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23 Nov 2004

Week 11 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

Here are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through Week 11 of 2004, 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 UpBUF (19 to 10), JAC (17 to 12)

Moving Down: SEA (10 to 18), MIN (12 to 17), NYG (11 to 15), STL (24 to 28)

This week, the Big Three becomes the Big Four after the Colts dismantled the Chicago Bears.  Indianapolis not only jumps up into the top pack, they jump ahead of Pittsburgh after the Steelers beat the Bengals by only a small margin.

The Bears, you may remember, were in our defensive top five last week, and yet the Colts ran up 486 yards on them while turning the ball over only once.  If you experienced deja vu watching the Colts destroy Lovie Smith's will to live, you aren't alone.  Remember way, way back in Week 7, Atlanta was the #1 rush defense according to DVOA, just like Chicago was before Week 11.  And then they faced Kansas City, and gave up 540 yards, including 271 on the ground.

I noted in Snap Judgment on ESPN.com that Edge's performance on Sunday was the best rushing day of any running back this year, but it stands out even more when you compare it to the rest of the running backs on Chicago's schedule.  Here's a table of the main running back from each Chicago opponent with yards and carries, PAR and VOA (not opponent adjusted, since the opponent is always Chicago), and Running Back Success Rate (PAR explained here, Success Rate explained here).


Week Opp Player PAR VOA Yards Carries SucRate
1 DET 34-K.Jones -1.6 -38.8% 36 15 33%
2 GB 30-A.Green 2.8 12.9% 128 24 63%
3 MIN 32-O.Smith -0.1 -15.2% 94 17 47%
4 PHI 36-B.Westbrook 4.0 32.7% 119 22 50%
6 WAS 26-C.Portis 3.4 10.1% 171 36 39%
7 TB 32-M.Pittman 1.7 -2.4% 108 23 57%
8 SF 32-K.Barlow -3.3 -53.6% 56 18 33%
9 NYG 21-T.Barber 1.3 -2.3% 72 21 43%
10 TEN 29-C.Brown -6.9 -103.6% 68 20 20%
11 IND 32-E.James 11.7 107.5% 204 23 70%

This doesn't include Domanic Rhodes' 9 carries for 54 yards after the Colts had sat Edge down at the end of the game, which were worth an additional 3.0 Points Above Replacement.

Meanwhile, while we've all been busy insisting that Manning's record-setting season would end in failure because the Colts have no defense, the Colts defense has been slowly inching its way towards the league average.  After eight weeks of the season, the Colts defense had a 19.0% DVOA and was ranked #28.  But the Colts were able to keep Minnesota to a reasonable number of points, destroyed the previously strong Houston offense, and of course made Craig Krenzel cry for his mother.  So three weeks later, the Colts defense has a 1.7% DVOA and has moved up to #19 in the rankings.

In fact, the Colts now rank higher than Philadelphia in both offense and defense according to DVOA.  Only special teams, where the Eagles are ranked second in the NFL, keeps Philadelphia ahead of Indianapolis for the second spot on our rankings.

So the good news for the Colts is that they may finally have a defense that won't keep the offense from a Super Bowl run.  The bad news is that:

  • The special teams are still awful except for field goal kicking
  • They have to go through either chilly Pittsburgh or chillier Foxboro, and possibly both, in order to get to the Super Bowl.
  • Peyton Manning has been putting up these obscene numbers against some terrible defenses, and hasn't faced a defense the level of the Steelers or Patriots since, well, the Patriots -- way back in Week 1.

If the Colts are combining their league-best offense with an improving defense -- and the Ravens are combining their league-best defense with an improving offense, which also seems to be the case -- the AFC playoffs are going to be amazing.  The Colts and Ravens play on Sunday night December 19.  That game is going to be advertised as a statement game for the Baltimore defense and Indianapolis offense.  But really, the units that have a chance to make a statement are the Baltimore offense and Indianapolis defense.  If one of those two units can overwhelm the other, that team gets to be considered the favorite to keep New England and Pittsburgh out of the big dance. 

