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» Week 2 DVOA Ratings

Stomping the Jags leaves Washington No. 2 behind only Denver. But what can we really learn from one big win early in the season, before we are applying opponent adjustments?

07 Oct 2008

Week 5 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

It's no surprise that the Giants have moved into the top spot in DVOA after shellacking the Seahawks in Week 5. That game had the best single-game DVOA rating so far this year (105.9%). The teams ranked second and third, however, are a little bit more of a surprise: Baltimore and Philadelphia.

Yes, that's right -- we have a 2-2 team ranked second and a 2-3 team ranked third. As you know, DVOA takes every single play and breaks it down, and it only cares about how well a team plays, not whether it wins or loses. It's not saying that wins and losses are not important -- of course, we don't decide who goes to the playoffs based on statistical ratings -- but DVOA does a better job of telling you how good a team is now and will be in the future. It just so happens that the Ravens and Eagles are really good despite their less-than-glittering records this season.

Baltimore has a single-game DVOA rating above 25% for all four of its games this season. According to DVOA, the Ravens outplayed both the Steelers and the Titans but just couldn't get the breaks. (Seriously, what was up with that roughing the passer call on Terrell Suggs?) The Ravens lead the league in defensive DVOA, not the Titans, and the run defense has been particularly strong, allowing 2.8 yards per carry and no touchdowns on the ground.

Philadelphia only has one "tough loss," i.e. a loss where the team had a higher DVOA than its opponents. Based on our ratings, the Eagles were outplayed by the Cowboys and (narrowly) the Bears. Still, none of their losses have come by more than a touchdown. Slaughtering the Rams doesn't seem like a big deal, but manhandling the Steelers sure is. The 2008 Eagles seem a lot like the 2006 Eagles, a team that couldn't catch a break in the first half of the season, then caught every single break during the second half. The difference is that they won't back their way into a division title this year, because the NFC East is so absurdly strong. The lowest NFC East team according to DVOA is Dallas, the team that everyone else thinks is the best in the division -- and they still rank seventh in the NFL overall.

As for the Giants, I write more about them below. First, let's run the numbers.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through five weeks of 2008, 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 to consider all fumbles, kept or lost, as equal value. They also include opponent adjustments, currently at 50 percent strength. SPECIAL TEAMS DVOA is adjusted for type of stadium (warm, cold, dome, Denver) and week of season.

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

DAVE is a formula which combines our preseason projection with current DVOA to get a more accurate forecast of how a team will play the rest of the season. Right now, the preseason projection makes up 27 percent of DAVE, and this year's DVOA makes up 73 percent. For teams with only four games played, that split is 40/60.

To save people some time, please use the following format 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
DAVE RANK W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
1 NYG 56.7% 2 36.5% 1 4-0 41.1% 1 -12.4% 7 3.2% 10
2 BAL 42.5% 1 26.8% 3 2-2 3.0% 14 -43.4% 1 -3.9% 29
3 PHI 32.7% 3 32.8% 2 2-3 13.3% 9 -16.1% 5 3.2% 11
4 TEN 28.6% 4 20.2% 4 5-0 -2.9% 21 -32.3% 2 -0.8% 21
5 WAS 24.5% 7 15.4% 8 4-1 28.7% 3 -0.1% 13 -4.2% 30
6 CAR 20.3% 12 16.0% 6 4-1 9.3% 11 -8.6% 9 2.3% 14
7 DAL 18.1% 8 16.3% 5 4-1 28.3% 4 9.0% 21 -1.2% 22
8 ARI 16.6% 16 11.8% 12 3-2 19.7% 5 0.5% 14 -2.6% 25
9 PIT 15.0% 10 12.7% 10 4-1 -6.4% 24 -18.3% 3 3.1% 12
10 MIA 14.7% 19 0.3% 19 2-2 19.4% 6 -5.9% 10 -10.6% 31
11 CHI 14.4% 11 9.9% 13 3-2 -2.3% 19 -11.9% 8 4.8% 6
12 TB 13.7% 5 15.4% 7 3-2 -3.7% 22 -17.9% 4 -0.5% 19
13 NO 9.9% 14 7.5% 14 2-3 11.2% 10 9.6% 22 8.4% 2
14 SD 7.9% 9 12.9% 9 2-3 13.8% 8 8.2% 19 2.3% 15
15 DEN 7.0% 15 5.9% 16 4-1 29.8% 2 21.2% 29 -1.6% 24
16 ATL 5.9% 13 -6.7% 23 3-2 17.4% 7 15.8% 26 4.2% 8
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
DAVE RANK W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
17 BUF 3.1% 6 -1.7% 20 4-1 1.5% 16 3.4% 16 5.0% 5
18 GB 2.7% 17 11.9% 11 2-3 -1.6% 18 -1.3% 12 3.1% 13
19 MIN -0.5% 20 6.0% 15 2-3 -0.9% 17 -14.1% 6 -13.7% 32
20 NYJ -1.5% 23 -2.9% 21 2-2 2.5% 15 3.6% 17 -0.5% 18
21 SF -4.3% 18 -10.6% 25 2-3 -9.7% 26 -1.6% 11 3.9% 9
22 OAK -6.3% 22 -13.3% 26 1-3 -12.3% 27 1.6% 15 7.6% 3
23 NE -8.8% 26 4.4% 17 3-1 -2.5% 20 15.7% 25 9.4% 1
24 IND -9.1% 25 2.3% 18 2-2 6.0% 12 11.7% 23 -3.4% 27
25 JAC -10.7% 24 -5.0% 22 2-3 4.8% 13 19.9% 28 4.5% 7
26 CLE -24.9% 27 -20.2% 27 1-3 -24.7% 31 6.3% 18 6.2% 4
27 SEA -27.9% 21 -10.5% 24 1-3 -7.3% 25 16.8% 27 -3.7% 28
28 CIN -31.9% 28 -23.9% 28 0-5 -23.7% 30 8.7% 20 0.4% 17
29 HOU -38.7% 29 -24.4% 29 0-4 -5.6% 23 32.5% 30 -0.6% 20
30 KC -54.0% 30 -43.9% 30 1-4 -35.4% 32 15.4% 24 -3.2% 26
31 DET -65.2% 32 -47.8% 31 0-4 -20.0% 28 47.2% 32 2.0% 16
32 STL -65.3% 31 -50.1% 32 0-4 -23.4% 29 40.5% 31 -1.4% 23

  • 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. (This is how the Giants can have more than four estimated wins.)
  • 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 most consistent (#1, lowest variance) to least consistent (#32, highest variance).

TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
1 NYG 56.7% 4-0 69.0% 4.4 1 -20.1% 32 17.3% 1 17.6% 22
2 BAL 42.5% 2-2 44.0% 4.1 2 -2.6% 21 3.6% 12 2.8% 4
3 PHI 32.7% 2-3 38.2% 3.5 5 1.3% 15 12.0% 3 13.6% 18
4 TEN 28.6% 5-0 30.4% 3.7 3 -7.9% 27 -16.5% 32 4.9% 8
5 WAS 24.5% 4-1 14.1% 3.6 4 26.8% 1 -5.0% 20 4.7% 7
6 CAR 20.3% 4-1 23.8% 3.3 7 -5.3% 22 5.9% 6 15.2% 19
7 DAL 18.1% 4-1 21.6% 3.3 6 0.6% 16 14.6% 2 8.5% 14
8 ARI 16.6% 3-2 14.7% 2.7 15 7.3% 8 -6.6% 26 23.8% 26
9 PIT 15.0% 4-1 19.4% 3.2 9 0.2% 17 6.5% 5 5.3% 9
10 MIA 14.7% 2-2 19.8% 2.8 13 2.8% 14 -13.7% 31 44.3% 32
11 CHI 14.4% 3-2 17.1% 3.2 8 -1.5% 19 -11.9% 29 3.6% 6
12 TB 13.7% 3-2 14.3% 2.7 14 8.0% 7 -6.5% 25 19.2% 23
13 NO 9.9% 2-3 7.3% 3.0 10 8.1% 6 -3.1% 16 5.9% 10
14 SD 7.9% 2-3 9.4% 3.0 11 6.8% 9 -7.1% 28 9.1% 15
15 DEN 7.0% 4-1 12.4% 2.5 18 -5.8% 24 -4.9% 19 23.7% 25
16 ATL 5.9% 3-2 13.7% 2.5 19 -16.5% 30 4.0% 11 32.9% 30
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
17 BUF 3.1% 4-1 5.7% 2.6 16 -18.7% 31 -5.4% 23 15.7% 21
18 GB 2.7% 2-3 5.6% 2.6 17 -5.6% 23 -5.9% 24 12.4% 16
19 MIN -0.5% 2-3 -5.1% 2.3 22 10.5% 4 -5.0% 22 7.8% 12
20 NYJ -1.5% 2-2 -6.1% 2.4 21 6.1% 10 -12.9% 30 15.4% 20
21 SF -4.3% 2-3 1.4% 2.2 23 -15.1% 29 0.6% 14 12.8% 17
22 OAK -6.3% 1-3 -8.2% 2.2 25 -7.2% 26 1.7% 13 24.8% 27
23 NE -8.8% 3-1 -8.1% 2.9 12 -9.0% 28 -3.9% 17 27.3% 28
24 IND -9.1% 2-2 -5.4% 2.4 20 -7.1% 25 -5.0% 21 0.3% 1
25 JAC -10.7% 2-3 -11.0% 2.2 24 -0.2% 18 -6.8% 27 2.4% 2
26 CLE -24.9% 1-3 -26.2% 1.8 26 8.7% 5 10.9% 4 21.5% 24
27 SEA -27.9% 1-3 -25.9% 1.4 27 -2.0% 20 5.4% 8 41.8% 31
28 CIN -31.9% 0-5 -39.3% 1.1 28 24.2% 2 -0.8% 15 7.3% 11
29 HOU -38.7% 0-4 -36.8% 0.6 29 4.8% 11 -4.2% 18 3.4% 5
30 KC -54.0% 1-4 -43.0% 0.5 30 3.6% 13 4.8% 10 28.7% 29
31 DET -65.2% 0-4 -64.0% 0.1 31 3.7% 12 5.0% 9 2.6% 3
32 STL -65.3% 0-4 -70.3% 0.0 32 12.9% 3 5.8% 7 8.4% 13


Worst DVOA Ever Watch

Since the Rams and Lions have both had their bye weeks, we're going to switch our look at the worst teams ever from "worst after X weeks" to "worst after X games." That's why Kansas City does not show up on the "worst DVOA" table -- their DVOA after four games was higher than it is now after five games. The Chiefs have their bye this week, so all our bad teams will be caught up with each other by next week.


WORST TOTAL DVOA
AFTER FOUR GAMES
  WORST DEFENSIVE DVOA
AFTER FOUR GAMES
1999 CLE -68.0%   2008 DET 47.2%
2001 WAS -67.4%   2008 STL 40.5%
2000 CIN -66.6%   2006 HOU 39.0%
2008 STL -65.3%   2007 NYJ 34.0%
2008 DET -65.2%   1998 PHI 33.9%
2006 TEN -62.3%   2000 SF 33.8%
2005 HOU -60.6%   2008 HOU 32.5%
2002 CIN -58.6%   2000 ARI 31.5%
1998 PHI -55.8%   2001 ARI 31.2%
2006 OAK -51.9%   2001 BUF 29.6%


Best DVOA Ever Watch


BEST TOTAL DVOA
AFTER FOUR GAMES
  BEST OFFENSIVE DVOA
AFTER FOUR GAMES
2007 NE 72.4%   1999 WAS 47.7%
1999 STL 72.3%   2000 IND 47.3%
1996 GB 63.5%   2007 NE 46.7%
2001 STL 58.8%   2007 IND 46.1%
2005 CIN 58.4%   2007 DAL 44.7%
2008 NYG 56.7%   1998 DEN 43.8%
2007 DAL 52.1%   2008 NYG 41.1%
2006 CHI 51.4%   2001 STL 40.9%
1999 JAC 49.7%   1999 STL 39.7%
1998 DEN 49.6%   2005 SD 39.1%

Yes, that's right -- so far, the Giants have been that good. They have a better pass defense than they had a year ago, and a much, much better passing game on offense. Many NFL observers felt Eli Manning would continue to play at the high level he showed in last year's postseason, with improved confidence moving him into the upper eschelon of NFL quarterbacks.  Pro Football Prospectus 2008 said Manning would put up better fantasy numbers this year because of the "third-down rebound effect." It looks like both of these things have happened. He's the clear leader of the team and as we learned this week, he can even play well without Plaxico Burress on the field. Meanwhile, the Giants offense leads the league on first down and second down and is fifth on third down. Last year, the Giants offense ranked 12th, 17th, and 23rd on those downs, respectively.

Of course, the Giants' league-leading DVOA rating comes with a bit of an asterisk, which you can figure out by looking at the second table on this page. The Giants have played the easiest schedule of opponents so far and have the league's hardest schedule of opponents over the final 12 weeks. (In fact, three NFC East teams rank 1-2-3, with Washington only 17th because they've already played three of their division games.) Right now, opponent adjustments are only 50 percent strength, so perhaps we are underestimating how much the Giants' record is about the other teams playing poorly rather than the Giants playing well.

To try to figure out the impact of the Giants' schedule on their DVOA rating, I re-ran the season so far with opponent adjustments set at 100 percent strength rather than 50 percent strength. Surprise: The Giants' DVOA rating barely changes. With full opponent adjustments, the Giants would have a 41.0% rating on offense, basically the same, and a -11.0% rating on defense, slightly worse. They would still lead the league in total DVOA by more than a dozen percentage points. The opponent adjustments are weaker than you would expect in part because Washington has played so well since their awful opening night performance against the Giants. With every good game the Redskins play, the Giants' DVOA for that game gets better and better. Did the Giants dominate a team that was actually very good? Or did they dominate a team that had no idea what it was doing with a new offense, and wasn't anywhere near as good as the team that beat Dallas and Philadelphia the last two weeks? Your answer to that question is going to be entirely subjective.

