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» Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Denver remains No. 1 in the Football Outsiders DVOA ratings, but New England moves up to No. 2 and has taken over as our Super Bowl favorite.

05 Dec 2006

Week 14 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

Here are the latest DVOA ratings. Commentary now available on FOXSports.com. Since the commentary was written before and just after the Carolina-Philadelphia game, those rankings don't include that game. These ratings, however, do.

I want to write about my trip to MNF and NFL Films and I'm sure that Mike Tanier and I will do so but right now there's no time -- just enough time to jump online and give you guys the latest ratings.

(All individual pages now updated. So is the Mike Harris Playoff Odds Report. Scroll down for a new addition, tentative odds on reaching and winning the Super Bowl.)

Don't forget to check out the Football Outsiders swag shoppe -- now featuring ROBO-PUNTER shirts! They have our logo on the front, ROBO-PUNTER on the back with uniform number 1.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through Week 13 of 2006, 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 is based on a formula which discounts games more than eight weeks ago in order to get a more accurate picture of how teams are playing now. This is the formula used for the rankings at FOXSports.com.

Remember that you can always use the keyword "DVOA" to access the latest DVOA commentary at FOXSports.com.

To save people some time, please use the zlionsfan template for all complaints:

<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>


TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
WEIGHTED
DVOA
RANK W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
SPECIAL
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
1 CHI 32.9% 1 28.7% 2 10-2 -6.2% 21 -30.3% 1 8.8% 1
2 SD 29.2% 2 27.0% 4 10-2 23.7% 2 -2.0% 14 3.5% 6
3 BAL 28.0% 3 27.9% 3 9-3 0.5% 14 -23.5% 2 4.0% 4
4 DAL 26.1% 4 29.1% 1 8-4 15.1% 5 -11.4% 4 -0.3% 18
5 JAC 23.5% 7 21.2% 7 7-5 1.7% 12 -21.3% 3 0.6% 14
6 IND 22.7% 5 25.3% 6 10-2 32.2% 1 8.1% 26 -1.3% 22
7 NE 22.3% 6 25.4% 5 9-3 8.7% 8 -10.6% 7 2.9% 8
8 NYG 19.5% 9 17.5% 8 6-6 15.1% 4 -4.7% 12 -0.4% 19
9 PHI 19.4% 8 13.1% 10 6-6 14.1% 6 -7.8% 10 -2.5% 26
10 CIN 14.7% 10 13.3% 9 7-5 19.5% 3 7.0% 25 2.3% 10
11 NO 9.6% 12 10.0% 11 8-4 12.5% 7 5.1% 24 2.1% 11
12 KC 7.9% 11 8.9% 12 7-5 7.9% 9 2.1% 16 2.1% 12
13 CAR 4.5% 13 8.4% 13 6-6 -2.3% 17 -8.2% 9 -1.4% 24
14 PIT 2.3% 15 1.6% 14 5-7 -2.1% 16 -10.6% 8 -6.3% 32
15 DEN -0.6% 14 0.0% 15 7-5 -3.5% 18 -2.9% 13 -0.1% 17
16 MIN -4.5% 17 -4.4% 17 5-7 -13.0% 28 -11.3% 5 -2.9% 27
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
WEIGHTED
DVOA
RANK W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
SPECIAL
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
17 NYJ -4.8% 20 -4.0% 16 7-5 3.7% 10 12.2% 27 3.7% 5
18 MIA -6.8% 16 -5.2% 19 5-7 -11.7% 26 -6.8% 11 -1.9% 25
19 WAS -9.5% 19 -13.2% 25 4-8 3.0% 11 12.7% 28 0.1% 15
20 BUF -10.0% 22 -11.9% 23 5-7 -11.1% 25 5.0% 23 6.2% 2
21 ATL -10.3% 27 -15.5% 26 6-6 -4.4% 19 2.8% 18 -3.1% 28
22 CLE -11.1% 26 -10.4% 20 4-8 -15.8% 30 0.4% 15 5.0% 3
23 SEA -11.3% 24 -11.2% 21 8-4 -12.2% 27 2.2% 17 3.1% 7
24 STL -11.3% 18 -17.2% 27 5-7 1.4% 13 12.8% 29 0.1% 16
25 TEN -12.5% 23 -4.8% 18 5-7 -10.4% 24 4.6% 21 2.5% 9
26 GB -14.1% 21 -11.3% 22 4-8 -5.4% 20 4.9% 22 -3.8% 30
27 HOU -16.8% 25 -12.9% 24 4-8 -0.4% 15 15.9% 31 -0.5% 20
28 OAK -24.4% 30 -20.8% 28 2-10 -32.0% 32 -11.2% 6 -3.6% 29
29 ARI -24.8% 32 -21.7% 29 3-9 -14.7% 29 4.1% 19 -6.1% 31
30 SF -25.1% 28 -25.4% 30 5-7 -8.3% 22 15.4% 30 -1.4% 23
31 TB -26.9% 29 -26.9% 31 3-9 -21.9% 31 4.1% 20 -0.9% 21
32 DET -27.4% 31 -27.1% 32 2-10 -9.5% 23 18.7% 32 0.9% 13

  • NON-ADJ VOA shows what the rating looks like without adjustments for strength of schedule, luck recovering fumbles, or 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
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
1 CHI 32.9% 10-2 40.5% 9.2 1 -7.6% 31 -19.9% 32 23.6% 4
2 SD 29.2% 10-2 36.0% 9.1 2 -5.5% 26 -7.2% 27 7.0% 29
3 BAL 28.0% 9-3 31.7% 8.5 3 -0.9% 19 -2.7% 23 17.6% 10
4 DAL 26.1% 8-4 26.5% 7.9 7 0.7% 14 -2.2% 22 15.0% 12
5 JAC 23.5% 7-5 25.5% 7.5 8 2.5% 12 10.1% 4 34.0% 1
6 IND 22.7% 10-2 22.6% 8.4 5 3.7% 9 3.7% 14 12.2% 17
7 NE 22.3% 9-3 26.8% 8.0 6 -1.1% 21 -3.2% 24 13.7% 16
8 NYG 19.5% 6-6 14.7% 7.5 9 5.3% 8 6.0% 9 12.2% 18
9 PHI 19.4% 6-6 13.2% 8.5 4 0.1% 16 6.4% 8 14.3% 14
10 CIN 14.7% 7-5 9.7% 7.1 10 6.0% 4 0.0% 18 11.7% 20
11 NO 9.6% 8-4 13.3% 6.9 11 -4.7% 25 10.1% 2 10.4% 22
12 KC 7.9% 7-5 10.5% 6.8 12 -5.8% 28 14.1% 1 24.6% 3
13 CAR 4.5% 6-6 3.6% 6.0 14 -0.2% 18 5.2% 12 7.9% 28
14 PIT 2.3% 5-7 -1.5% 5.9 15 2.7% 11 9.0% 6 18.5% 8
15 DEN -0.6% 7-5 0.2% 5.6 17 3.1% 10 -1.5% 20 17.6% 11
16 MIN -4.5% 5-7 -1.9% 6.3 13 -3.0% 24 -14.4% 31 6.8% 30
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
17 NYJ -4.8% 7-5 -4.0% 5.7 16 2.1% 13 -11.4% 28 14.3% 13
18 MIA -6.8% 5-7 -1.8% 5.2 22 -0.1% 17 7.5% 7 9.6% 25
19 WAS -9.5% 4-8 -15.1% 5.3 19 5.9% 6 9.3% 5 9.6% 24
20 BUF -10.0% 5-7 -13.0% 5.2 21 6.5% 3 0.9% 16 14.2% 15
21 ATL -10.3% 6-6 -1.8% 5.3 18 -1.0% 20 5.8% 10 24.9% 2
22 CLE -11.1% 4-8 -18.9% 4.4 27 5.9% 5 -3.4% 25 8.3% 27
23 SEA -11.3% 8-4 -6.2% 5.0 24 -6.9% 30 -11.9% 29 11.1% 21
24 STL -11.3% 5-7 1.2% 5.3 20 -10.2% 32 -1.4% 19 9.3% 26
25 TEN -12.5% 5-7 -18.9% 5.1 23 12.8% 1 4.7% 13 19.7% 7
26 GB -14.1% 4-8 -17.0% 4.6 26 -1.4% 23 -6.0% 26 17.6% 9
27 HOU -16.8% 4-8 -20.0% 4.7 25 5.6% 7 5.3% 11 12.1% 19
28 OAK -24.4% 2-10 -29.9% 3.5 31 0.5% 15 1.6% 15 9.8% 23
29 ARI -24.8% 3-9 -17.4% 4.1 29 -6.1% 29 -2.0% 21 21.7% 5
30 SF -25.1% 5-7 -23.9% 4.2 28 -1.3% 22 -12.7% 30 21.3% 6
31 TB -26.9% 3-9 -36.8% 3.5 30 8.6% 2 0.0% 17 6.7% 31
32 DET -27.4% 2-10 -22.8% 3.3 32 -5.7% 27 10.1% 3 6.6% 32

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 05 Dec 2006

225 comments, Last at 10 Dec 2006, 12:39am by Gus

Comments

1
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 7:36pm

I feel sorry for Lions fans.

Worst DVOA AND the hardest remaining schedule.

Seriously, who did you guys piss off?

2
by zip (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 7:39pm

#1

At least the Lions have the lowest variance in the league.

Hooray for consistent suck!

3
by jebmak (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 7:39pm

Re: #1

About 100,000 Ford employees.

4
by IsaiahC (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 7:39pm

Whoa, do my eyes deceive me? Dallas #1 in Weighted DVOA? That's going to go over REALLY well over at foxsports.com. Oh well, I'll wear my Cowboys hat in pride.

5
by Rob S. (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 7:40pm

San Diego - Super Chargers!

Rather than lament that we couldn't climb to #1, I'll express my surprise that the Ravens stayed high, while the Bengals failed to rise.

But back to the song, has there ever been a better NFL fight song, ever? Houston Oilers #1 may be up there. And don't even come back with the icky Hail to the Redskins song.

6
by Kevin (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 7:45pm

Re: 4

Not too surprising, as Dallas has played really well of late. Overall, the Bears have played the best.

According to DVOA, the playoff teams in the NFC will be Chicago, Dallas, NY Giants, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and a seemingly completely overmatched NFC West team (likely Seattle due to the real 3-game lead, but the DVOA is close between SEA and STL).

Having the NFC with the top 2 teams in Weighted DVOA is what I really think will cause a ruckus over at FoxSports.

7
by Orothar (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 7:48pm

While I certainly agree that the Seahawks haven't played better than their rating indicates (something in the teens seems correct given that two of their best players are once again healthy), how do we explain their record? Is it just dumb luck?

I mean, they've beaten quite a few teams that are higher on DVOA - including the Rams (twice).

8
by IsaiahC (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 7:49pm

I wonder how Hollis Thomas's steroid suspension will affect the Saints Def. DVOA.

9
by Josh (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 7:49pm

Interesting that the four 6-6 NFC teams fighting for wild card spots all have basically the same remaining strength of schedule, rank from 8th to 12th.
In the AFC of the five 7-5 teams, Jax and KC have difficult remaining schedules, CIN and DEN medium, NYJ easy.
Interested to see the DVOA-based playoff odds now

10
by rk (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 7:50pm

Pittsburgh is clearly ranked too low because Duce is loose. Eating your way out of the league is way better than this. Go Stilllllerzzzz. B!g Ben Rulz.

11
by Costa (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 7:51pm

Regarding the Giants not falling, I can't see anything wrong with that (at least not this week). They lost, but they played well on almost all facets (except discipline of course). They just happened to do so while up against another team that performed well, and they ended up on the losing end of a close contest. Put them against most teams playing as they did this week and they likely come out on top.

12
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 7:52pm

PIT maintains its #32 ranking in special teams, though the margin over ARI remains at just 0.2%.

By years' end, the Titans will have played 10 games against the current Top 9 teams in DVOA.

Biggest weekly risers and fallers (DVOA):
+6: ATL (27-21)
-6: STL (18-24)
Biggest weekly risers and fallers (WDVOA):
+6: NYJ (22-16)
-4: MIA (15-19)
Biggest WDVOA-DVOA disparities:
+7: TEN (25-18W)
-5: ATL (21-26W)

Seriously, I hope the Fox column discusses what's up with the ATL this week. Did they really play that well despite letting Ladell Betts run all over them?

13
by Kal (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 7:53pm

#7: It's partially because of luck, partially because of strength of home field, and partially because of an absurdly easy schedule. But it doesn't make them a good team, and Hass isn't exactly lighting teams up either. Nor is Alexander insane like he was last year. They're just not that good, especially given their defensive regression from last year.

14
by David Mazzotta (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 7:53pm

#1 - I don't know. It was almost fifty years ago now.

15
by Jim Maron (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 7:56pm

Hey you guys know your stuff but there is no way the Bears are the best team in the NFL.

How on earth do they go up in DVOA after that game?

16
by Kal (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 7:57pm

#15:
#

Hey you guys know your stuff but there is no way the Bears are the best team in the NFL.

How on earth do they go up in DVOA after that game?

I don't think they went up; I think they went down, but not as far as others. They used to be #1 in weighted DVOA though, and they're certainly not any more.

17
by Nate (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 7:59pm

Chicago Bears - past schedule rank: 31, future schedule rank: 32
Hehe.

18
by Ryan (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 7:59pm

Aaron, is there any chance we can get a breakdown of the Panthers DVOA for the first three quarters vs the fourth quarter or a DPAR breakdown for Jake Delhomme under the same circumstances?

19
by D (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 7:59pm

#15
Because as bad as there passing offense was their defense and special teams (both already the best in the league) were even better than normal and their running game was acceptable given they were going against the best run defense in the NFL.

20
by Jim (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 8:01pm

The Bears defense, special teams, and running game all played pretty well. It was just Grossman that was terrible. Well Ron Turner as well but he doesn't play.

21
by D (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 8:02pm

#16
The Bears total DVOA increased by .8% over last week but dropped by 1.9% in weighted DVOA.

22
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 8:03pm

Gosh, it is frustrating to be a Vikings fan this year, and just a mirror image of the frustration which dominated the Moss Era. I've come to accept the abyss of suckitude that is their passing offense. Heck, I even find the humor readily available whenever they attempt a forward pass. Watching their special teams follow the passing offense into the abyss over the past 6 weeks is just too much to take, however.

If they could just cover kicks in a mediocre fashion, given their defense and the left side of the offensive line, they would be a strong contender for the final NFC wild card spot, even with a passing offense which can be diagrammed in full on a cocktail napkin. The Bears had zero respect for the Vikings passing game, and the Vikings still ran the ball o.k., along with having Grossman helping to boost the defense back to top-five status. If Johnson and the kick coverage were just below average, it was a winnable game.

