Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

18 Nov 2003

Week 11 Team Efficiency Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

Here are the team efficiency ratings after Week 11, measured by our proprietary Value Over Average (VOA) system that breaks down every single play and compares a team's performance to the league averaged based on situation in order to determine value over average.  (Explained further here.)

Moving up: CLE (from #18 to #12), PHI (from #20 to #16)
Moving down: NYG (from #13 to #18), BAL (from #15 to #21)

Despite being upset by Cincinnati, Kansas City not only maintains the top spot in this week's team efficiency ratings but increases its lead over the rest of the NFL.  The Chiefs' unadjusted total VOA drops from 51.3% to 46.3%, but their total DVOA (that's opponent-adjusted VOA) stays roughly the same, despite the loss, because a number of Kansas City's previous opponents -- Cleveland, Oakland, Denver -- enjoyed lopsided victories.  In addition, the teams ranked #2 to #4 last week -- St. Louis, Tampa Bay, and Indianapolis -- either beat lower-ranked teams by small margins or lost.

Kansas City has the best special teams in the NFL this year, so it's ironic that special teams cost the Chiefs their first victory.  Kansas City and Cincinnati had approximately the same VOA rating for this week's game in offense and defense, and approximately the same VOA rating in three of the five aspects of special teams that I measure (kickoffs, kickoff returns, field goals).  The Peter Warrick punt return for a touchdown was pretty much the difference in the game.

Cincinnati has now beaten the (by far) best team in the NFL two weeks after they lost to the (by far) worst team in the NFL, so it's everybody back on board the bandwagon.  Come on aboard, I promise you, you won't hurt the horse.  The VOA system isn't quite so sure about the Bengals, however.  It seems to feel that the best team in the AFC North is Cleveland, who get a big bump up despite the fact the penalties that come from having a great performance come against Arizona.  But the Browns are a game behind the Ravens and Bengals, and all three teams have harder schedules the rest of the way.  Remember the in-season projection system from the midseason review articles?  It now has the most likely final AFC North standings as a three-way tie at 7-9 with the Steelers a game behind at 6-10.  I'm not sure; has a team with a losing record ever made the playoffs?

Every team now projected to make the playoffs is now in the top half of the VOA ratings except for the teams sharing first place in the AFC North.  Only one team with a winning record is in the bottom half of the ratings -- Miami -- while three teams with losing records are in the top half -- Oakland, Cleveland, and Tampa Bay.  But the Bucs are finally starting to fall down the VOA ratings as their losses move from bad luck to bad play.  While the announcers spent most of the game Sunday talking about the Bucs' run defense problems, the offense was the real problem against the Packers:

Green Bay offense/Tampa Bay defense: -7% (-62% on passing plays but +36% on rushing plays)
Tampa Bay offense/Green Bay defense: -44%
Tampa Bay special teams: -1%
Green Bay special teams: +6%

As for Oakland, it looks like the VOA system thinks they really haven't played as badly this year as people think.  They actually score as one of this year's most consistent teams -- consistently mediocre.  When they've played badly, it isn't as bad as you think, and when they've played well, it isn't as well as you think.  You'll note, however, that the WEIGHTED VOA rating (which rewards teams who have played better in recent games) has Oakland at #22.  The weighted rating also moves Tennessee up to the #3 team in the league behind the Chiefs and Rams.

You may remember that in last week's NFC midseason review, I had a long discussion of how Carolina and Tampa Bay each had a record that didn't quite square with actual on-field performance.  Unlike in some of their previous close wins, the VOA system does say that Carolina outplayed Washington this week.  But the end result was Carolina's sixth victory this year by three points or less.  Only one other team since the 1982 strike has won more than five games in a season by three points or less: the 1998 Arizona Cardinals, who won seven such games.  Those who say that "Carolina has just learned to win the close ones" are advised to note the history of the Cardinals.  They were 4-12 in 1997, and when they improved to 9-7 in 1998 with all those close victories (and an actual playoff game) people thought the franchise had turned things around.  Then they went 4-12 again in 1999.  Get as far as you can this year, Panthers, because history does not look kindly upon your 2004 season. 

In last week's Tuesday Morning Quarterback, Gregg Easterbrook discussed the tendency of the Buffalo offense to pass on third-and-short even though it never led to success.  I thought I would go to the VOA ratings to see if they agreed with TMQ.  Oh, yes they do.  Here are DVOA ratings on third down with 1-4 yards to go for both the Bills and the NFL as a whole in 2002 and 2003 (through Week 11):


3rd down, 1-4 yards to go Pass DVOA Rush DVOA
2002 all teams -11.2% 8.8%
2002 Buffalo Bills -1.6% 16.6%
2003 all teams -21.4% 4.1%
2003 Buffalo Bills -84.0% 48.5%

So, are there teams who in general are better off passing than rushing in short yardage situations on third downs?  Yes, a few.  By far the strongest are Tennessee (McNair is an obscene 15-for-21 on third down with 1-4 yards to go) and New England (more because of rushing difficulties than passing success).