What we do know is that every team that has started as strong as the 2008 Giants has gone on to have a pretty darn good season. Big Blue is for real and has to be considered one of this year's Super Bowl favorites -- unless an opposing defensive lineman tears Eli Manning's ACL at the start of the first postseason game.

One more fun note: Reggie Bush's two punt return touchdowns raise New Orleans from 22nd to second in special teams DVOA. But what's interesting is that the Saints already ranked third in punt return value before Week 5. They are mediocre in every other area of special teams, but now have more than twice as much punt return value (18.3 points) as the team that ranks second, Buffalo (8.8 points).

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 07 Oct 2008

86 comments, Last at 13 Oct 2008, 3:46pm by Hank

Comments

1
by Dales :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 7:05pm

Win the Super Bowl, then get really good.

Not the usual recipe, but I think a certain other team of note did just that. They did it and how, with their QB going on to be considered all-world. May the Giants follow those footsteps!

62
by S :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 12:18pm

I assume you mean the 88-89 Niners, right? =:^)

63
by S :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 12:18pm

I assume you mean the 88-89 Niners, right? =:^)

2
by shake n bake :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 7:09pm

What about Colts-Texans game DVOA? Both teams rose a bit from last week in DVOA and VOA. Would that mean that the game was as even as the score would suggest, rather than what the general narrative has been (Texans outplayed the Colts but gave the game away)?

3
by Rocco :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 7:24pm

"(Seriously, what was up with that roughing the passer call on Terrell Suggs?)"

Suggs hit the QB in the head. The league calls that every time. It's unfortunate but that's the rule now. That wasn't even the most egregious roughing call of the weekend.

39
by Bobman :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 1:16am

Rocco,
I thought the weirdest part was that it wasn't even on a play. If, while the ball was dead in a more traditional sense, Suggs raced over and whacked the QB, they'd call some other foul--offsides, roughness (a personal foul), illegal use of hands, maybe delay of game. Generally lesser penalties. But because this was a pseudo-play in that some folks assumed the ball was live, most played it and the refs called it as if it was live. If you track it solely by the play by play, there was a roughing call BETWEEN two plays. That IS strange.

Also, you almost never see a dead play due to an offensive motion/procedure penalty continue for more than a couple seconds after the snap. The refs generally stop them right away and step in because they know some guys are aware of the flag amd won't be playing full speed and the NFL wants to avoid injuries. oops.

A baseball analogy might be a DH straining a muscle while at the plate getting a base on balls--the box score has him not even appearing, yet getting injured. Freaky.

I agree about the head hit--any D player who even taps a QB's helmet with a fingernail--flag or no flag--should have his ass towel-whipped by his coach because he's tempting fate. Everybody knows they're calling it tight, so be smart. Sheesh!

44
by doctorjorts :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 8:06am

Suggs was clearly aiming for the quarterback's arm and didn't have enough control of his arm to prevent his bicep from grazing Collins's earhole. If that's a "blow to the head," then the rules seriously need some changing.

45
by billsfan :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 8:29am

Meanwhile, Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson tackles a QB with a helmet-to-helmet hit, subsequently driving him to the ground, and there's no flag. Good to see they're policing the head slaps, though.

65
by Nitpick-6 (not verified) :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 1:16pm

You must be referring to the James Harrison call on Sunday night.

But while we're talking Steelers, can I ask why the D-List celebrity Patriot fans (Simmons and Schatz) hold the Steelers in such contempt?

"Big Blue is for real and has to be considered one of this year's Super Bowl favorites -- unless an opposing defensive lineman tears Eli Manning's ACL at the start of the first postseason game."

Let's assume for the moment, incorrectly, that Kimo tried to injure Carson there. The injury certainly had an impact on that game, but in all other games both before and since that day, Carson Palmer has beaten the Steelers twice in eight tries. Would he have done it that day? I don't know.

Then let's assume that Vince Wilfork isn't a dirty player so that the D-List celebrity Patriot fans can stay on their high horse about such topics. You stay classy, New England.

66
by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 2:24pm

Defensive much?

Aaron never said it was intentional, nor that he was even referring to Carson Palmer. His point was just that if Eli gets injured, the Giants are not winning the Super Bowl. Frankly, I assumed he was referencing the Brady injury. Anyway, what does Bill Simmons have to do with this? (Why am I even responding to your trollish post?)

(Formerly "The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly")

69
by Alex (not verified) :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 4:21pm

It's fascinating to me that you can get that worked up about a piece of the article that doesn't even mention any of the three players or either of the two teams you decided needed ranting about. And you worked in a complaint about a journalist who didn't write it and also wasn't mentioned! That's, like, a trifecta of absurdity. Bravo!

Read more, project less.

70
by Why Pats fans hate the Steelers (not verified) :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 4:56pm

I have a theory on why Pats fans like Simmons and Schatz have negative feelings about the Steelers. The Pats morphed from an underdog with a chip on their shoulder to an overdog with a chip on their shoulder. In 2001, the Pats had a great upset run and beat the Steelers in the AFCCG, but the Steelers were still seen as the better team (see the Vegas odds for the next season), which Pats fans thought was a lack of respect. Also, when Simmons was growing up and Schatz was a little kid, the Steelers also had what was universally seen as a dynasty. After three Super Bowl wins, the Pats wanted to be seen as a dynasty. But many people didn't view them that way (even Simmons wrote that they weren't a dynasty), meaning more perceived disrespect. So, feeling like they've gotten a lack of respect this decade plus "dynasty envy" equals bitterness.

71
by TGisriel (not verified) :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 5:31pm

Actually, Suggs didn't hit the QB on the head. He hit him on the arm and shoulder.

Moreover, there was a phantom false start call where the officials made no effort to stop a play that couldn't count.

4
by ammek :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 7:25pm

Excuse me for bringing it up again, but reverse the controversial ending to the Chargers-Broncos game on week two, then study some DVOA, and the AFC West starts to look interesting again.

Is the world ready for division champions Miami, Chicago and Arizona? I know I'm not.

Did the Falcons and Packers each have zero DVOA on Sunday? That's surprising. I thought Green Bay was outplayed. I guess the law of low expectations means that my brain registers "Falcons play absolutely average game and sneak victory" as "Falcons annihilate opposition".

9
by SBX (not verified) :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 7:54pm

Chicago was actually a division champion fairly recently.

But does one of Chicago / Atlanta really have to be 4 - 2? What a country.

10
by Lou :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 7:55pm

come on, the Bears won their division 2 of the last 3 years. I think the world can handle it. They just didn't really expect it. I know i sure didn't.

(but i'm not counting my chickens just yet I'm just sitting back and enjoying the ride.)

13
by JasonK :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 8:25pm

Keep in mind that the game played by a particular team isn't the only thing affecting their DVOA. The games played by the Falcons' previous 4 opponents also affect DVOA's opponent adjustment, and thus have a pretty big role in the change you see in ATL's rating.