I need to see what the odds are of an 8-8, or even two 8-8 teams, qualifying as NFC wildcards. It certainly seems to me that it isn't terrifically unlikely. If the Vikings can beat Detroit, Green Bay, and the Rams, in week 17, while losing to the Jets, they'll have an 8-4 conference record, a win over Carolina, but a loss to San Francisco. This might get them in, but I'd be more confident in their chances if Bollinger hadn't got dinged up on Sunday. You just can't run a West Coast offense with Brad Johnson anymore, but I have no idea of whether the rookie Jackson is even within a long distance of being able to play in an NFL game with anything approaching effectiveness.

Well, first things first; a win over the Lions on Sunday is certainly not guaranteed......

23
by ToxikFetus (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 8:04pm

The Eagles won't die because they're being led by the reanimated corpse of Jeff Garcia's career. He turned into a ghoul during the fetid Cleveland years and has been feasting on the hearts of NFL fans ever since.

24
by Gus (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 8:08pm

Did the Ravens offensive DVOA go up? or am I just imagining things? That sucky thursday game--which shouldn't've been played--should have hurt them more, I would think.

25
by Jed (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 8:09pm

Somewhat interesting is the difference between Seattle and San Diego. Yes, very far off on the rankings, but look at it a little more closely. Defense, SD is 14th at -2.0% and SEA is 17th at 2.2%. Special Teams, SD is 6th at 3.5% and SEA is 7th at 3.1%.

Of course, the huge difference is on offense. I'm not saying SEA is close to SD, but IF Seattle can improve their offense, their upcoming matchup should be pretty fun to watch.

26
by Moridin (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 8:19pm

Bollinger is probably out huh... damn, now that's a toss up. The deadweight of Johnson or the 'no idea' weight of Jackson, whose apparently actually said he's not ready... *sigh*. I'd go with Jackson probably just because I consider this season totally screwed, and he might be more exciting to watch.

27
by Jim (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 8:21pm

Re: 25

Yeah, but for a team to improve its offense that much from what it was for most of the year would take a lot. I mean, maybe if they suddenly got much better play from the QB and RB positions, but what are the odds of that happening?

28
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 8:27pm

Re #24
Adjustments, perhaps? PIT's defense alone jumped from -6.2% to -10.6%, which seems pretty substantial.

29
by LMSx (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 8:29pm

27 - Is that sarcasm? I can't tell...

30
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 8:32pm

Moridin, I think Jackson was just being very careful to not show disrespect to a guy who has been in the league 16 years, which speaks well of Jackson. Of course, that has nothing to do with whether Jackson could actually play with any effectiveness at this point.

Y'know, Johnson really doesn't need any reps in practice at this stage of the season, or his career. Hell, not having him throw at all during the week might be good for him. Therefore, I hope Jackson is getting all the reps, and given how awful the passing game has been (it really is quite unlikely to get much worse than it has mostly been), and given they really still have a chance to make the playoffs, they may as well do something radical. Have Jackson play about half the offensive series, in a random pattern. The Vikings' timing in the passing game already sucks, so it is unlikely to get much worse, Jackson can do some things athletically that Johnson only thinks about in the REM phase of sleeping, and such as approach might have some disruptive effect on a defense.

31
by ChrisFromNJ (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 8:32pm

#22:

How about the odds of a 7-9 team making it as a wildcard in the NFC?

32
by Chris M (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 8:34pm

Would it be possible to start seeing home and road DVOA? Might be very interesting, especially for teams like Buffalo that seem to have big swings in quality of play for home/road games.

33
by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 8:38pm

I'd almost rather have Jackson knowing he's not ready; seems like he's smart enough to know he doesn't know everything, and he might not do the stupid crap Johnson has been doing. Just ridiculous. No arm, no mobility, and the one argument for him is that he is smart and doesn't make mistakes and gives you a chance to win. Then he goes out and isn't smart and does make mistakes and doesn't give you a chance to win.

Jackson has to be better than that. Even if he has as many turnovers as Johnson (unlikely--Johnson has had 3 or more turnovers in 3 of the last 6 games) one would hope his arm strength and mobility would still give the team a chance to win with positivity.

34
by Pacifist Viking (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 8:40pm

According to the Pioneer Press, two Vikings, speaking on conditions of anonymity, want Jackson to start. They say that seeing him on the scout team, they know he can play, and that starting him would not mean giving up on 2006, that he'd actually give them a chance to win. Take that for what it's worth.

35
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 8:40pm

The Eagles won’t die because they’re being led by the reanimated corpse of Jeff Garcia’s career.

1) Has anyone noticed that Philly's wide receiving corps just might be really, really good - as well as really, really inconsistent, sure, but really, really good?

2) Garcia was never really horrible for the Lions or the Browns. He was just replacement level and average, respectively. Given the talent level available on those teams, though, it's probably not inconsistent with a still above-average quarterback in general.

I'm wondering if Philly might end up one of the few teams ever to get to the playoffs on the strength of their offense even after losing their starting quarterback.

36
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 8:41pm

The only reason I tend to discount it, ChrisfromNJ, is that I think the contending teams have too many games against each other to keep it from happening, but I'm probably wrong. Maybe a 7-8-1 team is a possibility...

37
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 8:56pm

Trust me, Brad Childress would love to have Garcia on his roster. The guy can still move, which means he can run the offense that Reid and Childress operate. Of course, none of the Vikings' wide receivers, and I do mean none, could make the Eagles' roster, so Garcia wouldn't be having a lot of fun in Minny.

Yeah, pacifist, I think Johnson has reached the point where his athletic talent has disappeared so completely that his confidence is ruined, which leads to decisons that one normally associates with a rookie. In that case, the athletic rookie may as well play.

Maybe use Jackson in some fashion to beat the Lions, then, if Bollinger has recovered, surprise and confound the Jets in the Metrodome by springing the ex-Jet unannounced. Go with Childress' gut feeling as to who would be best on a short work week prior to going to Lambeau, and then figure some way to limp into the playoffs with the week 17 game against the Rams back in Minny.

I think we're about to gain some insight into Childress' coaching ability.

38
by Matt (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 8:58pm

Re #31.

Pretty slim, given that each of the 4 6-6 play 2 of the other ones.

39
by Polaris (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 9:00pm

#27

I hope that was sarcasm because it's quite possible (even likely) that there will be significantly better performance from the RB and QB positions for Seattle (Seattle struggled offensively against Denver, true, but Seattle's pass protection was miles better than it has been....against a very good Denver defense).

Given that, and given the game will be played at Seattle, the "DVOA gurus" here may well be suprised by the San-Diego/Seattle game....unless you look at the numbers more closely.

Point is that Seattle is badly underperforming on offense...but they are winning anyway. That's something that Football Outsiders doesn't seem to like too much.

-Polaris

40
by Jersey (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 9:02pm

Philly's wide receivers are not really good. They're good. They have two guys who would be a good #2 on most teams and some good #3s. Combined with a decent TE, and dual threat RB, and a solid OL and you get a good offense with any competancy at QB. Last season they had quite a bit of O-Line turnover, Brown was a rookie, and no Stallworth.

This is exactly the win the Eagles needed... maybe get they're players playing with passion again. They looked like they simply went through the motions in Indy..

41
by Vince (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 9:16pm

The four teams tied for the wild cards in the NFC -- Carolina, Atlanta, Philadelphia and the Giants -- have combined for 3 wins and 9 losses over the last over the last 3 weeks.

They are 5-11 over the last four weeks.

They are 6-12 over the last five weeks.

Point being, lately, they've all pretty much sucked.

42
by MDD (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 9:18pm

Seattle has been lucky to win as many games as they have considering how badly they've played at times, but they've also been destroyed by injuries on offense, and it's shows in their offensive DVOA. Seattle's defense is playing about as well as last year at this time (-3.8%, 18th at week 14 last year), so the question really is how good is Seattle's offense going to perform from here on out now that most everyone is back on the field.

43
by Jim Maron (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 9:20pm

20. I don't see how you can say the Bears defence played well when they gave up 190 yards on the ground at 5.5 yards a clip. Seemed to me if it wasn't great D but rather some ridiculous play calling by the Vikings and very bad QB play.

44
by Eddo (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 9:21pm

Polaris (27) -
I agree that I'd rather my team have a poor DVOA and win rather than the other way around. I also agree with your opinion that there are people who post on these boards who view DVOA as the ultimate judgement of a team's success.
It's the following statement, however, that I disagree with, in principle:
Point is that Seattle is badly underperforming on offense…but they are winning anyway. That’s something that Football Outsiders doesn’t seem to like too much.
I think you're a bit too combative against FO here; maybe you feel that Seattle's DVOA doesn't match their overall quality (another opinion I'm inclined to agree with), but saying that the people who run this site "don't like" that the Seahawks are winning despite being low in the DVOA rankings is quite ignorant. All of the Football Outsiders will readily admit that DVOA is not the ultimate judge of how good a football team is--it's just a tool used to make a little more sense of what has happened and what is likely to happen in the future under the same circumstances which it already happened.
So yes, the Seahawks could very well play at a higher level than DVOA indicates because their two top skill position players have returned. But to insinuate that Football Outsiders dislikes teams that end up going against DVOA trends is a bit of an overstatement.

45
by Chris (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 9:23pm

I’ve posted a time-series graphical comparison of DVOA-based and NFL-Forecast.com playoff predictions that seems to show a slight advantage of the DVOA system compared to a wins-only system. This should be interesting to all who are curious about the predictive capability of DVOA. I'm posting it before Mike Harris has posted his week 13projections, but I'll update my graphs as soon as those become available, give or take an couple hours.

46
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 9:25pm

What exactly am I missing, anyway? The only two games that Seattle's won that they strongly shouldn't've, by DVOA, were vs the Giants and vs Denver.

And the Denver win was very recent, and the Giants win very old, and we know that the Seahawks lost their QB and RB. So the Seahawks, when they played the Giants and Denver, were a better team.

Other than that, Seattle won 6 games against teams that were as good or worse than they are.

47
by Eddo (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 9:29pm

Re 43: I don’t see how you can say the Bears defence played well when they gave up 190 yards on the ground at 5.5 yards a clip
One of the purposes of this site in general is to show that "traditional" numbers, like total yards and yards per carry, are not the best way to judge how well a team played. I haven't done the analysis myself or seen what the actual defensive DVOA was for the Bears this week, but I also think they played well.
(1) To me, it seemed like the Vikings got a lot of yardage in the fourth quarter once they were down 23-6.
(2) My general impression of the game is that a lot of the Vikings drives went like this: Start inside their own 15 (thanks to ROBO-PUNTER Maynard), run for 11 yards on 1st-and-10, and then have a combination of 1-2 yard runs and incomplete/short passes on the next set of downs, resulting in a 3-and-out and a punt.
My second point actually makes me wonder about DVOA a little bit; how is a team that performs like that end up rating in DVOA? They did achieve a 1st down, but then ran three unsuccessful plays.

48
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 9:30pm

#43, I don't want to let Childress off the hook, but hideous beyond description QB play tends to make evaluating the playcalling a problematic exercise. When you have a qb with a weak arm, zero mobility, and no confidence, along with making bad decisions, and sub-average wideouts across the board, on a windy day in Chicago, well, there just isn't much that playcalling is going to achieve. If one is going to rip Childress, the best thing to rip him for is sticking with Johnson into the 2nd half. The game was winnable with just a little improvement out of the qb position.

49
by Chris (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 9:37pm

Will Allen #22:

As always the conditional odds of an 8-8 team making the playoffs are always team dependent.

Atlanta: 20%
Carolina: 26%
Ginats: 65%
Philli: 55%
St. Louis: 10%
San Francisco: 20%
Minnesota: 60%
Wahsington: 35%

Overall the chance of it happening this season is about 75%.

If the Vikings can pull off your scenario of beating Detroit, Green Bay and St. Louis, while losing to the Jets, their odds of making the playoffs are estimated at about 2/3.

Folks can run their own scenarios using my software.

50
by Jim (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 9:37pm

Re: 7-9 team in playoffs

The 6-6 teams play four games against each other (conveniently, each plays exactly 2 of these). There are 3 possible scenarios out of this: (1) two 8-win teams, (2) one 8-win + 2 7-win teams, and (3) four 7-win teams. Scenario (1) is obvious. In scenario (2), the 7-win teams both need to go 0-2 in their other games. In scenario (3), three teams need to go a collective 0-6 in their remaining games. And then it's a big tiebreaker mess.

I'll go out on a limb and say that there's no way a 7-9 team gets in.

51
by Dave Brude (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 9:42pm

What would really be useful is an application where you could plug in certain plays and see how much VOA or DVOA they are worth so you could get a better sense of how things really work. Something like what protrade had on their site for awhile.

I mean I love this site and all but I don't find them that useful at times when everything is whittled down to one final number. Common sense along with some basic stats would enable to make similar ratings on your own (offense,defense, special teams) that wouldn't be far off.

Also basically teams 1-7 are equal for all intents and purposes. A few percentage points doesnt really mean much when it comes to the actual game.

52
by Jim Maron (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 9:43pm

47. The Vikings outgained the Bears 138 to 69 and ran for 99 yards, so I don't think it was a 4th quarter thing.

I respect the work here, but I have watched the Bears 5 or 6 times this year and I just don't see them as anywhere near the best team in the league.

53
by B (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 9:44pm

I'm really curious about Chicago's and Dallas' Estimated Wins rankings. I would have thought that considering Rex's play when behind, that Chicago would have a much worse Estimated Win rating, yet Dallas is the one ranked 7th, and Chicago is ranked #1. I imagine this has a lot to do with the play of their defense during the second half of close games.

54
by Bencoder (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 9:47pm

The Fox Sports rankings indicate an update "1 hour ago", but the actual page is obviously the rankings from last week.....

55
by ZS (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 9:48pm

First!

56
by Jim Maron (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 9:51pm

48. What drove me absolutely nuts about the play calling was the Vikings drive in the third quarter with the score 7-6 Bears and 6:54 to go on their own 22. The series went like this:

Run right guard 13 yards,
Run right guard 13 yards,
run right guard 6 yards,

so it's now 2 and 4 at the Bears 46 and it is apparent the Vikes are just running it down the Bears throats - as they pretty much had all day. So what does Childress call:

Pass wide right - almost picked off; now it's 3rd and 4 so I'm thinking run it twice there is no way they stop you - the call:

slant to left receiver - interception, touchdown, game over.

That Will Allen is just horrible coaching.

57
by D (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 9:56pm

#52
The Bears forced 5 turnovers which compensates for the yardage they allowed. However, if you have some problems the Bears DVOA ranking you should remember that the Bears have a +168 point differential which is the best in the NFL by a pretty healthy margin. You can also check out the drive charts for some other interesting info.

58
by Chris (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 10:17pm

The Giants, Eagles, and Minnesota all have mathematically possible 7-9 playoff odds. Together the odds are less than 1%, but its still possible.

