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08 Nov 2005

Week 10 DVOA Ratings, Shot to Hell Version

by Aaron Schatz

Among the issues discussed in this week's FOXSports.com commentary, now posted here on FOXSports.com:

  • Carolina is Cincinnati
  • Indianapolis will not go 16-0
  • The Kansas City defender nobody knows
  • Green Bay's biggest problem

Individual pages for offense, defense, and special teams are now updated, players stats will be updated later tonight or tomorrow. Remember, FOXSports.com ratings are the weighted DVOA, not the full-season DVOA. The tables are still in order by regular DVOA, I'm trying to decide if I should change that.

* * * * *

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.

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
17 ATL -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

  • 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).

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
17 ATL -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 08 Nov 2005

653 comments, Last at 31 Oct 2006, 9:53am by sharif masawudu


by Chris (not verified) :: Sat, 11/12/2005 - 2:21am

Went ahead and looked at this years DVOA for offense.

According to those stats, the Falcons passing are 22nd in the league passing. They are also 1st in the league rushing, barely beating out Seattle.

In pure VOA, they're second in the league behind Seattle (aka, Atlanta has played tougher rushing defenses this year then Seattle has), and still around 22nd in passing (though it's improved compared to the DVOA, -7% instead of -12%).

by Se7en_Dust (not verified) :: Sat, 11/12/2005 - 2:31am

Yep, they don't throw the ball nearly as many times as most other teams, so it's only common sense they will have less incompletions.

The obvious answer to my question: Vick's worth cannot be measured solely by his QB numbers. He makes everyone around him better and opens up the running game.

But I'm still waiting on one of the mathmeticians to give me the percentage chance of the SAME MEDIOCRE team amassing a winning record each year Vick leads them... including 3-1 in 2003 (and the only loss coming when a coaching change took place mid-week.) Perhaps the Falcons with Vick are more than mediocre. Maybe elite, maybe not, but definately more than mediocre.

Gaining a further understanding of football through numbers is great, but don't forget that football is more than numbers.

by thad (not verified) :: Sat, 11/12/2005 - 2:41am

The first 400 posts were pretty funny.
But now the tone just seems mean.
ok three problems I have with DVOA
1. If you go back and check you will find that the 2004 Bills have a higher ranking than the 2001 pats. Guess what, the 2001 pats forced 249 incompletions, highest number that year, my god they were and are underrated.
2. If you go read the previous articles Aaron actually said he thought the Colts had a good chance of beating the Pats last year. Guess what, teams that give up 351 points routinely get shelled in the playoffs. I think the only team that gave up 350 points and made the conference Championship was the 2000 Vikings. God I thought the Colts had no chance. (not that I haven't made a zillion stupid predictions, i have)
3. Nevermind, I don't want to trash Pete Palmer.
My point is that although I am not uber DVOA guy I still think its incredibly interesting, its not right or wrong, its learning as you go.
Look nobody buys the incomplete passes arguement. I can live with that. Not a big deal. I argue with Pat and Andrew and James and B and nobody is snotty, they all bring something to the table. Thats all I want, bring something more than chemistry and 14 fumbles. I swear it will be a lot more intersting.

by Chris (not verified) :: Sat, 11/12/2005 - 2:46am

Seven, what exactly is your question anyway? You want us to invent a mathematical formula out of the blue that we can somehow insert into past numbers to determine how much Michael Vick means to his team, without using the already-existing DVOA numbers which have him rated as a sub-par passer and an above average runner? Some of us aren't even that good at math.

I really don't know what you're getting at here. Half of your posts are pretty reasonable and then you turn around with the sniping comments.

Nobody has ever forgotten that its more then numbers - if it was just numbers, why would we bother watching the game?

by Se7en_Dust (not verified) :: Sat, 11/12/2005 - 2:56am

#603. My tone is not to be mean towards anyone, and hopefully you haven't taken my tone as being angry towards you. I got tired of the chip shots by those who had nothing else to say.

Through all of this, I have found DVOA to be interesting, but what baffles me is, especially for those that accuse me of "banging my head on the desk," and "repeating the same argument," those guys are doing the same thing, backing the whole formula as if it IS THE DEFINING formula for greatness in football. Those guys want me to take a step back from my stance and "realize" that I am wrong, but they refuse to take a step back and say, "hey, maybe, just maybe, there are some major flaws here when evaluating teams using this system."

