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» Clutch Encounters: Week 7

Saints bomb again in the final minutes. Also: Kyle Orton's rare GWD, Andy Reid's game management, the return of Colt McCoy, Jets' regression and you can't blow out Russell Wilson.

29 Nov 2005

Week 13 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

This week in the FOXSports.com power rankings commentary: The Colts back on top, Edge's historic season, the problem with the Bears, and an afternoon wasted with Tom Lehrer.

Originally, this commentary was going to include some really amazing new research on the wins that define great teams, but we decided to give that its own article tomorrow afternoon. Cool stuff, you're gonna like it.

A reminder that these are the new DVOA ratings with "second-order opponent adjustments." For now, only the 2005 TEAM numbers will have the second-order adjustments. Individual numbers and years before 2005 are still old school for now. There's a lot of new code to be written into the tools I use to create my numbers and tables, and doing the second-order opponent adjustments manually each week until the coding is done will take a lot of time. We'll include the first-order numbers each week for comparison purposes, but I haven't had a chance to get those onto the tables yet.

FO readers may remember that last week, when I re-did the opponent adjustments, I wrote the following:

The next thing on the to do list, if I can get time, is to test which is better for forecasting future performance: DVOA, weighted DVOA, estimated wins, or "weighted" estimated wins.

Well, I found the time this weekend and did the a very quick test, based on trying to predict the results of Weeks 12-17 based on ratings through Week 11. Based on this test, weighted DVOA was slightly more accurate than either estimated wins or "weighted" estimated wins (i.e. the estimated wins formula using weighted DVOA instead of regular DVOA). This makes some sense, because estimated wins was not created to be predictive -- it was created to be explanatory, to answer the question, "Why is team X winning more games than DVOA might indicate?" Now, I could work on a formula for estimated wins that was supposed to be predictive, but I won't have time in the next few weeks. So for now, we continue to use Weighted DVOA for the FOXSports.com Power Rankings, and Estimated Wins is just another tool in the toolbox that we can use to analyze teams and matchups.

Offense, defense, special teams, quarterbacks now updated. Other positions coming soon.

Once again, further commentary is here on FOXSports.com.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through 12 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.

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. WEIGHTED DVOA for offense, defense, and special teams is available on those separate pages.

IMPORTANT: Beginning with Week 12 of 2005, DVOA is based on second-order opponent adjustments. Until other years are updated with this new system, only first-order DVOA (second table) can be compared to previous seasons.

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


TEAM
TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
W-L WEIGHTED
DVOA
RANK OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
SPECIAL
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
1 IND 39.4% 3 11-0 40.6% 1 32.5% 2 -12.4% 6 -5.5% 31
2 CIN 38.2% 1 8-3 35.1% 3 29.8% 3 -7.5% 11 1.0% 14
3 DEN 38.1% 2 9-2 40.2% 2 28.1% 4 -10.2% 9 -0.1% 19
4 SD 33.8% 4 7-4 31.9% 4 36.4% 1 3.2% 21 0.7% 16
5 NYG 31.0% 6 7-4 30.6% 5 9.6% 9 -12.8% 5 8.6% 2
6 JAC 26.3% 5 8-3 26.7% 6 5.2% 13 -18.6% 2 2.5% 9
7 KC 21.0% 11 7-4 22.8% 7 17.0% 6 -5.8% 14 -1.8% 25
8 PIT 20.1% 7 7-4 18.4% 9 4.2% 14 -18.2% 3 -2.3% 27
9 SEA 19.4% 8 9-2 17.9% 11 24.4% 5 5.7% 22 0.7% 15
10 DAL 17.3% 10 7-4 19.2% 8 3.4% 15 -12.3% 7 1.6% 13
11 WAS 16.6% 12 5-6 18.4% 10 7.0% 12 -11.0% 8 -1.4% 23
12 CHI 16.4% 9 8-3 14.7% 12 -18.5% 28 -34.5% 1 0.4% 18
13 PHI 11.8% 14 5-6 10.0% 14 8.5% 11 -6.3% 13 -3.0% 28
14 CAR 9.6% 13 8-3 11.5% 13 -6.4% 18 -14.1% 4 1.9% 12
15 OAK 5.2% 15 4-7 5.8% 15 9.3% 10 2.6% 20 -1.5% 24
16 ATL 0.9% 18 7-4 -1.2% 16 10.8% 8 9.3% 25 -0.6% 20
TEAM
TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
W-L WEIGHTED
DVOA
RANK OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
SPECIAL
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
17 TB 0.6% 17 7-4 -1.2% 17 -6.5% 20 -7.8% 10 -0.7% 21
18 MIA -6.2% 19 4-7 -10.3% 21 -17.7% 27 -6.5% 12 4.9% 5
19 NE -7.8% 16 6-5 -8.9% 19 14.1% 7 23.9% 29 2.0% 11
20 MIN -8.0% 25 6-5 -4.5% 18 -12.6% 24 -4.0% 16 0.6% 17
21 BAL -12.7% 21 3-8 -9.9% 20 -21.5% 30 -5.7% 15 3.2% 7
22 CLE -13.9% 20 4-7 -16.1% 25 -8.9% 22 8.2% 24 3.1% 8
23 TEN -14.1% 24 3-8 -12.7% 23 -6.4% 19 13.6% 27 6.0% 4
24 GB -14.3% 22 2-9 -11.4% 22 -10.2% 23 -1.4% 18 -5.6% 32
25 DET -16.5% 23 4-7 -15.6% 24 -15.9% 25 -3.8% 17 -4.4% 29
26 BUF -18.6% 26 4-7 -17.6% 26 -20.4% 29 6.4% 23 8.2% 3
27 NO -20.7% 28 3-8 -21.2% 27 -4.9% 17 11.1% 26 -4.7% 30
28 ARI -24.8% 27 3-8 -24.5% 28 -8.2% 21 18.8% 28 2.2% 10
29 NYJ -29.1% 30 2-9 -29.2% 29 -25.7% 31 1.3% 19 -2.1% 26
30 STL -31.4% 29 5-6 -30.8% 30 -4.4% 16 26.1% 31 -1.0% 22
31 HOU -41.6% 31 1-10 -39.5% 31 -17.2% 26 35.0% 32 10.6% 1
32 SF -69.9% 32 2-9 -70.2% 32 -49.6% 32 24.0% 30 3.7% 6

  • 1st ORDER DVOA is the "older style" DVOA from before Week 12 2005 which only runs opponent adjustments once. This stat should be used to compare with previous seasons. (Will be added to table later this week.)
  • NON-ADJ TOTAL VOA is VOA without any adjustment for opponent strength, luck in recovering fumbles, or the effects of weather and altitude on special teams.
  • 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.
  • 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 NON-ADJ
TOTAL VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
1 IND 39.4% 11-0 49.7% 9.6 1 -13.5% 32 8.1% 7 7.6% 31
2 CIN 38.2% 8-3 41.0% 8.5 4 -1.4% 20 -1.6% 19 18.0% 19
3 DEN 38.1% 9-2 32.3% 8.7 3 10.9% 5 5.8% 10 21.3% 9
4 SD 33.8% 7-4 24.9% 8.8 2 9.6% 7 19.5% 2 10.2% 28
5 NYG 31.0% 7-4 36.2% 7.9 5 -1.6% 21 14.4% 4 20.8% 13
6 JAC 26.3% 8-3 28.3% 7.6 7 0.1% 16 -20.0% 32 21.6% 8
7 KC 21.0% 7-4 16.0% 7.1 9 0.7% 15 31.7% 1 11.4% 25
8 PIT 20.1% 7-4 21.3% 7.3 8 1.9% 12 3.2% 12 18.9% 17
9 SEA 19.4% 9-2 27.9% 7.9 6 -12.0% 31 -9.4% 28 10.2% 29
10 DAL 17.3% 7-4 16.3% 7.0 10 5.1% 11 9.3% 6 20.8% 12
11 WAS 16.6% 5-6 -5.4% 6.8 11 11.3% 3 0.8% 16 24.6% 6
12 CHI 16.4% 8-3 15.7% 6.8 12 -8.5% 28 -3.2% 20 33.8% 2
13 PHI 11.8% 5-6 3.2% 6.3 14 8.8% 8 2.2% 15 19.3% 16
14 CAR 9.6% 8-3 25.2% 6.6 13 -11.7% 30 -0.2% 17 16.8% 21
15 OAK 5.2% 4-7 8.5% 6.0 15 10.3% 6 12.0% 5 6.8% 32
16 ATL 0.9% 7-4 14.9% 5.5 18 -8.1% 27 3.1% 13 16.6% 22
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOTAL VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
17 TB 0.6% 7-4 10.0% 5.3 19 -10.8% 29 -7.7% 25 18.7% 18
18 MIA -6.2% 4-7 -8.0% 5.2 20 -1.3% 19 -7.1% 24 20.3% 15
19 NE -7.8% 6-5 -16.3% 5.8 17 11.1% 4 -16.5% 30 9.6% 30
20 MIN -8.0% 6-5 -14.6% 5.9 16 1.5% 13 -4.8% 21 22.5% 7
21 BAL -12.7% 3-8 -22.2% 4.3 23 11.4% 2 -8.0% 26 16.8% 20
22 CLE -13.9% 4-7 -20.4% 4.9 21 0.1% 17 15.4% 3 16.4% 23
23 TEN -14.1% 3-8 -2.5% 4.1 24 -5.9% 26 7.5% 8 21.0% 11
24 GB -14.3% 2-9 -9.2% 3.4 27 1.3% 14 4.6% 11 20.4% 14
25 DET -16.5% 4-7 -19.5% 4.6 22 -1.1% 18 3.1% 14 33.6% 3
26 BUF -18.6% 4-7 -11.6% 3.7 26 -3.1% 22 6.6% 9 27.8% 4
27 NO -20.7% 3-8 -17.2% 3.9 25 -5.2% 24 -1.0% 18 26.3% 5
28 ARI -24.8% 3-8 -18.9% 3.0 29 -3.7% 23 -8.7% 27 11.0% 27
29 NYJ -29.1% 2-9 -36.7% 2.8 30 6.6% 10 -7.0% 23 11.2% 26
30 STL -31.4% 5-6 -21.2% 3.1 28 -5.5% 25 -6.4% 22 12.4% 24
31 HOU -41.6% 1-10 -50.7% 1.8 31 11.4% 1 -19.0% 31 21.3% 10
32 SF -69.9% 2-9 -71.1% 0.3 32 7.5% 9 -10.4% 29 43.9% 1

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 29 Nov 2005

253 comments, Last at 06 Dec 2005, 1:23am by Dr. Evil

Comments

1
by Adam (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 6:45pm

Like every other power ranking system, this is just crap. Ive watched it all year and you know what the only difference between your "statistical" rankings and those twits at ESPN and that moron Dr. Z is? THey dont need a bunch of tables to tell them Indy is #1, Denver is #2 and Seattle is #3.

You cant even get that part right.

2
by fish shure (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 6:48pm

Re: #1

Thank you for that incredibly idiotic analysis.

3
by Richard (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 6:50pm

Like most other posts, your post is just crap. Ive watch them all year and you know what the only difference between your "observation" and the other twits who comment on rankings? They don't need a bunch of trite and clichéd language to tell us that they're a moron, they have no imagination, and they would be better served spending their time learning about apostrophes.

You cant even get that part right

4
by Murr (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 6:50pm

All 4 teams in the NFC East are in the top half of the league, and all 4 teams in the AFC East are in the bottom half. This has been one weird season.

And Eagles ranking of 13 has now planted *just* enough hope in me to think they might be able to make a run at a wildcard. You're killing me, Aaron...

5
by putnamp (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 6:56pm

I'm interested in the dropoffs in top Offensive and Defensive DVOA. The dropoff from the #1 Bears to the #2 Chargers looks pretty significant (12 points - going from the Chargers to the team 12 points behind them brings you from 2nd to 8th place). Offensive DVOA seems to drop off significantly after Seattle at #5 (24.4) to KC at #6 (17.0), but this doesn't seem nearly as remarkable as the Bears defensive strength.

Also, for what it's worth, as a Seahawks fan, Seattle's defense scares the crap out of me. The injuries, the fact that Ray Rhodes is still out, the loss of Hamlin. The only bright spot is that Tubbs will be back soon, Sharper will be back, probably after the Eagles game, and Herndon should be back in the next few games as well. Having D. Jackson back on offense may help take some load off too, if the Seahawks can avoid more 3-and-outs.

Still, if you're looking to get on board the "Seahawks are overrated" train, I think tickets just went on sale this Sunday.

6
by bobman (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 7:09pm

Ah, well, to each his own, I guess.

Adam, if you really think it's crap, why have you been coming all year? If, as I guess, you think there might be something to it, give it a full season. And look at previous seasons. Some of the insight into TB and CAR from last year, and what they predicted for this year, are startlingly good. The absolute top and bottom teams, you're right, most folks can more or less figure out. It's the middle 26 teams, many of which could be spoilers or playoff teams this year and next year, that it's hard to crack. And I think this anaylsis is pretty useful.

7
by B (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 7:15pm

I think Adam is just a joke post. Anybody else kinda suprised that Seattle and Chicago are so close? I've never been a beleiver in the Giants, so I don't buy thier high ranking. I figure the NFC will come down to Seattle vs Chicago, but untill now I never thought Chicago had much of a chance. Still, the fact that the Giants needed two free TDs from the refs to even make the game close indicates Seattle might be better than they look.

8
by bobman (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 7:15pm

I nominate Richard for grammar sheriff. "Come on our, you varmints, and keep your apostrophes in the air where I can see 'em."

9
by admin :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 7:17pm

I'm going to have to start posting zlionsfan's little comment every week:

<team> is clearly ranked <too high/too low> because <reason unrelated to DVOA>. <subjective ranking system> is way better than this. <unrelated team-supporting or -denigrating comment, preferably with poor spelling and/or chat-acceptable spelling>

Oh, and while I'm sure I'll get a lot of mean e-mails from Seattle fans this week, I think they're still the most likely NFC Super Bowl team and I've been on the Seattle bandwagon since the preseason. Hasselbeck on the book cover, and all that.

The best e-mails the last couple weeks were the ones from Indy fans accusing me of "east coast bias" against the Colts. I guess Denver is an Atlantic Ocean beach resort or something.

10
by pawnking (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 7:18pm

I'm not only curious of the predictive power of DVOA on remaining wins, but of special teams' DVOA on the remainder of the seasons' special teams. When I look at the Eagles (Go Birds!) I see that the big drag on their season has been poor special teams' play, which isn't a suprise to anyone who reads this site. Akers is healthy, so we can expect to see improvement there, but how much? And how much difference can it be expected to make?

In other words, can DVOA be tweaked to account for roster changes mid season? Let's suppose that Manning went down with a hammy, out for the rest of the season. Can weighted offensive DVOA be adjusted to change their predicted wins? Or in the Eagles' case, can Akers' return be incorporated to improve their projected ST DVOA for the rest of the year?

Just askin.

11
by tunesmith (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 7:19pm

I don't think it's obvious at all that IND DEN SEA are 1-2-3. I'm still struggling witha tiebreaking algorithm over at beatpaths but depending on the tiebreaker, I can have SEA anywhere from #2 to #8. Most have IND DEN as 1-2 though.

12
by Jay (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 7:22pm

"The best e-mails the last couple weeks were the ones from Indy fans accusing me of “east coast bias� against the Colts. I guess Denver is an Atlantic Ocean beach resort or something."

You didn't know that?

13
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 7:23pm

Re #4: Not only is every single NFC East team in the top 16, every single AFC West team is in the top 16, as well. Since the two divisions play each other, that's 10 games against a top-16 opponant without a single scrub.

Compare this to... say... Indy, who has had the easiest schedule in the NFL *STILL*, and had the good fortune to draw a trip to Jacksonville in a game where they'll be without their starting QB. Give any AFC West or NFC East team that schedule, and they're fighting for a division championship right now.

The bright side is that Denver's two biggest rivals for the AFC West have the first and second hardest remaining schedules. That's a nice thought.

The bad part is that Cincinatti, the main rival for the #2 seed, has had a soft schedule to this point, and has a soft schedule for the rest of the season, too.

14
by bobman (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 7:25pm

Aaron,
Seattlites are too polite to send hate mail. Hate karma...? Watch out, man! But hate mail, no way. In my ten years here, I have heard fewer car horns than in a typical day in NYC. (Of course after 10 years in NYC, maybe I went deaf!)
And in the Indy fans' defense, they don't think of themselves as "east" even though their time zone may be. And face, it, neither do you. What they probably meant was "Former AFC East Opponent Bias." Or something like that. I counseled patience to the followers of the horseshoe, that either we'd end up on top again, or we'd fall and deserve the lower ranking. I guess they did not have faith and did not listen. Ah well.