5
by Kaveman :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 7:25pm

Any chance you could let us know Denver's defensive DVOA for the game against the Bucs?

6
by Jin (not verified) :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 7:31pm

Vikes ST is clearly ranked too high because one legged blind men could cover better.

7
by The Powers That Be :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 7:43pm

It would be nice to see a "Best Division Ever Watch". I guess there are two ways to look at it:

1. Average DVOA for the teams in the division. The NFC East comes in around 33%.

2. Best 'worst team in the division'. Dallas is sitting at 18.1%.

14
by dmb :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 8:31pm

You might find this to be of interest.

36
by Ashley Tate (not verified) :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 11:52pm

The linked article has the 2004 AFC East as the best division ever at 77.9% DVOA (sum of teams' DVOA, not average):

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/dvoa-ratings/divisional-dvoa

The 2008 NFC East is at 132% DVOA. Wow. Sounds like it's time to start tracking the best division after n-games!

8
by Dales :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 7:44pm

"With every good game the Redskins play, the Giants' DVOA for that game gets better and better. Did the Giants dominate a team that was actually very good? Or did they dominate a team that had no idea what it was doing with a new offense, and wasn't anywhere near as good as the team that beat Dallas and Philadelphia the last two weeks? Your answer to that question is going to be entirely subjective."

Is this true? Couldn't an objective answer be attempted by comparing the single game DVOA for that one to the other games played by the Giants? And doing the same for the Redskins? If the Giants single game DVOA is comparable to their DVOA overall, that would indicate they played about as well as they have all year. Meanwhile, if the Skins DVOA from that game (factoring in the opponent adjustment, natch) is comparable to the other games they have played, it would indicate that game was an accurate picture of who they are, but if it is not then it would indicate that game was not indicative of how good they are?

15
by JasonK :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 8:41pm

I don't think DVOA is really meant to be used that way. Also, IIRC, the raw VOA split in that game was extremely favorable to the Giants, showing a domination in excess of what the scoreboard did. (They had several successful drives ending in chip-shot FG range; WAS had 1 good drive.) So adding the opponent adjustments back in is unlikely to make for a particularly significant change.

Personally, I think that both teams have improved since that game. Washington's improvement has been more obvious and significant, but the Giants have gotten better, too. For example, the repeated Eli-WR miscommunications on hot reads (which resulted in several near-INTs in Week 1) have pretty much disappeared.

18
by Anonymous (not verified) :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 9:06pm

as someone who was at the game, WAS did only have one good drive, but I don't think the Giants played well at all.

Were they able to do anything in the 2nd half? Nope?

Why did those drives stall? mostly due to their own incompentance it seemed to me in the stadium over the redskins defensive impressivness.

I left the game feeling that if the giants had played a decent team, they would have been lucky to get a W.

47
by Dales :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 9:33am

"Were they able to do anything in the 2nd half?"

You mean besides shutting the Redskins out?

11
by panthersnbraves :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 7:55pm

The NFC South is still showing all four teams above average.

Interesting to see that two divisions eat up half the top teams.

12
by Becephalus :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 7:58pm

The future looks bright for MIN, WAS, and TEN schedule wise...

The Wire should win the Nobel prize for literature.

16
by DaveInTucson :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 8:57pm

the Giants' league-leading DVOA rating comes with a bit of an asterisk

Here you go:

(*) The Giants' wins include games against 3 of the 6 worst teams as measured by DVOA. Including the historically awful Rams.

I have a blog where I post objective power rankings of NFL teams.

19
by dmb :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 9:11pm

Did you read the paragraph that came after the passage you picked out? DVOA inherently accounts for strength of schedule, and even though this weeks' rankings only have those adjustments at 50% strength, the Giants' rating doesn't change substantially when opponent adjustments are at full strength.

21
by DaveInTucson :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 9:28pm

I am aware that the 'D' in DVOA stands for Defense-adjusted, yes.

I am also aware that the Giants have played the Rams, who are losing, on average, by 26 points a game. They needed overtime to beat the Bengals, a team that hasn't lost by less than 7 points to any of the other 4 teams they played.

Yeah, they're 4-0, and yeah, they look better than they did last year, but... well, let's just agree to take this up again in week 11 or so.

I have a blog where I post objective power rankings of NFL teams.

29
by dmb :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 10:24pm

My point wasn't that the Giants are going to sustain their current level of play, as measured by DVOA or win-loss record. (In fact, I feel pretty confident that they won't.) My point was that you suggested that DVOA is overrating the Giants because it doesn't take certain factors into account, even though those factors are endogenous to DVOA.

17
by dmb :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 9:02pm

Philadelphia only has one "tough loss," i.e. a loss where the team had a higher DVOA than its opponents. Based on our ratings, the Eagles were outplayed by the Cowboys and (narrowly) the Bears.

So the Eagles outplayed the Redskins according to DVOA? I'll admit that I'm a Redskins homer, but I find this surprising for several reasons. First, just looking at the drive charts, the 'Skins probably sustained drives more consistently than the Eagles:

WAS (plays-yards): 3-0, 5-16, 8-37, 15-67, 9-50, 5-37, 7-75, 7-16, 6-43, 13-42 (70% of drives lasted more than 30 yards; 30% lasted more than 50; one "three-and-out")

PHI: 12-80, 9-53, 4-25, 3-2, 3-2, 3-8, 3-7, 12-86 (38% of drives lasted more than 30 or 50 yards; four "three-and-outs")

Considering that their longest play only went 27 yards, the 'Skins also had to be successful on a reasonably high percentage of their plays. (Of course, the same might be said about the Eagles, who did have a 40-yard completion but got most of the rest of their yardage in fairly steady chunks.)

The best guess I can make is that the Eagles' special teams DVOA was exponentially higher than the 'Skins, presumably due to Jackson's return. I would've expected Suisham's performance to even that out a little bit (those long field goals are non-predictive, but still look good in a single-game DVOA), but I suppose the domination by the Eagles in the realm of field position in the first half swung things sufficiently.

To be clear, I'm not saying that DVOA is "wrong" about the game; I was just surprised to read that DVOA had the Eagles outperforming the 'Skins on Sunday. (Or do I just need a class in reading comprehension?)

20
by Anonymous (not verified) :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 9:18pm

I agree here. Everyone who watched the game seemed to feel that the Redskins dominated the final 3 quarters.

It be interesting to get an explanation on why the DVOA falls out this way when it runs very contrary to people's intuitive understanding of the game.

28
by Chief (not verified) :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 10:21pm

I think maybe Aaron made a mistake there. Last week he said the Eagles outplayed the Bears.

31
by Joe :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 10:45pm

I would love to see the breakdown for the Eagles-Redskins game. The Redskins dominated both sides of the line of scrimmage. After the Bears game you could see DVOA showing that maybe the Eagles blew a game where they looked better than the opposition for the most part - but Washington was clearly in total control on Sunday.

