Another week, another collection of eliminated playoff squads. Let’s take an under-the-hood look at each team that left the stage in the divisional round…
51.6 — Gabe Davis caught only 51.6 percent of his targets in the regular season (48 of 93), the lowest rate of any wide receiver who saw at least 50 opportunities. Davis also had one of the highest aDOTs in the NFL (15.3), so it’s not as if his targets were all layups. But there’s really no great way to spin a drop-marred season in which a primary receiver barely snagged 50 percent of his chances despite playing with an elite QB. Six of Davis’ 93 targets were intercepted this year, which is brutal. The Davis highlight reel is plenty fun, but not every route is a gem.
17 — Over Jacksonville’s last eight games (postseason included) following the team’s November bye, Trevor Lawrence threw 17 touchdown passes. That was the second-highest TD total among all quarterbacks during that stretch, trailing only Dak Prescott (20). With Calvin Ridley joining the party in 2023 and continuity elsewhere in the offense, Lawrence is headed for a 35-score season. He’s a dart-thrower with ridiculous touch…
The Jags clearly still have holes to patch, but this team has an upper-tier talent at the spot that’s most difficult to fill.
7.36 — This is the percentage of Ezekiel Elliott‘s carries that resulted in gains of 10 or more yards, and, um … it’s not great. Zeke ranked 10th in the NFL in total rush attempts (231), but he finished tied at No. 27 in runs of 10-plus yards. He was a pretty fair between-the-tackles hammer for Dallas, but his big-play ability is clearly diminished and he has almost no role as a receiver these days (23 targets). He gained a career-low 3.9 yards per touch in 2022. Elliott averaged just 2.7 YPC over the final four games of the regular season after RT Terence Steele was sidelined by an ACL injury. Elliott is reportedly prepared to accept a salary cut in order to remain with Dallas, but the details could of course still get messy on that front.
6.6 — Evan Engram established new career highs in both receptions (73) and receiving yards (766) this season in Jacksonville, and he was outstanding after-the-catch, averaging 6.6 YAC/REC. That was the fifth-best rate among all tight ends, placing him just ahead of George Kittle (6.5) and Travis Kelce (6.0). Fantasy managers may not think of Engram as the league’s most reliable pass-catcher, but he hauled in 74.5 percent of his targets in 2022. He’s a free agent entering 2023, but he pretty clearly wants to remain with the Jaguars and the coaching staff obviously wants him back. Assuming he re-signs with Jacksonville, we can expect similar statistical output, but perhaps with a bump in touchdowns (see above).
2.91 — James Cook and Devin Singletary combined to average 2.91 yards after contact per attempt this season, which is a perfectly mid-pack and unremarkable rate. As a team, the Bills don’t appear to have a rushing problem — they ranked seventh in the league this season (139.5 YPG) — but this ground game was propped up by another 120-plus carries and 762 yards from Josh Allen. It might not be the worst idea for this team to invest resources at running back, particularly given the quality of this year’s free-agent and draft classes.
1.06 — Daniel Jones was intercepted on just 1.06 percent of his pass attempts this year, the lowest-rate in the league and one of the lowest in NFL history. Five picks in 472 attempts is impressive under any circumstances, but it’s outrageously good when you recall that two of his most-targeted receivers were a kick returner (Richie James) and a mid-season waiver add (Isaiah Hodgins). Jones has transformed himself from a player who would routinely put the ball at risk to a guy who basically never self-destructs. He was a little light on passing scores (15) this season, sure, but it’s not like he was out there throwing to Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. Also, Jones ran for 708 yards and seven scores, obliterating previous career highs. Someone (presumably the Giants) will need to pay this man.
More divisional round analysis