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09 Nov 2005

Week 10 DVOA Ratings, Atlanta-Free Version

by Aaron Schatz

One of the more difficult issues we need to deal with around here is keeping the original spirit of the website alive despite our added profile thanks to our content deal with FOXSports.com. I hope that longtime readers who feel that the quality of the discussion has declined will bear with us as we try to create a happy medium between welcoming new readers on one hand and, on the other hand, keeping the conversation intelligent, friendly, and non-repetitive.

With that in mind, we decided to try this solution to this week's over-burdened DVOA discussion thread. This second thread is for discussion of the other 31 teams. Any comment made about the Falcons will be deleted. If you wish to attack or defend our rating for Atlanta, post that here.

Updated player stats are coming at some point. It's been a busy week.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings for 2005, measured by our proprietary Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) system that breaks down every single play and compares a team's performance to the league average based on situation in order to determine value over average. (Explained further here.)

OFFENSE and DEFENSE DVOA are adjusted based on strength of opponent as well as to consider all fumbles, kept or lost, as equal value. Opponent adjustments are currently set at 90% and will be at full strength after Week 10. SPECIAL DVOA is adjusted for type of stadium (warm, cold, dome, Denver/Mexico City) and week of season. NON-ADJ TOTAL VOA does not include these adjustments.


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 IND 33.8% 1 52.9% 8-0 25.0% 3 -14.9% 5 -6.1% 31
2 CIN 32.5% 2 48.8% 7-2 22.6% 5 -10.0% 7 -0.1% 19
3 NYG 31.2% 3 45.4% 6-2 11.2% 9 -4.7% 14 15.2% 1
4 SD 29.8% 4 19.9% 5-4 28.0% 2 -0.1% 19 1.8% 13
5 SEA 29.0% 6 38.3% 6-2 29.4% 1 -0.5% 18 -0.9% 22
6 JAC 26.9% 5 18.1% 5-3 1.1% 16 -25.0% 1 0.8% 15
7 DEN 25.7% 7 25.5% 6-2 23.4% 4 -5.6% 11 -3.4% 26
8 DAL 24.1% 9 29.1% 5-3 3.2% 14 -17.9% 3 2.9% 9
9 PIT 22.4% 8 31.0% 6-2 5.5% 12 -17.5% 4 -0.6% 21
10 WAS 18.7% 11 -1.3% 5-3 8.6% 11 -13.6% 6 -3.5% 27
11 KC 17.2% 10 8.9% 5-3 13.1% 7 -1.6% 16 2.5% 10
12 CHI 10.4% 12 11.8% 5-3 -14.8% 25 -21.6% 2 3.5% 7
13 CAR 8.1% 14 27.3% 6-2 2.5% 15 -4.8% 12 0.7% 17
14 OAK 6.6% 13 12.1% 3-5 12.5% 8 5.7% 20 -0.1% 20
15 NE 6.5% 16 -12.7% 4-4 20.8% 6 15.9% 29 1.6% 14
16 MIA 2.8% 15 -6.7% 3-5 -12.2% 24 -9.0% 8 6.0% 5
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 LHC* -0.1% 18 18.9% 6-2 9.7% 10 8.5% 25 -1.3% 25
18 PHI -0.5% 19 -4.0% 4-4 3.8% 13 -2.8% 15 -7.1% 32
19 BAL -5.5% 20 -17.1% 2-6 -12.0% 23 -4.8% 13 1.8% 12
20 TB -6.2% 17 13.2% 5-3 -15.8% 26 -8.8% 9 0.8% 16
21 GB -11.3% 23 -13.0% 1-7 1.0% 17 7.2% 24 -5.1% 28
22 CLE -12.7% 25 -17.5% 3-5 -5.4% 20 9.3% 26 2.0% 11
23 BUF -15.0% 22 2.0% 3-5 -18.6% 27 6.4% 23 10.0% 2
24 DET -17.1% 21 -17.1% 3-5 -20.0% 29 -8.7% 10 -5.7% 30
25 TEN -18.6% 24 -14.4% 2-7 -7.7% 21 14.8% 27 3.8% 6
26 MIN -19.7% 30 -33.0% 3-5 -2.8% 19 15.6% 28 -1.3% 24
27 STL -21.2% 26 -19.8% 4-4 -1.1% 18 20.7% 30 0.6% 18
28 NYJ -21.8% 27 -24.2% 2-6 -22.4% 31 -1.5% 17 -1.0% 23
29 NO -22.8% 29 -24.5% 2-7 -11.5% 22 6.0% 21 -5.4% 29
30 ARI -24.8% 28 -24.9% 2-6 -22.0% 30 6.0% 22 3.2% 8
31 HOU -43.5% 31 -59.4% 1-7 -18.7% 28 31.4% 32 6.6% 3
32 SF -70.2% 32 -76.9% 2-6 -51.0% 32 25.3% 31 6.1% 4

(LHC: Little Hands of Concrete)

  • 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.  Teams that have had their bye week are projected as if they had played one game per week.
  • 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. This is the statistic used for the FOXSports.com Power Rankings.
  • PAST SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents played this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative). It is not adjusted for which games are home or road.
  • FUTURE SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents still left to play this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative). It is not adjusted for which games are home or road.
  • 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 IND 33.8% 8-0 7.7 1 33.6% 1 -17.3% 31 6.7% 9 3.0% 32
2 CIN 32.5% 7-2 6.6 4 32.2% 2 -5.7% 28 3.3% 12 22.4% 13
3 NYG 31.2% 6-2 6.2 5 30.5% 4 -5.1% 24 9.4% 7 27.0% 7
4 SD 29.8% 5-4 7.1 3 30.3% 5 12.4% 3 12.8% 1 10.7% 26
5 SEA 29.0% 6-2 7.4 2 31.2% 3 -5.6% 27 -15.9% 31 9.4% 29
6 JAC 26.9% 5-3 6.2 8 24.4% 7 7.1% 8 -20.0% 32 27.5% 6
7 DEN 25.7% 6-2 6.2 7 29.3% 6 16.6% 1 5.2% 10 25.4% 9
8 DAL 24.1% 5-3 6.2 6 23.8% 8 2.5% 13 7.8% 8 22.4% 14
9 PIT 22.4% 6-2 6.1 9 19.4% 9 2.1% 14 1.1% 15 22.8% 11
10 WAS 18.7% 5-3 5.8 10 19.1% 10 8.3% 6 4.9% 11 29.3% 5
11 KC 17.2% 5-3 5.8 11 17.0% 11 8.5% 5 11.4% 4 6.9% 30
12 CHI 10.4% 5-3 5.2 14 10.0% 13 -5.4% 26 -11.0% 30 34.0% 4
13 CAR 8.1% 6-2 5.3 13 10.1% 12 -11.6% 30 -3.9% 23 10.5% 27
14 OAK 6.6% 3-5 5.1 15 8.5% 14 7.6% 7 12.4% 3 11.6% 24
15 NE 6.5% 4-4 5.6 12 6.0% 15 13.9% 2 -8.1% 27 10.7% 25
16 MIA 2.8% 3-5 5.0 16 -0.3% 17 -1.9% 19 -2.3% 22 19.8% 17
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L ESTIM.
WINS
RANK WEIGHTED
DVOA
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VARIANCE RANK
17 LHC -0.1% 6-2 4.7 17 -0.2% 16 -5.2% 25 -4.6% 24 14.1% 22
18 PHI -0.5% 4-4 4.3 18 -0.8% 18 6.5% 10 9.6% 6 22.0% 15
19 BAL -5.5% 2-6 4.0 21 -5.1% 19 3.6% 12 2.5% 13 13.7% 23
20 TB -6.2% 5-3 4.1 20 -7.8% 20 -18.0% 32 -0.3% 19 21.1% 16
21 GB -11.3% 1-7 2.6 29 -9.8% 21 -1.9% 20 0.9% 16 23.5% 10
22 CLE -12.7% 3-5 4.2 19 -12.9% 22 -2.4% 22 11.1% 5 17.3% 20
23 BUF -15.0% 3-5 3.2 24 -17.6% 24 -9.8% 29 12.6% 2 26.7% 8
24 DET -17.1% 3-5 3.7 23 -19.1% 27 -3.3% 23 0.0% 18 46.4% 2
25 TEN -18.6% 2-7 3.1 26 -16.4% 23 -1.4% 17 0.8% 17 22.7% 12
26 MIN -19.7% 3-5 3.9 22 -18.6% 26 -0.8% 16 -0.5% 20 19.5% 18
27 STL -21.2% 4-4 3.2 25 -18.5% 25 -1.9% 21 -10.9% 29 14.5% 21
28 NYJ -21.8% 2-6 2.8 28 -20.4% 28 6.2% 11 2.3% 14 10.3% 28
29 NO -22.8% 2-7 3.1 27 -25.5% 30 -1.6% 18 -5.2% 25 42.1% 3
30 ARI -24.8% 2-6 2.4 30 -24.2% 29 1.4% 15 -9.1% 28 6.8% 31
31 HOU -43.5% 1-7 1.5 31 -40.5% 31 12.3% 4 -7.8% 26 18.9% 19
32 SF -70.2% 2-6 0.5 32 -72.9% 32 6.9% 9 -1.6% 21 65.4% 1

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 09 Nov 2005

150 comments, Last at 18 Nov 2005, 2:41am by mark

Comments

1
by B (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 12:06am

So, should Cincinatti really be ranked this high? I think what is going on is thier defense is overrated thanks to three games against the NFC North. Of course, if thier pass defense really is as good as thier ranking, they're a legitimate contender to knock off the Colts.