15
by Chelle (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 7:26pm

I applaud your ranking system! It makes since to me. This is POWERRANKING people, not the playoff selections. We know it's the records that decide who is in,but if you want an example of what the difference is: Minnesota may get in at 8-8 and the Chiefs will be home 10-6. I LOVE YOUR SYSTEM, DON'T STOP PLEASE

16
by johonny (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 7:30pm

I'm surprised the Dolphins continue to sit above the Pats all year. I'm not sure if I should be optimistic for the future or depressed that they are missing out on a prime chance to sneak into the place offs in a very weak east. With 8 AFC teams ranked ahead of the best AFC team it makes you wonder why exactly division leaders "deserve" playoff spots.

17
by Brian (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 7:35pm

East-coast bias? Maybe if you had NYG #1!

#6, #4, and #9 in a row for the Colts seems pretty brutal. Although the drop from Leftwich (18% DVOA) to Garrard (-10% DVOA) probably hurts them quite a bit.

18
by Drew (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 7:35pm

I think Aaron's just using the wrongheaded accusations of east coast bias to draw attention from his far more insidious agenda -- mountain time zone bias.

Amusing observation to me, which has probably already been made: When Washington was 3-0, DVOA still rated them low. They've gone 2-6 since then. But now DVOA rates Washington higher than some "contenders" like Chicago and Carolina. Perhaps they are due for a resurgence?

19
by charles (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 7:45pm

good god, in a matter of weeks washington has gone from overrated to become the dvoa version of the 2003-04 tampa bay buccaneers.

20
by charles (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 7:47pm

i think i need to kidnap gibbs when there is 5 minutes left in the fourth. he's a great coach for the first 55 minutes and for some reason just wants to run jerome from southeast up the middle the last five minutes no matter what the circumstances of the game are.

21
by Richard (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 7:48pm

It'd be interesting to research whether teams with high concentrations of their Total DVOA coming from defense are more successful (wins) than teams with a similarly high portions coming from offense.

Looking at Chicago's DVOA distribution in light of how their games have been playing out (of late), you see that this defense is so good that their field position seems to be leading to points.

But can a similar tactical advantage be derived from a stellar offense? I can't think of one, off hand. Perhaps a stellar offense increases the relative value of a stop of defense?

While that seems valid, that's not the same as an aid to field position. Field position has an direct effect on the offensive's ability to produce points. I'm not sure a stellar offense's ancillary effects can make a like claim. Increasing the value of a stop doesn't increase the ability to stop. Improving field position does improve the ability to score points.

22
by kleph (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 7:54pm

having an "east coast" bias against the colts is just as logical as having them in the "south" division.

23
by brasilbear (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 7:55pm

I just want to applaud footballoutsiders for being the only (as far as I know) site that allows comments on their rankings. In my mind, this validates the rankings more than anyone elses. Could you imagine if Dr.Z. or P.King opened up a comments section that allowed real-time comments.

I also like the fact the the outsiders show up from time to time to defend themselves. Its shows ownership of the product.

Having said that....[cue indignant tone]12th? My Bears are 12th? But Orton is the second coming of Big Ben!!!Our defense is better than the 85ers and the SB Ravens!!!

24
by ian (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 8:01pm

I agree with putnap and can't imagine any real fan of the Seahawks would actually get riled up over these ratings, since many are just waiting for the end of season collapse / post season heartbreak that is customary for Pacific Northwest teams (see Mariners, Sonics, Gonzaga, et. al.)

We love our team, but we aren't going to let too much of our guard down just yet. We also know that the 'Hawks have flaws and those flaws are exploitable. They've gotten lucky, and yeah, maybe there is some kind of karmic justice thing going on, but I'd rather the team be consistently good than consistently lucky.

One of the nicest things about the DVOA has been it has pretty much tracked with my gut anxiety over the actual quality of the Seahawks, so I suppose that makes me feel better about my gut.

25
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 8:03pm

These just make me angry all over again about something I have been harping on for a few weeks now. This week in 90% of the articles about Marucci's firing columnists/bobbleheads have brought up that he is "4-7 in the worst division in football". I still have no idea why people are clinging to this line so much but...

NEWFLASH!!!!!! The NFC North is not the worst division in football.

Its was the worst division through 4 weeks, but its week 12 now, time to re-evaluate some beliefs and stop writing articles with canned lines. If you look at DVOA, or ESPN rankings, or WINS, or anything you want to really the AFC East is clearly the worst division in football, followed by the NFC West. The NFC North is not a good division and has a fairly firm lock on being 6 out of 8, but it is most decidedly not 8 of 8.

The AFC West is just amazing and the NFC East isn't far behind, but by most measures the 3,4,5 divisions are just average diffculty and not even that far ahead of the NFC North.

Anyway, great rankings again FO lots of interesting stuff to mull over. Just venting about a personal pet peeve again.

26
by putnamp (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 8:08pm

I'm sure the Seahawks will have an easy run to homefield if they don't blow it, but I hardly think they're locks for a Super Bowl appearance at this point, especially since their defensive DVOA has dropped consistently the last few weeks. I wonder what they'd look like if you could exchange one of the Giants TDs with a field goal, and if we could somehow figure out what would've happened with the other one.

27
by DavidH (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 8:09pm

On Sportscenter, Sean Salsbury (sp?) just said that SD is probably one of the top 3 teams in the league.

28
by jswindle (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 8:10pm

I too am curious to roster changes that happen mid-season. I believe Philly is an excellent case. With now three marquee players out (possibly more depending on your definition of "marquee"), how does the predictive nature of DVOA account for this? Is there a way of inserting replica stats for a sub?

29
by Ferg (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 8:12pm

Re 21: I don't understand why you think the situation is not symmetric. A good offense will put the defense in good field position just as much as a good defense will put a good offense in good field position (that's a lotta "good"s). And the value of field position is necessarily symmetric from offense to defense. Prime example: 2004 Jets.

For fun I picked out unbalanced teams from this year and last. By "unbalanced" I mean top 10 in offense (by DVOA) and bottom half in defense or vice-versa.

2004 offense-heavy teams: 12-4 Chargers, 10-6 Jets, 7-9 Chiefs, 8-8 Vikings, 10-6 Packers. Combined record: 47-33, 58.8%.

2004 defense-heavy: 9-7 Bills, 9-7 Ravens, 9-7 Jags, 5-11 Bucs, 6-10 Skins, 4-12 Dolphins. Combined record: 42-54, 43.8%.

2005 offense-heavy: 7-4 Chargers, 9-2 Seahawks, 4-7 Raiders, 7-4 Falcons, 6-5 Pats. Combined record: 33-22, 66.7%.

2005 defense-heavy: 8-3 Bears, 8-3 Panthers. Combined record: 16-6, 72.7%.
Now I just pulled that together quickly and it doesn't prove anything. But it at first glance it doesn't seem to support the claim that it's better to be unbalanced towards defense than unbalanced towards offense.

30
by DavidH (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 8:28pm

Richard -

The defense being good leads to good field position for the offense, yes.

AND

The offense being good PREVENTS good field position for the opponent's offense, making it easier for the defense to stop them.

31
by DavidH (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 8:29pm

I should have hit refresh.

32
by b_e (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 8:31pm

Re: #3
That's the best laugh I've had all day -- and I needed it being a (now exposed) Steelers Fan. (And I still think we're going to beat Cincy this weekend.)

33
by putnamp (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 8:33pm

One non-symmetric thing about a good offense that seems to lead to problems is that it has a disturbing tendency to lead to the inexplicable "prevent defense", which seems to prevent nothing but 4th-down related changes of possession.

34
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 8:34pm

Part of my gut wants to say that these rankings are biased due to NFC East and AFC West playing each other... thus the strength bump...

I want to see a couple NFC East vs. AFC East games played for the purpose of "unbiasing" the rankings...

But I understand why the NFL sets the schedule up that way.

Underachieving: San Diego, Washington, Oakland(!?)
Overachieving: Tampa Bay, Saint Louis, San Francisco, Atlanta

35
by Jeremy (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 8:35pm

Re #20.

Actually, in the Raiders game, Gibbs dind't run enough down the stretch. Portis was gaining nice yards on the ground, yet they passed three times more than they ran in the second half.

I tend to think that's why he ran far too often in the second half against the Chargers.

36
by admin :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 8:41pm

Note that a large part of Washington's adjustment is an absurd record of fumble recovery -- I don't have the exact numbers at hand right now but Washington has recovered something like 20% of defensive fumbles and 25% of offensive fumbles.

37
by ian (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 8:47pm

re: 33: another thing that i think happens with a good offense is that the defense is less risk adverse, thinking that a defensive breakdown isn't so devastating if the offense can cope with it.

38
by Catfish (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 8:51pm

RE: 6

I don't think that's the same Adam who has been doing the SNF parodies. This is probably some guy who just found the site.

RE: 34

How sad is it that SF, at 2-9 is OVERachieving?

39
by Fnor (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 9:02pm

We only dropped one spot AGAIN?! I'm beginning to think the FO system is biased in favor of Pittsburgh's particular brand of suckitude.

40
by dan (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 9:04pm

FYI: the nfl has denied that the two giants touchdowns were mistakes. It seems like either holmgren lied or someone who he talked to lied.

41
by Jim Johnson (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 9:21pm

I go right with comment no. 1. You guys try and put a spin on numbers. It's players who play. And nerds who try. There will never be a time when numbers actually predict outcomes. Else don't lay thre game. It's like playing machine poker. No sole.

42
by jim's apple pie (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 9:21pm

Man, Kansas City has just an absolute brutal schedule the rest of the way: Denver, at Dallas, at Giants, San Diego, Cincy. They're going to be lucky to get 3 wins out of that to get to the absolute minimum of 10 wins that they need to make the playoffs.

The AFC playoff picture got a whole lot more interesting this weekend. With Pittsburgh's loss, and Leftwich's injury, it now looks like all four teams have a chance at it. Jacksonville has a pretty easy schedule, but they haven't exactly been blowing out some crappy teams the last two weeks even before Leftwich got hurt. With Garrard in, they probably make 10.

Pittsburgh has two tough games coming up with Cincy and Chicago, so they could find themselves at 7-6 real quickly. They then get the resurgent Vikings before closing with Detroit and Cleveland. If Big Ben can't come back and play well, I think they're looking at 9 wins. Maybe they get to 10.

San Diego gets two easy games with Oakland and Miami to get to 9, but then they have to play at Indy, at KC, and Denver. So they might get to 10 or 11 as well.

It certainly looks like all four teams have a chance to make 10 wins. 11 wins should guarantee a spot then, because I can't see three of these teams all getting to 11.

Right now, I'm guessing that Jax and SD come away with the wild cards. With that schedule, KC might not get to 9 wins, let alone 10. And something tells me that Pittsburgh is going to continue to struggle. If they do lose out on a tiebreaker or something, they're going to be kicking themselves over the Jax game and the Baltimore game.

43
by putnamp (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 9:33pm

#40, They said the Toomer touchdown was never discussed, but from what I can tell, all the "retraction" stated about the Shockey TD was that the call on the field was correctly left to stand, which everyone agrees with. What was not addressed was that the NFL allegedly stated the original call was wrong. However, it was proper to uphold the erroneous call, given the evidence available.

Or something. Basically, I'm confused, but the Shockey TD was still pretty dubious, from what I've read/heard (damn SF-area TV for blacking out the game)

44
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 9:34pm

RE #22:

Take it up with Irsay -- he didn't want to be in a division where he would have to go to Baltimore every year (the Colts are the only moved team that doesn't have that duty), and Modell agreed to join the North, even if it meant going to Cleveland.

And before everyone starts jumping, of course it doesn't apply to the Raiders, since there is no team in LA, and they returned to Oakland.

45
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 9:35pm

40 I don't think anyone lied exactly just writers trying to make it sound more dramatic than it was. From the actual quotes it looked as though the NFL said those situations were handled poorly and that more restraint shoudl be shown in ruling a TD. They never said the calls were wrong that I saw (although a lot of articles tried to cast it that way).

I think this is just another case of TELEPHONE (that game you played in 2nd grade).

Where the league tells Holmgren it thinks the plays should have been handled differently. Holmgren tells the press he was vindicated. The press says the league admits it is a retarded monkey with egg on its face.

And then the league says, hey thats not what we said.

46
by Basilicus (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 9:37pm

Re #9: Aaron, I think you should put that as the first post to every weekly DVOA ranking. It might help to scuttle many of those comments week to week.

Re #27: I wouldn't necessarily disagree with that. San Diego has done well against really good teams. They lost to Denver 20-17 in Denver, they lost to the Steelers 24-22, they schooled the Giants like New York didn't know how to read, and they beat the Chiefs.

47
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 9:40pm

43 geographically minded folks like me hope for the promised land of the AFC three team swap where BAL joins the AFCE, IND the AFCN and MIA the AFCS. Of course that will never happen.

DAL to NFCS CAR to NFCE won't either, but boths moves would make for such pretty and geographically contiuous divisions.

:(

48
by Chris (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 9:46pm

If the Steelers lose to Cincy, they're chance at the AFC North is all but gone.

Cincy and Pittsburgh will split - Cincy having lost to Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, and Indy.

Pittsburgh lost to Jacksonville and Indy as well, but more importantly, they also lost to Baltimore. So against division foes, that'll put Pittsburgh as having 2 losses in the division, while Cincy will have 1 - Giving Cincy the tiebreaker and essentially putting the Bengals 3 games up with 4 to go. (Their next 4 games - Cleveland, @Detroit, Buffalo, @KC)

However, if Pittsburgh wins, that'll put both teams at 8-4, with the Steelers having the sweep and thus the tiebreaker, though Pittsburgh has a signifigantly harder schedule down the stretch.

49
by Drew (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 9:47pm

Re 44

I'm the league will make Holmgren pay for that. Especially for that "purple monkey dishwasher" comment.

50
by Drew (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 9:49pm

Re 48

That should have been "I'm sure". I'm not actually the entire league.

51
by admin :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 9:54pm

People understand why the Ravens, Colts, and Dolphins are where they are, right? Miami has historic AFL rivalries with New England, New York, and Buffalo. Baltimore, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh were the three NFL cities that moved into the AFC during the merger (even though the Ravens aren't the same team) so that's a historical connection. That meant the Colts got stuck in the South.

52
by gripweed (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 9:57pm

I have been checking out this website and it's system off and on all year. As a Bengals fan I have been both encouraged and perplexed by the dvoa numbers that my team keeps rating. I have watched them very closely, and although I do hope in my heart that they are top 3 to top 5 material, I just can't honestly brag about it because I genuinly don't believe it to be so. Our offense is very good but our defense continues to leak like a sieve and be as soft as butter. My guess is that the unusually high number of turnovers that we have generated are skewing the end numbers. Does anybody else see a logical explanation?

53
by thad (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 10:16pm

re 36
the skins on D have forced 19 fumbles and recovered 3
the skins on off have fumbled 23 times and lost 15.

54
by Chris (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 10:17pm

Grip, I'm inclined to guess that Cincy is making a lot of timely interceptions and their offense is forcing teams to abandon the run as very few can really keep up with their offense, so it serves to somewhat mask that deficiency.

55
by Rich (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 10:22pm

These DVOA #'s and this website in general have been extremely helpful for me.
Keep up the good work!

56
by admin :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 10:26pm

Whoops, comment 41 was in moderation for using a bad five-letter "P" word, so the numbering of the past few comments is now off by one. Sorry about that. But let nobody say I delete criticism! Also, I had hamburgers tonight, it is true, not fish.

57
by Jerry F. (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 10:39pm

"Else don’t lay thre game."

What is this?

He does have a point though. Computers lack soles. Until Nike or Reebok or LA Gear puts out a computer I don't really think you're going to be able to make meaningful predictions.

58
by WalterJonesMVP (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 10:40pm

This comment doesn't belong in this thread -- sorry -- but Aaron/Football Outsiders, how about including in the Prospectus next year every young player's statistical "comparables"? It's the sort of thing that will separate your guide from all the other fantasy football rags out there.

For that matter, how about a more robust explanation of KUBIAK projections? (Or is there one that I just haven't read?)

59
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 10:42pm

Random weird table typo:

Indianapolis and Green Bay are both ranked 31st in ST DVOA, even though Indianapolis is listed as -5.5%, and GB as -5.6%. What's a tenth of a percent among friends, though?

As for the person who mentioned Philly's ST DVOA: I would love to see a week-by-week graph. That'd be hilarious.

60
by Jerry P. (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 11:01pm

"People understand why the Ravens, Colts, and Dolphins are where they are, right? Miami has historic AFL rivalries with New England, New York, and Buffalo. Baltimore, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh were the three NFL cities that moved into the AFC during the merger (even though the Ravens aren’t the same team) so that’s a historical connection. That meant the Colts got stuck in the South."

Yep, also why Dallas was kept in the East instead of switching up with St. Louis. Not the switching leagues part, but the historical rivalry part.

61
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 11:04pm

Aaron I am aware of why the divisions are the way they are, but I don't see that many of the still worthwhile rivalries would be affected. Besides new rivalries will always form. Like I said its probably just something that bothers the geographically minded :)

62
by kleph (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 11:13pm

and the historically minded (and i don't mean football).

