Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

07 Dec 2004

Week 13 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

Here are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through Week 13 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 UpDET (18 to 12), TB (21 to 14)

Moving DownMIN (11 to 19), ATL (13 to 18), NYG (19 to 23)

Both Philadelphia and New England move up significantly this week after big wins, but Philadelphia had a bigger win over a better opponent and that means they take back the top spot.  This entire season has been dominated by three essential truths, each of which is now stronger than ever:

  • There is a big gap between the top four teams and everyone else.
  • The Colts offense is light years beyond the rest of the league.
  • The NFC blows goats.

How good are the top four teams?  The best team last year was Kansas City with a total DVOA of 29.6%.  That would be fifth this year, far behind the top four.

I only have done DVOA for six different seasons, 1999 through 2004.  But if the season ended this week, the top four teams of 2004 would rank as four of the top seven teams of the past six years.  Philadelphia would have the best DVOA of any season I've measured.  The top seven would read: 2004 Eagles, 1999 Rams, 2004 Patriots, 2002 Buccaneers, 2004 Colts, 2001 Rams, and 2004 Steelers.  That's just ridiculous, and it is why home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs is so important, and the Colts are pretty much screwed no matter how impressive their offense is.

But oh, boy, is it impressive.  Offensive totals as a whole are up this year, but 2002 was a similarly strong offensive year and no team that season came close to doing what Indianapolis is doing.

Look at how big the gap is between Indianapolis (44.3%) and Philadelphia (33.8%).  Now go back and look at the top offensive teams from the past few years.  If we removed the 2004 Colts from consideration, the top offensive DVOA since 1999 would belong to... the 2004 Eagles.  That's right, the gap between Indianapolis and every other team in the league this season is bigger than the gap between Indianapolis and every team of the past six seasons.

* * * * *

What about the third storyline of the season, Donovan and the 15 dwarfs?  Well, we thought it was funny when only one of the top eight teams came from the NFC.  It was even funnier when only one of the top nine teams came from the NFC.  It started to strain the bounds of good taste when only one of the top ten teams came from the NFC.

This week, only one of the top eleven teams in the NFL comes from the NFC.  That's right, after the Eagles come ten AFC teams before you get to Detroit and Carolina.  According to DVOA, if the season ended right now four AFC teams would miss the playoffs despite being more qualified than any of the teams in the other conference that don't wear their helmet logos in Hebrew.

The NFC teams are so packed together in mediocrity that they are jumping up and down in the rankings each week even though their ratings aren't really changing much.  Over the past three weeks Minnesota has gone from #19 to #11 to #17.  Detroit moves up six spots this week even though their actual rating improved less than Philadelphia's.  The Eagles have no excuse if they don't make the Super Bowl this year.

Some more quick observations:

  • Denver's defense moves into the top five despite losing to San Diego this week.  Champ Bailey has had two horrible games on national television but the Denver defense overall has been very good this season.  This is even more reason for Broncos fans to go to Jake Plummer's house and pelt it with eggs.  Of all 32 teams, Denver had the highest defensive DVOA in Week 13: -67.4%.
  • Speaking of defenses, Philadelphia's moves into the top ten this week.  Donovan McNabb got all the glory but the defense was the more dominant unit against the Packers if you consider that stopping Green Bay is harder than scoring on Green Bay.
  • Yes, Seattle actually moves up in the rankings despite the loss to Dallas.  DVOA thinks that Seattle outplayed Dallas in this game, and the opponent adjustment for Seattle's offense also gets a boost from the weirdly low-scoring San Francisco-St. Louis game.
  • This week WEIGHTED DVOA starts to have a real effect, as Week 1 results now have dropped to only 15 percent strength.  Note that Seattle's WEIGHTED DVOA is much lower than their total DVOA, and Indianapolis and New England are practically tied once you drop the weight of their season-opening matchup.  (Don't get cocky, Colts fans, it snowed here last night.)

