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» Factors: Andre Johnson

One of the NFL's best receivers notched a -2.3% DVOA last year. Does a target-by-target breakdown show he was better than that?

12 Oct 2010

Week 5 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

With a week on the sidelines, New England maintains its place atop the AFC-dominated Football Outsiders DVOA ratings. The top four teams are all AFC squads, the top three being holdovers from last week. Kansas City's loss to Indianapolis does not knock the Chiefs from the second spot, the Jets stay third, and the Steelers take advantage of Green Bay and San Diego losses to move up to fourth. The surprising and extremely confusing New York Giants are now in the top spot for the NFC, narrowly passing Atlanta and Green Bay. The Giants are just one of a number of teams having a ridiculously inconsistent season so far, especially on defense. The Giants' defensive variance of 26.1% is nearly twice that of any other team. Even more inconsistent overall have been the Chicago Bears. The Bears are the only team with a higher overall variance than the Giants, and they've been super inconsistent on both sides of the ball: 32nd in variance on offense, 31st on defense.

Another team with super inconsistency points is the team you might be surprised to see in last place overall: Arizona. That's right, a 3-2 team that currently leads its division is the worst overall team in the league according to our play-by-play metrics. Only three games this season have come out with single-game DVOA below -100%, and the Cardinals own two of those games: their Week 2 loss to Atlanta and Week 4 loss to San Diego. Their first two wins come out as essentially average games, and this week's win over New Orleans actually has a DVOA of -40.8%. How do you win with a DVOA rating that low? Well, you can start by recovering five out of six fumbles in a game, including one where your quarterback gets sacked and stripped of the ball and you score a touchdown anyway by pouncing on the ball in the end zone. Even better, score two touchdowns off turnovers even though scoring off turnovers is generally random. The Cardinals may be the worst 3-2 team in history... and by the way, the Bears may be the worst 4-1 team in history, although their low DVOA comes primarily from one horrible game against the Giants, the only game of the year with a rating lower than those two awful Arizona losses.

Looking over this week's numbers, what's particularly interesting is what's about to happen to the schedules of certain teams. Pittsburgh surprised everyone by going 3-1 without Ben Roethlisberger, but they also did that against the second-hardest schedule in the league so far based on average opponent DVOA. The Steelers' remaining schedule ranks just 27th. An even more dramatic schedule change is about to happen for the 0-5 San Francisco 49ers, who had the hardest schedule in the first five weeks, but now have the easiest schedule for the rest of the season. The 49ers still have five games left in their own awful division, along with three games against the AFC West. Are they going to climb up and win the division? Probably not, but there's a good reason that our playoff odds report gives San Francisco just a 6.1 percent chance of getting the top pick in the draft while the other two 0-5 teams, Buffalo and Carolina, have a combined 72.7 percent chance to get that top pick.

The hardest remaining schedules in terms of average opponent DVOA belong to three teams with only average-strength schedules so far: Houston, Cincinnati, and Philadelphia. Things should get harder for all three of those teams going forward.

I should also point out, lest their fans get upset, that Tennessee is playing surprisingly well. If you want to take an AFC South team seriously as a team that could edge out Indianapolis for the division title, Tennessee is a better choice than Houston at this point.

Anyway, on to the ratings. All stat pages will be updated in the next few minutes. The FO Premium database of DVOA splits will be updated later tonight.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through five weeks of 2010, 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.

Opponent adjustments are currently at 50 percent strength and will steadily grow stronger until Week 10. 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 for teams that have played five games and 40 percent of DAVE for teams that have played four games.

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>

1 NE 32.9% 1 28.1% 1 3-1 42.0% 1 13.3% 27 4.2% 6
2 KC 28.6% 2 16.8% 9 3-1 5.1% 15 -16.1% 5 7.4% 3
3 NYJ 26.8% 3 22.9% 3 4-1 16.4% 8 -4.7% 12 5.7% 5
4 PIT 25.4% 6 25.9% 2 3-1 -3.3% 20 -25.0% 2 3.6% 8
5 NYG 23.5% 10 19.4% 5 3-2 5.5% 14 -25.4% 1 -7.4% 30
6 ATL 21.2% 9 20.7% 4 4-1 9.6% 10 -10.6% 7 1.0% 12
7 GB 20.8% 4 19.2% 6 3-2 18.8% 6 -7.5% 10 -5.5% 28
8 TEN 18.7% 12 11.6% 12 3-2 -0.8% 18 -17.7% 4 1.7% 10
9 SD 18.7% 5 12.4% 11 2-3 20.4% 3 -19.5% 3 -21.3% 32
10 PHI 17.9% 7 17.1% 7 3-2 19.9% 5 -0.3% 16 -2.2% 22
11 IND 13.7% 11 15.9% 10 3-2 25.7% 2 8.7% 25 -3.3% 26
12 BAL 11.4% 14 16.9% 8 4-1 8.3% 11 -1.7% 15 1.4% 11
13 NO 7.0% 17 7.7% 13 3-2 6.8% 12 0.7% 17 1.0% 13
14 SEA 6.7% 13 1.0% 15 2-2 -16.7% 26 -6.5% 11 16.9% 1
15 DAL 5.7% 8 4.3% 14 1-3 18.1% 7 10.6% 26 -1.7% 20
16 CIN 0.3% 16 -0.3% 17 2-3 -1.9% 19 -2.6% 14 -0.5% 16
17 TB -0.2% 18 -4.7% 20 3-1 -4.8% 21 -4.2% 13 0.5% 14
18 DET -3.3% 24 -11.3% 23 1-4 -6.2% 23 3.3% 21 6.1% 4
19 WAS -4.2% 20 0.3% 16 3-2 5.6% 13 8.0% 23 -1.8% 21
20 HOU -7.2% 15 -10.5% 22 3-2 20.3% 4 26.1% 31 -1.4% 19
21 MIN -11.1% 25 -1.1% 18 1-3 -19.1% 28 -8.8% 9 -0.8% 17
22 MIA -11.2% 21 -1.6% 19 2-2 2.1% 16 3.1% 19 -10.2% 31
23 CLE -11.9% 19 -14.3% 25 1-4 -5.7% 22 5.3% 22 -0.8% 18
24 CHI -13.5% 27 -6.3% 21 4-1 -29.1% 30 -11.8% 6 3.9% 7
25 DEN -14.4% 23 -12.1% 24 2-3 9.8% 9 20.6% 29 -3.6% 27
26 JAC -16.6% 26 -15.6% 26 3-2 0.8% 17 24.9% 30 7.4% 2
27 SF -22.5% 28 -21.2% 27 0-5 -16.7% 27 3.2% 20 -2.6% 24
28 STL -29.2% 22 -27.2% 28 2-3 -21.3% 29 1.9% 18 -6.0% 29
29 OAK -35.8% 31 -34.1% 31 2-3 -16.7% 25 16.7% 28 -2.4% 23
30 CAR -39.6% 29 -31.0% 29 0-5 -47.0% 32 -10.5% 8 -3.1% 25
31 BUF -39.6% 30 -32.1% 30 0-5 -12.3% 24 29.2% 32 1.9% 9
32 ARI -48.1% 32 -36.9% 32 3-2 -39.0% 31 8.6% 24 -0.4% 15
  • ESTIMATED WINS uses a statistic known as "Forest Index" that emphasizes consistency as well as DVOA in the most important specific situations: red zone defense, first quarter offense, and performance in the second half when the score is close. It then projects a number of wins adjusted to a league-average schedule and a league-average rate of recovering fumbles. Teams that have had their bye week are projected as if they had played one game per week.
  • PAST SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents played this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative). It is not adjusted for which games are home or road.
  • FUTURE SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents still left to play this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative). It is not adjusted for which games are home or road.
  • VARIANCE measures the statistical variance of the team's weekly DVOA performance. Teams are ranked from most consistent (#1, lowest variance) to least consistent (#32, highest variance).

1 NE 32.9% 3-1 34.8% 3.8 1 -5.9% 24 2.2% 16 11.9% 17
2 KC 28.6% 3-1 25.3% 3.7 2 -0.5% 15 -16.4% 31 8.1% 11
3 NYJ 26.8% 4-1 34.1% 3.7 3 -3.5% 20 -2.0% 21 4.8% 5
4 PIT 25.4% 3-1 22.9% 3.4 6 12.8% 2 -5.9% 27 14.0% 20
5 NYG 23.5% 3-2 19.1% 3.3 8 -5.6% 23 3.2% 11 35.5% 31
6 ATL 21.2% 4-1 23.5% 3.2 9 -10.0% 28 -4.0% 24 13.3% 18
7 GB 20.8% 3-2 25.0% 3.5 4 -8.5% 26 3.4% 10 9.2% 13
8 TEN 18.7% 3-2 17.5% 3.4 7 0.9% 13 2.7% 13 13.9% 19
9 SD 18.7% 2-3 22.0% 3.0 12 -13.0% 30 -2.7% 23 31.2% 29
10 PHI 17.9% 3-2 27.6% 3.5 5 -5.2% 22 6.9% 3 8.8% 12
11 IND 13.7% 3-2 14.9% 3.1 11 2.8% 9 4.4% 6 16.5% 22
12 BAL 11.4% 4-1 7.4% 3.2 10 5.2% 6 -2.1% 22 4.3% 4
13 NO 7.0% 3-2 5.9% 3.0 13 -20.0% 32 -0.9% 19 3.6% 3
14 SEA 6.7% 2-2 6.3% 2.2 20 -11.9% 29 -13.1% 30 23.2% 27
15 DAL 5.7% 1-3 1.2% 2.7 15 -1.6% 18 3.4% 9 18.1% 23
16 CIN 0.3% 2-3 0.9% 2.4 16 -1.5% 17 7.9% 2 7.2% 10
17 TB -0.2% 3-1 3.1% 2.9 14 -6.5% 25 -6.0% 28 18.5% 24
18 DET -3.3% 1-4 -1.0% 2.2 22 -3.0% 19 2.7% 12 9.6% 14
19 WAS -4.2% 3-2 -4.7% 2.3 17 1.6% 11 5.3% 5 5.5% 7
20 HOU -7.2% 3-2 -6.5% 2.3 19 0.6% 14 9.7% 1 21.3% 26
21 MIN -11.1% 1-3 -16.4% 2.1 23 4.8% 7 0.0% 18 4.8% 6
22 MIA -11.2% 2-2 -6.6% 2.3 18 2.2% 10 2.7% 14 10.1% 15
23 CLE -11.9% 1-4 -10.3% 2.2 21 12.3% 3 2.0% 17 2.6% 1
24 CHI -13.5% 4-1 -10.2% 1.7 27 1.4% 12 2.2% 15 39.3% 32
25 DEN -14.4% 2-3 -8.9% 1.9 25 6.8% 5 -5.2% 25 3.1% 2
26 JAC -16.6% 3-2 -17.3% 2.1 24 -0.7% 16 3.9% 8 29.6% 28
27 SF -22.5% 0-5 -30.8% 1.8 26 16.3% 1 -18.0% 32 19.4% 25
28 STL -29.2% 2-3 -17.5% 1.5 28 -16.9% 31 -5.9% 26 15.5% 21
29 OAK -35.8% 2-3 -25.6% 1.2 29 -9.4% 27 3.9% 7 11.5% 16
30 CAR -39.6% 0-5 -42.0% 0.8 31 3.4% 8 -1.7% 20 6.9% 9
31 BUF -39.6% 0-5 -39.5% 0.6 32 10.5% 4 6.8% 4 6.4% 8
32 ARI -48.1% 3-2 -44.5% 1.1 30 -3.6% 21 -8.3% 29 31.4% 30

