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04 Nov 2003

Week 9 Team Efficiency Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

Here are the team efficiency ratings after Week 9, 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: PIT (from #21 to #16, despite losing), WAS (from #26 to #22, yes, I know, they lost also), GNB (from #15 to #11), NOR (from #27 to #23)
Moving down: OAK (from #12 to #17), NYJ (from #16 to #21), SDG (from #23 to #27), CIN (from #22 to #26, everyone off the bandwagon now).

This week and next, in addition to the usual commentary on the VOA ratings, I'm going to take a look at where each team stands at the midpoint of the season, including breakdowns of offense, defense, and special teams.  The following week we'll do the Peter King Homage contest.  The AFC midseason report will show up Friday.

Let's talk about the Patriots' safety.  First of all, Al Michaels gets credit for realizing what was about to happen before it happened.  If you remember from my article on turnover value, different points on the field result in different "expected next scores" by the team with the ball.  The expected next score is computed by figuring out the average of all plays from that field position, counting a score by the team with the ball as positive and a score by the other team as negative.  Based on my best estimates, the average punt from the one-yard line gets returned to somewhere between the punting team's 44 and 45-yard lines, for an expected next score of 2.24 for the returning team.  The average free kick after a safety is returned to somewhere between the return team's 35 and 36-yard lines, for an expected next score of 0.93 for the returning team.  Add on the two points from the safety, and that makes 2.93 points, which seems to make the intentional safety the wrong move.  Well, not exactly.  That next score from the offense's own 35 is often two or three drives later, after teams have exchanged field position back and forth with punts.  Belichick didn't need to prevent Denver from scoring more points over an entire game, he needed to prevent them from scoring three points in the next two-and-a-half minutes.  Between the two alternatives -- Denver getting the ball on the New England 45 and Denver getting it on their own 35 with a gift of two points -- the latter situation will result in more points in the long run, but also a greater chance that you'll have to give the other team an opportunity to move the ball before you eventually get those points.  That opportunity was all the Patriots wanted, and they got it, and in better position than anyone expected after the Denver return team treated the free kick like a presidential endorsement from David Duke.  7-2, who'd have thunk it?

Last week, for absolutely no reason, ESPN.com's play-by-play logs stopped including direction for plays.  No more "pass left complete" or "rush up the middle;" now it just says "pass complete" and "rush" and so on.  Why are they doing this to me?  This now means I'll have to get the directions of running plays from the FOXSports.com or NFL.com logs, which means doing more work to break down the second log each week.  I may not be able to update offensive and defensive line stats each week.  I'll also have to totally change my formulas, since ESPN.com split runs into three directions while NFL.com splits them into seven (left and tight end, tackle, and guard, and up the middle).  But wait, there's more.  I have no idea why the official NFL.com information can't include this stuff, but NFL.com's play-by-play logs don't include the direction of passes.  ESPN was the only place to get that data.  So that means that you can say adios to any discussion of certain quarterbacks who have more success throwing to one side or the other, or more success throwing up the middle.  You can say goodbye to getting a sense of the quality of specific members of the secondary by seeing how well teams throw against that secondary in different directions.  You can say goodbye to determining which receivers catch the most passes up the middle and which teams are most likely to always have receivers on one side or the other.  Ugh, ugh, ugh.  Why can't this stuff get standardized?

On the other hand, I have to thank ESPN for Edge NFL Matchup, or whatever they call it these days.  I've always thought they put that show on at the strangest times but I finally realized that Edge NFL Matchup is the show for nursing dads.  3 a.m. Saturday morning, Mirinae wakes up crying, my wife says "can you feed her?."  I say "Sure.  C'mon Mirinae, let's see if NFL Matchup is on."  Grab the bottle, switch on ESPN, and THERE IT IS!!! They should just repeat that show over and over from 3 a.m. to 5 a.m. Saturday and Sunday mornings.  They should fill it with ads for formula and breast pumps.  I know people who come to this site may look at the reams of numbers and get this impression I'm just a stats geek.  Well, I love doing statistical analysis, but I love watching game tape breakdowns just as much, and nobody is better than Ron Jaworski.  I can't tell you how much I wish I could spend a day having Jaws break down tape and explain it to me, perhaps even analyzing tape to see what actual on-field actions cause some of the statistical trends I've found (like the Redskins running so well, and so seldom, to the right side).