59
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 10:17pm

Jim, if your contention is that an NFL team can simply abandon the pass completely when there is less than five yards to go, against a well above-average NFL defense (no, there is no such thing in the NFL as "no way they stop you", in such a scenario), and the fact that the qb failed to make a read that even the most inexperienced qb should accomplish, means that the play-calling is horrible, well, we will just have to agree to disagree. Now, if you want to fault the coach for having a qb in the game who failed to make such a read, after several weeks of bad play (bad Arizona defense excepting), we have an area of agreement.

60
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 10:23pm

When considering the quality of the Bears run defense, or the quality of the Vikings running, it is important to note that the Bears showed very little concern for the Vikings passing game, and were dropping safeties into the box from the start, and yet the Vikins still ran o.k.. That doesn't mean that the Vikings could simply abandon the pass altogether, but it does show that the Vikings offensive line played pretty well.

61
by Charles Jake (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 10:30pm

The Bears are clearly ranked too low because perception is different than reality and the reality is we're 10-2 with Rex as our QB. Coachspeak is way better than this. Bear Down!

62
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 10:33pm

Thanks, Chris. I'm mildly surprised that an 8-8 Vikings team with an 8-4 record within the conference, and a win over Carolina, doesn't have a little better than a 66% chance of making the playoffs. My gut feeling was about 80%, but I suppose that isn't too much of a difference. I suppose my overestimation has to do with all the NFC wild card contenders having crappy seasons against the AFC teams.

63
by Jim Maron (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 10:36pm

59. Will - I'm not suggesting you abandon the pass completely - but 13, 13, 6 right up the middle begs another run in the next two - particularly when it was kind of obvious that disaster seemed to be lurking every time a pass play was called and the other team can't move the ball at all. BTW - the next play called was a Johnson pass and an interception. The next Viking play after that a 13 yard run over right tackle, followed by a sack.

But I do agree with you that the biggest coaching blunder is the fact Johnson wasn't removed several games back. Back in the summer I was concerned about Childress's judgement when he signed Mike McMahon as the backup to a very questionable starter. Was it possible to make a worse choice? Then he trades for Bollinger???

Having said all that - I have very high hopes for Jackson. I know it was only a couple of pre-season games but he just looked special.

64
by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 10:48pm

re: Jeff Garcia
While he did play pretty well, I found it hilarious how after taking his drop and finding his first read covered, he would start prancing about in all sorts of directions when there was the most perfect pocket an O-line could possibly create around him. It turned out he completed several passes after doing this, but something tells me he might not be so lucky in the future.

65
by VarlosZ (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 11:06pm

Commentary is up on Fox (click my name).

66
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 11:07pm

Jim, when a good NFL defense is dropping safeties into the box consistently, ya' just have to throw the ball once and a while, even if there is less than five yards to go. Unless you are playing a crappy defense, you just can't be so predictable, and at some point you have to trust your qb to execute in a fairly basic way.

Roster construction is probably my biggest beef as well. Yes, almost all head coaches occasionally make the mistake of putting too much faith in guys they are familiar with, especially at the back-up qb position. Trading a rookie free agent with potential, however, like Hank Baskett, for a wr who has already demonstrated he can't play, Billy McMullen, is a serious error. Putting too much faith in a guy with a giant drinking problem, Koren Robinson, really harmed the offense. Throw in Williamson's inability to catch the ball, and Marcus Robinson's (who really is just average) inability to stay healthy, and the passing game was hurtin' even without considering the predictability of a 38 year old qb's skills falling off the table.

As to Jackson, who knows? He certainly is very mobile and had good arm strength, but that is only about 50% of what is needed. He hasn't played enough to judge his accuracy, which is actually just as important, if not more so, as arm strength. I think he completed less than 55% of his passes in college, which doesn't thrill me, so hopefully Childress broke down enough tape to demonstrate that it wasn't indicative of a persistent accuracy problem. Finally, until a guy plays at the NFL level, there's just no way to know whether he'll handle the speed of the game.

This certainly seem to be Childress' pick, however, so Jackson's eventual performance will have much to do with how Childress is eventually evaluated.

67
by Oswlek (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 11:11pm

Am I to assume that NE's defensive DVOA stayed the same because the early year games are lessening in weighting? Even considering that I am surprised that the DVOA # didn't drop; they were terrible for the first 3 quarters this past week.

Yes, this is the same guy who was belligerent about NE's defense in last week's Scramble.

68
by Eddo (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 11:54pm

52: "The Vikings outgained the Bears 138 to 69 and ran for 99 yards, so I don’t think it was a 4th quarter thing."
(1) The fact that the Bears only had 69 total yards at that point is irrelevant when discussing how well the defense played.
(2) Remember, 42 of those 99 yards came on one carry by Taylor. And even with 138 yards at halftime, that's still a pace to give up less than 300 over the course of the game. If the offense could have put any sort of clock-killing drive together, the total yardage of the Vikings would have been considerably less. In fact, this has prompted me to crunch some numbers:
In the first quarter, the Vikings had 7 rushes, 28 yards, for a 4.0 average.
In the second quarter, the Vikings had 12 rushes, 71 yards, for a 5.9 average. However, if you take away the 42-yard run by Taylor, that comes down to 11 rushes, 29 yards, for a mere 2.7 yard average. Even if you cut off the 42-yard run at 10 yards, it comes out to 12 rushes for 39 yards, which is only a 3.25 average.
Overall, the Vikings had possession for 39:21. Is this because they had some success running? Yes. Is it also because the Bears, for the entire game, had no drives that lastest longer than 3:16? Also, yes.
All in all, this was not the Bears' best defensive performance of the year. However, they held the Vikings in check and made enough plays to win the game. I especially liked how they "smelled blood" after the Manning interception return. I also liked how they pressured Johnson/Bollinger/Jackson all day after barely laying a hand on Brady last week.

69
by Marko (not verified) :: Tue, 12/05/2006 - 11:59pm

As a Bears fan, I agree with Jim Maron's comment about the Vikings play calling. That third quarter sequence he mentioned was the turning point of the game. I was surprised, but quite happy, to see the Vikings passing on 2nd and 4, and then again on 3rd and 4, resulting in the pick six.

As Jim Maron mentioned, the Vikings were gashing the Bears at that point, which was shortly after Tommie Harris had been lost for the game due to a sprained knee. During that sequence, Tony Siragusa perfomed a demonstration of how the Bears tackles were totally being taken out of each play. Why would the Vikings abandon the run at that point? Not only were they running the ball successfully right at the Bears, but the Vikings passing attack was utterly anemic. It was so bad that on one of the rare occasions that Johnson made a good pass (to wide open TE Jeff Dugan), the ball bounced off Dugan's chest to Lance Briggs for an interception. The Vikings play calling in that sequence played right into the Bears hands.

70
by b-man (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 12:14am

I've uploaded the graphical VOA/DVOA/WDVOA and Game Charts:
Week 13 Charts
Last week is here:
Week 12 Charts

71
by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 12:18am

DVOA says that the Ravens have a good first half (ranked 7th) and poor second half offense (20th), but isn't this completely dependant on the types of games they've played?
There are a number of games where it was obvious that they were going to win at the half because they had a big lead and their D was playing at a high level:

vs. half final
TB 17-0 27-0
OAK 16-3 28-6
NO 28-7 35-22
CIN 17-7 26-20
PIT 17-0 27-0

Its reasonable to assume that their offense playcalling in the second half was very conservative in the second half, hence the lower DVOA.
In games that were close at the half, the Ravens usually play reasonably well in the second half offensively.

vs. half final
CLE 3-14 15-14
SD 7-13 16-13
DEN* 3-3 3-13
CAR 7-13 21-23
TEN 17-26 27-26
ATL 0-7 24-10
CIN* 0-6 7-13

Really only in two games (CIN and DEN) did their offense really fail in the second half to make the game competitive, for the most part their offense seems to be consistent from half to half in close games.

72
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 12:41am

Yes, marko, you were happy because Johnson made a horrible read, and threw where he shouldn't have. Two pass plays does not entail "abandoning the run."

This is why so much criticism of playcalling is of little value. It is Easterbrookish.

73
by Richard (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 1:18am

Sweet. A typo in the first sentence.

74
by Richard (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 1:27am

Also, that San Diego/Buffalo game wasn't as close as the final score.

75
by billsfan (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 1:28am

re 35:

1) I wouldn't say really, really good, but certainly above average, and undoubtedly an improvement over Stinkston and FredEx. Brown's ageing nicely; Stallworth has had some injury trouble, but picked up the system pretty quickly; Baskett needs another year to develop, but has shown promise. They all have the advantage of LJ Smith and Westbrook (the two leading receivers) to draw more coverage underneath, leading to some of the absurdly long pass plays we've seen this season (Baskett and Stallworth average over 20 yards per catch, Brown 17). Furthermore, they rarely refuse to catch the ball when contact is imminent.

2) I though it was a bit premature to count the Eagles out entirely after McNabb's injury (unlike the outsiders). AJ Feely closed the season by going 4-1 when McNabb broke his ankle in 2002, with inferior backs and receivers. Judging just by DVOA the 2002 and current defenses are comparable (ranked third and eighth, respectively), and the O-line is similarly better than last time in both of FOs' metrics. Garcia is certainly more talented than Feely, has a more talented supporting cast, and the competition (CAR, NYG, ATL, WAS) hasn't been terribly impressive of late. It's not unlikely that his team sneaks into the playoffs by winning three of the next four (@WAS, @NYG @DAL, ATL). So much for "challenging conventional wisdom about the game".

76
by dbt (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 1:50am

clickable sortable graph updated. Dang ole work slowing me down.

77
by theory (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 1:53am

75:

DVOA says Garcia was awful in 2005 and that the Eagles defense is trending downwards, so DVOA would predict Garcia to continue to suck and the Eagles defense to not play as well as earlier in the year.

DVOA doesn't always have to disagree with conventional wisdom, and it's still possible for everyone to be wrong about a team.

78
by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 1:55am

I wouldn't like to go into the specifics of a game I didn't watch, but in a game I did, the Texans faced a very similar scenario against the admittedly-not-Chicago-but-still-really-quite-good Raider defense. Carr was busy putting up his historic stat-line, but Ron Dayne was picking up a first down every other carry. One sequence went:

1-10-HOU20 (2:27) R.Dayne left end to HST 39 for 19 yards (S.Schweigert).
1-10-HOU39 (1:54) R.Dayne right tackle to HST 48 for 9 yards (S.Williams, T.Brayton).
2-1-HOU48 (1:21) R.Dayne up the middle to OAK 49 for 3 yards (S.Williams).
1-10-OAK49 (:40) R.Dayne right tackle to OAK 37 for 12 yards (T.Howard).
1-10-OAK37 (15:00) R.Dayne left tackle to OAK 24 for 13 yards (T.Howard).
1-10-OAK24 (14:28) R.Dayne right guard to OAK 23 for 1 yard (T.Kelly).
2-9-OAK23 (13:48) D.Carr pass incomplete short left to R.Dayne.
3-9-OAK23 (13:41) D.Carr pass incomplete short right to J.Putzier [D.Burgess].

At no point on this drive did two successive runs by Dayne fail to net a first down. At no point did a run to the outside pick up fewer than 9 yards. At no point in the entire game did Carr look like being able to pass with the least bit of success, not least because Eric Winston was being asked to block Derrick Burgess on his first pro start. Why the heck would you call a pass when all the evidence is that the opposition have been shutting your passing down at will but can't stop an outside run when they know it's coming? Anyone remember that Rams game last season (possibly against the Eagles) where they handed off for the first 11 or so plays of the game for a long touchdown drive? It can work, and in extreme circumstances, I think it's a good idea. At least stick with it until you force them into a look that strongly favours your chances passing.

79
by dbt (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 2:06am

"Terrell Owens really hasn't been that much better than Keyshawn Johnson was last year. Out of nowhere, he's dropping balls left and right."

I gotta disagree with that sentence from the Fox commentary. Dr. Z in particular has been calling TO a no-talent alligator-arming pass-dropping overrated waste of roster space since he was in SF.

80
by jay (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 3:12am

Highly probable this in the methodology of DVOA, but any adjustment for NFC/AFC quality difference? I am guessing there is strength of schedule adjustments, but thinking about a NFC team, a team could look good based on playing against other NFC teams, yet be actually not that good.

Record of top 6 NFC teams vs. AFC: 10-13
Record of top 6 AFC teams vs. NFC: 15-5

This might explain some of why Chicago clings to the top yet does not have a good offense.

81
by MFurtek (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 3:27am

What a depressing week (season) to be a Redskin fan. How is Atlanta ranked below them in weighted DVOA? I think they will sneak in as one of the Wild Cards... but who knows.

Watching Vick this week, I can see why some people think he's awesome... because if you only get to see "Good Vick" when he plays your team... he was pretty good this week.

Rumors are that Shawn Springs was benched this week as punishment for being the source for the ESPN article bashing Gregg Williams, and he won't be back next season. It seemed kind've fishy as he wasn't on the injury report and practiced all week. No doubt they will pay a lot for Nate Clements...

82
by Insancipitory (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 4:31am

Holy crap, Larry Johnson has 310 carries (and 32 receptions) already? Putting him on pace for 413 carries, and 43 receptions? That's a lot of punishment. Then there's the possibility they get into the playoffs. Wow. Get that Afflack paid up I guess.

83
by Brad (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 5:01am

Re: Will Allen

This is why so much criticism of playcalling is of little value. It is Easterbrookish

That's only a tad condescending. Not only that but it's wrong too. Sure, you may think that having Brad Johnson (who you admit is just horrible now) throw twice on a manageable run down (especially the way the Vikes were running) was wise, but they do have a point. It's not "Easterbrookish" to suggest that you dance with who brought you. The Bears hadn't proved they could stop the run whereas Brad Johnson had proved for the umpteenth time that he could stop the pass.

Variety for variety's sake isn't creativity.

84
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 5:14am

Mr. Shush, nearly anything "can work". That's why it is in the playbook. The question is whether after the fact playcalling criticism has much value. The Vikings were running pretty good against Miami a couple weeks ago, and then Chester Taylor fumbled twice. What horrible playcalling.

Yes, there is value in repeating plays that work until the defense stops it, but to broadly say that a playcaller should not call ANY passes if a team is running effectively, and passing ineffectively, just goes way too far. Strangely, playcallers with good players tend to call much better games than playcallers with terrible players.

Playcalling criticism is most valid in very short yardage situations, clock- killing situations, or when an entire game's worth of plays are evaluated in total. To pick on one fairly generic 2nd and four down, and then a third and four, and say it was "horrible" because a team had some effective runs previously, and the quarterback made a horrible throw, is to really engage in excessive benefit-of-hindsight analysis. It is the type of thing Easterbrook does all the time.

85
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 5:21am

Brad, if you want to say that a team which runs fairly well but has a bad quarterback, should never, ever, pass on second and four at midfield, and if they do call a pass, it is "horrible" playcalling, well, you just go right ahead. I don't think such rules are a particularly useful way of looking at football.