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 12 Oct 2010

225 comments, Last at 24 Aug 2012, 3:17pm by AdvofcoRRoots


by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:01pm

kcchefs 2, raiders 29

is computer drunk?

by speedegg :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:23pm

Hey, if you saw the train wreck in person on Sunday you'd know that answer. The Chargers should have CRUSHED the Raiders, but San Diego looked inept. Even my buddy who played for Cal was more disgusted with the Chargers losing to Oakland, than with Cal losing to Nevada.

by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:26pm

game about winning. not lookinng good. don't see me complainingn about carrdinals-Raiders game when Raiders blow game

by Treima6 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:13pm

You're right! And by my count, Kansas City has won more games and lost fewer games than the Oakland Raiders. Sorry, pal, but the Raiders still stink.

by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:57pm

sorry nut season is 17 weeks and chiefs get no crown for being champions from week 1-5

by Mikey :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 8:27pm

Raiderjoe doesn't want you to crown their ass.

Nobody circles the wagons like the Buffalo Bills.

by Kevin from Philly :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 4:38pm

Thank God rj season goes all year!

by Treima6 (not verified) :: Thu, 10/14/2010 - 5:13am

I'm not crowning anyone champs until the lights go out at Cowboys Stadium on the evening of February 6, but let's face facts here: the Raiders have needed unsustainably good fumble luck, a weak schedule, AND the boost of opposing one of the worst special teams units I've ever seen...just to win 40% of their games by an average of 4 points and reach a -23 point differential. 31st in the league looks about right. I'd honestly be surprised if they beat the 49ers Sunday.

by VarlosZ :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:15pm

comment thread about talking like rorschach, not about being right. dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. this city is afraid of me...

by BlueStarDude :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:19pm

ding ding ding

by Scott de B (not verified) :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 12:13am

Football is about winning but DVOA is about looking good.

captcha: conentif Gesetzbuch. Really?

by TreeRol (not verified) :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 8:48am

So what you're saying is: Oakland is clearly ranked too low because they won their game this weekend. Ranking teams based on the latest performance is way better than this. sorry nut season is 17 weeks and chiefs get no crown for being champions from week 1-5

by commissionerleaf :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 6:51pm

You don't understand the mastery of all football-related information and the complete lack of understanding of the English language that is the poster "raiderjoe".

by Douglas J. Dahlin (not verified) :: Thu, 10/14/2010 - 3:28pm

Yeah how did the Raiders rank so high.

by Grouchy Bills Fan (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:04pm

re "Buffalo and Carolina, have a combined 72.7 percent chance to get that top pick." - if I'm reading the chart right, Buffalo has a much harder remaining schedule than Carolina, so I assume that the bulk of that 72.7 is Buffalo's.

Just trying to be optimistic

by tuluse :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:42pm

From the playoff odd page, Buffalo has about 45% chance to get the 1st pick.

by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:05pm

Given the number of studies conducted that indicate that the top pick in the draft is actually a liability to teams (because of the amount of salary cap invested into an uncertainty, in short) I don't think you should be 'optimistic' about it.

And it's not like you need the top pick to secure your 'QB of the future'. Fitzpatrick has looked pretty competent - he just has almost no talent around him (or possibly even coaching him).

by tuluse :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:58pm

Ryan Fitzpatrick is not the answer to a question that any team should be asking.

by Rocco :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 8:54pm

What if the question is, "how can we get the #1 pick?"

by the K :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 9:05pm

That's probably still not as good an answer as "Captain Checkdown" because Fitzpatrick looks occasionally competent out there.

by Jonadan :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 9:44pm

Given his performance over the last two weeks, I would really really like to see what either McDaniels or Martz (preferably the former) could do with him.

But granting for the sake of the argument that he's not really NFL starter-quality (I disagree), I think there are still a couple questions he's the correct answer to. Questions like:

"Who would you be pretty comfortable with as your backup QB?"


"Who might actually be able to provide the Raiders with an actual quarterback while also falling into the category of wild half-baked chances that Al Davis would take a flier on?"

by Whatev :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 11:41pm

Jason Campbell.

by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Thu, 10/14/2010 - 5:23am

Fitzpatrick will probably never be confused for a franchise QB, but he's not inept. He's a Dilfer - he can manage a game, he can make decisions, play safe and smart, and not gamble.

If he had a half-way competent offensive line, I think the Bills would be in a lot more games. The only position that's really 'set' on that team is the running backs. But it's win at chess when starting with a rook, a knight and 6 pawns.

by Shattenjager :: Thu, 10/14/2010 - 11:37am

Dilfer was in no way a "safe and smart" quarterback. His biggest problem was always his penchant for throwing interceptions. He had a career INT%+ of 86 and was only average once in his career (a 105 in 1997).
For comparison, Derek Anderson has an 85 INT%+.

by Kibbles :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 2:31am

First off, the study that you're referring to did not indicate that the top pick in the draft is a liability. It indicated that every pick in the draft was a positive asset, but that the picks in the early second were MORE POSITIVE than picks in the early 1st. Even those top-5 first round picks, the guys that everyone complains are so unbelievably overpaid, wind up being strong positive assets and relative bargains compared to what that kind of production would cost through free agency.

Second off, that study had major flaws in its methodology. The most prominent flaw is that it treats NFL players like bricklayers instead of like gladiators. If I replace one expert bricklayer with two amateur bricklayers who each lay bricks half as quickly, but who each get paid half as much, then I've suffered no net loss. My brick-laying project gets done at exactly the same speed and for exactly the same cost. If I replace one expert gladiator with two amateur gladiators who are exactly half as good and who make exactly half as much, then I've suffered a huge loss- instead of one victorious gladiator, I'm left with two dead gladiators.

NFL players are more like gladiators than bricklayers. I can't say "well, Josh Freeman and Ryan Fitzpatrick are both half as good as Peyton Manning, so instead of paying Peyton $12 million a year, I'll just pay Freeman and Fitzpatrick $6 million a year each and I'll be just as well off!". I can't replace one stud WR with two average WRs, because my employees are limited. Only 11 players can be on the field at any one time. Only 1 player can have the ball in his hands at any given time. As a result, a 10% increase in talent or ability is worth a heckuva lot more than a 10% increase in salary. The Massey-Thaler study would consider someone like Matt Schaub to be more valuable than Peyton Manning, because he gets you a large fraction of the production at a small fraction of the price. In reality, Peyton Manning could be paid $16 million a year and he'd still be one of the best bargains in the NFL, because you can only have one QB on the field at any given time, and the small differences between Peyton Manning and everyone else are worth massive difference in terms of resource allocation.

Massey-Thaler suggest that a 2nd round pick should be worth more than a top-5 pick straight up. That suggestion doesn't pass the sniff test. Even the coaches who highly value high second rounders (Bill Belichick comes to mind) would never trade a top-10 pick for the #40 pick STRAIGHT UP. Do you honestly think St. Louis would be better off trading Sam Bradford for Jimmy Clausen and some cap savings? Would Detroit be better off trading Ndamakong Suh for Linval Joseph and some cap savings? Would Kansas City be better off trading Eric Berry for T.J. Ward and some cap savings? I certainly don't think so. And Massey-Thaler also wrote their paper on the assumption that other means of player acquisition were relatively efficient markets. It'd be one thing to say "pass on the top pick and bank on those cap savings!" if there was some efficient market where teams could spend that cap savings. There isn't. Free Agency is a far more inefficient market than the draft (as with any bidding exercise, it's subject to the Winner's curse, which coincidentally enough was the inspiration for the name of the Massey-Thaler study on the draft), which means teams would be better off devoting their cap dollars to draft picks than to established veterans.

by Dales :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 7:20am

Mostly agree with what you said, but your last paragraph is weakened by the failure to account for the fact that you don't know if your top draft pick QB with the megacontract is going to be a Sam Bradford or an Andre Ware. When measuring risk versus reward, one needs to account not only for consequence but also for frequency of outcome.

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 8:26am

True, but the failure rate for high first round picks is probably artificially high, thanks to selection bias in the form of incompetent front offices being more likely to hold said picks. One of the many reasons Belichick's Patriots have been so good is that they've nailed every top ten pick they've had (and have never traded back out of the top ten).

Edit: I notice that TD already made this point below.

by Dales :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 9:26am

He's only had two top 10 picks. While it is good that he's avoided blowing them, they have not had many instances where they have selected in the top 10 under his tenure.

I concede the point about there being some selection bias, though. It just stands to reason that since the consequence of a bad pick is higher when the pick is earlier (since the contract will be richer), that teams that pick badly will be hit harder.

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 10:17am

You're absolutely right - I thought Warren was higher than 13th, for some reason, and vaguely thought Wilfork was too. Not the best example on my part, then, but the broader point still stands.

by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 11:00am

Plus you only have eleven guys and 60 minutes to build the wall.

by t.d. :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 2:32am

The top pick isn't a liability, plain and simple. Blowing the top pick, however, is a devastating liability (and organizations that end up with the top pick don't tend to have elite talent evaluation skills).

by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Thu, 10/14/2010 - 5:17am

I don't think I stated myself clearly - this is what I was getting at. Teams that pick poorly saddle themselves with inferior talent at an inflated price, which leads to not being able to afford other (often, proven veteran) talent, which leads to failure, which leads to high draft pick...rinse and repeat.

