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The Rule Of 50: Atlanta Falcons Have Best Offense In The NFL

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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.

Great Offense
Rank
Team
Completions
Rushes
Per Game
1 Atlanta Falcons 180 262 55
2 New York Giants 178 259 55
3 Indianapolis Colts 228 201 54
4 New Orleans Saints 261 219 53
5 Baltimore Ravens 162 261 53
6 Kansas City Chiefs 125 290 52
Good Offense
Rank
Team
Completions
Rushes
Per Game
7 San Diego Chargers 216 240 51
8 St. Louis Rams 171 234 51
9 Oakland Raiders 150 301 50
10 Miami Dolphins 178 217 49
11 Cincinnati Bengals 190 204 49
12 Detroit Lions 204 187 49
12 Jacksonville Jaguars 144 247 49
14 New York Jets 138 252 49
15 Minnesota Vikings 166 222 49
15 Philadelphia Eagles 173 215 49
17 Dallas Cowboys 217 169 48
18 Houston Texans 170 213 48
19 Denver Broncos 195 185 48
Poor Offense
Rank
Team
Completions
Rushes
Per Game
20 New England Patriots 166 208 47
21 Cleveland Browns 145 226 46
22 Green Bay Packers 192 218 46
23 Buffalo Bills 165 196 45
24 San Francisco 49ers 160 200 45
24 Tennessee Titans 125 235 45
26 Pittsburgh Steelers 121 238 45
26 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 156 203 45
28 Washington Redskins 163 184 43
29 Carolina Panthers 136 204 43
30 Seattle Seahawks 148 188 42
31 Chicago Bears 143 187 41
32 Arizona Cardinals 137 162 37

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.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.