86
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 5:29am

Also, Brad, I've been calling for Johnson's replacement for several weeks now, and as other noted in the thread, the Vikings had a good y.p.c number, but their percentage of successful runs wasn't all that terrific. They were running o.k., but not tremendously well, in good part due to the fact that the Bears were keeping a safety in the box at nearly all times. To say that it is "horrible" to call a pass in such a situation goes way too far. This wasn't the '72 Dolphins at work.

87
by Polaris (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 5:37am

#44

Eddo,

I am sorry you don't like my quoted statement but I stand by it, and unfortunately I think it's accurate. The very fact F.O. picked Sea vs SF for "Any Given Sunday" and spend most of the article bashing Seattle proves it....because the Eagles loss that week was a much bigger upset both by the odds and by DVOA.

Thus I think it's gone beyond "Seattle is an anomalous team in DVOA" (which I think we agree on) to "Seattle doesn't fit the DVOA model so there is something wrong with Seattle"....rather than admitting that the model isn't perfect (and no statistical model is).

The fact is that Seattle's low ranking is almost entirely due to a badly underperforming offense (for a variety of reasons...just just injuries although IMHO that's a large part of it).

The point I was making with that statement is DVOA rewards teams for long, sustained, time consuming drives that score (esp with TDs). It also rewards teams on defense for stopping the same. Fair enough. However there is more than one way to win football games, and sometimes that's what DVOA fails to account for.

It's not just Seattle either although IMHO Seattle is the glaring example. You see it the other way around with Pittsburgh (less than earlier this season) and Philly (again less so than earlier) as well.

-Polaris

88
by Marko (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 5:39am

Who said that they shouldn't call ANY passes? And how do you know that my comments and those of others are based on "benefit-of-hindsight" analysis? I thought that it was a mistake to pass as I watched those two plays live, so I'm not basing it on the results of the plays. I'm not the only one who thought the play calling was odd, because the Fox analysts (Daryl Johnston and Tony Siragusa) criticized it immediately.

And really, Will, as Brad pointed out, the condescending tone is uncalled for. You can disagree. That's cool. But please spare us the condescending tone. I'm surprised to see that coming from you, because I have always respected your opinions and haven't seen you respond that way before.

89
by Polaris (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 5:45am

#46

Pat,

You are one of those I point to when I say that some here are too wedded to DVOA as the ultimate tool in football analysis.

Fact is going by DVOA, Seattle has had four wins that they had no business winning (and indeed DVOA indicated that Seattle should have lost badly). They are the Giants, Denver, and Saint Louis twice. That's right, when Seattle played St. Louis, STL was at least ten places above Seattle in DVOA in every category. Going by the raw numbers, Seattle should have been blown out of the stadium.

Didn't happen.

For that matter, consider one of Seattle's losses....Kansas City at KC (Arrowhead is a very tough place to play). Going by DVOA Seattle should have been blown away....and statistically they were.

Seattle lost by a TD.....and a TD with less than two minutes to go in the game and Seattle STILL had an opportunity to win (and in fact with Hasselbeck in there, Seattle probably would have).

Point? Sometimes DVOA doesn't tell the whole story. SB XL is another example of the same. Seattle owned Pittsburgh if you want to look at DVOA, but the final score said something else.

-Polaris

90
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 6:01am

marko, saying something is "odd" , or that you thought a run would be better, is far different than saying it is "horrible". If you are going to say it is "horrible" to throw two passes, one on 2nd and four, and another on third and four, at midfield, it is not unreasonable to think you are advocating that no passes be thrown in any but the most obvious situations. If you are contending that you would have said the same if Johnson had completed the passes, or that the announcers (!) would have, fine. I certainly can't prove you wrong.

As to tone, sorry; I meant it as more of an Easterbrook slam, whose writing I've really come to dislike, as much as anything. I really find most playcalling critiques to be of dubious value, however.

91
by Marko (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 6:10am

I never used the word "horrible" in my earlier comment - I think you are confusing my comments with those of others.

92
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 6:16am

marko, you wrote that as a Bears fan, you agreed with Jim Maron’s comment about the Vikings play calling. I thought you were referring to Jim's description of it as "horrible coaching", which is what I disagreed with.

93
by Marko (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 6:25am

By saying I agreed with his comment, I didn't intend to adopt every single word in his comment as my own words. I was simply referring to his comment in general in questioning the play calling.

94
by Peremptor (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 6:59am

Ok I ask pardons in advance in case I missed it but what happened to that cool chart prediciting playoff positionings based on DVOA that has been around the last few weeks? Just wondering :).

95
by Diane (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 7:17am

I know this is small potatoes compared to the rest of the column, but I in fact did order the robo-punter shirt, and was surprised (even a bit disappointed) upon its arrival to see all black printing on the front and back. Where is the familiar dark green?

96
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 7:39am

89: Has it occurred to you that maybe the Seneca Wallace / Maurice Morris Seahawks just aren't very good?

97
by Jim Maron (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 9:57am

Hey Will Allen,

I just don't agree with you on this one. I think it was horrible play calling. It was very apparent that the Bears were having great difficulty stopping the run and Johnson was having enormous difficulty with the wind. This is what people call a feel for the game.

Aaron pointed out in his Viking comment on Fox that he wonders why anyone bothers to run against the Vikings at all. Brad and I are simply arguing the opposite - why on earth were the Vikings passing at all?

98
by Jim Maron (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 10:08am

Hey Will Allen,

I tried to find Jackson's career college stats - I could only find his senior year where he completed 60.4 and had 29-5 td/int ratio. I seem to recall that was a big improvement over his previous years so that may well be a concern. I thought I saw some chat about some analysis done predicting QB success from College play - has anyone seen something like that?

99
by Travis (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 10:18am

Re: 98

Tarvaris Jackson's career college stats:

538 for 984 (54.7%), 7844 yards (7.97 ypa), 67 TD, 27 INT, 36 games played.

100
by im_no_playa (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 10:22am

RE - 94 - Peremptor

Is what you are looking for in the link of post 49?

I'm not 100% sure it is the same as what we've seen, but I think it is.

101
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 10:35am

The fourth place schedule obviously hasn't helped Cleveland. They've only played two games against teams with losing records and one of those was the defending champ. I know DVOA says they've only had the 5th toughest schedule, but I'm pretty sure they would have been happy to switch schedules with most of the four teams above them (Buffalo, for example, has had five games against teams with losing records).

102
by David (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 10:40am

Niners running a 4-3 all year, and then switched to a 3-4 against the Saints?

Have you even seen a niners game this year?

They started in a 3-4, though saying that they'd use a lot of 4 DL sets (which they didn't particularly do), then switched to 4-3 basically full-time starting in the Seattle game (also coinciding with getting Brandon Moore onto the field regularly). They certainly started the game against the Saints in that same 4-3.

I know you don't watch the niners games, and nor does anyone else on your writing staff, but I'd rather you didn't say anything at all about us rather than this rubbish.

103
by billsfan (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 10:50am

Re: 77

DVOA says Garcia is the #11 QB this season. Also, I'm going to make the rash assumption that Detroit in 2005 and Cleveland in 2004 didn't have the RB, WR, TE, OL, or Defensive talent that the current Eagles do, which was kind of central to my argument. Both teams also lacked the coaching talent of the Eagles, replacing their coaches after their seasons with Garcia. Also important to my argument are such bold statements as: "Jeff Garcia is better than AJ Feely," "Jeff Garcia is better than Koy Detmer," and "Jeff Garcia is better than Mike McMahon."

104
by Not saying (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 11:01am

Re: 87/9 "The very fact F.O. picked Sea vs SF for “Any Given Sunday� and spend most of the article bashing Seattle proves it….because the Eagles loss that week was a much bigger upset both by the odds and by DVOA."

First, AGS did cover the Eagles loss with this sentence: “Donovan McNabb tore his ACL and the Eagles are screwed.�
Second, "bashing" is a term usually used when people say things without reason. Pointing out why Seattle lost the game, with reasoned analysis hardly proves that FO is biased.

"rather than admitting that the model isn’t perfect (and no statistical model is)."

Tell me where you see anyone say that DVOA is perfect? One of the mottos of FO is: "The best is the enemy of the better."

"You are one of those I point to when I say that some here are too wedded to DVOA as the ultimate tool in football analysis."

Ultimate tool? No. Helpful tool when used in conjunction with your eyes? Yes.

"Going by the raw numbers, Seattle should have been blown out of the stadium."

That's why DVOA isn't just about raw numbers. Adding up the total percentages to get a ranking is done mostly to feed the writers through Fox Sports and can be misleading. The main advantages of DVOA are in breaking down parts of the game (for example, a really good RB at receiving vs. a defense poor at defending RB receptions).

"Going by DVOA Seattle should have been blown away….and statistically they were."

And what DVOA is saying is that is a trend that is likely to continue. That will contribute to future performance, which is something DVOA is good at predicting.

Now I think we'll all agree that Seattle has had injury problems that don't show up in DVOA (see Aaron's comment: "this team is a lot better than this ranking with Matt Hasselbeck behind center"). Does this mean that DVOA is stupid and, along with FO writers (like Doug Farrar), hates the Seahawks? No, it means that we need to add in our own opinions. Maybe it means that we need to consider improving DVOA to adjust for injuries more, but it's hard to do that in a predictive way.

105
by azibuck (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 11:31am

Roy Williams is not the reason Dallas gives up few runs of over 10 yards, their scheme is. They don't shoot gaps, don't seem to want to get penetration (which theoretically could create gaps), and they're all about discipline. They create traffic and simply clog things up.

106
by IsaiahC (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 11:55am

re #89
And in other news, football appears to be played by human like organisms, rather than number adhering androids as previously thought. More at 11.

107
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 11:58am

re:6

I think the top two DVOA teams being NFC teams has as much to do with them getting to play against so many BAD NFC teams, as them being good teams.

Of 16 NFC teams, only Carolina, Dallas, and Seattle have winning records against the AFC. Washington, Chicago, and Atlanta are 2-2. That leaves 10 teams with losing interconference records. That says to me that we again have an NFC thats much weaker than the AFC.

108
by Charles the Philly Homer (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 12:01pm

104:

Just to reinforce what you're saying, one of the common misconceptions re: these types of statistics and statistics in general is that they encompass the whole reality of an event. Adjustments can be made to things that create E in football statistics like injuries, ridiculous penalties, or fumbles but the reality is that random events affect the predictive power of these things. For example, in my industry, all of the best market analysis in the world will not save you from fat tails or a sudden, random terrorist strike against the facilities of an industry you have invested in. Unforseen events destroy statistics all the time.

"The market can stay irrational long enough to bankrupt you" is a paraphrase of one of my favorite Keynes quotes. Statistics are valuable tools when they are well-constructed, but obviously common sense and luck play a large part in life and good analysis.

In other words, DVOA is a look at how a SPECIFIC MEASURED GROUP OF PLAYERS (a "team") is performing based on a variety of factors against a statistical average standard of play. If DVOA is well-constructed, it would hold predictive power in a real-life regression analysis, meaning if the teams met under the appropriate statistical conditions 100,000 times the better-ranked team would win a proportion of games that can be explained by their rankings. However, this method obviously has shortcomings.

For example, the "ability" of a defense is not a static value based on yardage, third-down performance, etc. It is effected by injuries, luck, penalties, and things like "matchups." For example, a team with 5'9" cornerbacks could be a great pass-defense team according to DVOA and have an awful day against a team with 6'9" wide receivers. Peyton could have DVOA-defying games against a 3-4 defense. In this case, DVOA plays a role of acting as a normalizing factor that allows us to draw insight into the behavior and on-field character of a football team.

Because ultimately, that's the best possible praise available for a football statistics. When DVOA is wrong, there's a REASON, and it is rational. It's either a certain form of luck (fumbles, irrational penalties, injury luck), an obvious matchup deficiency, or an indication of a broken statistic. Figuring out where the statistic is broken has mostly taken place, and at this point DVOA is usually only wrong when the kinds of factors mentioned influence the outcome of a game.

109
by Charles the Philly Homer (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 12:03pm

As I understand things, anyway. I don't know enough about DVOA to be totally right in my breakdown up there....

110
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 12:15pm

You are one of those I point to when I say that some here are too wedded to DVOA as the ultimate tool in football analysis.

I love it when other people determine my opinions. Makes my life so much easier.

That’s right, when Seattle played St. Louis, STL was at least ten places above Seattle in DVOA in every category. Going by the raw numbers, Seattle should have been blown out of the stadium.

So wait: let me get this straight. Total DVOA based on twelve games is more accurate than DVOA based on five and eight?

Shocker!

I'm not "too wedded" to DVOA. I just apparently can put numbers in context better than you can I don't believe that one number in an ordinal list describes the Platonic ideal true strength of a team exactly, which is what you're suggesting if you think it expects a higher ranked team to always (or even on average!) beat a lower ranked team.

I don't care that DVOA didn't "predict" the Seahawks victory over the Rams. The Rams weren't as good a team as they appeared in the beginning of the year, and the Seahawks aren't as bad.

Why is that? Part of it is "lack of information": St. Louis's DVOA and VOA, in Week 8: 11.8%/26.3%. Seattle's: -5.1%/-14.5%. Note a pattern? St. Louis was being adjusted *heavily* downward, and Seattle was being adjusted *heavily* upward. There wasn't enough information yet to push them farther than that.

I don't know why anyone in their right mind would treat DVOA as having any degree of precision before week 10. There's just not enough information. And yet so, so many people here just seem completely uncapable of putting error bars on numbers.

111
by hector (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 12:20pm

Denny Green is pushing hard for Adrian Wilson to make the Pro Bowl, too. He mentions him every week on his Sirius spot.

112
by Jim Maron (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 12:24pm

57. Those are good points, but the Bears have racked up those stats against a very soft schedule.

I really think the Bears should do a couple of things:

1) Restrict Grossman's opportunities to screw up as much as possible or bench him. I don't know much about Brian Griese but I can't imagine he would be worse.
2) Run often and use a lot more Cedric Benson.

113
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 12:31pm

Also, I’m going to make the rash assumption that Detroit in 2005 and Cleveland in 2004 didn’t have the RB, WR, TE, OL, or Defensive talent that the current Eagles do, which was kind of central to my argument.

I'm going to paraphrase Gus from another thread here, because it's a good point:

1. He played on the Lions.
2. The Detroit Lions.
3. The Matt Millen Lions.

The only really bad year Garcia's had was 2005 - in 2004 he was well over replacement level, and again - that was with the Browns.

Was it really a surprise to anyone that Garcia sucked it up on the Lions? Mike Martz can't even eke out an above-average offensive performance for them.

Gus also makes the extremely good point no one seems to make: Garcia broke his leg in 2005. Garcia has always been a good rushing quarterback: until 2005. When he wasn't. I'm going to go out on a limb here, and say it was because he broke his leg.