I do recall the study indicating that the best 'value' was the early 2nd round. And likewise, the new CBA will probably have a sharp limitation on future rookie contracts. So there is a shining beacon of light on the horizon for Oakland, Cleve, Buffalo, Cincy, and the other perennial 'D'oh, missed by that much!' teams.

Captcha: 1937, bnomblam. Perhaps this is pre WW2 name for Phnom Penh?

by billsfan :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 12:00pm

Have you looked at the Bills's recent draft history? Any first-round pick is a liability to them.

(I also like the Eagles)

by leviramsey (not verified) :: Sat, 10/16/2010 - 11:52pm

To be fair, there's probably a good chance that having the 1st pick will be worth a bit more post-lockout: the NFL and the PA will probably agree on some kind of rookie scale, because the folks voting for the NFLPA leadership are the veterans not next year's rookies.

The Patriots have been stockpiling draft picks for 2011 for the past couple of years (most notably with the Seymour trade: it's not often that a player like that goes for a draft pick two seasons in the future!) in the expectation of that and Bob Kraft sits on the Labor Committee.

by JasonD (not verified) :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 8:20am

Don't get too optimistic. Having the top pick gets you the most expensive, and likely overvalued, rookie in the draft.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 10:32am

That may be the case now, but don't forget about the very real possibility of a rookie pay scale in the next CBA. It's quite possible that Bradford will be the last of the Powerball-winner #1 picks.

by billsfan :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 11:59am

Indy fans beware! This is what happens when Bill Polian leaves.

(I also like the Eagles)

by Keith (1) (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:05pm

Maybe it is just me, which is completely possible, but from what I have seen of the NFC North, I would really say that the entire division is completely average. It does not seem like the Packers have played any "top-10 teams" games, and all of the other teams, outside of Detroit's ridiculous Rams game, appear to be trending downward. I can easily see Detroit owning the division in 2012 (if we should live) simply because the other teams will basically be dismantled by that point.

by ammek :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 4:40am

Adjustments aren't at 100% yet: the Bills beatdown is overvalued still.

Also, a 'top-10 team game' probably isn't as impressive as you think. Beating another top-10 team (Philly) would count; and the Pack probably has DVOA at or not far from average in the three most recent games. Although weeks one and two now seem distant, don't forget that Green Bay was #1 in VOA early in the season, and still is barely out of the top four.

That said, I'd agree that the division looks pretty average. That means lots of close games — and given the Packers' record in those (plus its injury list), the race is wide open.

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 8:28am

The Packers still have guys like Rodgers, Jennings and Matthews. I'd say that's the nucleus of a team that could contend for a long, long time.

by Arkaein :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 10:02am

Also, GB is still the 4th youngest team in the NFL, and generally resigns it's top players at a rate as high as any team in the league.

The idea that they will be dismantled in a few years is ridiculous. They will need to replace one offensive tackle (Tauscher or Clifton, whoever Bulaga doesn't take over for), a couple of CBs (Woodson and Harris), and maybe one D-lineman (Ryan Pickett) over the next couple of years. As well as promoting one of their reserve WRs already on the roster to take Drivers spot if he ever actually gets old. That's basically it.

by MCS :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 11:35am

The Packers already have the next generation tackles on the roster. McCarthy just refuses to play them.

Put Bulaga at LT and Lang at RT. I think they deserve serious consideration. If nothing else, to determine draft needs for '11.

The more pressing need is at linebacker. Other than Matthews, they have a series of bodies. The fact that they tried three different OLB to replace Chillar opposite Matthews is a pretty good indicator that they don't have any. Hawk had trouble tackling Torain. Bishop filled in well for Barnett. Seems that other than his spirited leadership, Barnett is replaceable.

I agree with the need for a CB.

by ammek :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 12:33pm

Hmm. I remember hearing the same thing during 1997. Among the starters, only Reggie and LeRoy Butler were over 28 years old (and Butler was just 29). The offensive 'nucleus' of Favre, Levens, Brooks, Freeman, Chmura, Dotson and Verba (average age: 26) was supposed to take the Packers into the new millennium; and the youngsters on defense (average age, excluding Butler and White: 25) would make them into a dynasty.

By 2001, there were three offensive starters from 1997 left on the roster: Favre, Freeman and William Henderson. The whole defensive strategy was blown up by the Randy Moss coming-out party in 1998, and by the departure of Mike Holmgren and death of coordinator Fritz Shurmur at the end of that season. The dynasty didn't happen. Green Bay's success was "a fart in the wind".

The moral: things changed quickly.

by Alex51 :: Thu, 10/14/2010 - 8:55pm

Maybe the players didn't all stay as long as expected, but the team didn't suddenly start sucking, either. In the 7 years after 1997, they had 5 playoff appearances and 0 losing seasons. If you'd prefer just looking at the new millennium they were supposed to lead the Packers into, the Packers won 95 games and had 6 playoff appearances between 2000-2009, with only 2 losing seasons (During the ten years before that, they won 93 games, had 6 playoff appearances, and 2 losing seasons). I'd say that counts as "contending".

by PerlStalker :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:06pm

You know, it's actually kinda sad how happy I am to see the Broncos' defense doing so "well". That 29th ranking looks so much better than the last place ranking from last year.

by tuluse :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:39pm

Denver was 7th last year in defense. Unless this is some kind of sarcasm, I'm really confused.

by PerlStalker :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 1:10am

I was thinking the year before apparently. And the total and complete collapse after week 7.

by t.d. :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 2:38am

Pretty sure 0-16 Detroit finished worse defensively than Denver in 2008

by Jon :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:11pm

The NYG defense has been really good this year. Even the Titans game, if you actually look at what happened there.

The one exception was the Indy game. The staff did this crazy strategy where they only activated two DTs and wanted to make Indy pass on every down. I'm not saying the Giants would have won that game, but it would have been closer if they had just played conventionally.

Perry Fewell is a pretty good DC, and I'm looking forward to being able to scoop up Tampa-2 defenders at bargain basement rates because so many other teams are running the 3-4.

by JasonK :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:11pm

I'm guessing you misspoke there a little bit-- the Giants were daring Indy to run on every down. Generally, I agree with you about that game, though. The gameplan against the Colts was a risky gambit for a game that they were rather unlikely to win in the first place (it being a very talented team in their home opener after having been embarrassed in Week 1). It failed spectacularly, but risky gambits sometimes do.

And I'd only describe the D as 'really good' in the CHI & HOU games. The Panthers' offense has proven to be pitiful, and although there were mitigating factors in the Titans game (primarily the starting field position for all of Tennessee's scoring drives), I can't get on board with calling 29 points allowed to a non-elite offense 'really good.'

Hopefully, in a month, we'll be talking about those first three weeks as the outlier-- an understandable adjustment period transitioning to the new defense.

by Anonymous77 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:42pm

They only allowed 78 in the first half to Titans, only four more than they allowed to the Texans. Things started to fall apart a bit in the second half when it seemed they got a bit frustrated with the deluge of offensive turnovers and penalties. Chris Johnson didn't do much of anything until a couple of garbage time runs.

by TBW (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:15pm

Let's hear it for those Chargers special teams. Bad enough to take a team ranked 3rd in both offense and defense and turn them into a losing team. That's remarkable, and I have to say, completely accurate. If their special teams had only played well enough to be rated 30th, they would probably be undefeated right now.

by Pass to Set Up ... :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:31pm

Yeah, and the Seahawks special teams apparently makes up for them having the 26th ranked offense.

by TBW (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:39pm

San Diego special teams are so bad, that the 31st rated team is closer to the 14th rated team, than they are to the Chargers.

by tuluse :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:40pm

Also, typical Norv Turner. Good at the "big" things, bad at the "small" things.

by Big Johnson :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:47pm

they were good at special teams last year. was he bad at the "small" things back then?

by tuluse :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:54pm

They were ranked 16th, with DVOA of .3%.

Since when is perfectly average considered good?

by bravehoptoad :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:07pm

Since when is it considered bad?

by tuluse :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:23pm

I didn't make any statement on the team last year. I just said this year it's typical Norv turner.

If last year doesn't fit, then it's not typical. I could be wrong about what a typical Norv Turner team is, but I didn't make any value statements on what the 2009 Chargers were.

by Big Johnson :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:08pm

perfectly average is considered good at the same time that perfectly average is considered bad. plus how were the chargers special teams in the two years prior to last year? Sorry but you arent winning this one. The chargers have never been bad at special teams aka the small things since norv was the head coach.

by TBW (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:54pm

I don't think Norv is particularly good at anything. He's just lucky the GM is a stubborn ass who would probably rather be fired himself than have to fire Norv and admit that HE made a mistake.

by Christopher23 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:02pm

I still think he's one of the best offensive coaches in the league.

by BJR :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 7:24am

Yes, you can't slam Turner without at least acknowledging that he has played some role in developing Philip Rivers into one of the top 5 QBs in the league - perhaps even better than that.

However, I'm increasingly convinced when watching the Chargers now that a massive proportion of their consistently excellent offensive performance over the last few years is down to Antonio Gates. The offence has withstood LaDanian Tomlinson declining from playing at a HOF level to having the worst rushing attack in the league, and this year they don't appear to have missed the presence of their #1 wide receiver one jot. Indeed the only year the SD pass offence ranked anywhere outside of the top three over the last 5 years was in 2007 when Gates was hampered all season by turf-toe. Of course everybody knows Gates is a great player, but it's just possible that nobody realises just how great and important a player he is.

by tbwhite :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 7:10pm

Rivers first 3 seasons were with Marty as head coach, and in Marty's final season Rivers led the team to a 14-2 record. Is Rivers really THAT much better now that Norv deserves the credit ? Or is it more likely that Norv just happened to be standing there looking dopey as Rivers matured into a Pro Bowl QB ?

by Big Johnson :: Thu, 10/14/2010 - 1:53am

its extremely difficult to decipher between the two, but remember that Norv didnt just make alex smith look competent, he made him look good.

by Jonadan :: Thu, 10/14/2010 - 9:46am

So what we're saying is, Norv got himself promoted to his level of incompetence?

by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:02pm

Smith might be so damned stubborn, that if he did fire Turner, he'd then install Ted Cottrell, just to prove he was right from the beginning!

by TBW (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:05pm

Damn, I may have to take back what I said. Turns out Norv has been 2-3 after 5 games for all 4 seasons he has coached San Diego. After his traditional 2-3 start he has gone 26-7 in the 3 previous seasons.

by speedegg :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 8:34pm

Hey, some of those 2-3 starts turned into 8-8 finishes, but a lucky bounce (recovering an onside kick to score a game winning TD against Kansas City to get a chance for the playoffs), another team collapsing (Denver), or is just dysfunctional (Oakland) padded his total. The chances of getting that lucky again are slim and for a coach that was hired to turn a good team into a great team, I'd say he failed.

by Big Johnson :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 11:07pm

one of the 2-3 starts he turned into an 11 game win streak to finish at 13-3. Norv deserves more credit than he receives, although thats not saying much. Hes still about an average nfl head coach. Much better than tom cable, todd hailey, mangini, singletary, and then some.

by luvrhino :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 11:59pm

What's even more impressive is that given what an abomination San Diego's Special Teams were in the Raiders game, their efficiency barely dropped...going from -20.7% to -21.3%.