54
by John in NYC (not verified) :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 11:18am

I think Aaron's post is a little contradictory. He appears to be defining a "tough-loss" as one where a team loses, despite putting up better numbers than the opponent. This would indicate to me that the Redskins game was NOT a "tough-loss", as the Skins outplayed the Eagles. The second line stating that only the Cowboys and Bears outplayed the Eagles would seem to contradict the first point.

22
by Greg Trippiedi (not verified) :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 9:29pm

I don't think there's any way that Philly is a top 5 team right now, but I totally understand why DVOA sees it that way. I think the fact that the Rams' opponent adjustment isn't in full effect and the fact that the Eagles offense is top ten by DVOA doesn't account for the fact that it basically couldn't move the ball against what amounts to a pretty average defense in Washington.

The Eagles are better than people think, however, the fact that the Eagles think they are still as good a football team as the Redskins OR the Giants is somewhat ridiculous. They proved that they can score against the Cowboys defense, which is something that the Bengals and Redskins had little issue with.

So I think a legit argument can be made that Philly is a better team than Dallas at this point in the season, but Washington and New York are both better football teams right now.

And then of course, theres the deal that the talent of a team in September is different than the talent of a team in December, and the Eagles have the depth to withstand the injury. But if Westbrook's effectiveness is compromised, their offense is toast.

The Ravens, I think, are definately a top three team based on the sample we've seen from them. Admittedly, I have more confidence in Tennessee based on a 5 game sample then I do in Baltimore in a 4 game sample.

23
by Greg Trippiedi (not verified) :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 9:35pm

I also think that Jim Schwartz is a great example of a guy who uses statistical analysis to his benefit, and Andy Reid is an example of a guy who uses statistical analysis as a crutch.

24
by MJK :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 9:37pm

Interesting.

By DVOA, the AFCE is MIA, BUF, NYJ, NE.

In other words, exactly the opposite of what almost every expert and pundit thought it would be on opening day.

New England being bad (well, at least, not great) instead of good is understandable...lose a HoF QB in the first quarter of game 1 and you're going to have issues.

Some smart observers predicted that Buffalo would be better than expected, and the Jets being worse than media hype was making them out to be (especially after acquiring Favre--since Favre doesn't play run defense).

But how do you explain Miami playing so well? I can't give that much credit to Ricky Williams...

25
by Doug Farrar :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 9:49pm

From what I've seen, Miami's real growth has been on both lines. Those Wildcat plays wouldn't work if the blocking wasn't spectacular, and their front seven has impressed me going back to the preseason. Build from the lines out. Pretty classic Parcells.

34
by Sergio :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 11:36pm

Not like they didn't have a few tools already, though.

Vernon Carey was, IMO, the undisputable, absolute best pick that Dave Wannstedt and Rick Spielman brought to Miami. A great, unheralded offensive tackle that has played RT, LT and some G too, and has been great in run blocking and pretty good in pass blocking. Basically, he's evolved into what Jake Long appears to be right now (except for the pass blocking, which varies from below-average to above-average from game to game, it seems).

Samson Satele was a pick from the failed Cameron regime, but he's been great at C. Not to mention, he's the pick the Phins got for Wes Welker. Not too shabby, for this Phins fan.

Of course, Long, Langford and Merling look like pretty good picks right about now. With Pennington mentoring Henne, that could round up to 4 out of 4 succesful draft picks in the first day. Amazing, as far as I'm concerned. That's more than Wannstedt brought in 5 years...

And I can't forget to mention that Justin Smiley is just *killling* people right now. Ikechuku Ndukwe is playing pretty well too, actually, which baffles me... mainly because I hadn't heard of him, though.

-- Go Phins!

26
by DaveInTucson :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 10:09pm

To my eye, one of the big improvements in Miami is on defense. They seemed to be OK on offense (at least before Trent Green went down), but their defense regularly gave up 30+ points a game.

This year... well, they did give up 41 to the Cardinals, but other than that, they haven't given up more than 20.

On a semi-related note, why is Miami's special teams DVOA so low? They did have that "12 men on the field" penalty at Arizona during a FG attempt. Other than that, I don't remember anything terrible.

I have a blog where I post objective power rankings of NFL teams.

27
by TomC :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 10:19pm

Holy opponent adjustments, Batman! The Bears were 11th in DVOA after 4 games. They blow the doors off their opponent on Sunday, winning 34-7 and dominating in every phase of the game, and subsequently move up to, ... wait for it, ... 11th place!

Detroit is really, really bad.

49
by Chip (not verified) :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 10:06am

And their past schedule rank falls from 1st to 19th.

61
by zlionsfan :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 11:44am

Sadly, I think DVOA is currently underestimating the depth of their incompetence.

30
by Jon :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 10:30pm

A lot of people are going to key in on Eli's improved play as NY's catalyst, and for good reason. However, what's equally driving the Giants this year is that the secondary looks far, far better. Aaron Ross has built on his rookie season, Corey Webster has been a completely different player since he caught that int against Buffalo, and James Butler actually resembles a NFL safety now.

Two other comments:

1. Regarding the NYG/WAS opener, I never really thought that NY was in any danger of losing that game. They seemed to go into hibernation after their big start, just like they did far too many times last year. Maybe beating the bad teams big has more predictive value, but I don't mind winning ugly if it means keeping something in reserve for later in the season. It's for precisely this reason why I think it's a mistake to write off Dallas at this point.

2. DaveInTucson is really obsessing about how the Giants are overrated at this point, and probably to get angry fans to visit his blog. Dave, did you watch the Cowboys/Bengals game on Sunday? The Bengals aren't that horrible; that was a very close game. Their numbers are distorted a bit because they didn't have Palmer against Cleveland, and he still looked to be hurting against Dallas.

73
by DaveInTucson :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 9:42pm

OK, maybe I'm a little obsessed over the Giants. Proclaiming a team "best in the league" on (In my opinion) short evidence is kind of a hot-button issue for me.

I actually don't want angry Giants fans (or angry anyone else) coming to my blog. I've had my fill of internet arguments where both sides just want to win the argument. If you want to have a discussion, feel free to come on over. If you want to win an argument, consider your point conceeded.

No, I didn't see Bengals @ Cowboys. We had Bills @ Cardinals for the late game, and since Tucson is a secondary market for the Cardinals, CBS didn't switch away until it was over.

I have a blog where I post objective power rankings of NFL teams.

78
by Dales :: Thu, 10/09/2008 - 8:02am

"OK, maybe I'm a little obsessed over the Giants. "

It's ok. Heck, the odds are in your favor. As we saw last year, the best team does not always win, so if the Giants aren't as good as people are thinking they will undoubtedly lose and if they are as good as people are thinking they will undoubtedly lose, and you will look prescient.

The odds are very, very long for them repeating.

But it is a lot of fun for us fans right now, and I am pretty confident that you are underestimating just how well they are playing right now. I've watched every down this season (excepting late in the 4th quarter in the Seattle game) and they are playing very, very, very well.

