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29 Dec 2009

Week 16 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

As we enter the final week of the 2009 regular season, DVOA is a big mush of very good but not historically great teams. This week, the season-long ratings really start to look different from the weighted ratings that lower the importance of games more than two months old. Philadelphia remains in the top spot overall, but Green Bay is now the top team in weighted DVOA. The season-long ratings say that the Saints (fifth) are a far superior team to the Carolina Panthers (18th). The weighted ratings say that Carolina (eighth) is a slightly better team than New Orleans (ninth) at this point.

The top six teams in weighted DVOA are now separated by less than five percentage points: Green Bay, New England, Philadelphia, Dallas, Baltimore, and San Diego. Notice any teams missing from that list? Well, New Orleans and Minnesota, of course, but they've faded significantly in the last couple weeks. Indianapolis hasn't faded at all since the beginning of the season, but the Colts aren't in that pack of six either. The Colts are seventh in both total and weighted DVOA, which means that their decision to sit starters in the middle of the third quarter against the Jets hasn't just pissed off the entire state of Indiana. It has also cursed Football Outsiders to another year of dealing with that annoying problem: If DVOA is supposed to filter out luck and context to give the most accurate possible picture of team quality, how do we account for teams that sit their starters once they are locked into a playoff spot?

The answer is "we don't." In the past, our research has always shown that adjusting for "sit starters" games doesn't improve the ability of regular-season DVOA ratings to predict postseason outcomes. There's also a problem setting the boundaries for games should and should not count. Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis only played third downs against Jacksonville in Week 15; if the game had mattered to the Colts, they probably would have played on first and second down as well. Should that game be adjusted? What about when a team sits the quarterback, but leaves in all the top receivers? Or what if a team doesn't play its best receivers, but does play the quarterback. And so forth, and so on...

Therefore, we don't adjust DVOA for all those plays where Curtis Painter was lousy. Sitting starters is a lot like injuries. We trust readers to know that you have to look at DVOA with common sense and a knowledge of context, just like any other stat. We know that the Colts are a better team than their DVOA rating shows. We know that the Jets are a worse team than their DVOA rating shows. We know these things, just like we know that the Baltimore Ravens team ranked second in DVOA has been decimated by injuries and isn't really the team out on the field right now, just like we know that the Pittsburgh defensive DVOA is much higher in games with Troy Polamalu healthy, and just like we know that the San Diego Chargers' rating for the whole season is still being dragged downward by the first five games of the season.

Out of curiosity, I did look to see what the Colts' DVOA would be if we took out every drive of Sunday's game after Peyton Manning came out. It makes a difference of about two percentage points on the season, which really isn't that much. But if you would like, feel free to view the Colts' ratings with a big fat mental asterisk. I do, which is why we actually ran our playoff odds simulation this week with a "no Painter" version of the Colts' rating, even though it doesn't make much of a difference. (The simulation isn't ready yet, but it also assumes that the Colts and Patriots will sit their starters this week but the Cardinals and Bengals will not. We had to make our best guess, and that's what we went with.)

I said a week ago that I would write a bit about Baltimore if they lost to Pittsburgh and were still high in the ratings, and there they are at number two overall, so let's look at the Ravens a little bit closer. They have been slowing down recently, although not by very much -- the ratings are so tight that a three percent drop in DVOA is enough to drop them from second to fifth. They don't stand out for the usual reasons that DVOA and conventional wisdom disagree about a team. Their schedule strength is average. Their fumble recovery luck has been average. They're unlucky in "hidden" special teams value, but seven points of bad luck doesn't explain an 8-7 record for a team that our estimated wins metric says should be 11-4. (Pythagorean projections agree, giving the Ravens 10.8 wins.) The Ravens have simply alternated close losses to good teams with huge blowouts over bad ones. The main exception to the pattern is their 30-7 Week 8 win over Denver. They've crushed Chicago, Detroit, and Cleveland twice, but they also have five losses by six points or fewer. The other problem for Baltimore is penalties. The Ravens lead the NFL with over 1,000 yards from penalties this year. All past research has shown that penalty totals (especially for defensive penalties) don't actually have a strong correlation with losing games, but the Ravens' extreme flag-happy ways have certainly cost them some games, particularly this last one. Then again, the penalty that has cost them the most is one of the penalties that actually is already incorporated into their high DVOA, defensive pass interference.

If the Ravens win on Sunday to earn a wild card, and can get some of their injured players (especially Ed Reed and Jared Gaither) back for the postseason, I think that they'll be dangerous. I also think the Steelers will be a dangerous playoff team if they manage to qualify and get Troy Polamalu back. With some of these other 8-7 teams, however, I'm worried about yet another year where a mediocre regular-season team suddenly turns it on in January and makes the regular season look meaningless. If the Bengals do sit starters on Sunday night, and the Jets back into the playoffs at 9-7 essentially thanks to two forfeits, and then they go on a run to the Super Bowl, I swear, I am going to hurt somebody. If Jacksonville somehow makes it in and goes on a run to the Super Bowl as an 8-8 team that was outscored by opponents by 80 points during the regular season, I am really going to hurt somebody.

In the NFC, the playoffs will be an interesting (albeit very small sample-sized) test of what momentum really means. If you look at how the NFC teams have played in recent weeks, it's pretty simple: Philadelphia, Dallas, and Green Bay are hot. New Orleans and Minnesota are not. Arizona isn't really trending one way or the other. (Their weighted DVOA is higher than overall, but they've had a couple of poor games recently.) However, as Bill Barnwell pointed out in Quick Reads, late-season momentum in the last couple years hasn't meant a tinker's damn. If the playoffs follow the trends of recent years, Anthony Herrera and Bryant McKinnie are going to become John Hannah and Anthony Munoz sometime around January 9. It actually makes for a really good NFC bracket. Based on total season DVOA, Arizona is the worst team of the six, but the Cardinals are far better than they were a year ago and certainly wouldn't stand out as a historically weak Super Bowl representative. Unlike, say, Jacksonville.

(bangs head on desk)

Anyway, individual stats are updated, team stats will be updated shortly, playoff odds simulation and premium update are coming later this evening. (UPDATE: Everything is now updated as of Wednesday morning.)

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through 16 weeks of 2009, 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. SPECIAL TEAMS DVOA is adjusted for type of stadium (warm, cold, dome, Denver) and week of season. WEIGHTED DVOA is adjusted so that earlier games in the season become gradually less important. It better reflects how well the team is playing right now.

