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15 Nov 2005

Week 11 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

There hasnt been too much controversy this week.

So I am left to conclude that either something crazy is going to happen tonight or the DVOA ratings are going to have the Colts ranked 15th somehow. I'll go with the crazy Monday night game.

:: james — 11/14/2005 @ 6:02 pm

Actually, James, you'll go with both.

This week, Indianapolis breaks the system. Or, more accurately, Houston and San Francisco break the system. Because of a strength of schedule adjustment far beyond anything we have ever seen, the Colts drop to sixth in WEIGHTED DVOA and seventh in full-season DVOA.

This is, as you might expect, the primary subject of this week's FOXSports.com commentary, which you will find posted here.

We've had a lot of controversial ratings on this site, but those controversies have always been tied to an issue with the formula that affected multiple teams. Not this time. This issue is complete and total outlier, historically unique. We don't want to screw with the numbers, but we also don't want to punish Indianapolis for the sins of Houston and San Francisco when the Colts won each game by at least two touchdowns. And so, you'll find the Colts on top of the ratings, even though they are not technically number one. Don't worry, this will all shake out in a week or two.

You might notice that the Colts have dropped from 7.7 estimated wins to 7.1 estimated wins. That's not actually related to the schedule strength issue. Prior to this week, we were projecting all teams to the maximum number of games played. Because the bye weeks are done, the maximum number of games played this week is the same as last week: 10.

The other interesting story this week is that we had to update the midseason projections for this week's New York Sun articles, and the changes are interesting. Pittsburgh now projects to win the AFC North at 12-4, with Cincinnati at 11-5, and not the other way around. Seattle projects to go 13-3 and win the top seed in the NFC. Tampa Bay, not Atlanta, now projects to win the fifth seed in the NFC with a 10-6 record. And the NFC East and second NFC wild card will have to somehow navigate this maze of projections: Giants 9.2 wins, Cowboys 9.2 wins, Redskins 9.0 wins, and Falcons 8.9 wins.

Individual pages for offense, defense, and special teams are now updated, player stats will be updated later tonight. (This week, I really mean that.)

Remember, the 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. The FOXSports.com ratings also have a weighted special teams ranking, and I'll put that on the special teams page on this site sometime soon.

