NFL Net Yards Per Play: Ravens, Browns Peaking Heading To Playoffs

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Written By Mo Nuwwarah | Last Updated
NFL net yards per play

Heading into Week 18, two of the least exciting teams to think about at the moment are the Browns and Ravens. Both will likely play a slew of backups this week as they prep for the playoffs, locked into their seeds. But both also merit a look in NFL net yards per play. How are they doing what they’re doing, and how good should bettors feel about them heading into January?

While you’re handicapping NFL Week 18 odds, you may be searching for a new tool to apply to your step-by-step process. If so, yards per play (YPP) should be near the top of your checklist. NFL net yards per play — the difference between offensive and defensive performance on a per-play basis — gives a solid look at a team’s overall strength.

This report will be updated following each week of action and contains each team’s yards per play results on offense and defense, respectively. The “last three weeks” column captures the teams’ current form. If you see fit, one could be worth investing in for futures. You’ll want to look for undervalued teams whose per-play strength isn’t reflected in their final scores due to luck or other factors.

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NFL NET yards per play Explained

Yards per play — or YPP — is a handy metric for NFL bettors since it eliminates unpredictable variables, including turnovers, botched kicks, and scores via special teams. Ignoring randomness is a critical part of handicapping any sport. Therefore, yards per play on both sides of the ball helps indicate where a team is in the short term. Generally speaking, you will rarely find a below .500 team in the upper echelon of these rankings.

But like EPA, teams may be overvalued in the betting market if their YPP surges positively over a small sample size. You will see that various units — offensively, defensively, or both — benefit from playing weak competition over arbitrary samples. In turn, their output could be mis-contextualized.

Conversely, a team outperforming expectations against a presumably elite opponent is likely a sign of a positive trajectory.

NFL Yards Per Play: Offense, Defense And Net

Here are the current yards per play numbers before Week 18 action. Conventional wisdom says dividing the net yards per play difference by 0.15 gives an approximate spread between two teams.

Furthermore, keep in mind that the more or fewer plays a team runs/defends, these numbers could wind up skewed in either direction. This table can be sorted by clicking on the headers.

TeamYards Per PlayOpponent YPPNet YPPLast 3 Weeks NYPP
49ers6.751.70.9
Dolphins6.551.50.1
Ravens64.61.40.8
Chiefs5.64.70.91.5
Bills5.75.10.60.8
Cowboys5.65.10.5-0.7
Lions5.95.40.5-0.1
Vikings5.55.10.40.4
Rams5.75.30.40.8
Browns4.84.50.32
Falcons5.14.90.20.5
Texans5.45.20.20.3
Seahawks5.55.40.10.3
Eagles5.55.40.10.1
Packers5.55.40.10
Patriots4.84.70.10.3
Colts5.25.200.1
Saints5.15.2-0.1-0.5
Bears55.2-0.2-0.1
Jaguars5.25.4-0.20.8
Jets4.44.7-0.3-1.5
Buccaneers5.25.5-0.31.2
Titans4.85.2-0.4-1
Raiders4.85.2-0.4-0.2
Steelers5.15.5-0.4-0.4
Chargers5.15.6-0.5-0.9
Cardinals55.7-0.7-0.8
Commanders5.15.9-0.8-0.7
Broncos55.8-0.8-1.2
Bengals5.26.1-0.9-1.7
Panthers4.15-0.9-0.6
Giants4.45.7-1.3-1.3

Do Ravens Still Have a Vulnerability?

The Ravens have put together two of the strongest results of the season in back-to-back games and ascended to the top of many NFL power rankings; although, TheLines staff still has them behind the 49ers. Do the Ravens deserve more respect?

Where you view the Ravens in the hierarchy of the NFL depends partially on what catch-all metric you prefer. Net yards per play and net EPA have them as a merely great team and behind the 49ers, as well as the Dolphins (slightly) in the former. DVOA thinks they’re one of the best teams of all time and the class of the NFL.

Looking over their past two games, there’s no doubt the dominating performance over the Dolphins demands attention. The Ravens gained a monstrous 8.9 YPP in that game, as Lamar Jackson had one of the most efficient games of his career, which is saying something when it comes to a former MVP.

On the other hand, their defense did give up 5.7 YPP. While that’s below Miami’s season average, it’s well above average overall.

And the 49ers game, statistically, was far less impressive than the final score. San Francisco had the yardage edge with 6.3 YPP to 5.4. Turnovers (five) and penalties (10 for 102 yards) sank them. Some garbage time factored in, but so did snaps for a backup QB.