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

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
WEIGHTED
DVOA
RANK W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
1 PHI 34.3% 1 30.9% 3 11-4 16.7% 8 -12.3% 4 5.3% 2
2 BAL 31.8% 2 28.8% 5 8-7 16.2% 9 -14.1% 2 1.4% 12
3 NE 31.3% 5 31.9% 2 10-5 31.0% 1 1.8% 16 2.1% 11
4 GB 28.4% 6 32.3% 1 10-5 22.8% 6 -12.4% 3 -6.8% 32
5 NO 26.6% 3 18.4% 9 13-2 30.3% 2 0.9% 13 -2.9% 28
6 DAL 24.8% 7 29.8% 4 10-5 25.0% 4 1.5% 15 1.3% 13
7 IND 24.2% 4 21.6% 7 14-1 23.6% 5 -1.1% 10 -0.5% 22
8 SD 16.8% 13 27.4% 6 12-3 25.1% 3 8.8% 23 0.6% 18
9 DEN 16.7% 10 11.1% 13 8-7 4.3% 19 -12.0% 5 0.5% 19
10 MIN 16.1% 8 10.7% 14 11-4 15.8% 10 4.8% 19 5.1% 3
11 PIT 15.2% 12 16.4% 12 8-7 18.5% 7 -1.1% 9 -4.4% 30
12 ARI 14.3% 11 17.5% 10 10-5 11.2% 13 -0.5% 11 2.6% 7
13 NYJ 12.8% 15 10.6% 15 8-7 -10.4% 23 -19.7% 1 3.4% 6
14 HOU 10.7% 14 16.7% 11 8-7 15.7% 11 7.3% 21 2.3% 9
15 NYG 9.9% 9 5.7% 17 8-7 14.9% 12 3.5% 17 -1.4% 26
16 MIA 5.6% 17 4.9% 18 7-8 7.9% 15 4.5% 18 2.3% 8
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
WEIGHTED
DVOA
RANK W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
17 CIN 5.6% 16 5.8% 16 10-5 6.5% 18 -0.1% 12 -1.1% 23
18 CAR 4.0% 22 18.6% 8 7-8 0.0% 20 -7.6% 7 -3.6% 29
19 ATL 1.5% 21 -2.0% 22 8-7 9.5% 14 8.0% 22 0.0% 20
20 SF 1.0% 20 3.9% 19 7-8 -10.0% 22 -10.4% 6 0.6% 17
21 TEN -5.7% 18 1.4% 20 7-8 7.7% 16 12.4% 27 -1.1% 24
22 WAS -6.1% 23 -1.8% 21 4-11 -4.0% 21 1.0% 14 -1.1% 25
23 JAC -6.7% 19 -13.8% 23 7-8 7.7% 17 14.0% 28 -0.4% 21
24 BUF -15.3% 24 -15.2% 24 5-10 -20.7% 29 -3.3% 8 2.2% 10
25 CHI -20.2% 25 -23.8% 27 6-9 -19.8% 28 5.4% 20 5.0% 4
26 TB -23.9% 28 -20.6% 26 3-12 -15.1% 25 12.2% 26 3.4% 5
27 CLE -24.1% 27 -19.8% 25 4-11 -13.9% 24 19.4% 31 9.2% 1
28 SEA -31.4% 26 -39.2% 30 5-10 -16.2% 26 16.1% 29 0.9% 15
29 KC -32.4% 30 -34.9% 29 3-12 -18.9% 27 11.4% 25 -2.1% 27
30 OAK -33.6% 29 -30.6% 28 5-10 -24.2% 30 10.1% 24 0.7% 16
31 STL -43.4% 31 -40.5% 31 1-14 -24.6% 31 20.0% 32 1.3% 14
32 DET -51.8% 32 -50.9% 32 2-13 -28.2% 32 18.8% 30 -4.8% 31

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 VAR. RANK
1 PHI 34.3% 11-4 37.1% 10.8 4 -0.7% 23 17.4% 23
2 BAL 31.8% 8-7 31.2% 11.2 1 1.4% 17 13.5% 14
3 NE 31.3% 10-5 26.2% 10.6 5 4.7% 9 21.1% 29
4 GB 28.4% 10-5 38.5% 10.2 7 -9.8% 31 15.6% 18
5 NO 26.6% 13-2 30.5% 11.1 2 -2.4% 25 15.0% 16
6 DAL 24.8% 10-5 23.6% 10.6 6 0.9% 18 7.1% 2
7 IND 24.2% 14-1 26.4% 10.9 3 2.2% 15 8.4% 6
8 SD 16.8% 12-3 18.5% 9.8 8 -0.1% 21 7.5% 3
9 DEN 16.7% 8-7 14.9% 9.5 10 5.1% 8 16.1% 19
10 MIN 16.1% 11-4 21.6% 9.3 12 -7.1% 30 10.7% 10
11 PIT 15.2% 8-7 20.5% 9.4 11 -2.5% 26 11.9% 12
12 ARI 14.3% 10-5 21.1% 9.7 9 -10.4% 32 19.4% 25
13 NYJ 12.8% 8-7 14.8% 8.4 14 2.5% 14 16.7% 21
14 HOU 10.7% 8-7 15.7% 9.2 13 -3.8% 29 8.0% 4
15 NYG 9.9% 8-7 1.3% 8.2 17 6.0% 5 21.6% 31
16 MIA 5.6% 7-8 2.2% 8.2 16 6.6% 4 9.5% 7
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
17 CIN 5.6% 10-5 8.8% 8.3 15 -0.2% 22 17.6% 24
18 CAR 4.0% 7-8 -1.9% 7.9 19 6.8% 3 21.2% 30
19 ATL 1.5% 8-7 -1.4% 8.1 18 7.2% 2 10.6% 8
20 SF 1.0% 7-8 5.0% 7.2 20 -2.9% 27 11.0% 11
21 TEN -5.7% 7-8 -12.8% 7.1 21 5.9% 6 34.6% 32
22 WAS -6.1% 4-11 -6.1% 6.9 23 0.1% 19 14.8% 15
23 JAC -6.7% 7-8 -6.7% 7.1 22 0.1% 20 20.9% 28
24 BUF -15.3% 5-10 -17.3% 6.1 24 3.1% 12 15.3% 17
25 CHI -20.2% 6-9 -22.0% 5.3 25 2.6% 13 13.2% 13
26 TB -23.9% 3-12 -29.0% 4.7 27 9.8% 1 16.8% 22
27 CLE -24.1% 4-11 -27.6% 4.9 26 1.9% 16 16.3% 20
28 SEA -31.4% 5-10 -27.5% 3.3 30 -3.4% 28 20.1% 27
29 KC -32.4% 3-12 -29.9% 3.7 29 3.3% 11 6.8% 1
30 OAK -33.6% 5-10 -34.8% 4.0 28 5.3% 7 19.6% 26
31 STL -43.4% 1-14 -40.7% 2.7 31 -1.1% 24 10.6% 9
32 DET -51.8% 2-13 -52.9% 2.2 32 3.6% 10 8.1% 5

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 29 Dec 2009

143 comments, Last at 03 Jan 2010, 12:08am by countertorque

Comments

1
by sethburn :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 8:49pm

I expect Cinci will be resting their starters as well. As far as I can tell a Cinci loss makes the Jets the #5 seed and Cinci would be the #4 seed. That seems a lot better than being the #3 and having to potentially face Baltimore or Pittsburgh.

2
by lefty (not verified) :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 8:51pm

Funny how the Eagles moved up in Special Teams DVOA even with that dreadful showing by Macho Harris.

76
by millerjcpa@gmail com :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 11:18am

I thought the same thing. And its not like Rocca had a huge day either.

3
by randplaty (not verified) :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 8:54pm

San Diego finally makes that big jump.