2
by Drew (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 12:15am

I'd also be curious to see a weekly breakdown of the Bengal defensive VOA. I bet it looks vaguely like Bart Simpson's haircut.

3
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 1:04am

The thing about 'easy schedule' arguments is, it ignore the fact that they did better against those teams than anyone else. Nobody else has gotten 5 picks from those teams (or maybe they have, I really don't care about them, but at any rate they don't throw five every game). Teams like Indy or LHC that have beaten nobody but scrubs (or so the argument goes) are the same way - it's not as if these teams just lose every game, and you still have to do something right to win. It may not be as impressive as dominating a good team, but there still has to be credit given for beating the teams they should beat or dominating even an NFC North team's offense.

I do think the Bengals have a shot to beat Indy, if only because they can run it very well, and if Indy needs to bring extra run support leaving Johnson, Houshmandzadeh, et al running wild in the secondary, it could be one of those 38-31 games that anyone can win.

4
by T. Diddy (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 1:05am

Yeah, I'd suspect that, specifically, Cincinnati's getting a lot of a boost from their domination of Chicago's #2 defense. How overrated/underrated is that? I guess only time will tell, but if Chicago's defense is for real, then that win is going to look really, really good.

Also, the 5 INTS against Orton in that same game, too. Kind of like Miami's boost from Denver, except the Bengals have borne it out.

5
by Sean (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 1:18am

Ahh, how refreshing. Now...when are the individual stats getting updated?

6
by Jake S. (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 1:21am

That old thread ate everything else up but the Falcons:

My pardons if someone’s mentioned this already:

You said this about the ‘Skins this week:
“I’ve heard some people complain that the Redskins are trying to use Clinton Portis as a physical inside back, which isn’t really his style. But this isn’t actually true — the Redskins have only run 38 percent of carries up the middle or behind the guards, the lowest percentage in the league.�

Sorry, Redskins do seem to be using Portis as a physical runner on the inside. It’s not so much that he’s running inside (between the tackles) too much, but the adjective phsyical.

Portis is getting 3.1 ypc going up the middle. It was even worse last year, at 2.7.

With the Broncos, he gained 6.7 ypc up the middle 2 years ago, and 5.6 ypc up the middle the year before that.

See the difference? In his first and second years with both systems, he he does twice as well with the Broncos.

Now, I do not see the ‘Skins play enough or watch film, but at the very least this shows that the ‘Skins are using him ineffectively up the middle. Maybe he is not being used as a power back all the time, but when the run is called up the middle, that’s Gibbs appears to be using him as a power back.

Or maybe the ‘Skins just stink at running the ball…

----------

ONE person did respond. They said that all this showed was that the 'Skins O-line was poorer than the Denver line.

I disagree.

Portis is getting 4.7+ ypc this year going to outside the middle. That's about the same as what he did in Denver.

Why can the Redskins run outside, but not inside? Obviously Portis is able to run up the middle, it's just dependent on something besides whatever gives the ability to run the ball successfully outside.

Take a look at the adjusted line yards. Denver was not really dominant in that during Portis' time there. Washington has better ALY this year.

I took a look at how other Washington backs do going up the middle. Also very poorly.

Perhaps the Redskins lineman are just very poorly suited to runs up the middle, but are they twice as bad as the Denver lineman, who are known for their small size? I don't know, but what it does show is that Portis is having trouble running up the middle, but not the sides, whereas in the past he had no trouble going up the middle. I'm thinking this is probably a combination of scheme and talent, but the fact remains that Gibbs is at least misusing Portis when he sends him up the middle.

7
by mactbone (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 1:28am

OK, what's with everyone pointing to Chicago's rating and saying, "Look, there is no possible way our team is worse than Chicago, these rankings suck!"

They're not that bad, are they? I mean, 5-3 is pretty good and huge wins over Minnesota and Detroit help, not to mention a two close losses and a game where the Bears didn't look as bad as they should have in the Cinci loss. Let me enjoy this, please? This hasn't happened often in the last 15 years.

In a similar vein, why is everyone piling on the NFC North when the AFC East has some putrid teams and the NFC West has one good team, one mediocre team and two completely horrible teams? And how does it become a discussion of the worst division ever when just last year the NFC West still had the potential of sending a 6-10 team to the playoffs in the 10th week?

8
by Jerry P. (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 1:38am

"Now…when are the individual stats getting updated?"

Is this a running joke or something?

9
by T. Diddy (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 1:39am

I think the simple explanation is that people hang on to their preseason expectations far longer than they should. So everybody had decided that the NFC North would be horrible before the season started, and continues to assume that it's the case.

I guess the knock on Chicago is that they haven't beaten "anybody" yet. But looking at their schedule coming up, they don't really have to in order to win the division. They've got SF, CAR, TB, GB, PIT, LHC, GB, and MIN left to go. They win five of those (a pretty reasonable order, I think) and they win the division handily with a 10-6 record.

And as Don Cheadle would say, the playoffs is when Kyle Orton... becomes KYLE ORTON.

10
by Fnor (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 1:43am

B: Unlike Aaron, I'm still not giving the Bengals credit for that mass of interceptions. Sure, the frequency has gone down, but for the group they have, it's still pretty crazy.

#9: Chicago isn't that great. Fun to watch? Going to be a team to look out for next year? Oh, heck yeah. But just not this year.

11
by zip (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 1:55am

#7 about Chicago:

huge wins over Minnesota and Detroit

Huge division wins, yes, but gain-respect-and-raise-your-power-ranking huge, I don't think so.

12
by TomC (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 2:06am

Cincinnati’s getting a lot of a boost from their domination of Chicago’s #2 defense.

Actually, Cincy didn't have a particularly good offensive game that day; they just got the ball so many times in good field position -- five INTs and a fumble will do that. They were 2/14 on 3rd downs, rushed for 2.4 yards a carry, and only had two drives over 50 yards. What they did do was beat the Bears' DBs over the top three times, something that looks very impressive until you notice that Trent Dilfer did it twice in the next game. I believe the Bears DVOA against #1 receivers is their least impressive defensive stat (the current defensive DVOA page doesn't have those numbers, so I can't confirm that), so I guess you give Cincy and Cleveland credit for exploiting that and wonder why no one else has managed to.

Which is a long way of saying I'm not totally sold on Cincinnati just yet.

13
by TomC (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 2:15am

OK, T. Diddy, you've stumped me. I know that the Bears' third-to-last game is against the-team-that-shall-not-be-named-in-this-thread, but "LHC"? Large Hadron Collider? Linkopings Hockey Club? Lasseter Hotel Casino?

14
by Todd S. (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 2:19am

That Cincy/Indy game could be similar to KC/Indy last year. The Colts' D simply could not get off of the field and the Chiefs outscored the Colts for the win. TJ Housh versus Jason David, anyone? shiver

Still, it looks like Indy has improved its passing D enough to get a few stops. Maybe those will be enough.

15
by Dave (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 2:34am

Honestly, when will you guys get off the anti-Bengals mindset. Sure, they are not the 1972 Dolphins or the 1985 Bears but they have come a long way from the Bungles of the 90's. So their schedule is easy . . . they did not pick it . . . and by the way, did anybody bother to notice that Indy's schedule to date is not even close to what could be defined as tough?

As I see it, the issue is not whether they "should" be 7-2 but that they ARE 7-2. Last time I checked there are no gimmies in the NFL - you still have to line up and score more points than the opposition regardless of how bad they are on paper.

16
by Fnor (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 2:48am

Ugh. Can we talk about ANY team without someone complaining about bias anymore?

17
by Raul Allegre's Revenge (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 3:00am

Houston's had a tough schedule. Any ranking that doesn't have them in the top 30 is clearly biased against them.

Sorry, couldn't resist.

18
by RowdyRoddyPiper (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 3:33am

Okay...we're now going to have to have a Natti free thread.

I don't think anyone is saying that they are a bad team. In fact most people would agree that they are a pretty good team. Teams that aren't pretty good aren't really going to be considered to beat this year's version of the Colts by reasonable people. The knock on Cincinnati is that they are flawed, everyone knows what the flaw is and there is very little they can do to prevent a team from taking advantage of it.
If you don't know what the flaw is, I can point you to the stats, or you could watch some game tape. They cannot stop the run.

