Stats & Info: 2014 NFL Stats to Know

Top stats to know: 2014 New York Giants

July, 22, 2014

Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports
Eli Manning and the New York Giants look to avoid missing the playoffs for the third straight season
SportsCenter is at Giants training camp Tuesday. Here are the top things to know leading up to the 2014 season.

1. The New York Giants rebounded from an 0-6 start to go 7-3 over their final 10 games last season, tied for the fourth best record in the NFL over that span. But a 7-9 record wasn’t good enough to reach the postseason, meaning that the Giants have now missed the playoffs in two straight and four of the last five seasons. The Giants haven’t missed the playoffs in 3 straight seasons since 1994-96.

2. Eli Manning threw a career-high and an NFL-high 27 interceptions in 2013, his third time leading the league in interceptions. It was the most interceptions thrown by any player in a season since Brett Favre in 2005 and also the most interceptions thrown by a QB in Giants history, breaking Charlie Conerly’s record from 1953. Manning’s 37 Total QBR last season (0-100 scale) ranked 33rd among 39 qualified quarterbacks.

Manning's numbers took a significant hit on his deep throws, as the image below notes.

3. Manning was sacked a career-high 39 times last season, more than doubling Manning’s sack total from 2012 (19). Manning was sacked on 6.5 percent of his dropbacks last year after being sacked on just 3.6 percent of his dropbacks from 2010-12 (second lowest in the NFL behind his brother Peyton Manning). No Giants offensive line combination played more than 40 percent of the team’s offensive snaps in 2013. The hits took a toll on Eli, who is coming off offseason ankle surgery. He could have as many as four new starters on the offensive line this year.

4. The offensive line’s struggles also carried over to the rushing game. Only the Baltimore Ravens (3.1) and Jacksonville Jaguars (3.3) averaged fewer yards per rush than the Giants last season (3.5). The Giants gained only 1,332 rushing yards in 2013. During the first nine seasons of Tom Coughlin’s tenure with the Giants, the team averaged 2,029 rushing yards a season, sixth best in the NFL. The team’s leading rusher in 2013, Andre Brown, signed with the Houston Texans this offseason.

5. Eli Manning also didn’t receive much help from his receivers. Hakeem Nicks, who signed with the Indianapolis Colts in the offseason, posted no touchdowns despite 896 receiving yards, the second most receiving yards without a touchdown in NFL history. Victor Cruz, tied for third in the NFL with 18 30-yard receptions from 2011-12, recorded just four 30-yard receptions last season. Manning was intercepted on 10 percent of his passes to Rueben Randle, the highest interception percentage to any one receiver in the NFL last season (min. 50 attempts). To help at wideout, the Giants drafted Odell Beckham Jr. 12th overall, the second highest draft pick they have ever used on a wide receiver (Ike Hilliard – 7th in 1997).

6. For the first time since 2006, the Giants will open training camp without Kevin Gilbride at offensive coordinator. Packers quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo was hired to replace Gilbride and is installing a new offense. The Giants ranked 28th in both points and yards last season, the first time they’ve finished outside the top 25 in both categories since 1996.

7. The Giants’ once vaunted four-man pass rush produced just 18 sacks last season, tied for 26th in the NFL. When the Giants won the Super Bowl in 2011, they had 34 sacks with four or fewer rushers, second most in the NFL. Justin Tuck, whose 11 sacks were five more than anyone else on the Giants team last season, signed with the Oakland Raiders in free agency. The team is counting on Jason Pierre-Paul, who had 16.5 sacks in 2011, to return to form after an injury-plagued 2013.

8. The best competition in camp could be at the cornerback spot, where the Giants signed two coveted free agents this offseason. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie signed a five-year deal with $14M in guaranteed money and Walter Thurmond signed a one-year deal that includes $2M guaranteed. The duo, who faced each other in Super Bowl 48, will compete with former first-round pick Prince Amukamara for a starting job.

9. Head coach Tom Coughlin signed a 1-year contract extension in February, tying him to the team through the 2015 season. Coughlin, who will turn 68 on August 31st, is the NFL’s oldest active head coach. He’s been with the team since 2004, making him the third-longest tenured head coach behind Bill Belichick (with the Patriots since 2000) and Marvin Lewis (with the Bengals since 2003).

