The New England Patriots have developed one of the most lethal scoring machines in NFL history.  They have produced four of the top 13 scoring teams of all-time:

  • 2007, ranked #1, 36.8 ppg
  • 2012, ranked #3, 34.8 ppg
  • 2010, ranked #11, 32.4 ppg
  • 2011, ranked #13, 32.1 ppg

As we look at those last three seasons, we see remarkable efficiency and consistency. ¬†Three straight seasons the Patriots have averaged between 32.1 and 34.8 points scored per game. ¬†I thought it would be interesting to look deeper into just how consistently good the Patriots’ offense has become the past three seasons. ¬†For the purposes of this study, I’ve also included the six playoff games the Patriots have played the past three seasons, bringing the total number of games played to 54.

Now, let’s start with points (we will later move to yards gained, which is another important measure of offensive capability). ¬†From 2010-2012, here is the distribution of points scored:

  • <20 – 6 games (11.1%)
  • 20-24 – 8 games (16.7%)
  • 25-28 – 3 games (5.6%)
  • 29-34 – 14 games (25.9%)
  • 35-41 – 13 games (24.1%)
  • 42-48 – 5 games (9.3%)
  • 49+ – 4 games (7.4%)

So 27 of the 54 games (50% exactly) the Patriots have played, they’ve scored between 29 and 41 points. Their low point total in the past three years was, sadly, two weeks ago against Baltimore, with 13. ¬†The high point total was this year, when they scored 59 against Indianapolis. ¬†Let’s break it down this way:

  • Between 13-26 points scored: ¬†27.8% of the games
  • Between 27-38 points scored: ¬†48.2% of the games
  • Between 39-59 points scored: ¬†24.1% of the games

Over the past three seasons, the Patriots have scored 20 or more points some 88.9% of the time. ¬†They’ve scored 23 or more points 83.3% of the time. ¬†They’ve scored 28 or more points 70.4% of the time. ¬†And they’ve scored 31 or more points 61.1% of the time. ¬†It really is amazing that the Patriots have been better than a 60% bet to score 31 or more points in a game the past three seasons.

And it’s not just that they’ve scored a lot of points. ¬†They’ve scored them in every conceivable circumstance.

Overall:  32.4 ppg, 406.6 ypg

By Location:

  • Home (29 g): ¬†32.4 ppg, 411.8 ypg
  • Away (24 g): ¬†33.0 ppg, 402.8 ypg

Vs Opponents’ Record:

  • 12-16 wins (7 g): ¬†30.9 ppg, 387.1 ypg
  • 10-11 wins (11 g): ¬†30.6 ppg, 400.3 ypg
  • 7-9 wins (17 g): ¬†32.1 ppg, 405.1 ypg
  • 5-6 wins (14 g): ¬†34.7 ppg, 434.3 ypg
  • 0-4 wins (5 g): ¬†32.8 ppg, 376.0 ypg

Vs Opponents’ Defensive Rankings, defined as (Pts+Yds)/2:

  • Rk 1-5 (10 g): ¬†27.8 ppg, 375.2 ypg
  • Rk 5.5-12 (11 g): ¬†34.6 ppg, 413.6 ypg
  • Rk 12.5-19.5 (16 g): ¬†29.4 ppg, 404.1 ypg
  • Rk 20-27 (12 g): ¬†37.5 ppg, 422.3 ypg
  • Rk 27.5-32 (5 g): ¬†33.6 ppg, 424.6 ypg

Playoffs vs. Regular Season:

  • Regular Season (48 g): ¬†33.1 ppg, 406.5 ypg
  • Playoffs (6 g): ¬†26.7 ppg, 407.5 ypg

The Patriots have put up points in good weather and in bad, at home and on the road, within the division and outside the division, in domes and outside, on grass and on turf, during the day and at night. ¬†They’ve done it with incredible consistency.

And it’s not just points. ¬†It’s yards gained, too. ¬†Over the past 54 games, the Patriots have averaged 406.7 yards per game. ¬†Here is the frequency with which they’ve gained yards:

  • < 200 – 1 game (1.9%)
  • 200-249 – 2 games (3.7%)
  • 250-299 – 3 games (5.6%)
  • 300-349 – 7 games (13.0%)
  • 350-399 – 12 games (22.2%)
  • 400-449 – 13 games (24.1%)
  • 450-499 – 10 games (18.5%)
  • 500+ – 6 games (11.1%)

They have gained 350 or more yards in 41 of their 54 games (75.9%). ¬†They have been a 61% bet to score 31 points and gain 389 yards in any given game. ¬†Think about those numbers the next time you consider a wager. ¬†Here’s how the yards gained break down by circumstance:

Overall:  406.6 ypg

By Location:

  • Home (29 g): ¬†411.8 ypg
  • Away (24 g): ¬†402.8 ypg

Vs Opponents’ Record:

  • 12-16 wins (7 g): ¬†387.1 ypg
  • 10-11 wins (11 g): ¬†400.3 ypg
  • 7-9 wins (17 g): ¬†405.1 ypg
  • 5-6 wins (14 g): ¬†434.3 ypg
  • 0-4 wins (5 g): ¬†376.0 ypg

Vs Opponents’ Defensive Rankings, defined as: (Pts+Yds)/2

  • Rk 1-5 (10 g): ¬†375.2 ypg
  • Rk 5.5-12 (11 g): ¬†413.6 ypg
  • Rk 12.5-19.5 (16 g): ¬†404.1 ypg
  • Rk 20-27 (12 g): ¬†422.3 ypg
  • Rk 27.5-32 (5 g): ¬†424.6 ypg

Playoffs vs. Regular Season

  • Regular Season (48 g): ¬†406.5 ypg
  • Playoffs (6 g): ¬†407.5 ypg

So just like with points scored, the Patriots have gained yards at an incredibly efficient and consistent clip, piling them up against good competition and bad, home and away, against highly ranked defenses or poorly ranked defenses.  There have been a few statistical outliers, but those are very rare.  Think of it this way.  There have only been three games out of the last 54 where the Patriots have both scored fewer than 20 points and gained fewer than 300 yards.  Here were those games:

  • 2011 at Pit: ¬†17 pts, 213 yds (Pit’s D was ranked #1 in pts allowed, and #1 in yds allowed)
  • 2010 at NYJ: ¬†14 pts, 291 yds (NYJ’s D was ranked #6 in pts allowed, and #3 in yds allowed)
  • 2010 at Cle: ¬†14 pts, 283 yds (Cle’s D was ranked #13 in pts allowed, and #22 in yds allowed)

That 2010 game at Cleveland stands out as the true statistical outlier and one of the most inexplicable games in recent Patriots’ history. ¬†The Steelers’ and Jets’ games can at least be accounted for given the quality of the opposition, but not the Browns game. ¬†But in 54 games, every team – even the Patriots – are allowed one inexplicable stinker.

The big question here is what happens in the playoffs? ¬†Why does the scoring suddenly go down to 26.7 points per game – a drop of nearly a full touchdown a game? ¬†We’ll examine this in our next study.