I'm really beginning to think that Philly picked up a player who should've been a starting QB elsewhere (I'm looking at you, Minnesota). I don't think Garcia's anywhere near as bad as we (including me) thought he was.

114
by Charles the Philly Homer (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 12:35pm

113: Small sample. It's best not to speculate at this point I think. All arguments about Garcia have equal merit at this point in time.

115
by MdM (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 12:40pm

Polaris..dude, you get pretty close to the

is clearly ranked because . is way better than this.

every week, you know. Just saying.

116
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 12:44pm

104

I agree that the AGS was just bashing Seattle.

There was absolutely nothing in that article about why the 49ers won. It was about how seattle sucks.

117
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 12:46pm

113

Pat, I completely agree. I watched the Philly game this weekend, and I was seriously impressed with Garcia. I think this team is going to do decently if the defence can hold out, and not spiral into sucktitude.

118
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 12:48pm

Charley, my favorite verson of the Keynes quip is, "The market can stay stupid longer than you can stay solvent",and, boy, ain't that the truth, which is why selling short is so damned dangerous.

Jim, like I said, we'll just have to agree to disagree, which isn't to say I wouldn't have run if I were calling the plays. I probably would have. To say a pass in that situation is "horrible", however, is to say that the passing game should have been abandoned altogether, which just goes too far.

Part of my disagreement may lie in what I think is a common misconception about the hierarchy of skills needed to be an effective NFL coach, which places too much emphasis on in-game decisions. Talent evaluation, which, in the salary cap era, entails efficient roster construction is the most important thing an NFL coach does, although different teams give different degrees of responsibility to their coach regarding this task. At some level, however, all NFL coaches need to make sure that their roster is stocked with productive players that can be had at a reasonable price.

Next, comes managing and teaching the talent well, which entails building a good coaching staff. If these tasks are performed well, the in-game coaching recedes in importance, which is not to say it never makes a difference. If these tasks are not performed well, nothing the coach does during the game will make much of a difference over the long run.

Right now, I'd say there just isn't enough information to judge how good Childress is at evaluating talent and roster construction. Some plusses and minuses. I think he has assembled a good coaching staff, and not just by hiring Tomlin. Much is dependent on Tavaris Jackson's development. The college qb projection system published by FO does not like Jackson, I think largely due to his realtively low completion rate. We'll see.

As to in-game coaching, I'd prefer to make a judgement after Childress has had another off-season at developing his roster. The talent at the ball handling (excepting rb) positions on offense has been so hideously bad that it really becomes problematic in making judgements in this area. I suspect better talent will make Childress' playcalling much better. Of course, going forward, Childress has a lot of responsibility to make sure the talent is better.

Childress also can make a substantial difference over the next four games with the preparation in-week, given that three of the opponents have lesser talent, or certainly do not have superior talent. We'll know a lot more in a month, but I'd certainly feel better about him if he had not stuck with Johnson as long as he did. Having said that, it really is hard for someone who hasn't seen the back-ups in practice to render sound judgement as to when the starter should be pulled.

119
by BlueStarDude (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 12:57pm

112, "the Bears have racked up those stats against a very soft schedule" - sorry if you're already aware of this, but any time point differential and opponent strength come up, I feel compelled to point out Aaron's research in this area: Guts and Stomps.

*

I don't see anything wrong with the Bears DVOA ranking. Their defensive DVOA is about 7% better than the next best defense; their special teams is nearly 5% better than the next best of any other playoff contender. They are that much better in those areas than their competition - good enough to compensate for a -6.2% DVOA offense. The question is: can they even count on getting that -6.2% given that Rex seems to be regressing? I think this is where, remembering the FO caveat, personal judgment takes over from DVOA and says that somebody - the Seahawks or Panthers, say - could very well dispose of the Bears in the playoffs, that the Bears aren't "actually" ten or whatever rankings places better than this-or-that team. That being the case shouldn't be made to reflect negatively on DVOA at all, unless someone were to argue that DVOA is God, which I haven't seen anyone to do... yet. :-)

120
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 1:01pm

On the Saints comment:

Fred Thomas is a perfect example of how athletes age both gradually (like the rest of us) and suddenly. He was solid a couple of seasons ago and early this season. Now he suddenly looks a step slow.

121
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 1:04pm

Oh, absolutely, Pat. One of my biggest knocks on Childress, along with depending too much on the productivity of Drunken Koren Robinson, is that he didn't even try to get Garcia. I likely underestimated how much he had left in the tank as well, and I can't quite remember how much time was between the Culpepper trade and the Garcia signing, but I do remember thinking that Garcia would have been a good player to have on the Vikings' roster, especially given the offense that Childress favors. I'd say the Vikings would have had at least a 7-5 record if Garcia had played qb, even given the horrible performance by the wide receivers.

122
by billsfan (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 1:07pm

113:

I agree that Garcia could have started elsewhere (several teams come to mind). Regardless, a QB with a broken leg should be at least slightly more mobile than Bledsoe.
Minnesota was too busy picking up the scraps from Philly to find anyone worthwhile (McMullen, McMahon). At least they didn't sign Pinkston.

114:

I agree that it may be too soon to tell how Garcia will work out for the rest of the season, but he's certainly looking better than expected.

123
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 1:07pm

112, “the Bears have racked up those stats against a very soft schedule� - sorry if you’re already aware of this, but any time point differential and opponent strength come up, I feel compelled to point out Aaron’s research in this area: Guts and Stomps.

The Guts and stomps articles are silly. Lets have someone go back and compare all those teams with strength of schedule,etc. Its just not complete enough of an analysis to really say anything.

124
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 1:14pm

#122: Hey, now. I've always been a minor fan of McMullen (minor in the 'I think he'd be a good 3rd/4th receiver if they'd actually let him play' sense) and by DVOA, he's had his best year ever so far.

McMahon does suck, though.

125
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 1:23pm

The question is: can they even count on getting that -6.2% given that Rex seems to be regressing? I think this is where, remembering the FO caveat, personal judgment takes over from DVOA and says that somebody - the Seahawks or Panthers, say - could very well dispose of the Bears in the playoffs

I'd say Seahawks more than Panthers - the Panthers offense can make enough mistakes to keep the team in it. Dallas, unless Romo's a mirage created by playing against nonexistent defenses (which he could be).

If (and I stress if!) Garcia keeps playing at that level, though, Philly would have a decent shot, too. The game would likely end up looking a lot like the Carolina game last night, with a few less of the accurate strikes to Keyshawn/Smith and a few more interceptions.

Although the Eagles spotty special teams this year might get killed by Hester. Honestly, is anyone else just utterly amazed by that kid? Hester should be named the offensive MVP of the team, unless they want to give it to the entire defense.

126
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 1:25pm

Grossman's performance is plunging into the abyss, and the Bears weighted DVOA will drop as well if that continues, I'm no DVOA expert, but it certainly seems possible that the Patriots will catch them in weighted DVOA soon, and maybe even the Colts if they can play defense for a week or two. I've never payed close attention to how rapidly weighted DVOA changes; is it likely that the Bengals could catch them as well.

Lovie Smith is likely making a serious error in sticking with Grossman. The one chance the Bears have in the playoffs is to completely minimize the odds of turnovers, and Grossman ain't the man for that. Also, the guy seems to be more affected than the NFL norm by bad winter weather, which effectively negates the Bears home field advantage in the playoffs; this isn't prime-time Favre throwing lightning bolts though the gales of January.

127
by Jim Maron (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 1:27pm

118. Will Allen - I think you've summed up very well the qualities required to be a successful head coach.My gut tells me that Childress isn't a great in game guy - but that's a gut feeling for me and I agree with you that the other factors, particularly talent assessment are more crucial.

Two things really worry me about Childress.

1) I think there is evidence that he makes some really awful talent assements (McMahon, Basket). I also don't understand his sticking with Johnson and overuse of Taylor. Doesn't it strike you that Mewelde Moore is a more explosive talent - why aren't we seeing more plays for Moore.
2) Stubborn and fixed in his ways - When Childress moved Culpepper I didn't necessarily think it was a bad idea, but when he came out in the press saying what an awful greedy non-team guy Culpepper was it struck me that he was the type who needed to prove he was right. That type of person doesn't learn well. They waste energy defending their ideas and aren't open to new and perhaps better ideas.

As the season moved along I became more confident about my initial assement of Childress.

128
by billsfan (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 1:37pm

Pat:

I have nothing against McMullen, but I like what I've seen from Baskett better.

129
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 1:43pm

I definitely think Baskett's got more potential - I mean, the kid's an undrafted rookie, and he's performing at replacement level. That's better than a lot of other players. But McMullen is actually contributing more to the Vikings this year.

I think there's a good chance he traded Baskett for McMullen because he figured they need production this year more than potential in the future.

Given the state of the Vikings, that might actually have been pretty stupid, yeah. :)

130
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 1:44pm

Yeah, pat, any opposing coach in the playoffs who gives Hester the opportunity to be the difference in a game with the Bears, by giving the Bears one of their only good chances to score points, will truly have made a horrible in-game coaching error, although it probably is more properly attributed to in-week preparation.

I like Dallas' chances against the Bears a lot, and the worse the weather, the more I favor the Cowboys. To go back to my earliest memories of watching the Vikings, all the way back to 1971, they had a similar team to this Bears squad. A historically dominant defense paired with a historically inept offense, especially at qb. Come playoff time, the conventional wisdom was that the Vikings home field advantage in the depths of winter, when the Vikings played outdoors, would be the difference. The 49ers came to town in round one, with a decent defense , and a much better qb, John Brodie. The Vikings lost decisively on a very, very, cold day, much more so that the score indicated, because the weather destroyed what little chance the Vikings had to score any points against a decent defense, and while the 49ers with Brodie were not juggernauts, they could do enough to win fairly easily.

I'm not putting Romo in Canton yet, but I think he might well be Brodie-quality, which will be enough to thump Grossman's Bears, especially in bad weather.

131
by BlueStarDude (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 1:44pm

123: Some of the Guts and Stomps terminology may be silly, but then so's my screen name here, so I guess it's a match made in Mike Greenberg-Chad Pennington heaven. Really, like Michael Myers, I'm a huge fan of the Silly - almost as much as the Absurd, and quite more than the Sublime.

I guess what I really like about Guts and Stomp is that any fan can use it as a quick way to get a handle on a team. One doesn't have to be a statistician or be sitting at a computer to run the numbers. It's not a complex system, but in my experience it's been useful in evaluating teams. Granted I'm not putting it through the scientific method, but, anecdotaly at least, it has borne out pretty well for me.

132
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 2:10pm

Jim, like I said, with what limited information that is available now regarding Childress, I'd give mixed reviews. I think it speaks well of him that he went against prevailing NFL conventional wisdom and guaranteed the cash needed to get Hutchinson, which I think will be widely seen eventually throughout the league as being a sound move. I really appreciate his commitment to building a roster from the trenches out, which is why I think getting Mckinnie resigned now was a very good move; the salary structure for effective, not just Pro Bowl-quality, left ots is soon going to skyrocket, I think.

I also think Baskett was a big error, but maybe pat's assessment of McMullen is more accurate than mine. Many coaches, especially new ones, make the error of putting to much faith in guys they are familiar with, and if McMahon and McMullen are lessons for Childress, that's fine, if he heeds them. Coaches can improve, just like players. I don't put too much stock in the Culpepper matter. Ol' Daunte increasingly seems like a whack job to me, and if Childress had to learn a few thing about media relations, given how little contact assistant coaches have with the public these days, that's o.k. too.

Getting Chester Taylor was very sound, as was picking up Dwight Smith just prior to the beginning of the season. In the final analysis, however, the wager placed on Tavaris Jackson will likely make or break Childress. Who knows?

Finally, the fact that a gigantic gaping rift has yet to open on the roster, given the imbalance of performance, which has resulted in a losing record, I think speaks well of the coaching staff. Yes, there has been some grumbling by the defense and offensive line, but it could be much, much, worse (and could still get there). Somebody must be doing something right in handling the personalities to date, although I think it also speaks well of the character of the defensive players, and the better offensive linemen.

133
by Kaetab (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 2:14pm

RE 101
I'm encouraged by CLE playing hard in losses against SD, BAL, NO & PIT (#2, #3, #11 & #14) and beating KC, NYJ, ATL (#12, 17, 21).

I have a hard time understanding the "Romeo must go" crowd. They had top teams on the ropes before their weaknesses were exposed and killed them.

134
by chris clark (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 2:21pm

re 70:

Thanks b-man, very interesting charts. Has anyone counted the number of regression lines going up versus down? Shouldn't that be roughly the same? It looked more there were down lines than up to me, but that may be selective viewing bias.

135
by Jim Maron (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 2:25pm

132 Will Allen - I think the signing of Hutchinson was a very good one. I guess when things are going badly you tend to forget the good things. I like that mentality of building from the trenches out.

I looked up the DVOA on M. Moore and each year he's been with the Vikings he has performed at a much higher level running the ball than the other Viking backs. I really think they need to get him more touches of the ball. My feeling is that he's a better back than Taylor, but either way I don't understand destroying one guy by giving him 25 carries a game.

I see your a fan going way back - and I saw your thoughts on the coaching last year. Do you think it was a good move to fire Tice? Do you have higher hopes for this regime?

136
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 2:28pm

Also, Jim, I've never been as high on Mewelde Moore as some folks. Yes, he can be effective and make some plays, if used right. I also think he's a bad blocker, which really limits his playing time, especially with a statue at quarterback.

What I wouldn't give to see a starting Viking qb actually escape a pass rush, buy some time, and make an accurate throw downfield to a small space. I was green with envy watching the Cowboys game on Sunday, and even watching the Eagles on Monday.

137
by Bob P (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 2:33pm

#82

Please see:

Edwards, Herm + Martin, Curtis.

Not to mention that Herm had a more-than-capable backup in Lamont Jordan all those years (except 2005).

Think I'm bitter? Nah....

138
by DavidH (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 2:48pm

134:
If you're too lazy to count to (roughly) 16 twice, I'm not doing it for you :)

139
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 2:51pm

131

Bluestardude

My issue is with the whole setup of the article. It tries to prove the point that "Winning big is more important than just winning"

My issue is that simply comparing guts to stomps is incomplete:

GUTS (close wins vs. good teams)
STOMPS (big wins vs. bad teams)

Theyre unrelated in my mind. Why? Because the opportunities aren't necessarily similar. A good team with a weak schedule has very many STOMP Opportunities (STOMPORTUNITIES?), and very few GUTS opportunities, just by schedule strength alone. So of course that team that wins a lot of games is going to have more STOMPS than guts. They only played 3 games in which they could GUTS a team, and had 8 opportunities to STOMP a team.

Its like trying to compare Total yards, without taking into effect the amount of carries.

The main difference between a good team that makes the playoffs, and a good team that doesnt, is strength of schedule. Is it any surprise that the teams with weaker schedules have more stomps, and more wins?