In other words, their performance in the Raiders game was right around their average for the season. Yikes.

by Bionicman :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:25pm

The Saints have the weakest schedule so far by a significant margin, yet their DVOA is higher than their VOA. Can anyone explain?

by bravehoptoad :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 8:17pm

Did they play really well against Atlanta? That's the only team with positive DVOA they've played so far.

by ammek :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 4:26am

Bad fumble luck? They recovered 0 out of 6 against Arizona; not sure for the other games.

by Key19 :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:29pm

God the Cowboys Defense sucks.

by Anonymous D (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:03pm

The pass defense sure does suck. There is a hole at FS. None of the inside linebackers can cover. I understand. But it shouldn't be this bad. The problem transcends the personnel, and it's really freakin' frustrating.

by are-tee :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:37pm

"Those crazy, inconsistent Giants move up to the top of the NFC in this week's DVOA ratings, but they still sit below four AFC teams including their crosstown rivals."

What makes the other team that plays in the same stadium your "crosstown" rivals?

by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:12pm

I don't live there, never have, but I've always goitten the sense that 'Jets-Giants' is much like 'Yankees-Mets', in that they are not so much rivals on the field (neither would compete with the other within a division or for a playoff spot), but rather competing for the 'Hudson River fan base'.

by are-tee :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 8:54pm

Yes, but Yankees and Mets actually play in different parts of NYC, separated by a river.

by RickD :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 9:26pm

The Jets and Giants used to play in different parts of NYC, FWIW.

The (football) Giants are akin to the Yankees, in that they are the long-established team. The Jets are like the Mets - an upstart team that showed up in the 1960s.

The fan bases of both teams are in denial that their teams actually play in New Jersey.

by Led :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 9:31pm

Not really denial. It's just irrelevant. It's still the NYC metropolitain area. The Redskins don't actually play in DC either, but nobody mentions that.

by JoeHova :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 4:55am

TMQ does.

by Bobman :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 12:12am

Plus Jets and Mets both have Queens/Long Island fan bases (one friend, whose father grew up parking Dodgers players cars on game days is a mets fan and a Dodgers detester for that very reason, even though they left town three years before she was born. NYers know how to hold a grudge, God bless 'em), whereas Yankees/Giants tend to have a more westerly weighting of their fan bases. I'll ignore CT for the moment... everyone else does! Even though one season the Giants "home" games were at the Yale Bowl)

by JasonK :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 9:27pm

Well, the team HQs and practice facilities are in different towns (albeit both of which are now in New Jersey).

by jmaron :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:38pm

The AFC dominates DVOA but the NFC teams are actually dominating yards per play. Five of the top 6 are NFC teams. SD and NYG standout significantly in yds/play differential.

Yds Per Play differential

Team Y/P diff DVOA Rank
SD 2.4 9
NYG 1.7 5
GB 0.9 7
Phil 0.9 10
Min 0.7 21
Dall 0.6 15
Pitt 0.6 4
Mia 0.4 22
Chi 0.3 24
KC 0.3 2
NO 0.2 13
NYJ 0.2 3
Tenn 0.2 8
Balt 0.1 12
Den 0.1 25
Cinn 0 16
Indy 0 11
Wash 0 19
NE -0.2 1
Sea -0.2 14
SF -0.3 27
Hou -0.4 20
Atl -0.5 6
TB -0.5 17
Car -0.6 30
Cle -0.6 23
Det -0.8 18
Oak -0.8 29
StL -0.9 28
Arz -1 32
Buff -1 31
Jack -1.5 26

The FAQ section pts out that yds/ply differential has a correlation in season (200-2005) of .7 whereas DVOA is .86. So presumably DVOA is it strange to see such widely different rankings given the similar correlations?

It's an odd year none of the top teams seem very good. NYJ are ranked 3rd but they could barely beat a Viking team seeming intent on beating themselves.

by Scott C :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 9:38pm

For SD, two things that yardage differential doesn't measure. In fact, its oppositely correlated:

* Special teams coverage.
* Fumble recovery rate.

SD has had poor ST coverage, and very bad luck with fumbles so far. The latter is not very predictive. The former has improved a lot (in the last game, ST blocking on kicks failed, not coverage).

by Semigruntled Eagles fan (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 11:15pm

The one San Diego punt that wasn't blocked or called back by a penalty was run back 46 yds, and had a net yardage of -4. There was also a kickoff out of bounds... there's a reason that the Chargers' already atrocious special teams DVOA decreased after the Oakland game.

Of course, they did force one of those fumbles that they didn't recover on a kickoff, so there's some hope for them on the special teams front.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:41pm

Is there a crazy Bears fan who will employ the template? Pretty please?

If it weren't for the Amateur Photographer gripping his elbow like he'd been shot, and the fact they get a cornerback hurt each week, I'd actually have some hope for The Chiller's Minions. Moss obviously helps their offense a lot, and if Rice gets back in the 2nd half, they'll present match up nightmares, if anyone is around to throw it half way competently. That'd be more likely to happen, of course, if the Hall of Famer in His Own Mind, Adrian Peterson, would stoop to learn to pick up blitzes. If Cook gets back, and nobody else blows out a knee, the defensive backfield will likely hold together well enough.

Well, if they win two of the next three, which won't be easy, they'll have a decent chance to be still eligible for the playoff going into Week 17.

by tuluse :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:47pm

The Bears are clearly ranked too low because Matt Forte found his mojo. Benching Todd Collins is way better than this. Bare down Chicago Bears!!!!!!!!!1111111

by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:48pm


by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:22pm

Reasons for hope:
1. Future HoF quarterback, throwing to...
2. Moss, Harvin, and possibly Rice (in a few weeks)
3. Purple Jeebus hasn't fumbled in 4 games, yet still runs with power and authoritah!

Reasons for despair:
1. Ancient, immobile QB behind increasingly ineffective O-line
2. No way that Rice is 100 percent prior to Week 10
3. Defensive strength (front four) getting old and less effective
4. Defensive secondary hammered by injuries
5. Still coached by Childress

by RickD :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 9:30pm

I'd say 5 is the real problem there. Of course Favre's propensity for late-game INTs is bad, but Childress is a really bad game manager.

by Big Frank :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 12:47pm

I'd count #3 as a Reason for Despair... he's due.

by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Thu, 10/14/2010 - 5:30am

Now now, 'statistics have no memory', or however that saying goes. Besides, I've read in a number of places that Anointed Purple and coaching staff worked a lot on how he carries the ball this offseason (I would hope so, after the nth fumble against the Saints in January). He now keeps his arm much tighter to his body, and higher against the torso.

Then again, one of the highlight vids I watched showed him carrying the ball in his 'inside' (right) arm when running off left end. So - not perfect, but better.

by MJK :: Thu, 10/14/2010 - 11:43am

The saying doesn't go "statistics have no memory". And you have to be careful about how your represent that.

There are certain phenomena that can be modeled as processes that are "memoryless", meaning the probability of a given outcome in the future is not a function of outcomes in the past. The classic example is flipping a coin...the coin doesn't care how many times it's come up heads in the past, there's still a 50-50 chance of heads on the next flip. This is where the gambler's fallacy of being "due" plays in...just because a roulette wheel has hit red the last 20 spins does not mean that it's "due" for a green.

However, there are many other phenomena that are not "memoryless", and future events do depend on the outcome of past event. A nice toy example would be a box containing 20 red marbles and 20 black marbles. If you pick marbles out at random and happen to pull out no red and 10 black, then your next pull really is more likely to be a red marble...in this case, red really is "due".

Of course, even with a true memoryless process, there is still information to be had from the previous outcomes that do say something about the probability of the next event. The coin has the same probability of heads every time regardless of past outcomes, but we don't actually know what that probability is. We assume it's 50%, but if in the past 100 flips it came up heads in 90 of them, then there's actually some pretty strong evidence that the coin is unbalanced. Note that in this case, however, the outcome is the exact opposite of the "gambler's fallacy"...tails isn't "due" but instead we infer that heads really is more likely on this particular coin.

In the case of Purple Jesus, which is it? Are fumbles a memoryless process? I.e. assuming a player continues to get carries, does the probability of fumbling on a given play change relative to his "normal fumble probability" if he has fumbled (or failed to do so) on a number of previous plays? The only ways I could see that being the case if if (1) he rarely fumbles so he gets complacent about it, or (2) he fumbles a lot so the coaches chew him out and emphasize ball security more. I doubt either applies to Peterson, since they made curing his fumblitis a point of emphasis, so probably no (1), and he hasn't fumbled recently, so probably no (2). So I would buy that, in this case, his fumbles probably are memoryless and the fact he hasn't fumbled recently has no bearing on whether he's about to do so.

The next question is, can we infer from the recent history of not fumbling, that he is now less likely overall to fumble? Probably not...I'm guessing the sample size is too small to conclusively say that his fumble propensity has decreased.

So, he's not "due" for a fumble, but we have no evidence that he isn't the same fumbling player he's always been and just has had a lucky stretch.

by B :: Fri, 10/15/2010 - 3:52pm

Fumbles definitely aren't memoryless. Defenders are more likely to try and strip the ball from a fumble-prone carrier, and a player can learn and become less fumble prone by changing the way they hold the ball and other habits. We don't know for sure if Purple Jesus has improved things, but I do think it's evidence in his favor that this streak happened at the beginning of the year. If he spent the offseason working on this problem, which is likely considering how their season ended, than what we see now could be the fruits of that labor.
Of course, he's going to fumble the ball eventually, but we may in fact see a less fumble-prone player.

by TomC :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 11:50pm

One issue for the Vikes is that the Bears already have 2 division wins and 2 road conference (non-division) wins, and they have a bunch of soft games coming up, so Chicago can play fairly mediocre football for 11 games and still hold most of the division tiebreakers. Then for the wildcard you're fighting with GB, ATL/NO, and whatever NFCE teams end up 10-6 or better.

