Despite the stubbornness of teams like the New York Jets, the NFL is clearly a passing league these days. But is it more important to have a gunslinging quarterback? Is accuracy important? How important is it to protect the football? Is it still important to be able to run the ball well?
Below we took a look at several key offensive stats and correlated them to the number of wins in the NFL last season. An R-squared of 1.0 would mean perfect correlation (A predicts B every time) and 0.0 means there is no correlation at all between that stat and winning.
As you can see, passing the football is a better indicator of how many games a team will win. In fact, there is almost no correlation between how well a team runs the football and how many games they will win. Also, while turnovers does have some relationship with winning, it is not nearly as important Yards per Passing Attempt and Completion Percentage.
Interestingly, there is almost no correlation between the ratio of passes-to-rushes and winning. That indicates that it doesn’t matter how often a team throws the football, just that they need to throw it accurately, and for long yardage…
Data via Pro-Football-Reference
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