63
by 10K (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 11:19pm

Becephalus, it goes beyond that. For one, you seem less geographically inclined than you claim: isn't Miami just as East as they are South? Your AFC divisions would be AFC Northeast (but throw in a MidAtlantic) and AFC Midwest (but throw in Indy even though they're over the Mississippi and pretty far south) But anyway... Teams should need to travel. It be pretty absurd that you play all your division games within a 2 hour flight's time. I prefer the fact that the AFC East has to be able to deal with cold weather games in NE and Buffalo and then be able to play in the heat and humidity of Miami.

I think it's rather absurd anyway to try to view divisions in terms of geography over any other criteria. Why? Hell, it's bad enough that we usually have 2 weak divisions (even if it does switch up) meaning an undeserving team or two slides into the playoffs while 5 or 6 good teams are stuck fighting for a wild card. It would be more absurd if geography was the strict determiner of division.

64
by Darren Willett (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 11:24pm

I think one of the problems with the "haters" is they assume that this data exists for the purposes of saying "this team is better/would beat that team". I look at it as a defined analysis of what HAS happened, not necessarily what WILL happen. That being said, I still feel it is a more useful tool for looking at future games than totally subjective analysis.

65
by putnamp (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 11:33pm

I don't think Indianapolis is over the Mississippi. Not knowing the location of the river, precisely, at that longitude, I can only go by my memory of seperation of radio stations between Wxxx and Kxxx call-signs, which was delineated by the radio stations orientation w/r/t the Mississippi River. From my childhood I seem to recollect that the radio stations in Chicago were all W's.

I will check a map immediately after posting this. With any luck I'll still be right :)

66
by putnamp (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 11:35pm

Disregard, I was disoriented with your reference to "over the Mississippi", thinking you were still talking about Eastern divisions. I will now go climb up a tree and celebrate with my intellectual peers by throwing poop at people.

67
by admin :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 11:37pm

Offense, defense, special teams pages now all updated. Green Bay special teams rank fixed. FOXSports.com commentary is online (click link).

68
by DavidH (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 11:43pm

putnap - you're right, why are you throwing poop. Indianapolis is on the same side of the Mississippi as all the other teams in the "AFC Midwest"

10K - "AFC Midwest (but throw in Indy even though they’re over the Mississippi and pretty far south)" ????? Indy is 110 miles northwest of Cincy ... if it's pretty far south, then so are all the teams in the hypothetical AFC Midwest

69
by Ben (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 12:07am

Re:44

Don't blame Irsay. He wanted the Colts in the AFC North with Baltimore in the East and Miami in the south. It was Modell and Rooney who wanted to be in the same division.

While I understand the historical issues, certainly putting Baltimore in the East revives 4/5s of the pre-Indy AFC East.

As a Colts fan, I would have preferred to be in the North. I think it would have made for a great rivalry with the furthest team only being a 4 hour drive (Pittsburgh).

70
by Jim Johnson (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 12:10am

I saw the play. He didn’t get both feet down and have possession. I thought it was another example of poor officiating. The hawks get no respect. But that’s great. We will over come.

71
by Jim Johnson (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 12:12am

Reference #70 to #40 sorry.

72
by John (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 12:18am

First time caller....

I understand Aaron has tried to adjust the 'schedule factor' in these rankings by including the second order adjustments, but I think more needs to be done.

On that note, I have two ideas:

1. remove from the calculations each teams top and bottom 10% plays. This would help eliminate some of the tension from Colts-like schedule anomolies and prevent defenses from benefitting too much from playing the Eagles offense with the vaunted McMahon/Brown combo vs. the McNabb/TO version.

2. weigh the the event data such that the action against good opponents count more than the action against the crappy teams? In the real-world there are measure-stick games so it should be the same in the world of football analytics.

73
by Todd S. (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 12:22am

#49 Nice Simpsons reference!

On another note, hooray for Indy not being last in special teams! Although at this point, I think they should just direct Rayner to kick the ball out of bounds and give it to the opponent on their 35. I think that would have been an improvement against the Steelers.

74
by NF (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 12:23am

Regardless of the geographical oddities of the divisions today, such as the Colts in the AFC South, and the Cowboys in the NFC East, I say it doesn't matter because things were much weirder before the realignment. They also had practical problems, such as Arizona Cardinals in the NFC East, meaning the Cards had to fly across the country for 6 of its divisional games. How big a supporter of division realignment do you think the Cardinals were?

Also, the NFC West was a mess geographically before it was a mess competitively. I just looked at the old division setup, and in the NFC West, along with St. Louis and San Francisco, were New Orleans, Atlanta, and Carolina. Did anyone ever nickname the division the "NFC Coastal, Plus St. Louis"?

Interesting semi-historical fact: In 2001, the Charger started out 5-2, then lost their last 9 games. A parallel: The Chargers started out 3-4 this year, but have won their last 4 games.

75
by Drew (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 12:26am

Detroit since Matt Millen took over as general manager: 20-55. The first five years of the expansion Tampa Bay Bucs, 1976-1980: 23-54-1.

Wow. I've read many disparaging Millen comments up to now, but never seen the situation summed up so perfectly. And it's all the more impressive considering that the '76 Bucs had the league's last anti-perfect season.

76
by John (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 12:43am

Excellent commentary on the Bears at Foxsports!

Bernard Berrian could help the offense and special teams now that he is back after surgery. A deep threat could do wonders for taking some of the heat off Orton in the passing game....

77
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 12:53am

#74 --

Before the merger, there indeed was an NFL Coastal Division -- it consisted of Baltimore, San Francisco, the LA Rams, and (I believe) Atlanta.

Detroit, Chicago, Green Bay and Minnesota were the Central. Cleveland, Pittsburgh, the St. Louis Cards and New Orleans were the Century. I don't remember the name used for Dallas, the Giants, Philly and Washington, but it was a "C" as well. So the league was screwed up well before that.

78
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 1:01am

10k I take great issue with your post as you seem to insult me and you ummm how do I put this politely...

have no idea what you are talking about.

Most of your comments are false or don't even make sense.

"IND is over the mississipi anyway and it is pretty far south"

A: IND is not over the Mississippi (its not even close) and is north of CIN and slightly south of PIT and CLE the other AFC north teams (so no its not pretty far south, in absolute terms, in comparison to other NFL teams, or even in comparison to other AFC north teams).

"MIA is a far east as it is south"

B: MIA is further west and MUCH MUCH further south than BAL. Miami is not "just as east as it is south" NO NFL TEAM IS FURTHER SOUTH than MIA, 8 are further east.

C: For someone who comments on the "geographically inclinedness" of someone who could name every NFL city north to south or east to west, or every country and capital in the world or any number of geographic tidbits (how about all the Roman provinces and capitals under Trajan in order of when they were established?) you seem to have ZERO idea what you are talking about.

I made asugggestion and admitted it probably only appealed to people with a similiar mindset to me and you feel the need to come with your hostile garbage post...

CLE/CIN/PIT/IND would make about as tight a geographic division as you could have with the current conferences (NE/NYG/NYJ/PHI would be tighter, or BAL/WAS/PHI/NY*).

As to why I would want to organize the divsions geographically, that probably stems from how they are named (duh). If they were named divisions A, B ,C, D it would not bother me as much (just the way my mind works).

Moreover your comment about the benefit of long travel times seems ignorant. It leads to large homefield advantages and lopsided games in addition to higher costs for teams (and thus fans). It also makes it harder to develop rivalries and discourages fans from attending away games (perhaps the most fun thign in the NFL).

In some ways I am ashamed I even felt compelled to reply to your "response".

79
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 1:03am

Now I remember -- the fourth division was called the Capital.

Funny how old age sneaks up on you.

80
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 1:20am

Re #34: Well, the AFC West played the AFC East (and pretty much owned them, too), and the NFC East played the AFC West, so I don't see why the NFC East would need to play the AFC East to "unbias" the rankings.

After 4 weeks of the season, absolutely the rankings will be biased if tough divisions keep playing each other. However, after 11 weeks, pretty much everyone will be within a degree or two of separation from pretty much everyone else (for example: Atlanta played Philly who played Denver/SD/KC/Oakland who played New England).

Re #73: Actually, assuming there was no penalty moving the kick, if you kick out of bounds the other team starts on the 40.

Re #74: That's not all. In their inaugural season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were in the AFC West. A fun trivia question is "which old AFC West team is winless all-time against the Kansas City Chiefs".

Re the Fox Commentary: I'm calling foul on writing Denver off against Indy in the playoffs because of their recent history. Weren't you the guys who argued for so long that the reason that New England kept beating Indy had nothing to do with the fact that Peyton couldn't win big games and everything to do with the fact that New England was just a better team? Well, check out Denver and Indy's DVOAs over the past 2 seasons. Indy's been significantly better than Denver the past two seasons, and Denver still is 1-2 in the dome over that span. I like their chances this season. Of course, that doesn't mean I'm not praying that San Diego will get the #6 seed, win the wildcard, and knock Indy off in the divisionals.

81
by michael (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 1:24am

Typo in the foxsports commentary:

The win over Pittsburgh was only one of three events on Sunday that made the path to the perfect season much easier.

The win over PIT was an event that occurred on Monday.

82
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 1:43am

Aaron, glad I could help out. Now all you need is a filter to sift out those comments and direct them to another thread. :)

Re geography: IIRC, Indianapolis is approximately at the same latitude as Denver. Farther south than one might imagine, but not quite a southern city - more than a few inches of snow causes problems, but we do have multiple plows and occasionally use them all at once. Compare to Evansville or Louisville, about 100 miles south ...

The whole geography thing is kind of silly. You can't really use non-directional names - ask the NHL about it. It was a great way to honor past contributors to the sport, but few casual fans could keep them straight. (Also see Century, Capital et al.) If you use directional names, the two things that mess it up are 1) the teams never start out nicely divided into equal groups and 2) they move.

Re Millen: Detroit's record from 2002-2004: 14-34. Houston's record in its first three years of existence: 16-32. The Texans have been kind enough to let Detroit take a one-game lead overall, counting this season (thanks in part to the Rams).

Say, anyone know where I can purchase some blue and silver grocery bags? Having eyeholes already cut out would be a bonus.

83
by admin :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 1:56am

Hmmm. I'm not sure what the connection is between "Peyton wasn't the reason the Colts couldn't beat the Patriots" and "Recent games between Denver and Indianapolis have no bearing on a possible playoff contest." The matchup issues between the Colts and Broncos extend across the entire roster, rather than being an issue with a single player. Denver seems like the same style of team it has been for the last couple years, just a little bit better in most areas. They still are much better defending the short and medium pass than the long pass. A large part of their success against the run is still good tackling in the secondary, which prevents long runs -- not really a help against post-injury Edge. They still, theoretically, should be able to run on Indy, which hasn't really worked out in the last two games. They won't have Rock Alexander getting burned every five seconds, which is a plus. The question is, what did the Broncos do differently when they won the 2003 regular season matchup, and how can they do that again?

84
by pcs (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 1:59am

zlion, the old-school NHL model would be cool. We could have, say, the George Halas Conference and the Lamar Hunt Conference. And the divisions could be, I don't know ... Jim Thorpe, Wellington Mara, Art Rooney, Bert Bell, Pete Rozelle, Paul Brown, Victor Kiam and Prince of Wales.

85
by Old James (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 2:05am

ESPN2's got an NFL Films show on right now with basically a "Moneyball in the NFL" segment. Marvin Lewis: "Stats are for losers."

Mike Tice thinks there are a lot of sexy stats out there.

86
by Old James (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 2:06am

The first metric they're giving a reasonable amount of time to: the Randy ratio. Bah.

87
by Old James (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 2:07am

I know this isn't relevant to the DVOA ratings. Thought this show may be of interest to FO readers, and this seemed the best place for it.

88
by Old James (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 2:13am

"A 7-yard reception on third-and-6 is more valuable than a 19-yard reception on third-and-22" -- Seth Cooperson, STATS Inc. I've read that somewhere before.

This has become a considerably more evenhanded piece.

89
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 2:20am

PCS/zlions @ division names

For my part I loved the old NHL division names and wouldn't mind seeing the like in the NFL. Does anyone really believe the NHL is and was a clear 4th in major North American sports because of division names (and I'm a hockey fan)? The rationale for changing it was that it alienated casual fans.

I mean does anyone really believe it would effect the NFL at all if they switched the names to the powder puff division, the purple pansy divison, the shrinking violets division, and the kermit the frog division?

I bet most fans would laugh about it a lot and it probably would come up a lot in conversation, but I doubt it would really effect the popularity of the league.

I would love to see an american football conference and an un-american football conference where the un-american conference games have people sing exerpts from the geneva convention, or Lord Russell's "Why I'm Not a Christian" before games. That would be hilarious.

90
by Dr. Evil (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 2:25am

Are you on drugs? How can you have the Seahawks at #11??

That is the stupidest thing I have ever seen. Just lost respect for the formula. It apparently no longer represents any reality I'm aware of.

91
by admin :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 2:27am

James, e-mail me about that, will ya? What was in it and who was interviewed? Was it a recent piece, or did it look like it was a couple years old? If it was recent, I'd be a little irked that they didn't call us. By the way, Marvin, how many Super Bowl rings do Bill Belichick and Ernie Adams have, and how many do you have? "Stats are for losers" my ass.

I do drop some Claratin occasionally, I must admit.

92
by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 2:30am

Well, I can understand Marvin Lewis saying that.

Stats are caused by the quality of play. People always say that stats like DVOA have no soul, that its just numbers, it doesn't take into account things like swagger or if a team is fired up - but it does. If a team is fired up, they perform better. If a team has swagger, they perform better, which is reflected in their stats.

I've never heard of a defense with swagger that was letting up 30 points, or a quarterback who "just made plays" that put together a 150 yard, 3 interception game. People don't call Ed Reed a playmaker when he's not making plays.

Stats tell a tale. They tell what has happened. They can tell how it happened, but not necessarily why it happened. They say for example - The Bengals have a good offense and a playmaking secondary. They can't stop the run though. They don't always say why they can't stop the run - coaching? Player talent? Scheme?

Really, the only way to determine what the fault is is trial and error. If all the same players stay there and a new coach comes in and something changes, you're inclined to think it was the coaches influence. A couple years ago when Grady Jackson went to the Packers and instantly improved their Defense - You could compare them with and without him and see he was the difference.

DVOA in general is more saying - This is what has happened and the level that team has played at. If they continue to play at that level, this is what will happen. Teams improve, teams decline. Injuries, effective or ineffective gameplans, more to play for, home or away.

Anyway - /end huge rambling post.

93
by Dr. Evil (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 2:33am

Does your formula take into consideration TDs given to the other team? In that case Seattle should be #1 or #2 and should have been for weeks.

Redskins ranked higher than the Seahawks?? Get real man.

"Giants came as close as humanly possible" more like they were on a wing and an error being given two TDs by the officals. AND THEY ADMITTED IT!!

Bah.

94
by admin :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 2:35am

The reasons behind Seattle's drop from 5 to 11 over the past two weeks should be obvious to anyone who's read the site for a few weeks and looks at every column of the power rankings, not just the number on the far left. In fact, the reasons are so obvious I'll let the readers explain it.

95
by doktarr (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 2:40am

Dr. Evil,

The Seahawks are 4-2 against real NFL teams. And they almost lost to a couple not-real-NFL teams. #11 sounds about right for those results.

96
by Dr. Evil (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 2:41am

I understand the basics of your ranking system. But, I'm quoting you directly from the current rankings. If that isn't the reason why put it in there? Especially if it isn't necessarily true? Oh wait I forgot this is just an extension of the Seattle stigma that has always existed in every aspect of the media. They will probably be ranked 5th when they win the NFC. lol.

97
by Dr. Evil (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 2:45am

Yes cause there are "real" and "not real" teams in the NFL. Any given sunday still applies. That is just an excuse. I guess then if we apply that to ever team then the Colts shouldn't be ranked #1. They have only beaten one "for real" team with a "for real" defense.

98
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 2:53am

Dr. Evil:

I think you might be suffering from selective story reading. They did not, in fact, admit it.

They also state in that press release that the Toomer touchdown was properly called, and the Shockey touchdown had insufficient evidence to overturn it.

The story about the NFL admitting it came out of Seattle, who might be just a little biased.

99
by Andrew (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 2:57am

Pat #59:

Using the method we discussed previously, here's rough Eagles Special Teams DVOA for weeks 4-12.

KC -25%, DAL -14%, DEN -1%, SD 10%, WAS -1%, DAL 10%, NYG -19%, GB 33%

The first three games were undoubtedly highly negative as well with all the missed field goals, Bartrum squib kicks, etc.

100
by Dr. Evil (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 2:58am

Yes because they would like the fact that they messed up two TD calls that almost changed the result of the game, be made public knowledge. Of course they will deny it.

101
by zip (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 3:00am

Wait, did you guys make this whole website because you hate Seattle or Atlanta? I can't keep it straight anymore.