On the other hand, the Bears might very well play far below mediocre football and end up 8-8 or worse --- particularly if they let a few more teams play whack-a-Cutler and end up having to try and win games in 2005 mode.

by dbt :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 2:04am

That wasn't 2005-era Bears quarterbacking, that was 2004-era. Rookie Orton? More like Jonathan Quinn and Craig Krenzel.

by Yinka Double Dare :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 1:01pm

It was bad enough to invoke Henry Burris comparisons.

by MJK :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:46pm

The Jets officially scare me. Even though two teams have a higher total DVOA, the Jets are quite good in all three phases of the game, which I personally feel is far more likely to predict a strong postseason run than being wonderful in two areas and dog-awful in the third.

by RickD :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 9:33pm

The Jets' offense appears to be significantly better than I thought it would be. I see two reasons: 1) Sanchez is a lot better than he was last season, especially with regard to turnovers. 2) Tomlinson is alive again! I'm baffled that "offensive genius" Norv Turner didn't know how to get the most of a Hall of Fame running back, but that's the only explanation I can see for how much better Tomlinson looks this season than last.

by ammek :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 4:22am

The offensive line helps, too.

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 9:13am

1. Tomlinson wasn't healthy through the last two seasons. The Chargers, not unreasonably given his age, did not expect that to change. It has.

2. Last year's Chargers line sucked. This year's Jets line is excellent.

by drobviousso :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:53pm

I see that Steelers #8 in ST, and I see them covering kick offs and punts without giving up long yardage, and I still have a hard time believing it.

by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:53pm

Bears not good team really.
Think picked them for last place in nfc borth . Had Liosn in 3rd, packers in 1st, other in 2nd.
so not really ever big on Bears this year but hnave to say impressive that are 4-1 but not pretty in how get there. Think losses are coming just like losses comign for KC Cheifs.

by Karma Coma :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 8:23pm

that section of Raideroe's preseason poll looks like this:


Select a winner from each of the following divisions


[ ] liosn
[ ] favers old team
[ ] bears
[ ] other (specify as desired)


[ ] Raiders
[ ] Oakland
[ ] Bay area team (excl. SF)
[ ] The Al Davis Ragtime Band


by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 8:48pm

Sadly, did write Borth here and in preidictions thread at dicsussion forum. Just messed up . hit wrong key.

These were picks made before regular season start---------

.1 Packers
2. Vikes
3. Loins
4. bears

1. Raiders
2. Chargers
3. Chiefs
4. Broncos

by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 8:49pm

I know of one guy who will be coming back for one more, if he can play for the "Loins".

by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 10:38pm

Particularly if they're Jenn Sterger's loins.

by Mike W :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 10:18am

You go, Will.

And kudos to raiderjoe for getting all self-referential and meta with his comments above. Good stuff.

by Billy Rubin (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 8:52pm

for some strange reason, whenever I read RaiderJoe's comments, I see Chief from "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" reciting them. Irony, ain't it a bitch?

by Kevin from Philly :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 4:50pm

Ten beras will move no further, Josey Wales!

by bravehoptoad :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:56pm

It's a relief to see the Eagles down at a reasonable 10th, so we don't have to hear more pablum about how DVOA is biased toward them, or that DVOA prefers West Coast offenses, etc. That was galling.

Odd how, after Jacksonville at 26, team DVOA falls off a cliff.

by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:58pm

No, I think that team is now the Pats.

by RickD :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 9:38pm

The issue with the Pats seems to be the notion that the sum of the various ratings is as meaningful as each rating by itself. I think that the Pats are well placed in both the offensive and defensive rankings. I'm just not buying the notion that their offensive and special teams are so incredibly strong that they are the best team in the NFL, in spite of having the 27th best defense.

by Yaguar :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 1:25am

Sure, they don't "feel" like the best team in the NFL, but there really isn't any team that does.

by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 3:21am

The Jets and Ravens feel like "better" teams. We'll see about the Ravens this weekend. I'm just not buying the Pats. FO had the Pats 3rd last year as well, when I thought it was plainly obvious that they were far from the 3rd best team in the league. The Pats are 3-1, so I can't say that the standings don't reflect that they are a good team, but hasn't DVOA rankings become less and less like the actual standings the past couple years. It was either last year or the year before where the top 2 DVOA teams both won fewer than 10 games.

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 9:21am

I agree that the Jets and Ravens "feel" like better teams. I also think the Steelers "feel" like the 2000 Ravens in some wacky parallel universe where the 2000 Ravens traded for a pro bowl quarterback after Week 4. I don't want to play the 2000 Ravens with a pro bowl quarterback. Not one little bit.

by tuluse :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 9:33am

Well that's basically the 85 Bears.

by Bobby Wommack (not verified) :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 10:12am

What has the Ravens actually done this year? They could have lost to the Jets in week 1 when Flacco was terrible and the Jets went into a shell on offense. If they play that game now, the Jets might win.

They lost to a bad Bengals team.

They struggled against the Browns, letting Hillis run all over them.

They barely beat Charlie Batch at the buzzer in Pittsburgh. If Big Ben was playing, they would have lost.

And they blew out the Broncos.

They've made the plays when they've had to, don't get me wrong, and I think they are a good team, but I think everyone is overrating the Ravens at this point. Their run D isn't nearly as good as it was last year, and while everyone is saying how great they are against the pass, who have they played with a great offense? Denver? Their secondary will exposed eventually. And offensively, they really only ran well against the Broncos and Flacco has been pretty average and at times bad this year.

They aren't the best team in the league. Wouldn't surprise me if they lost in NE this weekend.

by BJR :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 10:50am

To answer the first question, they have won on the road against the Jets and the Steelers, arguably the two best defences in the league. The Bengals team they lost to may not be good, but their defence is an above average unit.

So they've played on the road against three good (and two very good) defences. In their home games against weaker defences they have put up yards for fun. I still think this is defintely a top ten offence. I do, however, agree that their pass defence has not been severely tested yet, and that was the biggest concern coming into the season for Baltimore. The fact that Kyle Orton had the seond best DYAR of all QBs last weekend is a potential red flag.

It wouldn't surprise me if they lost to New England either, but that's kind of a dumb thing to say about any team on the road against another good team. Vegas makes NE favourite for that game, so clearly most people are in agreement that it wouldn't be a surprise if they won.

by Bobby Wommack (not verified) :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 11:20am

Well said, I don't disagree with anything you said.

by Independent George :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 10:08am

Trent Dilfer WAS a Pro-Bowl quarterback!

by chemical burn :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 9:20pm

Actually, I was thinking about the Eagles consistently notably weird high rankings and I had a question. The Eagles rushing offense always ranks very high in DVOA - this year, they are #1 for example, leading to their strangely high #5 overall offensive DVOA ranking. But the Eagles have the most pass-heavy run-to-pass ratio in the league on almost an annual basis.

How much do these DVOA rankings weight for usage? I know that DYAR is a cumulative stat in the player rankings and DVOA is not... so how does that bleed over to the overall team efficiency rankings? Because if their rushing DVOA is consistently very high and they don't run the ball as much as any other team in the league (i.e. as much as DVOA might reasonably expect the "average" team to run)... doesn't that mean DVOA will over-rate them?

by billsfan :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 10:58pm

On SNF this week, they put up an interesting statistic. Under Reid, the Eagles are dead last in the league for run/pass ratio, but 2nd in yards per rushing attempt. Can't remember the exact details of the stat, but you get the idea. This season, for example, they're 20th in rush attempts per game, but lead the league with 5.3 yards per rush. DVOA measures efficiency, right?

Also, DVOA is supposed to be predictive. When the Eagles were "overrated" by DVOA, they were still making runs in the playoffs. I'm thinking specifically about the year when they tied the Bengals, went 9-6-1, needed an improbable set of circumstances on the last day of the season to even make the playoffs, and then still went to the NFCCG.

(I also like the Eagles)

by commissionerleaf :: Thu, 10/14/2010 - 4:46pm

The Eagles are first in rushing efficiency based on counting stats not because they are a good running team, but because they are a good passing team. The defense plays pass on nearly every down against an Andy Reid team. Reid was just ahead of the curve in accepting that with the NFL's new rules (new as in new since Terry Bradshaw) passing on 60-70% of downs was statistically optimal.

by Jerry :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 11:02pm

Offensive DVOA is just based on every offensive play, so if the Eagles pass 2/3 of the time, that'll be 2/3 of their offensive score. The fact that they're good when they run obviously helps the overall number, but not disproportionately.

by Alex51 :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 12:48am

How much do these DVOA rankings weight for usage? I know that DYAR is a cumulative stat in the player rankings and DVOA is not... so how does that bleed over to the overall team efficiency rankings? Because if their rushing DVOA is consistently very high and they don't run the ball as much as any other team in the league (i.e. as much as DVOA might reasonably expect the "average" team to run)... doesn't that mean DVOA will over-rate them?

No. They don't calculate the Overall Offensive DVOA by adding the Rush Offense DVOA to the Pass Offense DVOA, they just take the DVOA of each play and get the average.

For example, consider a team that had the following results on their first drive of a game against a defense that was average in every way:

1-10: run for 12 yards.
1-10: incomplete pass.
2-10: incomplete pass.
3-10: incomplete pass.
4-10: incomplete pass.

They'd have a great Rush Offense DVOA, but a horrible Pass Offense DVOA. Their Overall Offensive DVOA would probably be quite low, because they had 4 unsuccessful plays, and only one successful one.

Now, consider that same team, against the same defense, but they start the game like this:

1-10: pass for 12 yards.
1-10: rush for no gain.
2-10: rush for no gain.
3-10: rush for no gain.
4-10: rush for no gain.

Now, they'd have a great Pass Offense DVOA, but a horrible Rush Offense DVOA. But their Overall Offensive DVOA would be exactly the same as before, because the situations and the yards gained would be exactly the same. It doesn't matter that the run/pass ratio is completely different.