32
by Tryam (not verified) :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 11:07pm

Another odd thing (partly noting how good the NFC East is )is the NFC south has 4 teams at 16th or above. That makes 8 of the top 16 teams from 2 divisions. (NFC East /NFC south.)

It is early yet.

33
by Rick A. (not verified) :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 11:15pm

I will take up where I left off last season. There is no surprise that the Giants are being appraised by this "DVOA" system as being so extremely efficient. It is amazing now, just as it was astounding last year, to see the resistance to the idea that this team is something special. For those of you that just discovered this website, let me tell you that the unprecedented string of consecutive road victories by NYG last year, and which now continues, was minimized and ridiculed by a group of regular readers who seemed to have no appreciation for this great accomplishment. (since, for starters, it was obvious that none of them had ever played the game on any meaningful level and thus had no appreciation for how difficult it is in football to win in the other guy's yard) DVOA does reflect a great amount of reality about the sport and the results the Giants continue to have
show any unbiased analyst the truth of that. I expect those people from last year to not give up their positions easily but the Giants continue to make them look REALLY bad.

35
by 1stPrize2Tickets2ndPrize4Tickets (not verified) :: Tue, 10/07/2008 - 11:45pm

Can I make a guess as to what the "A" in your name stands for?

67
by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 2:35pm

Not sure why you think the road wins are that big a deal.

1. Teams that dominate on the road one year are not special on the road the next year, on average.

2. DVOA does not take venue into account, so the Giants' high ranking this year has nothing to do with home/away.

(Formerly "The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly")

37
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 12:20am

Aaron, has there ever been a game with wider special teams divergence than the Vikings/Saints game? Between the Bush returns, Winfield return, and Grammatica shanking, there was a ton of really crappy special teams play, or terrific special teams play, depending on the perspective. Except the Grammatica shanking part, of course; that was just crappy.

38
by Bobman :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 1:01am

Pretty typical, I'd say. New England and Indianapolis, neck-and-neck, slugging it out for positions #2 and #1.

Only there's a mistake... here on my screen it looks like they're both gunning for #21. That's a mistake, right? it's 2 and 1 really, no?

40
by John Doe (not verified) :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 2:05am

There are a lot of reasons to believe the Giants will continue to be successful.

Eli Manning has significantly improved his accuracy on short and slightly less short passes. I've watched every professional pass Eli has attempted and up until the playoffs last year he struggled to hit anything 10 yards or less. He would consistently hit receivers in the foot on screens and curls. He could not hit receivers in stride while they were going over the middle, ever. You expect young players to make mistakes, but it's very unusual to see a starting QB in the NFL (rookie or not) make throws that ridiculously bad consistently. His improvement is not imagined, regardless of the competition.

The Giants have three good running backs. They will be able to run the ball effectively all year and weather injuries well. Jacobs is a freak of nature, a 4.5 40 at 270 is ridiculous. During the Redskins game Laron Landry put his shoulder directly into Jacobs thigh dead on at full speed. He bounced off of him, even in slow motion it was hard to say if Jacobs was even slowed by the hit. Landry had to leave the field for a period of time afterwards. Derrick Ward is injury prone, but effective which makes him perfect for a part time job. Ahmed Bradshaw reminds me of Tiki Barber, he changes direction incredibly fast and has good vision.

The offensive line is very solid and has a lot of continuity. Diehl is a very good guard and a mediocre tackle (in pass protection) but other than that they are very solid. Snee may be the best guard in the league.

The defense is better this year, even with the losses at DE. Tuck absolutely manhandles everyone he comes into contact with. The truth is, the Giants didn't miss Strahan when he was contemplating retirement last year, Tuck was handling his position quite nicely. Kiwi is an above average pass rusher and very good at containing outside runs. Fred Robbins clogs holes, rushes the passer, and even swats down screens. Aaron Ross was the best corner on the Giants last year and he's continuing the trend this year. Webster is finally living up to his potential and Kenny Phillips has looked good in limited action. Spags is a great defensive coordinator that knows how to use the tool he has on defense. I hope they give him a head coaching job if he is planning on leaving to take one.

The Giants have drafted incredibly well for years now. Osi, Tuck, Snee, Manning, Kiwi, Ross, Barry Cofield, Jacobs, Ahmed Bradshaw, Steve Smith, Kevin Boss. Tuck, Cofield, Jacobs, Bradshaw, and Boss were all taken 4th round or later. That is an incredible track record.

It is possible the Redskins were not ready for that game, but the Giants did dismantle the best offense ever in January. Considering how bad they made the Pats look, I'd say the Redskins could very well have been firing on all cylinders.

43
by Dales :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 7:37am

"Tuck, Cofield, Jacobs, Bradshaw, and Boss were all taken 4th round or later."

Not that it changes your point at all, but Tuck was taken in the 3rd round.

I also think Jay Alford will turn out to be a good pick as well.

56
by wbenetti :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 11:27am

So I think that the Giants are playing well. Also, I'm a huge fan of the team.

That said, I think that the Redskins weren't up to speed yet. Campbell spent a lot of time holding the ball, waiting for receivers to open up. That's exact wrong thing to do in a WCO. He should have been moving through his progressions and finding the open receiver, not waiting for his first target to get separation.

The Redskins do actually have the talent to compete, so it will be interesting to see where Campbell's development drives the team.

41
by McL (not verified) :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 4:52am

Aaron,

Last year I remember you were leading the charge saying that the Giants post-season run was a fluke. That it was impossible that something about the team changed late in the season. As a Giants fan, it was obvious to me what it was. The game finally slowed down for Eli, and ever since he has been lights out.

So, what do you say now. Still think the Giants XLII win last year was a fluke?

42
by Becephalus :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 6:45am

I think you are misrepresenting what he said badly. What he WAS saying was something like the following:

"On say week 16 or even 18 of the season the Giants postseason run was impossible to predict AND you would have been a fool or a homer to predict it. They had not played particularly well, and in the past teams that played at that level had not done well in the playoffs. Moreover they had a particularly hard row of teams to play, most notably if they made it to the Superbowl they would probably face a historically great team."

This from a team whose fans would admit had an M.O. of underachieving, inconsistency, and shooting itself in the foot. So at the time did it look like the Giants win was unlikely???? YES INCREDIBLY SO!!!! duh! And to suggest otherwise is to use 20/20 hindsight, something any idiot can do. I personally put lots of money on them at 4 to 1 odds in the SB and won lots of money, because I thought they had a 25% chance of winning, not 20%. At the beginning of the playoffs reasonable estimates would have probably been in the low single digits % wise.

Of course NOW that they have laid down a great start to the next season one can look back and say, "Hey this is a very talented team that had a bunch of issues and finally pulled it all together in late 2007 and has been lights out since. They are probably really good." But a lot of people also thought the 2005 and 2006 Giants were going to be pretty loaded too...and the "Eli has finally got it" false alarms had been numerous as he was pretty inconsistent the first few seasons.

