NFL Week 15 POP Score rankings: Seattle, Washington offenses make late-season push

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

The New England Patriots last Sunday night had an uncharacteristic offensive performance throughout most of their game against the San Francisco 49ers. The Pats scored only once in their first nine possessions against the 49ers, digging themselves a 31-3 hole before a late-game surge that eventually tied the contest.

This one-for-nine stretch was clearly different from the past offensive numbers compiled by Tom Brady and the offense as they had scored on over 50 percent of their offensive possessions for most of the season. New England did score on five of their last seven possessions in the game, giving them six scores in 16 possessions in the contest, still below their season average.

Even with this misstep, the Patriots retained their lead in the weekly NFL POP Score rankings, with a 2.59 ranking, followed by Atlanta’s offense at 2.2.

With only two weeks left in the regular season, there are two teams that have made significant moves up the list: Seattle and Washington. The Seahawks after their first eight games of the season were ranked in a tie for 23rd in these rankings with a 1.48 mark; this week they are tied for seventh with a POP Score ranking of 1.99. After scoring on 27 of their first 80 possessions in those first eight games, the Seattle offense in their last six games has scored in 31 of their last 61 possessions (a 50.8 percent).

The Redskins have been equally as impressive. The Redskins were ranked 15th in these rankings after Week 10. Since then they have climbed to fourth on the list. In their last five games, the Washington offense has scored on 26 of 54 possessions. Their POP Score ranking in the last five games has been 2.5, on par with what the Patriots have done offensively most of this season.

(POP Score is based on the simple premise that it is the offensive team’s objective to score a touchdown (or at the least, kick a field goal) in each possession. POP Score stands for Points per Offensive Possession. Here’s how it works: The Falcons in Week One had nine possessions in their game. On four of the possessions, they scored a touchdown. On four of their possessions they kicked a field goal. They punted once. They scored 24 points on their four TDs (extra points are not included in Pop Score); 12 points on their four field goals. 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. Maximum POP Score is 6.0, which would indicate that a team scored a touchdown every time they had an offensive possession.)

Here’s a look at the POP Score rankings through Week 15.

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

1. New England 2.59 (80 scores in 155 possessions)

2. Atlanta 2.2 (69 scores in 146 possessions)

3. New York Giants 2.16 (69 scores in 146 possessions)

4. Washington 2.05 (62 scores in 149 possessions)

5. New Orleans 2.03 (60 scores in 155 possessions)

6. San Francisco 2.01 (60 scores in 148 possessions)

7tie. Denver 1.99 (63 scores in 155 possessions)

7tie. Seattle 1.99 (58 scores in 141 possessions)

9. Cincinnati 1.94 (63 scores in 156 possessions)

10tie. Houston 1.87 (66 scores in 170 possessions)

10tie. Tampa Bay 1.87 (60 scores in 156 possessions)

12. Green Bay 1.86 (55 scores in 150 possessions)

13. Dallas 1.85 (58 scores in 144 possessions)

14. Baltimore 1.79 (59 scores in 156 possessions)

15. Detroit 1.76 (62 scores in 164 possessions)

16tie. Minnesota 1.71 (57 scores in 151 possessions)

16tie. Pittsburgh 1.71 (56 scores in 153 possessions)

18tie. Carolina 1.68 (46 scores in 143 possessions)

18tie. Indianapolis 1.68 (54 scores in 150 possessions)

20. Buffalo 1.62 (52 scores in 156 possessions)

21. Chicago 1.56 (51 scores in 151 possessions)

22. Oakland 1.5 (54 scores in 158 possessions)

23. San Diego 1.48 (48 scores in 150 possessions)

24. Miami 1.45 (47 scores in 149 possessions)

25. Cleveland 1.44 (52 scores in 163 possessions)

26. Philadelphia 1.43 (50 scores in 157 possessions)

27. Tennessee 1.41 (49 scores in 157 possessions)

28. St. Louis 1.3 (43 scores in 150 possessions)

29. New York Jets 1.23 (41 scores in 158 possessions)

30. Jacksonville 1.16 (44 scores in 162 possessions)

31. Kansas City 1.09 (41 scores in 157 possessions)

32. Arizona 1.04 (41 scores in 176 possessions)

Biggest gainer this week: Seattle (up seven spots this week); Miami (up three spots this week); New Orleans (up three spots this week).

Biggest loser this week: Tampa Bay (down six spots this week); Detroit (down four spots this week); Baltimore (down three spots this week); Denver (down three spots this week).

NFL POP Score league average through Week 15: 1.7

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

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