19
by Neoplatonist Bolthead (not verified) :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 10:11pm

Is there an undervaluing of penalties? Is there a problem with special teams DVOA scoring? Is rushing average overrated for great passing offenses? Is there an overvaluing of offensive success in hopeless situations? Lots of times the Chargers get an untouchable lead and then start toying with the opponent, letting them take meaningless successes: could this impact their DVOA?

38
by Todd S. :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 12:02am

Yes to all of those questions. If you subtract SD's weighted DVOA from its full-season DVOA, and then take the square root of the difference, you can calculate how much impact this has.

47
by Neoplatonist Bolthead (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 2:03am

That seems kind of arbitrary. If you're just suggesting the total impact is about 3%, why?

52
by SDfan (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 4:01am

Wow, the Chargers made a huge jump this week. Up 5 spots in total DVOA and 2 spots in weighted DVOA... I know they had an incredible game against the Titans, but they have been very consistent in previous games as well (3rd in variance). I wonder why they went so far up? I'm happy to see this, and also happy to hear Football Outsiders giving San Diego a little props finally =) Thanks Aaron for saying that despite what DVOA says, the top 3 seeds in the AFC are clearly better than #4-6.

99
by MJK :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 1:17pm

Except we don't know yet who the top 3 seeds are...

140
by Neoplatonist Bolthead (not verified) :: Thu, 12/31/2009 - 12:16pm

How about "the top two are clearly better than all but one other team in the AFC, which will be either #3 or #4."

143
by SDfan (not verified) :: Thu, 12/31/2009 - 5:47pm

Yep, that works!!

4
by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 8:56pm

Raiders defeinitely better than chiefs , redskins, bills, Seahawks, Bucs, That's 5 teams the Raiders are clearly begtter then even thought DSvoa rank is lower for Raiders. And Raiders didnt even care about beating Browns, Raiders probably really better than them too. Lets see the Browns beat the Bengals, Eagles Steelers and Brocnos. Probably cant do it. Well did beat Steelers once.

51
by Rabscuttle (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 3:59am

And just imagine where Irwindale would be if they had a QB that was half-way good all season and a more imaginative coach... S0000000meday 000000ver the rainbow...

5
by Anonymouse (not verified) :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 9:02pm

Bellyaching by Rick about "overrated stats" in 3...2...

28
by Andrew B :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 10:54pm

That's freaking amazing. What, 5 minutes seperation????

The Original Andrew

29
by Anonymouse (not verified) :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 11:00pm

Actually, I didn't mean RickD, but the one that just goes by "Rick". He's been in here the past two weeks crying about the Eagles being ranked too high, as if it weren't something that has been explained again and again.

6
by RickD :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 9:07pm

The Ravens is clearly ranked because they have seven freakin' losses! Rating teams by total weight of their players is way better than this.

Seriously, the Ravens have had a weird ability to look better than the team that is beating them. Not a good trait to bring into the postseason.

10
by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 9:15pm

Not going to bring trait into psootseason when Raiders manhandle them on Sunday

57
by jebmak :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 4:58am

Zing!

114
by Martial (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 3:57pm

sootseason = when all your dreams turn to ashes

7
by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 9:07pm

tidbit; first two temas in dvoa are Baltimore and Philalelphia. rememebr USFL? Best team was Philadelphia/Baltimore. Team won league title in both cities. Jim Mora was head coavh.

46
by sethburn :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 1:38am

I remember the USFL. Philly was good enough to play in the NFL.

53
by Rabscuttle (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 4:01am

That was the $3 league where Kelly won the alternate super bowl (TM!!!) GOOO GAMBLERS!!!

8
by Temo :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 9:08pm

I remember when people complained that the Steelers were ranked too high after losing to the Browns and that the Vikings were ranked too low after going 11-1.

Not as many people complaining about that now, huh.

9
by theshadowj :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 9:11pm

Why would the Patriots rest their starters while the Bengals don't? Considering they have the exact same thing to play for, why the difference? As a Houston fan, I'm hoping your right, I just don't know of any reasons why they would differ.

11
by B :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 9:19pm

Bellichick in the past has rested starters in this situation before, although in that case the #5 seed was seen as weaker than the #6, so there was an advantage to the strategy. That said, if the Patriots lose at 1, Cincy then has something to play for at 8

16
by MJK :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 9:38pm

I actually think Cincy is very likely to rest their starters, and run an extremely vanilla game plan on top of that. If they lose to the Jets, then the Jets are guaranteed the #5 seed, and Cincy is almost guaranteed the #4 seed (the only way this doesn't happen is if New England loses and a bunch of other things happen to give Cincy the Strength of Victory tiebreaker). This would mean that, by losing, Cincy would (1) automatically deny Pittsburgh a postseason birth and (2) end up hosting the Jets again on Wildcard Weekend. Which means that Cincy can ensure that they face a rookie QB in the playoffs, can use Week 17 to study the Jets real tendencies (since the Jets can't afford to go vanilla), and can conceal their own, all while resting their starters and tiring out their wildcard opponent. Plus, assuming Cincy and New England both win on Wildcard Weekend, then Cincy would get to face the Colts, who are close by, instead of traveling all the way across the country to face San Diego.

I alluded to it in another thread, but an unethical coach, knowing that by losing they would face the Jets again, could even coach their backups to play rough and dirty in hopes of beating up the Jets' starters with almost no negative consequences. Penalty yards don't hurt if you want to lose the game. Not saying Cincy is likely to do this, but it is one possible angle.

The only way that I see it in Cincy's benefit to try to win is if New England loses and Cincy, for some reason, decides they'd rather face Houston/Denver/Pittsburgh/Baltimore (whichever will have the 6 seed) than the Jets.

48
by Bobman :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 2:34am

Nicely done. If I were Cincy, I'd go easy on the Jets, protect a dinged Palmer, etc. Worked well for the Colts vs Denver in 2003 (I may have the year wrong).

100
by MJK :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 1:19pm

That's almost exactly the case I was thinking of. Didn't the Colts not even try, get crushed by Denver in Week 17, and then reverse the trend and open up the proverbial can of whupass on Wildcard Weekend?

(To give credit where credit is due... I didn't come up with all those compelling reasons for Cincy to tank entirely on my own...one of the blogwriters on Boston.com suggested a number of them).

141
by Neoplatonist Bolthead (not verified) :: Thu, 12/31/2009 - 12:24pm

Somehow, I don't think the Bengals are too stressed out about which team they draw in the wildcard round. The Jets have a very solid defense, and a defensive team with a rookie QB made the championship last year. Those Ravens are still a threat, as are the Steelers, but the Bengals swept both this year: what's to say they couldn't win another one? The Broncos are running out of gas, and the Bengals would probably love to bookend their season with a little revenge. The Texans are the anti-Jets, but not any scarier. On the off-chance that they open the door for Miami or Jacksonville, are they really more afraid of those teams than they are the Jets? I'm not. It's bad karma to throw a game: much better to build a little mo with a win and face whoever gets in as a result.

68
by peterplaysbass (verified?) (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 10:33am

Was that the game Flutie executed a dropkick?