102
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 3:25am

Dr. Evil

SEA plays one of the easiest schedules in the past 10 years this year. Notice that the other three teams in SEA division are all horrible. That is why their 9-2 record is not super impressive to a statistics system that is designed to account for schedule difficulty. Aaron (head honcho and designer or the system) has said himself (I believe) that he thinks Seattle will win HFA and go to the SB.

But, the system measures THE SUCCESS OF PLAYS (not wins and losses, not swagger, not hype) and what it tells us is that Seattle has a weak defense and has done solidly, but not remarkably against an incredibly weak schedule. Seattle has won a a lot of games that could have gone either way and nearly lost to a historically bad SF team.

A GOOD statistical system designed to describe and/or predict as well as it can is not going to have biases against certain temas, and DVOA is thus far a VERY GOOD SYSTEM.

Does it have flaws?
Yes

Can it be improved?
Yes

Does it tell us things we probably wouldn't have recognized otherwise?
Often

Is it better than any other way of examining the performance of teams out there?
IMO yes

Is it a substitue for my (or your) judgement?
No

Try to take the time to learn the system and see what it can tell you about your precious SEA and you will be well rewarded.

Treat this as some system that is going to determine playoff seeding, make everyone a millionaire through sports betting, or reinforce superficial opinions of homer fans (as your's seems to be), and you are going to come off sounding like an ass (which you are).

103
by pcs (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 3:38am

#89: American vs. Un-American. Interesting idea. We could arrange it like this, and then everybody could decide which is the American and which is the Un-American, depending on their point of view:

RED STATE CONFERENCE
Gulf Coast Division: HOU, DAL, NO, TB
Southeast Division: ATL, CAR, MIA, JAX
Central Division: CLE, CIN, IND, TEN
Western Division: KC, STL, DEN, ARI

BLUE STATE CONFERENCE
Northeast Division: NYG, NYJ, BUF, NE
Mid-Atlantic Division: PHI, PIT, WSH, BAL
Midwest Division: MIN, CHI, GB, DET
Pacific Division: SEA, SF, SD, OAK

104
by Israel (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 3:56am

PIT at #9 looks like a good plea bargain to me.

105
by Steve Sandvik (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 4:34am

Speaking as a Seattle fan with a brain, and eyes, I'd like to say that *I* understand why Seattle's fallen over the past 2 weeks. Playing bad against a bad team on the road, and then playing mediocre against a good team at home do not make a great team. The team with the best record isn't always the team that played the best. Any Seahawks fan ought to be able to remember the year they won their last 5 games going away, including blowing out the Broncos, to finish 10-6 and just miss the playoffs, while the Broncos were so demoralized they promply waltzed to the Super Bowl before they got beat. 9-2 doesn't prove Seattle's the best team in the NFC, just that we have the best record, largely due to some dumb luck which has historically not gone in our favor. That can't be quantified statistically, as it's not predictive. Some teams are always going to show up ahead of their actual ability due to the bounce of the ball--witness Washington this year--or behind it--witness Atlanta. If you don't have anything substantive to add about how to make the statistics better, don't you have *one* *million* *dollars* to extort from someone? Shoo.

106
by tim (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 5:37am

i don't get to see any bears games being a native philadelphian, but i was wondering if anyone could break down what exactly they're doing on defense scheme wise? what kind of coverages/dogs/blitzes/gap stunts do they run?

107
by Jason (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 5:58am

I'm ok with the ranking of the Seahawks. (Don't agree with it, but it's their ranking according to this system, so what's their to say? I ain't good enough with math to change it) But the commentary with it makes little sense.

If anything, teams should be MORE worried about travelling to Seattle. There was a little bit of an idea that Seattle didn't have the type of home crowd advantage that other stadiums have and that misperception got flushed down the toilet. More penalties than the Giants have had in 50+ years, and 11 of them were false start penalties.

108
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 6:12am

Re #83: The question is, what did the Broncos do differently when they won the 2003 regular season matchup, and how can they do that again?

The answer is short and simple- get pressure without blitzing, and have a healthy secondary. When Denver faced Indy the first time, Trevor Pryce put up one of the most dominant games I've ever seen from him, up there with the MNF performance against Kansas City, and Bertrand Berry was destroying all the single-teams that Trevor Pryce was leaving him with. The two combined for a pair of sacks, and a pair of fumbles forced... which is quite a lot when you consider that Manning is the hardest QB in the NFL to sack. If he got sacked twice, you know he got hurried about ten times as much. Also worth noting is that between the 2003 regular season blowout of Indy and the 2003 postseason blowout by Indy, Denver lost its starting safety, and Kelly Herndon (starting CB) broke his hand. Denver's secondary was so shallow that they actually had Herndon out there playing with one hand because there were no capable replacements on the bench. Then, they entered last season's playoff game with 2 CBs on injured reserve, and Manning made Denver's #5 CB-turned-#3 CB look silly.

The last time Denver played Indy with a healthy secondary and a D-line capable of getting pressure without help, Denver destroyed Indy with a 45:15 minute time of possession edge. This season, their secondary is so deep that they just released one of their opening-day starters at CB, and Trevor Pryce is healthy again and has a lot of friends on the D-line who are capable of being disruptive. Shanahan spent a lot of time this offseason making sure he had the players he needed to run with Indy, so I suspect this Denver team to more closely resemble the one that humbled Indy in the regular season in 2003.

Of course, the one huge caveat there is if everyone stays healthy. Denver's incredibly deep in the secondary, with 4 CBs and 4 Safeties who have either started, or been the first player off the bench in the nickle packages this season. Denver's also incredibly deep on the D-line, with their #5-8 DLs having averaged 14.5 starts for their respective ballclubs last season. I think the only guys right now Denver simply can't afford to lose are Al Wilson (which is always true, since he makes the defense go), and Trevor Pryce and/or Gerard Warren, since they're the ones that command the double-teams and make the D-line go.

Of course, it'll also help if Jake Plummer doesn't turn the ball over a couple of times in the first quarter like he has all 3 times against the Colts, because that lets them stake a big lead early and take away the running game. From the looks of it, you can put a big fat check next to that one, too.

I'm not saying that a win against Indy would be a sure thing. I'm just saying that I'd dearly love to see that rematch. Denver and Indy are clearly the two best teams in the NFL, and both of their strengths match up well against each other. I can't think of a better pairing.

Re #100: Yes because they would like the fact that they messed up two TD calls that almost changed the result of the game, be made public knowledge. Of course they will deny it.

Are you so sure about that? Denver played Kansas City in the 1997 playoffs, and Denver won the game by 4 points. Afterwards, the NFL came out and admitted that they screwed up when they ruled a TD pass incomplete (the Chiefs got a field goal), and they also screwed up a holding call that cost the Chiefs another field goal. That sounds suspiciously like admitting that they screwed up a PLAYOFF game. Also, there was the SanFran/NYG contest where the NFL came out and admitted that the illegal reciever penalty at the end of the game was bogus, and there was an uncalled PI on SanFran, costing New York the game. Again, the NFL has shown time and time again that if they blow a call, they FESS UP AND ADMIT IT. Unless you think that the league considered a week 12 matchup between New York and Seattle more important than two PLAYOFF GAMES.

Also, can we stop with this east coast bias crap? I've seen people complaining that the refs gave those calls to NYG because the league wants the east coast teams to win. Let's go back to the NY/SanFran playoff comeback again. The officials blew several calls that DIRECTLY COST NEW YORK (an east coast team) the game against San Francisco (a west coast team). That's the opposite of the desired effect of an east coast bias. Gee, what possible explanation for this could there be? Except that... nah... it couldn't be. It's just that... maybe... just maybe... the league doesn't really have an east coast bias at all.

I know the ratings don't have an east coast bias, either. 4 of the top 5 teams are not on the east coast, including San Diego, which is not only a genuine West Coast team, it's a genuine West Coast team with a less-than-stellar won/loss record.

109
by admin :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 9:53am

Good analysis, Kibbles. I think the improvement on the Denver defensive line is a bit overstated, but it is improved, and the secondary is definitely deeper, and Plummer turnovers are rare. Also, I just deleted a couple of east coast bias e-mails, so trust me, nobody's giving up on that dead horse.

Re: 106, Chicago's defense is the subject of this week's Every Play Counts.

110
by Brian (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 10:26am

Kibbles
Great analysis. I'm looking forward to it as well (hopefully we'll get that as the AFC championship game). Don't forget that Indy's defense is significantly improved this year, slowing down the offense isn't enough to win (see early season JAX game).

111
by TomS (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 10:34am

I would suggest revisiting Pittsburgh at 15-1 last year and getting pasted by the Pats in thier own place. 15-1 did not assure the Steelers of a Super Bowl berth. I suspect that 9-2 and where Seattle ends up does not ensure them of one either, especially if they continue to play ball as they have over the past couple of weeks. Likewise, the Colts may go undefeated, but if they play defense in the playoffs they way they played in Cincinnati then they can make early vacation plans too.

112
by JonL (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 11:21am

I just wanted to point out that Terrell Suggs' Stop Rate is insane.

What % of Ravens defensive plays has he been involved in?

113
by Dave (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 11:31am

#101: I thought it was because they hated Denver. No, wait, it was because they didn't respect the Patriots. Hold on a minute, it was so they could rank Indy somewhere other than #1.

Seriously, I find the greatest value of the DVOA rating and ranking system in the "unexpected data". When a rating system tells you that a 6-2 team is ranked 18th, or a 3-4 team is ranked 4th, it's uncovered something unexpected about the quality of the teams that gives a ton of insight into their expected future performance.

Otherwise, heck, construct power rankings based on W/L and NFL playoff tiebreakers.

114
by elhondo (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 11:50am

Maybe it would make sense to offer DVOA in a downloadable format, with an extra column for "swagger", that was editable. Call it DVOA for Homers.

115
by Goober King (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 12:02pm

I'm a little late here, but Re: #23

I just want to applaud footballoutsiders for being the only (as far as I know) site that allows comments on their rankings.

CBS Sportsline also allows comments on their power rankings, but most of them boil down to "Prisco is a moron!" And they're right.

116
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 12:03pm

Maybe we should point out to Dr. Evil that the last two teams whose fans got all up in arms about being ranked too low promptly up and lost the next week (Atlanta and Washington).

And continued to lose. Atlanta went 1-2 after The Fiasco, and Washington went 2-6, if I remember the timing right.

I say Aaron should put this info at the top of the FOX power rankings. "Warning: Insult these rankings at your own team's risk!" So be warned - your hubris may cause Seattle to lose to San Francisco or something.

Besides, what does it matter? Seattle's ranked way above everyone else in their division (seriously, Seattle is trying single-handledly to make people ignore the train wreck that still is the NFC West, but it is still a train wreck). They'll walk to a first round bye in the playoffs.

Getting to the Super Bowl isn't always about being "the best". Sometimes it's just luck.

117
by charles (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 12:08pm

imo, if indy plays denver in the playoffs, indy will go nickel and run edgerrin james. denver's nickel linebackers and safeties can't stop james from pushing the pile and avg. about 4.5 yards a carry. teams with big linebackers like pitt and new england can't stop edge right now. so i think that will be the reason denver can't beat indy.

118
by james (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 12:11pm

Aaron,

I watched the NFL films piece last night. It seemed to be a piece focused solely on the work of stats inc. It seems they are the official "stats" guru for the NFL. They work closely with the announcers and on the television broadcasts.

It basically has the same sort of system as FO but they seem to disregard summing all of the information up.

I'll take DVOA.

119
by admin :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 12:37pm

Sigh. Trying to get info from STATS Inc. is like buying the world's greatest 10,000-piece jigsaw puzzle and when you get home and open the box there are six pieces inside and a note saying "Send $15,000 to this address and maybe we'll send you some of the rest of the pieces if we feel like it."

RB, WR, TE pages now updated.

120
by Nate (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 12:39pm

Re the comment on Chicago - "The Bears actually gave up a ton of yards on Sunday."
The Bears gave up 275 yards of total offense on Sunday, about 20 yards above their average. Were they to average giving up 275 ypg, they would rank second in the league in defense (behind Tampa, actually). Am I missing something here?

121
by admin :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 12:49pm

Sorry, I overstated. It should have said, "for a team that gave up just 10 points, Chicago gave up a lot of yards." Of course, for a team that gives up 31 points that's not a lot of yards. Mea culpa.

122
by MJK (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 12:53pm

Regarding the geography of the NFL:

Click on my name for a map showing where all the teams are in the realignment.

AFC teams are red and green, NFC are blue and yellow.

Note that some of the geographical silliness comes from there not being eight teams on the west coast. Also, trying to keep the Dallas and Miami rivalries in tact.

And incidentally, Indy is east of the Mississippi. As is Chicago, Green Bay, and Detroit. In fact, by longitude, Green Bay is only slightly furter west than Tampa Bay! As an east coaster, who thinks of Chicago as being practically on the west coast, I have a hard time getting my mind around that!

123
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 1:25pm

Good work on the Viking commentary in the FOX power rankings. If the Vikings defense was still giving up 24 points in the first half, people would be talking about how stupid it was of the Vikings to to sign a washed-up 37 year old as a backup QB.

Also, if Kevin Williams' knee injury only keeps him out or ineffective for two games, and Pat Williams doesn't wear down, it is not a complete long-shot for the Vikings to win out. The defense is playing that well. Also, OLG Herrera, who was knocked down with a nasty staph infection during the last week of the pre-season, has gotten back on the field, and seemed to stabilize the interior ol somewhat, which has greatly helped the running game. Ol' Ticey may get himself a new contract yet, and any coach who has dealt with what has, and finishes 11-5 or 10-6, probably ought to.

124
by Dr. Evil (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 1:29pm

Whatever. It's all biased. If this mathematical model is supposed to predict then something must be missing because they will perform better than the Chiefs, Redskins and Cowboys in the final five games. I mean if your going to knock them for a weak schedule then no way is Indy at the top having played the Texans twice among others. I'm sick of everyone acting like Seattle's season is a fluke. This just in: "Seattle has won 20 of it's last 23 at home, but the NFC is smelling blood because the game was almost given away to the Giants." I mean come on. When the Packers or the Patriots do this they are ordained saints of the Catholic church.

125
by TomC (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 1:44pm

re: 106 - The beauty of this year's Bear defense is that (at least to my untrained eye) there is nothing exotic about it. When they're keying on the run, the four down linemen usually slant to one side -- but still going nearly straight upfield -- while Urlacher and one of the outside LB's (and often Mike Brown as well) fill the space left by the DE on the outside of the slant. On passing downs, they sometimes stunt one of the DE/DT pairs, but their greatest pass rush success comes when one of the DE's or Tommie Harris gets left one-on-one and simply beats his man. One nice wrinkle is that Urlacher is assigned to an RB on passing downs, and if that RB stays in to block or just leaks into the flat, Urlacher becomes a blitzer. He got several sacks that way early in the season.

But the most striking thing about the scheme is that there's very little "scheme" about it -- it works if you have guys at every position who are talented enough to make plays but disciplined enough to stick to their assignments. In that way it's less vulnerable to being "figured out" or "solved" by some clever offensive coach than a more "scheme"-y defense.

126
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 1:50pm

No, when the Packers do this, Joe Theismann insists that Favre is unbeatable at home when the weather is under 34 degrees.

The rest of us understand statistics, know how freaking easy it is to manipulate them, and laugh when talking heads insist how amazing it is when the Packers lose.

I mean if your going to knock them for a weak schedule then no way is Indy at the top having played the Texans twice among others.

Teams don't get penalized for a weak schedule. Their performance gets adjusted for it. Indianapolis has just as weak a schedule, but they played more convincingly against those weak teams.

Seattle, on the other hand, barely won against San Francisco, and struggled versus St. Louis (at St. Louis).

because they will perform better than the Chiefs, Redskins and Cowboys in the final five games.

Then they'll rise above them. But right now, they haven't performed better. Why do people call DVOA a mathematical model? I don't get it. It isn't one. It's a measurement. There's no modelling involved.

127
by Bowman (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 2:04pm

How much does the Weighted DVOA reflect Strength of Schedule in the weighting? Jacksonville will continue to drop like a stone in the rankings, merely because of their late-season schedule. Will the drop be heightened in the WDVOA, because the earlier games against tougher opponents are weighed less?

Additionally (and somewhat related)...

Because the Variance measures weakly DVOA, could a high variance represent the differences between opponent strength? JAX has played 5 games against the top 9 in DVOA, and 5 games against the bottom 9 in DVOA. Assuming a constant VOA (reasonable except for the DEN and BAL games), could the opponent strength account for the Variance?

128
by doktarr (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 2:10pm

RE: Pat #126,

You could call the techniques that Aaron uses to tweak the formulas to maximize correlation a form of mathematical modeling. But I agree that the actual use of the system to create the rankings is not modeling.

RE: MKJ #122,

Neat map! (Although Atlanta is in northern Georgia). So, if the Saints move to LA, do they trade divisions with the Rams?