I think the overwhelming lessons from the Giants year last year are:

a) If you put a talented team together and keep it together good things can eventually happen (unless you are the Eagles /jk)
b) The NFL is a fairly even league in its most even era and on AGS thinking a team is more than 4 or 5 to 1 favorites is pretty silly. In my mind this just reinforces how good the Eagles, Colts, and Patriots have been over the past several years. There is a lot of random noise out there.

What would you have preferred? Aaron predict the Giants win the Superbowl?!? I admit Aaron's demeanor can occasionally slip into the off-putting when his favorite team is involved, but that is probably true of 70% of football fans if not more. Could he personally have changed his tone to make it clear he was taking the Giants as seriously as they deserved, probably, but you could also take a second to listen to what he was actually saying rather than what you wanted to hear.

The Wire should win the Nobel prize for literature.

85
by McL (not verified) :: Mon, 10/13/2008 - 12:55am

Becephalus,

No offense, but I am not misinterpreting what Aaron said.

I had a very specific exchange on this board with him, where he said quote: "The Giants are not a good team. They are what DVOA says they are, very mediocre team that got lucky and caught fire in the playoffs. Their run so far is a fluke."

And this was before the Superbowl!

I argued at the time, that the Giants were a very talented team that had a maddening habit of losing concentration and shooting themselves in the foot, and they were a far more talented team than showed up in DVOA. All year long they displayed the ability to be a dominant team if they could get their act together. They finally did in the playoffs. They led the league in dropped passes by almost 50% more than the #2 team! The issues I saw with the Giants were all correctable.

You are more or less making the same argument that I made last year. Aaron on the other hand was quite adamant that DVOA captured exactly what the Giants were.

46
by vic (not verified) :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 9:25am

Im pretty sure it was called a statistical anomaly rather than a fluke, and that it is unusual for a team to change late in the season, and that a larger sample size is usually more indicative of performance than a small sample size (all seems like reasonable stuff)... You guys who are still upset over Bill Barnwell picking the NYG to get the number 1 pick need to get over it already.

55
by Chucky P (not verified) :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 11:22am

There was only one thing that changed for the Giants over that stretch: coaching.

In the regular season Jacobs (as I remember these stats...if they are off they aren't by much) had, of the top 30 rbs, the highest yds/carry but the fewest attempts. Eli was a mistake machine averaging close to 40 passes a game (I think he threw an int every 32nd pass or so) so what did the coaches finally do for the playoffs? Cut Eli's attempts in half and run the ball. That's it. Nothing special.

60
by Chucky P (not verified) :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 11:41am

Whoa I was way off. Disregard...last....post.

Put it this way: compare the approach the Giants used in the wind against the Redskins when Eli hurled the ball around the park and their approach in the first playoff game against the Bucs. They without a doubt tamped Eli down in the postseason, which was smart. Eli threw more per game than Peyton last year, that just doesn't make good sense.

82
by RickD :: Thu, 10/09/2008 - 3:10pm

The Giants' post-season run was a fluke.

The Giants were both very good and very lucky on their path to the Super Bowl.

As for the comparison between last season and this season...the Giants remain an inconsistent team that has beaten the snot out of two weak opponents, got to face the Redskins in Week 1, before the Skins understood what Zorn wanted them to do, and needed overtime to beat the Bengals.

Right now the Giants have injury issues on the DL that they have overcome, but leave their depth thin should anything else happen. And as for the offense, Plaxico cannot seem to stand success, can he?

Eli remains a wait-and-see proposition. Was he replaced by a pod person during the stretch run last year who will continue to play far above his historical level? Or will we see some recidivism?

48
by Kurt :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 9:41am

"The NFL is a fairly even league in its most even era and on AGS thinking a team is more than 4 or 5 to 1 favorites is pretty silly. In my mind this just reinforces how good the Eagles, Colts, and Patriots have been over the past several years. There is a lot of random noise out there."

Jeez, talk about an all-time "one of these things is not like the others". The Eagles over the last several years have gone 6-10, 10-6, 8-8 and now 2-3. Unless you're talking about the 2000-2004 run, which may well be the third most impressive run of the decade, I have to say I'm not that impressed with how "good" they've been since then.

50
by John (not verified) :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 10:44am

Hmm, Whenever I watch a Titans game, I seem to see a noticeable difference in the Defensive Line and the Run Defense when Albert Haynesworth is in the game vs. when he's not in the game. Paul Kuharsky on the ESPN AFC South blog recently had a posting which he showed differences in the Rush defense when Haynesworth was in the game vs. when he wasn't, and the numbers seem pretty significant. I was wondering if FO could do a similar thing and show the differences in the advanced statistics when he's in the game vs. when he's not in the game.

80
by Tom Gower :: Thu, 10/09/2008 - 12:02pm

The Titans chapter in PFP08 has info on how the Titans overall D did in the games Haynesworth played as compared to the games he didn't play. DVOA when a player is in or out of the game will probably wait until the NFL starts making player participation data freely available. With the current state of the world, you'd have to have the game charting project start tracking that data (tedious, time-consuming, and identifying all 11 players on both offense and defense is not necessarily possible), then wait for the game charting data to get turned around, then plug that data into the DVOA database (I'm not sure that those even are part of the same DB right now).

51
by Dr. I Don't Know (not verified) :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 10:57am

I want to second dmb's question: how on earth did DVOA believe the Eagles outplayed the Redskins on Sunday? The Skins outgained the Birds, 385-254, including 203 yards against Philly's top-ranked run defense. The Skins had 22 first downs to the Eagles' 14. The Skins held the ball a full 9:30 long than the Eagles.

The Eagles did have an edge on special teams, but really only in the punting game -- the Skins were better at FGs and kickoffs. In any case a ST edge shouldn't overwhelm a clear superiority on offense and defense. The only thing I can think of is that the Eagles actually outdid the Redskins in yards per play, 5.4 (254 on 47 plays) to 5.2 (388 on 74 plays). So in at least one (rather strained) sense, the Eagles were more "efficient." I just hope this kind of "efficiency" isn't actually affecting DVOA ratings, because it's pretty obviously bogus. Should the Skins be penalized for punishing the Eagles with plays that were *just* long enough to get first downs? I thought, as dmb says, that DVOA was all about Success Rates.

Anyway, I wonder if anyone else has an explanation, because it's rare, as the anonymous commenter says, for DVOA to line up so diametrically opposed to an intuitive understanding of which team played a better game.

57
by Mark S. (not verified) :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 11:34am

As was mentioned upthread, I believe Aaron made a mistake in saying which game the Eagles were outplayed in. In last week's DVOA thread, he said (paraphrase) "DVOA thinks the Eagles dominated the game, despite losing." He probably just got crossed up w/r/t the Eagles one "tough loss."

59
by Mark S. (not verified) :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 11:36am

And to clarify, last week's DVOA thread was referring to Eagles-Bears

64
by bibifoc (not verified) :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 1:16pm

Just to add to the unexpected (seemingly undeserved) relatively low ranking of the Redskins vs the Eagles. Let’s look at Won-Loss records and the opponents’ Total DVOA:

The Eagles are winless on the road vs the Cowboys (7th) and Bears (11th). While at home, they have wins versus the Steelers (9th ) and Rams (32nd ) and lost to the Redskins (5th).