An inability to stop the run won't really kill you when you have a ball breaking offense like they do...until it does. That happens when you encounter a solid defense that gets those necessary stops and puts their team back on the field to run it down your throat.

I'm really impressed with the strides that the Bengals have made. I don't think it's unrealistic for them to take the AFC North either. Their biggest weakness is known and they don't seem to be able to fix it, which can result in some unholy ass whippings when a team that can exploit it comes to town.

19
by David (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 3:38am

I think the reason why there is anti-Cincy bias is because the one chance they had to actually prove themselves as legitimate contenders (the home game against PIT) they choked.

In other words, I think the typical fan does not rate all games as being created equal. How a team performs in a "big" spot plays a major role in forming my perception of how good a team - and even how good a player - is.

Therefore, when one sees teams like CIN and SEA ranked high in a new and complictaed formula like DVOA it is hard for one to take these rankings seriously. After all, CIN and SEA are completely "unproven" teams. That is, they have not played particularly well in a game of particular importance/pressure. That does not mean they will prove themselves worthy of the rankings. Who knows, maybe SEA goes on to beat IND later this year or CIN goes into PIT and beats them to win the division...but, those teams have failed to "earn" that reputation.

This is also why many people picked NE last Monday night despite some pretty heavy evidence that NE was going to have a tough time matching up to IND in the game. IND had to prove that they could win a big game.

Unfortunately, identifying the "big" game is completely arbitrary. Furthermore, different teams may place different levels of importance on a given game. For example, I'm sure that the NE-MIA matchup last year on MNF meant a heck of a lot more to MIA than it did to NE...if NE and MIA were playing for the AFC East that night I have a feeling that game would have come out differently!

DVOA does not take these variables into account so it will not be perfect. Yet, who ever claimed that it was in the first place?

So, I don't think people should get too worked up by it. I find the DVOA rankings interesting and use it to help avoid becoming staid and conservative in my opinions of how good certain teams are. But I wouldn't recommend living by the numbers religiously either.

20
by putnamp (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 3:51am

Wait, Seattle beat Dallas, and played a very close game against DC. They also beat Atlanta. I do'nt think they're a top 3 team as the Fox Rankings show, but how have they not proven anything?

21
by jim\'s apple pie (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 4:09am

Dammit, Fnor, you're just biased against my ANY'S!! Can't you understand that it is ALL about wins and losses, and nothing else matters? Isn't that just COMMON SENSE? I mean, why bother with a site that tries to dig a little deeper when a win/loss record tells you everything you need to know?

The Any's can't help it that they have a creampuff schedule. And they're fumble recoveries aren't random, we actually teach how to do that right down here. We tell our DE's: "When you knock the ball out of the QB's hand, make sure that you knock it right into the hands of one of our guys." See, now that's great coaching.

Your stats simply can't take into account the unconventional greatness of the Any's. You see, we have this little thing called swagger. It really puts a lot of fear in the other teams, because our swagger is better than they're swagger, you see, and they know it before the game even starts. Our guys have game changing ability, don't you know, and that forces the other team to play our guys differently when they're in, because they can change the game at any time. ALL of them. Do you realize how hard it is to contain 11 men with a lot of swagger?

Our swagger, combined with our game changing ability, crossed with a ball-control offense and a swarming defense, just can't be accounted for by some high-falutin' mathematical model. You heard it here first, the ANY'S are going to the SUPER BOWL!!

Yee-hah! (Shoots gun in the air)

[\sarcasm]

22
by David (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 4:35am

Re: 19

In hindsight, I should have narrowed the scope of that post to CIN. I happen to think SEA is a pretty decent team, but the win against DAL was not exactly impressive and the team's inability to win on the road (yes, i know they finally beat STL, but STL is worse than usual this season) doesn't inspire confidence they belong up in the top 5.

All that said, I happen to like SEA a lot this year as a contender to win the NFC.

23
by putnamp (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 4:42am

Seattle is 2 and 2 on the road. That's 2 wins more than they were at this point last season. I *think* it's a fair guess they may've bucked that trend.

24
by Sergio (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 5:02am

Oh, but what about the Atl... nevermind. :)

But seriously, Aaron, what's wrong with my Dolphins? I'm too "into them" to analyze it myself... (sighs)

My best guess is the OL, specifically the LT and C... any thoughts?

25
by ian (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 5:15am

putnamp - do you think that the 'Hawks ahve really gotten over the hump? I mean, they are just so... stab you in the heart, rip out your soul, burn it all in hell.

I don't think I'm ready to trust them, yet. Something about the other shoe dropping and the fine tradition of PNW sports chokes. Or something like that.

26
by Unleash Quincy Carter (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 5:31am

2 quick points.

1. Indianapolis is scary consistent. Their DVOA variance is only 3%. Not sure what that might mean, as variance does not seem to correlate with anything.

2. Looks like there's an intriguing relationship between Superbowl winners and strength of schedule (for the last seven years anyway):

(Year/Team/Schedule Rank);
1998/DEN/28;
1999/STL/31;
2000/BAL/26;
2001/NE/27;
2002/TB/25;
2003/NE/18;
2004/NE/9

So it looks like unless you're the 2004 Patriots, the best way to win the Superbowl is to spend the regular season playing a lot of lousy teams. Good news for Indy, Cincy, and Seattle.

27
by panoptican (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 5:56am

Jeez, SD has had it tough and well, it gets tougher.

28
by MCS (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 10:20am

Aaaahhhhh. So much better.

29
by spenceKarl (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 10:42am

RE: 27

Agreed. It was stressful to read some of the posts yesterday in the original DVOA discussion. There should be a prerequisite FO quiz we should have to take before we're allowed to post. A joke obviously, but wouldn't it be nice knowing that those engaging in debate have at least read the DVOA methodologies?

30
by Fnor (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 10:49am

#25: That's really interesting. If I recall, those teams had home field, right? I always kind of discounted it for non-home teams in the playoffs, but maybe I'm wrong....

#20: The any's are so overrated. Get over yourself.

31
by admin :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 10:50am

A note about Cincinnati's flaw: I don't see this as being any different than Indianapolis' flaw. When Indianapolis plays Pittsburgh, I wouldn't be surprised to see the exact same thing happen. The Colts haven't lost to a strong run-first team because they haven't played a strong run-first team. Let's see them beat Seattle, San Diego, and Pittsburgh.

The Colts and Bengals are actually very similar teams, except that the Colts have a pass rush and bad corners while the Bengals have less pass rush but good corners, and Edgerrin James is Rudi Johnson and Chris Perry in a single package.

32
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 10:59am

Ineresting numbers about the SoS of superbowl teams...about what I would have expected (although you do need to factor in a little bit the fact the teams with very good records create their easy SoS to an extant if you are going by W/L SoS) .

I too am a little put off by all the ragging on the NFC North (almost as much as I was put of by that ridiculous ATL bickering). I mean while none of the NFC north teams are great they all are at least above the lowest tier (NO/ARI/HOU/SF). And all of them could beat anybody IMO as they are all erratic. I think the bottom three would be hard pressed to string more than 2 wins together, but I think they will pull off an upset or two before the year is done.

Anyway to see what the numbers say I caculated AVG DVOA for each division.

AE -7.9
AN +9.2
AS -1.2
AW +19.8

NE +18.2
NN -9.4
NS -5.3
NW -20.8

So in DVOA terms the NFC north is not really that much worse than AE or NS (the second surprised me a bit). The NW sure looks bad because of ARI and SF.

33
by Nate (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 11:03am

I'm sure it's been mentioned elsewhere in the thread, but Cincy "dominated" Chicago's defense to the tune of ... wait for it ... ~260 yards. That's their lowest output of the season by a substantial amount, I believe.
It's easy to score 24 points when you are given the ball near the other team's red zone several times.

34
by spenceKarl (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 11:07am

RE: 26

But what about Superbowl losers?

1998 ATL 15
1999 TEN 26
2000 NYG 24
2001 STL 17
2002 OAK 3
2003 CAR 31
2004 PHI 22

I think the relationship is interesting, but merely points out that good teams with easy schedules are likely to rack up regular season wins, increasing their chance of making the playoffs and possibly going to the Superbowl.

35
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 11:09am

Even more important is that good teams with easy schedules will get home field advantage (which I really do think is highly significant in the Conference playoffs)

36
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 11:12am

In post #32 AS should be -0.2 not -1.2, I just noticed that. Sorry for the mistake

37
by MRH (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 11:45am

A few Chiefs related comments:

I enjoy the ripping of the Jets draft picks as much as anyone, but the Chiefs used their 3rd rounder on a punter and that has worked ok so far - from -13.4 punt rating to +3.8. Obviously not just due to the punter, and perhaps a lost opportunity to get a young OL that can’t yet be quantified but at least not totally wasted. Maybe the Jets just took the wrong guy…

How much better would the Chiefs DVOA be if they had played Johnson over Holmes weeks 1-8? Can that improvement be expected in weeks 10-17? Or will having the entire secondary on the injury report negate the improved running game (and I know they've been bad even w/their starters - I watch the games...)