  • Opponent adjustments are now at full strength and will be for the rest of the season.
  • As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE.
  • All numbers are adjusted for opponent quality except for NON-ADJ TOTAL VOA.

Here are the ratings through Week 11:
 


TEAM
TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
NON-ADJ
TOTAL VOA
W-L
OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
SPECIAL
VOA
S.T.
RANK
1 KAN 42.0% 1 46.3% 9-1 24.0% 2 -11.6% 8 6.4% 1
2 IND 24.8% 4 23.7% 8-2 25.1% 1 0.7% 18 0.5% 15
3 SEA 24.2% 5 31.6% 7-3 20.1% 3 -1.9% 15 2.1% 7
4 STL 24.0% 2 29.7% 7-3 -1.7% 17 -28.4% 1 -2.7% 29
5 TAM 23.7% 3 22.9% 4-6 3.0% 10 -22.5% 3 -1.8% 28
6 TEN 22.2% 7 22.6% 8-2 18.0% 5 -4.5% 12 -0.2% 22
7 SFO 20.0% 6 19.1% 5-5 15.3% 6 -5.1% 11 -0.5% 23
8 NWE 15.6% 10 14.0% 8-2 2.9% 11 -11.8% 6 0.9% 13
9 DAL 14.6% 8 23.3% 7-3 -8.9% 23 -23.0% 2 0.5% 16
10 DEN 12.3% 11 16.2% 6-4 -1.7% 16 -11.7% 7 2.3% 6
11 MIN 8.1% 9 16.4% 6-4 18.7% 4 9.5% 27 -1.0% 25
12 CLE 6.4% 18 1.0% 4-6 -2.8% 19 -9.1% 9 0.1% 19
13 GNB 5.8% 12 1.7% 5-5 10.0% 8 4.9% 22 0.8% 14
14 OAK 3.9% 17 1.6% 3-7 -1.4% 15 -3.9% 14 1.4% 11
15 CAR 0.2% 14 -2.4% 8-2 -4.5% 22 -0.7% 16 4.0% 3
16 PHI -1.5% 20 -0.9% 7-3 -2.8% 20 0.5% 17 1.8% 9
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
NON-ADJ
TOTAL VOA
W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
SPECIAL
VOA
S.T.
RANK
17 PIT -1.6% 16 -8.6% 3-7 0.0% 13 1.8% 20 0.2% 18
18 NYG -3.6% 13 -4.4% 4-6 -1.1% 14 1.4% 19 -1.0% 24
19 MIA -4.1% 22 -1.0% 6-4 -22.8% 30 -20.2% 4 -1.5% 27
20 NYJ -4.5% 19 -4.6% 3-7 14.4% 7 21.5% 31 2.7% 4
21 BAL -4.9% 15 -4.6% 5-5 -26.1% 32 -17.0% 5 4.2% 2
22 CIN -5.3% 25 -1.2% 5-5 5.0% 9 6.9% 24 -3.4% 31
23 BUF -7.9% 21 -9.5% 4-6 -16.1% 27 -8.1% 10 0.0% 20
24 WAS -10.0% 23 -10.9% 4-6 -2.2% 18 8.1% 25 0.4% 17
25 JAC -10.1% 26 -11.4% 2-8 -9.5% 24 -4.0% 13 -4.6% 32
26 NOR -13.5% 24 -11.3% 5-5 -10.4% 25 4.8% 21 1.6% 10
27 SDG -16.4% 27 -23.9% 2-8 0.7% 12 15.6% 29 -1.5% 26
28 HOU -18.1% 28 -23.7% 4-6 -4.2% 21 16.6% 30 2.7% 5
29 ATL -25.3% 29 -29.3% 2-8 -14.5% 26 12.0% 28 1.1% 12
30 CHI -27.6% 31 -27.0% 3-7 -23.4% 31 6.3% 23 2.0% 8
31 DET -31.6% 30 -31.3% 3-7 -22.3% 29 9.3% 26 -0.1% 21
32 ARI -46.9% 32 -50.1% 3-7 -20.1% 28 23.5% 32 -3.3% 30

  • PAST SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of past opponents, while FUTURE SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of upcoming opponents.  Teams are ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative).
  • The PAST SCHEDULE number will differ from the difference between DVOA and (non-adjusted) VOA because schedule strength is based on the opponent's total efficiency rating, while opponent adjustments to VOA take into account the situations faced within each specific game.
  • WEIGHTED DVOA combines the team's DVOA performance from each game.  The past four weeks are each weighted at 100%, while each week before that is weighted 5% lower, beginning with Week 1 at 65%.
  • VARIANCE measures the statistical variance of the team's weekly DVOA performance.  Teams are ranked from least consistent (#1, highest variance) to most consistent (#32, smallest variance).

