Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

Most Recent FO Features

KerriganRya11.jpg

» Week 2 DVOA Ratings

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

20 Sep 2011

Week 2 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

New England tops the Football Outsiders VOA ratings after Week 2, as well as our DAVE ratings that incorporate both performance so far and our preseason projections. Six of the seven 2-0 teams rank among the top seven so far this season. Washington is the odd man out, ranking just 13th after a very close win over Arizona. (If we had opponent adjustments at this point, Washington would be even lower... after all, it was Arizona.)

The most surprising team so far may be Tennessee. The Titans come in with a rating of 38.5% after two weeks, making them the only 1-1 team in the top seven. Last week I noted that the Titans had a higher rating than Jacksonville despite losing a close game in Week 1. This week, of course, they had a significant victory over Baltimore. What's most remarkable is that the Titans are exceling in every way except the way conventional wisdom expects them to excel. The Titans have played well on defense, ranking third overall, third against the pass, and tenth against the run. They rank seventh in pass offense. But Chris Johnson and the running game rank a dismal 29th.

The Titans rank 21st in DAVE because their preseason projection was very poor. We're still expecting the Titans to settle below league average as the season continues, but this early performance is certainly a reason for optimism among Titans fans.

Another team with a surprising rating is Minnesota, which ranks 16th in VOA despite being 0-2. That would seem to suggest that the Vikings are a bit underrated and could be a sleeper upset possibility against Detroit this weekend. What's really strange about Minnesota -- and totally a product of the lack of data in the early part of the season -- is that the Vikings' total VOA (7.0%) is higher than their VOA in either Week 1 (-6.1%) or Week 2 (2.4%). How is this possible? It has to do with the difference between the number of plays run by the Vikings and the number run by their opponents. In Week 1, when the Vikings played better on defense than they did on offense, the Vikings faced 77 plays and ran only 43 plays. In Week 2, when the Vikings played better on offense than they did on defense, the Vikings ran 67 plays and faced only 54 plays. Since VOA is a per-play metric, not a per-week metric, the Vikings' offensive rating is more heavily affected by their Week 2 performance and their defensive rating is more heavily affected by their Week 1 performance. Add it all up, and the total is better than either game on its own. Sort of strange, huh? That's the kind of thing that gets worked out of the system once we've played four or five games in a season.

All the FO stats pages are now updated, including the offensive line and defensive line pages for the first time, as well as the defense vs. types of receivers on the team defense page. The FO Premium DVOA splits database will be updated for 2011 sometime this evening.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through two weeks of 2011, 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 VOA are adjusted to consider all fumbles, kept or lost, as equal value. SPECIAL TEAMS VOA is adjusted for type of stadium (warm, cold, dome, Denver) and week of season.

There are no opponent adjustments in VOA until the fourth week of the season, which is why it is VOA right now rather than DVOA. 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 VOA to get a more accurate forecast of how a team will play the rest of the season. Right now, the preseason projection makes up 75 percent of DAVE.

To save people some time, please use the following format for all complaints:

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

TEAM TOTAL
VOA
LAST
WEEK
TOTAL
DAVE
RANK W-L OFFENSE
VOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
VOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
1 NE 58.3% 4 36.5% 1 2-0 68.6% 1 13.0% 23 2.6% 13
2 DET 48.4% 8 10.2% 9 2-0 13.3% 13 -34.2% 2 0.9% 16
3 NYJ 45.5% 16 24.6% 2 2-0 0.1% 21 -37.6% 1 7.8% 5
4 HOU 45.1% 3 16.5% 7 2-0 24.8% 6 -4.4% 8 15.9% 2
5 TEN 38.5% 10 -5.1% 21 1-1 21.2% 7 -22.0% 3 -4.8% 24
6 BUF 37.7% 2 6.8% 13 2-0 47.8% 3 12.4% 21 2.2% 14
7 GB 37.2% 7 17.9% 5 2-0 51.1% 2 11.3% 20 -2.6% 21
8 BAL 23.9% 1 16.7% 6 1-1 -2.5% 22 -20.1% 4 6.3% 8
9 CIN 22.3% 11 -3.2% 19 1-1 17.1% 8 -9.4% 5 -4.2% 23
10 NO 20.1% 20 12.4% 8 1-1 25.8% 5 15.5% 26 9.8% 4
11 SF 19.4% 5 -0.1% 15 1-1 -17.6% 28 -8.3% 6 28.7% 1
12 PHI 11.9% 6 21.1% 4 1-1 16.4% 9 2.5% 16 -1.9% 18
13 WAS 11.6% 9 -4.9% 20 2-0 15.5% 11 1.5% 14 -2.4% 20
14 NYG 9.7% 26 7.6% 12 1-1 11.5% 16 -0.3% 12 -2.1% 19
15 OAK 9.1% 12 -8.6% 25 1-1 29.4% 4 13.2% 24 -7.1% 25
16 MIN 7.0% 19 -0.1% 14 0-2 12.5% 15 10.8% 18 5.2% 10
TEAM TOTAL
VOA
LAST
WEEK
TOTAL
DAVE
RANK W-L OFFENSE
VOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
VOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
17 ARI 5.9% 17 -10.6% 26 1-1 13.8% 12 14.2% 25 6.2% 9
18 ATL 4.7% 15 7.8% 11 1-1 3.1% 19 0.2% 13 1.7% 15
19 DAL -2.0% 21 -5.7% 22 1-1 2.4% 20 -8.1% 7 -12.6% 30
20 CLE -7.2% 23 -3.2% 18 1-1 -17.5% 27 -3.2% 9 7.1% 6
21 PIT -7.8% 32 22.2% 3 1-1 -8.7% 24 2.2% 15 3.1% 12
22 TB -10.2% 22 -8.2% 24 1-1 5.9% 18 30.3% 29 14.2% 3
23 DEN -15.6% 25 -14.9% 27 1-1 -8.0% 23 12.6% 22 4.9% 11
24 CHI -24.1% 13 -0.9% 16 1-1 -25.0% 29 5.9% 17 6.8% 7
25 IND -30.4% 30 -16.9% 28 0-2 -15.9% 26 -0.8% 11 -15.2% 31
26 CAR -30.7% 27 -18.5% 29 0-2 12.7% 14 35.1% 31 -8.3% 26
27 SD -31.0% 14 9.0% 10 1-1 10.8% 17 32.5% 30 -9.4% 27
28 MIA -32.6% 28 -1.7% 17 0-2 16.2% 10 37.7% 32 -11.1% 28
29 JAC -36.0% 18 -7.5% 23 1-1 -35.8% 31 -1.5% 10 -1.7% 17
30 STL -42.2% 29 -20.9% 30 0-2 -14.2% 25 24.8% 28 -3.3% 22
31 SEA -59.3% 24 -31.3% 32 0-2 -31.3% 30 10.8% 18 -17.2% 32
32 KC -83.6% 31 -29.9% 31 0-2 -47.0% 32 24.6% 27 -12.0% 29

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 20 Sep 2011

118 comments, Last at 24 Sep 2011, 12:45am by tuluse

Comments

1
by QQ (not verified) :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 4:09pm

When do the Opponent Adjustments start to factor in, Week 4?

2
by Danger Dan (not verified) :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 4:13pm

+1 for remembering correct week

-1 for reading comprehension.

"There are no opponent adjustments in VOA until the fourth week of the season, which is why it is VOA right now rather than DVOA."

39
by JoeHova :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 6:15pm

-1 for not being a jerk.

40
by tgt2 (not verified) :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 6:30pm

-1 for writing ability.

3
by jimm (not verified) :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 4:15pm

really curious how the Vikings 1st and 2nd half ranking compare. In both games the Vikings played extremely well in the first half and incredibly bad in the 2nd half.