I'm sorry, but I don't think numbers explain everything. There are things that cannot be quantified. It's only common sense that a team that wins 67% of it's games with a certain QB is more than mediocre. It's common sense that Pittsburgh with Big Ben is an outstanding team. They have only lost 1 regular season game with him, so I'd say it's common sense that they are elite with him.

What gets me even more is with what passion these guys go to downplay Atlanta, but back the frikkin' Chicago Bears up with every bone in their back (because DVOA says they are better), when they haven't won for years! Even then they admit that the last winning season was a fluke. It's hypocrisy! Mediocre teams do not win for years in succession! Teams that win for years straight are good at winning.

by jw berrie (not verified) :: Sat, 11/12/2005 - 2:59am

This rating system is in need of revision. To rate Atlanta below Miami just after they manhandled in their most recent game is ludicrous. And lower than Oakland? The truth is that Atlanta can play only games with the top 5 rated teams on this scheme and win half of them. Michael Vick's lifetime winning percentage of more than sixty percent cannot be put down to a satistical fluke. Somehow the lad is doing something right.

by thad (not verified) :: Sat, 11/12/2005 - 3:11am

its not common sense.
I have yet to see anyone ever say the falcons have fewer plays for 0 or less yards than other teams because they pass less frequently than other teams.
I never see anyone say hey, if you add all their incomplete passes, sacks, and stuffs you can come up with a negative play index.
So you do this and you realize that the falcons are pretty good at this.
What is the problem here?
They are not explosive.
They don't rip off huge gains consistantly.
You know what that is?
Its a regular season strategy. They will win games by playing it safe. They will make the playoffs. They will have a very tough time with a solid well rounded team. Its really hard to run as much as they do in the playoffs. Ask the Steelers.
You know i did try to answer your question in an original way, I don't know that you had to be so dismissive.

by Se7en_Dust (not verified) :: Sat, 11/12/2005 - 3:37am

#604. First off, wasn't meant to be sniping, and it wasn't directed at you. It's directed at those taking stabs at me. Many here simply want to dismiss Atlanta as a mediocre team because of DVOA. Supposedly, an 11-5 team has as high as a 20% chance of being mediocre, although that would be stretching it. I want a percentage that the same mediocre team could have winning seasons 3 out of 4 years and even the same mediocre team winning 67% of there games with the starting QB in place.

And I don't think there is a formula that can tell you just how much Vick means to his team. Maybe there is one that could be formed, and if so, I'd definately like to see it. But I can guarantee anyone, if that formula were produced, he'd get more credit from his critics. He's far from perfect, but he means a lot to the team just be suiting up and taking snaps. His intangibles are off the charts.

#607. Didn't intend to be dismissive, but they run more because it is their strength. And you are correct that they have lacked explosion in the passing game. What irks me is the people that say this team is mediocre when consistent winning does not = mediocrity. With Vick, Atlanta is establishing a culture of winning.

by NF (not verified) :: Sat, 11/12/2005 - 3:39am

Aaron S.:

Please junk this comment thread. Half of it makes Manning-Brady look reasonable, and it makes my head hurt just reading it.


Over 600 posts! Augh!

by Se7en_Dust (not verified) :: Sat, 11/12/2005 - 7:08pm

Ahh, I see even more chip shots by the "one who cares not or cannot address his critics."

If ya can't take the heat, start the name-calling ("math-o-phobic")! Pretty much tells me all I need to know.

by Se7en_Dust (not verified) :: Sat, 11/12/2005 - 7:19pm

Just one last comment to add. There were two choices here for the owner of this site: 1.) Address his criticism in a professional manner. 2.) Continue with childish sarcasm and cheap shots.

I suggest he get some thicker skin if a few random Falcon fans get under it.

by Melish (not verified) :: Sat, 11/12/2005 - 9:01pm

If you like Sevendust, your opinion isn't worth too much.