The market still likes the Ravens to come out of the AFC but doesn’t consider them a favorite over the field (). Their path could either be quite difficult (Bills in the first round remains possible) or involve not facing the Bills, Chiefs, or Dolphins until the conference title game.

Big picture: it looks like the Ravens’ offense is peaking as one of the best units in the game. But will their defense represent a vulnerability come playoff time?

Ravens Week 18 Odds

Baltimore Ravens Futures & Week 18 Props

Baltimore Ravens Player Statistics

Player GP Games Played CMP% Completion Percentage YDS Passing Yards YDS/G Yards Per Game YDS/C Yards Per Completion TDS Passing Touchdowns INT Interceptions thrown RTG Passer Rating
Lamar Jackson – QB 1667.2%3,678229.912.0247104.4
Tyler Huntley – QB 656.8%20333.89.730104.6
Malik Cunningham – QB 20.0%00.00.0000.0
Player GP Games Played ATT Rushing Attempts YDS Rushing Yards YDS/C Yards Per Carry YDS/G Rushing Yards Per Game TDS Rushing Touchdowns
Lamar Jackson – QB 161488215.551.35
Gus Edwards – RB 171988104.147.613
Keaton Mitchell – RB 8473968.449.52
Justice Hill – RB 16843874.624.23
Dalvin Cook – RB 15672143.214.30
Zay Flowers – WR 168567.03.51
Tyler Huntley – QB 615553.79.20
J.K. Dobbins – RB 18222.822.01
Rashod Bateman – WR 1611818.01.10
Devin Duvernay – WR 134153.81.20
Mark Andrews – TE 10100.00.00
Player GP Games Played TGTS Targets REC Receptions YDS Receiving Yards CTP% Catch Percentage YDS/R Yards Per Reception YAC/G Yards After Catch Per Game TDS Receiving Touchdowns
Zay Flowers – WR 161087785871.3%11.124.45
Odell Beckham Jr. – WR 14643556554.7%16.111.13
Mark Andrews – TE 10614554473.8%12.121.66
Isaiah Likely – TE 17403041175.0%13.712.75
Nelson Agholor – WR 17453538177.8%10.98.34
Rashod Bateman – WR 16563236757.1%11.53.71
Justice Hill – RB 16392820671.8%7.414.81
Gus Edwards – RB 17131218092.3%15.08.50
Keaton Mitchell – RB 81199381.8%10.315.30
Charlie Kolar – TE 15978777.8%12.41.11
Dalvin Cook – RB 1520157875.0%5.27.10
Devin Duvernay – WR 13941844.4%4.51.30
J.K. Dobbins – RB 1321566.7%7.515.00
Tylan Wallace – WR 11211150.0%11.00.00
Player GP Games Played INT Interceptions PD Passes Defended FF Fumbles Forced FR Fumbles Recovered SACK QB Sacks TOT Total Tackles SOLO Solo Tackles AST Assisted Tackles
Justin Madubuike – DT 17002013563917
Jadeveon Clowney – OLB 17002110422418
Kyle Van Noy – OLB 1400209302010
Odafe Oweh – OLB 130020523203
Patrick Queen – ILB 17101141328448
Kyle Hamilton – S 1540103816417
Brent Urban – DE 170001322166
Arthur Maulet – CB 121002234295
Broderick Washington – DT 160002218108
Roquan Smith – ILB 16101021578572
Travis Jones – DT 1700002351916
Michael Pierce – NT 1700121422418
Tavius Robinson – OLB 1700001251213
Trenton Simpson – ILB 1500011752
David Ojabo – OLB 300101651
Jalyn Armour-Davis – CB 300000422
Geno Stone – S 1770000664422
Malik Harrison – LB 140000017116
Marcus Williams – S 1110000553520
Kevon Seymour – CB 200010220
Christian Matthew – CB 100000000
Josh Ross – ILB 300000000
Marlon Humphrey – CB 111000026224
Ronald Darby – CB 110000025223
Rock Ya-Sin – CB 11000001284

Browns A Threat With A Functional, Flacco-Powered Offense?

Another AFC North team also looks to be hitting its apex at the right time.

Sure, it was the Jets, but that team still has one of the top defenses in the NFL. Putting up 37 on them and winning going away still counts as impressive. Thanks to yet another dominating game (7.4 YPP to 5.3), the Browns won their fourth straight and now have the best yardage differential over the past three weeks at +2.

Flacco has gotten it done, helping the team to win four in five games since taking the reins of the offense. But, the stats, advanced and otherwise, are less enthused.

EPA+CPOE Composite doesn’t have an exceptionally high opinion of Flacco’s work, ranking him 19th since he became the starter. By total offensive EPA/play, the Browns have improved from 28th to … 25th. Flacco’s TD-INT ratio of 13-8 doesn’t inspire much confidence either. He’s still making quite a few mistakes and ill-advised throws.

