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Breaking Down the Worst Teams In the League: Who Fits the Profile After Week 1?

If you were on Twitter at all during the Sunday games, you probably heard lots of chatter about how this team or that looked like the favorite for the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. Now, we don’t know if Andrew Luck will actually end up being the first overall pick, as in the past, names like Jimmy Clausen and Brian Brohm were being touted a year early as the top pick. Luck, though, strikes me as a pretty safe bet to be among the top picks. Whether it really is the battle for Luck, let’s take a look at how teams that finished in last started the season, and who fits the profile.

I went through the teams that finished with the worst record since 1990 and would have been in line for the first overall pick (not all got it, because of expansion teams or trades). Here are a few notes on those teams in week 1.

  • Only one of them (Carolina in 2001) won the season opener, and the average score was a 28-11 loss. Almost half (10 of 21) scored 10 points or less in the season opening loss. 9 of 21 allowed 30 or more points.
  • The average turnovers was 3, while average forced was 1. 10 of the 21 forced no turnovers in the opener. Turnovers varied greatly, from 0 to 6 on offense.
  • The average number of offensive first downs was 14.3, with 10 teams having 13 or fewer. Only 3 teams on the list managed 20 or more first downs.
  • Defensive performance was more variable, with average first downs allowed at 19.9. 5 of them allowed 14 or less, while 4 allowed 25 or more.
  • They were almost universally bad at passing in game 1 on a rate basis. The average net yards per pass was a dismal 4.2. Only 3 of them averaged 6.0 or more yards per pass play in week 1. 8 of them averaged less than 4.0 yards per pass.
  • The pass defense was below average, but not as bad as the offense. They allowed 7.3 Net Yards per pass on average. 6 held teams to under 6.0 net yards per attempt, while 5 others were lit up, giving up more than 9.0 net yards a pass in the opener.
  • They tended to be below average at yards per carry, and defensive yards per carry allowed, but highly variable. The averaged ypc was 3.7, while the average ypc against was 4.2.

So, if we are looking at the key indicators from week 1, almost all lost, often comfortably. They tended to have really bad pass offenses, and tended to be below average at everything else.

The worst teams at passing in week 1 were Minnesota (28 net pass yards on 15 passes and 2 sacks), Kansas City (105 net yards on 36 passes and 2 sacks) and Seattle (155 net yards on 37 passes and 5 sacks) were the three teams that put up performances that were below the average of the last 21 teams to “win” the top pick among existing NFL teams the following season. Minnesota, San Francisco (in a win), Kansas City, and Tennessee had 13 or fewer offensive first downs last week.

I already opened the Chiefs and Seahawks as my lowest teams in the power rankings, and maybe I had Minnesota too high after they played a closer game against San Diego, but one in which they were dominated on a per play basis and the offense was dismal.

[photo via Getty]

 

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