12
by MJK :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 9:20pm

I wouldn't worry overmuch about weak teams backing in and then going on a tear. I think the last couple of years have been anomalies. With the AFC playoff picture such a mess, one weak team is bound to slip in (it happens almost every year). Excepting the 07 Giants and the 08 Cardinals, I can't think of many examples of such weak teams making it to the SB. It's just kind of weird that it would happen two years in a row. But don't look for it to happen again. Just because lightning has struck twice doesn't mean that it's more likely to strike again.

61
by C (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 9:11am

The 2007 Giants were a *Weak team*, that was young, had made the playoffs years in a row, and ended up being the #1 seed in 2008. They weren't the undeserving team that some people made them out to be. Sometimes good old fashioned scouting beats fancy stat systems.

66
by Rick A. (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 10:26am

Exactly. Bullseye. It's been amazing to watch the persistence out there that the 07 Giants were a weak fluke. Such is the emotion that pro football generates. People continue to believe that a SuperBowl victory can be a "fluke". It doesn't work that way folks...

78
by Still Alive (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 11:23am

If you don't think a SB victory can be a fluke I will question if YOU ever played competitive sports.

86
by Rick A. (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 11:52am

Aren't you the same guy who further down the page points out that winning is not over-rated ?

91
by Dales :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 12:17pm

The part that annoys me is the insistence that Samuel dropped an easy interception. Saw that in Quick Reads this week, for example. The best Youtube I could find on the play also makes that assumption.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K36wgL4VLHM&feature=related

I look at that, and was it a makeable play? Sure.

Was it an easy interception? One that a good cornerback *usually* makes? Sure doesn't look like it to me.

115
by Martial (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 4:07pm

2001 Pats were a fluke. Not even Belichick believed they should have won that one. He was setting them up for 2003-04 though and that worked out pretty well for him.

139
by PantsB (not verified) :: Thu, 12/31/2009 - 12:01pm

I know that's the meme but its always been exaggerated. DVOA has them 12th, but DVOA has tended to underrate the Pats under BB compared to scoring, drive or traditional stats. They were a 2 seed and a 11 win team using Pythagorean (7th overall). They had the #6 scoring D and #6 scoring O, and they were improving as the season went along. They won 7 of the last 8. Compare that to some of the other SB winners over the last 10 years and calling them a fluke doesn't make much sense.

132
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 9:49pm

Except that same stat system said that the Giants were playing at the Patriots level throughout the playoffs. No one except a Giants fan would've said that was true, but that's what the numbers said.

This constantly gets forgotten. The only reason that Aaron and others discounted the Giants was because they had played poorly throughout most of the year. If you looked at the period from Week 17 through the Super Bowl, the Giants' DVOA was essentially tied with the Patriots.

The question of whether the Giants were going to beat the Patriots was a question of whether or not you believed the Giants could continue playing at that level. All history said was teams like that, in general, don't - not that they can't, which they already had demonstrated they could.

70
by peterplaysbass (verified?) (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 10:36am

What about the 2006 Colts?

13
by B :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 9:25pm

The 07 Giants were a weak team with an incredible pass rush, the 08 Cards were a weak team with a great passing attack. The 09 Jags, well, they have Pocket Hercules, but I don't think that's enough.

60
by Mr Shush :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 8:54am

I was going to make the same point. The 09 Jets have an excellent pass defense, but their quarterback is so bad I can't believe it will matter. They might knock off one superior team, but not three or four.

75
by Led :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 11:14am

Sanchez has talent but no doubt he's been dismal this year. There's always a chance things will start to click for him. A slim chance, but enough to give this fan faint hope. And that's really all you need to make the playoffs compelling.

14
by NHPatsFan (not verified) :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 9:27pm

So have the Ravens simply found the level of performance and penalties where penalties where penalties become relevant? One datum doesn't make a curve let alone statistical relevance, but the idea that there is a tipping point in penalties is interesting, where there's essential a step function before you see any effect.

And has anyone assessed reputational effects in penalties, both individually and for teams?

15
by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 9:27pm

07 gia and 08 cards wrrent weak. giants good same as cards. cards took a couple gams ff late in yr like when not even try to win vs viks and pates. 07 giants had some struggles at home but turn on jets late in regular season except for washinton game when todd collins strart. for real weajest sb team of decade go look at 05 steelres. not a grreat team then get lucky in playoffs with dirty play to injure carson plamer. then bribe refs in superbowl. 2005 steelers= tainted garbage super bowl winner.

24
by alexbond :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 10:30pm

A little old school AFC West solidarity with the Seahawks there?

41
by 3.14159265 (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 12:46am

by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 9:27pm

...real weajest sb team of decade go look at 05 steelres. not a grreat team then get lucky in playoffs with dirty play to injure carson plamer. then bribe refs in superbowl. 2005 steelers= tainted garbage super bowl winner.

So, if you really believe that, why do you watch the games? I believe you have also stated that you have put money on games, why would you? Do you bet on Harlem Globetrotter games? Do you bet on professional wrestling? Why would you watch a game where you think the refs can be bribed?

42
by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 12:53am

Might have confused with other poster. Never remember writing at FO that I bet on games. a few days ago did help Ninjalecctual make his bets becaause he was in Nevada but nothing for me even though most picks were good such as Tecans 27, dolphins 20 amnd Bengals 20, chiefs 10 (close enough).

Was joking about Steelers-seahkws super bowl, not real bribe. Of course not. Just saying in funny way that officiaiting in that superbowl embarrasiment to league. maybe worst officialed game in NFl anfd worse looking than any Tim Donagy games becuause nobody really coul;d tell he was refing it dirty.

50
by 3.14159265 (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 3:48am

Raiderjoe,

Got it. So when the Raiders win a game it is because they earned the win, and not due to any bribery, but when another team wins a sloppily officiated game, it is maybe worst officialed game in NFl anfd worse looking than any Tim Donagy games becuause nobody really coul;d tell he was refing it dirty.

I used to feel bad for Raiders fans because of the tuck rule game, but since reading you on here, I no longer do. Any idiot can blame a win or a loss on the refs.

58
by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 7:58am

sound like disgruntled sxteelers fan. boo hoo. only sketchy game in entire decade was stelelers super bowl 40 win ves seattle. Even a haf blind old lady could see that it was farce

111
by BucNasty :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 3:14pm

I'm convinced that the refs were trying to make up for all the bad calls against Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship Game. There was so much good will toward the Colts in '05 that I think the refs really wanted to see them go all the way. Well, that or they're gamblers.

127
by Jerry :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 7:42pm

The Championship game was in Denver; Colts-Steelers was the week before.

71
by peterplaysbass (verified?) (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 10:39am

"Do you bet on Harlem Globetrotter games?"

He's not Krusty the Clown, man.

... OR IS HE??

81
by MCS :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 11:27am

I guess I should read the replies before replying...

80
by MCS :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 11:27am

The Generals are due. Hey. They're using a ladder. This is fixed! - paraphrase of the Krusty the Klown

83
by peterplaysbass (verified?) (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 11:34am

It's okay to duplicate on the Simpsons references. We're all nerds here.

97
by TomC :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 12:59pm

"He's spinning the ball on his finger! Just take it!"

89
by commissionerleaf :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 12:16pm

If I thought football was dishonest, I'd be more likely to bet on football. On any given sunday, it's a lot easier to predict who's going to cheat than who's going to play better football.

