NFL Week 14 STOP Factor rankings: 49ers defense retains slight lead

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.

English: The New England Patriots' offense on ...

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With just three weeks left in the 2012 NFL regular season, there is a tight race to see which team’s defense can win the title of “best in the league” as the number one STOP Factor defense.

The San Francisco 49ers for the fourth consecutive week sit at the number one spot on these weekly rankings that signify the NFL’s most efficient defensive unit. The gap has closed, however, as the top four teams are separated by only 1.7 percentage points.

This week’s games could result in a few changes at the top; the 49ers face off against the NFL’s best offense when they play the New England Patriots on Sunday night. The Patriots’ offense has scored on well over 50 percent of their offensive possessions over the past five weeks and could give the 49ers defense fits. The number two team, the Chicago Bears, play the Green Bay Packers, another team that has the potential to light up the scoreboard with their offense.

(The STOP Factor is based on the premise that it is the defense’s job to stop their opponents from scoring on each possession. To get a team’s STOP Factor, you divide the number of times a defense stops the offense from scoring – offensive unit TD or field goal – by the number of total possessions by the opposition.)

Following is each NFL teams’ STOP Factor. Listed is how many times each team stopped the opponents from scoring, the number of possessions their opponents had, and the percentage of possessions that each team prevented the other team from scoring (stats are through Week 14 games).

Team, Opponents’ scoreless possessions/opponents’ possessions, STOP percentage

1. San Francisco 73.9 (99 stops in 134 possessions)
2. Chicago 73.5 (111 stops in 151 possessions)
3. Seattle 72.7 (96 stops in 132 possessions)
4. Houston 72.2 (117 stops in 162 possessions)
5. Cleveland 70.6 (108 stops in 153 possessions)
6. Denver 69.6 (103 stops in 148 possessions)
7. Arizona 69.2 (108 stops in 156 possessions)
8tie. New England 66.9 (97 stops in 145 possessions)
8tie. Tampa Bay 66.9 (99 stops in 148 possessions)
10. San Diego 66.7 (94 stops in 141 possessions)

11. Cincinnati 66.0 (93 stops in 141 possessions)
12. New York Jets 65.8 (96 stops in 146 possessions)
13. Pittsburgh 65.4 (89 stops in 136 possessions)
14. St. Louis 64.8 (92 stops in 142 possessions)
15tie. Atlanta 64.7 (88 stops in 136 possessions)
15tie. New York Giants 64.7 (88 stops in 136 possessions)
17. Green Bay 64.3 (92 stops in 143 possessions)
18. Miami 63.6 (91 stops in 143 possessions)
19. Minnesota 63.4 (90 stops in 142 possessions)
20. Baltimore 62.9 (95 stops in 151 possessions)

21. Philadelphia 60.1 (83 stops in 138 possessions)
22. Buffalo 59.7 (83 stops in 139 possessions)
23. Indianapolis 59.4 (82 stops in 138 possessions)
24. Dallas 58.8 (77 stops in 131 possessions)
25. Detroit 58.7 (84 stops in 143 possessions)
26. Washington 58.5 (83 stops in 142 possessions)
27. New Orleans 56.6 (82 stops in 145 possessions)
28. Kansas City 56.5 (74 stops in 131 possessions)
29. Jacksonville 56.2 (82 stops in 146 possessions)
30. Tennessee 56.0 (79 stops in 141 possessions)
31. Carolina 53.8 (71 stops in 132 possessions)
32. Oakland 50.7 (73 stops in 144 possessions)

Biggest gainers this week: New York Jets (up six spots this week); New England (up five spots this week); St. Louis (up five spots this week); Buffalo (up four spots this week); Philadelphia (up three spots this week)

Biggest losers this week: Atlanta (down seven spots this week); Detroit (down five spots this week); Miami (down four spots this week); Arizona (down three spots this week); Baltimore(down three spots this week)

Average league STOP Factor (through Week 14): 63.6

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

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