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Offense Paves Way For NFL's Remaining Four

Jason Huber
January 16, 2019 - 3:07 pm

On Nov. 19, the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City faced off in a game that left the sports world in awe. 

The Rams won in the third-highest scoring game in NFL history 54-51. 

A total of 1,001 combined yards, 105 points and the first NFL game where both teams scored 50 or more points.

"This is the new NFL,” former NFL defensive lineman and current ESPN analyst Booger McFarland said on the network's postgame show.

Fast forward two months, the final four teams in the NFL playoffs are also the top four scoring offenses in the regular season. 

But is this really the new NFL like everyone is proclaiming? Or is it just another wave that will come and go like most trends in sports?

Kansas City (35.3 points per game), LA Rams (32.9), New Orleans (31.5) and New England (27.3) were the top two seeds in their respective conference and each had bye weeks entering the playoffs. 

Out of the four teams left, the Patriots are the highest ranking total defense at number four.

The Saints were 14th, while Los Angeles and the Chiefs were 20th and 24th, respectively. 

If the offense continues to be the defining factor through the conference championships, we would be looking at a rematch in the Super Bowl from that historic November game between Kansas City and the Rams. 

Since 2014, the Super Bowl has had at least one of the league's top two highest scoring teams. 

Last season, Philadephia and the Patriots set a Super Bowl record with 1,151 total yards. The 41-33 final combined score was the second highest in Super Bowl history. 

The cliche' sports phrase, "defense wins championships," hasn't seemed like it's applied in the NFL since Denver's number one offense was shut down by the Seattle's top-ranked defense in Super Bowl XLVIII. 

Looking at the trends, NFL offenses have looked like college football offense. It seems as though the days of hard-hitting, defensive football are behind us.

According to Pro Football Reference, 2018 had the second-highest points per game scoring average in NFL history at 23.8 per team.

With the new offensive-friendly rules and young offensive-minded coaches, the NFL has shifted to more spread offenses. 

It's become a pass-first league and teams averaged 5.6 yards per play. Way up from the 4.6 during the 1966 NFL merger.

Here is a look from the NFL's yards per game average from 1950-2017:

Defense still has a place in the NFL. Even in the Rams-Chiefs thriller, there were three combined defensive touchdowns and three interceptions. 

Style of play changes in every sports league. In the NBA, we have seen a shift of focus to 3-pointers instead of needing a dominant big man. 

In baseball, there has been a record increase in home runs. 

Just one year ago, the NFL's four teams in the conference championship games averaged 22.2 points per game each. A big drop from this year's 31.8 ppg.

Teams are going to continue trying to hire the next Sean McVay and draft the next Patrick Mahomes, but it's easier said than done. 
 

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