17
by PackerNation (not verified) :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 9:57pm

So now that Green Bay is climbing the ranks, and the only thing holding them back is their weak special teams, is it safe to assume the Packers have a good shot @ the Super Bowl this year?

They're arguably better than all of the other NFC teams at this point if you look at the way they've been playing the past month or so.

20
by JIPanick :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 10:12pm

'Good' is a relative term, but I'd say they are playing as well as anyone and have the easiest road of the non-bye teams. The fact that they will probably have to win three dome games in a row looks like their biggest obstacle.

21
by lefty :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 10:16pm

I'd say the Eagles have been a fair bit better over the past 4-6 weeks, and if they manage to snag the bye it could tip things in their favor.

Then again, they ARE the Eagles, so it's far more likely they make it to the championship game and lose a close one while playing down to the level of the opponent... again.

25
by Aaron Schatz :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 10:33pm

Yeah, I hope I made that clear above. People know that last year I was complaining a lot about the rise in poor regular-season teams and sixth seeds making it to the Super Bowl. But the NFC field this year is good from 1 to 6 and pretty evenly matched, and it wouldn't be a surprise or a major upset to see either Green Bay or the loser of Philadelphia/Dallas make it to the Super Bowl. Whereas in the AFC, despite Baltimore's high DVOA, I think there is a very clear difference between the top three (assuming the Pats at three) and the other three.

18
by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 10:03pm

Packers have good shot at super bowl appearance

55
by Anonymouse (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 4:25am

Good chance of making the Super Bowl? They'd almost certainly have to win three straight road games, and the Packers haven't exactly looked sharp when they travel. Sure, they have a good shot at beating the Cardinals in Arizona, but the Eagles, Vikings or Saints? Not so much.

59
by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 8:02am

If can get by cardinals then have decent shot. Right now only have 1 in 6 shot of making it to Super bowl which is "good chance". Much better to have 1 in 6 shot then no shot like Gants and Ramms and Redskins and Buccs and some others.
Packers would probably play high scorer vs saints. but cards and Eagles would be tougher gamse for pack.
at this pint in time thining that Cardinals or Packers go to SB agaisnt Colt.s

69
by Rick A. (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 10:33am

Thank you. It's been amazing, over the years, to see the vastness of the Packer Nation out at the live games--and they are all over this site as well...

22
by Anonymouss (not verified) :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 10:20pm

So why does KC have the toughest remaining schedule when the Broncos are ranked 13th? Shouldn't whoever is playing Philly have the toughest remaining schedule?

32
by Jerry :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 11:12pm

You're looking at the Variance column, where the Chiefs have been sadly consistent. There is no future schedule column now.

23
by James L. (not verified) :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 10:26pm

So who are the favorites to win the NFC now, based on the past month's worth of games?

Is it still Minnesota and New Orleans? Or is it Green Bay and Dallas now?

26
by Arkaein :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 10:42pm

I'd have to say NO, because despite not playing great lately they will only have to win two home games, whereas GB would likely have to win three road games.

The Eagles might have the second best odds due to a combo of a home first round game plus strong recent performance.

Assuming Minn holds onto the 2nd seed, I would put them somewhere in the middle, behind Philly but ahead of teams that will have to play three games. The bye week certainly improves their odds, but they will probably have to beat one good team on the road. Their best scenario would be to have some other team knock off NO to give them HFA in a possible NFCC game.

In any case, I don't think any team in the NFC has a greater than about 25% chance of reaching the Superbowl.

30
by lefty :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 11:08pm

Minnesota has already lost control over the 2nd seed - if the Eagles win, it's theirs.

35
by Arkaein :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 11:41pm

Oops, didn't realize that Minny had hurt themselves that badly by losing the Chicago game.

31
by Alexander :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 11:09pm

Well, if Philly wins they get the bye, which would make me angle towards them being the favorites...if they were not Philly.

37
by Scott C :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 11:53pm

Philly: favorites to get to the NFC championship game and lose. Again.

36
by Andrew B :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 11:50pm

Assume this seeding:

Saints
Eagles
Vikings
Cardinals
Packers
Cowboys

And assume they are all equal, and that the odds of the home team winning any game are 60%.

Then:

Saints = 0.6*0.6 = 36%
Eagles = 0.6*(0.4*0.6+0.6*0.4) = 28.8% (because Eagles have 40% chance of hosting the Championship and a 60% chance of being on the road)
Vikings = 0.6*0.4*(0.4*0.84+0.6*0.16) = 10.7% (Vikings have a 0.4*0.4 = 16% chance of hosting the Championship if they win the Wild Card round - its happened twice - the 1987 Redskins and 2006 Colts)
Cardinals = 0.6*0.4*(0.4*0.936+0.6*0.064) = 9.9% (Cardinals have a 0.4*0.4*0.4 = 6.4% chance of hosting the Championship - its happened once - the 2008 Cardinals)
Packers = 0.4*0.4*(0.4*0.9744+0.6*0.0256) = 6.5% (the chance of all 4 top seeds losing by the divisionals is very slim - in fact, its never happened - the 5 and the 6 seed have knocked off the 3 and 4 seeds in the same season only 4 of 38 times, while the 1 and 2 have both choked in the same season 3 of 60 times)
Cowboys = 0.4*0.4*0.4 = 6.4%

Yes, I know there is something slightly off in these numbers, because they don't quite add to 100%. I think I'm probably missing a scenario or not adding in an unlikely factor to the odds of the Vikings and Cardinals.

The Original Andrew

112
by Dej (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 3:49pm

[The spam filter appears to hate me, so I'll try this a third time]
Andrew,

Your mistake is in the third game calculation of the Vikings and Cardinals. The Vikings percentage chance of playing and hosting the championship game is the same as the Eagles (the differences between the two are accounted for in in who wins the game between them). And the Cardinals chances of playing and hosting the championship game are equal to the Cowboys chances of making it that far (.16). Corrections are below:

Saints = 0.6*0.6 = 36%
Eagles = 0.6*(0.4*0.6+0.6*0.4) = 28.8% (because Eagles have 40% chance of hosting the Championship and a 60% chance of being on the road)
Vikings = 0.6*0.4*(0.4*0.6+0.6*0.4) = 11.5%
Cardinals = 0.6*0.4*(0.4*0.84+0.6*0.16) = 10.7%
Packers = 0.4*0.4*(0.4*0.9744+0.6*0.0256) = 6.5%
Cowboys = 0.4*0.4*0.4 = 6.4%

I also figured out the odds of each team hosting the championship game based on your 60% win rate:

Saints = 60%
Eagles = 24%
Vikings = 9.6%
Cardinals = 3.84%
Packers = 2.56%
Cowboys = 0%

Finally, a note of thanks for your high quality posts. While typing this post I was thinking, "Why choose 60% for win rate?" and remembered a really good post from 2 weeks ago about win rate....that turned out to also be written by you. After reviewing that, 60% is a pretty good estimate of win rate. Finally where do you pull all your information from? I'm always looking for good sources. Thanks.