140
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 3:00pm

My thoughts on Tice were mixed as well. I think he was too much of a player's coach in some respects, and his teams lacked discipline and organization
, which showed up on gameday. Think of Cory Withrow not getting on the field properly for a fake field goal against Philly in the playoffs. I also think that when one of the highest paid guys has the approach to the game of Randy Moss, all but the very best coaches are going to have trouble with discipline.

The biggest reservation I have with knocking Tice too much is that he simply did not have ownership which gave him a chance to perform well. When it gets to the point that the offensive line coach is asked to be the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach as well, and the defensive coordinator mostly has the job because he's willing to work for far less than what the typical coordinator makes, well, nobody is going to excel in that situation.

What I don't know, and makes it difficult for a fan to fully evaluate Tice, is how much input he had over draft choices, especially on the first day. Kevin Williams and Mckinnie were obviously a very good picks (although
the Vikings just got lucky with Mckinnie; they really wanted Ryan Sims, and screwed it up) but last year's first round, which was critical in the first year without Moss, got messed up.

Taking a wide receiver (with the seventh pick) who played in a college option offense was too big a risk. They would have been much better served by taking an edge pass rusher with their initial first round choice (think Demarcus Ware or Shawne Merriman), and then taking the best wr available with the latter first round pick, even if it meant then taking a risk on a college qb like Matt Jones. I think this was Tice's doing, since Tice's background is offense. I made this assesment regarding the Vikings'
priorities at the time, and it has not pleased me to be proven correct.

I certainly hope Troy Williamson doesn't end up being a flat-out bust, but it is not looking good now, and while Erasmus James may end up being a good player still, if Demarcus Ware was on the roster, this team would have have chance to be a top-three defense, and be really, really, dominant.

All in all, I can't strongly fault a guy who just paid 600 million plus for a NFL team for not being comfortable with Tice as head coach.

141
by MRH (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 3:05pm

Re #64 I found it hilarious how after taking his drop and finding his first read covered, he would start prancing about in all sorts of directions when there was the most perfect pocket an O-line could possibly create around him. It turned out he completed several passes after doing this, but something tells me he might not be so lucky in the future.

Interesting how my perception was somewhat different. I thought a number of times after the 1st read, he "pranced" in a very intentional way that bought him additional time. To wit: Garcia makes 1st read, nothing there; Peppers is threatening to come around the outside of the OT, Garcia feints a scramble up inside; Peppers stops trying to go outside and moves to cut off a scramble up the middle; OT gains leverage and can block Peppers; Garcia dodges back into the now more secure pocket, makes subsequent reads and fires a completion.

I think this happened a number of times although I don't have the game recorded to verify. But I think it was an intentional tactic to slow Peppers' pass rush and help out the OT (Runyan?). It looked herky-jerky because that's how Garcia looks, plus it had to be more than a conventional "step-up-in-the-pocket" move to sell it.

142
by JSap (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 3:08pm

122:
It is actually worse than you think - Childress did sign Pinkston on September 1st, but cut him a few days later...

143
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 3:13pm

My issue is with the whole setup of the article. It tries to prove the point that “Winning big is more important than just winning�

If you want to compare apples to apples, you can look at STOMPS vs SKATES, as both of them are going to be divided by the same number (they're both wins vs losing teams), and the answer's still the same - Super Bowl winners in general don't have more SKATES than STOMPs (in fact, it's usually not even close).

As to what the article was trying to address, it really was trying to combat the idea that "blowing out bad teams means less than a close win over a good team" - hence GUTS vs STOMPs, which is exactly what those are.

Really, the main thing to take home about GUTS vs STOMPS, and lots of other research is this: wins by less than 7 points aren't predictive. If you beat a team by less than 7 points, that doesn't mean you're better than them. It doesn't mean you're worse than them, either. The only way you really know one team's better than another is by big wins - i.e. more than two touchdowns. And so if a team's got a lot of close wins, they look a lot better than they really are.

144
by ems (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 3:19pm

139

I don't think the point of Guts and Stomps was just to count up the totals for each team and compare them directly. You're correct that a team like the Bears this season hasn't had many opportunities for Guts, because their schedule is extremely weak.

I think the point of the article is that Stomps are a better indication of a good team than Guts. That is, a team that barely squeaks out wins against all the teams they play, good or bad (i.e. Indy for most of this year), is less likely to have success than a team that blows crappy teams out of the water (i.e. the Bears, at least through the first 5 games or so).

Even teams with very tough schedules will have Stomp opportunities. How they deal with those opportunities might say more about them than how they deal with the really good teams they play, where you would expect a close game to be the result.

(Of course, if they're Stomping really good teams too, that's a strong indication that they're going somewhere.)

145
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 3:20pm

MRH, that's an excellect description of how a qb with mobility and pocket awareness can help an offensive line. I think the quality of pass rushing in the NFL had reached the point where severe immobility from a qb is no longer something that can be game-planned around with any consistency. I wouldn't touch Leftwich with a 10-foot pole if he became available, and I think it likely that somebody is going to commit way too much for him.

146
by Bathing Ape (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 3:25pm

"The greatness of Adrian Wilson continues. "

Shouldn't that be, "Adrian Wilson's greatness continues"?

147
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 3:27pm

Yep, pat, and the historically great teams just annihilate nearly everybody, especially as the season progresses, like the '85 Bears. This version started as if they might play that way, but soon enough Grossman was exposed for what he is, and although they've had some stomps since then their early stomps regress in importance as the season progresses.

148
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 3:31pm

Pat, I completely agree with this

"wins by less than 7 points aren’t predictive. If you beat a team by less than 7 points, that doesn’t mean you’re better than them. It doesn’t mean you’re worse than them, either. The only way you really know one team’s better than another is by big wins "

My issue is the assumption that the number of stomps is significant. I think Schedule strength plays more of a role in that than actual team strength. In 2004 Philly didnt have twice as many stomps as NE because they were that much better of a team, they had that many because their schedule was so weak.
stomp/skate/dom/guts
Philly 2004 6/3/1/1
Patriot2004 3/1/4/2

Philly beat 9 teams in the bottom half of the league, and 2 in the top half of the league. NE beat 4 teams in the bottom half, and 6 in the top. Philly wasnt the better team, they had the weaker schedule.

Also, why chose the cutoff to be teams below/above 8 wins? We know here that record really doesnt mean anything, and is significantly determined by schedule strength. This year, beating the Steelers in Week 5 would be considered a Skate/Stomp, when it really should be considered a GUT/DOM because they were a top 10 team at that point. Tennesee suffers from the same issue, except in reverse, beating them now is much more impressive than beating them in week 3, and you're not going to get any credit from it. Why not use DVOA above/below zero as a comparison?

Strength of schedule, luck, etc, and the extremely small sample size make that article completely misleading.

I agree that the only games you can really take something from are the ones with big score differential, i just think that article makes a lot of assumptions that its data really doesnt support.

149
by admin :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 3:35pm

The Mike Harris playoff odds report is now up. Scroll down for a new addition: Super Bowl percentages. Click on my name.

On the issue of Guts and Stomps: I think people need to remember what the point of the article was. The Guts and Stomps article was not asking the question, "What is the most accurate method for figuring out which is the best team in the NFL?" The Guts and Stomps article was asking the question, "How can we demonstrate that a particularly silly piece of conventional wisdom -- that the mark of a great team is its ability to win close games -- is generally a load of crap?" Guts and Stomps was always meant to be shorthand rather than complicated.

On the Bears: I will write more about my return trip to NFL Matchup tomorrow or Friday, but I can tell you after watching coaches' film of Bears-Vikings that Grossman's decision-making is completely f&%$ed right now. He's got to go.

150
by James C (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 3:36pm

I still think that the Bears can ressurect their offense even with Grossman. When Rexy had thrown 10 TDs and only 3 picks at least 8 of those scores were off play action (and I think it was nine) and Rex was selling them very well. The whole offense seemed to be built around strong running followed by the play fake, and not just on deep throws like in the last few games but all over the field. If the Bears can get back to the simpler game plans at the start of the year they can be effective again but I guess we will wait and see if Ron Turner and Wade Wilson can figure that out.

151
by James C (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 3:42pm

The Superbowl win percentage seems to be 'If one of the top teams gets into the Superbowl then they have a 50% chance of winning it!'

Who'd have thought?

152
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 3:51pm

I dunno, james. It seems to me that rarely does a qb start strong, fall into the abyss, and then climb back out again, all in one season. What is far more common is that the more a qb is observed, the more his weaknesses get exposed, and stay exposed, at least until the next year. Horribillus Rex is likely here to stay into January, and be on vacation prior to February.

If Romo starts to get greatly exposed prior to season's end, I think there is similarly little chance that he's coming back this year, in which case Brees, Bush, Colston, Horn, etc. will have an opportunity to do something that was truly, extraordinarily, unexpected.

It'd help if the Saints' defensive linemen weren't suspended for not be willing to die in an asthmatic episode, assuming he is being truthful (I certainly don't know).

153
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 3:55pm

I agree that the only games you can really take something from are the ones with big score differential,

That's not quite what I meant - what I meant is that the only games where the win is statistically significant is ones where there's a big score differential.

So if you're going to say "How can you say the Colts are better than the Cowboys? The Cowboys beat the Colts!" you better be talking about a game where the Cowboys won by 14+ points.

The reason for that's simple. The team with the higher score wins the game, and points are essentially quantized in units of 7.

You can still take things from a close game - for one thing, you can measure performance via a variable other than points.

154
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 3:58pm

#152: I really wish we knew more about the Thomas incident. His claim certainly sounds plausible (he's claiming that his asthma medicine caused a false positive), and the team doctor thinks that it's plausible as well, so I really wonder why they denied the appeal.

155
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 4:09pm

154

"So if you’re going to say “How can you say the Colts are better than the Cowboys? The Cowboys beat the Colts!� you better be talking about a game where the Cowboys won by 14+ points."

Thats what I mean, just wasnt clear about it.

I also think another issue is hidden stomps(where a team destroys another one, and then plays prevent the last 10 minutes of the game, and gives up enough points that its no longer a stomp, but the game was never in question), and stomps-that-never-really-were, IE 8 point games where someone decides not to kneel on a pick, and instead runs it back, or whatever. I just think that with the small sample sizes, these things lead to big problems.

156
by CaffeineMan (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 4:23pm

It’d help if the Saints’ defensive linemen weren’t suspended for not be willing to die in an asthmatic episode

That's an overly dramatic comment, since we don't know how serious the asthma is. The condition doesn't have to be even near that serious in order for medicine with steroids to be prescribed.

157
by Tally (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 4:27pm

Looking at Rivers' recent performances, it seems that coaches are keying into his weaknesses as well, though not to the extent that they are Grossman's. Then again, Grossman doesn't have nearly the weapons on offense that Rivers does.

158
by chris clark (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 4:28pm

re: 155

For a good illustration of this point, look at Denver this year. For the 1st half of this year they were winning quite a few games and playing other good teams close. However, that winning record distorted the common wisdom about them and inflated their power ranking on many sites. DVOA which measures more than points wasn't fooled and has consistently ranked them average to above-average. If they had been a better team, their DVOA would have improved and they probably would have also stomped somebody.

I think DVOA can help one tease out some of those stomps-that-never-really-were games, because it considers more than just scores. However, if your team is skating by, be afraid, very afraid.

159
by D (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 4:34pm

I'm glad that everyone has finally come around to what I've been saying since the preseason, that Grossman is a fundamently flawed QB with bad decision making and erratic mechanics who apparently will never be comfortable checking down or throwing to flats and who looked great early in the season. He looked great early in the season since he benefitted from incredibly good luck and inept opposing defenses. Now Lovie Smith knows way more about football than I do, but Brian Griese should be the Bears starting QB and he should have been since week 1.
Bear Down.

160
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 4:37pm

Caffeine, I don't even play a doctor on t.v., so please cut me some slack for engaging in some hyperbole. If the guy is being truthful, however, and he hasn't taken any steroids other than from the inhaler, that's just wrong. Like I said, however, I have no idea of whether he is telling the truth, or just trying to bamboozle ignorant people like myself.

161
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 4:49pm

158

"I think DVOA can help one tease out some of those stomps-that-never-really-were games, because it considers more than just scores. However, if your team is skating by, be afraid, very afraid."

Right, but that article has nothing to do with DVOA, and thats what I was complaining on.

162
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 4:57pm

156 Not to mention the fact that when I played hockey I was a little suspicious that maybe 3/4 of my team was "asthmatic" despite none of them having any visable symptoms.

I am inclined to think this is just someone reaching for an unfair edge. Granted I have only known three people who had actual real asthma to my knowledge, but none of the three could even remotely consider a career in atheletics. A brisk bike ride could be enough to overcome them, inhaler or no.

163
by chris clark (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 5:01pm

re 161:

Ok, I reread and catch some of the subtleties you are trying to distinguish. Yes, an absolute number of stomps/guts/skates says little. A proportion says more. Unfortunately, with the small data set size, it is hard to even tease out a proportion, because one might only have had only half-a-dozen chances for stomps by the end of the season and a difference of 1 stomp in 6 is a big difference proportion-wise, even though it is only 1 game.

164
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 5:07pm

152:

Will, you do realize what you just wrote there, right?

165
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 5:07pm

Anyway the underlining point of all this stomp bickering was the DAL/IND game. It is very easy to see IND as a better team than DAL. It was one game, and a game that was fairly close on the road. It is also perfectly reasonable to see DAL as the better team. The evidence is wildly underdeterminant. Personally I am inclined to take IND on a neutral field, but I might only being willing to give 3 or 4 pts.

166
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 5:08pm

163. Which is why I think nothing should really be taken from that article.

Becephalus, there is more than one type of asthma. The two general ones are, as you've seen, athletically induced, and allergenically induced.

I have the second. I'm basically very prone to respitory failure. My asthma doesnt effect me in day to day life, but if I get a cold, it immediately goes bronchial, and my chest starts constricting, or if I'm exposed to an allergen, the first symptom I get is shortness of breath.

I play plenty of sports. I'm totally normal, and you'd never know I'm asthmatic, but it could very well kill me if I dont have my drugs around.

As to the athletically induced, theres different severity, and you wouldnt know about it unless its bad.

167
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 5:11pm

Hey, Becephalus, I really am ignorant of this stuff; what advantage does an inhaler covey to a person who does not have asthma? Cardiovascular performance? They really don't have an anabolic effect in terms of helping build muscle mass, do they?

168
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 5:11pm

162: The Bus and Art Monk are two NFLers who suffered through asthma. My name holds some info.

169
by mactbone (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 5:12pm

Re 160:
There are a few things to think about though:
Was there any other medication without those steroids he could take?
Why hasn't this been issue with another player before?

In the end I'm not sure that anything really matters - the NFL has the steroid on it's list of banned substances and they use a zero tolerance policy. It doesn't matter why he used the steroid, it only matters that he did.