Jared Allen may be unknown elsewhere, but Chiefs fans know he's been a bright spot.

Could the AFC West and NFC East high DVOA's be self-reinforcing (because they play each other) to the point that they might be slightly over-stating the quality of some of the teams?

38
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 11:50am

One thing that'd be great to see is a graph of Philly's special teams week-to-week. I'm curious how much they've actually been improving.

It would help if Philly could actually draft a real punt/kick returner, of course. Why is it that a team that's been so good on punt/kick coverage in previous years is so bad and punt/kick returns?

39
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 11:55am

Oh, and speaking of special teams: am I the only one that's a little scared about the fact that NYG's special teams are so far above even the top team from last year? In the beginning I just figured okay, it's due to a kick return or two, but it seems to be pretty consistently staying up there.

Not only that, but they're well above average in all phases of special teams. It's downright scary.

40
by MJK (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 12:04pm

I actually do think the NFC north is weaker than the AFC east despite the division leading having a better record (by one game). Consider:
-by W-L, the two divisions are the same (both have an agregate 12-20 record).
-by DVOA, NFC north teams are ranked (slightly) higher on average, but have a lower average DVOA (-9.425 versus -6.875).
-Click my name to see a ranking of teams rated only by taking W-L and strength of schedule (based on other teams' W-L) into account (not quality of play, like DVOA). Each team in the AFC east is rated higher than each corresponding team in the NFC north--NE>CHI, MIA>MIN, BUF>DET (barely), and NYJ>GB. I'll qualify this by saying that these ratings are based on a maximum liklihood rating method (MLE), which tends to be inaccurate when there's not a lot of connectivitiy, and since the AFC east and NFC north don't play each other, they might not be very accurate.
-Qualitatively and subjectively, my personal sense is that NE and CHI are roughly equal--both teams are very poor on one side of the ball and very good on the other. But of the other three NFC north teams, only one (DET) can even be argued to be mediocre (and that's a stretch in my mind; sorry Lions fans...)--the other two are clearly bad. In the AFC east, two teams are mediocre (MIA and BUF) and only one is clearly bad. Again, this is purely my subjective sense, although MLE and DVOA tend to bear it out (I feel as though DVOA is giving MIA and GB more credit than they deserve, and MIN less, but still).

41
by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 12:14pm

Pat, I just think it's a little bit of payback for all the pre-Coughlin years of ungodly atrocious special teams. Does the name Val Sikihema ring a bell?

41
by wrmjr (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 12:14pm

#26, it also seems to me that variance doesn't correlate with much. Since one can be consistently good (Ind), bad (Ari)or avg (NE) in DVOA, I don't see what it tells us either. NE had the 3rd highest variance last year, but they were the best team, so consistency doesn't necessarily seem to be a requirement. So can anyone explain what, if anything, variance does help us see?

43
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 12:19pm

I think comparisons between Chicago and New England are a little dangerous. Chicago has played the 6th easiest schedule in the league. New England has played the 2nd hardest schedule in the league.

DVOA tries to correct for opponent, but I think it's really hard to do that when the teams have only played crappy teams or really good teams.

New England won't stay that low - not when the only difficult game they have left for the season is Kansas City. New England could easily end up 11-5.

44
by noahpoah (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 12:20pm

How could you rank the Colts so... Oh, I see that they're number one. Hmm.

Nice Footloose commentary in the FOXSports ranking column. My buddies and I were (briefly) speechless during that Manning segment on MNF. I'm thinking of looking more closely into his past to see if he taught a small, conservative town to dance, to love, to live.

That Falcon's thread is strangely compelling. Keep up the good work, Dr. Franken...er, Mr. Schatz.

45
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 12:26pm

Vai! It's VAI, not VAL. (Sikahema, too) He was a sports TV reporter in Philly for a while. Might still be.

So can anyone explain what, if anything, variance does help us see?

Low variance is good for good teams, and bad for bad teams. Easy enough.

In other words: don't expect Arizona to have a "breakout game." They haven't had one yet. Don't expect Indianapolis to have a "breakdown game." That's not saying they won't happen - just that there's no evidence to support that.

On the other hand, Detroit, New Orleans, and San Francisco have all been dangerous at some point during the year. Worrying about San Francisco is probably a bit pointless, though. Their "breakout game" was beating a team ranked 27th in DVOA. Sure, they fluctuated up - but they still stunk.

46
by admin :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 12:29pm

Actually, the SF variance is more about just how colossally bad the games started by Alex Smith were.

47
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 12:30pm

Oh, forgot this:

NE had the 3rd highest variance last year, but they were the best team

Yes, but they lost a game they really, really shouldn't've, and played poorly a few games. Hence the reason why people thought Indianapolis could beat them - because the Colts looked more consistent.

48
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 12:34pm

Hey, San Francisco was dangerous to St. Louis. Then again, this is St. Louis we're talking about.

I think it says something about St. Louis fans that their team can be rated in the utter toilet for two years running while still having a winning (or nearly winning) record, and we don't hear a peep from them. :)

49
by RowdyRoddyPiper (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 12:39pm

Pat, Randle-El is going to be a free agent at the end of this year. He could solve some of Philly's WR and all of their PR/KR problems.

50
by admin :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 12:40pm

Team Defense page now updated with DEF vs. receiver types. Just remember, if you are using this for fantasy purposes, that it includes interceptions, and a team that intercepts a lot of passes to number one receivers isn't necessarily going to shut down your number one receiver's fantasy numbers. (This is primarily a Cincinnati issue, of course.)

51
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 12:41pm

Yah, there's just one problem. I prefer to have punt returners/kick returners who don't think it's a good idea to lateral the ball to an unsuspecting teammate when you're ten yards from a touchdown. :)

52
by spenceKarl (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 12:44pm

Is the variance computed as the average squared deviation from the mean? If so, the unit of measure for the FO variance is DVOA-Squared right? Or am I missing something?

53
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 12:51pm

I think Aaron said he just uses stdev on the play-by-play column. (in other words, it's sqrt(variance))

Didn't we have the argument about calling it variance when it's actually a standard deviation before?

54
by TomC (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 12:52pm

OK, T. Diddy, you’ve stumped me. I know that the Bears’ third-to-last game is against the-team-that-shall-not-be-named-in-this-thread, but “LHC�? Large Hadron Collider? Linkopings Hockey Club? Lasseter Hotel Casino?

Read the DVOA tables.

55
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 12:53pm

Pat,

The only thing dangerous about the Saints is the harm they're doing to my liver.

56
by RowdyRoddyPiper (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 12:56pm

Inre 31:

Aaron, I'm glad that you see a weakness in Indy. After watching that MNF game they looked like cool, calm and collected killers...after they recovered the Dillon fumble of course. I guess they only appear to be slightly below average against the rush in terms of DVOA. If DVOA doesn't compensate for this because they haven't really been tested by a good rushing team, fair enough. Pittsburgh is first on the list there so hopefully they'll figure this out on their own and gameplan accordingly.

57
by TomC (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 12:57pm

Pat, I think spenceKarl's confusion stems more from the units involved than the variance/stddev issue. The problem is that the "units" of DVOA are percentages, so that the honest-to-god standard deviation (sqrt(SUM((x-mean(x))^2)/(N-1))) has "units" of percentage as well. But if I'm not mistaken, what gets put in the tables are normalized standard deviations (stddev/mean), which are unitless and so can also be expressed as percentages.

58
by RowdyRoddyPiper (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 12:58pm

"it’s a good idea to lateral the ball to an unsuspecting teammate when you’re ten yards from a touchdown."

I kind of thought you might want an unselfish receiver after all you've been through. I really hope we can keep the mighty mite on the good side of the state, but I think he'd be a good pickup for Philly.

59
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 1:01pm

Couple NFCEast/Eagles comments.

Re:38
Philly had a return man who last year looked like he would be a stud. J.R. Reed was WAY more than servicable last year. As a rookie, he returned 33 kickoffs for an average of 23.1 yards per return (with a long of 66 yards). But then back in March the jackass goes and severs the peroneal nerve in his knee trying to jump over a fence.

Re: 37
I was also wondering whether the NFCEast and AFCWest were bumping each other's numbers up by playing each other. What makes it even more interesting is that the other two teams those division play (NFCEast/NFCWest and AFCWest/AFCEast) are the two worst divisions in their respective conferences (at least by average DVOA). What all that means, I'm not really sure. But it is interesting.