Falcons rule.

by AzFalcon928 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/12/2005 - 9:47pm

I just don't understand why You don't rethink the DVOA. When winning teams are ranked below losing teams, That should indicate a problem. Football is more than stats...It is bad weather, or home games, Or away games. It involves wether or not it is played in a dome. Fans can make a big differance in the outcome of a game. Of course fans will get insulted when you say the team they support sucks, because they don't have the right stats. So call me a hillbilly but I see a huge problem with Your DVOA..computers cannot think outside of the box..And football is way outside of a computers capabilities. And rather than getting into an argument and saying we fans are idiots and moving us to an ignore section.. address it and get it over with. My 2 cents

by Ken (not verified) :: Sat, 11/12/2005 - 10:06pm

Makes you nostalgic for Brady-Manning arguments, doesn't it?

by Chris (not verified) :: Sat, 11/12/2005 - 11:28pm


From Post #69 from Aaron

I’m very open to the idea that the Atlanta rating is wrong — just like I was open to the idea that the Denver rating was wrong when they were lower. What I want to know is *why*? I’m only interested in Atlanta fans who have a basic understanding of what we’re trying to do with DVOA and think there is something specific about the Falcons that the formula doesn’t value correctly. Something specific about their playcalling? Is it a clock management issue? I’m not interested in having these ratings be inaccurate. If Atlanta is really one of the best teams in the league, and this isn’t just an issue of luck and (more importantly) schedule strength, I want to fix the formula so they move up.

Long time readers of this site also know WHY he did what we did. This site has always been about intelligent and relatively unbiased discussions on how things happen and why they do. While most of the readers do have a team they cheer for, they want to know why they're doing as well as they're doing, how they're going to perform, and what they can expect as the season goes on.

He didn't call all Falcons fans cowards. Nobody here has an issue with intelligent conversation. The issue comes when we get 20 trolls stopping by just saying "THESE RANKINGS ARE CRAP JUST DELETE THE SITE" or "This is bull Falcons deserve to be better you guys are a bunch of nerds".

Most of the Falcons posts have failed to address that question. All the Falcons fans are saying the Falcons are better then the stats indicate? Why? What might be giving them a falsely low rating? Too strong of a Strength of Schedule adjustment (VOA has them at 5th in conference, 10th Overall, as opposed to DVOA which has them 17th and as an average team)? Something special about their fumbling techniques? Something they're doing differently that isn't being accounted for?

Nearly all the comments to this have just been something vague ("intangibles" that fans and commentators can somehow witness and understand but can't define) or have brought up subjective arguments as to why the Falcons are being underrated.

Nobody has bothered going through and said for example "The Falcons have had 12 fumbles this year. Of those, 6 went out of bounds" - That's a statistic that can somewhat be attributed to skill (Good runners shift the balls to their outside hand so if they do fumble, it goes out of bounds).

Nearly all thats been done is just calling out the ratings and demand proof of why the numbers say they're low - and when given the numbers of why its low, them just discarding the entire system. If you see a flaw or can point out a way to improve it, do so. I don't think anyone is going to complain with making it more accurate.

by Se7en_Dust (not verified) :: Sat, 11/12/2005 - 11:37pm

#615. Chris, clearly some fans are gonna be trolls. But as the owner of the site, you can act in a professional manner, addressing the issue ion a professional way, or you can act like the same teenage trolls and resort to namecalling and such. While I came here in disagreement with this system, I found it to be interesting and enjoyed debating the issue and learning some new things.

"One final note. We want our readers to be able to discuss these projections. We know there is a good chance that we will have to shut the comments down at some point because of the Atlanta people. They have posted on their message boards to come to FO and post repeatedly about how Atlanta rulllezzzz or some such nonsense. They don’t want to let you talk about Indianapolis or Miami or Denver or Seattle or anyone else. Atlanta fans can rant all they want in that unreadable 600-post thread, we’re not going to delete any of it. But last night we had to delete a dozen comments from the “non-Atlanta� thread because the Atlanta fans have no respect for fans of the other 31 teams."

by Se7en_Dust (not verified) :: Sat, 11/12/2005 - 11:41pm

^^^ But this is lumping all Atlanta fans into one category and dissing the entire fanbase. It is and always will be unprofessional as hell.

by Jerry F. (not verified) :: Sun, 11/13/2005 - 1:00am

Yeah. It's poor wording. That's all it is. He respects intelligent fans of any team. What, do you think he's some kind of sports racist or something? Obviously, he failed to say "some" Atlanta fans, but it shouldn't be hard to figure out who he's referring to.
"When winning teams are ranked below losing teams, That should indicate a problem."
So you're advocating ranking teams based on their record? Just look at the standings then. The whole point of the site is to rank teams by statistics. The statistics either work or they don't. If they don't jive with records then there may be a problem, but it's best to look at specifics of what that problem may be. There are fluke teams that are way worse than their records.
If you have a big problem with computers and boxes, then these rankings and this site may not be for you. That doesn't mean you have to hate on it. These rankings don't have any actual effect on the Falcons. You can root for them just the same as though they don't exist.