One more note: I've had a few people ask, and the term "math-o-phobic" is not a putdown of recent critics of this website. You'll notice in the archives that I've used that term in the intro to every DVOA ratings article since we started in 2003. It's just a reference to the fact that a bunch of numbers on a page is meaningless to most people, so I add commentary in normal English.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through 10 weeks of 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. SPECIAL TEAMS 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
7* IND 24.0% 1 53.1% 9-0 22.3% 4 -9.1% 8 -7.4% 32
1 JAC 34.8% 6 28.9% 6-3 3.5% 13 -29.3% 1 2.1% 9
2 CIN 32.5% 2 48.8% 7-2 22.5% 3 -10.1% 7 -0.1% 19
3 DEN 30.0% 7 26.6% 7-2 21.0% 5 -10.6% 6 -1.6% 26
4 SD 29.5% 4 19.9% 5-4 29.4% 1 1.7% 20 1.8% 13
5 SEA 26.2% 5 36.5% 7-2 23.9% 2 -2.4% 16 -0.1% 20
6 PIT 24.3% 9 34.3% 7-2 9.8% 8 -15.0% 4 -0.5% 23
8 NYG 21.2% 3 38.1% 6-3 3.9% 12 -7.8% 10 9.5% 1
9 WAS 17.9% 10 -1.6% 5-4 12.2% 7 -6.1% 12 -0.4% 21
10 DAL 15.8% 8 20.6% 6-3 -1.4% 18 -15.3% 3 1.9% 12
11 CAR 14.1% 13 33.8% 7-2 -1.3% 17 -12.7% 5 2.7% 8
12 KC 10.5% 11 5.5% 5-4 8.3% 9 -1.4% 17 0.8% 16
13 NE 6.3% 15 -11.5% 5-4 20.6% 6 16.2% 30 1.9% 11
14 CHI 6.0% 12 14.1% 6-3 -18.1% 29 -23.8% 2 0.3% 18
15 PHI 2.7% 18 1.1% 4-5 3.1% 14 -4.8% 13 -5.2% 30
16 MIA 1.9% 16 -4.8% 3-6 -11.1% 24 -7.9% 9 5.2% 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 OAK 1.4% 14 6.6% 3-6 6.5% 11 3.8% 22 -1.3% 24
18 TB -3.3% 20 11.7% 6-3 -8.9% 21 -6.9% 11 -1.4% 25
19 ATL -4.7% 17 11.2% 6-3 6.9% 10 11.2% 25 -0.5% 22
20 GB -5.2% 21 -4.4% 2-7 1.2% 15 2.5% 21 -3.9% 28
21 MIN -10.9% 26 -29.3% 4-5 -5.7% 20 7.3% 23 2.0% 10
22 BAL -11.8% 19 -26.6% 2-7 -16.3% 28 -3.0% 15 1.5% 15
23 BUF -13.1% 23 1.0% 4-5 -20.5% 30 0.2% 19 7.5% 3
24 CLE -13.1% 22 -21.6% 3-6 -3.5% 19 11.2% 26 1.6% 14
25 STL -15.6% 27 -19.6% 4-5 -0.7% 16 15.6% 29 0.7% 17
26 DET -15.7% 24 -14.7% 4-5 -12.3% 25 -1.1% 18 -4.5% 29
27 TEN -20.5% 25 -14.4% 2-7 -10.8% 23 13.5% 27 3.8% 6
28 NO -22.0% 29 -24.5% 2-7 -9.1% 22 7.5% 24 -5.4% 31
29 ARI -23.8% 30 -23.1% 2-7 -12.9% 26 13.7% 28 2.9% 7
30 NYJ -25.4% 28 -31.5% 2-7 -26.8% 31 -3.9% 14 -2.5% 27
31 HOU -33.1% 31 -58.8% 1-8 -13.9% 27 27.3% 32 8.2% 2
32 SF -67.4% 32 -75.5% 2-7 -52.7% 32 21.6% 31 6.9% 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).


TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L ESTIM.
WINS
RANK WEIGHTED
DVOA
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VARIANCE RANK
7* IND 24.0% 9-0 7.0 3 23.3% 6* -17.0% 32 14.7% 1 5.1% 32
1 JAC 34.8% 6-3 6.8 4 32.7% 2 5.7% 7 -22.0% 32 30.0% 5
2 CIN 32.5% 7-2 6.6 5 30.6% 3 -3.3% 23 0.7% 18 22.5% 12
3 DEN 30.0% 7-2 6.5 6 34.5% 1 14.0% 1 1.0% 17 24.1% 8
4 SD 29.5% 5-4 7.1 2 29.9% 4 9.6% 4 10.4% 5 10.8% 26
5 SEA 26.2% 7-2 7.3 1 27.1% 5 -5.3% 27 -16.1% 31 7.5% 29
6 PIT 24.3% 7-2 6.2 7 21.7% 7 2.2% 14 1.6% 14 19.6% 16
8 NYG 21.2% 6-3 5.5 12 18.9% 8 -5.2% 26 11.0% 4 26.1% 7
9 WAS 17.9% 5-4 5.9 8 18.8% 9 4.6% 12 4.5% 10 22.7% 11
10 DAL 15.8% 6-3 5.6 10 14.2% 11 1.1% 15 8.9% 7 26.3% 6
11 CAR 14.1% 7-2 5.7 9 15.6% 10 -10.9% 29 -3.7% 22 12.1% 24
12 KC 10.5% 5-4 5.3 13 10.0% 12 5.1% 10 14.6% 2 7.1% 30
13 NE 6.3% 5-4 5.6 11 6.3% 13 11.9% 3 -11.0% 28 10.4% 28
14 CHI 6.0% 6-3 4.9 14 1.0% 15 -11.8% 31 1.3% 16 31.6% 4
15 PHI 2.7% 4-5 4.6 17 0.6% 16 5.4% 8 6.0% 9 19.8% 15
16 MIA 1.9% 3-6 4.9 15 -0.8% 17 -0.9% 20 -5.0% 26 19.6% 17
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L ESTIM.
WINS
RANK WEIGHTED
DVOA
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VARIANCE RANK
17 OAK 1.4% 3-6 4.7 16 3.4% 14 8.0% 5 8.9% 8 11.8% 25
18 TB -3.3% 6-3 4.1 21 -5.8% 20 -11.5% 30 -3.9% 23 22.1% 13
19 ATL -4.7% 6-3 4.3 19 -5.3% 19 -4.4% 24 -1.5% 21 14.1% 23
20 GB -5.2% 2-7 3.3 26 -1.7% 18 0.1% 16 0.4% 19 23.8% 9
21 MIN -10.9% 4-5 4.5 18 -7.9% 21 2.5% 13 -4.4% 24 17.4% 20
22 BAL -11.8% 2-7 3.6 23 -10.1% 22 5.2% 9 3.5% 12 17.1% 22
23 BUF -13.1% 4-5 3.4 25 -14.0% 25 -7.6% 28 12.7% 3 23.2% 10
24 CLE -13.1% 3-6 4.2 20 -14.9% 26 0.1% 17 10.3% 6 18.9% 18
25 STL -15.6% 4-5 3.5 24 -12.6% 23 -0.1% 18 -14.1% 30 17.1% 21
26 DET -15.7% 4-5 3.9 22 -13.5% 24 -4.7% 25 4.3% 11 39.5% 2
27 TEN -20.5% 2-7 3.0 28 -19.7% 27 -1.7% 21 3.0% 13 17.5% 19
28 NO -22.0% 2-7 3.2 27 -24.5% 29 -0.7% 19 -4.6% 25 39.0% 3
29 ARI -23.8% 2-7 2.5 30 -22.7% 28 -1.7% 22 -5.2% 27 5.6% 31
30 NYJ -25.4% 2-7 2.6 29 -25.1% 30 6.4% 6 1.5% 15 10.5% 27
31 HOU -33.1% 1-8 2.0 31 -29.2% 31 13.3% 2 -13.4% 29 21.7% 14
32 SF -67.4% 2-7 0.7 32 -66.6% 32 5.0% 11 -0.8% 20 59.7% 1