60
by TomC (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 1:01pm

Team Defense page now updated with DEF vs. receiver types.

OK, so it's the 2nd receiver that the Bears have trouble with.

61
by TomC (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 1:03pm

re: #54 - Awesome! FO has expurgated my insult to myself. You guys are better for my self-esteem than Zoloft.

62
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 1:12pm

The problem with Philly going after Randel-El is that he'll probably want WR2 kind of money (maybe even a shot at WR1 on a bad team) and I don't think that's where Philly is going to want to go with their return man. The Eagles have never really played a starter as the return man since Westbrook a few years ago, and that was only because Staley was still techniqually the starter. Once Westbrook took over the #1 RB spot he stopped doing returns.

63
by spenceKarl (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 1:20pm

RE: 57, 52

Actually, the confusion was both. Wasn't sure if the the VARIANCE column was the actual mathematical variance. And as a result, the units of measure also had me confused (since I thought it was stdv^2). Thanks though.

64
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 1:22pm

Sheppard is handling some punt returns now. Granted, he usually handles them in the "fair catch" sense, but he still is the punt returner occasionally.

And yah, I know they used to have J.R. Reed. I was only starting to get convinced about him at the end of the year last year, so I don't really consider him a "stud" yet. Maybe a "protostud".

65
by DavidH (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 1:24pm

Little Hands of Concrete?

I don't get it.

66
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 1:27pm

No, I'm pretty sure it's just standard deviation. So if football was perfect, Indy's DVOA would have a Gaussian distribution centered at 33.8 with a spread of 3.

67
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 1:27pm

Ever try to catch something with blocks of concrete as your hands?

68
by Chris Owen (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 1:30pm

Great stuff on receiver types. Looks like the Jets are well set up to keep Keary Colbert and Ricky Proehl from having an impact on Sunday. Those two must be stopped! Sounds like a good game plan to me. ;)

69
by spenceKarl (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 1:34pm

RE: 65

LHC (Little Hands of Concrete) was Elvis Costello's nickname. Why the little italicized parenthesis is on the page however, is a mystery to me as well.

70
by spenceKarl (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 1:41pm

My bad, I completely missed the replacement of ATL with LHC in the charts.

71
by solarjetman (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 1:42pm

Question from a Denver fan, and no I'm not angry.

Denver is listed as having the toughest past schedule in the league, yet their DVOA is almost exactly the same as their VOA - only 0.20% higher. All the other high ranking teams have significant adjustments - except Oakland, who despite the 7th highest past schedule actually get their VOA adjusted downward. Why is this?

72
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 1:45pm

Hey, Wanker!

Sorry, I had to. Regarding Randle-El getting a shot at being a #1 WR, can someone please name a #2 or lower WR who successfully changed teams for the purpose of being the #1? The only guy that I can think of off the top of my head is Joe Horn.

73
by Fnor (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 1:46pm

While Randle-El is a free agent this year, I dont think PIT will have trouble holding on to him. His is play hasn't been fantastic this year, and #2 recovers arent too expensive.

74
by GBS (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 1:58pm

After next week, every team will have have completed their bye. Will estimated wins be based on 10 games or 9?

75
by zip (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 2:03pm

#72

Peerless Price!

He was successful at getting paid, anyway.

76
by TomC (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 2:04pm

No, I’m pretty sure it’s just standard deviation.

Yeah, if I'd thought for ten seconds before answering, I'd have realized that normalized stddev doesn't make much sense, particularly if you consider the case of the perfectly average team.

77
by zip (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 2:19pm

Does anyone else think that San Diego's brutal schedule means they will be a very tough wild card matchup, assuming they make it that far?

78
by PatsDanFan (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 2:19pm

Re whether the SoS has a correlation with being able to win the SB (#26 et al):

A better test is record against teams with winning records. The 2003 Pats, for example, were 10-0 (not sure why the Sos shows as only 18) . Yes, the sched. was difficult, but they beat Indy (once plus playoffs), Tenn (once plus playoffs), Miami (or was it NYJ) (twice), Philly, Dallas and I think Bal & KC. The 2004 Pats were almost as impressive, with the only loss against a team with a winning record coming against Pitt. Of course, it's not a predictor, because going into the 04 AFC Championship game, Pitt had a better record, having beat NE & Philly among others.

Another interesting stat is record against an opponent/QB when playing them for the 2nd time in a season. Belichick never loses the 2nd time in a season to the same team (see 2001 sb, e.g., Manning, McNair, Bledsoe, Big Ben for other examples) so perhaps Indy's best chance in the playoffs will be to start Huard, or whoever PM's backup is. For those who say what about Miami last year, note that Feeley started one game and Fiedler the other.

79
by Barry Alverez (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 2:22pm

Not enough Packer discussion here. I must agree with comment 40. I think they are getting too much credit from DVOA. At times, they have been cover-your-eyes awful.

I don't know. . .it just seems to me that their defense has been keeping them in games so far this season. Outside of the losses to Detroit and Cleveland, I (non-mathematically) place the blame for their record on the offense and special teams. If I were to rank their strengths, it would be DEF, OFF, ST.

Yet by DVOA (distance from 0):
OFF: 1.0
ST: -5.1
DEF: 7.2

I seem to be missing something.

And yes, I have read the Explanations for Dummies. I also am a proud owner of PFP 2005.

80
by MCS (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 2:23pm

Oops

Barry Alverez = MCS

81
by PatsDanFan (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 2:24pm

re #77:

I'd agree except that their 2nd half is just at difficult, which may mean SD will limp in battered and bruised with no rest. NE, on the other hand, could benefit from a relatively easy 2nd half to get healthy, and the backups will have meaningful playing experience, giving them depth in the playoffs.

82
by spenceKarl (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 2:26pm

RE: 78

"Belichick never loses the 2nd time..." You mean, "has never lost". The information doesn't at all indicate similar future success.

83
by B (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 2:27pm

Re #71: Denver's opponent adjustment doesn't match thier past schedule strength because Denver is really good at exploiting an opponent's weakness. So, for example, if they go up against a team that is really terrible at stopping #2 receivers, Denver will exploit that by passing to Lelie. Same thing if a team is unable to stop the run to a praticular side. Since DVOA compares each play against how other teams do in that praticular situation, Denver doesn't get much of an opponent adjustment. So, for example, you wouldn't want to reward a team that passes well against an opponent with a good run defense, same thing here.

84
by Nathan (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 2:28pm

Question, If you're a Super Bowl team, won't your strength of schedule be worse because other teams had to play you?

This may be null and void if stregth of schedule doesn't include the team you're looking at. But especially for division teams, they aren't going to look so hot being beaten twice by you.

Strength of Schedule should be minus the sans the Superbowl Winner to determine how hard the Superbowl Winner's opp's were...

Right?

85
by mactbone (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 2:32pm

I was looking at the drive stats and there are some really interesting things in there.

The Giants starting field position is 9 yards/drive better than their opponents. This is probably faulty logic, but it suggests that the Giants are basically getting 9 free yards every time they start a drive.

The Colts and the Texans have participated in the fewest number of drives. 152 for the Texans (four more on offense than defense) and 154 for the Colts (four more on defense than offense). I have no idea what that means except that this Sunday there will be a very short game.

Meanwhile the Titans have participated in 208 drives, with four more defensive than offensive. Although you could argue that every drive the Titans participate in is offensive to watch.

86
by admin :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 3:07pm

Two things.

The Little Hands of Concrete thing, I'm glad someone got that reference. I figured if Elvis was going to replace his name with LHC because he didn't want to refer to himself, I would replace ATL with LHC so we wouldn't refer to them.

The main reason why Denver doesn't have a lower VOA than DVOA is that part of the adjustment is the weather/altitude adjustment on special teams, which affects Denver more than everyone else. Check the defense page -- Denver gets a bonus on defense because of the hard schedule.

87
by PatsDanFan (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 3:09pm

RE: #82

When something happens 15 times (or more) in a row, it no longer suggests an equal likelihood of outcome. It suggests there are other dependencies at work that make the outcome more likely to happen again and again. Kind of like when NE won 14 in a row leading up to the 04 SB, the best rationale any "analyst" had for why the Pats couldn't win each playoff game was because it was so hard to win 15 in a row, then 16 in a row, then 17 in a row.

Like a stock broker, past performance doesn't guarantee future success, but it sure is an indicator.

88
by Arkaein (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 3:17pm

#79, the Packers have been bad but hardly cover your eyes awful. Cover your eyes awful usually implies getting blown out at least once, the Packers have been every game (the Lions game might be stretching a bit, but still a 14 point loss isn't quite a blowout, and it was a one score differential until fairly late).

Their offense and defense have traded off letdowns, I think. Favre's had bad games with interceptions (mainly vs Tampa and Cinci) but is also having the highest completion percentage of his career and is likely to reach 30 TDs passing yet again. Pass blocking has been good, but running and run blocking have both been awful.