129
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 2:15pm

I still dont think this reads the patriots correctly. It has their offence ranked #7, and that clearly doesnt agree with reality. I usually love this site, but theres no way the pats offence is that good.

They seem to go 3 and out on a majority of their drives, and the drives that they dont go out, they score very quickly. I can only think of 3 or 4 drives in the last 4 weeks that were more than 5 or 6 plays.

It just seems to me as I watch that the defence isnt actually that bad, the offence just never lets them off the field for longer than 2 minutes, and they get worn down really quickly because of it.

The offence seems to be really good in Junk Time. Like this week...useless when it matters, when theyre down 20 points, theyre unstoppable and score 14 quick points, but as soon as it gets close again, they fall apart.

It just seems to me that the statistics dont tell the real story here.

130
by Yakuza Rich (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 2:23pm

I still don't see how NYG can be ranked any higher than one spot over Dallas. But anyway....

Dallas' run defense has been a strange bird this season. If the opposing team is known for it's RB and it's running game, they either stop them or contain them (i.e. Tomlinson, Portis, Alexander, and Denver)

But, when the opposing team doesn't have a good running game (i.e. Oakland, SF, Philly) they are able to gash the Cowboys run defense.

As far as Bledsoe rolling out, that's to buy him some more time as if he's in the pocket, the pass rushers know exactly what point they need to get to. I don't have a problem with it, but they seemingly always run that roll out to the right for a 5 yard pass to the sideline when they need it on 3rd down. Teams now see it coming and it's making for some ugly situations.

131
by Yet Another Steelers Fan (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 2:23pm

Eventually the Bears are going to face an offense that can score a couple touchdowns, even against that great defense. When that happens, Orton and Gould either have to step it up, or the Bears will go into the books as the greatest defense that couldn't win a Super Bowl.

I think the 1976 Steelers will keep the title of "greatest defense that couldn't win a Super Bowl" regardless of what happens to the 2005 Bears.

132
by Todd S. (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 2:40pm

#108 You forgot to add that the 45:15 ToP was rung up by Quentin Griffin at RB. Truly an impressive display of defensive sucktitude by the Colts. (Who, if anyone doesn't recall, really needed to win that game; they were not resting starters.)

133
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 2:41pm

#128--

Some would say that relocating a team from the NFC North (Minnesota), AFC South (Indy or Jacksonville), or NFC South (New Orleans) was one of the reasons the Missouri teams were put in the West divisions, rather than the more geographically logical Texas squads. The Rams and Chiefs could be relocated to either North or South divisions with minimal dislocations, and less travel headaches.

And yes, both the Rams and Chiefs have historical rivalries with West Coast teams. It was very convenient for the league that those two franchises existed where they did. If anyone relocates to LA, expect the Rams or Chiefs to shift east as a balance. Right now, it seems that Indy is no longer a candidate (never trust an Irsay utnil you've checked his rental truck logs), Minnesota and Jacksonville are still possible, but New Orleans is desperate.

Just a hunch -- any move to San Antonio will leave things status quo, unless it's the Vikings. Then, expect an AFC team to go to LA, as the league would prefer 32 to 33 teams.

134
by D. Spencer (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 2:45pm

Aaron and friends, I have to thank you for completely re-thinking football statistical analysis. As die-hard a Charger fan as I am, and as biased as I know that makes me, I knew that there had to be a way to quantify the fact that these guys are in the upper echelon of the league right now, despite some serious early choke jobs.

A couple of questions... what factor do you guys use to weight more recent games? Is it a graduated scale? And was it a randomly selected factor, or did you do analysis on prior years' results to come up with the scale?

Thanks again, and keep it up!

135
by emcee fleshy (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 2:49pm

I've always wondered about people who complain about power rankings and statistical analyses.

If it's sunny out today, do you get mad at the weatherman when he says there's a 60% chance of rain tomorrow?

136
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 2:49pm

That is a decent map but a lot of the teams are not where they should be DEN is too far west, CIN isn't on the Ohio River HOU is about 150 miles inland instead of 50, STL is in completely the wrong spot as are MIN, JAX, and ATL. Plus the map is tilted about 30% so up is actually NNE (for example Minnesota reaches further north than Maine.

-Dr. Evil

I will reinforce the idea that while SEA and IND have similar schedules IND is winning their games MUCH more convincingly (smallest margin of victory 7 pts 10-3 vs JAX). So while they have similar schedule adjustments to their rankings SEA was starting from a lower point.

Here I will use an analogy. Say your teacher has an easy spelling test so he tells the class everyones scores will be adjusted down 7%. IND get a 99% and so gets a 92%. DEN gets a 94% and so gets an 89%. Meanwhile a few other kids were absent and took a harder test and so got to take a harder test which is cruved up. These kids score in the high 80s and thus get better scores than SEA.

Given this situation, it makes NO sense to complain that since SEA got second in the class in raw score SEA should get second in adjusted score. You might complain that the curves were too strong (although Aaron would tell you the schedule adjustment is set to maximize DVOA's correlation with future performace). Anyway if you cannot understand what is and is not a valid criticism of the system you should probably just not come back to this website.

137
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 2:53pm

-130 OAK actually is a good rushing team this year believe it or not.

138
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 3:06pm

You could call the techniques that Aaron uses to tweak the formulas to maximize correlation a form of mathematical modeling.

No, that's not really modelling. That's just grading different metrics to evaluate which one is better. When the NFL says "this team has the top-rated offense", they're talking about yards because implicitly someone has made an internal correlation between "offense" and "yards".

Modelling is more akin to what William Krasker does to evaluate strategic decisions. There, he idealizes football into a mathematical model, and then uses that model to play "what if". Presumedly you could alter that model to attempt to predict whether or not Seattle would beat Washington, for instance, and rank teams like that.

Note that if you did that, you likely wouldn't be able to make a power ranking, which is the absolute biggest mistake that people like Dr. Evil, the Atlanta fans, and the Washington fans don't understand. Why? Because there's nothing preventing loops from forming. You could easily have a situation where Indianapolis is likely to beat Cincinnati, and Cincinnati is likely to beat Denver, but Denver is likely to beat Indianapolis due to specific matchups between the teams. "Ranking" teams in a linear order inherently has that limitation.

139
by MRH (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 3:06pm

Re #133 - as long as Lamar Hunt lives, the AFC West will be the old AFL West (and he probably supports the AFC East-AFL East paradigm too).

Re #103 - shouldn't there be a Right Coast and Left Coast division in each conference?

Re #108 - I posted the Chiefs/Broncos playoff calls in another thread. Did you get your info from there or do you remember it that way too? Since I'm a Chiefs fan, a Broncos booster with the same memory as me would make me feel better about getting the facts straight.

Also, I think the Broncos big vulnerability is an injury to Plummer. He's going to get hit a few times this Sunday (see my Scramble for the Ball post). If he comes out of that in one piece you may get your Colts-Broncos matchup. If not, it will be another frustrating year.

140
by James Gibson (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 3:15pm

Seattle also apparently moved to the south of Puget Sound, about where Tacoma is, instead of on the east bank of Puget Sound on MJK's map. The tilt and the misplacement of Cincinnati makes it look like Cincy is north of Indy, which it's not, and I believe both Becephalus and David H have complained about Indy in the South and Cincy in the North before.

141
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 3:16pm

I still don’t see how NYG can be ranked any higher than one spot over Dallas. But anyway….

A lot of it has to do with the Giants' phenomenal special teams. A lot of people forget about that when looking at teams. And yes, those special teams did collapse versus the Vikings and Seahawks, but given how good they were beforehand, it's easy to understand that it'll be a while before they're considered "average".

142
by spenceKarl (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 3:39pm

RE: 134

D.Spencer, check out the link on my name. Aaron began including weighted DVOAs in the week nine ratings. I'm sure there's more info in the FO archives, but their search engine stinks.

143
by John (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 3:43pm

Can someone take a minute and explain to this newbie how the Passing and Rushing components are incorporated into the DVOA #s for Offense and Defense? Thanks!

144
by admin :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 3:47pm

The redesign broke the search engine. Benjy's working on it.

DVOA represents all plays. So passing and rushing simply represent those plays broken out from the whole. The total rating doesn't add the two sub-ratings, it adds all the plays individually no matter whether they are pass or rush.

145
by MDZ (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 3:48pm

Kibbles:
In 2003 the injuries in the secondary and to Pryce definitely played a huge factor in that Indy was able to be a one-dimensional passing team in the playoffs. Even though Edge played, he was banged up and it was his second game back after missing 3 games do to an ankle injury. That year Edge's DVOA was 2.0%, this year it is 17.3%. Granted some of the difference is the Colts dedication to the run and the way opponents are playing the Colts, but Edge is much better this year.

146
by MDZ (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 3:49pm

*Indy was effective as a one-dimensional passing team in the playoff game.

147
by Andrew (A.B.) (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 3:53pm

#124: Dr. Evil, you're a little late on your Colts critique. In fact, two weeks ago, the Colts were ranked sixth for the exact reason you list (ridiculously easy schedule). They only got back to #1 after they played Cincy and Pittsburgh.

148
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 3:54pm

Re #109: Good analysis, Kibbles. I think the improvement on the Denver defensive line is a bit overstated, but it is improved, and the secondary is definitely deeper, and Plummer turnovers are rare.

Denver's defensive line is not a ton better than the 2003 version, but it's head and shoulders above the 2004 Pryce-less version.

Re #117: imo, if indy plays denver in the playoffs, indy will go nickel and run edgerrin james. denver’s nickel linebackers and safeties can’t stop james from pushing the pile and avg. about 4.5 yards a carry. teams with big linebackers like pitt and new england can’t stop edge right now. so i think that will be the reason denver can’t beat indy.

Shanahan's already accounted for that, too. He's spent a lot of time this season working on what he calls his "heavy nickle" defense, which is an extra safety on the field instead of an extra CB. It's the look he presents to teams that heavily utilize their TEs (KC, SD, Dallas), as well as teams that he considers likely to try running at his nickle defense. I suppose that's why Shanahan makes the big bucks.

Re #139: I don't think you're going out on a limb when predicting that a team won't be any good without its starting QB. I could say that if Indy loses Manning, I expect them to lose their first playoff game by a huge margin.

149
by 10K (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 4:13pm

Becephalus, I meant no offense, but probably someone who is irked by directional points not wholly corresponding to the divisions would.

Let's break it down:

1. using geography, pure space, not the true space of the country which has coasts and mountains and rivers, would make sense if teams and cities were evenly distributed across the country. They aren't so it doesn't make sense.

2. since we have 4 divisions and not 2 or 3, there are always going to be ambiguities: teams in the NE could be in 2 divisions, teams in the SW could be in 2 divisions, etc... Moreover, teams centrally located (St. Louis, KC) could theoretically be in any of four divisions.

3. travel and weather do matter: the north and south division could play in similar weather all year but have to travel across 4 time zones throughout the season, whereas the east and west would travel from cold and sunny or rainy to warm and humid without ever moving time zones.

Thus, a geographic breakdown is both impossible and unfair. So... what do you do? You have an approximate breakdown while preserving traditional rivalries and maintaining some east to west and north to south travel while trying to evenly distribute not just regional rivalries and affinities but also local ones (for example, it would be silly to have Miami and Jacksonville in the same conference). That's my only point. So... yes, I think it's absurd to claim a geographical breakdown is a logical thing. I'm sorry if that offends you.

150
by spenceKarl (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 4:43pm

When will the Offensive and Defensive Lines be updated?

151
by tulabear (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 4:57pm

What definition of "ton" were you using to describe the yards the Bears allowed?

152
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 5:00pm

Re:103
#89: American vs. Un-American. Interesting idea. We could arrange it like this, and then everybody could decide which is the American and which is the Un-American, depending on their point of view:

RED STATE CONFERENCE
Gulf Coast Division: HOU, DAL, NO, TB
Southeast Division: ATL, CAR, MIA, JAX
Central Division: CLE, CIN, IND, TEN
Western Division: KC, STL, DEN, ARI

BLUE STATE CONFERENCE
Northeast Division: NYG, NYJ, BUF, NE
Mid-Atlantic Division: PHI, PIT, WSH, BAL
Midwest Division: MIN, CHI, GB, DET
Pacific Division: SEA, SF, SD, OAK

I just couldn't let this post slide by without some recognition. LMFAO!

153
by spenceKarl (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 5:05pm

RE: 151

Relax, and read posts 120 and 121

154
by MJK (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 5:51pm

Sorry to everyone who lives in a city that is placed incorrectly!

Map locations were very approximate. I made this quickly a number of years ago when I was even more geographically inept than I am now. And it's a pretty low quality bitmap, after all. Plus, as I mentioned, I'm geographically challenged if it's not the Northeast. ;-) At least everything's in the correct state! After all, how many average Californians, Texans, or Minnesotans can tell Vermont from New Hampshire on an unlabeled map?

The only cities that are horribly in the wrong place are Cincy, Atlanta, Houston, and Minneapolis, and to residents of those cities, I especially apologize. But it does convey the generall messed-upedness of the divisional alignments that resulted from keeping old rivalries (e.g. Miami-Jets and Dallas-Philly) in tact. Still, as someone pointed out, it's a lot better than having Arizona in the eastern division, and Atlanta in the west! Or Indy in the east when it is further west than Cleveland, Cincy, Baltimore, or Pittsburgh!

155
by Richie (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 6:11pm

With the possibility of a good team (San Diego) missing the playoffs because a not-so-good team makes the playoffs (New England) again, it is showing me that the 4-team divisions aren't really working.

I'm also not so sure what the point is of having conferences. Let's just have 12 teams make the playoffs, seeded 1-12 regardless of conference.

156
by putnamp (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 6:11pm

Hey now, Seattle fans aren't going ape over the rankings, it's just one guy that I can see. This isn't Atlanta/Washington/Denver (how come nobody mentioned Denver?) all over again :) In fact, many of the Seattle fans that are regulars here are pretty frequent contributors to the discussions.

157
by B (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 6:17pm

Maybe it's because unlike Atlanta, the internet has never really been that popular in Seattle.

158
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 6:21pm

Hmm, putnamp, are you trying to defend the Seahawks against the FO DVOA curse? :)

Honestly, though, the Seahawks are one of the teams whose position and record are most in disagreement - and when it's "lower than you'd expect" that's when you normally get people up in arms.

But I don't really think Seattle's going to up and collapse like Atlanta/Washington. Seattle's won 9 games, and they have 7.9 estimated wins. They've got a far easier than normal schedule, so I think they're playing fine.

For Dr. Evil, and others who think the Seahawks are ranked too low - note that they are 6th in Estimated Wins, which means while they're not playing terrific overall football, they are doing better at things that help you win more football games. For instance, their low variance.

In other words, you've got teams above them (Washington and Dallas) who on average, have been better, but who have "crap" games and "wow these guys are good" games, while the Seahawks have been more consistent, but played slightly worse.

159
by Dr. Evil (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 6:25pm

Holmgren will be on with Dan Patrick tomorrow so tune in to get the dope on the NFL's erroneous TD calls.

160
by MJK (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 6:36pm

If San Diego or someone else "deserving" misses the playoffs when New England makes them, then it will be poetic justice for 2002, when several good teams (Denver, Miami, and New England) played brutal schedules against each other and all missed the playoffs while less deserving teams with cup cake schedules (Cleveland) made it in.

Or how about last year, where very good AFC teams stayed home while Saint Louis and Green Bay got in?

161
by Bowman (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 6:52pm

155:

Let's just take the "best" teams to the playoffs, by averaging several different media polls, and add some "stat" rankings like DVOA and Estimated wins to get the best teams.

While we're at it, let's eliminate some games, in case the "best" team gets injured or otherwise damaged. We can add some consolation games to the teams who only rank 3-16...

(I like the conferences and divisions just fine, thank you)

162
by Steve Sandvik (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 7:07pm

157: If you get your tongue too far in your cheek, you may choke on it. LMFAO.

Dr. Evil is just like the fans out here who call the radio shows and complain when they say "you know, that wasn't a very convincing win." There's less of them than I'd feared, but more than I'd hoped. Unfortunately, somebody helped some of them log on, but yeah, don't confuse us with the charming Atlanta boosters. We have enough trouble without karmic payback being a factor.

163
by admin :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 7:18pm

The Seattle fans aren't going nuts over the rankings on the board, but they are going nuts in my e-mail box. Which is a much better alternative for the rest of you. And, as I've said before, NOBODY is like the Atlanta fans. On their message board they are actually threatening me with physical harm.

164
by putnamp (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 7:28pm

#158

YES! Keep that curse away. God, like we don't have enough of em already :)

165
by Walt Pohl (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 7:30pm

Great. Just great. My first love (the Eagles) collapses, and now my second love (the Seahawks) is doomed thanks to the Football Outsiders Comment Board Curse. Thanks a lot, Dr. Evil.

166
by Dr. Evil (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 7:42pm

LOL! It's not a curse so much as a conspiracy. :)

167
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 8:08pm

Re #158: Oh yeah, that famous DVOA-curse. Boy, I betcha Denver fans are rueing the day they ever complained about their low ranking.