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 15 Nov 2005

317 comments, Last at 21 Nov 2005, 10:09pm by R.J.

Comments

301
by Trent (not verified) :: Fri, 11/18/2005 - 5:20am

BG
Yeah you are right, that's the good thing about not getting so much publicity, the surprise factor. See i'm just frustrated, cause Seattle rarely has "good" seasons like we are having this year, and i guess i'm just anxious for Seattle's success and in turn publicity.

302
by DavidH (not verified) :: Fri, 11/18/2005 - 12:02pm

#294:
The realistic way you would do this is measure it against win correlation after the season when everyone has more time - It SoS is lowered for example and we see the win correlation of those games based on DVOA INCREASE, it means its probably a good sign that it was too strong.

See #284:

this is what i was trying to say - the correlations wouldn’t be better with a 20% smaller adjustment. the amount of the adjustment was determined in the first place by maximizing correlation over the entire data set. so those numbers are as good as they can be within the current paradigm.

303
by X Coach T (not verified) :: Fri, 11/18/2005 - 12:48pm

Re: #280
Kibbles, I didn't realize that game in 2003 was in Indy--I remember it well because it was the talk before they played in the playoffs-how Denver kicked their tails. Although, we went to Indy that year, the team was pretty much the same as in the regular season game. Denver just played horrible--I remember Harrison catching a ball and falling to the ground and no one touched him. They were all arguing about who messed up. he got up and ran for a ton more yards. They just were not in sink that day. Last year they were definitely injured.

The Dallas game next week will be interesting. If Denver can get to 9-2, the division games won't come with as much pressure but 8-3 or 7-4 backs us into a corner. SD still has to play INDY. We don't. Sure would like HFA. Been a while since Denver fans have gotten to witness a playoff game.

Born a Bronco Fan/Die a Bronco Fan

304
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Fri, 11/18/2005 - 12:57pm

For now I would be happy to lay low and catch people by surprise.
Catching the pundits by surprise is no great feat. I doubt too many veteran coaches or players will be caught off guard by the Seahawks.