Defense has been a mixed bag, with some good play, great play by Al Harris, but a few blown assignments and a lot of defensive penalties spelling doom in some games.

Special teams has been the hidden disaster this year (though not by DVOA). Missed XP and FG sunk GB against Tampa, missed FG that would have given overtime against Minn, missed chip shotthat could have built momentum and prevented the need to go for TDs late against Pitt, and one other missed FG (Det I think) that might have changed the tide early in a game). In one of Longwell's normal years GB would easily have at least one and maybe two or three more wins this year with everything else the same.

89
by spenceKarl (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 3:24pm

RE: 87

My only gripe was with the wording of your claim. "Never loses" suggests a guarentee to future success. That's my only complaint.

90
by Freddie (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 3:35pm

So If TO ends up getting to play for another team after 4 games will that team be under-rated by DVOA for the rest of the year and Philly over-rated? Would you transfer some of his Philly stats over? How can we account for this kind of situation.

91
by putnamp (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 3:44pm

Ian

Okay, no, they're not "over the hump", but they *are* past the demons of two years ago.

92
by Andrew (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 3:52pm

PatsDanFan:

This Belichick never loses to the same team twice in a season arguement is really pretty stupid, since the Patriots generally only play the Bills, Jets, and Dolphins twice.

First off, you are discounting the 2000 season (2 losses each to the Jets and Dolphins). And of course you are discounting his time in Cleveland.

You are also discounting cases where he beat a team the first time, then lost to them the second time.

2002 beat Jets first, lost second
2004 beat Dolphins first, lost second.

Mostly, however, you are simply working with too small a sample size to draw any meaningful conclusion from.

To show you how meaningless this sort of claim is, Mike Martz, except for two losses to the Panthers in 2000, has never lost to the same team a second time in the season.

Maybe Martz is the greatest coach ever, since even the great Belichick lost twice to the Jets and Dolphins in 2000.

93
by solarjetman (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 4:04pm

#83, and Aaron in #86, thanks, both those make sense.

Oakland is still a mystery though, as I'm going to need serious numbers before I'll believe that a Norv Turner team excels at exploiting opponents' weaknesses. Why did they get adjusted downward despite playing the 7th hardest schedule?

94
by RIP (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 4:04pm

As a reader of FO for a couple years I am saddened by the death of intelligent conversation. I blame Fox for this. Ever since FO and Fox hooked up people who have no idea what they are talking about are destroying the message boards. I used to be able to come here and read intelligent discussions. The comments themselves were often as knowledgable as the articles themselves. Now its filled with idiotic blather about bias and such. Do these people honestly not understand that a rankings system based on statistics cannot be biased? There should be a mandatory IQ test before being allowed to log on to FO.

PS. I couldn't stomach much of this discussion as it turned stupid rather quickly, so if someone else said something like this already or the idiots decided to shut up (unlikely) then I am sorry.

95
by spenceKarl (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 4:09pm

RE: 92

Well said. But I think his examples were of an even smaller sample of Belichick coached teams facing the same quarterback twice in a season. And he does ignore the losses in Cleveland, and the entire 2000 season.

96
by Brian (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 4:13pm

For all you thinking Jason David is the worst corner ever after the Monday night game, the Colts' defense against #2 receivers is currently 2nd in the league. However, their defense against throwing to RBs is 31st and against throwing to TEs is 22nd, they need some practice tackling big guys I would say.

97
by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 4:19pm

Didn't read the whole thread, so if its already been asked, I apologize, but this question is more directed towards Aaron - though if anyone else knows the answer, feel free.

Unless I'm mistaken, The last two years, the Panthers have improved signifigantly during the second half of the season according to the DVOA. Were there any trends hinting towards this? Do they look like a team that'll step it up again towards the end of this season as well?

98
by Ferg (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 4:23pm

Re 90: I expect it will be handled just like a player missing time due to being injured or benched. TO's plays with Philly will count towards Philly's DVOA, and TO's plays with team XYZ will count towards XYZ's DVOA.

Now, the question is, how can we use DVOA to analyze TO's impact? There are (at least) two ways.

First, we can compare weighted DVOA to total DVOA. Weighted DVOA gives more importance to recent games, so if weighted DVOA is higher than total DVOA, it indicates an improving team, and vice versa.

Second, we can look at DVOA splits for games with and without TO. Those splits aren't readily available on the site, because there are literally millions of possible splits we may want to look at. But if TO does go on to play for another team, I am sure the splits will show up in a mailbag or in the DVOA commentary at some point.

99
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 4:27pm

So If TO ends up getting to play for another team after 4 games will that team be under-rated by DVOA for the rest of the year and Philly over-rated? Would you transfer some of his Philly stats over? How can we account for this kind of situation.

You don't. Well, you kinda do. Weighted DVOA puts more weight on more recent games rather than old games. That's the best way to handle it.

Still, though, you don't really want to account for this situation. You don't know a priori how much of TO's production in Philly was due to Owens himself, versus due to the other receivers, or McNabb.

100
by spenceKarl (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 4:32pm

RE: 98

I team might improve in Weighted DVOA for many reasons. It would be irresponsible to credit a change in DVOA strictly on the absense or addition of a lone WR.

101
by spenceKarl (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 4:33pm

"A" team, not "I" team.

102
by B (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 4:55pm

TO is going to join the A-Team? I love it when a plan comes together.

103
by TO (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 5:09pm

I ain't getting on no plane, fool!

104
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 5:29pm

spenceKarl:

Especially when you don't know how said player's replacement performs. People are assuming that Brown will be perform worse than Owens, but that's just an assumption. He'd be the first Eagle rookie WR to make a huge impact, but he wouldn't be the first rookie WR ever.

105
by Joon (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 6:23pm

Re: #93

the D in DVOA stands for defense-adjusted, but what it really means is "adjusted for several variables including opponent strength." other variables include weather and its effect on special teams (as aaron mentioned) and of course "random" plays like fumble recoveries, opponents' missed FGs, etc.

not having followed the raiders very closely this year, i don't know which of these other factors might affect their ranking more than their SoS does, but apparently there is something.

106
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 6:41pm

Oh, and I forgot to mention: for all the talk of the NFC North being uniformly horrible, the NFC West is still just another Seattle breakdown away from becoming the pit of despair it was last season. What is it with that division?

107
by solarjetman (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 6:43pm

105,

Looking closer at the Raiders, their pass DVOA is getting adjusted downward by a whopping 16.3%. They've had some weak opponents, in the Chiefs twice, the Titans and the Patriots, but they also took on Dallas and Buffalo. I would imagine some of it has to be situational.

I'd love to see "dvoa by down/distance/field position" charts on the site but poor Aaron is busy enough fending off angry Georgians :(

108
by Ferg (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 7:18pm

Re 100: No, it would be irresponsible to practice medicine without a license. It would just be fallacious to attribute a change in DVOA to a single player.

But you're right, I wasn't quite clear. Let me rephrase: DVOA can tell us whether a team performs better or worse with TO, or any other player, in the lineup. It can't tell us whether a team performs better or worse because TO is in or out of the lineup. Fair enough?

109
by MCS (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 7:30pm

My simple mind thinks that there are too many other variables involved.

I had a long post that I deleted. I had examples for Strength of Schedule, weather conditions (November in Philly vs. somewhere indoors), etc.

Maybe someone more mathematically inclined can consider this.

110
by Drew C (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 8:02pm

Is there any way to see weekly DVOA breakdowns for each team (total/offense/defense)?

111
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 8:34pm

If I had to guess, I'd say some of those weekly DVOA breakdowns will come if there's a second-half preview, and they're always part of the playoff previews. I would think they'd be available in PFP 2006, but of course that does us no good now.

Re: #96. I don't know how much the 'defense against #2 receiver' really says about David, because the Colts are almost always playing a cover 2. On any given play the CB is as likely to wind up covering a back in the flat as he is staying with the receiver. So maybe the poor defense against RBs is David's fault?

I think we need the game charting project data before we can really evaluate individual defenders like that. Except of course Colts fans or other people who have watched them a lot - they seem to agree that David sucks at just about everything.

112
by Mshray (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 8:37pm

Re #106, Pat the answer to your question is quite simple really: John York & Bill Bidwill. Does any other division boast 2 such woeful owners?

113
by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 9:16pm

Week 10 DVOA Ratings, Atlanta-Free Version

Seems pretty straight forward.

114
by DavidH (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 9:36pm

I like to see how the past and future schedule numbers evolve over the course of the season. I can't back this up with numbers, but I seem to remember a few weeks ago looking at KC's past/future schedule and seeing that the future was WAY harder than the past. 15 vs. 1 or something like that. And they were only a game over .500, so I thought that spelled trouble. Now they're 5-3, with pretty much equal past and future sched's (5 vs. 4). So their season outlook is a bit better.

