We still have a small sample size four games into the NFL season, but it's enough action to look at some early trends. Some things in the NFL are just as we expected, but other metrics have given us surprising results so far in 2020.
Below, we'll look at a surprising stat for each of the NFC teams, using a mix of numbers from Football Outsiders and ESPN Stats & Information, as well as what that stat might tell us about that team going forward. Next week, we'll do the same for the AFC.
Arizona Cardinals: overall offense
The most surprising stat so far for the Cardinals is how stagnant their offense has been despite the addition of wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Last year, Arizona finished the year 13th in our offensive DVOA ratings. They were eighth in our weighted rating that gives more strength to games at the end of the season. With quarterback Kyler Murray ready for a second-year jump in efficiency, all indications were that the Cardinals would have a top-10 offense.
Instead, the Cardinals are just 25th in offensive DVOA so far this year. The biggest problem comes on third downs, where the Cardinals are dead last in DVOA. Last year, the Cardinals were 17th in DVOA on third downs.
One problem might be that Kliff Kingsbury's modern, cutting-edge offense is eschewing one of the hallmarks of the best modern, cutting-edge offenses. The Cardinals rank 31st in use of motion at 27.5%, according to ESPN Stats & Information charting. Only the Jets are lower.
Everything we knew going into the season suggests that the Cardinals' offense should improve going forward, and it will have to improve if they are going to be playoff contenders in the tough NFC West.