* * * * *

Buffalo wins the prime mover of the week award, jumping all the way up into the top ten after exposing St. Louis as the frauds that DVOA always said they were.  Their offense actually goes nowhere.  The defense takes a major jump because they not only played a great game, they played a great game against a very good offense.  And the special teams are now best in the league: Nate Clements returned a punt for a touchdown, Rian Lindell kicked three field goals and had five of seven kickoffs go to the 10-yard line or further, and the Bills forced a fumble on one of those kick returns.  The Bills are first in the league in punt return value, second in kick return value (behind Eddie "What You Talkin' 'Bout Mr." Drummond), and fourth in net kickoff value.  And they have absolutely, positively no chance of going to the playoffs.  Oh well.

By the way, Buffalo's big day means that every single team in the top ten is an AFC team except for the Eagles.

* * * * *

A few more short notes:

  • For those curious about the best running games of the season, Edge against Chicago is first, Curtis Martin Week 1 against Cincinnati is second (29 carries, 196 yards, 1 TD, 11.0 DPAR), and Shawn Alexander Week 9 against San Francisco is third (26 carries, 160 yards, 2 TD, 9.8 DPAR).  Both Kansas City running backs are in the top ten for the 8 touchdown Week 7 game against Atlanta.
  • Remember when Arizona was in the defensive top five, oh so briefly?  They are now #20 on defense and #30 overall.  The late season charge Al keeps waiting for looks unlikely.
  • Jacksonville jumps up five spots in the rankings despite losing.  This is partially because the teams in the middle are so close to each other, and partly because their defensive rating improved as their past opponents had strong offensive days (BUF, DEN, IND, SD among them).
  • In similar fashion, Minnesota loses five spots despite winning.  They didn't really outplay Detroit by much, and their special teams rating takes a hit from Drummond's touchdown return.
  • Kansas City continues to tick me off, moving up a spot despite losing another game to go to 3-7.  And they couldn't even build a slightly exciting final drive with twenty measly yards, dooming my fantasy team (Kennison, Gonzalez, Blaylock) to lose by two points.  Die, Chiefs, die!
  • Because the baseline is based on 2002-2003, the league does not necessarily total to 0%.  This year, the NFL had been heavily offense-oriented.  After nine weeks, the VOA for the league as a whole was 4.3%.  But the past two weeks have tipped things back in favor of defense, and the VOA for the league as a whole is now only 2.8%.
  • Because of the Thanksgiving games, both Scramble for the Ball and the Game Discussion Thread with Jason's cartoon will go up on Thursday instead of Friday. This week is also my quarterfinal round in the Two Minute Warning experts vs. subscribers game picking contest, so check out that site later this week for my picks.

* * * * *

OFFENSE and DEFENSE DVOA are adjusted based on strength of opponent as well as to consider all fumbles, kept or lost, as equal value.  SPECIAL DVOA is adjusted for type of stadium (warm, cold, dome, Denver) and week of season.  NON-ADJ TOTAL VOA does not include these adjustments.  DVOA is a better indicator of team quality.  VOA is a better indicator of wins so far.

As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE.


TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
NON-ADJ
TOTAL VOA
W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
SPECIAL
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
1 NE 43.8% 1 31.0% 9-1 29.5% 4 -12.9% 3 1.4% 12
2 PHI 40.5% 2 37.5% 9-1 34.9% 2 4.6% 21 10.3% 2
3 IND 36.3% 4 36.8% 7-3 42.4% 1 1.7% 19 -4.4% 28
4 PIT 35.3% 3 42.6% 9-1 15.2% 10 -18.1% 2 2.1% 10
5 BAL 23.5% 5 22.0% 7-3 -5.7% 24 -22.7% 1 6.5% 4
6 KC 19.0% 7 5.9% 3-7 32.8% 3 8.4% 24 -5.3% 30
7 DEN 16.7% 9 19.9% 7-3 11.5% 11 -4.6% 11 0.6% 17
8 SD 16.6% 6 30.3% 7-3 20.3% 7 4.7% 22 1.0% 15
9 NYJ 11.8% 8 25.9% 7-3 24.5% 6 13.4% 25 0.8% 16
10 BUF 7.8% 19 1.4% 4-6 -15.3% 28 -11.1% 5 12.0% 1
11 ATL 4.1% 13 8.8% 8-2 -2.1% 16 -1.6% 15 4.5% 6
12 JAC 2.5% 17 -5.1% 6-4 0.6% 14 -3.9% 13 -2.0% 23
13 CIN 1.7% 16 -5.4% 4-6 0.7% 13 0.3% 17 1.3% 13
14 DET -0.4% 14 3.2% 4-6 -5.7% 23 0.4% 18 5.6% 5
15 NYG -0.5% 11 12.6% 5-5 -2.4% 17 -3.0% 14 -1.1% 20
16 HOU -0.9% 15 -10.9% 4-6 -1.5% 15 -0.2% 16 0.4% 18
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
NON-ADJ
TOTAL VOA
W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
SPECIAL
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
17 MIN -1.0% 12 -0.9% 6-4 28.1% 5 23.0% 29 -6.2% 31
18 SEA -1.3% 10 21.7% 6-4 -3.7% 19 -5.6% 8 -3.3% 27
19 CAR -1.9% 22 -0.6% 3-7 -4.4% 21 -5.5% 10 -2.9% 26
20 TB -3.6% 18 4.3% 4-6 -8.8% 25 -6.9% 7 -1.7% 21
21 GB -3.7% 20 -6.2% 6-4 16.8% 9 21.7% 27 1.3% 14
22 CLE -7.6% 23 -20.6% 3-7 -3.3% 18 7.2% 23 2.9% 8
23 WAS -12.7% 21 -10.5% 3-7 -21.9% 30 -11.6% 4 -2.4% 25
24 TEN -14.2% 27 -9.1% 4-6 -14.2% 26 -4.5% 12 -4.5% 29
25 NO -18.9% 26 -11.3% 4-6 -5.0% 22 22.9% 28 8.9% 3
26 DAL -19.8% 28 -26.1% 3-7 2.6% 12 24.5% 30 2.0% 11
27 CHI -20.4% 25 -22.7% 4-6 -30.9% 31 -7.6% 6 3.0% 7
28 STL -23.1% 24 -21.4% 5-5 18.2% 8 30.6% 32 -10.7% 32
29 OAK -23.3% 31 -32.9% 3-7 -4.3% 20 17.1% 26 -1.9% 22
30 ARI -24.2% 29 -13.2% 4-6 -18.2% 29 3.7% 20 -2.3% 24
31 MIA -25.0% 30 -35.4% 1-9 -33.0% 32 -5.5% 9 2.5% 9
32 SF -44.8% 32 -48.3% 1-9 -15.0% 27 29.7% 31 -0.1% 19