305
by Parker (not verified) :: Fri, 11/18/2005 - 1:21pm

Am I the only one that thinks in the next couple of weeks this will work itself out without any kind of adjustment?

If Indy beats the Bengals, wont they likely move up? If SF doesn't play in a 40 mph wind and starts playing a little better than 'the worst team ever', wont the strength of schedule adjustment start to ease up on the Colts and, again, move them up?

What if Indy loses to the Bengals? They might lose and move up in the rankings. If they do lose, what does that say about the impact that their easy schedule has had on our perception of their strength as a team?

Someone mentioned earlier that the numbers are what the numbers are. I'm in favor of that position. And while I think there is great value in examing the formula when it produces unexpected results, we should also leave open the possibility that that the formula is smarter than we are. If Indy loses their next 4 games, is there still something wrong with the formula?

306
by Drew (not verified) :: Fri, 11/18/2005 - 1:58pm

If Indy loses their next 4 games, is there still something wrong with the formula?

Yes. It would have been rating them too high.

307
by Se7en_Dust (not verified) :: Fri, 11/18/2005 - 3:04pm

#306. But would it really? Is DVOA really predictive? I don't think so, to a certain extent. DVOA represents how the teams have played to date, but sometimes teams take it up a notch and start playing better football. Others begin to play worse. Over the course of a football season, many things can change, such as starting lineups, injuries, suspensions LOL, etc. These can have a good effect or a bad effect on a team. Sometimes teams with a lot of new players begin to "gel" and start playing better.

To date Indy has played very well and worthy of a #1, I think. It's really tricky, but the answer depends on what you want to get out of the DVOA. If you just want an analysis of how each team has played in comparison to others, with minimal tweaking the DVOA is fine. If you want a Ranking, it's way off base.

308
by Bob (not verified) :: Fri, 11/18/2005 - 3:17pm

#296 I dont find it too strong at all. I think what dvoa is basically saying is the colts haven't beatan anyone good enough yet. which in all likelihood is true. maybe dvoa should have a warning next to the colts noting that they are infact out of the range where more reliable rankings exist.

but I dont necessarily think the colts SHOULD be #1 at this point with their corresponding opponents. especially when teams like denver and jax have racked up a lot more tough games.

309
by silentdibs (not verified) :: Fri, 11/18/2005 - 4:51pm

Hi all. Long time lurker, first time poster.

Please bear with me while I run through some stuff that's been rattling around my skull for a few days.

***

Here's a thought experiment:

Suppose the NFL was evenly divided between "good" teams that were all equally "good", and "bad" teams that were all equally "bad".

One strange year, EACH good team plays EVERY bad team - their schedule is filled only with bad teams - and in each game the good team wins 21-0.

Given that each good team played only bad teams (and each bad team played only good teams), would a strength-of-schedule adjustment wipe out any DVOA difference between the good teams and the bad teams? How great would an adjustment have to be before the difference in DVOA between "good" and "bad" teams would seem small to a counter-intuitive degree?

***

I am curious as to how the opponent-adjustment is applied. Denver lost to Miami in week 1. In week 10, which Miami's stats were used to calculate the effect on Denver's DVOA? Miami from week 1, or Miami from week 10? Somehow I feel like this question gets at some of the same modeling problems my thought experiment points at, but I can't articulate it well...

***

I come down on the side of leaving the Colts in their calculated position on the table. Nothing was served in moving them to the top of the table except lending the impression that they belonged there. If three of their wins came at the expense of two teams with the worst DVOA in recorded history, then perhaps they really aren't any "better" than some of the 7-2 teams who have had tougher opponents. DVOA exists precisely to get at this story behind the story, and I am saddened that the assumption is that the Colts are "obviously" number one and that therefore DVOA must somehow be broken.

After all, last week the Colts were only 1.3 percentage points ahead of the Bengals in DVOA, and within 5 percentage points of the next three teams, and there was no hue and cry for re-examination of the system. The Colts did not have to fall that far to be passed by five or six other teams.

This is all much ado about nothing until the rest of the season is played out, and since the formula won't be monkeyed with until then, it's all just smoke... except I see that blue line at the top of the chart and my stomach turns, just a little.

Keep up the good work, everyone.