130
by Andrew B :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 8:39pm

Thanks for the corrections. It was late last night, and I had already drunk quite a bit.

hosted.stats.com
profootballreference.com
nfl.com (of course)

And my own excel compilation files of brain exercises in stats.

The Original Andrew

27
by David B. (not verified) :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 10:46pm

I'm afraid I've come to the point where I believe DVOA, as interesting as it is, is to complex for it's own good. Take wins and net points, rank the teams, and call it a day.

33
by Still Alive (not verified) :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 11:29pm

My guess would be you are simply way overvaluing wins because of their importance to the playoff race etc. In reality the wins are only somewhat related to how good the teams are.

34
by Jim (not verified) :: Tue, 12/29/2009 - 11:40pm

Agree that looking at wins is WAY overrated. That is I propose the following: a 16 game regular season with a computer simulated post-season. This elimates all of this fussing over "wins" and "losses" and allows for the accurate coronation of the true super bowl champion.

39
by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 12:40am

Prupose of DVOA is to get extra people to come to this site. Lots of us would bve here no if DVoa got retired but some woudlnt. Good chance Baltimore Rabens going to finish 8-8 but be in top 5 of dvoa. Baltimore fans come here after next sunday and write sttuff about how Ravebns really good bebcuase dvoa say sao. It would make the Bltimore fans happy a little bit.
Not sure if making sense, but main point was that dvoa is not king. Instead it is thing to get motre people to come here and write things about gootball and cklick on ads.

92
by commissionerleaf :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 12:18pm

Possible RJ comment of the year: "Not sure if making sense, but"

131
by Eddo :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 9:11pm

Can we get this comment (or at least the second paragraph) posted at the top of every DVOA rankings article from here on out?

79
by Still Alive (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 11:27am

What an incredibly stupid comment.

Winning is overrated for evaluating how good the teams are.

It is not overrated for determining outcomes, in fact it is the outcome!

84
by peterplaysbass (verified?) (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 11:35am

I think he was being facetious.

109
by tunesmith (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 2:36pm

Over at beatpaths.com we found that factoring in points made for less accurate picks records than just using wins alone.

40
by Packerpalooza (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 12:41am

The Packers have more issues than special teams which actually have looked competent of late.

Mike McCarthy is to time management what Tiger Woods is to abstinence. He simply does not grasp the concept.

If you match up teams by coaches MM loses a battle of wits of any kind against an Andy Reid or the hobbit in New Orleans. Versus a Phillips or Childress it's a confederacy of dunces though who knows who actually is coaching the Vikings these days.

43
by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 12:55am

T Woods athlete of decade- and he golfed too!!

44
by Jackson Jackson (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 1:06am

I think Reid could out-mismanage the clock more devastatingly than nearly any NFL coach, certainly this McCarthy fellow.

45
by Hurt Bones :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 1:22am

"McCarthy fellow"

Looks like a euphemism for HUAC intern.

49
by Bobman :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 2:38am

Awesome!

Or a typo for a MacArthur Grant winner....

72
by Rick A. (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 10:42am

Thank you. More obvious points about the Cheese. There are many issues...

56
by Anonymouse (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 4:28am

"playoff odds simulation and premium update are coming later this evening."

It's Wednesday on the west coast, and playoff odds are stuck on December 23rd, so I guess not.

62
by Paulo Sanchotene, RS, Brazil (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 9:35am

Playoffs ARE a different tournament. The regular season is not meaningless. Just ask the 20 teams that were eliminated!

The regular season points the eight divisional champions, the 4 WC, and the way they are going to be seeded in the playoffs. And that's, per se, is huge. The Playoffs decide the Conference and SB champions; and that's a totally different story.

DVOA shows those teams that are on right track and those that aren't. DVOA shows the PAST, not FUTURE games. Obviously, the future outcome will be probably similar to the past MOST OF the time, but not always.

I can't see any signal for dispair.

63
by TTP (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 10:00am

Wow, the Steelers are 5-1 against teams with a higher DVOA but just 3-6 against teams ranked lower, including 2-4 against the bottom 8. Very weird season.

144
by countertorque :: Sun, 01/03/2010 - 12:08am

That, they are middle of the pack in variance, and they've been 10-12 in DVOA most of the season.

64
by nat :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 10:14am

The median number of pass attempts by backup QBs (per team) this season is 28. For the Colts, it's 11. They seem to have left their starting QB in more than other teams, not less.

Of course, some of that is injuries and QB controversies, resulting in weak teams with every reason to try someting different. So how about the DVOA front runners?

Team - Attempts by backup QBs
PHI - 96 (not counting Vick in his special role)
BAL - 9
NE - 15
GB - 9
NO - 1
DAL - 0 (Go, Kitna!)
IND - 11
SD - 1
DEN - 17
MIN - 15

If you think the Colts need a special asterisk bonus for "not trying", then the Eagles, Patriots, Broncos, and Vikings need a bigger bonus, and the Ravens and Packers need about the same bonus.

Enough with the pandering already. It only encourages their whining.

67
by jedmarshall :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 10:30am

The Patriots, Vikings, Ravens and Packers backup QB's were in the game because they were blowing out the other team.

The Eagles and Broncos were because of injury and did affect their performance in those games that they were still trying to win. Aaron has explained the difficulties of factoring in injuries many times before.

Painter got attempts because the Colts weren't actively trying to win the game. Your argument holds no water because you are comparing apples and oranges.

82
by nat :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 11:31am

It's completely irrelevant that Painter came in with a small lead rather than with a big lead: DVOA already does the opponent adjustments. If anything, the Colts backups had more reason to try hard than other teams' backups. They had something to play for - maintaining the lead, getting a win and a shot at history. Other teams' backups are either just getting real-game practice time, or are tasked specifically with running out the clock.

Now, if you want to say that the Colts backups suck more than the Patriots, Ravens, Vikings, and Packers backups, you might have an argument. But you need to say it: "Please give us extra (asterisk) credit because our team doesn't have as much depth as other teams."

I'd agree with the sucking part, but I'd switch from an asterisk to a :-).

94
by jedmarshall :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 12:51pm

It is completely relevant to DVOA that they were playing with a small lead. It dings the Colts ratings more to perform poorly in a close game than if it were a blowout. Your argument isn't really clear. If you mean to suggest wiping the DVOA anytime a team puts in a backup into the game by choice, then I could see that being a valid statement. The adjustment would be greater for the Colts than the other teams in that case.

I would hope any player in the game is actively trying to play well, but Aaron's problem with calculations is the Colts coaches willingly pulled the best QB in the game for a backup that is not NFL quality because they didn't care about winning. In the other cases either the team was forced to put in a backup while still trying to win (Eagles, Broncos) or did not care about performance because the game was already won regardless.

95
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 12:54pm

"It's completely irrelevant that Painter came in with a small lead rather than with a big lead: DVOA already does the opponent adjustments."

Bzzt. DVOA compares common situations - teams with a big lead typically perform worse on a play-by-play basis than they did with a small lead because their motivation is now ending the game, not scoring points. So putting in a backup isn't that big of a change because you already expected the team's performance to decline.

Putting in a backup when the game's close doesn't get that baseline correction.