I'd say more, but there are potatoes to be peeled, candles to be purchased, and -- believe it or not -- additional ESPN content to be written.  (I wonder if Robert Kraft has ever considered selling "snow globe" style dreidels with a Patriots logo and the slogan "A Great Miracle Happened Here"?)  Toss me your questions in the discussion thread or email and I'll have a new mailbag up sometime before Saturday.  Also don't forget:

  • The HOMAGE TO DR. Z CONTEST ends tonight, so enter if you haven't already.
  • I'll be doing another chat at BaseballProspectus.com next Tuesday, December 14, at 2 p.m. EST.
  • Individual stats as well as offensive and defensive lines will be updated later today.

* * * * *

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 PHI 49.6% 2 46.4% 11-1 33.8% 2 -4.8% 9 11.0% 2
2 NE 47.2% 1 37.9% 11-1 26.9% 4 -17.7% 3 2.6% 11
3 IND 40.0% 4 44.4% 9-3 44.3% 1 1.1% 18 -3.1% 26
4 PIT 39.5% 3 43.7% 11-1 17.1% 7 -18.6% 1 3.8% 5
5 NYJ 21.4% 8 35.1% 9-3 23.9% 5 5.2% 22 2.7% 10
6 BAL 19.7% 5 10.1% 7-5 -4.3% 22 -18.3% 2 5.8% 4
7 SD 16.8% 7 27.5% 9-3 16.4% 8 -1.7% 12 -1.2% 20
8 BUF 15.8% 9 12.9% 6-6 -6.3% 24 -10.9% 6 11.2% 1
9 KC 13.7% 6 3.4% 4-8 32.5% 3 16.2% 26 -2.6% 24
10 DEN 12.0% 10 13.4% 7-5 2.5% 13 -11.2% 5 -1.8% 23
11 CIN 4.4% 12 -1.3% 6-6 7.3% 11 6.5% 23 3.5% 7
12 DET 1.6% 18 2.4% 5-7 -2.0% 20 -0.5% 14 3.1% 9
13 CAR 0.3% 16 5.1% 5-7 0.8% 15 -3.9% 11 -4.4% 30
14 TB 0.0% 21 8.9% 5-7 -6.5% 25 -9.3% 7 -2.7% 25
15 JAC -0.2% 15 -8.2% 6-6 0.5% 16 -0.8% 13 -1.5% 22
16 GB -2.7% 14 -6.2% 7-5 15.7% 9 19.8% 28 1.4% 14
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 SEA -2.9% 20 14.1% 6-6 1.3% 14 0.7% 17 -3.5% 27
18 ATL -4.3% 13 -0.3% 9-3 -7.4% 26 0.2% 16 3.3% 8
19 MIN -5.5% 11 -1.9% 7-5 23.3% 6 23.0% 29 -5.8% 31
20 HOU -5.8% 17 -12.5% 5-7 -0.7% 18 4.6% 20 -0.5% 18
21 WAS -6.5% 23 -7.2% 4-8 -16.2% 28 -14.1% 4 -4.3% 29
22 CLE -9.1% 22 -23.3% 3-9 -1.8% 19 7.9% 24 0.6% 15
23 NYG -10.4% 19 -1.5% 5-7 -5.8% 23 4.9% 21 0.2% 16
24 DAL -14.7% 25 -18.1% 5-7 2.7% 12 19.3% 27 1.9% 13
25 OAK -17.0% 26 -27.6% 4-8 -0.5% 17 15.0% 25 -1.5% 21
26 TEN -17.9% 24 -17.2% 4-8 -14.2% 27 -0.2% 15 -3.8% 28
27 NO -21.8% 27 -15.2% 4-8 -4.2% 21 25.6% 31 8.0% 3
28 CHI -23.4% 30 -24.3% 5-7 -36.3% 32 -9.3% 8 3.6% 6
29 MIA -26.2% 29 -31.8% 2-10 -32.7% 31 -4.3% 10 2.2% 12
30 STL -26.5% 31 -21.0% 6-6 12.1% 10 29.6% 32 -9.0% 32
31 ARI -27.3% 28 -22.1% 4-8 -22.0% 30 4.4% 19 -0.8% 19
32 SF -44.2% 32 -43.0% 1-11 -20.6% 29 23.6% 30 0.0% 17