310
by Rick "32_Footsteps" Healey (not verified) :: Fri, 11/18/2005 - 5:31pm

Okay, just curious about two things:

First, did anyone notice that despite all the complaining, Indy is still ranked 7th? I mean, Aaron could put all the teams alphabetical by location name, and it wouldn't make the Cardinals first - just the first mentioned. Here, the Colts aren't first - just mentioned first.

Second, since it would be interesting to know - how many more points would the Colts have to had scored in order for them to overcome the DVOA adjustment for Houston and SF? I'm imagining 60-point margins of victory here.

311
by Jerry (not verified) :: Fri, 11/18/2005 - 7:01pm

Re 309 & 310:

Keep in mind that (D)VOA is based on performance on each play, not points. In silentdibs' thought experiment, you'd want every play-by-play to be the same, not just the score. And the Colts would have had to be more successful on more plays to improve their DVOA. A greater margin of victory would likely result, but it wouldn't be the cause.

312
by Falco (not verified) :: Fri, 11/18/2005 - 7:24pm

I am going to depart from the Colts, Team DVOA adjustments chat, which appears to have run its course. Can someone at FO provide me some further breakdown data on my Chiefs.

The current Defense DVOA with breakdown for types of WR lists KC as 15th against #1 WR, 30th against #2 WR. However, I recall that they were much worse against #1 WR a few weeks back. I know that the first five games, the Chiefs played the corners as a LCB/RCB, so offenses could move the #1 WR to get the matchup they wanted. Washington Redskins did this all day, as Surtain was consistently matched up on Patten, and Moss was free to roam elsewhere. After that game, they switched and Surtain covered the #1, Chambers, for Miami on the short hurricane week (though he wasn't covering him for the garbage TD from Rosenfels). I believe the Chiefs have gone away from LCB/RCB since, and now match up. Surtain did miss the recent OAK game, and in that one, primarily Warfield was on Porter and Washington was on Moss.

Do you have the DVOA breakdown from weeks 1-6 vs 7-10 for both types of receivers? Its my impression that although the #30 looks bad, its even worse than that, because for most of weeks 1-6, Surtain was actually covering 2 or lower, and the others were covering #1 WR, but it has been switched since then, and teams have been throwing extremely successfully at will at whoever was not covered by Surtain.

Also, with the talk of how Roethlisberger vs backup QB affects Pittsburgh, can I see the offensive DVOA of KC in games with Roaf at LT, versus without Roaf? I think his injury has been a huge impact. My eyes tell me it is a significant difference, and my eyes also tell me that Jordan Black may not be able to start for the Texans. Maybe I am wrong and the numbers are closer, but just hoping Roaf will somehow come back and make it better. And we'll find out about Jordan Black compared to the Houston tackles Sunday night.

313
by BG (not verified) :: Fri, 11/18/2005 - 8:31pm

278

Steve:

I think that the reason the Colts are the obvious best is that they haven't been beaten. For the most part they have never trailed in a game this season. I think Jax had a lead for a short period on the Colts, and that's it. As for being even against Seattle in week 16. The reason is that everyone is guessing the game is meaningless. If they played Sunday the Colts would be at least the 5 point favorite they are in Cincy. Right now the Colts would be favored against any team in the NFL home or away. That I would say is being the obvious number 1. Like you said the great thing is that the teams will play each other and everything will sort itself out.

314
by R.J. (not verified) :: Sat, 11/19/2005 - 4:18am

#313
Never trailed for the most part? The NFL sometimes plays games on Monday night, you should check it out. (The Colts played one of the few even "semi-decent" team so far on their schedule that night a few weeks ago and were trailing 17-0 before the opposing starting QB got hurt and had to come out.)

315
by silentdibs (not verified) :: Sat, 11/19/2005 - 10:37am

Jerry (311):
Yes, I'm aware of what (D)VOA measures. That was actually the third version of my post, and an earlier version of my post included a line about point being a shortcut for purposes of the experiment. Mea culpa.

316
by BG (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 5:50pm

RJ:

I stand corrected. The worst part is that I was at that game. Too many refreshments I guess.

317
by R.J. (not verified) :: Mon, 11/21/2005 - 10:09pm

316
Those refreshments sound like the best part to me . . .