From "Methods To Our Madness":

Every single play run in the NFL gets a "success value" based on this system, and then that number gets compared to the average success values of plays in similar situations for all players, adjusted for a number of variables. These include down and distance, field location, time remaining in game, and current scoring lead or deficit. Teams are always compared to one standard, as the team made its own choice whether to pass or rush. However, when it comes to individual players, rushing plays are compared to other rushing plays, passing plays to other passing plays, tight ends get compared to tight ends and wideouts to wideouts.

by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:00pm

Odd that the Colts beat two of the top-5 teams by double digits, but are at 11th. Sure, they haven't been impressive, but their losses were closer than either of the Giants losses.

by Jonadan :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:12pm

On "gut" I'd say Giants, Tennessee, Green Bay, San Diego don't belong in the top ten, at least above the Colts, whatever the record says. So that would move you up to 7th, which is perfectly respectable for a 3-2 team. Right? Now the actual DVOA difference between 7th and 11th is... 7 percentage points. Don't really think that it's a huge deal at the moment.

by RickD :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 9:40pm

The Colts were flattened by the Texans in a humiliating fashion. They've also lost to the Jaguars. Neither of those teams has looked particularly strong against anybody else. Also, the Colts barely beat the Chiefs in an unimpressive fashion.

I'm guessing those three results are at least as important as their two impressive wins.

by commissionerleaf :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 7:12pm

The Colts defense has been hammered by injuries and is pretty much a joke at this point. The only teams they can stop are those who have poor blocking and inaccurate quarterbacks; Caldwell's off-man Cover 2 scheme is not working with his personnel. The linebackers can't tackle, the corners don't cover (I don't know if they can cover, they haven't been asked to except deep downfield), and Freeney and Mathis are not showing up every week and aren't great run defenders anyway.

That said: Antoine Bethea is one of the better safeties in football (he's playing FS now that Bullitt is gone), and Moala is in the lineup now. There's reason to think that a few adjustments and telling Sessions, Wheeler, and Brackett to, um, wrap up their damn guy, would improve matters.

But they weren't "flattened" by the Texans. They lost because they gave up 200 rushing yards. Manning had 430 yards and 3 TD's, and Addai was effective when he had the ball. Likewise, the Jags game wasn't one sided. It was a close loss. I still believe the Colts will win their division, and probably are among the top ten teams in football.

I'm also impressed by the Giants, whose offensive woes against the Colts mystify me.

by Arkaein :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:02pm

Boy the AFC playoff race is looking like a potential snoozer. 5 teams with 74% or better odds of making the playoffs. Only the South looks like an interesting race (according to the odds report, anyways, I suspect the West will get more interesting as I doubt the Chiefs maintain an insurmountable looking lead for long).

The NFC may be worse this year, but it looks to be quite a bit more interesting so far.

by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:38pm

I don't see the Chiefs maintaining an 'insurmountable' lead, but I certainly see them staying in the mix. Maybe that's all you're saying, but there have been a few comments about the Chiefs being exposed soon.

I don't see it. Their new DC was the DC of the Pats defense during its supremacy. The new OC was OC for the same teams. The GM was the personnel man for the same teams.

I would think that we can expect at least some of these guys to know their bidness. KC is rebuilding, and doing it well. Denver and San Diego should be on notice.

by tuluse :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:39pm

The Chiefs look a lot like the 05 Bears to me.

by RickD :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 9:42pm

For a second I read that as "a lot like the 85 Bears" and had to wonder what you were smoking.

by Formersd (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:52pm

As a Charger fan, I've noticed. The days of the Chargers getting handed the AFC West even with a slow start are coming to an end. They may get away with it again this season, but the Chiefs are coming and may have already arrived...

by Arkaein :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 8:35pm

Yes, that's actually exactly what I meant. Currently the playoff odds has the Chiefs with a 45% chance of a bye, 84% chance for winning the division, and an incredible 90% chance of making the playoffs after only a quarter of the season.

I feel their odds of securing a playoff spot and even a high seed are quite good, I just don't think it's likely that those particular odds stay that high through the middle of the season.

by jebmak :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 9:23pm

How would you feel if eight of their remaining 12 games were against teams ranked 25th and lower in DVOA (24th and lower in DAVE)?

Granted, I'm biased because I have some money on them winning the division.

by RickD :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 9:46pm

Ah yes, the joys of a last-place schedule. The Chiefs get the Browns and Bills, both of which are considerably weaker than their division mates.

by ammek :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 4:20am

That's quite unusual in this day and age, though. Two years ago, they'd have gotten 11-5 Miami and 11-5 Baltimore.

by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 11:16pm

I'm pretty sure that the Broncos had better odds at 6-0 last year. I wouldn't worry too much about the playoff odds 5 weeks in.

by Quincy :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 9:34am

Actually, with all due respect to the playoff odds page, I expect the AFC race to be pretty interesting. I see 8 good teams spread evenly across 4 divisions competing for 6 playoff spots. That should make both the division and wild card races compelling

Going further, I’m intrigued by the very real possibility all 8 divisions could have different champions than the year before for the first time since the realignment to 8 divisions (I’m not sure if it ever happened when there were 6 divisions). According to the same playoff odds page I disparaged above, the Colts are the only division winner from last year currently favored to win their division, and the Titans are neck-and-neck with them. All of the other reigning division winners have less than a 25% chance of repeating right now. The other 7 are either: in an early season hole because of multiple close losses (Vikings, Cowboys, Bengals); trapped in a division with another elite team they’ve already lost a head-to-head matchup with (Saints, Patriots); both (Chargers); or the worst team in football according to DVOA (Cardinals). It probably won’t happen, but if this keeps up it could become the go-to talking point for everyone who wants to rant about parity, good or bad.

by jebmak :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:26pm

When I saw San Diego's abysmal -20+% special teams last week. I thought that they were going to have to work really hard to keep that up.

Bravo. Bravo.

by ChicagoRaider :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:36pm

Well, at least DVOA pushes the offensive values and defensive values around for the Raiders each week, even if it doesn't change the total, regardless of outcome. But how can S.D. be "only" -21 or so in DVOA on special teams? They are simply horrific.

by Formersd (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:43pm

Seems about right to me. I'm a charger fan and it seems about right to say that their special teams are so bad, it completely negates their outstanding offense.

by whitty (not verified) :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 12:22am

IIRC the percentages presented in the table are presented in a way that allows you to add them up to get total DVOA (i.e. offense% - defense% + ST%, no additional calculation necessary). However, since special teams is only weighted 1/3 as much as offense or defense, you have to be 3x worse (or better) on a per-play basis for special teams, compared to offense or defense, in order for the percentages in the table to be equal. So a -21 in special teams should look as dysfunctional as a -63 on offense or a +63 on defense -- it just generally doesn't have as significant of an effect on a game.

That's my understanding of it, anyway.

by Semigruntled Eagles fan (not verified) :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 1:30am

I believe that you're correct - and of course, -63% is tremendously terrible. The worst Special Teams of the DVOA era belong to the 2000 Bills, with -12.9%, and the second worst was the 1997 Seahawks, with -9.8%. In the past 5 seasons, no team has been lower than -6.5%, so the Chargers special teams are currently performing about 3 times worse than any team has over the past five years.

Also, a note for whom it may concern: On the 2006 and 2007 special teams DVOA pages, the drop-down menus that allow one to browse other DVOA pages (i.e. the "Pick Position" and "Pick Year" menues) appear to be missing; they work for me on all other pages I've checked.

by Aaron Schatz :: Thu, 10/14/2010 - 5:02pm

Saw this while looking through here for mailbag topics. I'll make sure this issue with 2006 and 2007 gets fixed. Thanks for noticing.

by Dave :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:47pm

IND's O and D look right but I'm a bit surprised to see their ST at 25th. With the exception of some stupid low net yardage punts that never should've happened (three from inside the 40 against the Texans, IIRC), their special teams has been kind of a pleasant surprise this year.

by Emptyeye (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 8:38pm

Ooh! Ooh! I wanna try the zlionsfan template!

Here we go...

is clearly ranked because . is way better than this.

...how was that?

by Emptyeye (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 8:40pm

Okay, you know what, screw you pseudo-HTML. Let's try again.

(New England) is clearly ranked (too high) because (Aaron is a Pats homer and must tweak the system to make them number one every week.). (raiderjoe's expert analysis) is way better than this. (B3lich1k ch33ts!!!!11!!1)

...did that work?

by jebmak :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 9:25pm

I'm with you on the expert analysis part.

by nat :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 9:31pm

A fine example of the form. I love how you start with a reasonable proposition (New England being ranked too high) and gradually undermine your credibility until by the end we're willing to concede the whole season and possibly the entire decade to them.

Or is that the effect you were going for?

by Emptyeye (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 11:24pm

Well, glad to see the approval. Suffice to say I've lurked here for quite awhile (And actually made a very occasional post, although not enough to really call myself anything other than a lurker).

For the form, that's more-or-less what I was going for, yes. The Pats being rated #1 does legitimately confuse me, although that may be irrational Pats hatred talking (Last year in the playoffs, when Aaron asked "Does anyone remember this franchise for 1993?", my thought to myself was "1993? Try about December 2001 when everyone jumped on the bandwagon."). The rest is obviously facetious, although I very much enjoy me some raiderjoe posts.

(For the record, my favorite example of the template to date is probably the "San Francisco is ranked too high because they are worse than the worst team in football" one from a couple weeks ago.)

by funkdoc (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 11:17pm

what the hell emptyeye how long have you been around here

well since you're here, the $64,000 question: raiderjoe or master-88?

by Emptyeye (not verified) :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 7:53am


Man, is there any place I won't see you?