Re #160: That's not really poetic justice. That's just the same thing happening all over again. Sort of like the BCS system. It wasn't poetic justice that the #1 team in the nation wasn't in the championship game 2 years ago- that was just the BCS screwing everything up all over again. An example of poetic justice came LAST season, when an Auburn coach who had been a strong supporter of the BCS system got left out of the national championship game by the same flawed system he had so fervently championed.

Re #164-166: Like I said, the very first fans to complain about DVOA ranking their team too low was Denver. Perhaps this "curse" isn't all it's cracked up to be.

168
by putnamp (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 8:36pm

#167,

The season isn't over yet, and the Denver Wild Male Equestrians will rue the day they crossed the Football (Outsider) Gods by allowing their fans to run rampant over the FO boards!

Quick, who am I?

169
by B (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 8:53pm

168: A pretentious git?

170
by B (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 9:05pm

Just so I'm clear, it's not calling putnamp a git, it's the person he's imitating in his post.

171
by Kevo (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 9:37pm

I always think of him as a cranky old man with a soft spot for scantily-clad women.

172
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 9:43pm

Regarding Denver: The thing is that we all knew what the reason for Denver's low ranking was - the Miami loss. That one was way, way too soon in the season. Washington, Atlanta, and Seattle are now at the point where it's not one game that's affecting them.

Aaron: It's too bad you can't include estimated wins in the table, because Seattle is ranked much higher there. Is it all because of variance? What else is Seattle doing to prop them that much higher?

173
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 9:44pm

Kevo:

Wait, I'm sorry, there are men without a soft spot for scantily-clad women?

174
by Kevo (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 9:47pm

Good point, Pat.

Why he needs to clog up his columns with equal opportunity plugs for Cheerhunks is beyond me, by the way.

175
by TBW (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 10:02pm

Re: 122

I didn't know that Savannah, GA and Talahassee, FL had NFL teams !

176
by bob (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 10:03pm

172, denver wasn't ranked low solely on the miami loss. they played half of that game to a near standstill and I think it was pointed out while all this was a big deal that taking out every teams worst game at that point in time would move denver up one spot.

its all moot now though.

177
by TBW (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 10:13pm

things are looking up for the Eagles. Thanks to Dr. Evil and the other Seattle fans the Eagles should now be a heavy favorite on Monday night.

Now if DVOA could just drop the Giants about 10 spots next week to p*ss off the Giants fans and get them complaining, the Eagles could be 9-6 heading into the finale against Washington......

178
by BillWallace (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 10:13pm

Move Dallas out of the NFCE? Blasphemy.
Don't taint these boards with such thoughts.

179
by MRH (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 10:59pm

Re #148 I don’t think you’re going out on a limb when predicting that a team won’t be any good without its starting QB. I could say that if Indy loses Manning, I expect them to lose their first playoff game by a huge margin.

You're right- it's not out on a limb. But it is a weakness in the team (Broncos and Colts) not to have a proven backup when there are always some available. The last unbeaten team did it with a backup qb for most of the year, after all (yeah, no cap, I know).

Since 1998, when Manning came into the league and Plummer was in his second year, Manning has never missed a start. Plummer has had three years where he did not play all 16 games - 1999, 2000, and 2003. I know '03 was due to injury; I assume the other two were also though they could have been benchings.

So 3 of the last 7 years Plummer has missed some time yet the Broncos choose to go with a backup qb who has never thrown an NFL pass (Van Pelt is the only qb on the depth chart)?

The Bears have rightly been castigated for not having a decent back-up two years running (yes, I include Orton); I think the Broncos desrve the same criticism. They are taking an unnecessary risk here.

180
by MRH (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 11:02pm

Of course, Van Pelt could be the next Tom Brady and then I'll look pretty silly...

181
by Jerry F. (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 11:23pm

These people who always criticize teams for not having a quality backup confuse me a little bit. Where exactly is this huge talent pool of quality backups from which to choose?
In the pre-season I engaged in an argument on this site with somebody who couldn't get over how dumb the Bears were for not going after the eminently talented Tommy Maddox. Turns out that wouldn't have been such a great idea.
If the "proven" backups are guys who are on NFL rosters, like Volek, why should we assume their teams will be so willing to part with them? Then they'll have to face criticism for having an unproven backup.
Sure, a team should have some confidence their backup isn't Krenzelian, but with so many terrible starting QBs, I can't really expect a team to have a backup whose anything but below average.

182
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 12:00am

While we are talking about re-aligning the NFL, I say go back to the days of Tecmo Superbowl! No Titans! No Browns 2.0! No Jaguars! No Panthers!

One problem I have in the NFL is the talent pool... way too diluted. Sure the games are tight, and it's good drama, but do we need to have such inconsistent play?

Kudos to the Vikings for having a starting quality backup as well. Brad Johnson is the anti-Jeff George. He doesn't have a gun for an arm, but he is "smart" and willing to ride the pine, practice and wait for his turn. Wasn't he stuck behind the bench for a bit as well before he started the first time with the Vikings?

183
by Dr. Evil (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 12:22am

Kibbles: No I don't think so. You (who I assume is knowledgable) should know that it's the NFLs policy to NOT make those kinds of amittances public and they regularly find people (like Holmgren) who violate that confidentiality. I don't see how you even begin to argue that logically but you sure tried didn't you?

184
by mactbone (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 12:35am

Re 182:
Well, he was a 14th round pick if I recall. It seems pretty ridiculous to think how many rounds the NFL draft had as little as 20 years ago.

Re Great Defenses that Didn't Win the SB:
The '88 Bears. Better than the '85 version but no QB to speak of. I still can't believe that the best Bear QBs since the '85 Super Bowl are McMahon, Tomzcak, Harbaugh and Kramer. Mediocrity all around, Comeback Kid moniker notwithstanding.

185
by Walt Pohl (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 1:25am

Kibbles: Why do you think the Broncos lost to the Giants in Week 7? They lost immediately after Bronco fans really started taking over the comment threads.

186
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 2:22am

bob: No, a large part of the problem was the Miami loss. It's just that forgiving each team's worst loss boosts everyone else just as much.

Another portion was the fact that it took time for DVOA to be able to fully adjust for the beyond-evil schedule that Denver had. Through week 8, Denver had the worst schedule in the NFL - and opponent adjustments didn't become full strength until week 10.

187
by Mshray (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 9:01am

First of all let me back Putnamp & Steve S. up on that Seahawks fans/curse avoidance thing (woulda done so hours ago, but I'm actually in China this week). Anyone who doesn't believe in it needs to remember the day when Tesatverde's helmet was mistaken for the ball by the refs, which kept them out of the playoffs & cost Erickson his job. It also pretty much guaranteed the return of instant replay.

Secondly, thanks Putnamp & B. for cracking me up & forcing me to try to explain to these Chinese people in the room why I am laughing.

Lastly, I propose that we all thank Jerry in #181 for introducing the word 'krenzelian'. I think that's just perfect. Like the mendoza line.

188
by Falco (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 10:07am

Seattle doesn't bother me at 8 (Um, there still in the top 8), no more than a debate over who was better, a 7-4 SEC team or 9-2 Mountain West team.The team that raises my eyebrows never seems to get much discussion. Where are the Rams fans?

Here are St. Louis DVOA ranks, and W/L last 3 seasons:

2005 30 5-6 (T-17th)
2004 30 8-8 (T-14th)
2003 13 12-4 (T-3rd)

So for almost the last 2 seasons, the Rams have ranked at the bottom of the league, yet are about .500. The year before that, they ranked in the middle, but had one of the best records.

You could say it is schedule, but I doubt that fully accounts for it. This year, estimated wins are 3.1. Last year, it was 5.4. The year before, it was 9.1. That is 17.6 estimated wins, versus 25 actual wins over a 43 game sample size. That is a huge difference for three years straight.

Is it just luck, or is there something the Rams do or do not do (particularly on offense) that is an outlier to the DVOA methodology?

I think we also need to create a 33rd team-splitting San Fransisco with Alex Smith (renamed as the Ryan Leafs), and San Fransisco, with other QB. That way, Houston would end up where it rightfully belongs, in #32, but ahead of the Ryan Leafs.

189
by noovay (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 10:47am

#186, that makes no sense at all. the broncos were lower in the ratings because of the miami loss except that if u took away everyone's worst game they'd move, well, nowhere. everyone has a bad game, it wasn't the reason they were that low.

denver also didnt have the worst schedule, SD did.

190
by Kevo (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 11:59am

Not to split hairs, but some teams would benefit more than others if you dropped their worst loss, depending on the team's variance.

191
by spenceKarl (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 1:16pm

RE: 189

Pat was correct in #186, Denver did have the worst schedule through week 8. San Diego was second.

192
by Jerry F. (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 1:58pm

187: I don't think I can take credit for "Krenzelian." I'm pretty sure Aaron coined it. Krenzel's now on the Bengals bench, waiting for catastrophe to strike and some dumb announcer to say, "You know, this kid ain't bad, he had a 3-2 record as a starter in his rookie year with Chicago."

193
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 2:41pm

Alright, that's two comments the board has eaten, and I'm sick of retyping them, so I'll paraphrase.

Re #179: So 3 of the last 7 years Plummer has missed some time yet the Broncos choose to go with a backup qb who has never thrown an NFL pass (Van Pelt is the only qb on the depth chart)?

I seem to recall that in 2003, Denver had not one, but TWO quarterbacks who had not only thrown an NFL pass, but has captained NFL teams to postseason berths. How'd that work out for them?

Re #183: Kibbles: No I don’t think so. You (who I assume is knowledgable) should know that it’s the NFLs policy to NOT make those kinds of amittances public and they regularly find people (like Holmgren) who violate that confidentiality. I don’t see how you even begin to argue that logically but you sure tried didn’t you?

I should know nothing of the sort. Do me a favor. Run a search on the 2002 playoff clash between the Niners and the Giants. Run a search on the 2003 regular season clash between the Seahawks and the Ravens. Then run a search on the 2005 clash between the Patriots and the Steelers. What do all 3 games have in common? That's right, the NFL admitted all 3 times to costly errors that had a huge impact on deciding the outcome of the game. And those are just the ones I could think of offhand.

Now run a search on the 2005 Seahawks/Giants game. No NFL admission. Hmmm...

194
by Dr. Evil (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 4:52pm

Then why do they fine coaches who bring their private admissions to light in the media? Their policy is to keep it private, they can change or ignore that policy if they choose since they are the league. If they choose to go public with it that's fine. You know they don't publicly disclose their errors all the time, it's a policy they have stated themselves and supported by numerous coach and GM comments.

195
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 5:05pm

Then why do they fine coaches who bring their private admissions to light in the media?

Because when something's confidential, there's often a lot of assumed information that could be taken wrong out of context - like that it was the opinion of the speaker, and not a fact.

Holmgren wasn't supposed to say anything. He did, but you only have his version of it. He is, however, just slightly biased. What's far more likely is that Holmgren was told that in all likelihood, the Shockey catch was not a TD, but there was not enough information to overturn it. In other words, the refs did the right thing, but the system failed in this instance.

The NFL can't say that because they can't state it without a doubt, but they can tell a coach "yah, that worried us a bit too."

They don't publicly disclose problems that aren't bulletproof problems - like the Roy Williams tackle of Owens last year. It clearly bothered the league, as they banned it in the offseason. But they couldn't make a statement about it because it was by the book, if memory serves.

196
by DavidH (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 5:32pm

Originally, this commentary was going to include some really amazing new research on the wins that define great teams, but we decided to give that its own article tomorrow afternoon. Cool stuff, you’re gonna like it.

What happened to this? I'm anxiously awaiting it.

197
by Dr. Evil (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 6:18pm

RE: 195

Did you listen to him on the Dan Patrick show? He spelled it out pretty clearly. The league contacted him about the error(s) and he made the mistake of telling the press about it. End of story. He would know being on the Competition Comittee.

198
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 6:24pm

Did you listen to him on the Dan Patrick show?

Did you miss the "He is, however, just slightly biased." comment? If the league isn't willing to comment on it, I'd be more inclined to believe that what he heard was someone's opinion on what actually happened, not the NFL saying what should've happened.

199
by Joon (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 7:11pm

Re: #188

UR RANKS R SO STOOPID I CANT BLEEIVE THAT U R DUM ENUF 2 THINK THE RAMS ARE ONYL #30 THEY WOULD HAVE BEET THE COLTS IF BULGER HANT GOTTEN HURT SO THEY ARE TEH #1 TEAM ITS OBVIOUS U HAV NEVER PLAYED FOOBTALL UR STATS SUCK OH YAH AND UR MAP SUX TOO ST LOUIS IS NOWHERE NEAR THEIR

there. happy?

seriously, i'm mystified that the rams continue to play so terribly and still win games. last year's team making the playoffs (and winning a game!) with a 30th-ranked DVOA is one of the most improbable things i've ever seen in sports. last week they made the texans look like a quality NFL team (an impressive feat) but still managed to come up with the unlikely W. what will they do next?

200
by Greg (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 7:32pm

Whatever mathematical equation you are using is an absolute mess! Perhaps you should pick up some flash cards and learn how to add. How can anbody in their right mind and a high school diploma place the Colts at anything less then number one? Your power rankings are worthless. You have the Redskins at 5 and 6 rated higher then the Seahawks who are at 9 and 2. I'm thinking that you may be better suited to work drive thru at Taco Bell then to be promoting this worthless garbage you call a power ranking.

201
by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 7:41pm

188

Is it just luck, or is there something the Rams do or do not do (particularly on offense) that is an outlier to the DVOA methodology?

If you look at their stats by year, outside of this year, they'd traditionally had a high variance.

It's also the inconsistancy of the NFC West. I don't know how true it is in this year, but the last couple of years, the entire division played average to good at home, while playing nightmarishly on the road.

202
by DavidH (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 8:08pm

Greg - you are aware of the following facts, right?

1. The Redskins beat the Seahawks. (advantage WAS)
2. The Redskins beat SF by 35, while Seattle beat them by 2. (advantage WAS)
3. Seattle beat Dallas at HOME by 3, while the Redskins beat Dallas on the ROAD by 1. (advantage WAS)
4. Seattle beat the Giants by 3, while the Redskins lost to them by 36. (advantage SEA)
5. Those are the only common opponents they've had so far.

After this week, we'll have a couple more common opponents - Philly and St. Louis.

Seattle beat St. Louis by 6 and 15. I'm not sure the Skins will do either of those, but I wouldn't be surprised if they did.

Washington beat Philly by 7 back when they had McNabb. I'm thinking it should be a similar result for the Hawks, although my gut is saying this could be an upset.

203
by DavidH (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 8:10pm

Not that I think you are still reading or will ever come back to this board.

204
by tom (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 8:11pm

re the whole Comments Board Curse (which as an Eagles fan I'm all in favour of, please let foolish angry comments praising the Seahawks continue!), surely we can't claim that's genuine until a systematic study has been made of the correlation between these angry pro seahawks/falcons/whoever posts, the number of spelling and punctuation mistakes in them, and the subsequent performance of the teams concerned...

205
by admin :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 8:16pm

For discussion purposes:
Washington: 0-4 against AFC West, 5-2 against all other teams.
Seattle: 5-0 against NFC West, 4-2 against all other teams.

206
by Dr. Evil (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 8:22pm

RE: 204

Prepare to be demoralized even further.

RE:202

Well the Redskins BARELY beat Seattle in much the same way the media is now veiwing the Giants/Seattle game. So it has to work both ways. It can't be a fluke when Seattle wins and then also their fault when another team flukes them!

Just keep it coming. The bias is ever more apparent.

207
by admin :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 8:38pm

Hmm. I wrote a whole article about how Seattle outplayed Washington in that game, and got as much angry e-mail from Washington fans then as I am from Seattle fans now. Guess you can't please anyone. I am still trying to figure out what the "bias" criticisms are. Why on earth would I have anything for or against the Seattle Seahawks or their fans?

Oh, and the Guts and Stomps thing should be up tonight.

208
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 8:57pm

Aaron:

That's what I've been asking! (I think there's a comment up there about it) It's Seattle, for God's sake. I mean, I could understand if you had a bias against the Colts or something, but Seattle?

Dr. Evil:

Let me direct this right at you. Look at the second graph up there. Look at the estimated wins column. See Seattle's rank? That's 6th. Behind Indy, SD, Denver, Cincinnati, and the Giants, and actually tied with the Giants anyway.

You know what estimated wins does? Rank teams based on factors that win games, rather than by objective strength. So if your argument is "How can they be ranked 11th rather than 6th while being 9-2?!" there's your answer.

If you want to know why, I asked Aaron that. It probably has something to do with Seattle's low variance. But there's a difference between ranking a team on its scoring potential (well, its point differential potential) and its winning potential.

209
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 9:01pm

Aaron,

When you find yourself in a battle of wits with someone who calls himself Dr. Evil, you can be pretty sure that the overwhelming force of arms is on your side.

