• Big dolphin splash in the man: Miami covered the men’s average in week one against the Patriots but made the biggest leap in a dramatic second week comeback over the Ravens.
• Cardinals, Failed Charger Aggression vs. Chiefs: Oddly enough, they almost doubled the men’s-to-grave crime rates of presidents.
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Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Making a man cover or area cover is a big decision for every NFL team, and there are many factors that influence their decisions while preparing for a game, including the level of defensive talent themselves and the level of attacking talent they will face. Some team schemes work better with man coverage, while others work better with area, PFF’s Arjun Menon and Judah Fortgang analyzed this in a previous article titled “Should NFL teams play more men’s or district coverage? ”
Each week, we’ll detail how the difference in man and area coverage usage varied, and how it might differ from the previous week. As we get more data, we’ll eventually make predictions of coverage rates for each team and region for the next week, and analyze those predictions.
Men and region prices for this week
Playing man, area coverage can depend on the strengths and weaknesses of the opponent the team is facing. In the second week, the entire league was covering 28.4% of the time, up from 26% in the first week. Highlighted in this week’s coverage update article, here are the teams that carried out the largest man and region coverage in Week 2:
Managing Coverage Leaders in Week 2
• Dolphins (73.5%)
• Chargers (59%)
• Steelers (52.6%)
Area Coverage Leaders in Week 2
• Pirate (95.9%)
• 49ers (94.3%)
• Cheetahs (91.3%)
Note: From 2019-2021, the league’s average run coverage was 33.9% and the region was 66.1%.
• The Dolphins covered the most men this week: Roughly 75% of the time it’s against crows, which is massive. They ran more space at the start of the game when the crows were scoring goals on nearly every flight, but decided to switch to almost full man coverage as the game went on, and it paid off massively.
• The pirates chose to manage almost the entire area’s defense against the Saints: which was ultimately successful as the Saints only kept 10 points, capturing three interceptions in the process. The Panthers also mostly covered the area this week against the Giants, after running a good chunk of men’s coverage in the first week.
Evolution of defensive man and area rates
• Some teams’ man and territory rates vary by opponent, while others will stay the same throughout the season: So far, the league as a whole has been covering 27.1% of the time, so the operating area is on 72.9% of the plays. From 2019 to 2021, the average men’s coverage was 33.9%, so the league is doing 7% more coverage of the area this season.
• Below we can see how each team’s percentage of man running the race and area coverage develop each week: If this trend continues, it wouldn’t be surprising to see more variance in forward passing games, with the region cluttering up player talent more than covering men.
• The Broncos, Eagles, and Titans are among the teams that have remained consistent in their men’s coverage rates: Conversely, some teams made some significant changes in Week 2. For example, Dolphins did average man coverage in Week 1 versus the Patriots – which was a game plan that worked well for them – but Miami made the biggest jump and run A massive amount of guys in Week 2 against the Ravens changed the game plan after Baltimore was unstoppable in the first half. The Dolphins’ defensive game plan this week against the Bills’ high-flying offense is going to be interesting.
• Both Cardinals and Chargers chose to run a great deal of cover men in their matches against the Chiefs – and it didn’t really pay off: It certainly didn’t pay off for Arizona. As PFF Analysts Judah Furtganj and Arjun Menon SearchThe Chiefs’ offensive play style with Patrick Mahomes consistently beats men’s coverage, so it was interesting to see the Cardinals and Chargers use a good amount of men’s coverage against them.
• Bill has shown a very strong and secondary defense so far this season: And Buffalo’s style played almost the entire area defense in his favour, keeping opponents (including the reigning Super Bowl champion Rams) in below-average offensive stats.
Man rates and the region face every crime
• Teams often have their own defensive coverage covered, based on the particular opponent they face: Let’s see how many times each man and area cover offense was encountered by the opponent’s defense, and how it differed by week.
• Surprisingly, The Chiefs’ offensive has faced the most men’s coverage this season: Opponents may have underestimated the Kansas City attack chemistry with a new WR room, but the Chiefs proved themselves early on. This is very different from the Steelers – who have faced the second largest player coverage to date – where competitors will likely be hitting more men against them to try and exploit a young attack that may not be as great this season. So far it has been designed for the Steelers’ opposing defenses.
• The two opponents of the Eagles this season had two completely different defensive playing tactics: Lions played the man a lot, and the Vikings mostly played the area, but the attack of the eagles tore them both apart and proved to be a force to be reckoned with.
• The Hazmoun also faced very different defensive play tactics: In contrast to the Vikings, who ran almost the entire region, bears played a large part of men. In the first week, the Packers struggled a lot against the man, but in the second week they tore up the Bears area defense.
Week 3 predictions and must-watch matches
• How much coverage is the Indianapolis Colts against The Chiefs this week?: If they want a shot to slow the attack of Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, the Ponies must run to cover a much larger area than the previous president’s opponents did in weeks 1-2. Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley has stuck to his Cover 3 rifles in the past, so it seems likely that the Chiefs will end up facing less men’s coverage in Week 3.
• Will the bills change it up and run more men against dolphins?: The Patriots and Ravens have run a man about 25% of the time against the dolphins, and with the Bills running almost entirely to defend the area so far, will they change their game plan against the powerful attack of the dolphins? With Buffalo missing Tre’Davious White and now also without Dane Jackson, the Miami receivers will likely have an advantage over the rising Buffalo’s corners, suggesting it might be wise to continue to use the zone defense.