3rd Down – The Key To Success?

So, as I watched the last couple of games, I noticed (didn’t have to hit me with a 2*4) that when it comes to 3rd down, our team appears to be bad.  How bad was really the question though, so this morning, I decided to do some checking.

Now, bear in mind, I don’t think it is the offense or the defense that is bad on 3rd down, but my thoughts were that they are both horrible on 3rd down.

We are 36 of 94 for 38.3%.  That is good for 15th in the league.  Much better than I would have thought, given all the complaints about our offense.

  • New England – 32% – Good for 29th in the league
  • Green Bay – 46% – Good for 3rd in the league
  • Detroit – 43% – Good for 8th in the league
  • Denver – 51% – Good for 1st in the league
  • Jacksonville – 30% – Good for last in the league
  • Kansas City – 37% – Good for 16th in the league

Admittedly I was surprised that we had converted so well on 3rd down, but I do think our offense is more efficient than others would lead you to believe.  Does this mean I think our offense is rock solid?  Not at all, just surprised that we sit about in the middle of the league.

Now, how about that defense.  I am beginning to think teams are in four down territory all the time with us.  I am not sure any team has as many 4th down attempts as the Vikings.  Just line up and go for it.

So, where do our Vikings sit?  Dead last.  53 for 104 for 51%.  Yep…..51%.  To give you an idea, Cleveland is 5 points ahead of the Vikings at 58 for 125 for 46%.  Ouch.

  • Kansas City – 25% – Leading the league
  • Detroit – 29% - 2nd in the league
  • Green Bay – 36% – 10th in the league
  • Denver – 38% – 16th in the league

So, just as we have always suspected, good teams convert on third down, and get off the field on third down.  Great teams do both well.  Some teams can be so so at one, and suck at the other, but they are not good enough at either to make up the difference.  I think that is where our Vikings sit.  We are so bad defensively, and sitting in the middle of the pack offensively, we just cannot overcome.  Until we become more centered, our team will continue to struggle this season.

**Stats from ESPN.com

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