Don't sweat it; I actually think you overrate my Ravens this season (having lost to Tennessee, and not giving them as much credit for their best games, which are against familiar divisional foes, I have them at about 28), but right now your Power Rankings are the most positive thing we have going for us.

210
by Dr. Evil (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 9:08pm

That's great Pat. I understand what your saying and I think it's nifty. Except that isn't my argument.

Thanks Aaron. I wasn't directing that at you so much as Pat who felt WAS had the advantage in their close win vs. Seattle. It seems it doesn't go both ways.

I'm so used to the talking heads and their garbage "I still don't take Seattle seriously blah blah, they beat the niners twice, their division is weak blah blah".

It's ok it will all be clear in the end.

211
by doktarr (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 9:14pm

Jeez. Dr. Evil, if you think this ranking system is biased, you're living in a dream world. It's a MATHEMATICAL FORMULA. It does not care if you are on the east coast or the west coast. Call it inaccurate if you want, but calling it biased is just ignorant.

(By the way, how can it be a "west coast" bias when the AFC west is so highly rated?)

This formula places a lot of stock in strength of schedule. A tight win against a bad team does you no good in these rankings. You are welcome to disagree with that, but this formula has been shown to be a good predictor of future success.

One last time. It's very simple. Six of Seattle's nine wins are against four of the five worst teams in the league. Yes, they could have lost one of those games, and nearly did, but that just shows them as vulnerable to VERY BAD teams.

Against the rest of their schedule, they are 3-2. That's just not that impressive, particularly when compared to other top teams. Indianapolis has five easy wins, but they're 6-0 against better competition. Denver is 8-1 against decent teams.

If Seattle were 4-1 against those good teams, and hadn't nearly lost to an incredibly bad 49ers team, they would be a lot higher. As it is, take comfort in the fact that they will have home field advantage and an inside track to the Superbowl. Speaking as a fan of a team that has had only one game against a weak team all year long, trust me, I'd take it.

212
by Jim (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 9:17pm

re:4 richard
"Like most other posts, your post is just crap. Ive watch them all year and you know what the only" What is Ive ,is that some text message word or something? Maybe you should focus on your own writings instead of suppling grammer lessons to a football board.

Why would any one want to change the divisions? "Becephalus","mlk" why it is pure B.s. The National Football League Is the best sport in the world and you guys want to change it,Mlk post a realingment chart that is to be nice "afu" what does he need realingment for he does not even know where the midwest is"real thinker" And just to be nice I will give you a lock on sunday take the skins giving 3. these are for you richard",,,,,,,,,,,,,," and you know where you can stick them

213
by Jim (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 9:21pm

and one more thing Dr evil you won, shut up,count your blessings and save it for next week when philly beats you then you can come crying here

214
by DavidH (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 9:30pm

Wow...

215
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 9:30pm

Thanks Aaron. I wasn’t directing that at you so much as Pat who felt WAS had the advantage in their close win vs. Seattle. It seems it doesn’t go both ways.

I did? That's strange, considering I don't think that. Methinks you're confusing me for someone else.

216
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 9:32pm

DavidH: I think the most impressive thing about that is that Dr. Evil will be personally playing Philadelphia next week. Man. He must be one heckuva football player.

217
by DavidH (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 9:33pm

he put "Re:202" so he must have meant me. Of course, I was replying to Greg, not him... And besides, I USED SEATTLE'S WIN OVER THE GIANTS AS A POINT IN THEIR FAVOR. So I don't see how I'm calling Washignton OR Seattle's wins "flukes."

218
by IzzionSona (not verified) :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 10:46pm

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls of all ages, I present to you the top ten ways to acheive total denigration from the FO Comments Regulars:

10) Note that a team is ranked above a team that beat it, and then use this observation as proof that DVOA is invalid
9) Make some statement about how DVOA is flawed because your team is too low
8) Make grevious and repeated capitalizaiton, spelling, or grammatical errors
7) Assert how your team's star player has intangibles that effect the outcome
6) Manipulate a statistic to prove your point, and then ignore all possible efforts to show you why your statistic might be somewhat flawed
5) Assert that there is no possible way that having an above average success rate in some key statistical category could possibly be luck, and defend the assertion against all who oppose it.
4) Vigorously assert that the only valid opinions about NFL teams relative strength can come from people who actually played the game
3) Accuse the system of an East Coast Bias for ranking Denver above Indianapolis for two weeks
2) Use a first person pronoun when referring to the team you root for

And, the #1 way to earn the scorn of Football Outsiders regular posters...

1) Accuse Aaron or the Outsiders as having a bias against NE

219
by admin :: Thu, 12/01/2005 - 11:16pm

Heh heh. You forgot one, and it is a biggie: keep posting the same damn thing over and over. That drives me nuts.

The funny thing about #2 on that list is that personally I've never understood the problem people have with referring to the team you root for as "we." We're fans, we live and die with our teams. Hell, I do it too. Which team I refer to as "we," of course, is what makes #1 so damn funny.

220
by DavidH (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 12:55am

Seriously though, is that article about statement games/defining victories/etc gonna get posted? I've been checking the site like 10 times a day hoping to see it.

Hmm, maybe I shouldn't have said that. I don't want the FO staff to start holding back articles just to get more page views from me (and others of course).

221
by Jason (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 12:56am

Now this bit is annoying. I can understand the DVOA ranking system putting Seattle at the place it has them, since it doesn't measure pure wins and losses, but if you are going to knock Seattle for their win/loss record over opposition, than you have to do a better job than this. You talk about Seattle's record over decent opposition not being as good as Indy and Denver. Except, those are the two teams almost UNIVERSALLY accepted as better than Seattle (and everyone else, for that matter). As a matter of fact, even Dr. Evil is questioning why Seattle isn't #3, not why they aren't #1.

Compared to other top teams 3-2 isn't impressive? Only 4 other 'top' teams have as good or better record against decent opposition. The aforementioned Colts and Broncos, and the Jaguars and Chiefs who have the same 3-2 record.

The Bengals record against plus .500 teams is 2-3, the Chargers 2-3, Giants 2-4, Redskins 3-5, Cowboys 2-3, and the Steelers 2-3.

To top it off, Seattle's 6-0 record against sub .500 teams is also better than everybody except for Indy, Cinci, and the Giants. Broncos dropped one to Miami, Chargers lost to Philly, Jaguars lost one to St. Louis, Chiefs lost to Philly and Buffalo, Cowboys and Redskins lost to Oakland, and the Steelers lost to Baltimore.
So the 'Hawks only beat the Niners by two points on the road. They still haven't been beat by a losing team, as opposed to all these other people. I'll take 'almost losing' over 'actually losing' any day of the week.

222
by Jason (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 12:58am

That last message is in response to this line from #211. doktarr

"Against the rest of their schedule, they are 3-2. That’s just not that impressive, particularly when compared to other top teams. Indianapolis has five easy wins, but they’re 6-0 against better competition. Denver is 8-1 against decent teams."

223
by Dr. Evil (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 1:30am

RE: 217

No I was talking about your "Was beat Seattle advantage WAS" commen. So that advantage goes to washington for winning a close game. Ok fine.

So then Aaron goes on to say that NYG outplayed them, they aren't invincible at home. Great that's fine too. So logically we would ask why is it ok for WAS to get outplayed and barely win but when Seattle does it it's now "the seahawks were outplayed, shouldn't have won blah blah".

If you can't see the bias there then I can't help you.

It is a valid question and Aaron defended himself. Hopefully now you can understand what I said.

224
by J (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 1:32am

DVOA stats do show how teams are playing. I love football, and watch as much as I can, but I still cannot watch every game. This site, these stats fill in the blanks.

Some new readers criticize these stats, but look at all the past years...

2004
NE, PITT, INDY, and PHIL - were ranked 1-4....NE and PHIL played in the SB.

2003 (2003 CARO team is one of few times DVOA did not compute too well)
KC, NE, TENN, INDY - were ranked 1-4...NE and CARO played in the SB.

2002
TB, OAK, PHIL, MIAMI - ranked 1-4...TB OAK played SB.

Don't the results of past years speak volumes about DVOA?

I think they do, so I click on this site atleast 4 times a week to see how teams I could not watch on TV are doing.

Anyways, thanks for the great stats...keep up the good work.

One question, any chance of getting an on-going open discussion for each team; or atleast one for each division. I love talkin Steelers to anyone, anytime, but often here talking about the Steelers would be off subject...just an idea.

225
by Bronco Jeff (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 2:16am

Dr. Evil, I think that the main knock against Seattle is the division, and to a lesser extent, the conference in which they play.

I wonder how the season would have played out in the pre-realignment divisions. Would Seattle be 9-2 in the ultra-competitive AFC West? Um, here's a vote for hell no.

The fact of the matter is, Denver has already played the best team in the NFC and their name is the New York Football Giants. Their DVOA rating for defense much better supports their actual ability on defense than other stats show. And quite frankly, questionable officiating aside, the Giants deserved to win that game ON THE ROAD against an overrated Seattle team. Even if the calls were reversed the Giants were still in position to strike, and the way their offense has been rolling up yards lately I'm pretty sure they would have finished anyway.

Look, you guys beat both Dallas and the Giants. Kudos for that. But they remain wins that were more than a little lucky.

In the AFC West the Seahawks would be either a third or fourth place team right now (in the old alignment). A damn good third or fourth place team, but out of the playoff picture in any case.

Just be thankful to the NFL scheduling committee and the woeful NFC West (now the 2nd worst division in football behind the AFC East). Take your #11 ranking in the ONLY set of power rankings that truly reflect the strength of each team and make preparations for home field advantage in the inferior NFC.

By the way, the Chargers will beat Indianapolis because, in my opinion, they can score with them much better than Cincinatti could. I also think that the Jacksonville game is dangerous for Indy...beware David Garrard.

In the playoffs, Indy wins it all, unless Denver plays their best game of the year, which I'm crossing my fingers for. That game will live up to its billing.

226
by DavidH (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 2:58am

Re:223

Umm ... seeing as Aaron and I are different people, I'm not sure why you would cobine our arguments. I'm sure I could find another Seahawks fans who has made an argument that would make something you said sound illogical.

ALSO

My post was in response to Greg, in case you didn't notice.

ALSO

You seem to think that this DVOA thing is bunk, and that we shouldn't be looking at individual plays to see who is better, and just at results. In which case, Washington beat Seattle. SCOEBOARD! Or, on the other hand, if you do wanna evaluate games based on hwo teams played instead of whether they won ... Washington has a better DVOA than Seattle.

Maybe that last point is a little reductive and not really a good argument. But the first section certainly stands.

227
by Joe Dimino (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 3:16am

Just curious, does DVOA treat the NYG/NO game from week 2 as a home game for the Giants or the Saints?

228
by Jason (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 3:30am

"I wonder how the season would have played out in the pre-realignment divisions. Would Seattle be 9-2 in the ultra-competitive AFC West? Um, here’s a vote for hell no."

I wouldn't expect the Broncos to have a 9-2 record either, if the Seahawks were in that division.

"And quite frankly, questionable officiating aside, the Giants deserved to win that game ON THE ROAD against an overrated Seattle team."

You only deserve to win the games you score more points than your opposition. Not only didn't they do that, they didn't do that despite getting a touchdown that they shouldn't have.

The Giants are still the team that had to scramble to tie it up in the waning minutes of the game. The 'Hawks were ahead pretty much all game long. You don't get points for gaining the most yards. The Giants looked good for their drives... except for when they got within scoring range. They only got 2 TDs and one of them shouldn't have counted. Is that the play that 'deserves' a win? 1 real touchdown drive? Heck, even 2 touchdown drives doesn't sound like the play of a 'winner'.
Seahawks scored 3 touchdowns to two. The Giants rode Jay Feely into overtime. It's only appropriate that he wasn't enough in the end.

"Look, you guys beat both Dallas and the Giants. Kudos for that. But they remain wins that were more than a little lucky."

Yeah, but there was plenty of luck in both games for Dallas and the Giants as well. It's not Seattle's fault that they capitalized on their luck better.

"Take your #11 ranking in the ONLY set of power rankings that truly reflect the strength of each team and make preparations for home field advantage in the inferior NFC."

Both conferences sport the same overall record, head to head they are 24-24, and even though the best record in the league is in the AFC, so is the worst.

The head to head of AFC vs. NFC this year is all about parity.

229
by Joon (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 10:13am

the NFC and AFC may be pretty equal overall (although i am not quite sure this is true), but it is fairly clear that almost all of the league's elite teams reside in the AFC. the colts, broncos, chargers, bengals, chiefs, steelers and jags are as good or better than any NFC team other than seattle (and at least two, maybe more of those teams are better than the seahawks too). the giants, cowboys and bears are in the discussion with the second tier of those teams (KC, PIT, JAX), but on a neutral field i'm pretty sure i would take the AFC team in any matchup involving them.

230
by elhondo (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 11:40am

Since everyone new seems to think DVOA is biased, I was wondering if we even COULD make it biased. I'm not talking about an extra column for shoe size or anything, but what minor adjustments could we make to denigrate Atlanta and Seattle while leaving the rest of the ratings relatively intact.

231
by doktarr (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 2:29pm

RE: Jason #221:

You're absolutely right, of course. Indy and Denver are the only teams that have put up a really impressive record against other good teams. Of course, this is why they are #1 and #2.

The point is not that Seattle is obviously worse than the teams ranked 3-10. The point is that they are not obviously BETTER.

Personally, I am satisfied looking at the DVOA stats derived from play-by-play, and I don't need this sort of macro-analysis of wins. But there's a tendency among some folks to jump up and down and scream "9-2! 9-2! 9-2!!" and imply that winning percentage trumps all other considerations. The point is just that, based on W's and L's alone, we should not immediately assume that Seattle is better than KC or Jacksonville or San Diego.

The fact that DVOA tells us something significantly different from every other power ranking out there on the web should be valued, not criticized. All these new statistics are only useful if they tell us something that's not immediately obvious. Any idiot can put Seattle at #3 - you don't have to have seen a single snap all year to do that.

And once again, given that they will probably lock up HFA and get a chance to rest their starters in the last week, they're the odds-on favorite to represent the NFC in the Superbowl. I'd take an easy schedule and a Superbowl berth any day of the week.

232
by admin :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 2:51pm

Re: 227, the Giants.

233
by Andrew (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 2:53pm

Jason #228:

The Giants looked good for their drives… except for when they got within scoring range.

They got field goals before Feeley's choke job at the end. Field Goals are a perfectly acceptable means of winning games. Last I checked, they put 3 points on the board. If you kick enough of them, you can easily outscore your opponent despite scoring fewer touchdowns. See the Green Bay-Philly game from last week. This is a lesson Seattle should learn, considering their paucity of field goals this year.

They only got 2 TDs and one of them shouldn’t have counted. Is that the play that ‘deserves’ a win? 1 real touchdown drive? Heck, even 2 touchdown drives doesn’t sound like the play of a ‘winner’.

The typical winning NFL club will have an average of 2-3 TD's per game. So for every game with 3-4 TD's, you'll have some with just 1 or 2. A good club finds a way to win games where they are limited to 1 or 2 TD drives.

I have no doubt in my mind that had the Giants needed another touchdown drive on their last drive of regulation (the one Feeley honked the Field Goal on), being down 21-16/17 at that point, they could and would have gotten it. Seattle let the Giants walk all over them all game long.

234
by Azarus (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 3:10pm

Cowboys and Giants.

I don't understand how the cowboys could stay the same in the rankings, after losing to the number 3 team (Denver), yet the giants gain a place in the rankings after losing (by the same point spread) to a lower ranked team (9th place Seattle). Just doesn't make sense.

235
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 3:32pm

Because its not based on winning and losing, Azarus. It's based on value per play. The Giants dominated the Seahawks through most of the game.

The Cowboys played at their level.

The better team isn't always the team that wins. The Cowboys beat the Eagles on MNF, after being dominated all game by the Eagles. The Cowboys aren't rewarded in these stats for being a "better team" in that situation.

They're efficiency rankings because they're rating how efficient each team is on every play. But again, the team that plays better isn't always the team that wins. in the Seahawks/Giants game, its saying that the Giants outplayed the Seahawks. When Teams lose and gain position, or teams win and lose position, it generally means that they either played worse then usual and still won, or played better then usual and still lost. A lot of times these will come down to some sort of fluke (A sudden boneheaded change of coaching strategy, missed Field Goals, Interception return for a TD, etc)

The Niners are a historically bad team. If for some reason they suddenly dramatically improved and played as well as the Falcons for the rest of the year, but were still losing games to teams much higher then them like Seattle, Denver, Indy, San Diego - They would still BE an improved team, whether they were actually winning or not.

236
by Jason (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2005 - 11:13pm

RE: #229 Joon-
"the NFC and AFC may be pretty equal overall (although i am not quite sure this is true),"

24-24 head to head sounds pretty equal to me. The exact same overall record for both conferences (88-88) sounds pretty equal to me. And yes, these stats are quite, quite true.