9
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 4:49pm

I hate to say it, jimm, but I think the 2nd half Vikings are likely to get the upper hand on the 1st half Vikings. Opposing defensive coordinators are going to take away Peterson, and force the Vikings to try to rely on the likes of Berrian and Jenkins to make plays, while McNabb runs for his life. Really, if you put eight or nine in the box, and double Harvin when needed, why be afraid of the Vikings offense? The defense is competent for the most part, once one factors that the dbs really don't cover all that well. Sounds like at least 10 losses to me, and I predict McNabb doesn't make it through the meeting with the Lions. I think a 17+ point drubbing is on order for Sunday.

23
by andrew :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 5:17pm

I predict they will be up by 7 at the half and still lose by 17.

48
by jimm (not verified) :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 8:37pm

My 40 plus years of following the Vikings leads me to expect the worst as well Will. The Offensive line can't pass block - the only time McNabb has any time to throw the ball is when they run play action and no one is actually rushing the passer. Harvin is great in the slot, but they have zero threat on the outside. Last year the Vikings balked at giving up a second for Vincent Jackson, sure would be better the the 3rd they gave away for nothing.

The defensive line has put good pressure on the opposing QB in the first half of each game and then no pressure whatsoever in the 2nd half.

Watching Peterson run is quite entertaining, but it's not how you win in the NFL. It's a passing league. The only time the Vikings were any good in the Peterson era was when Favre started throwing the ball a lot.

I just don't think this management group is smart enough to win. Giving huge contracts to a RB and an OLB just doesn't make sense. Those positions simply aren't important enough to tie up cap space. I also think the Ponder pick was ridiculous. Drafting a QB because you think you need one is stupid. You draft a QB when it's good value to draft one. What I've seen of Ponder combined with his college stats convinces me that was a completely wasted pick, and even worse - it sets the team back a year or two while they try to force this mediocre QB into the starting role.

I'm not very optimistic about the future of this team, because I don't think much of Spielman or Frazier.

62
by Will Allen :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 2:00am

I gave up pretending to be able to project college qbs a long time ago, but no, there wasn't anything about Ponder that I found interesting. Unless you have the contracts in front of you, you just can't know how any individual contract affects future cap space. I suspect what is essentially two more years guaranteed for Peterson after this season won't crimp the Vikings too much.

I hate rooting for soft football teams, and this offensive line puts them in that category. My favorite Viking team since the late 80s was actually the year before Favre arrived; that was a roster that was prepared to harm people, on both sides of the ball. It is too bad that Favre didn't decide to go full jackass that year, and thus preclude a trade to the Jets, and force his unconditional release. Then again, Rice wasn't healthy that year, and Harvin hadn't arrived, so there wasn't much to throw to. It sure would have been nice, however, to play the Eagles in the playoffs with someone other than our man Tavaris. Story of the Vikings in their good to great years; always one player short.

73
by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 8:20am

Ah I remember that Vikings team. That was the year Vikes fans were saying "We have a great defense, great running back, and great offensive line. Why aren't we looked at as contenders?" and everyone answered "There's this thing called the forward pass..."

75
by Will Allen :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 8:33am

Even so, they were about 2 extremely makeable plays away from beating the Eagles in the playoffs, and if they had, they were matched up to deliver a pummeling to the Cards. Of course, their chances of beating the Steelers in the last game would have been pretty slim, so it all would have ended in typical Vikings fashion.

88
by jimm (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 12:09pm

you're missing a round Will...The Vikes would have had to beat the Giants first in NY....then @Arz, then Pitts.....

tall order for any team with TJack at the helm

94
by Travis :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 1:06pm

The 3rd-seeded Vikings would have played the 2nd-seeded Panthers in Carolina, while the 4th-seeded Cardinals would have played at the 1st-seeded Giants. It's hard to imagine that Jackson could have played worse than Delhomme actually did that round.