73
by Jamie C (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 10:44am

McNabb was injured for 3 games at the start of the year. thats why they have 96 pass attempts by Kolb. if you take out the games he started, then you'd probably come up with something under 10.

77
by nat :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 11:19am

If you mean attempts made when he wasn't the best available QB (not the Vick special case), it's zero for the Eagles.

103
by b roo :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 1:39pm

Maybe the Colts asterisk should get its own "irrational" thread like the Pats asterisk thread did?

104
by nat :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 1:44pm

Nope. Just a smiley.

:-)

Here Colts fans. +2% *.

* for (lack of) effort.

65
by are-tee :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 10:23am

"and the Jets back into the playoffs at 9-7 essentially thanks to two forfeits, and then they go on a run to the Super Bowl, I swear, I am going to hurt somebody..."

Assuming the Jets win Sunday and make the playoffs (not necessarily a slam dunk), they deserve it more than teams like Denver, Miami, etc. that had a chance to knock them out the past couple of weeks, and came up small. Considering the Jets lost 5 games this year by a total of 17 points, had the number 1 defensive DVOA by far, and number 6 in ST DVOA, it's not really fair to say they backed in.

74
by Rick A. (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 10:50am

They have the no. 1 defense by a number of measurements, not just this DVOA invention. Your points are large and obvious, you would think people would see and respect these facts. But not here on this site. Any team with a defense is dangerous in the playoffs. And their offense is not your usual, and run of the mill, weak offense, they have home run hitters that can screw up anyone's party. As the world just got through seeing once again Sunday, even the top teams tend to minimize Special Teams. The Jets can make you pay for that...

118
by commissionerleaf :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 4:52pm

The Jets are like the Rex Grossman Bears, except their defense is merely excellent rather than otherwordly and Mark Sanchez, at least as a rookie, is no Rex Grossman. And I mean that as a compliment to Rex Grossman.

Of course, Rex took the Bears to a Super Bowl. So maybe your point is made. But nonetheless, the Jets are backing into a playoff spot at 9-7, and that's never going to impress anyone. There are two or three divisions they'd be the #4 team in (AFC North, NFC East, maybe the AFC South)

Since Week 3 the best team they've beaten was the Jake DelHomme Panthers, unless you count the scout team from Indy (I don't, given that they were down 15-10 (almost 24-10) when Indy pulled starters.

121
by Led :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 5:48pm

The Jets defense is virtually the same as the Bears defense in 2006 in terms of DVOA stats. It's uncanny. Look it up. Grossman was better than Sanchez though. Sanchez is obviously the weakest link.

By the way, what does "almost 24-10" mean other than "the real facts don't support my argument so I'm changing them"? Same thing with saying, "other than the wins that I'm arbitrarily excluding, they haven't beaten anybody good."

128
by commissionerleaf :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 8:13pm

"Almost 24-10" meant two dropped passes and a missed XP away from 24-10. Essentially, I was stating that the Jets were lucky to only be down five, given how extensively they had been dominated in the game. Random factors out of the control of the Jets defense (including a case of the dropsies from Reggie Wayne of all people) helped out in that game.

It's true, they both have 19.7% DVOA. The difference is that the 2006 Bears were substantially more consistent (half the % variance), and played an easier schedule of offenses (also it was 2006, when there weren't sixteen QB's throwing for 4000 and 30 TDs, but that's another argument) so that their unadjusted VOA was over 25%, rather than the Jets 18%.

The Jets are a very good defense but not nearly as intimidating as the Bears and Ravens defenses of the middle of the decade. But they're not a playoff team, and their record is to some extent an artifact of their schedule.

133
by Alexander :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 10:29pm

Its doubtful we will see any defenses be Ravens/Bucs/Bears dominant unless there is a change of rules, or some sort of talent re-alignment in the future. Passing is too easy, playing defense is basically discouraged, etc.

134
by Led :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 11:21pm

Blocked XP, not missed. And isn't even remotely possible that the number of totally uncharacteristic overthrows and drops occurred because the timing of the Colts offense was off because of the defense? Manning was clearly rushing his throws.

And the Jets past schedule is slightly above average in difficulty.

123
by gattoma :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 5:57pm

So the Jets merit inclusion in the playoff field ahead of a Dolphins team that beat them twice, played a more difficult schedule (Chargers and Steelers instead of Bengals and Raiders), and didn't have two (assuming Cincy does) of its strongest opponents lay down? What about a Broncos team that has played 10 games against teams with winning records (Jets have played 5 plus the Colts game, which absolutely should not be taken into account) and has a better DVOA? Or a Steelers team that has a better DVOA? Excluding Houston and Jacksonville, the Jets are the team that least deserves to make the playoffs out of the Jets/Steelers/Broncos/Dolphins quartet.

124
by Led :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 6:13pm

"Deserves got nothing to do with it."

125
by gattoma :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 6:25pm

Good. Let are-tee know that.

126
by Led :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 6:47pm

are-tee: "Deserves got nothing to do with it."

135
by jebmak :: Thu, 12/31/2009 - 1:33am

Took me a second. Then I loled.

85
by jklps :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 11:50am

The Jets and Jacksonville comments are hilarious.

87
by Led :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 11:52am

It's amazing that the Jets are 6th in special teams when their special teams lost them two games (2 KO return TDs vs. Miami, blow 3 FGs inside 40 yards vs. Atlanta). The special teams really are very good ALMOST all of the time. It's one of the many frustrating things about this season. Like the defense that dominated most of the season failing at key moments to cost them a couple other games. Having a bad offense gives them little margin for error, but that doesn't explain the failures. You wonder whether it's coaching, bad luck, bad mojo...

90
by Rick A. (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 12:17pm

Yes but, at least, when those things happen it knocks a team out of the complacency mode so easy to get into in football. When this outfit's Special Teams focuses they can, and do, make some plays that other teams aren't necessarily capable of. Don't worry about the coaching, he's a definite winner and his team is growing. Of course, bad luck and mojo has nothing to do with anything. They'd probably get bounced quickly but, even in this first year, they are dangerous if they make it...

88
by Aaron Schatz :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 11:57am

Playoff odds are now updated!

93
by peterplaysbass (verified?) (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 12:39pm

Hooray! Thanks!

Question. Minnesota's odds for the 2, 3 and 4 seeds are 35.2%, 46.8%, and 18.0% respectively. Given that there are 3 games affecting Minnesota's seed (MIN-NYG, ARI-GBP, PHI-DAL) it seems that there are 8 possible outcomes for those three games, giving the seeding probabilities a 25%, 50% and 25% chance. Do the differences imply that A) the Vikings should beat the Giants, B) Dallas should beat Philadelphia, C) the Packers should beat the Cardinals, or some combination thereof?

What I see here implies that a Cardinals win would be the greatest upset of the three games, a Giants upset would be more likely than a Cards victory but less likely than a Eagles victory, and that the Cowboys/Eagles game should be closest despite the fact that Dallas won in Philadelphia earlier in the year.

Do these odds calculate motivation? Dallas/Philly have much to play for, the Giants nothing.

Hmmmm...

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by White Rose Duelist :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 5:30pm

You would be correct if each team had a 50% chance of winning the game. It seems to me that Minnesota is more likely to win their game than lose it.