"but it is fairly clear that almost all of the league’s elite teams reside in the AFC. the colts, broncos, chargers, bengals, chiefs, steelers and jags are as good or better than any NFC team other than seattle (and at least two, maybe more of those teams are better than the seahawks too). the giants, cowboys and bears are in the discussion with the second tier of those teams (KC, PIT, JAX), but on a neutral field i’m pretty sure i would take the AFC team in any matchup involving them."

I'd rank Seahawks and Bears up there with any team in the AFC, except maybe the Broncos (who, yes, I think are better than the Colts). Giants and Cowboys are up there with any teams not named Indy or Denver.

San Diego probably belongs in the upper tier of the league as well, but I'm not going to hang my hat on them yet.

RE: 231 doktarr
"The point is not that Seattle is obviously worse than the teams ranked 3-10. The point is that they are not obviously BETTER."

According to their record, which was the argument I was going with (as I said, DVOA puts them where DVOA ranks them, fine with me on this list), since that's the argument you were making.

RE: 233 Andrew-
"They got field goals before Feeley’s choke job at the end. Field Goals are a perfectly acceptable means of winning games. Last I checked, they put 3 points on the board."

Last I checked, settling for field goals when you should be getting touchdowns is symptomatic of a problem, not a sign of dominance. Everybody is giving the game to Giants on a 'deserved to win due to dominance' basis, but you can't 'dominate' a team settling for field goals. Just ask Arizona.

"This is a lesson Seattle should learn, considering their paucity of field goals this year."

Yup, clearly, they need to kick more field goals. They are only 4th in the league in scoring... maybe San Diego and Indiannapolis need to follow that line of thinking as well. Being that they are 1st and 2nd in total scoring and both teams kick as few (or fewer) FGs than the Seahawks.

They should all be more like the Cardinals, because that's working out great for them...

"The typical winning NFL club will have an average of 2-3 TD’s per game. So for every game with 3-4 TD’s, you’ll have some with just 1 or 2. A good club finds a way to win games where they are limited to 1 or 2 TD drives."

So Giants must not be a good club... of course, being limited to 1 real TD drive still doesn't sound like the 'dominance' that deserves a win.

"I have no doubt in my mind that had the Giants needed another touchdown drive on their last drive of regulation (the one Feeley honked the Field Goal on), being down 21-16/17 at that point, they could and would have gotten it."

Well knock me over with a feather! You are making a prediction against the Seahawks... how unexpected.

Giants were basically made ineffective for 90% of the game in touchdown range, but when the game was on the line, they would have been able to score a TD? Now, excuse me if I'm wrong, but didn't they try to do that in BOTH drives that led to missed field goals in OT? Not only couldn't they get this TD, but they didn't even get into easy field goal range.

Seriously, this 'prediction' has got as much weight to it as every other predicition you've been making about the Seahawks on this site.

"Seattle let the Giants walk all over them all game long."

Except Seahawks were ahead on the scoreboard, where it actually matters, for most of the game.

If Manning and company are putting up all their yards between the 20s, but failing where it matters most, I don't consider that dominance.

237
by Dave (not verified) :: Sat, 12/03/2005 - 12:41am

#231 - doktarr, that's exactly what I was saying in comment 113. It's the information theoretical approach to power rankings - they provide information only inasmuch as they tell you something you don't already know.

(Next project: calculate the Hamming distances between DVOA and other Power Rankings...)

238
by putnamp (not verified) :: Sat, 12/03/2005 - 1:47am

#233

I have no doubt in my mind that had the Giants needed another touchdown drive on their last drive of regulation (the one Feeley honked the Field Goal on), being down 21-16/17 at that point, they could and would have gotten it. Seattle let the Giants walk all over them all game long.

So you're saying the Giants settled for field goals because they didn't WANT the touchdowns?

239
by Bronco Jeff (not verified) :: Sat, 12/03/2005 - 3:26am

No, he's saying that Coughlin went for the safe play and it came back and bit him in the ass.

That's the problem in the NFL, the coaches are going for the field goal at the end to break a tie instead of sticking with their gameplan against a softer defense and going for the touchdown.

Re: 228
If the Giants in overtime had tried to either move the ball closer (through the air), they would have had the game in hand. No way Feely misses inside of 40 yards in overtime, but the Giants didn't do anything to make it a shorter field goal in overtime after the booth replay overturn of the Shockey catch.

So yes, I do think that the Seahawks should be commended for scoring more touchdowns than the Giants, but I also think that they were grossly outplayed and didn't deserve to win.

And yes, I would take the Colts, Broncos, Bengals, Steelers, Chargers, or even the Jaguars and Chiefs at a NEUTRAL site over any NFC team, which is why whomever comes out of the AFC this year will roll over the NFC champ.

240
by Jason (not verified) :: Sat, 12/03/2005 - 6:30am

RE: 239 Bronco Jeff
"No, he’s saying that Coughlin went for the safe play and it came back and bit him in the ass.

That’s the problem in the NFL, the coaches are going for the field goal at the end to break a tie instead of sticking with their gameplan against a softer defense and going for the touchdown.

Re: 228
If the Giants in overtime had tried to either move the ball closer (through the air), they would have had the game in hand. No way Feely misses inside of 40 yards in overtime, but the Giants didn’t do anything to make it a shorter field goal in overtime after the booth replay overturn of the Shockey catch."

This would be a nice theory if it were some way settled in reality. But it's not. The Giants tried REPEATEDLY to move the ball and failed following the Shockey incompletion. The play immediately before that first missed FG kick in OT was a failed pass to Burress.

Their second drive included an incomplete to Shockey and an incomplete to Burress (as well as the two rush plays from Barber).

The Giants DID try for the touchdown and did try to move the ball into closer field goal range, and they failed both times. This isn't a theory created to protect the Seahawks, this is what actually happened. You just need watch the game to see it.

"So yes, I do think that the Seahawks should be commended for scoring more touchdowns than the Giants, but I also think that they were grossly outplayed and didn’t deserve to win."
They deserved to win because they put up the points. They scored more touchdowns and made the Giants nearly inept within 30 yards of Seattle's goal line.

New York was only 'grossly' outplaying BEFORE they got into the zone that it actually mattered.

"And yes, I would take the Colts, Broncos, Bengals, Steelers, Chargers, or even the Jaguars and Chiefs at a NEUTRAL site over any NFC team, which is why whomever comes out of the AFC this year will roll over the NFC champ."
So the reason why AFC team will roll over the NFC team is because you would pick the AFC team? I didn't know the Super Bowl was decided by Bronco Jeff's pick.

Learn something new every day, I suppose.

241
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 12/03/2005 - 6:36am

Re: 239

The Giants did try to move the ball closer through the air on both overtime drives when in field goal range.

First drive:
1-15-SEA 36 (11:59) (Shotgun) 10-E.Manning pass to 80-J.Shockey to SEA 26 for 10 yards (56-L.Hill). FUMBLES (56-L.Hill), recovered by NYG-84-T.Carter at SEA 20. 84-T.Carter to SEA 20 for no gain (21-A.Dyson). Play Challenged by Review Assistant and REVERSED. (Shotgun) 10-E.Manning pass incomplete to 80-J.Shockey.
Timeout #1 by SEA at 11:28.
2-15-SEA 36 (11:28) (Shotgun) 10-E.Manning right guard to SEA 36 for no gain (98-G.Wistrom). QB Draw.
3-15-SEA 36 (10:51) (Shotgun) 10-E.Manning pass incomplete to 17-P.Burress (21-A.Dyson).
4-15-SEA 36 (10:48) 2-J.Feely 54 yard field goal is No Good, Short, Center-90-R.Kuehl, Holder-18-J.Feagles.

Second drive:
1-10-SEA 31 (7:16) 10-E.Manning pass incomplete to 80-J.Shockey.
2-10-SEA 31 (7:09) 21-T.Barber up the middle to SEA 27 for 4 yards (98-G.Wistrom).
3-6-SEA 27 (6:13) (Shotgun) 10-E.Manning pass incomplete to 17-P.Burress (23-M.Trufant).
4-6-SEA 27 (6:08) 2-J.Feely 45 yard field goal is No Good, Short, Center-90-R.Kuehl, Holder-18-J.Feagles.

In total, 4 passes, 1 qb draw, and 1 handoff. Not exactly Herm Edwards or Marty Schottenheimer-style conservatism.

Also, to those who don't think the Giants outplayed the Seahawks overall:

The Seahawks had 7 drives of 3 plays or fewer. The Giants had only 1.

242
by Jason (not verified) :: Sat, 12/03/2005 - 3:24pm

The Bears ranked #12, worse than the Redskins. Have you lost your mind? The Bears win in Tampa Bay - a beautiful day mind you - and not the cold weather than teams will face at Soldier Field, and they drop in the rankings. Every game that passes, the offense and defense are getting more confident. This is as laughable as the BCS.

243
by Chris (not verified) :: Sat, 12/03/2005 - 3:59pm

242

Yeah, because the idea behind power rankings and DVOA is to decide who plays who for the national championship.

We should just listen to all the talking heads and give the Colts the Super Bowl trophy now. Save us the months of waiting, right?

244
by putnamp (not verified) :: Sat, 12/03/2005 - 4:17pm

I suggest using something other than just your first name from now on, guys.

245
by DavidH (not verified) :: Sat, 12/03/2005 - 4:59pm

Re: 242

Chicago's offense might be confident, but they still suck.

Result of drives that started in their own territory:

Vs. Tampa Bay
-------
8 punts (3 three-and-out's)
1 interception
1 field goal

Vs. Carolina
---------------
7 punts (3 three-and-out's)
1 interception
1 field goal
2 stopped by the end of the half

Vs. San Francisco
------------------
5 punts (3 three-and-out's)
1 turnover on downs
1 touchdown

Vs. New Orleans
-----------------
6 punts (5 three-and-out's)
2 interceptions
1 fumble
2 field goals
1 touchdown

So over the last 4 games, on 40 drives that have started in their own territory:
26 punts (14 three-and-out's)
4 interceptions
1 fumble
1 turnover on downs
2 stopped by end of half
4 field goals
2 touchdowns

I guess I shouldn't use this as evidence that they suck. I haven't looked at other teams' performance to see how the average drive goes. But I'm guessing this is below average.

246
by DavidH (not verified) :: Sat, 12/03/2005 - 5:53pm

OK, for comparison I looked at the how the last 4 opponents (other than Chicago) of each of these teams did against them. I'm not going to show all the numbers like I did above, that would take way too much space. But I'll show the percent of drives that go 3 & out, the percent that end in a turnover (I'm including TO-on-downs), the points per drive, and each team's rank in offensive DVOA.

Team, off DVOA ....... 3&O%, TO%, pts/dr

Tampa Bay
-----------
Atl, 8 ....... 17, 33, 1.67
Was, 12 ....... 9, 36, 1.82
Car, 18 ....... 33, 0, 1.13
SF, 32 ....... 41, 0, 0.18

CHI, 28 ....... 23, 8, 0.23

Carolina
----------
Buf, 29 ....... 13, 13, 0.75
NYJ, 31 ....... 0, 55, 0.27
TB, 20 ....... 19, 25, 0.88
Min, 24 ....... 31, 15, 0.54

CHI, 28 ....... 21, 7, 0.21

San Francisco
--------------
Ten, 19 ....... 28, 11, 0.89
Sea, 5 ....... 25, 8, 1.42
NYG, 9 ....... 17, 8, 1.42
TB, 20 ....... 32, 18, 0.45

CHI, 28 ....... 30, 10, 0.70

New Orleans
-------------
NYJ, 31 ....... 18, 9, 1.73
NE, 7 ....... 20, 0, 1.70
Mia, 27 ....... 17, 17, 1.33
Stl, 16 ....... 31, 15, 1.08

CHI, 28 ....... 29, 18, 0.76

So looking at this, it seems to me that Chicago has a lot of 3 & Out's, is absolutely HORRIBLE at getting points, but doesn't turn the ball over that much. But, given their defense, this may be OK. Their D turns the game into a battle of field position, and the key to winning that battle is not turning it over. If they can just turn the ball over less than their opponent, the should get more.

That said, they're still not a very good offense. Their rank of 28 may seem a little low, but looking at the teams above them, I can't see them any higher than 25th. That would slot them just behing GB and Minnesota, and just ahead of Detroit, Houston, and Miami.

247
by DavidH (not verified) :: Sat, 12/03/2005 - 5:56pm

Just to clarify, these numbers are all for drives starting in the team's own territory. So the short field that Chicago's defense often gives the offense is not included here.

248
by Chris (not verified) :: Sat, 12/03/2005 - 6:06pm

Putnamp, good idea.

I just need an awesome new handle.

249
by Bronco Jeff (not verified) :: Sat, 12/03/2005 - 6:06pm

I still don't think that the Bears have proven themselves against a high quality offense. Carolina might have a good offense, but certainly not a great one. Let's see the Bears against Cincinatti (oh wait, they already got blown out by the Bengals) or another high octane AFC offense and we'll see just how potent this defense really is.

I'm just not quite ready to jump on the Bears' bandwagon, especially with those atrocious offensive stats. If they beat a quality AFC team like Pittsburgh in two weeks then I will be impressed.

250
by Andrew (not verified) :: Sat, 12/03/2005 - 10:16pm

Jason:

Last I checked, settling for field goals when you should be getting touchdowns is symptomatic of a problem, not a sign of dominance.

A good team will take advantage of opportunities in the area from the 20-35 when a drive sputters out by kicking a field goal. A good team will also get themselves into that area of the field when it counts. Part of why the Giants are doing so well is that they've kicked 23 field goals in addition to scoring 33 touchdowns. Most NFL teams have only scored about 15 field goals right now.

but you can’t ‘dominate’ a team settling for field goals. Just ask Arizona.

The Eagles in dominating Green Bay last year scored 5 touchdowns and 4 field goals. I guess they didn't play very well by your rules.

Part of why certain teams continue to lose close games, or barely eke out a win thanks only to opponent mistakes (Chargers, Seahawks, Cowboys) is that they haven't found a way to squeeze out those few extra points an additional field goal can give them on a drive that comes up short. Its not as if Seattle is scoring on every drive, so "settling for a field goal" in such circumstances is really just putting more points on the board, and would make the close games not so close.

In 2004 and 2003, when New England won a number of close games, they also had more field goals than most other teams. Coincidence? In 2004, Patriots, Eagles, Broncos, Bengals, and Steelers all had the most field goals - guess what - they were also most of the best offenses.

There is quite a distinction between a good team which scores every time it can and tries to score as often as possible, even if it is just a field goal, like New England in 2004, and a bad team which must settle for field goals, like Baltimore in 2004 or Arizona this year.

251
by FizzMan (not verified) :: Sat, 12/03/2005 - 11:14pm

Re #244:

Please refer to #218, points 10 and 9. And perhaps point 7, though broadened to refer to the intangibles of the entire team (confidence), not just your star player.

252
by Jason-H (not verified) :: Sun, 12/04/2005 - 10:32pm

RE: 241 - Travis
"The Seahawks had 7 drives of 3 plays or fewer. The Giants had only 1."

As I said before, I think Giants did a great job in between the 20s, but they kept sputtering out when they got closer than that.

RE: 244 - putnamp
"I suggest using something other than just your first name from now on, guys."

That seems like quite the solid suggestion, so for those wondering, the Seahawks Jason is now Jason-H.

RE: 250 - Andrew
"A good team will take advantage of opportunities in the area from the 20-35 when a drive sputters out by kicking a field goal. A good team will also get themselves into that area of the field when it counts."

Yeah, but a good team also doesn't repeatedly fail to get further than field goal range, or even to get in closer for short field goals. Giants weren't settling for field goals because they wanted to, but because they had to.

I have no problems with points being scored by kicking, but pointing out New York as the 'model' to follow when the majority of the high scoring teams do not have 1/3 of their points coming from kicking is silly.

"The Eagles in dominating Green Bay last year scored 5 touchdowns and 4 field goals. I guess they didn’t play very well by your rules."

Yeah, they only scored 5 touchdowns, I would definitley count that as not playing well... 'cause clearly, according to my rules, 5 touchdown drives stinks.
If you take away every single FG, they STILL win the game 35-17 and we'd still consider it a dominating win. You take away all but 1 TD drive, they win 19-17.

Which one makes the bigger difference?

"There is quite a distinction between a good team which scores every time it can and tries to score as often as possible, even if it is just a field goal, like New England in 2004, and a bad team which must settle for field goals, like Baltimore in 2004 or Arizona this year."

The field goals themselves aren't the problem. It was New York's continual failures within that range. There is nothing wrong with getting 3 points from a FG, but your team can't be truly dominating a game when it's failing inside the 30 continually.

They were even failing to convert for SHORT field goals. Heck, if they had managed to get Feely in for a 30 yarder instead of settling for 2 40+ and a 50+ it would be different.

253
by Dr. Evil (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 1:23am

How do you like it now?