10. Giants Top Transactions This Offseason

Draft picks: WR Odell Beckham Jr., C Weston Richburg, DT Jay Bromley, RB Andre Williams

Additions: RB Rashad Jennings, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB Walter Thurmond, CB Zack Bowman, DE Robert Ayers, S Quintin Demps, G John Jerry, OT Charles Brown, G Geoff Schwartz

Departures: WR Hakeem Nicks, C Kevin Boothe, G David Diehl, DE Justin Tuck, DT Linval Joseph, S Ryan Mundy, S, Will Hill, TE Brandon Myers, LB Keith Rivers, CB Terrell Thomas

Top stats to know: The 2014 Buffalo Bills

July, 21, 2014

Brett Carlsen/Getty ImagesThe Bills are counting on Sammy Watkins for big numbers in 2014.
NFL training camps are opening and SportsCenter will be on hand at select teams as they get ready for the upcoming season. Monday, we pay a visit to the Buffalo Bills.

Here are some statistical takes on 10 topics sure to come up throughout the day.

1. The Bills haven’t made the playoffs since 1999, the longest active playoff drought in the NFL. Their last playoff game was a loss to the Titans in the 1999 Wild Card Playoffs (a.k.a. the Music City Miracle). Their last playoff win was in the 1995 Wild Card Playoffs against the Dolphins. The only teams without a playoff win from 1996 to 2013 are the Bills, Lions, Browns, Bengals and Chiefs.

2. The Bills have lost at least 10 games in five straight seasons, tying the franchise record from 1967 to 1971. Over the last six seasons, the Bills have finished in last place in their division five times. That’s tied with the Browns and Redskins for the most last-place finishes in that span.

3. The Bills traded from the No. 9 pick to the No. 4 pick to draft wide receiver Sammy Watkins, giving up their first-round pick and fourth-round pick in next year’s draft to the Browns.

Currently, Buffalo is the only team that doesn’t own its first-round pick in the 2015 draft. However, the Bills got a conditional mid-round pick in 2015

4. Watkins is the 19th WR drafted in the top five in the Common Draft Era. The previous 18 averaged just 38 catches for 569 yards and 3.5 touchdowns as rookies. Only one of them had 1,000 yards as a rookie (A.J. Green – 1,057 yards in 2011).

5. EJ Manuel was 4-6 in his 10 starts last season. He completed 59 percent of his passes for 1,972 yards with 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He ranked 28th in the NFL in the Total QBR (rating of 42.3 on the 0-100 scale). His 10 starts were third most ever for a Bills rookie quarterback behind Joe Ferguson (14 in 1973) and Dennis Shaw (12 in 1970).
E.J. Manuel
6. Manuel’s biggest problem might have been against the blitz. He completed only 41 of his 85 passes when blitzed, giving him the league’s second-worst completion percentage against it (48 percent) (Case Keenum – 46 percent).

Manuel was also bad on third down, completing only 48 percent of his passes (second-worst in NFL) for 5.2 yards per attempt (worst in the NFL). That’s one reason the Bills converted on only 34 percent of their third down attempts (29th in NFL).

7. While the Bills passing attack struggled (194 yards per game, 28th in NFL), the rushing attack averaged 144 yards per game, second-best in the league behind the Eagles. The Bills called run plays on 45 percent of their snaps, the third-highest percentage in the NFL behind the Seahawks and 49ers.

C.J. Spiller (933 yards) and Fred Jackson (890 yards) were the only teammates to each run for at least 800 yards last year. They’ll both be pushed for playing time by Bryce Brown, acquired in a trade with the Eagles this offseason.

8. The Bills defense was the inverse of the Bills offense last year: good against the pass and bad versus the run. Buffalo had the league’s 28th-ranked run defense, allowing 129 yards per game on the ground, and the league’s fourth-ranked pass defense, allowing only 204 yards per game.

The Bills held opponents to the lowest completion percentage in the league (55 percent) and the second-lowest Total QBR (36.0). That might be a tough feat to repeat after losing safety Jairus Byrd, their best defensive back and 2013 franchise player, in free agency.

9. Another problem for the Bills defense is the loss of linebacker Kiko Alonso to a season-ending torn ACL suffered this offseason. Alonso is the reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. He ranked third in the NFL with 159 tackles last season, 32 more than any other rookie and 77 more than any other Bills player.

Alonso also played all 1,089 snaps for the Bills defense last season, the seventh most defensive snaps of any player in the NFL.

10. The Bills were second in the NFL with a franchise-record 57 sacks last season. Mario Williams (13.0), Kyle Williams (10.5) and Jerry Hughes (10.0) became the first trio of teammates with double-digit sacks in a season since the 2000 Saints (La’Roi Glover, Darren Howard, Joe Johnson). In two years since signing a massive free agent deal ($39.4M guaranteed) with the Bills, Williams is tied for sixth in the NFL with 23.5 sacks and has played a team-high 1,839 defensive snaps.