It's also hard to see Kurt Warner and the Arizona offense playing as well as they did in relatively balmy Carolina as they would have in the below-freezing temperatures and 20 mph winds of the Meadowlands.

51
by LionsFanInAZ (not verified) :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 9:14pm

I'm not going to figure a blowout against the Vikes yet. For one, they have always had a big home advantage; two, it's a divisional game; and three, much depends on how K Williams performs now that he's off suspension. He may not be in game shape yet, but his return will make the Vikings D a lot better.

54
by zlionsfan :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 10:07pm

I don't think that's going to make as much of a difference as the secondary would. I'm making my way through the first two games, and so far, it's clear that Stafford is focusing on getting the ball out quickly; of course you can see that he hasn't been sacked yet (the Lions are the only team not to allow a sack so far), but he's been finding open receivers, not just chucking the ball into the seats.

If the Vikings play tighter coverage, then better DL pressure will help, but the Vikings didn't have a good ASR last season even with Williams in, and Ray Edwards is gone, so they're going to need someone else to help Allen in addition to getting plays from the DBs. It's not an automatic win by any means, but the Lions will find few opportunities to win at Minnesota that are better than this one.

4
by drobviousso :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 4:19pm

Simpson's Paradox

5
by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 4:32pm

Simpson's Paradox is that he was accused of stealing stuff that belonged to him.

6
by Anonymous454545 (not verified) :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 4:37pm

Simpson's Paradox.... beat me to it.
It's come up before here. Why is Team A better at both running and passing but below Team B in the total offense ranking? etc. It's all about the denominators, as usual, and the coach of Team A doesn't realize that.

18
by Verifiable (not verified) :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 5:05pm

I thought it was Bart and the paradox was "damned if you do damned if you don't"

22
by Mr Shush :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 5:15pm

Kevin Walter has taken up permanent residence in a Simpson's Paradise of Andre Johnson's creation.

7
by Anonymous(not that one) (not verified) :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 4:38pm

America needs another Pats 18-1 season to unite us in laughter.

29
by Anonymous1 (not verified) :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 5:34pm

Assuming that one loss occurs before December, I'll take it.

8
by Ray Williams (not verified) :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 4:47pm

The Cowboy hate is just hilarious. I guess when you lead the league in sacks with tons of injuries factored in to the secondary, while having a great offense too, and playing their first two games on the road, the team just sucks according to footballoutsiders. Just hilarious. I mean, the team Dallas just beat on the road is ahead of Dallas on the rankings. That tells you all you need to know about these rankings. I mean, the 49ers only had 206 total yards and got sacked 6 times. The Cowboys also handed them turnovers, and the Cowboys still found a way to win. Andy Lee and turnovers was the only reason why the 49ers were in the game. The Cowboys were dominating the Jets and lost because of a few mistakes. The Cowboys are top 5 in total offense and defense. With all this, the Cowboys just suck according to football outsiders. The Cowboys are just smoke and mirrors even though they haven't had a home game yet, and are getting decimated with injuries.
Who knows great the Cowboys offense could have been against the Jets and and 49ers had Dez never got hurt in the first quarter of the Jets game? Who knows how great the defense could be with a healthy secondary? But according to footballoutsiders, the Cowboys suck and are smoke and mirrors. No great team efficiency whatsoever. This team is destined to win 6 games at best. This team not even better than the team they just beat on the road.

14
by krugerindustria... :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 4:59pm

Dal had 2 int's and SF had 1. Dal did put the ball on the ground 3 times and recovered all of them.

please just use the template next time.

10
by drobviousso :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 4:52pm

please use the zlionsfan template for all complaints:

is clearly ranked because . is way better than this.

11
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 4:53pm

Yes, Mr. Williams, the authors of this site changed their statistical model 27 times last night, in an effort to move the Cowboys down the ranks, so deep is their hate for the starred heads.