  • 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 PHI 49.6% 11-1 11.0 2 52.2% 1 -1.8% 21 -10.9% 27 16.4% 18
2 NE 47.2% 11-1 11.3 1 46.2% 2 6.2% 6 -11.2% 28 18.6% 11
3 IND 40.0% 9-3 9.5 3 45.9% 3 -2.1% 23 10.7% 9 14.0% 23
4 PIT 39.5% 11-1 9.1 4 43.5% 4 3.5% 12 11.6% 5 18.7% 10
5 NYJ 21.4% 9-3 8.1 5 19.7% 6 -1.6% 20 14.3% 3 14.2% 22
6 BAL 19.7% 7-5 7.7 8 24.7% 5 13.0% 2 10.7% 8 20.7% 8
7 SD 16.8% 9-3 7.9 7 19.6% 7 -1.9% 22 11.2% 6 11.6% 27
8 BUF 15.8% 6-6 7.9 6 10.5% 9 2.5% 14 -2.3% 19 28.3% 1
9 KC 13.7% 4-8 7.3 9 11.0% 8 7.2% 5 -1.2% 16 17.2% 15
10 DEN 12.0% 7-5 6.9 10 6.6% 11 -1.2% 17 2.7% 11 17.3% 14
11 CIN 4.4% 6-6 6.3 14 10.3% 10 5.8% 7 25.6% 1 14.6% 21
12 DET 1.6% 5-7 6.5 12 -5.3% 19 -0.9% 16 -12.0% 29 23.4% 5
13 CAR 0.3% 5-7 6.8 11 1.2% 14 -2.3% 25 -13.1% 31 9.0% 29
14 TB 0.0% 5-7 6.3 15 4.1% 12 -10.4% 30 -8.0% 25 13.8% 24
15 JAC -0.2% 6-6 6.2 16 3.0% 13 11.3% 4 -12.2% 30 5.7% 31
16 GB -2.7% 7-5 6.1 17 -1.3% 16 -1.5% 19 -6.9% 24 26.4% 3
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L ESTIM.
WINS
RANK WEIGHTED
DVOA
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VARIANCE RANK
17 SEA -2.9% 6-6 5.3 20 -7.4% 21 -14.0% 32 -3.9% 22 12.1% 26
18 ATL -4.3% 9-3 5.9 18 -2.7% 17 -7.1% 28 -10.3% 26 28.3% 2
19 MIN -5.5% 7-5 6.4 13 -0.5% 15 -2.3% 24 -2.6% 20 15.4% 19
20 HOU -5.8% 5-7 5.8 19 -5.3% 18 3.9% 10 1.8% 14 9.1% 28
21 WAS -6.5% 4-8 4.5 24 -6.1% 20 3.7% 11 -3.7% 21 18.1% 12
22 CLE -9.1% 3-9 5.1 23 -8.1% 22 17.8% 1 0.2% 15 16.9% 17
23 NYG -10.4% 5-7 5.1 22 -17.3% 24 0.1% 15 12.2% 4 25.6% 4
24 DAL -14.7% 5-7 5.2 21 -17.4% 25 4.5% 8 2.7% 12 13.3% 25
25 OAK -17.0% 4-8 4.4 25 -20.0% 27 11.6% 3 -1.8% 18 19.7% 9
26 TEN -17.8% 4-8 4.2 27 -12.9% 23 2.6% 13 2.6% 13 23.3% 6
27 NO -21.8% 4-8 4.3 26 -19.4% 26 -7.1% 27 -4.7% 23 3.9% 32
28 CHI -23.4% 5-7 3.7 29 -32.6% 31 -1.2% 18 -1.8% 17 17.5% 13
29 MIA -26.2% 2-10 3.5 30 -25.2% 29 4.0% 9 17.5% 2 15.4% 20
30 STL -26.5% 6-6 4.2 28 -23.9% 28 -9.4% 29 11.0% 7 22.2% 7
31 ARI -27.3% 4-8 3.5 31 -26.1% 30 -4.2% 26 -18.4% 32 17.1% 16
32 SF -44.2% 1-11 2.0 32 -44.4% 32 -11.7% 31 7.3% 10 8.3% 30

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 07 Dec 2004

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