Anybody else experiencing something similar with another team?

115
by thad (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 9:53pm

re 31
Aaron, what do you mean by a "run first team"? How would you measure this?
Thanks

116
by Thok (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 10:38pm

Quick question: Suppose that Kansas City had a theoretical Priest Johnson at running back who had the combined stats of Larry Johnson and Priest Holmes. Would that cause KC's DVOA to increase, decrease, or stay the same?

117
by DavidH (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 11:03pm

DVOA doesn't care who is playing, only what happened during the play. So if you mean that all KC's plays this year will be the same, just with different people involved, then the DVOA rating would not change.

118
by Todd S. (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2005 - 11:06pm

#111 Well, as a Colts fan I wouldn't go that far. However, he has had two spectacularly bad Monday nights this year. On the bright side, he does seem to excel at throwing forward laterals after the whistle should have blown, but hasn't-although there's still too small a sample size to draw any hard conclusions.

119
by admin :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 12:33am

Hey. Just wanted to say for those who may be looking for it tomorrow, there won't be a mailbag on Friday. Too many other things to do in the morning, primarily the midseason projection article, and then I'm off to be on a career panel for Econ undergraduates at good ol' Brown. The hope is to have something Saturday, I know I have a zillion questions worth answering both from discussion threads and e-mails. Things are crazy hectic, so bear with me. Thanks.

120
by melissa (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 2:00am

I disagree that the NFC North is getting talked about as the worst division because of people not wanting to change preseason predictions. I think the current view of the NFC North in major media is reactionary becasue preseason everyone thought the division would be good, but then they didn't live up to the expectations. I think the conventional wisdom or buzz was "Minny will be better without Moss and Culpepper will have another amazing season like last year" "This si the most talented Detroit team ever" "Lovie Smith has had another year to work on the team and they brought in a veteran quarterback" and well people were worried about GB's offensive line so maybe there was negativity surrounding the Packers, but I think there were high expectations that weren't meant which means the talking heads said something wrong so of course they have to scream exactly the opposite till you forget what their original opinions were.

121
by B (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 2:21am

115: A "strong run-first team" is a team that's good at running the ball (high rushing DVOA) and won't give up on the run when they fall behind early. Examples of this in the AFC are Pittsburg, Denver, Kansas City and maybe San Deigo. In the NFC you have LHC and maybe Seattle, among others.

122
by Independent George (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 3:21am

Ok, how's this for a change of pace? I'm a lifelong Giants fan who thinks they're incredibly lucky to have won 6 games this year, and am utterly baffled at how they rank 3rd in DVOA. They should have lost against Denver, and the Washington and SF games may be the least impressive blowouts ever. They'll probably win 10 games this year, but (a) Eli's got some serious accuracy/decision-making problems (at least during quarters 1-3), (b) the linebacker play has been bad, and (c) the secondary has been even worse.

123
by IzzionSona (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 3:51am

RE: Jason David and the other Colts secondary.

It has been my observation in watching Indianapolis for the past ten or so years that the team has never really relied on having the Ty Laws of the world. Certainly not in the post-AFC Championship Game era (oh, had the receiver only managed to get his hands on that Hail Mary...), when Harbaugh and then Manning were taking weekly poundings en route to winning the Edgerrin James sweepstakes, and not during the years of the Dungy Era either. It just seems like the scheme, especially now, is predicated upon getting to the quarterback with a limited number of rushers very quickly and forcing him to throw the ball before he wants to. That's when the active MLB (Mike Peterson, Cato June) can eat the QB for breakfast.

In my opinion, any array of quick linebackers/defensive backs capable of watching the backfield could look at least respectable in a Dungy scheme... if and only if the defensive line is generating pressure & sacks. Which is why the Patriots offense has owned the Colts defense for the past three years (this year's game included)--the Patriots scheme is predicated on Brady taking short drops and making quick decisions, and their five layers of protection are darned fine. Which is why I still have tremendous reservations about this team's ability to make it to the Super Bowl, even if they get HFA. The Houston O-Line will not be lining up opposite Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis...

124
by Brian (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 6:07am

Re: 123
You're exactly right. This is the reason why David has been "exposed" on both Monday night games, the line couldn't get the quarterback with consistency in either game. Freeney in particular was ineffective in both.

It's hard to tell the exact splits by games since the opponent adjustment also changes each week. It seems like those two games were in the bottom half defensively, but so were HOU and TEN, both games where they got to the quarterback without much trouble. My gut feel looking at it is that they are a top-10 defense against a good O-line as opposed to a top-5 defense against an average O-line.

125
by Purds (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 11:02am

Re 123 & 124:

I agree as well. As a Colts fan, I have watched their games over the years with much closer scrutiny than other games, and I am convinced that the NFL is all about pressuring the QB. If you can do it, you win, and if you can't, you lose.

Now, I know that's not really true, nor as simple. Often the reason a defense can or cannot get to the QB depends on how well they are stopping the run, and a myriad of other factors. However, this simple truth (QB pressure = wins) seems very accurate for the Colts. That's why, I feel, they would be wise to resign Edge. Not for his ability to rush, or catch passes, but his ability to do those things while also being a great blitz blocker.

Thoughts?

126
by B (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 11:54am

Re 122: I agree with you about the Giants. The reason they have such a high DVOA is Tiki Barber and thier special teams play. I'm not impressed by the Giants overall, but nobody else in the NFC really sticks out.
As for the Colts D-line, that's exactly why I've never been impressed with Freeney. He's able to dominate Ogden and does really well against mediocre lines, but he has a tendancy to dissappear against teams like the Cheifs or the Pats.

127
by IzzionSona (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 11:55am

Something that I saw watching the first half of Colts-Pats was that it seemed (anecdotally) that Freeney was stunting a lot in the first half, rather than just rushing upfield, double team (by two rookies!) be damned. On the drive where the Patriots tied the game at 7, it seemed to me that there were a lot of plays where Freeney took really long stunts inside and either (a) didn't get into his "rush" until after the ball had left Brady's hands or (b) ran smack into the NE center, who had been turning out to block the tackle and had a long time to see Freeney coming and adjust.

By the second half, however, I wasn't watching the game quite as closely, so I find myself wondering if the Colts stopped stunting in the second half, leading to the observed decrease in Brady's effectiveness (well, he did incomplete like...4... passes in a row or something), or if the same strategy as in the first half finally paid off some...

Perhaps one of the game charters from the NE-Ind game can shed some light on what proportion of plays Freeney stunted vs plays where he didn't, and the Patriots' relative success on each type of play. Personally, I'd love to see some sort of EPC on this when the Colts play the Bengals or the Stillers, but I recognize that not everyone wants to see articles about Dwight Freeney's play multiple times a season :)

128
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 12:24pm

Say, B, when did Freeney "dominate" Ogden? I think MDS laid out pretty well in both his EPC's on the subject that such "domination" was a broadcast illusion.

That doesn't take away from the great job the Patriot line did in keeping Brady upright. I'd love it if the Raven O-line coaches would do half as good a job in using their talent.

129
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 12:32pm

Re #112 (divisions with two bad owners): prior to the sale of the Vikings, yes, the NFC North with Ford and McCombs.

130
by thad (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 3:00pm

re 121
ok, that list makes sense. I guess I would add the giants as well.

131
by Purds (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 6:48pm

Okay, so I charted out Colts-NE for Freeney. Not as closely as FO does it, but failry closely. Here's is what I found (forgive me if numbers are not perfect):

In the first half, when NE passed:
Freeney stunted 7 times, regular rushed 3 times.
NE double teamed him 5 times, chipped him 1 time, and single-clocked him 4 times (a screen, a quick slant, 4 times he stunted away from DT formation)

In the second half, when NE passed:
Freeney stunted 5 times, regular rushed 15 times.
NE doubled Freeney 6 times, chipped him 5 times, and single-blocked him 10 times (3 screens, 2 slants/quick outs, 2 times he stunted away from DT set up)

Interesting other points:
1) While we may or may not think Freeney's special, NE did. Of the 15 plays Freeney was touched by only one blocker, 4 were screens, 6 times he stunted away from DT formation, and 3 were quick passes (slant or outs). That means NE left him in true single-blocker situations just 2 times. NE made sure they accounted for Freeney on almost every play.
2) NE used a lot of max. protection-type formations, with TE's or RB's set in H-back positions (I might be wrong on terms here, but I think you get my point).
3) Freeney stunted A LOT (12 times), mostly going away from obvious DT formations. Sometimes the TE would get out into a pattern on those stunts, but sometimes the TE would just sit there or DT the tackle.

Want any more stats?

132
by Purds (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 6:52pm

Typos/corrections:

I called it single-blocking when only one guy hit Freeney, even if Freeney stunted away from double team formation.

First half: 2 times stunted away from DT, not 4.

Sorry, I am not handy with the proofreading.