170
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 5:17pm

It still seemed very susupicious to me that about 3/4 of my teamhad inhalers. Granted I don't ask every person I know, but just from aquiantences I would estimate usage at 1/25?

IDK I am very sensitive to the "medicalization" of normal things. There is a whole medicalization literature in biomedical ethics if you are not famirliar with it. But basically it is the worry that the current sysytem leads to normal human behaviors being classified as illnesses. When someone can say with a straight face that 1/2 of all child have a mental illness, it is clear the word illness has begun to malfunction in this sphere. I am sure you are familiar with similar cases in physical medicine as well (Halitosis, Balding, Indigestion, etc.).

Anyway the upshot is I am skeptical of the reported huge increase in asthma cases as I am suspicious many of these don not actually need treatment or are transparent attmepts to receive use medications off label.

This does not take away from the the people who truly have asthma, but I am wondering if it is just "I get really really out of breath when I work out hard I must have asthma, and the doctor is like "ok whatever thanks for the 100$". When really the person just isn't in shape and/or thinks bronchial dilation will help performance.

171
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 5:18pm

#169: He's not saying he used the banned steroid, and he should be allowed to.

He's saying he uses a different drug (which is allowed) and that drug caused a false positive for a banned steroid.

172
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 5:21pm

167 Most asthma attacks have to do with the brochial tubes contracting. It becomes very very hard/uncomfortable to breath (I have experienced this often as I am allergic to cats, but have never felt the need for medication as I always feel better within 24 hours).

Many inhalers use medicine to facilitate the expansion of the bronchial tubes. Some just use medicine flavored water for a placebo efffect as the main worry with asthma to the best of my knowledge is panic and subsequent hyperventilation.

173
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 5:21pm

I dunno, Sophrandos, I wrote a lot of different stuff there. One, that a qb's performance graph within a season is rarely v-shaped. Two, that if Romo goes into the tank, prior to the end of the regular season ( I think I neglected to type the word "regular" in the post), he won't make a comeback in the playoffs, and, three, that if Romo tanks the Saints have a chance to win the NFC.

174
by Paulo Sanchotene, Brazil (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 5:25pm

I just love to compare both Fox Sports Power Rakings. It's unbelievable they're at the same website. Here, this week differences (teams that are weaker in DVOA has positive numbers):

SEAHAWKS: 11
49ERS : 9
BILLS : 7
RAMS : 7
COLTS : 4
BRONCOS : 4
FALCONS : 4
CHARGERS: 3
SAINTS : 3
CHIEFS : 3
JETS : 3
TITANS : 3
PATRIOTS: 2
BENGALS : 2
DOLPHINS: 1
BUCCANEERS: 1
CARDINALS: 0
LIONS : 0
RAVENS : -1
PANTHERS: -1
TEXANS : -2
PACKERS : -3
REDSKINS: -3
RAIDERS : -3
COWBOYS : -4
BEARS : -4
JAGUARS : -5
EAGLES : -7
VIKINGS : -7
BROWNS : -7
STEELERS: -9
GIANTS : -11

175
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 5:25pm

Just to expand on 172

In the case of attacks, Ventolin/Albuterol is the usually prescribed medication. Its not a steroid. Its a stimulant I believe. (I always felt that way, very jittery after using my inhaler, literally shaking).

Steroids are usually only prescribed in cases of respritory infection, or in attempts to prevent attacks. Usually if someone needs to take steroids for Asthma, its a daily, every day thing.

176
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 5:27pm

174 You can tell this bozo isnt taking SOS into accoutn when 3 of the 4 (most underratd teams by DVOA) ar ein the same division).

177
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 5:28pm

174

Paulo, the main difference between DVOA, and most people's power rankings, is the speed at which they move (and sometimes how drastically they move).

For example, I'm sure Fox drastically dropped Philly as soon as McNabb got hurt. DVOA wont drop Philly until they've had enough bad play that it overcomes all the good play they had earlier. The two tell different things.

In a perfect world, DVOA should tell you what team was the best so far this season. A Power Ranking, will really tell you whos the best right now. That being said, most power rankings are so subjective, that theyre really not that useful.

178
by Insancipitory (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 5:34pm

So does that make the Giants or the Seahawks number 1 in not getting respect?

179
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 5:40pm

In the case of attacks, Ventolin/Albuterol is the usually prescribed medication. Its not a steroid.

No, it's not, but it does do some of the same things as steroids - namely, the steroid that he failed the test for (they're both beta-agonists). Hence the reason he was claiming it was a false positive.

180
by smashmouth football (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 5:45pm

Re: 155 Hidden Stomps

You make a good point, but I agree with the other posters who suggest DVOA is the best stat we have to reveal what is hidden.

I follow the Ravens and can think of several games that meet your concept:

Ravens 35, Saints 22 (Ravens led 35-7 well into the 2nd half and gave up late garbage-time scores)
Ravens 26, Bengals 20 (this game wasn't nearly as close as the score would suggest)
Bengals 13, Ravens 7 (hate to say it, but the Bengals kicked our ass, a near shutout)

I'm sure this pattern holds for a lot of teams.

181
by Peremptor (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 5:51pm

re #149

Yeah thanks Aaron. I love those charts.

re #100

Thanks for trying buddy :).

182
by Andrew (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 5:54pm

Rich Conley #155:

and stomps-that-never-really-were, IE 8 point games where someone decides not to kneel on a pick, and instead runs it back, or whatever. I just think that with the small sample sizes, these things lead to big problems.

Well, what about Eagles-Cowboys, Week 5? On the one hand, Eagles won by 14 points because Lito Sheppard returned a pick 103 yards from the endzone at the end of the game, so the game was close until the pick-6.

On the other hand, the Eagles scored 4 offensive touchdowns to the Cowboys 2 offensive touchdowns, the Cowboys otherwise benefiting in scoring from a mid-game fumble recovery returned for a touchdown.

So the game was both close at the end (Dallas was down by 7 and at the goal line), and not close (Dallas scored 14 fewer points on offense than the Eagles, Dallas only scored 3 points in the 2nd half to the Eagles 21 points).

I would say the Lito pick-6 uncovered in the box score a stomp/domination that was being hidden as a close game until the end of the game by the Cowboys fumble recovery touchdown.

183
by Jim Maron (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 5:59pm

99 Travis - many thanks for that info.

184
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 6:02pm

173:

That last one. Are you trying to kill my parents with this Saints in the Super Bowl talk?

185
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 6:16pm

180/182

Andrew, even though you're trying to use that as a counter example, it proves my point.

The final score doesnt completely tell what happened in the game, and generally doesnt correlate with how well the team plays all that accurately.

Any analysis based solely on final scores is incomplete, and thats what this GUTS/STOMPS thing is.

"You make a good point, but I agree with the other posters who suggest DVOA is the best stat we have to reveal what is hidden."

Again, DVOA has absolutely nothing to do with the GUTS/STOMP analysis.

I agree, DVOA is a great tool. My point was that an earlier poster tried to use that GUTS/STOMP article to back up a point of his, and I think that article isnt very good.

186
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 6:35pm

Any analysis based solely on final scores is incomplete, and thats what this GUTS/STOMPS thing is.

It wasn't meant to be complete.

It was meant to show the flaws in a common-held belief. It did that.

I agree, DVOA is a great tool. My point was that an earlier poster tried to use that GUTS/STOMP article to back up a point of his, and I think that article isnt very good.

Actually, that article was appropriate, given the comment that that person was responding to - the criticism that the Bears aren't as good, because they've played a soft schedule.

The Bears have done everything a top-ranked team should when playing a soft schedule. They beat the utter crap out of the teams far more often than they 'just got by'.

So now that we've completely deviated from the original point of the article, and the original point of the comment about the article, and everything else: yes, oddly enough, ranking teams based on situations which happen only a few times in a year is bad. Which is why, for instance, 'quality winning percentage' is stupid.

187
by D (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 6:35pm

I'm not sure where also to put this, but I think it's worth throwing out there that Morton Anderson only needs to kick two field goals and an extra-point (7 points) to become the NFL's all-time leading scorer. So yeah, go Mort.

188
by D (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 6:36pm

Make that "where else to put this"*

189
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 6:56pm

Hey, Sophrandos, I'm sure I'd like your parents, but I really do think it could happen. Having a hugely explosive offensive player starting to fufill his potential in December, on a team which is already 5th in their conference DVOA, and only three of the four teams above them likely to make the playoffs, really will throw some projections out of kilter. If Bush continues to show what he did last Sunday, there isn't a lot of time for d-coordinators to respond. Yeah, it was only the 49ers, but I think about Randy Moss in his rookie year, where he exploded pretty early in the season, and it took until the conference championship before anybody adjusted well to him.

Brees already may be the best qb in the conference, and if he gets all the weapons on the field, at full tilt, Bush especially, some defensive coordinators are going to have some sleepless nights.

190
by James C (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 7:08pm

Will Allen

I have to agree with your response to my post. In terms of defending my madness I didn't say that the Bears WILL manage to sort it out, just that I think it is possible. I just don't see the same offense as the start of the year despite the same personnel. I still think the approach from the first few games would be a big improvement. But I thought the special teams and defense were making the offense look better than it was a the start of the year.

191
by milo (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 8:19pm

189 Will:
As Sophrandos was trying to get you to understand:

Put that gris-gris down. We don't need none of that round here.

192
by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 8:27pm

I've updated the playoff comparison graphs with Mike Harris' latest projections. The significant differences between the two predictions are:

DVOA has less confindence in the Jets and Broncos and more confidense in Jacksonville than my predictions.

DVOA has much less confidence in Atlanta and more confidence in Philadelphia and NY than my predictions.

DVOA also has a little less confidence in Minnesota and slightly more confidence in Carolina than my predictions.

In general, DVOA is willing to invest more confidence in its stronger teams than my algorithm is.

193
by RecoveringPackerFan (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 9:25pm

Minnesota's offense is clearly ranked too high because Brad Johnson was secretly replaced by Ryan Leaf in a wheelchair. Replacing Johnson and running the wishbone is way better than this. g0 P@k!!! \/!k3$ $uk!!!

194
by underthebus (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 10:45pm

Re Tampa comment, "the pass is more important."

I totally disagree. What's more important to a winning team? An efficient passing game or an efficient running game? One just has to look at the outcome of the Hou-Oak game for the answer.

195
by BlueStarDude (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 10:49pm

Yeah, this has become off-topic, but I really like the Guts and Stomps article, so a brief revisit. I didn't think it necessary to state here that I don't believe Stomps should be used for making sweeping judgements of teams: nothing should. I guess I consider FO a place where that's implied.

Most of the people I know who follow football do so a bit more casually. It's not practical for me to trot out DVOA or DPAR stats in defense of my opinion of, say, Eli Manning or the Eagles (when they were better than their record, which they maybe still are). I can try to translate the numbers into plainspeak and where the numbers are coming from, but it's a windy road. On the other hand, the Stomps article content can be ported pretty easily. With Dallas coming off a tough loss to the Skins and standing at 4-4, things looked bleak. But I could talk to someone about Dallas's blowout wins of lesser competition and their close losses to good teams (like the 14-pt Eagle game - you got to use what you know, not just the scoreboard), why that was relevant, and debunk some conventional wisdom. None of that by itself of course meant that the Cowboys would go onto better things this year, but it could be used (along with other evidence, like the way Romo was playing, incl. against the Panthers top-10 pass defense) to support why they MIGHT be headed that way.

196
by hrudey (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 11:15pm

Don't look now, but Jacksonville's almost opened up a 10 percentage point lead over #2 in variance. Although the lead is already probably insurmountable, look for them to put it on ice by beating one of Indy or NE badly at home, and getting stomped by Tennessee.

197
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 12/06/2006 - 11:32pm

I totally disagree. What’s more important to a winning team? An efficient passing game or an efficient running game?

An efficient passing game.

You don't need to run well to win. You just need to run. Passing well builds a lead much easier than running well.

One just has to look at the outcome of the Hou-Oak game for the answer.

What answer would that be? "You don't need any kind of an offense if the opposing offense misses all three of their field goals, turns the ball over to you five times, oh, and your special teams hands you a touchdown and a field goal"?

Oakland had a more efficient passing and running game (4.3 yards per rush vs 4.0 yards per rush). They lost because 1) their offense can't hold onto the ball at all, 2) they couldn't make any of 3 field goals (including 2 that were sub-40 yards!), and 3) their special teams gave up 10 points.

198
by DGL (not verified) :: Thu, 12/07/2006 - 12:19am

Yeah, I'd be really hesitant to use a game involving Oakland and Houston to demonstrate any general principle about the NFL.

199
by zip (not verified) :: Thu, 12/07/2006 - 12:19am

#197

Dude, I think he was joking.

200
by chris clark (not verified) :: Thu, 12/07/2006 - 2:53am

re: 195

Guts and stomps aren't off-topic. And, while it is easy to read to much into them, they are a convenient short-hand, and a meaningful concept. If a team has a stomp or a skate, that says something about the team (opposite things, of course) and a team which as both, might just be inconsistent or has some other factor, such as an injury to a key player without a good backup (same for a team that stomps and then gets stomped).

Still, you can't use any one stat and depend on it exclusively--there will always be times it fails you. However, when two or more stats point in the same direction, the compounding of the evidence is stronger, especially if the stats measure independent things and aren't just repeating one fact in two different ways.

And, although I can understand Rich's point that 14 pt victories by themselves aren't a good measuring stick, because some 13 pt wins are actually better more dominating games than other 15 pt wins,
when measuring things one needs to establish a metric. To put it in perspective, consider medicine. In a lot of diseases, it is the 5 year survival rate. If you live for 5 years after your treatment, the treatment is considered successful. That may not be true for every case. However, it is simply a point of reference to quantify the data, without such a reference one can't compare numbers "objectively".

Now, back to football, if you have one team that gets some flukey wins that all look like stomps, but weren't really dominant, they will pollute the statistics. However, that won't matter much unless, you are trying to argue about that particular team's performance.
At the beginning of the year PHI's DVOA stats, struck me that way, suggesting that the DVOA numbers for PHI were somehow not indicative and that their W/L record was actually a more accurate measure. However, that's just one teams data, and I wouldn't use that as evidence to judge the DVOA number of a different team, unless it was a persistent pattern in the DVOA numbers and that pattern was relevant to the other team in question.

Judgment is the way we weigh the variety of facts presented to us, many of them contradictory, and determine which ones are credible. To me PHI's early season DVOA numbers were not entirely credible, nor were CHI's. That was my judgment call.

201
by Bobman (not verified) :: Thu, 12/07/2006 - 5:06am

Just a recap for those of you who came in late (I understand, the concession stand beer line was long), but Rich Conley claims to be "totally normal" (ahem) and Will Allen is trying to kill Sophandros's parents by suggesting NO could win the NFC. (would the police need some sort of weapon to investigate?)