Oh man, that's a touch one. I think I'd have to say raiderjoe, as I get the feeling he's at least capable of posting something that adheres to rules of English spelling and grammar, and just willingly chooses to disregard them.

by Thok :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 9:47pm

I'm still waiting for the Niners to have another disastrous game so they fall to last and Aaron can break out the Hell rating.

by greybeard :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 11:58pm

Don't be a hater. Niners are the best 0-5 team out there.

by Thok :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 12:58am

I'm sure that the 49ers will be in the argument the best 2-14 team in NFL history. But I've already given up on the season and I'm having fun with the absurdity of their current predicament.

by greybeard :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 2:40am

I was joking.
I will give up on the season next week.

by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 10:58am

Which circle of hell? Is there one reserved for idiots that only want to run up the middle because they think it's more macho?

by bravehoptoad :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 11:49am

Tough to slot. I'd have to say the 5th circle, for wrath, is most likely, but maybe the 8th circle, 10th ditch, for falsifiers.

by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 3:24am

I probably should have asked this years ago. I was under the impression that FO devalued Special Teams DVOA so that it wasn't as important as offensive or defensive DVOA. When I look at the rankings, the total DVOA is Offensive DVOA - Defensive DVOA + ST DVOA. So, is the ST already devalued in the special teams ratings, or was I off base in thinking that the Special Teams DVOA has less of an impact in the total DVOA than offense or defense?

by Lou :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 4:11am

total DVOA is 3/7 Offensive DVOA + 3/7 Defensive DVOA + 1/7 ST DVOA.

by ammek :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 4:17am

Yes, it's already 'devalued'.

by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 1:21pm

Ok. Thanks.

by BJR :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 8:07am

I run a season long simulation loosely based on how Vegas ranks teams, and interestingly this still gives San Francisco a 15% chance of winning their division. As Bill observes, the remaining schedule is ridiculously easy. Indeed it wouldn't be a massive stretch to imagine them winning their next 6 games which consist of OAK, @CAR, DEN, STL, TB, @ARI. And the other teams in their division are really bad. 8-8 with tie breakers still wins the NFC West, and the 49ers still have a shout of going 8-8.

by Kevin from Philly :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 4:59pm

As rj would say, is simluation drunk?

by MJSNJ (not verified) :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 9:01am

The Giants loss to the Colts was mostly due to the defense, but the offense had a lot to do with it to. The Giants wanted the Colts to run in order to shorten the game on both sides of the ball. Then the Giants offense went 3 and out the first three or four times against a Colts defense eager to prove that the Houston game was an aberration and it blew up in their face. It wasn't a bad strategy, and points to Fewell for trying something new.

The feeling here though is that although the defense has been inconsistent if you look game by game, the trend is upward. That was a pretty decent offense they totally dominated on Sunday. I was always in the camp that said last year's defensive issues were due to injury and incompetent coaching. The secondary is playing terrific, they've gone to a three safety backfield that allows them to defend the pass and run. Their next test will be in two weeks against Dallas. If they do well there, I think I can start getting optimistic.

by AnonymousOne (not verified) :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 9:46am

Yes, yes, I know...DVOA is god. But does anyone honestly think that New England is the best team in the league?

by Keith (1) (not verified) :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 9:49am

Nobody said they are the best team in the league, and I am sure that is not the intention of DVOA. This is simply a measure of things that are successful on a football field. Whatever you determine that actually means is up to you.

by Jonadan :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 10:07am

Who are your other candidates?

Jets: They're my personal pick for #1, but it's apparently fairly possible to keep Sanchez under wraps if you've got a good D of your own.
Pittsburgh: given their record without Big Ben, another solid early favorite.
Atlanta: They've got not much style, but they kept Pittsburgh within reach. Of course, that win over the Saints was ugly.

Beyond those three, I don't think there's a team that look better than the Pats. Of course, New England hasn't played anybody...

by Bobby Wommack (not verified) :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 10:18am

Are the Pats the best team in the league? No.

But, they completely dominated the Bengals week 1, putting up 38 on a good D and a team that beat everyone's favorite Baltimore Ravens.

They outplayed the Jets in the first half of Week 2, before collapsing in the second half on the road.

They handled the Bills, putting up 38 points, even though the D didn't play that well.

And they obliterated the Fins on the road on the Monday Night.

They basically had one bad half the entire year.

Not saying their the best team, but they've been consistent on offense all year minus the 2nd half against the Jets.

by Giraffesturbation (not verified) :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 10:58am

"But, they completely dominated the Bengals week 1, putting up 38 on a good D"

They didn't though, did they?

by Bobby Wommack (not verified) :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 11:25am

The Pats only had 58 plays in the entire game compared to the Bengals 76, but still managed almost 400 yards of offense, 9-13 on third down, 120 yards rushing at 5 yards a clip, got 2 turnovers, 1 pick six, 1 kick off return, and Brady threw for 3 TDs.And they were up 31-3 in the 3rd quarter.

If that's not dominate, I don't know what is.

by Eddo :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 11:47am

The word is "dominant". When did using "dominate" as an adjective start? I see this all the time, and it's not at all correct.

by Bobman :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 12:32pm

You DO??? Yikes, I assumed it was a typo.

by Eddo :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 2:43pm

Unfortunately, yes, Bobman. I think it happens for the same reason you see "I would of" or "intensive purposes" or "spitting image" - when people say the terms out loud, they tend not to enunciate the important parts (in the case of "dominant", the second "n").

(For the record (most decidedly NOT targeted at you, Bob), the correct terms are:
- dominant
- I would have
- intents and purposes
- spit and image)

by AudacityOfHoops :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 2:58pm

Wait, "spitting image" is really supposed to be "spit and image?" ??? My mind is blown.

EDIT: A google searched turned up this: http://alt-usage-english.org/excerpts/fxspitan.html

I think your efforts to preserve "spit and image" are about 100 years too late.

by tuluse :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 2:53pm

Are you sure about that last one?

I always thought it was spitting image, I don't think I've ever seen spit and image written down, and it always sounded exactly like spitting image whenever someone said it to me.

And doing a quick search, I found at least one website that contradicts you.


by AnonymousOne (not verified) :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 2:58pm

"Spit and image" is what it was originally, however Spitting Image is an accepted and much more commonly used modern version. Language/sayings change.

However, people who type "would of" should be forced back into an elementary school english class.

by AnonymousOne (not verified) :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 3:02pm

Oh and "intensive purposes" bugs me too.

And people who say "supposuvly" instead of supposedly.

by tuluse :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 3:07pm

Thanks for the information on "spitting image."

As for "intensive purposes", I find that amusing for some reason.

"Irregardless" bothers me though.

by SamWyatt (not verified) :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 10:09pm

Sadly, 'irregardless', like ain't, has now become a part of the lexicon

by Will Allen :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 10:18pm

I'll defend "ain't" by noting that Twain used it with vigor, and that ain't nuthin'.

by Alex51 :: Thu, 10/14/2010 - 9:22pm

Though I'm not especially fond of 'irregardless', it's actually been a part of the lexicon for quite a while. Over 80 years, according to Merriam-Webster (see the Usage Discussion).

And I have no problem with ain't.

by MJK :: Fri, 10/15/2010 - 11:47am

The problem with "ain't" is that using it strongly implies that the speaker is either very uneducated (or from Texas). In fact, this is specifically why Twain uses it...he wants his characters to come across as rustic and as having had limited schooling.

Of course, it is a regional thing. I work with an absolutely brilliant scientist from Texas. He has a PhD in Material Science and over 30 years of experience solving some of today's most cutting-edge problems...and it's strange to hear him say things like "We're fixin' to do this, but we ain't gonna be able to unless we can learn them right". You get the idea.

by Eddo :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 3:09pm

Yes, I probably should have (not of!) left off "spit and image"; I'm pretty well aware of its history, and "spitting image" has been around long enough and actually kind of makes sense, along the same lines as "spit and image". I withdraw that one.

Echoing a poster below, "supposably" bugs me, too.

I'll make sure I consult the Becktionary before adding any more of these.

by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 3:25pm

Wave a chicken in the air!
Stick a deckchair up your nose!

Or that golden oldie

Reagan (smooching Margaret Thatcher):

What a woman, it's a pity I'm only screwing her country1

Oh, the golden days of British satire. . .

by Will Allen :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 3:32pm

This reminds of the time I ridiculed Peter King, for trying to compliment a speaker by saying that the speaker employed many "truisms", and I was promptly informed that the term was now employed by many people in that manner. Oh well. I still can't stand Peter King.

by Andrew Potter :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 3:51pm

I could care less. (You could? Really? Then why are you using it to infer you don't care at all?)

by AudacityOfHoops :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 4:15pm

I love it when grammar police make mistakes while chastising.

Imply vs. infer: http://grammartips.homestead.com/imply.html

Also, check the following link for an argument that "I could care less" actually makes some type of logical sense: http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-ico1.htm

by nat :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 4:36pm

I could care less, but it's not worth the effort.

by Andrew Potter :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 4:53pm

I debated the usage internally before posting, but decided I couldn't care less.

by bravehoptoad :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 4:20pm

My favorite:

A long road to hoe.

Hoeing a road would certainly be harder than hoeing a row.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 4:46pm

When I was in Bangkok, I observed a few roads with a long row of hoes, but never did see anyone trying to hoe one.

by Bobman :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 12:31pm

That is utterly dominant (see above) but I don't think that's what he was getting at when he said "but they didn't really, did they".

The pick six and KO rtn (assuming it was for a TD) take 14 pts off that "they put up 38 on a good defense" comment. Still, 24 pts (assuming they shut down early, which is not their MO) is darn good.

Of course the immortal Josh Freeman and the Bucs just put 24 on the Bengals as well.... Not as dominant an overall game, but offenive production the same.

by AnonymousOne (not verified) :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 1:56pm

"Who are your other candidates?"

Pittsburgh, NYJ, Baltimore are all more complete (i.e. better) teams.

With that defense I couldnt really see the Pats beating Indianapolis, New Orleans, Tennessee, Atlanta, San Diego, Green Bay, Houston, Minnesota.

I see the Pats as a middle of the road team. They have a bad defense, and had a very potent offense with Moss. Without Moss, we'll see.

I dont want to hear about how Brady can put up great numbers with any receivers. Yes, he is a great QB but it is no coincidence that his passer rating jumped 30 points the year Moss got there, or that he shattered all of his previous career bests in the years following.

I think it is just as likely that Brady reverts back to being the 85-92 rating QB that he was pre-Moss. Yes, Brady won Superbowls with lesser receivers...but he also had a great defense to back him up.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 2:09pm

The Vikings in Foxboro will be an interesting test at the end of the, month, if the Vikings haven't imploded to a 1-5 record by then, and have Jenn Sterger starting at quarterback. Which is a distinct possibility.

by tuluse :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 2:36pm

For some reason this reminded me of a Vonnegot short story I read where the government made everyone equal by handicapping anyone who was advantaged in anyway. Broadcasters had a forced speech impediment, smart people wore a device that blasted them with sound every so often so they couldn't think for very long, etc.