by AZ,falcon928 (not verified) :: Sun, 11/13/2005 - 1:25am

Ok I get it..This is about stats..But the problem is that a nationwide sports website is using this as a power ranking. It may show strong points and weakness, but it does not show the entire picture. You wants reasons correct? The best that I can give to You is that the Falcons are anything but conventional. They will not be a Fantasy football team. And it seems as though this is what people want these days. Vick is a rushing quarterback..He can pass the ball and do very well. But he will not ever be like Marino. I say as far as stats go You are correct..But for this to rank who is the best team..Is never going to work. An old saying comes to mind KISS Keep it simple ######. It is football it does not need to be this complicated.

by Chris (not verified) :: Sun, 11/13/2005 - 1:34am


Anytime you're trying to accurate predict whats going to happen when over 20 professional athletes are all doing different things in an effort to achieve a single unified goal, its going to be complicated. =P

That said, DVOA doesn't really work anything like Fantasy Football. Individual players are rewarded as compared to each other. Teams are rated as compared to each other. It's not punishing the Falcons because Vick isn't putting up fantasy numbers - (You think Jacksonville is putting up terrific numbers?) - It's punishing the Falcons because of a weak schedule and a statistically difficult to maintain fumble recovery rate.

by AZ,falcon928 (not verified) :: Sun, 11/13/2005 - 2:15am

(Anytime you’re trying to accurate predict whats going to happen when over 20 professional athletes are all doing different things in an effort to achieve a single unified goal, its going to be complicated. =P..end quote)...........................................................

Nice try...You never answered why You feel this is an accurate way to pick the most powerful team on a national website. You show what each team does well and what each team does poorly. But this by no means dictates who will win and who is more powerful. The fight is not with the stats..at least not with me. The fight is that this in no way should be used by anyone to do power rankings. Team A passes well and but rarely rushes...Team B rushes well but hardly passes..Who will win? Math will not tell You this. Ok You say the squedule is weak..Why? Because the system tell You so..The Forty Niners beat the Buc's..According to this system they should have been slaughtered. You say the Falcons only win because of fumble recovery..Do You even watch the games?

by James Patrick (not verified) :: Sun, 11/13/2005 - 3:27am

I'm a little late to the party, but wanted to add my 2 cents:

RE: Michael Vick, he is the proverbial square trying to fit in a round hole. It can't be done. Vick has 2 playoff victories in which he was the dominant player on the field, yet failed to net 200 passing yards combined. Falcons fans know he can produce clutch plays even if his statistics are horrible, and frankly, that's why we love him and get our defenses up when statisticians knock him. So be it. Until he becomes a consistent passer (which I believe he will), he's gonna have his detractors. I'm fine with that.

RE: Defensive recovery of fumbles. The Falcons defense is a big play defense. This can be maddening and may be unreliable, but Atlanta's coaches stress turnovers and sacks over yards allowed. This is a quote from an article I read earlier today about D. coordinator Ed Donatell. I'm sure many of you already know this:

"Though all NFL teams emphasize creating turnovers, takeaways have been Donatell’s calling card as a defensive coordinator.

His Packers defenses never finished a season rated higher than 12th in yards allowed, but from 2001 to 2003, their 119 take-aways led the league.

Last season, Atlanta improved from last in the NFL in yards allowed and 30th in points allowed in 2003 to 14th in both categories. The Falcons tied for 11th with 32 takeaways last season and are 10th this year with 17."

Anyone who remembers Jim Mora's defenses in SF knows he shares a similar philosophy. So I would argue that, yes, we DO practice causing fumbles and fumble recoveries. The Falcons emphasize speed on defense. Donatell speaks of "feeling the swarm" when the defense is clicking. Because of said "swarm," the defenders tend to be around the ball when fumbles occur. So there is some technique to it. Whether this is a successful defensive philosophy in the long run remains to be seen, but it does take some of the "lucky" breaks out of the equation.

by DavidH (not verified) :: Sun, 11/13/2005 - 3:44am

There has been discussion about the Falcons having fewer "negative plays" than other teams, where negative plays means incomplete passes, sacks, stuffed runs, etc.