TEAM

TOTAL
DVOA

W-L PAST
SCHEDULE
RANK FUTURE
SCHEDULE
RANK WEIGHTED
DVOA
RANK VARIANCE RANK
1 KAN 42.0% 9-1 -2.6% 28 -8.5% 31 46.2% 1 20.6% 20
2 IND 24.8% 8-2 -0.8% 25 -0.2% 18 26.3% 4 24.5% 15
3 SEA 24.2% 7-3 -8.7% 31 1.1% 16 23.8% 6 17.2% 25
4 STL 24.0% 7-3 -4.0% 29 -7.5% 29 27.3% 2 20.9% 19
5 TAM 23.7% 4-6 1.5% 13 -8.1% 30 24.4% 5 35.9% 4
6 TEN 22.2% 8-2 -1.3% 26 -1.2% 19 27.0% 3 26.8% 13
7 SFO 20.0% 5-5 0.3% 19 -4.8% 24 20.7% 7 39.3% 3
8 NWE 15.6% 8-2 2.4% 9 -3.3% 21 19.7% 8 22.5% 16
9 DAL 14.6% 7-3 -9.2% 32 -5.4% 25 16.7% 9 26.9% 12
10 DEN 12.3% 6-4 -0.6% 23 9.2% 2 13.3% 10 27.9% 11
11 MIN 8.1% 6-4 -5.7% 30 -2.7% 20 7.2% 13 28.0% 10
12 CLE 6.4% 4-6 3.1% 7 8.1% 6 7.2% 12 34.8% 5
13 GNB 5.8% 5-5 2.2% 10 -6.6% 28 7.2% 11 21.3% 18
14 OAK 3.9% 3-7 0.6% 16 6.2% 9 -6.7% 22 12.8% 31
15 CAR 0.2% 8-2 0.4% 18 -15.7% 32 0.0% 15 11.8% 32
16 PHI -1.5% 7-3 0.5% 17 1.2% 14 2.2% 14 13.2% 30
TEAM

TOTAL
DVOA

W-L PAST
SCHEDULE
RANK FUTURE
SCHEDULE
RANK WEIGHTED
DVOA
RANK VARIANCE RANK
17 PIT -1.6% 3-7 9.4% 1 -3.4% 22 -2.3% 17 22.0% 17
18 NYG -3.6% 4-6 1.5% 12 1.2% 15 -4.6% 19 33.9% 6
19 MIA -4.1% 6-4 -0.3% 22 1.1% 17 -1.4% 16 28.8% 9
20 NYJ -4.5% 3-7 1.4% 14 2.4% 11 -5.9% 21 15.0% 29
21 BAL -4.9% 5-5 0.0% 20 7.9% 7 -4.2% 18 19.7% 22
22 CIN -5.3% 5-5 1.0% 15 4.6% 10 -4.7% 20 15.4% 27
23 BUF -7.9% 4-6 1.9% 11 8.4% 4 -11.4% 24 54.8% 1
24 WAS -10.0% 4-6 3.6% 6 -6.0% 27 -12.0% 25 29.8% 8
25 JAC -10.1% 2-8 4.3% 4 -3.7% 23 -11.1% 23 16.8% 26
26 NOR -13.5% 5-5 -0.1% 21 -5.5% 26 -14.2% 26 18.9% 23
27 SDG -16.4% 2-8 3.8% 5 2.2% 12 -18.0% 27 25.2% 14
28 HOU -18.1% 4-6 4.4% 3 8.5% 3 -21.3% 28 20.2% 21
29 ATL -25.3% 2-8 2.9% 8 7.1% 8 -28.7% 30 33.6% 7
30 CHI -27.6% 3-7 -0.7% 24 1.9% 13 -27.7% 29 15.1% 28
31 DET -31.6% 3-7 -1.3% 27 10.6% 1 -34.6% 31 17.8% 24
32 ARI -46.9% 3-7 5.2% 2 8.1% 5 -51.4% 32 40.7% 2

PREVIOUS WEEKS:

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 18 Nov 2003

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