12
by Narghile's Ghost (not verified) :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 4:53pm

is clearly ranked because . is way better than this.

ftfy

41
by Sergio :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 6:32pm

Lies, all lies.

-- Go Phins!

13
by Staubach12 :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 4:55pm

You forgot to use the Zlionsfan template:

(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)

I'm a Cowboys fan too. These rankings have no opponent adjustments and are based on a two game sample in which Romo played half of the game with a collapsed lung and Kitna played a quarter. Based on that evidence, Dallas is not very impressive. These rankings are tools for evaluations, not fully formed opinions.

24
by Mr Shush :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 5:21pm

In fairness, VOA is probably unduly down on Dallas because if DAVE is to be believed the Jets are really, really good, while DAVE may be unduly down on Dallas in that the projection system has historically tended to under-rate the Cowboys, for reasons unknown (while there has always been a suspicion that DVOA over-rates the Eagles). If there's a team that has some grounds to think DVOA is biased against them, it's the Cowboys.

34
by Temo :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 5:42pm

DVOA isn't biased against anyone.

The preseason projections have historically underrated the Cowboys, but who knows with those.

46
by Mr Shush :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 8:14pm

Ok, "grounds" maybe wasn't the right word. Understandable emotional reasons. Of course DVOA isn't biased, but DVOA is sometimes used as a bit of a stand-in where people really mean FO's numbers in general, and the numbers can in some cases persistently misjudge certain teams (because teams have persistent features over sometimes quite extended periods). And two of the most commonly-raised candidates for such cases are the projections and Dallas (could that be about superior injury prevention/treatment not being adequately accounted for?) and DVOA and the Eagles offense (presumably due to some quirk of Reid's play design or calling). "Bias" in favour of a bitter rival isn't the same as against one's own team, of course, but it feels somewhat similar.

I tend to make an automatic upwards mental adjustment for the Cowboys in relation to FO numbers, but that may just be native pessimism.

91
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 12:50pm

DVOA heavily rewards teams that grind out yardage with the passing game. So, historically, it should love the 90s 49ers, the Reid Eagles, and the post-Welker Pats -- which it does.

DVOA also penalizes big-play or boom/bust teams, so it should hate teams like the Raiders, the Sanders-Lions, or teams with Brett Favre. Considering Romo's status as a Favre-clone, it's no surprise DVOA loves the Eagles and hates the Cowboys.

That doing so is also morally correct is just a coincidence.

14
by Staubach12 :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 4:59pm

I think you'll find that most of the outsiders think that Dallas is underrated by the system because of extenuating circumstances. Please understand the methodology before criticizing it.

19
by BlueStarDude :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 5:09pm

Keep at it, Ray. You're onto something!

25
by Temo :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 5:24pm

Y'all got trolled.

37
by hubcap (not verified) :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 5:49pm

I think you all are missing the point. It seems that the good people at Football Outsiders have developed the world's first computer program that can experience human emotion!

And with the whole range of human feeling open to it, the first thing it does...is hate the Cowboys. Telling.

42
by dbostedo :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 6:36pm

+1 ... Telling indeed.

43
by zenbitz :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 7:00pm

SENTIENT!

50
by LionsFanInAZ (not verified) :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 9:07pm

Some things are just endemic to all intelligent species.

49
by Aaron Schatz :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 8:42pm

That is one of the most awesome responses to a DVOA troll I have ever read. Kudos.

52
by Independent George :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 9:42pm

This joins the original ROBO-PUNTER and raiderjoe in the FO Comments HoF.

55
by zlionsfan :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 10:09pm

+1. 1000 cocktails. Like. Recommend.

78
by Bots Meat Commission (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 10:13am

This is truly what THE SINGULARITY is all about. Thank you, good sir.

83
by Dean :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 11:31am

You sir, should not be paying for a beer for several moons. In the immortal words of The Oatmeal, "may a squadron of beautiful virgins find their way to your crotch by days end."