Also, a QB's season-long performance graph might look like a hill climb, or a downhill fall, or even a mountain (climb then fall) but probably would not be shaped like a Vee (great early performance, death spiral, then resurrection).

Hidden stomps maybe be tough-to-identify, but useful indicators. (Personally I disagree--"hidden stomps" used to be Indy's bread and butter--take a 24-point lead and then let up 17 at the end--and look where it's gotten them when all is said and done. Watching the SB from home. Not that I'm bitter....)

Also, a few of us know quite a bit about asthma and inhalers, most of do not, and nobody seems to know the specifics of the asthmatic condition surrounding several players.

I've been busy the past day or two and haven't been able to keep tabs, but did that pretty much sum it up?

202
by Budman (not verified) :: Thu, 12/07/2006 - 7:50am

Not knocking the tremendous efforts and thinking that everyone puts into FO DVOA (am a big fan of the site actually) but I just happened to be cleaning out my office and came across PFP2006. A few highlights to setup my arguments:

Oakland Raiders
2006 Mean Projection: 8.0
Superbowl Contender: 17%

New Orleans Saints
2006 Mean Projection: 4.1
Playoff Contender: 3%

Top Fantasy Risers:
Domanick Davis - Even if remained healthy was not going to produce in this OFF)
Cadillac Williams - lol, could be the biggest FF bust of 2006?
Hasselbeck - in games he did play has been barely average. Then add in hurt (luck)

Sure I cherry picked the bad (ex. The Fantasy Fallers is pretty dead on though) and some team predictions are right on, but I would say the "right-on" ones were close to gimmies anyway.
I am a very big NFL fan as well as statistics and ratings systems. I also have dabled in Spread betting many times and the old adage of "the older the wiser" is starting or has become true. I have come to the conclusions through observation and experience that with footballs short season as well as the leagues persistent attempts to level the playing field has added way too much parity and unpredictability to the NFL. Then add in the fact that all the math and numbers still can't account sometimes for the intangibles that occur with a very physical sport. A hyper LB plays inhuman for the first few weeks of the season. Amassing sacks and hitting offensive players like a truck. His super awareness and strength changed outcomes. Turns out he was on steroids. League suspends four games which is a slap on wrist as the difference/damages casued by him breaking forbidden rules are irreversible. Maybe that one sack he got because he threw the lineman with his extra strength might have been a key completion by QB instead?
Or how about Mia coming INTO Chi to handidly beat them by just being that much "UP" and ready to play than Chi that day? One game. Then Mia goes back to there DVOA mean. A DVOA that is now higher because of that game and beating the #1 in DVOA. #1 in DVOA because of clearly the easiest schedule and score run-ups on those bad opponents.

Football has just become wildly unpredictable (the NFL at least, I don't follow the fixable and too often grossly disparaged to be be entertaining anyway NCAA). "Any given Sunday" truly means just that and seems to have gotten its earned level. Bookies everywhere rejoice and staticians and fans cringe.

Thoughts: Can the truly good team ever have enough bad fortune and luck to not make playoffs in the long seasons of the MLB/NBA? Also the way better team lose a seven game series? Rare occurance, sure. But in the NFL it seems like whoever is just better THAT day wins. Two uncharactistic bad days by Payton has bumped one of the best regular season teams out of the playoffs last two years. Jordan would have one bad shooting day and then have six more cracks/days at the team...

203
by Budman (not verified) :: Thu, 12/07/2006 - 8:11am

Ohh, one thing I forgot. I personally think DVOA is much better at the micro-level than ANYTHING out there in actually measuring how each unit is performing. Meaning OFF/DEF/ST. The team OFF/DEF and position pages are invaluable in just knowing your fav teams strengths and weaknesses or measuring one QB vs another, etc. Just that overall rankings by adding these units is flawed and gives no indication that one team is better than another within say 10 spots or so.

Doubt this makes sense but for example, I know the measurements of the units is right just by observation. Having watched many Bears games and I KNOW what DVOA is telling me about the DEF and ST is accurate. But it doesn't mean they will continue, won't get hurt, or intagibles allow one team to overcome them. Just that they have played as #1 DEF/ST in the PAST. Minns Run DEF is better than their pass DEF. I can verify this just by visiting any fantasy football site. But there is NO explanation for why Chi could only muster 36 yards of passing vs them.

204
by Paulo Sanchotene, Brazil (not verified) :: Thu, 12/07/2006 - 9:09am

Re: #178.
The NFC East is, by far, the most unrespected divison on/at/in [F@#%! I never learned how to use prepositions in english] Fox's Power Ranking this week.

205
by Jason Mulgrew aka The Mul Dawg aka J-Rocka (not verified) :: Thu, 12/07/2006 - 10:07am

Does the chart mean the Lions shouldn't be favored against the Vikes? I think that is what it means. I will bet $500 the Vikes will win.

206
by Charles the Philly Homer (not verified) :: Thu, 12/07/2006 - 11:18am

205:

Straight up, yeah, of course you would. And I'd still probably take that bet.

207
by admin :: Thu, 12/07/2006 - 11:23am

Just want to drop in to make one comment.

I've said this before, and I'll say it again. Statistical projections are based on looking at past trends. There has never been a team which had to spend a season on the road because its home city was destroyed by a hurricane. I don't really think people should judge the accuracy of our predictions -- or anybody's predictions -- using the 2005-2006 New Orleans Saints as an example.

We never claimed to be perfect. We only claimed to be slightly more accurate than everybody else. If you want perfection, you are reading the wrong website.

208
by James C (not verified) :: Thu, 12/07/2006 - 11:39am

'Statistical projections are based on looking at past trends'

Hey Aaron why don't you develop statistics using future trends? They would be far better at pridicting the future. Now that would be advanced statistics!

209
by DGL (not verified) :: Thu, 12/07/2006 - 11:43am

#201: And also, Nuke's scared because his eyelids are jammed and his old man's here, and we need a live rooster to take the curse off Jose's glove and nobody seems to know what to get Millie or Jimmy for their wedding present.

210
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Thu, 12/07/2006 - 12:11pm

If you have studied Mayan mythology, you'd know that one of the last symbols on their calendar (you know, right before the end of the world) translate into the Saints winning the Super Bowl, the Red Sox winning the World Series, and two teams from the South winning the Stanley Cup within the same decade. Two of these three things have happened.

You still have time to get your affairs in order.

211
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 12/07/2006 - 12:14pm

#202: Aaron's already mentioned the Saints - plus, with all of the turnover on the team, that projection just should've been a guess more than anything else.

As for Oakland: Oakland's defense was 2.4% in DVOA last year, at 23rd in the league. DVOA predicted them to be third in the league at -5.7% this year. That looks nuts based on last year. Aaron even wrote "Surprise! Our statistical projection system says that Oakland is the young defense most likely to take a big jump forward in 2006." about them.

It was dead on. Oakland's 6th in defensive DVOA, but 4-6 are so clustered they're basically spot on.

What the projection missed on was that Oakland's offense would become a miasma of suck (and I do mean a *major* miasma of suck). And while you could've subjectively guessed that based on the bed & breakfast offensive coordinator and the existence of Aaron Brooks, objectively, you can't judge that.

DVOA actually did say Oakland's offense was going to suck, mind you, and pretty bad. Just not as horrendously as it ended up being.

Really, the projection for Oakland was pretty spot on, and I don't think anyone, other than DVOA, would've guessed that Oakland's defense would become that good. Just like I don't think anyone would think that an offense that was just mediocre last year would devolve into a unit that could single-handedly lose games even with a very good defense.

212
by admin :: Thu, 12/07/2006 - 12:38pm

Actually, we *did* know the Oakland offense would be this bad. The stats didn't, but we did. When I went on the radio promoting the book, if I was asked if I questioned any of our projections, I always said Oakland. Like the "city destroyed by hurricane" variable, the "we're giving our offense over to a guy who's been running a bed and breakfast for the last decade" variable is also missing from the system. I never thought they would finish 8-8, no matter how the numbers came out. But we don't change the numbers based on our opinions. Read the chapter -- it doesn't read like the chapter of a team we're projecting to finish 8-8.

213
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Thu, 12/07/2006 - 12:48pm

#204 --

OK, Paulo, you may not know English prepositions, but you get to watch women in bikinis play volleyball with their feet.

Some tradeoffs are worth it, no?

214
by chris clark (not verified) :: Thu, 12/07/2006 - 2:14pm

re 212:

And that Aaron is why we read you carefully. The FO stats are great and provide a lot of informed insight that are hard to get elsewhere, but the writings of the staff are superb in using excellent judgment to highlight which details are the ones that "really" matter.

On top of that, most of the reader's comments in the forums are quite well reasoned and teach me even more about the teams I don't follow or about why I should view things, like fumbles for instance, from a different perspective, even when I don't initially agree.

215
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 12/07/2006 - 2:33pm

Take it easy, Sophrandos, and don't blow the nest egg in an end-of-the-world splurge. I only said the Saints might get to the Super Bowl, not that they could win it. Absent Romo continuing his very high level of play, which means that coordinators don't start exposing his weaknesses with more efficiency pretty soon (which would surprise me a little; I think it likely he'll get knocked down at least a few pegs pretty soon), I can't see any NFC coach shaking hands with Roger Goodell up on a podium come February. Maybe if Grossman misplaces the pictures of Lovie Smith he obviously is in possession of, and Griese channels his dad for a few weeks, the Bears would have a chance, but the Saints might get to play the last game, but they wouldn't win it.

Then again, I did see a rider on a pale horse the other day, so what do I know?

216
by Paulo Sanchotene, Brazil (not verified) :: Thu, 12/07/2006 - 3:39pm

Re: #213
Unfortunetely, I live in the "southernest" state of Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul (South Rio Grande). We have winter cold days and must be the only state with ugly beaches. But, we are famous for having the most beautiful women in this country. I guess it compensates...

217
by Kal (not verified) :: Thu, 12/07/2006 - 4:12pm

But, we are famous for having the most beautiful women in this country. I guess it compensates

Gah. The most beautiful brazilian women? That's just not fair. That's like having the best luxury cars.

I've said this to Aaron directly, but I'd really like to see a Guts/Stomps article that talked about it with respect to regular season and/or early playoff strength to see if there's any correlations. It's a good concept and one that goes somewhat against standard thought, and one I'd like to see expanded a bit.

218
by chris clark (not verified) :: Thu, 12/07/2006 - 5:12pm

re 217:

I agree with seeing more on the guts/stomps point.

From 202: [Budman has] come to the conclusions through observation and experience that with footballs short season as well as the leagues persistent attempts to level the playing field has added way too much parity and unpredictability to the NFL. Then add in the fact that all the math and numbers still can’t account sometimes for the intangibles that occur with a very physical sport.

From 153: So if you’re going to say “How can you say the Colts are better than the Cowboys? The Cowboys beat the Colts!� you better be talking about a game where the Cowboys won by 14+ points.

Both of those point to the fact that close games (and single games) tell you little about which is the better team. Now, DVOA attempts to compensate by looking at plays instead of games, to give them more data points. However, early in the season, this can still be misleading. That's why alternate sources of information to complement and confirm or contradict DVOA are important.

And while the gut/stomp analysis is less precise than DVOA, it does provide another perspective that is in some ways independent. For example, it factors back in some of the "luck" that DVOA attempts to factor out. Thus, more analysis of gut/stomp type statistics could be useful.

There are lots of angles to try. For example, one could make further distinctions, such as, do 17 pt leads make more reliable stomp indicators than 14 pt leads. What about using score ratios rather than differences, or "pythagorean stomps" when one squares the scores before comparing them.

One could also compare 3rd Q (and half-time) leads--a 3rd Q stomp is a game where the team lead by 14 pts at the end of the 3rd (and subsequently won the game). Then, you could answer arguments about teams that "collapse" (lead by 14 or more pts, but lose), versus teams that "come back" (trail by 7 or more pts, but win).

219
by Budman (not verified) :: Thu, 12/07/2006 - 8:40pm

We never claimed to be perfect. We only claimed to be slightly more accurate than everybody else

But IS FO more accurate than anyone? Also more accurate in relation to what? A coin? If you mean more accurate in measuring what you have determined SHOULD be measured and how football should be played, then yes. But then by that logic and and all rating systems can rightfully claim the same since they are also all based on what they think should be measured.

This is what I am trying to say. Can football be measured accurately enough to get a true picture since it seems to the the sport most tied to physical intangibles? It can be measured but seems to be more purely for argument than accuracy. I would easily wager that if we could somehow table EVERY single prediction (charted as well as spoken ones in the commentary) made in PFP2006 that FO would be at or most likely below my much cheaper nickle on my desk. We can cherry pick good and bad all day between Oak/NO/whotever, but when it came down to it I would bet no better than 50%.
PS - This still doesn't take away the fact that PFP2006 is still one of my favorite reads each year and Tuesdays are my favorite days at FO's website...

220
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 12/07/2006 - 10:39pm

Well, Budman, FO came out ahead of any other published prediction I'm aware of , in terms of picking last year's playoff teams. That ain't nuthin', and if they can maintain that superiority over a few years, that will be a strong bit of evidence in support of the notion that FO is measuring the right things, in terms of what translates intio winning football games.

221
by Lou (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 4:46am

According to King Kaufman FO was 3rd picking playoff teams in 2003, 1st in 2004, and 3rd in 2005. Aaron was 1st in 2005 I don't know what he ranked before that.

222
by Lou (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 4:52am

Aaron was 3rd in 2004

223
by J Frazier (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 5:26pm

Okay If the Media and sports announcers are pressuring the Bears Coaching staff, why don't they pressure Dungy and his Colts to replace his defense or is it to exciting to watch Peyton throw his TD passes. He doesn't have much of a run either. Reality is The Bears Quarterback is struggling, thats pretty much it and Lovie Smith and those Bears are 10-2 with exciting Defense and a pretty good running game. How many defenses do you see in the NFL like the Bears? I say Grossman is a rookie all in all even though he's been there 3 years he's been hurt half the time.....If the defense is scoring half the time and the quarterback is struggling just think of how much depth Lovie Smith has with Bears. I think he's the phenom this year and years to come!

224
by B (not verified) :: Fri, 12/08/2006 - 6:41pm

223: Well, the reason is because the Colt's defensive reserves arn't any good, but the Bears backup QB is Greise, and he's proven himself to be a decent QB in the past. It's unreasonable to expect anything much out of him, but Grossman has regressed so badly in the last few weeks he needs to be taken out of the starting line-up, at least so it sends a message that his performance isn't acceptable.

225
by Gus (not verified) :: Sun, 12/10/2006 - 12:39am

Hey, I got quoted! That's pretty cool.

Re: Garcia.

Some people suggested earlier in this thread that maybe the Vikings should've thought about acquiring him. That might be a bit premature, but its seems like a good argument. I mean, how was Garcia ever going to be more of an injury risk than Brad Johnson?

I would not be surprised, if the Eagles make the play-offs, to see Garcia competing for starter's job somewhere in the NFC North.