NFL POP Score Rankings: Can Anyone Stop the New England Patriots Offense?

Jerry Tapp@@StatsonTappSenior Analyst IIIDecember 5, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 18:  Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots attempts to run through a tackle after catching a pass against the Indianapolis Colts during the game on November 18, 2012 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

For the fifth consecutive game, the New England Patriots offense scored on at least five possessions in a contest. Last week, against the Miami Dolphins, the Patriots offense had two touchdowns and three field goals in their 23-16 win. It was, however, the fewest offensive TDs in a game that they have scored since Week 7, when they scored two offensive TDs in their 29-26 win over the New York Jets.

Take a quick look at the POP Score rankings below and you see that having an efficient offense is definitely a key to success in the NFL. Of the Top 10 in the list below, seven of the teams have a winning record, with Tampa Bay and Washington at 6-6 and the New Orleans Saints being the only team with a losing record at 5-7. The combined record of these 10 teams is 79-40-1, amounting to a .663 winning percentage.

Looking at the bottom of the POP Score list, we find that of the bottom nine teams, none have a winning record and their combined win-loss record is 34-73-1, a paltry .319 winning percentage.

POP Score is based on the simple premise that it is the offensive team’s objective to score a touchdown—or at the very least, kick a field goal—in each possession. Hence, the reason POP Score stands for "Points per Offensive Possession."

Here’s how it works: In Week 1, the Atlanta Falcons had nine offensive possessions, and on four of the possessions they scored a touchdown and they kicked a field goal in four others. The only time that they did not score was on one posession, during which they punted. They scored 24 points on their four TDs (extra points are not included in Pop Score), and 12 points on their four field goals. So overall, the Atlanta offense scored 36 points on nine possessions. By dividing the 36 points by the nine possessions, you get a POP Score of 4.0.

Also, just to note, the maximum POP Score is 6.0, which would indicate that a team scored a touchdown every time they had an offensive possession in a particular game.

Here’s a look at the POP Score rankings through Week 13.

Team, POP Score, (Season Offensive Scores/Possessions)

1. New England 2.65 (68 scores in 127 possessions)

2. New York Giants 2.23 (62 scores in 124 possessions)

3. Atlanta 2.1 (60 scores in 130 possessions)

4. Tampa Bay 2.07 (57 scores in 132 possessions)

5. New Orleans 2.01 (49 scores in 130 possessions)

6. Denver 1.98 (52 scores in 132 possessions)

7. Washington 1.97 (50 scores in 125 possessions)

8. Cincinnati 1.95 (53 scores in 134 possessions)

9. Houston 1.93 (58 scores in 148 possessions)

10. San Francisco 1.91 (50 scores in 124 possessions)

11. Green Bay 1.87 (48 scores in 130 possessions)

12. Detroit 1.86 (56 scores in 140 possessions)

13tie. Baltimore 1.83 (52 scores in 131 possessions)

13tie. Dallas 1.83 (49 scores in 123 possessions)

15. Pittsburgh 1.71 (48 scores in 128 possessions)

16tie. Buffalo 1.7 (46 scores in 132 possessions)

16tie. Seattle 1.7 (42 scores in 119 possessions)

18tie. Indianapolis 1.68 (47 scores in 130 possessions)

18tie. Minnesota 1.68 (48 scores in 130 possessions)

20. Chicago 1.63 (46 scores in 130 possessions)

21. Oakland 1.52 (47 scores in 138 possessions)

22tie. Carolina 1.49 (35 scores in 125 possessions)

22tie. San Diego 1.49 (42 scores in 129 possessions)

24. Philadelphia 1.48 (43 scores in 130 possessions)

25. Tennessee 1.46 (43 scores in 134 possessions)

26. Cleveland 1.39 (44 scores in 140 possessions)

27. Miami 1.38 (39 scores in 133 possessions)

28. St.. Louis 1.3 (38 scores in 127 possessions)

29. New York Jets 1.29 (36 scores in 133 possessions)

30. Jacksonville 1.26 (41 scores in 140 possessions)

31. Kansas City 1.22 (40 scores in 135 possessions)

32. Arizona 1.08 (37 scores in 150 possessions)

Biggest gainers this week: Buffalo (up four spots this week); Cleveland (up three spots this week).

Biggest losers this week: Minnesota (down four spots this week); San Francisco (down four spots this week); St. Louis (down three spots this week); Tennessee (down three spots this week).

NFL POP Score league average through Week 13: 1.7

So, as you can see, New England still reigns supreme, and it will be interesting to see if anyone will be able to unseat them from the top of the heap by season's end.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp


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