I can't find all the info available to count up the negative plays for each team, but I can get pretty close by using the offensive line stats from this website, specifically Stuffed percentage:

Percentage of runs that result in (on first down) zero or negative gain or (on second through fourth down) less than one-fourth the yards needed for another first down.

Multiplying the stuff% by the number of rushing attempts listed on NFL.com gives an estimate of the stuffed runs. Add in incomplete passes and sacks, and you have negative plays. Divide this by the total runs + passes + sacks, and you have the Negative Play Index (name suggested by Thad).

Guess what? The Falcons are middle of the pack, nothing special. Here are the estimated NPI of all NFL teams. This lists team, stuffed runs, incomplete passes, sacks, total plays, and NPI.

(I hope this looks OK... no way to tell before I post it.)

1 ind ….. 44 , 74 , 5 , 507 ….. 24%
2 cin ….. 53 , 88 , 14 , 572 ….. 27%
3 buf ….. 42 , 88 , 20 , 483 ….. 31%
4 car ….. 49 , 90 , 12 , 481 ….. 31%
5 den ….. 52 , 99 , 10 , 511 ….. 31%
6 cle ….. 29 , 98 , 17 , 454 ….. 32%
7 gb ….. 50 , 102 , 10 , 501 ….. 32%
8 sea ….. 60 , 92 , 15 , 512 ….. 33%
9 pit ….. 59 , 76 , 14 , 455 ….. 33%
10 kc ….. 53 , 102 , 17 , 523 ….. 33%
11 sd ….. 73 , 96 , 13 , 547 ….. 33%
12 dal ….. 73 , 89 , 21 , 547 ….. 33%
13 atl ….. 59 , 95 , 18 , 507 ….. 34%
14 stl ….. 49 , 101 , 24 , 500 ….. 35%
15 ne ….. 52 , 109 , 12 , 485 ….. 36%
16 was ….. 55 , 115 , 22 , 534 ….. 36%
17 det ….. 57 , 105 , 20 , 506 ….. 36%
18 nyg ….. 44 , 125 , 12 , 492 ….. 37%
19 tb ….. 69 , 96 , 25 , 516 ….. 37%
20 chi ….. 57 , 103 , 18 , 481 ….. 37%
21 phi ….. 36 , 132 , 17 , 498 ….. 37%
22 bal ….. 65 , 112 , 20 , 527 ….. 37%
23 ten ….. 68 , 132 , 18 , 584 ….. 37%
24 min ….. 46 , 100 , 36 , 485 ….. 37%
25 jac ….. 67 , 98 , 20 , 494 ….. 37%
26 hou ….. 54 , 75 , 43 , 449 ….. 38%
27 no ….. 59 , 135 , 28 , 575 ….. 39%
28 oak ….. 48 , 126 , 17 , 491 ….. 39%
29 sf ….. 50 , 88 , 25 , 406 ….. 40%
30 mia ….. 55 , 128 , 12 , 486 ….. 40%
31 ari ….. 68 , 139 , 26 , 547 ….. 43%
32 nyj ….. 64 , 102 , 28 , 454 ….. 43%


One more thing. All this talk about Atlanta being better than their rating has focused on Vick and the offense. But the defense is the unit that is pulling down their rating. Why aren't there ideas about why the defensive rating is off?

by Chris (not verified) :: Sun, 11/13/2005 - 5:27am

Nice try…You never answered why You feel this is an accurate way to pick the most powerful team on a national website.

Why would I say that? I don't think DVOA is accurate at all.

Through visiting the site for 3 years, I think its generally more CONSISTANT then things like Peter King's "Fine Fifteen".
But as I said before, there are regularly teams I think are underrated or overrated. (I think Pittsburgh is underrated in this one for example). Just because stats say something doesn't mean everyone agrees with it.

The fight is that this in no way should be used by anyone to do power rankings.

I've decided to do my power rankings right now on the spur of the moment. Here are Chris' "Dominant Five".