133
by thad (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 8:13pm

ok purds, this was a long time ago but bear with me.
In the 87 Niners Vikings game Montana and Young were sacked 5 times and San Francisco never got untracked losing 36-24.
In 88 and 89 they met again in the playoffs. Now for those of you who have been watching the Vikings defense for 10 years or so the Vikings defense was very very good.
In those two regular seasons they accounted for 108 sacks. In two playoff games they got none. Montana et al went buck wild and just crushed them.
I can't remember exactly what walsh said after the 88 game but it was a very similar comment to yours.

134
by thad (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 8:19pm

my last comment was a reference to 125.
Having said that, there is no doubt that with 28 sacks and leading the league, they have a pretty damn good pass rush.
But don't you think that the Colts secondary has really improved? I don't want to be in a position of defending David becuse I can't, but as a group i think they are playing a lot better than last year?

135
by Purds (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 8:38pm

thad:

Absolutely. The Colts DB's are so young, that they HAVE to have improved this year. I mean, for the group, last year was an increase of something like 50% of their playing experience.

Harper's in his 5th year, but Doss is in his third, Sanders his second, and David his 2nd. That means before 2004 season, that group had a collective 4 years of NFL experience. After the 2004 season, that's up to 8, still not much, but double what they began 2004 with.

136
by B (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 8:41pm

Purds: Thanks for the breakdown. Would you say the stunts were effective? It seemed to me that it took Freeny too liong to stunt across the line. I guess that's why they switched to just a straight attack in the second half. I agree that the Colts Defense is predicated on using the safties to take away the big play, rush the passer with the front four, and prevent the CBs from being exposed. It reminds me a lot of what the Pats did last year, and combined with a high-powered offense, it works really well.

137
by Purds (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 8:50pm

B.

I think you're right -- the stunts were not very productive. I am guessing the Colts wanted to take give the Pats a different look, but NE had a second blocker (TE or RB) there on almost every play, and so on the stunts, Freeney would run into the C-G and the DT into the T-TE/RB.

I think the most interesting thing I saw on second look was how effective simply the presence of a second blocker had in slowing Freeney's rush. With a TE or RB about 2 yards behind the line, and slightly outside the Pat's tackle, Freeney had no chance of speed rushing. Because of that, he rarely even tried the speed rush, and his spin move really only works when he can get the tackle off-balance, and that was impossible because the tackle simply relied on the TE/RB to stop a possible speed rush.

But what was interesting was how often the second blocker did not have to do anything but be there at the start of the play. Many times, Freeney simply bull-rushed, and the TE/RB just stood there. If I were a future Colts opponent, I would put a TE or RB there, but have him simpy count a second and then go out in a pattern. On many plays from Monday, it seemed the NE guys were not given that second option, and they wasted a player.

138
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 9:41pm

Seriously - where are the Rams fans? I mean, they were by far the lowest-ranked playoff team last year, and now they're a team with a .500 record and ranked 27th, yet we hear absolutely no one crowing about them.

139
by CaffeineMan (not verified) :: Fri, 11/11/2005 - 9:53pm

RE: Purds (143)

Your comments on this game dovetail with my (admittedly fuzzy) recollections from previous Colts-Pats games, where Freeney's speed rush made Matt Light, ordinarily a very good (but not great) tackle, look like a revolving door. I remember thinking this year: "Heck, Light couldn't block him last year, now they've got two rookies, so they're gonna be toast." Well, he wasn't as effective, but the Pats were toast for different reasons. :D But even with Freeney stunting, I thought the double team left opportunities for the other Indy pass rushers to at least make Brady get rid of the ball before he was really ready, hence their problems in matching the Colts score for score.

140
by Brian (not verified) :: Sat, 11/12/2005 - 4:34am

From watching their games, Freeney absolutely crushes single blocking against the pass (except against Orlando Pace apparently). He honestly doesn't do anything else that well. He really runs himself out of a lot of run plays (their success against left end and left tackle runs are 26th and 29th ranked respectively), but teams don't seem to take advantage of it (frequency he is run on via left end and left tackle is 4% and 5% respectively, the lowest in the league, yet teams run 15% to right tackle where the Colts line up Corey Simon et al and rank 7th in the league). What am I missing here?

From my perspective, his stunts almost never work. He is better off taking on the double team and letting Reagor try to get through his single blocking (which he did some earlier in the year). This also uses up RBs and TEs teams keep in to block instead of letting them go catch passes in the flat and run through multiple missed tackles.

141
by thad (not verified) :: Sat, 11/12/2005 - 12:14pm

Pat,
Well I am not really a Rams fan but my impression of the Rams was just horribly biased by
1. The playoff game against Atlanta
2. The opening day loss to San Fransisco
3. The loss to Seattle
I guess losing two games in a row, admittedly over two years, in a very ugly way, left me thinking they were just bad.
Then they lose another division game to the Seahawks, who I think they swept last year.
I didn't even realize they were 4-4!
so looking over their remaining games, I think they can win definately 4
Arizona
houston
Vikings
Niners
not a sure thing, not a lock, just a prediction I think is solid.
That leaves
Seattle, Redskins, Dallas, Eagles.
I think to make the playoffs this year in the NFC you have to win 10 games.
Can the Rams win two of those 4 games?
Well I don't think so, maybe.
Their offense seems good. Efficient and at times explosive.
I just can't seem to find anything good to say about their defense.
Doesn't it seem like all the teams in the second group could put up over 30 points each?

142
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Sat, 11/12/2005 - 2:30pm

Brian (#140 )--
What am I missing here?
Since pass and run blocking are different (though related) skills, and since All-Pro-calibre tackles who excel at both are somewhat rare, most teams with right-handed quarterbacks (that is, most teams) put their best pass blockers to the left, to protect the quarterback's blind side. That leaves the better run blockers to the right. Even teams with really bad O-lines, tend to line up with the less-bad pass blockers protecting the QB's blind side.

Which is why the Colts keep Freeney on the defensive right most of the time -- he can beat even very good pass blockers, and will draw a double-team once he does, without being too much of a liability in run defence. Mathis provides plenty of pressure from the defensive left.

A strong running team with a more balanced line can try the run-at-Freeney strategy -- they just haven't faced a team with both advantages yet this year. (Or, more precisely, when they did, that team had other weaknesses which kept them from trying to exploit this potential weakness in the Colts.)

143
by Todd S. (not verified) :: Sat, 11/12/2005 - 2:46pm

#125 No, I disagree. The Colts should not re-sign Edge because they will need the money to re-sign Wayne, Mathis, and Freeney (RFA?) instead. Better to roll the dice with drafting a RB and hoping a platoon of Rhodes/Mungro/draft pick combines to give you 80% of Edge. But I agree that he is quite impressive in picking up blitzers.

144
by Purds (not verified) :: Sat, 11/12/2005 - 7:39pm

Todd:

The key, of course, is how much they have to pay to keep Edge. Last year, teams were not jumping to sign very good, veteran RB's (Alexander and Edge). Of course, there were many RB's in the draft last year as well. Almost any contract will be a lower salary cap hit than Edge's current franchise tag amount.

145
by B (not verified) :: Sat, 11/12/2005 - 8:43pm

Won't Shaun Alexander be a free agent next year too? That should hurt Edge's free agent value.

146
by Todd S. (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 12:15am

#144 Since next year would be the 2nd year in a row that the Colts franchise Edge, they have to pay him at least 15% more than this year. If you're thinking they can waive him and then bring him back at a lower salary...I suppose anything is POSSIBLE, but I find it highly unlikely every other team would pass on signing him. (Unlike Rob Morris.)

147
by BG (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 10:37pm

123

I think your concerns about the pass rush are justified. However, in theory the Colts should be happy to allow the opponent to run 1 and 2 step drop passes. Then they can use the speed of the linebackers and secondary to make the tackle. The key is to make the tackle. In the past the problem was poor tackling opens up big RAC numbers. The Colts are still guilty of poor tackling so a key will be to shore that up.
The biggest difference in the Colts this year is that they can run ball control offense. In the past they would be to impatient and waste downs trying to make big plays. This year they take what you give them. What this has done is control the clock more, and limited turnovers that gave the opposing offense a short field. That in itself has helped the defense.

148
by IzzionSona (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 11:11am

BG: The day the Colts LBs/Secondary stops trying to tackle for Sportscenter and just wraps up and brings the ballcarrier down is the day I put the house and college fund on the Colts as SB champs. In other news, hell would freeze over and pigs would fly :p

149
by BG (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 12:43pm

I guess I can't argue since I have no evidence of the defense changing it's ways. My hope is that other areas of the team are good enough to take advantage of other teams weaknesses. So far that has been the case. In the future who knows.

150
by mark (not verified) :: Fri, 11/18/2005 - 2:41am

steve hutchinson will also be a fa in seattle. I doubt hawks can afford to keep alexander and hutchinson.