The Redskins have a much better and tougher road record (according to DVOA), beating the Cowboys (7th), the Eagles (3rd) and losing to the highest ranked DVOA Giants. At home, the Redskins faced teams with better DVOA than the Eagles and won both games: Cardinals (8th) and Saints (13th).

I know that DVOA is more on showing how well a team is playing and the article is saying that the Eagles are really good, but what does it say about the Redskins? Is it saying that the Redskins is not playing as well as the team it beat on the road, even though the Redskins have a better road record than the Eagles (facing higher ranked opponents: 1st, 7th and 3rd) and a better home record vs higher ranked opponents (8th and 13th)?

52
by Dr. I Don't Know (not verified) :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 11:09am

I want to second dmb's question: how on earth did DVOA believe the Eagles outplayed the Redskins on Sunday? The Skins outgained the Birds, 385-254, including 203 yards against Philly's top-ranked run defense. The Skins had 22 first downs to the Eagles' 14. The Skins held the ball a full 9:30 long than the Eagles.

The Eagles did have an edge on special teams, but really only in the punting game -- the Skins were better at FGs and kickoffs. In any case a ST edge shouldn't overwhelm a clear superiority on offense and defense. The only thing I can think of is that the Eagles actually outdid the Redskins in yards per play, 5.4 (254 on 47 plays) to 5.2 (388 on 74 plays). So in at least one (rather strained) sense, the Eagles were more "efficient." I just hope this kind of "efficiency" isn't actually affecting DVOA ratings, because it's pretty obviously bogus. Should the Skins be penalized for punishing the Eagles with plays that were *just* long enough to get first downs? I thought, as dmb says, that DVOA was all about Success Rates.

Anyway, I wonder if anyone else has an explanation, because it's rare, as the anonymous commenter says, for DVOA to line up so diametrically opposed to an intuitive understanding of which team played a better game... or do Eagles fans out there (besides a certain D. McNabb) really think the Birds did outplay the Skins? The ones I've heard on WIP all this week would beg to disagree...

53
by Dr. I Don't Know (not verified) :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 11:10am

I want to second dmb's question: how on earth did DVOA believe the Eagles outplayed the Redskins on Sunday? The Skins outgained the Birds, 385-254, including 203 yards against Philly's top-ranked run defense. The Skins had 22 first downs to the Eagles' 14. The Skins held the ball a full 9:30 long than the Eagles.

The Eagles did have an edge on special teams, but really only in the punting game -- the Skins were better at FGs and kickoffs. In any case a ST edge shouldn't overwhelm a clear superiority on offense and defense. The only thing I can think of is that the Eagles actually outdid the Redskins in yards per play, 5.4 (254 on 47 plays) to 5.2 (388 on 74 plays). So in at least one (rather strained) sense, the Eagles were more "efficient." I just hope this kind of "efficiency" isn't actually affecting DVOA ratings, because it's pretty obviously bogus. Should the Skins be penalized for punishing the Eagles with plays that were *just* long enough to get first downs? I thought, as dmb says, that DVOA was all about Success Rates.

Anyway, I wonder if anyone else has an explanation, because it's rare, as the anonymous commenter says, for DVOA to line up so diametrically opposed to an intuitive understanding of which team played a better game... or do Eagles fans out there (besides a certain D. McNabb) really think the Birds did outplay the Skins? The ones I've heard from on WIP and in the local papers all this week would beg to disagree...

58
by Chucky P (not verified) :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 11:34am

One thing I think hurting the Skins is sacks and I'm sure the Eagles got a boost from having mostly positive plays, despite what intuition says about the game. This must account, somewhat, for the Skins 13th DVOA defense rank. It's hard to fathom holding their opponents to such paltry stats as they light up the rest of the league, and that includes the Giants game, and not being a top 10 D. Sacks likely play into it and DVOA could be correct in this hurting the 'Skins down the stretch.

Intuition as a fan is weird thing, despite the score the Skins-Giants game felt over by halftime and the Skins-Eagles didn't feel in question after the 3rd, yet with several plays the outcomes could've changed.

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by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 2:49pm

The Skins' past schedule is ridiculous. They are already 10 percentage points higher in DVOA than VOA. How much more would it be if opponent adjustments were 100%? Would their defense finally crack the top 10 (where I think it clearly belongs, considering that every team they've faced has a top 10 offense)?

(Formerly "The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly")

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by footballprofessor :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 6:20pm

"The 2008 Eagles seem a lot like the 2006 Eagles, a team that couldn't catch a break in the first half of the season, then caught every single break during the second half. The difference is that they won't back their way into a division title this year, because the NFC East is so absurdly strong."

Um...

When did the 2006 Eagles back their way into a division title? They won their last five games of the season to win their division. That's not what I would consider backing your way to a division title, but maybe I'm just being too picky?

74
by Benji Thurber (not verified) :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 10:15pm

How can a team (the Giants) have more estimated wins than games played???

75
by ChrisFromNJ :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 10:54pm

Estimated Wins are calculated for every team as if they had played the maximum about of games (five). So the numbers are inflated for everyone that's had a bye so far.

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by Anonymous (not verified) :: Wed, 10/08/2008 - 11:35pm

This DVOA is supposed to predict a team's success. As the win loss records of your chart shows, it seems you guys need to go back to the drawing board and tinker with your system. For example to determine that the Ravens are a "better" team than their record indicates because of their DVOA score, might just as well be telling us that the DVOA is not what it's cracked up to be. One wonders particularly when you take so much time to explain the discrepancies. You seem to protesteth to much.

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by Becephalus :: Thu, 10/09/2008 - 12:44am

To the extent FO is predictive...it is supposed to predict future success...if you want a system which will successfully predict past success I can sell you one that will work EVERY SINGLE TIME, only 19.95 + shipping and handling! Just tell me what team and what type of success you want predicted for the past and I can tell you; points, yards, wins, I got it all baby!

The Wire should win the Nobel prize for literature.

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by bravehoptoad :: Thu, 10/09/2008 - 11:22am

One wonders particularly when you take so much time to explain the discrepancies.

It's "explaining the discrepancies" that's the interesting part. That's what tells you what's happening above and beyond the scoreboard and the W-L column. What you're calling protesting we're calling analysis. If that's not your cup of tea, stick with the highlight reels and the newspaper box scores and you'll do just fine.

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by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Thu, 10/09/2008 - 8:20pm

You seem to protesteth to much.

Listen, you don't like DVOA because it doesn't match up with win/loss records, that's fine. But you get a "0" rating for mangling Elizabethan English so badly.

Formerly "The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly")

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by Anonymous (not verified) :: Thu, 10/09/2008 - 2:27pm

Ha ha!!! These ratings are absolute CRAP!

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by CashCrimson (not verified) :: Sun, 10/12/2008 - 12:22am

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by Hank (not verified) :: Mon, 10/13/2008 - 3:46pm

many a fraud revealed yesterday