After Week 5, we took a look at the excellent offensive/defensive visualizations that Brian Burke puts together on AdvancedNFLstats.com. A lot of weird shit can happen in the first five weeks of the season, so now that we're at the midway point, it's worth taking another look to see how teams have shaken out.
The chart above shows the offensive and defensive expected points added (EPA) for each team this season; dotted lines are set at the league average. Here's where we were through Week 5:
The Bengals, Panthers, and 49ers were all clumped in the upper left through Week 5, with good defenses and mediocre offenses. Since then, all of their offensive units have taken major steps forward, and they now stand as some of the scarier teams in the NFL. There's been less upward movement on the defensive side, although the Cowboys, Giants, Raiders, and Steelers have gone from terrible to merely mediocre, while the Chargers and Broncos have stopped participating exclusively in shootouts.
The downside of getting into fewer shootouts is that the Broncos and Chargers have slacked off their torrid early-season offensive pace a bit, as have the Colts, Cowboys, Eagles, and Vikings. The Jets and Raiders weren't great on offense to begin with, but they've both taken major steps backwards. Through Week 5, the Titans, Bears, Browns, and Bucs were pegged as solid defenses, but not so much anymore, while the already-ugly defenses of the Vikings and Jaguars have managed to get a lot worse.
The Chiefs are still the team everyone expected them to be, with an elite defense and a passable offense. For all their upheaval. the Patriots have been pretty much the same thing but with a worse defense, while the Saints and Seahawks continue to excel on both sides of the ball. Although it's about to go to shit, the Packers have continued to thrive with an offense that scores a lot more points than the team's weak defense can give up. The Rams and Texans are exactly where they were four weeks ago, which is not a good thing.
Major injuries could make a major impact on these charts in the next few weeks. The loss of Aaron Rodgers and Julio Jones will undoubtedly hurt the Packers and Falcons offenses, while Geno Atkins's ACL tear is a major setback for the Bengals defense. Nevertheless, after nine weeks the mediocre and bad teams of the NFL have come into focus (you can find a dozen of them bunched to the left side of the graph), and the window for one of these teams to make a jump to contendership is rapidly closing.