Green Bay and Buffalo are the NFL Knockout Kings

Green Bay and Buffalo are the NFL Knockout Kings


Green Bay and Buffalo are the NFL Knockout Kings

Last year, I did an exercise where I looked at how early/late teams were knocking out other teams by securing the necessary points to secure victory.  A team with three losses actually showed up as the clear knockout winner at the halfway point last year, thanks to blowouts and last second losses. That team was Green Bay. Last year, I just approximated using the quarter the knockout occurred. The idea came from a series of posts at the pro-football-reference blog a few years ago, where the 1968 Baltimore Colts showed up as the team with earliest average approximate knockout, and the New York Jets, despite a 9-7 record in 2009, showed up as the 2nd highest average knockout time for the season.

This year, I got specific and found the minute remaining when the score necessary to win the game occurred. This is different than finding when the team took the lead for good. A team could lead all game in a close contest but not “knock out” the opponent until a late score.

Let’s take the season opener between Green Bay and New Orleans. The final score was 42-34, and we know that the Packers stopped the Saints on the goal line with a chance to score. Green Bay scored the 35th point with 8 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, though, so the “knockout” time was with 23 minutes remaining. If a team gets a shutout, the knockout would be when they first score. If the opponent had 10 points, the knockout would occur whenever the winning team surpassed 10 points.

It’s not perfect, just another way of looking at the teams, seeing who has put away teams earliest or stayed in games longest, even when losing.

Here is the net average knockout time for all teams, which combines the minutes remaining to knockout in wins, and the time of knockout in losses as negatives. These aren’t opponent adjusted, and the Packers lead, though despite the view that they are unbeatable, have not been knocking people out as early as last year at this point, but have won the few close games they were in.

  1. Green Bay Packers (+22:17)
  2. Buffalo Bills (+17:00)
  3. Baltimore Ravens (+15:26)
  4. Philadelphia Eagles (+14:26)
  5. San Francisco 49ers (+14:08)
  6. Pittsburgh Steelers (+13:38)
  7. Houston Texans (+13:08)
  8. Detroit Lions (+13:00)
  9. New Orleans Saints (+8:23)
  10. New England Patriots (+6:17)
  11. New York Jets (+5:52)
  12. Cincinnati Bengals (+5:26)
  13. Chicago Bears (+5:00)
  14. San Diego Chargers (+4:52)
  15. Tennessee Titans (+3:00)
  16. New York Giants (+2:26)
  17. Carolina Panthers (+0:15)
  18. Dallas Cowboys (-0.43)
  19. Atlanta Falcons (-3.34)
  20. Minnesota Vikings (-3.38)
  21. Oakland Raiders (-3:43)
  22. Kansas City Chiefs (-4:43)
  23. Washington Redskins (-6:52)
  24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-8:52)
  25. Cleveland Browns (-11:26)
  26. Denver Broncos (-11:26)
  27. Seattle Seahawks (-12:00)
  28. Arizona Cardinals (-12:52)
  29. Jacksonville Jaguars (-15:45)
  30. Miami Dolphins (-18:00)
  31. Indianapolis Colts (-19:53)
  32. St. Louis Rams (-32:26)

When we opponent adjust the knockout times, though, the Buffalo Bills move past the Green Bay Packers, just barely. The Packers have played some Glass Joes and their average opponent has a negative knockout time of 5 minutes, 21 seconds. The Bills, meanwhile, have played a group of teams that have a positive average knockout time, at +1 minute, 54 seconds.

They may not have seemed like a likely option before the season, but the Buffalo Bills have been knocking teams out, while the two losses both came in the closing seconds. A few plays in those games against Cincinnati and New York, and we might just see that the Bills have been floating like a butterfly while stinging like a bee.

[photo via Getty]

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