With the Patriots playing Monday night, we got to watch Colts-Dolphins here, and rookie left tackle Wade Smith is absolutely killing the Dolphins.  You'll notice from the line yard numbers (at least, from what they looked like before ESPN decided to stop reporting direction of rushes) that Ricky Williams is much better running this year to the other side.  But Smith's pass blocking is even worse.  Dwight Freeney just ate him alive all day, with three sacks and two forced fumbles.  That doesn't even count the first quarter sack where Chad Bratzke came in almost entirely untouched and tossed Brian Griese about five yards back into his own end zone.  How the refs called this "down at the one" and not a safety I have no clue.  Why the Dolphins didn't realize what was going on in midgame, changing strategies to double team Freeney and/or Bratzke with the left guard or a fullback, I have no idea.  Mark Dixon's injury is a huge problem for this team.

I wrote that Sunday afternoon, by the way.  Apparently this was so slap-yourself-in-head-with-palm obvious (to everyone but the Miami coaches) that both Len Pasquarelli and Gregg Easterbrook -- in his comments on Football Outsiders today -- make similar remarks.  In fact, Gregg's comments and mine say pretty much the exact same thing even though we wrote them totally separately.

There are commercials that annoy me, there are commercials that really annoy me, and then there are those Nextel commercials where everyone is talking on their cell phones even though they are all sitting at the same table.

My fantasy team did not enjoy the Marques Tuiasosopo era.

Don't fret, Tennessee fans. You drop from #9 to #12 in DVOA this week, despite being on bye, but adjustments meant the Titans' DVOA actually went up from 9.4% to 9.8%.  They just got passed by the Packers, Patriots, and G-Men, who all had big wins.  The Giants outplayed the Jets and that thing should not have been so close.

This has nothing to do with football, but those new Phoenix Suns uniforms are horrible.  I understand when a town has an acronym, like the Royals wearing "KC" on their uniforms, but are the Suns just too lazy to spell Phoenix?  PHX?  What are they representing, the town or the airport?  If they didn't want to pay for more sew-on letters, why not just write SUNS, it's only one more letter per player.

You all just remember who saw through the Carolina mirage the whole season, okay?  Of course, Tampa's loss still means Carolina has the easy road to the playoffs.

I'm going to have to get my hearing checked.  I could have sworn I heard Joe Theismann say something Sunday night about Randy Moss throwing a block.

The fun part of a game that goes an entire overtime is that you get to see the same camera shots of the two kickers 4000 times.  Play, Brien kicking into net, Jets huddle, Brien kicking into net, Conway biting nails, coach, other coach, next play, Conway biting nails, Brien kicking into net, and so on.

Has there been a news story this year funnier than the Sudan Zionist Penis-Disintegrating Handshake Scare?

Adrian Murrell?  Who's next, Tuna, Dave Meggett?  Joe Morris?

Come back later for the AFC midseason report.  You'll dig it, I promise.

A small change this week.  One of the common complaints we've received is that all our acronyms are too confusing.  When VOA gets adjusted for defense, it's DVOA, but when we are talking about defense and adjusting for offense, it's OVOA, and who knows what we'll call it when we start adjusting special teams for other special teams (soon, I promise).  Therefore, in the interest of simplicity, from now on all opponent-adjusted VOA numbers on this website will be called DVOA.  Yes, I know D won't always stand for defense, but

  1. It usually stands for defense, since we adjust for defenses faced when breaking down individual players.
  2. Since it usually stands for defense, I have to do much less editing of old articles to make everything look the same.
  3. OVOA and AVOA (which we were considering for "adjusted" VOA) just are aesthetically unpleasing, too many vowels, and
  4. I'm hoping that South Park fans who have a hard time spelling will stumble upon the site by accident.