A middling offense with a great defense can still do some damage in the playoffs. But, generally, it’s difficult to win multiple games in a row with a bottom-10 unit. And the Browns are still playing like such, much fun as Flacco’s Comeback Player of the Year () candidacy has been.

The Browns do have one thing going for them. If you’re going to be a bad offense/great defense team, you’d rather do it with a high-variance QB than a turtling one, at least come playoff time. Try as they might, the Browns defense won’t be pitching shutouts against playoff offenses. They will need to score some points, and Flacco could still hit the good end of variance for a few games and make the big plays that will keep them in it.

Browns Week 18 Odds

Cleveland Browns Futures & Week 18 Props

Cleveland Browns Player Statistics

Player GP Games Played CMP% Completion Percentage YDS Passing Yards YDS/G Yards Per Game YDS/C Yards Per Completion TDS Passing Touchdowns INT Interceptions thrown RTG Passer Rating
Joe Flacco – QB 560.3%1,616323.213.113884.5
Deshaun Watson – QB 661.4%1,115185.810.67480.5
P.J. Walker – QB 648.6%674112.312.51548.4
Dorian Thompson-Robinson – QB 853.6%44055.07.31440.4
Jeff Driskel – QB 150.0%166166.012.82217.7
Player GP Games Played ATT Rushing Attempts YDS Rushing Yards YDS/C Yards Per Carry YDS/G Rushing Yards Per Game TDS Rushing Touchdowns
Jerome Ford – RB 172048134.047.84
Kareem Hunt – RB 151354113.027.49
Pierre Strong Jr. – RB 17632914.617.11
Nick Chubb – RB 2281706.185.00
Deshaun Watson – QB 6261425.523.71
Dorian Thompson-Robinson – QB 814654.68.10
Jeff Driskel – QB 17334.733.00
Marquise Goodwin – WR 124338.32.80
P.J. Walker – QB 613302.35.00
Elijah Moore – WR 179111.20.60
Cedric Tillman – WR 14188.00.60
Harrison Bryant – TE 17581.60.50
Joe Flacco – QB 5920.20.40
Player GP Games Played TGTS Targets REC Receptions YDS Receiving Yards CTP% Catch Percentage YDS/R Yards Per Reception YAC/G Yards After Catch Per Game TDS Receiving Touchdowns
Amari Cooper – WR 15128721,25056.3%17.418.15
David Njoku – TE 161238188265.9%10.937.46
Elijah Moore – WR 171045964056.7%10.811.22
Jerome Ford – RB 17634431969.8%7.317.95
Cedric Tillman – WR 14442122447.7%10.76.30
David Bell – WR 15231416760.9%11.94.93
Jordan Akins – TE 17231513265.2%8.83.40
Kareem Hunt – RB 1521158471.4%5.66.50
Harrison Bryant – TE 1720138165.0%6.22.13
Marquise Goodwin – WR 121346730.8%16.81.80
Pierre Strong Jr. – RB 17854762.5%9.44.30
Nick Chubb – RB 24421100.0%5.310.00
Jaelon Darden – WR 10000.0%0.00.00
James Proche II – WR 105000.0%0.00.00
Player GP Games Played INT Interceptions PD Passes Defended FF Fumbles Forced FR Fumbles Recovered SACK QB Sacks TOT Total Tackles SOLO Solo Tackles AST Assisted Tackles
Myles Garrett – DE 1600411442339
Za’Darius Smith – DE 160010627198
Alex Wright – DE 160021525169
Ogbo Okoronkwo – DE 140001531229
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah – LB 1620104987127
Dalvin Tomlinson – DT 1600003281216
Jordan Elliott – DT 170000321147
Sione Takitaki – LB 1510002634419
Maurice Hurst II – DT 131001222139
Grant Delpit – S 1310012776116
Shelby Harris – DT 1700102281711
Isaiah McGuire – DE 400001651
Duron Harmon – S 71000120164
Cameron Mitchell – CB 130000117152
Greg Newsome II – CB 1420001493415
Martin Emerson Jr. – CB 1640000594514
Anthony Walker Jr. – LB 1200120402119
Matthew Adams – LB 1700100743
Jayden Peevy – DE 100000000
Charlie Thomas III – LB 300000000
Siaki Ika – DT 400000000
Mohamoud Diabate – LB 1600010202
Denzel Ward – CB 132010034304
Tony Fields II – LB 1700010271215
Juan Thornhill – S 1100000534112
Ronnie Hickman – S 101000025178
Rodney McLeod Jr. – S 1000000231310

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