  • ESTIMATED WINS uses a statistic known as "Forest Index" that emphasizes consistency as well as DVOA in the most important specific situations: red zone defense, first quarter offense, and performance in the second half when the score is close.  It then projects a number of wins adjusted to a league-average schedule and a league-average rate of recovering fumbles.  It is based on the number of games a team has played so far, so teams which have not had their bye will appear higher.
  • WEIGHTED DVOA represents an attempt to figure out how a team is playing right now, as opposed to over the season as a whole, by making recent games more important than earlier games.
  • PAST SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents played so far, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative).
  • FUTURE SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents remaining on the schedule, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative).
  • 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 ESTIM.
WINS
RANK WEIGHTED
DVOA
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VARIANCE RANK
1 NE 43.8% 9-1 9.2 1 42.0% 1 4.5% 9 -6.7% 27 19.9% 11
2 PHI 40.5% 9-1 8.3 2 37.9% 4 -0.6% 21 -9.7% 29 9.9% 29
3 IND 36.3% 7-3 7.5 3 37.9% 3 0.4% 15 6.9% 8 14.1% 19
4 PIT 35.3% 9-1 7.1 4 39.2% 2 2.8% 12 5.4% 10 19.1% 12
5 BAL 23.5% 7-3 6.9 5 24.2% 5 6.9% 6 15.3% 2 17.7% 15
6 KC 19.0% 3-7 6.3 7 19.3% 6 10.2% 4 -1.8% 16 20.2% 10
7 DEN 16.7% 7-3 6.3 8 15.9% 8 -0.5% 20 1.6% 13 16.7% 16
8 SD 16.6% 7-3 6.6 6 18.0% 7 -4.7% 26 13.3% 3 14.7% 17
9 NYJ 11.8% 7-3 6.2 9 9.3% 10 -0.1% 17 4.9% 11 14.1% 18
10 BUF 7.8% 4-6 6.0 10 14.8% 9 4.2% 11 -6.9% 28 29.2% 1
11 ATL 4.1% 8-2 5.4 13 4.2% 12 -4.6% 25 -11.3% 32 27.6% 2
12 JAC 2.5% 6-4 5.3 14 5.5% 11 10.3% 3 -2.3% 18 6.2% 31
13 CIN 1.7% 4-6 5.0 18 2.6% 13 4.3% 10 17.9% 1 13.1% 23
14 DET -0.4% 4-6 5.2 15 -0.7% 18 -1.2% 22 -4.6% 24 26.4% 4
15 NYG -0.5% 5-5 5.0 20 -1.3% 19 -4.5% 24 11.4% 4 21.8% 6
16 HOU -0.9% 4-6 5.1 16 -0.2% 16 4.8% 8 1.4% 14 9.3% 30
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L ESTIM.
WINS
RANK WEIGHTED
DVOA
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VARIANCE RANK
17 MIN -1.0% 6-4 5.5 11 -0.5% 17 -0.2% 18 -6.0% 26 14.0% 20
18 SEA -1.3% 6-4 4.4 22 -2.1% 20 -16.5% 32 -3.6% 20 11.4% 25
19 CAR -1.9% 3-7 5.4 12 -3.0% 21 0.0% 16 -10.7% 31 10.8% 27
20 TB -3.6% 4-6 5.0 19 0.0% 14 -10.5% 31 -4.4% 23 10.5% 28
21 GB -3.7% 6-4 5.1 17 -0.1% 15 -3.6% 23 -0.3% 15 20.6% 8
22 CLE -7.6% 3-7 4.4 21 -6.3% 22 13.9% 1 7.3% 7 20.9% 7
23 WAS -12.7% 3-7 3.5 27 -12.0% 23 1.0% 13 1.6% 12 11.1% 26
24 TEN -14.2% 4-6 3.5 26 -14.9% 24 0.9% 14 7.9% 5 26.7% 3
25 NO -18.9% 4-6 3.8 24 -18.6% 25 -6.9% 29 -3.2% 19 4.5% 32
26 DAL -19.8% 3-7 4.1 23 -22.9% 28 7.5% 5 -2.2% 17 13.3% 21
27 CHI -20.4% 4-6 3.4 28 -21.9% 26 -0.4% 19 -3.9% 22 13.1% 22
28 STL -23.1% 5-5 3.7 25 -22.3% 27 -6.3% 28 -3.7% 21 23.8% 5
29 OAK -23.3% 3-7 3.2 30 -26.6% 31 10.4% 2 7.9% 6 20.4% 9
30 ARI -24.2% 4-6 3.2 29 -23.7% 29 -6.0% 27 -10.2% 30 18.9% 13
31 MIA -25.0% 1-9 2.8 31 -24.8% 30 4.9% 7 6.6% 9 18.0% 14
32 SF -44.8% 1-9 1.8 32 -46.3% 32 -7.9% 30 -5.6% 25 12.0% 24

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 23 Nov 2004

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