So remember: DVOA is adjusted for opponent strength, even if it is adjusted for something other than the opponent defense.  If you are hung up on correct acronyming, think of it as "dependent" VOA.

  • Opponent adjustments are at 90% strength.
  • 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 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
1 KAN 37.8% 1 42.9% 8-0 16.2% 5 -12.7% 5 8.9% 1
2 IND 35.6% 3 30.8% 7-1 23.3% 2 -10.0% 9 2.3% 8
3 TAM 29.3% 2 29.8% 4-4 6.2% 10 -24.7% 1 -1.6% 30
4 STL 27.3% 4 26.4% 5-3 7.6% 9 -21.1% 4 -1.4% 29
5 SEA 22.5% 5 28.2% 6-2 15.0% 6 -5.4% 13 2.1% 9
6 MIN 22.0% 6 30.5% 6-2 23.7% 1 0.6% 16 -1.1% 27
7 SFO 21.5% 8 19.8% 4-5 10.2% 7 -11.7% 7 -0.4% 21
8 DAL 15.2% 7 25.0% 6-2 -7.7% 23 -22.0% 3 0.9% 18
9 NYG 15.0% 10 10.1% 4-4 5.0% 11 -11.3% 8 -1.3% 28
10 NWE 11.4% 11 14.1% 7-2 1.2% 14 -9.1% 10 1.1% 15
11 GNB 10.5% 15 5.5% 4-4 18.4% 3 9.0% 26 1.1% 16
12 TEN 9.8% 9 10.7% 6-2 17.8% 4 7.4% 23 -0.6% 22
13 DEN 5.8% 13 5.6% 5-3 2.1% 13 -1.6% 15 2.1% 10
14 MIA 5.2% 14 7.8% 5-3 -16.7% 28 -22.9% 2 -1.0% 26
15 CLE -0.2% 17 -8.1% 3-5 -6.8% 22 -7.5% 11 -0.9% 24
16 PIT -1.6% 21 -10.3% 2-6 -5.5% 20 -4.2% 14 -0.3% 20
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 OAK -2.5% 12 -1.4% 2-6 -1.5% 16 2.3% 18 1.3% 14
18 BUF -3.2% 20 -4.7% 4-4 -10.0% 24 -5.9% 12 0.9% 17
19 BAL -3.6% 18 4.3% 5-3 -18.7% 30 -11.7% 6 3.5% 5
20 CAR -4.6% 19 -4.3% 6-2 -4.5% 19 5.2% 20 5.1% 2
21 NYJ -6.4% 16 -5.6% 2-6 8.1% 8 18.2% 31 3.6% 3
22 WAS -8.8% 26 -6.7% 3-5 3.5% 12 12.9% 28 0.6% 19
23 NOR -11.5% 27 -10.7% 4-5 -6.4% 21 6.9% 22 1.8% 13
24 HOU -11.6% 24 -18.9% 3-5 -2.3% 18 12.1% 27 2.8% 6
25 PHI -12.1% 25 -12.3% 5-3 -11.2% 25 4.6% 19 3.6% 4
26 CIN -13.3% 22 -7.4% 3-5 -2.1% 17 6.7% 21 -4.4% 31
27 SDG -17.8% 23 -19.6% 1-7 1.0% 15 17.8% 30 -0.9% 25
28 JAC -17.9% 28 -15.9% 1-7 -11.3% 26 2.1% 17 -4.5% 32
29 CHI -27.1% 29 -27.5% 3-5 -21.1% 31 8.6% 25 2.6% 7
30 DET -30.8% 32 -31.4% 2-6 -24.6% 32 8.0% 24 1.8% 12
31 ARI -32.0% 31 -37.0% 3-5 -15.7% 27 15.5% 29 -0.8% 23
32 ATL -40.2% 30 -47.3% 1-7 -18.0% 29 24.2% 32 2.1% 11

