3.28 11 4.02 18
13 MIN 3.89 18 2.32 1 4.35 20 4.39 26 3.37 12
14 TEN 3.10 7 5.21 31 4.36 24 3.47 14 0.49 1
15 SF 4.96 28 3.59 11 4.31 19 3.84 17 2.69 5
16 IND 3.82 16 4.10 19 4.25 16 2.84 4 4.95 29
LEFT END LEFT TACKLE MID/GUARD RIGHT TACKLE RIGHT END
TEAM ALY Rank ALY Rank ALY Rank ALY Rank ALY Rank
17 NO 4.44 22 3.71 13 4.30 18 2.98 6 4.65 25
18 SEA 4.57 23 4.69 27 3.75 5 4.78 30 3.11 7
19 ATL 4.73 26 3.85 14 4.08 13 4.22 24 3.85 14
20 TB 3.27 10 5.31 32 4.11 14 3.82 16 4.40 22
21 BUF 3.87 17 4.36 23 4.36 23 3.93 20 3.41 13
22 OAK 3.07 5 3.67 12 4.53 26 4.64 27 2.89 6
23 NYG 5.00 29 3.96 15 4.07 12 3.45 13 5.35 30
24 LACH 3.33 11 4.47 24 4.26 17 5.24 31 4.30 20
25 DET 4.64 24 4.07 18 4.75 30 3.16 8 3.93 16
26 KC 5.15 30 4.21 21 4.57 27 2.66 2 4.42 23
27 LARM 4.29 20 5.10 29 4.36 22 4.22 25 3.25 9
28 JAC 5.20 31 3.24 8 4.38 25 3.91 19 4.73 26
29 CIN 4.37 21 3.27 9 4.61 28 4.72 28 4.17 19
30 CHI 4.70 25 5.18 30 4.35 21 3.77 15 4.93 28
31 NE 3.74 14 3.13 6 5.06 32 4.19 22 4.87 27
32 WAS 4.18 19 4.15 20 4.89 31 6.52 32 4.44 24
x NFL 4.00 x 3.98 x 4.17 x 3.79 x 3.89 x

The third table lists how often each team runs in each direction. These runs are from the perspective of the OFFENSE, so a run listed as LEFT TACKLE is actually at the RIGHT defensive end. Numbers may not add up to 100% due to carries listed without direction. Certain teams may have abnormal splits because of specific official scorer tendencies.

Team RB
Carries
LEFT
END
LEFT
TACKLE
MID/
GUARD
RIGHT
TACKLE
RIGHT
END
1 PHI 283 14% 10% 49% 10% 17%
2 CAR 297 8% 19% 48% 15% 10%
3 MIN 308 17% 8% 52% 10% 11%
4 ATL 326 15% 14% 44% 18% 10%
5 NE 328 10% 13% 49% 16% 12%
6 DAL 330 13% 16% 52% 11% 8%
7 NO 338 20% 13% 44% 14% 9%
8 ARI 339 12% 12% 50% 12% 13%
9 PIT 341 6% 12% 62% 13% 7%
10 TEN 347 6% 13% 60% 16% 5%
11 JAC 356 10% 8% 63% 8% 11%
12 TB 365 13% 14% 50% 12% 11%
13 MIA 370 11% 13% 60% 11% 4%
14 LARM 371 8% 13% 61% 11% 7%
15 SEA 372 10% 17% 50% 16% 8%
16 DET 373 12% 16% 49% 13% 9%
Team RB
Carries
LEFT
END
LEFT
TACKLE
MID/
GUARD
RIGHT
TACKLE
RIGHT
END
16 HOU 373 10% 10% 58% 13% 9%
16 LACH 373 12% 9% 53% 14% 11%
19 DEN 374 11% 14% 56% 8% 10%
20 CHI 378 11% 15% 48% 14% 12%
21 OAK 380 7% 10% 68% 9% 6%
22 KC 384 9% 15% 57% 11% 8%
23 BAL 389 4% 13% 67% 9% 6%
24 NYG 395 17% 14% 41% 14% 14%
25 WAS 399 11% 10% 56% 13% 10%
26 CLE 402 9% 11% 59% 16% 5%
26 NYJ 402 8% 13% 54% 18% 7%
28 BUF 403 12% 13% 56% 12% 8%
29 GB 407 15% 11% 50% 11% 13%
29 SF 407 13% 12% 57% 9% 9%
31 IND 425 10% 9% 52% 14% 14%
32 CIN 433 12% 13% 58% 9% 8%
x NFL x 11% 13% 54% 13% 9%