1) Houston
2) Carolina
3) San Francisco
4) Miami
5) Tennessee

Anyone can do power rankings. Lots of people do - there are hundreds all over the internet. Do you think theres anything special about the term "power ranking"? It just means "This is what some guy on the internet thinks" 99% of the time.

by Jerry F. (not verified) :: Sun, 11/13/2005 - 12:45pm

Actually, all sports websites are nationwide. That's the great thing about the internet. The thing about rankings is every sports website has them and they all look pretty similar. So, one chose to do rankings that look different and maybe measure teams better. But, like the others, they have no effect on anything. In the past, these numbers have done well. Should the system be junked just because they might have a problem with one team?
As far as accuracy and consistency, isn't consistency enough? You can't be "accurate" without either a god-like wisdom or an ability to match perfectly each individual's opinions, apparently. So, why shouldn't they strive for consistency? A consistent measure comes a lot closer to being accurate than an inconsistent one. Again, if you don't like the stats, look at ways they need to be fixed, or don't look at them at all. Foxsports isn't the only place to go for power rankings.

by james (not verified) :: Sun, 11/13/2005 - 2:59pm

Whoever pointed out that Atl's defense is what's pulling their rating down hit the proverbial nail on the head. Thanks for rendering 600 plus posts irrelevant.

Atl's offense is ranked 10. So why is everyone acting as if Atl offense is being underestimated? Should they be higher than 10?

by B (not verified) :: Sun, 11/13/2005 - 6:52pm

Re 626: Atlanta's biggest problem is thier run defense, and thier pass defense isn't much better. 10th seems about right for thier offense.

by rollo (not verified) :: Sun, 11/13/2005 - 9:12pm

Green Bay 33 Atlanta 17 with 2:40 left in the 4th

yuk yuk yuk

by Sid (not verified) :: Sun, 11/13/2005 - 10:05pm

LOL. Reading Atlanta fans bash DVOA is hilarious. Most of them never even learned how to spell. Of course they wouldn't know anything about statistics, if they never even learned elementary spelling.
It seems like every week we get the mentally handicapped complaining about DVOA. I guess that's the price of publicity...

by Andrew (not verified) :: Sun, 11/13/2005 - 10:17pm

Crow is now being served for Se7en_Dust and the rest of the Atlanta Homers crew.

by Sid (not verified) :: Sun, 11/13/2005 - 11:07pm

RE: 36

I think that about sums it up.

by Jerry F. (not verified) :: Sun, 11/13/2005 - 11:55pm

Hey. The Packers are a good team. I'd go so far as to say they're one of the top four teams in the whole NFC North. I mean, they haven't even been mathematically eliminated. Plus, everybody knows they're killer on the road, and in domes.

by emcee fleshy (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 1:00am

I'm a Falcons fan who couldn't even watch the game today because the outcome was so obviously pre-ordained after the above disaster.

Thanks for destroying any chance of the Falcons winning today folks. After that display, God himself was inclined to go to the Ga. Dome and make sure a couple of fumbles bounced the wrong way.

From now on, just stay OTP, root for the Bulldogs, and leave the Falcs alone.

by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 1:36am

Aaron - apparently you did not read Schatz’s explanation of why he is so wrong on the Falcons for a season and an half now.

WTF? How stupid can you get? That didn't even make sense.

by Se7en_Dust (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 1:51am

Actually, the only time crow can be served to either side is in December/January.

How bout those Vikings and Steelers?

by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 1:56am

Speaking of Bill Simmons, he very nearly managed to pick every game game wrong against the spread this week. Impressive.

by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 2:47am

RE: 91

Do you think before you post? Schaub is 10 times the passer Vick is, and was thus able to exploit New England chief weakness; their shoddy secondary. Vick NEVER would have been able to do what Matt Schaub did.

by DavidH (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 11:07am

Sid, the party's already over. :)

by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 1:26pm

I know, I just figured I'd pile on since I wasn't there when the party was going. :P

by Parker (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 2:03pm

So before the game Atlanta was 17th in DVOA and GB was 21st. I wonder if this weeks performance will put the 2-7 Packers above the 6-3 Falcons, with respect to DVOA.

The results of the game make reading almost all of the above posts close to worth it. Hilarious.

by Jason O (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 5:10pm

Agreed Parker. When those num(b)skulls descended on FO I stayed clear for a few days.

In the words of my New England friends who I don't despise (as much anyways) after last Monday:

"How 'bout DEM apples?"

Samkon Gado. Unfriggin'believable.

by Lindsay (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 5:50pm

Aaron, as a devoted proponent of Football Outsiders and a devoted proponent of the Atlanta Falcons, I hearby apologize on behalf of our stupid fans. I'm not doing it because of the Green Bay loss, I was already planning on it as soon as I saw what they were doing. I understand DVOA. I understand the rankings. I also understand that Vick is NOT the greatest thing since sliced bread (especially stat-wise). I tried to explain this to everyone on the Atlanta Falcons Message Board, but they have all taken stock in the belief that Stats Don't Matter, Just Wins. Because our quarterback doesn't have conventional stats, but he does win a lot, Atlanta fans now don't spend too long thinking about stats. Don't get me wrong, I don't like Atlanta being rated that low, but I UNDERSTAND why they are.

by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 10:17pm

RE: 101

But Vick is worth 4 points...

