FanPost

Drive Success Rates 2012 (or a reason to be insanely optimistic)


Browsing through some stats I hadn't paid much attention to over at Football Outsiders, and I saw Drive Stats. Curious, I checked out the many different stats and it seemed to me that "DSR" (Drive Success Rate) was somewhat eye-popping. A simple stat calculates the percentage of drives which end in a first down or a score, both for the offense and defense. Subtract one from the other to get a net, positive is good and negative is bad.

The thing which jumped out was how well the defense is playing. The Eagles D is holding opponents to a DSR of 59.6% of the time (tied with Houston for the best in the league). Look at it this way, the worst offense in the league (TB) in terms of DSR succeeds by this measure 60.6% of the time. The Eagles D has turned otherwise good offenses into worse than Tampa Bay thus far this year.

Though the Eagles still have a less than average offensive DSR, their defense is so good their net DSR is #2 in the league (behind Houston) at 8.3%. Looking back at 2011, there is an extremely high correlation between net drive success rate and wins. #1 last year was New Orleans, with a net DSR of 9.1% and 13 wins. Except for San Fran (11th), none of the double digit winners last season had a net DSR outside of the top 10. Only 2 top 10 years (us #4 and NYJ #10) missed the playoffs last year. Looking at net DSR and the net point differential there's even a higher correlation, where you can explain almost all the point diff spread by simply looking at this one stat.

Given this, and the fact the Eagles have played a tough schedule so far this season, I can honestly say that though we're lucky to be 3-1 given the turnovers and horrible special teams play, if those just regress to average, this team could be poised for a great, great year.

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