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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Among top QBs, Sam Bradford faced easiest schedule of passing defenses

By Matthew Coller

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By almost every metric, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford had the best year of his career in 2016, but a look at the opposing defenses that the veteran quarterback faced reveals that the Vikings’ schedule may have helped his numbers.

If we look at all the opponents that each of the top 15 quarterbacks in QB rating faced by the averaged rating allowed, Bradford’s competition comes out as the easiest – in some cases by a large margin.

The difference between the hardest competition (Derek Carr) and the easiest competition (Bradford) was 86.71 to 92.39 or 5.68 ratings points. To put that in context, a team that allowed a QB rating of 86.71 would rank 12th in the NFL, while 92.39 would sit 22nd.

Said a different way, Bradford’s opposition turned QBs into Matt Stafford, while Carr’s made them Trevor Siemian.

Playing in the NFC North helped Bradford’s numbers. The Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears ranked 32nd, 26th and 23rd, respectively, in the NFL in QB rating allowed. Combined, they averaged giving up a 98.6 rating to opposing quarterbacks. Against those three teams, Bradford posted a 103.7 rating, throwing 10 touchdowns and two interceptions while averaging 7.2 Yards Per Attempt.

Coincidentally, the Vikings played the NFL’s second best pass defense, the New York Giants, in Week 3. However, they caught a break as the Giants were missing corners Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Eli Apple. Only four of his 15 games were played against teams with a defense in the top third of the league in passer rating against (New York, Houston, Philadelphia, Arizona).

Sam Bradford QB Rating Allowed (rank)
vs CHI 93.5 (23)
@ GB 95.9 (26)
vs IND 97.5 (28)
@ JAX 88.5 (17)
vs DAL 94.1 (24)
@ DET 106.5 (32)
vs ARI 85.1 (10)
@ WSH 91.1 (20)
vs DET 106.5 (32)
@ CHI 93.5 (23)
@ PHI 85.7 (11)
vs HOU 84.3 (7)
vs NYG 75.8 (2)
@ CAR 92.0 (21)
vs GB 95.9 (26)
AVG 92.39

What can we take away from the fact that Bradford faced the easiest competition of the top 15 quarterbacks? First, that it probably won’t stay that way.

Detroit, Green Bay and Chicago will all be on the hunt to improve their pass defenses, possibly through free agency. There are a number of solid corners such as Stephon Gilmore, Dre Kirkpatrick, Trumaine Johnson and Morris Claiborne on the free agent market that each NFL North club will be targeting along with the possibly big prize of free agency safety Eric Berry.

Also, pressure now on the front office to get help for Bradford in the form of offensive linemen, a running game and more playmakers and on offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur to adapt and improve. Otherwise, more difficult competition could cause Bradford’s play to slip.

Also, if you’re wondering, the Vikings’ defense played exactly half of their games against top 15 rated quarterbacks.

The post Among top QBs, Sam Bradford faced easiest schedule of passing defenses appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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