Does Offense Really Take Longer To Gel Than Defense?

The conventional wisdom says that defense is ahead of offense during the early part of the NFL season. I have always doubted that assertion, or at least the absolute confidence that NFL analysts have in the assertion. The table below compares total yards per game during the first two games of the regular season to rest of the season’s total yards per game. If during the first two games of the season, the league averaged 600 yards/game and during the rest of the season the yards/game was 500, then the score would be 1.20. A score of 1.00 means there’s no difference.

I guess the assertion may be true; I can’t confidently say it’s not.  Since the advent of the 16-game season in 1978, offense early in the season has been better than later in the season in only 8 of the 33 seasons.

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