...over Craig Krenzel. Not over Matt Schaub.

by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 11/14/2005 - 10:38pm

RE: 140

It doesn’t matter if you give up 98 yards on a drive, but then make a big play that prevents them from scoring. By the same token, it doesn’t matter if you drive 98 yards if ya can’t punch in the TD

So FGs are worthless? Brilliant! Only the mind of an Atlanta fan could divine that.

RE: 126

Any ranking system that is judged purely on stats and leaves out common sense will always be flawed in a major way.

Wins and losses are also statistics. I think we should just use common sense to figure out which teams should make the playoffs. My common sense tells me that Baltimore and Minnesota make the playoffs, and Cincy and Atlanta don't. Wait, statistics matter? Now you tell me.

Finally, I move we vote Dirk Diggler (or however the heck you spell that buffoon's name) off the site. :D Being voted off the site means you're a non-entity, and we get to ignore your comments. ;)

by Mark (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 8:19pm

Considering the fact that the NFL is a stat driven sport I can understand the smart, but futile attempt to create a more comprehensive "power ranking system". However I feel the exposure these rankings are receiving are more from innaccurate rankings than factual value(accurate rankings). The Cowboys for example have played all their games except two(eagles and cardinals) close, even losing to Washington who's some how below them. Considering they have identical records, how? Then you have the Bengals at 2 then Pitt at 9. Pitt crushed the Bengals at home, both have same record, but difference of 7 spots? Yeah right! The Bengals have not beaten a single legitimate team, the Bears dont count(they(the bears)haven't beat any winning teams) Then San Diego, who I believe is possibly the best 5-4 team ever, condersing they've lost four games(Quoting Herm Edwards "We play to win the games") and over the years under schottenheimer have displayed a propensity to melt down, how can they be 4 above teams they lost to w/better records. I think inconsistency is a understatement in terms of your rankings. I do feel your ranking are an effective tool to gauge how a team is playing over a course of time, but not an effective tool to predict wins and losses, or even projected standings. Plus I think Atlanta and Carolina should be in top ten, more so Carolina than Atl after the letdown to Green bay
And to support my comment Here's a more accurate top 16.
10.Tampa Bay

I'd love to hear opinions of this top 16 and my thoughts. Feel free to respond, challenge, and dispute.

by Mark (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 8:46pm

oops switch washington and tampa bay

by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 11/15/2005 - 9:38pm

RE: 171

But I just got ask you guys one question - what record do you think the Falcons will have this season? And at what point will you say they are legit?

1)I expect them to be 10-6 or so.
2)They'll be legit if they win a Super Bowl without a QB. If they can do that, I take back what I've said about Ron Mexico.

by Sid (not verified) :: Thu, 11/17/2005 - 1:44pm

Billin - thanks for the condensation.

That is too funny. Only an Atlanta fan...

by Sid (not verified) :: Thu, 11/17/2005 - 2:35pm

RE: 211

you dont have to join the condensation band wagon.

Is that like a bandwagon filled with ice cubes? Well, you don't have to worry about me joining that bandwagon. It's so damn cold here in NYC that even thinking about that bandwagon is making me shiver violently.

by Sid (not verified) :: Fri, 11/18/2005 - 12:47am

RE: 219

I say you lose the division. How much money you going to put up, chump?
As you said, "Put your money where your mouth is."

by Sid (not verified) :: Fri, 11/18/2005 - 3:30pm

RE: 228

I think DVOA wins that one. ;)

If the Lions game had been in Arizona, though, it would have been close.

by Sid (not verified) :: Sun, 12/04/2005 - 8:23pm

212 -
Andrew - I would strip you clean if you had the balls to put your money where you mouth is.

Continue to fool yourself.

I wonder how this fool Dugan is feeling now that his beloved Falcons have lost 3 of 4 after their fans jinxed them.

by sharif masawudu (not verified) :: Tue, 10/31/2006 - 9:53am

my name is sharif.male from ghana,20 in age.i am looking for a culd in to play.i am student.hope to hear from u soon.bye