I first heard about the "Rule of 50" when John Clayton mentioned it last season while backing up his point that the New York Jets were more than just a great defense. Needless to say, I was intrigued. The rule is simple. If a team's average completions and rushes per game total 48 or higher, they are considered to have a good offense. If the total is greater than 52, they have a great offense. Anything less is considered poor. Supposedly, this is how many NFL coaches determine if their particular offense is successful.
The Atlanta Falcons have only had two games this season where their combined completions and rushes were less than 48; in Week 5 against the Cleveland Browns and in Week 6 against the Philadelphia Eagles. Their best "Rule of 50" game was in Week 3 when they beat the New Orleans Saints with 69 combined completions and rushing attempts. They've only lost the "Rule of 50" twice this season. In Week 6 against the Eagles (61-42) and in Week 7 against the Cincinnati Bengals (57-54).
What does this rule mean for the rest of the NFL and where do the Falcons rank among their peers? The charty goodness awaits after the jump.
|2||New York Giants||178||259||55|
|4||New Orleans Saints||261||219||53|
|6||Kansas City Chiefs||125||290||52|
|7||San Diego Chargers||216||240||51|
|8||St. Louis Rams||171||234||51|
|14||New York Jets||138||252||49|
|20||New England Patriots||166||208||47|
|22||Green Bay Packers||192||218||46|
|24||San Francisco 49ers||160||200||45|
|26||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||156||203||45|
The results are not too far off from the current offensive rankings. The Falcons, who rank fifth in NFL in offense, are the best team in the "Rule of 50" rankings. They are followed closely by the New York Giants with the Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs all among the teams with "great" offenses.
The biggest beneficiary is the St. Louis Rams who have the 27th-ranked offense in the NFL but are eighth in these rankings. The Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens also receive a bump using the "Rule of 50". Teams that suffer are the Houston Texans, the Eagles and the Denver Broncos.
Obviously, teams that rely on big plays are going to be rated lower in these rankings, but that's why I like it. The fact is, those big plays won't always be there when the weather turns cold and you have to complete that crucial third-and-three or gain the all-important two yards on a halfback dive. It will be interesting to monitor these as the season progresses, but it's an interesting way to reconsider how offenses are judged.