  • 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 75%.
  • 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 37.8% 8-0 -3.0% 27 -8.0% 30 38.8% 1 16.6% 21
2 IND 35.6% 7-1 -0.2% 20 -6.5% 27 36.8% 2 18.2% 18
3 TAM 29.3% 4-4 -0.6% 24 -6.3% 26 29.7% 4 36.5% 3
4 STL 27.3% 5-3 2.1% 9 -7.8% 29 30.0% 3 22.7% 9
5 SEA 22.5% 6-2 -3.3% 28 -0.6% 19 20.4% 7 19.7% 16
6 MIN 22.0% 6-2 -4.4% 29 -2.8% 22 21.4% 5 21.4% 13
7 SFO 21.5% 4-5 4.2% 7 -4.2% 24 20.6% 6 41.5% 2
8 DAL 15.2% 6-2 -10.8% 32 -1.1% 20 17.0% 8 31.9% 5
9 NYG 15.0% 4-4 6.7% 3 -4.5% 25 15.7% 9 18.0% 20
10 NWE 11.4% 7-2 0.6% 18 2.4% 14 13.9% 10 22.5% 10
11 GNB 10.5% 4-4 5.2% 6 -4.2% 23 12.4% 11 14.3% 26
12 TEN 9.8% 6-2 -0.3% 22 -1.1% 21 12.3% 12 16.0% 22
13 DEN 5.8% 5-4 0.2% 19 5.2% 10 4.7% 14 14.0% 27
14 MIA 5.2% 5-3 0.6% 17 0.3% 18 7.4% 13 18.2% 19
15 CLE -0.2% 3-5 3.7% 8 5.4% 8 -0.1% 15 21.3% 14
16 PIT -1.6% 2-6 10.8% 1 -6.8% 28 -2.9% 17 26.4% 7
TEAM

TOTAL
DVOA

W-L PAST
SCHEDULE
RANK FUTURE
SCHEDULE
RANK WEIGHTED
DVOA
RANK VARIANCE RANK
17 OAK -2.5% 2-6 -4.5% 30 5.8% 6 -4.5% 19 10.6% 30
18 BUF -3.2% 4-4 -0.5% 23 9.3% 1 -5.4% 20 56.8% 1
19 BAL -3.6% 5-3 -4.9% 31 7.4% 4 -2.2% 16 22.2% 12
20 CAR -4.6% 6-2 -2.3% 26 -8.1% 31 -4.0% 18 13.6% 28
21 NYJ -6.4% 2-6 1.4% 13 4.6% 11 -6.5% 21 15.4% 23
22 WAS -8.8% 3-5 1.1% 15 0.3% 17 -10.5% 22 35.1% 4
23 NOR -11.5% 4-5 1.0% 16 -9.4% 32 -11.2% 23 19.5% 17
24 HOU -11.6% 3-5 6.0% 5 1.5% 16 -13.8% 26 22.3% 11
25 PHI -12.1% 5-3 1.5% 12 5.3% 9 -11.5% 24 6.8% 31
26 CIN -13.3% 3-5 -1.8% 25 6.5% 5 -13.1% 25 14.9% 25
27 SDG -17.8% 1-7 -0.3% 21 3.5% 13 -18.3% 27 3.8% 32
28 JAC -17.9% 1-7 1.2% 14 2.0% 15 -19.2% 28 13.0% 29
29 CHI -27.1% 3-5 1.7% 10 4.0% 12 -25.8% 29 15.2% 24
30 DET -30.8% 2-6 1.7% 11 8.8% 2 -31.9% 30 21.1% 15
31 ARI -32.0% 3-5 6.2% 4 7.5% 3 -32.0% 31 26.5% 6
32 ATL -40.2% 1-7 7.1% 2 5.5% 7 -43.4% 32 23.8% 8

PREVIOUS WEEKS:

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 04 Nov 2003

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