NFL Net Yards Per Play Report: Things Look Bad in Cincinnati

The Bengals enter Week 5 of the NFL season ranking dead last in the NFL in net yards per play.

Oct 1, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) after a loss
Oct 1, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) after a loss / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Every passing week of the NFL season gives us a bigger and bigger sample size of statistics to help us determine who the real contenders are in the NFL and who are the pretenders.

The first stat I look at when evaluating teams is called "Net Yards per Play," which is the number you're left with when you take the average yards gained per play on offense and subtract the yards given up per play on defense.

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We do have to remember that Net Yards per Play doesn't take into account several other important factors like red zone efficiency, turnovers and penalties, but it does give us a general understanding of how good a team is at moving the ball down the field while preventing their opponents from doing the same.

Let's take a look at where each team ranks in this stat heading into Week 5.

Net Yards per Play Standings Week 5

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Bengals are Worst in NFL

There are a handful of teams who have been tough to watch this season, including the Denver Broncos, Chicago Bears and New York Giants. With that being said, there's one team that's worse than them all; the Cincinnati Bengals.

That's right. Through the first four weeks, it's the Bengals who come in at dead last in Net Yards per Play at -1.7. The Giants are the next worse team at -1.6 and then there are a handful of teams coming in at -1.1.

Joe Burrow has been dealing with a bad calf all season, but that doesn't excuse the play of the defense and the offensive line. To be honest, it also doesn't totally excuse Burrow, who has been one of the worst graded quarterbacks so far in 2023.

Things may turn around for the Bengals soon, but their Net Yards per Play standings are a huge red flag moving forward.

They're 3-point favorites in Arizona in Week 5.

Ravens Crack Top 3 in Net Yards per Play

There is a new team in the top three of the NFL in Net Yards per Play, the Baltimore Ravens, who come in at +1.5. Only the Miami Dolphins (+2.3) and San Francisco 49ers (+1.8) rank higher than the Ravens, who have finally surrounded Lamar Jackson with some weapons while playing shutdown defense.

There was a point in the offseason where it looked like Jackson would be traded and Baltimore would have to start a rebuild, but things turned around for the Ravens after they finally signed their quarterback to a new contract.

Now, the sky is the limit for the Ravens, who might just be legitimate Super Bowl contenders in the AFC.

They're favored against the Steelers in Week 5.

Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

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