In this version of the NFL, every teams' linemen have to wear weights on their legs until they play like the Bears, Jenn Sterger plays QB for the Vikings, and Brett Favre gets unsolicited pictures of penises sent to his phone.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 3:25pm


by Lyford (not verified) :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 3:36pm

Harrison Bergeron


There's a short movie version, too, called 2081...

by tuluse :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 3:51pm

Yeah that's it. I just knew that I read it in Welcome to the Monkey House.

It's the kind of story that sticks with you.

by leviramsey (not verified) :: Sun, 10/17/2010 - 12:36am

"Welcome to the Monkey House" has to be one of the best single-author collections of 20th-century American short fiction out there.

Pity I gave my copy to a girlfriend in high school and didn't get it back when we broke up...

by Kevin from Philly :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 5:09pm

A ha! Now we know why DVOA favors the Eagles!

by AnonymousOne (not verified) :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 2:54pm

Yes it should be a good game, especially with the added drama of Moss returning. I think Peterson is going to be the biggest factor in the game though. Just as Rice will likely be this Sunday.

by tuluse :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 10:38am

I don't think anyone thinks DVOA is god, and there is certainly room to disagree and discuss what you think the relative strengths of teams are.

Plus it's a little too early to be crowning anyone's ass. Full opponent adjustments aren't even in yet.

by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 10:59am

They have only just lost a HOF receiver, let that sink in for a while.

by Bobman :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 11:37am

Cue the chorus telling us how much he sucks, how his catch percentage sucked, how worthless he has been this year.... ignoring the fact that he was the main attraction for the D, regardless....

by Led :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 12:19pm

I'm really interested to see how that plays out for the Pats. I've always thought Moss was jet fuel for their offense by opening up the middle of the field. But maybe I'm wrong. It's not often you get this kind of "natual experiment" to assess the value of a player.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 12:41pm

In particular, it will be interesting to track the hits Brady takes from this point forward. Moss has always been one of the better destroyers of blitzing defenses, and thus inhibited teams from extreme stunting. Even the Jets, with their excellent corner play, were inclined to roll a safety in his direction. Defenstive coordinators who really want to bring pressure, and test Brady's pocket maneuverability, or to just smack him around, might feel less inhibited in what they do to accomplish those tasks.

by MJK :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 11:06pm

This would be true in the past...

However, Moss hasn't been a blitz-destroyer this year. He's been used almost exclusively on deep routes, barring the occasional comeback route on 3rd down when the defense decides to double-cover Welker.

Granted, I've only watched three of their four games (had to listen to the Buffalo game because I was on travel), and it's hard to tell on camera sometimes, but I would wager that Moss has run very few "hot" routes this year.

In fact, the quick slant, which was never one of Brady's stronger throws, seems to have been almost completely taken out of the Pats playbook this year...and especially since Faulk went down.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 10/14/2010 - 1:44am

In his first go-round with the Vikings, Moss wrecked blitzes with 9 routes. The Vikings would go max protection, and let Moss run underneath a mortar round. Maybe he doesn't have that sort of speed anymore.

by Eddo :: Thu, 10/14/2010 - 11:44am

I agree with you, Will. I've always figured a tall, fast WR like Moss was the perfect blitz-wrecker. Favre especially has always loved to chuck up a deep lob when blitzed.

It will be extremely interesting to see how the Patriots' offense, particularly Welker, produces without Moss.

by smashmouth football :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 12:38pm

I am genuinely puzzled by something in these ratings: why is the Ravens defense ranked so poorly?

Contra: 3d in yards allowed per game, first in 3d down percentage allowed, 2d in first downs allowed per game, tied 8th in yards per play allowed.

Pro: only 1 interception, and only 7 forced fumbles (league leader has 14)

Also, the D-rank has declined steadily each week. I understand DVOA expects a good D to shut out the Browns and hold them under 200 total yards (Ravens gave up 17 points, 304 total yards, 5.5 yards-per-play, 18 first downs), but the Ravens defensive DVOA also plunged after the Denver game. Denver actually appears to have a good/very good passing offense (generally a lot more important than rushing offense, especially for DVOA purposes), and the Ravens also held Denver in check, allowing only 17 points, one of the TDs coming in the last minute in garbage time.

There's always some explanation, I'm just genuinely curious. Usually my subjective evaluations tend to be confirmed by DVOA, but this time it looks like the Ravens D is underrated. (Admittedly, that could be influenced by my pro-Ravens bias.)

by nat :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 5:56pm

When I get this kind of puzzlement, I often check out the drive stats for hints. The Ravens D has been very good at forcing punts and very bad at forcing turnovers. The result is that, while limiting points against, they are giving their offense bad average field position.

by Wanker79 :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 2:33pm

I've always hated ranking strength of schedule by average. A schedule consisting of an equal number of awful team and great teams doesn't seem like it should be considered the same strength as a schedule of all mediocre teams.

Former Eagles Fan. Go JETS!

by Eddo :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 2:45pm

Agreed. I like the way FEI does it - SOS is determined by the probability an average team would go undefeated against a given schedule.

by chemical burn :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 3:13pm

Yeah and it ends up being confusing - like, I want to know how many good teams have they actually played? And how many chumps have they pounded? Especially in light of GUTS and STOMPS this seems like relevant info...

For instance, the Eagles appear to have played a slate consisting of only a little below average teams. And now they are getting ready to play a slate of mainly a little above average teams. And yet, they're going from one of the easiest schedules to one of the hardest - but the qualitative difference seems minor. They didn't play any of the bottom four worst teams yet and they won't play any of the 4 best teams going forward...

by MJK :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 8:01pm

That difference is actually not so bad...in both cases a mediocre team would go about 0.500.

However, there's a big difference between a schedule with all slightly-below-average teams, and one with 20% Unbelievably Awesome Teams and 80% bad but not cover-your-eyes awful teams. In this case, both average schedule ratings would be about the same, but the same mediocre team would do slightly better than average against one, and win nearly 80% of the time against the other.

by Jonadan :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 7:07pm

Stat of the Week (aka All You Need to Know about Panthers-Bears): The Bears and Panthers put together back-to-back drives with -1 yard of offense, 1 per team, not counting penalties.

by LetsGoJets (not verified) :: Thu, 10/14/2010 - 3:03am

Wow, I'm surprised how close this is to my personal observations watching the red zone channel and as many games as possible every week. Right now I'd take New England, New York (Jets), Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Tennessee and Kansas City as the six best teams in the AFC. Dolphins, Colts and Chargers fall just short. Texans are pretenders. In the NFC, I'd take New York (Giants), Eagles, Packers, Falcons, Buccaneers and Rams. Steelers and Falcons look like the most complete teams to me so far in their respective conferences.

by ammek :: Thu, 10/14/2010 - 6:07am

I've been wondering about the huge disconnect between the sum of each team's DVOA in the 'Pass defense by types of receivers' table, and its overall pass defense. I've tried to break the stats down to see what they can tell us about the interaction of coverage and pass rush.

In the table below, the first column is overall Pass Defense DVOA (and rank).
The second column is the sum of the 'DVOA vs types of receivers' columns, divided by targets/game.
The third column represents the difference between 'Pass DVOA' and 'Summed DVOA vs types of receivers'. In other words, here is the estimated DVOA of a defense's sacks, forced grounding penalties, and throws to no-one and/or hole-in-zone. (Is there anything else missing?) The table is sorted by the ranking in this column.
The final column is each defense's ranking in Adjusted Sack Rate.

team … passdvoa … vsTypeRec … diff … adj sk rate rank
NYG … -33.4 (1) … -9.2 (6) … 24.2 (1) … (1)
SDG … -25.6 (2) … -13.9 (4) … 11.7 (2) … (2)
TEN … -19.8 (3) … -8.8 (8) … 11.0 (3) … (3)
GNB … -14.2 (5) … -5.1 (12) … 9.1 (4) … (4)
PIT … -17.2 (4) … -8.3 (9) … 8.9 (5) … (6)
KCC … -12.7 (6) … -8.0 (10) … 4.7 (6) … (14)
NOR … 6.4 (17) … 9.9 (26) … 3.5 (7) … (19)
ATL … -5.0 (12) … -3.6 (13) … 1.4 (8) … (12)
CHI … -10.8 (8) … -11.8 (5) … -1.0 (9) … (23)
SFO … 17.1 (23) … 16.0 (29) … -1.1 (10) … (11)
DET … 2.2 (15) … 0.4 (20) … -1.8 (11) … (7)
PHI … -0.1 (13) … -2.6 (14) … -2.5 (12) … (5)
MIN … -5.9 (11) … -9.1 (7) … -3.2 (13) … (28)
MIA … 5.9 (16) … 0.0 (19) … -5.9 (14) … (13)
STL … 13.0 (22) … 7.0 (24) … -6.0 (15) … (24)
CLE … 20.5 (26) … 14.1 (28) … -6.4 (16) … (8)
IND … 7.2 (18) … -0.1 (18) … -7.3 (17) … (21)
BAL … 0.7 (14) … -6.7 (11) … -7.4 (18) … (9)
CAR … -8.8 (9) … -16.3 (3) … -7.5 (19) … (29)
OAK … 32.0 (29) … 24.2 (30) … -7.8 (20) … (18)
NWE … 20.1 (24) … 9.3 (25) … -10.8 (21) … (27)
SEA … 10.7 (19) … -1.1 (16) … -11.8 (22) … (10)
TBB … -11.6 (7) … -23.8 (1) … -12.2 (23) … (32)
CIN … -8.5 (10) … -21.0 (2) … -12.5 (24) … (30)
ARI … 12.2 (20) … -1.2 (15) … -13.4 (25) … (26)
NYJ … 12.9 (21) … -0.5 (17) … -13.4 (26) … (15)
WAS … 20.3 (25) … 4.6 (21) … -15.7 (27) … (25)
HOU … 43.3 (31) … 27.2 (32) … -16.1 (28) … (17)
DAL … 24.7 (27) … 6.2 (22) … -18.5 (29) … (20)
BUF … 46.2 (32) … 24.6 (31) … -21.6 (30) … (22)
JAC … 36.3 (30) … 12.7 (27) … -23.6 (31) … (16)
DEN … 31.9 (28) … 7.0 (23) … -24.9 (32) … (31)

Is this breakdown useful in any way? Does it indicate, for example, that Tampa and Cincinnati are better in coverage than their overall defensive DVOA indicates? That New Orleans and San Francisco get more value out of their pass rush than they do once their opponents have thrown the football (or do they have a lot of holes-in-zone)? That Minnesota isn't getting many sacks for its pressure?