More specifically, the odds are generated by running a simulation 10,000 (IIRC) times and seeing how many times each result occurred. In 3,520 of them, the Vikings had the 2 seed.

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by jebmak :: Thu, 12/31/2009 - 1:35am

I could be misremembering, but doesn't the playoff simulator not take into account tiebreakers?

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by Alvaden (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 12:58pm

In summary, it looks like the Cardinals have risen from being publicly scorned last year, to just being dismissed an inconsequential this playoff season. Ahh, I like the smell of foot in the mouth in the morning!

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by Aaron Schatz :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 1:14pm

If I came off as saying the Cardinals are inconsequential, I apologize. They stand out as the only NFC playoff team without clear positive or negative momentum right now, and they have the lowest total season DVOA of the six teams (by a small margin), but they're right there in the mix, no question about it.

Also, to answer the previous question, the only two teams which are currently set in the simulation to "not care" in Week 17 are the Patriots and Colts. In retrospect, I probably should have set up the Bengals and perhaps the Chargers as well, but I don't feel like asking Mike Harris to re-run things. I'm guessing the Saints won't sit anyone because with last week's loss they will feel the need for momentum going into the playoffs.

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by R O (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 2:23pm

Never fear. Since the Chargers actually have NFL quality backups, they won't fall off the face of the earth when they rest the starters in the second half.

:)

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by Rick A. (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 1:22pm

True, true, true. And Warner is not even mentioned by the media as being a candidate for MVP. They will be dangerous again, needless to say...

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by Andrew Potter :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 1:34pm

How is...

"the Cardinals are far better than they were a year ago and certainly wouldn't stand out as a historically weak Super Bowl representative"

...dismissing them as inconsequential?

105
by Jetspete :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 1:47pm

Aaron

I do not see why you should be upset if the Jets go on a play-off run. They have the number one defensive DVOA and #6 special teams, which has to count for something. How is that better or worse than New England who has the top offense but a sixteenth ranked defense? If the Jets were to go on a run, your stats would essentially be working.

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by RJA :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 1:49pm

As a Jets fan, the trope that they will have backed into the playoffs bugs. If they win Sunday night, they will have closed out the season 5-1. It's been discussed upthread, but it bears repeating that no team fighting for a WC spot has distinguished themselves as being any more deserving.

I've been hoping that Cinci plays all of it's starters, since I (and DVOA too, incidentally) think the Jets are as good, if not better than Cinci at even strength. If they beat Cinci's backups, everyone gets to complain that a "deserving" team got shut out at the Jets expense.

I don't see them making a significant run in the playoffs, but they are as good of a wc representitive as any this year in a top heavy afc.

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by jedmarshall :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 2:14pm

Momentum is a tricky thing. If the Jets make the playoffs it will be perceived as backing in. Why? They lost to a mediocre Falcons team 2 weeks ago on a comedy of errors in just about every way possible, only beat a Colts team playing for nothing because they put their scrubs in, and will beat a Bengals team (presumably) resting all their starters in Week 17.

Meanwhile if Pittsburgh makes it, it is because they made a great late season run never mind the fact they had to do it because they lost to KC,OAK and CLE last month.

It does feel kind of cheap that the Jets will make it in thanks to 2 forfeits (although seeing a full strength NYJ-CIN game would be entertaingly close IMO). I've watched their last two games and man has their offense looked wretched, but they really aren't that much worse than the other 8-7 teams fighting to get in, just different strengths and weaknesses.

If Jacksonville were to sneak in on the other hand.....

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by Rick A. (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 3:10pm

What in the world is all the talk of the Jets being "no worse than" ? They're in a potential W.C. slot, they have a MUCH better defense than W.C. teams usually have, they have some home run hitters on O and ST, and they are growing. They have a coach who grew up learning from one of the top defensive mind's ever. While it's true that the game has fantastically changed to an air game, and all of the DVOA thread people talk about that, see it like all the rest of us--just wait and see if the Jets do not create some havoc in the playoffs should they get in. Defense is still capable, even in this day and age, of winning in the playoffs. It wasn't even a decade ago that Balt won with Trent Dilfer, for Yahwe's sake, at QB...

116
by Led :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 4:15pm

Interestingly, Sanchez has almost the identical DVOA this year as Dilfer had in 2000 (-24.5 v. -24.6). Baltimore's defense in 2000 was better -- a lot, lot better against the run but a lot worse against the pass. And Baltimore was a more efficient running team, albeit not significantly so. If Sanchez steps up his play a bit -- not impossible for a talented rookie learning from experience -- then the Jets could cause some trouble. Hard to imagine them putting up enough points to be beat SD, Indy or NE, though, with the way those offenses are clicking.

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by R O (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 5:51pm

They also have a MUCH worse QB than any playoff team has a right to have. So what's yer point?

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by RJA :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 3:51pm

Point taken re: the perception of momentum.

I wouldn't classify the colts loss as a "forfeit", though. Do I think the jets pull out a win if Manning, Clark, Wayne etc played the whole 60 minutes? Maybe. Maybe not. But at the time the JV squad came in, a Colts win was not a foregone conclusion. 5 point game, 20 minutes to go against a first team that was highly incented to jump out to a 4 touchdown lead and hit the showers at halftime. Much stranger things have happened. But at the very least, the jets put themselves in a position where they could have won. If the jets were down 28 points and came back to win against the scrubs, I would be more inclined to support the theory of a forfeit victory. But we"ll never know, so history will always reflect that a jets WC berth (knocks on wood) was undeserved. Oh well.

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by Rick A. (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 8:31pm

Exactly. Anything could've happened in the game even if the starters had played. Indy was in yet another uncomfortably close situation vs a hungry Jets squad that flipped momentum with the kickoff return...

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by justanothersteve :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 4:30pm

Imagine the irony of the Packers making the Super Bowl in the year You Know Who went to play for the Vikings.

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by Aerogopher (not verified) :: Wed, 12/30/2009 - 5:18pm

Statistical methods would seem to be lacking when it comes to the playoffs. It would certainly help if you could analyze how the teams prepare during the week before each game. That's a hole in analyzing momentum for a playoff game. I also feel like certain teams play well against certain teams. For instance, the Pats have had San Diego's number for some time, Eagles have the Vikings number, etc. Of course that can change. Green Bay had the Vikings number for the past couple of years and then this year, Minnesota turned that one around.

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by jebmak :: Thu, 12/31/2009 - 1:41am

"Having their number" could just be random. Coin comes up heads a few times in a row before coming up tails. Or like "momentum" the team totally has momentum, until they don't.

Or, they really could have their number, but personnel changes screw with the matchup.

138
by Alexander :: Thu, 12/31/2009 - 2:13am

Well in 1 instance I can give you some insight:

The Chargers always "Had the Colts' number." That number was 21, as in LaDainian Tomlinson, who ate up the Colts anemic rush defense which got even more abysmal in the later parts of most years (see playoffs) because of the predictable injuries to Bob Sanders.

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by Shazbot (not verified) :: Thu, 12/31/2009 - 12:28pm

That would be true, except last time it was Sproles and Scifres who did it. Matchups are funny sometimes. I hope they play each other in the AFCCG, though, should be another fun game.