112
by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 11:45pm

The 2nd thing it does it say Chuiefs crappy. When it say that you knwo compuetr prgram running good and reayd to kick ass in the computer program standings.

30
by Shattenjager :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 5:35pm

After reading that post, I just wanted to know what you mean. I mean, you never told us.

111
by Stats are for losers (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 9:55pm

Enjoy it while it lasts... soon enough it'll be a terrible Coors Light commercial.

16
by tim_l (not verified) :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 4:59pm

That Pats-Jets game in week 5 is looking like a pretty, pretty good game.

27
by RickD :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 5:29pm

Two prettys?

31
by Temo :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 5:35pm

"Needs at least three."

-LD

44
by Rhys :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 7:09pm

Two prettys = The Larry David option

79
by Not Jimmy (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 10:28am

Doesn't each "pretty" lessen the next one? So pretty, pretty would mean not as pretty as pretty?

17
by wonkothesane1 :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 5:04pm

Wow. That loss to the Pats really hurt San Diego's VOA. That hurts this San Diego fans eyes until DVOA comes back.

20
by Anonymous1 (not verified) :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 5:10pm

Woah! Cincy? 8th best offense in the league? Even given the small sample size and lack of opponent adjustments, that still rings out mighty false to these eyes.

33
by Formersd (not verified) :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 5:36pm

Remember, no opponent adjustments yet. I doubt the Broncos and Browns will be helping that ranking once those adjustment come in...

21
by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 5:12pm

Oakland Raiders highest rnaekd AFc West tema. Goig to stay there all seaosn so get used to ti. Raiders going to beat Jets next week and get into DAVE's top 5.

26
by Temo :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 5:29pm

Dallas pass offense: 47.9% (8th overall and probably better without Kitna's 2 picks + after adjusting for Jets' pass defense)

Dallas Rush offense: -46.5% (32nd overall)

Yeesh.

38
by AnonymousD (not verified) :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 6:00pm

What encourages me most about Dallas, admittedly with little football played, is the pass defense. 4.4% - 9th in the league. I guess with opponent adjustments it won't be too much worse. Maybe the Jets' pass offense is as good as VOA suggests, but even if it's wrong they only gave up 4.4 NY/A to the 49ers.

The CB situation will improve with Jenkins becoming healthy, and Scandrick coming back (hesitant to add Newman because who knows how much he'll be healthy this season - but it's a big bonus if he is). If they can maintain good health elsewhere (please don't let Ware, Lee, or Ratliff go down), they can probably be an average pass defense. And that should put them near the top of the NFC playoff picture.

92
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 12:53pm

Relax. You played Alex Smith and Mark Sanchez. There aren't many NCAA-caliber QBs left on the schedule.

96
by AnonymousD (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 2:16pm

The pass defense was terrible last year; they made minimal personnel changes to address it in the offseason; they're playing guys off the street at CB. That's the glimmer of optimism.

67
by The Ninjalectual :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 6:28am

It's crazy how down they seem to be on Tashard Choice's skills. They seem to think his role is the guy who takes the handoff on all 3rd and 18 situations.

28
by leeroyjunk (not verified) :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 5:34pm

I'm surprised Washington's win over Arizona comes up as close in your numbers considering Washington dominated all non-scoring stats (yards, TOP, 1st downs, etc) except for turnovers which were even.

Was it special teams? (Gano's blocked FG/kickoff out of bounds couldn't have helped)

35
by AnonymousD (not verified) :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 5:46pm

"considering Washington dominated all non-scoring stats (yards, TOP, 1st downs, etc)"

Right, Washington ran a lot more plays than Arizona. 79-48 - 31 more plays. Look at the rate stats:

NY/A

Washington: 6.4
Arizona: 7.0

YPC

Washington: 4.9
Arizona: 6.2

56
by Loose On The Lead :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 10:39pm

Yeah, but how did the Redskins end up with all those additional plays? By making progress toward and earning first downs, and by limiting the Cardinals' ability to do the same--for much of the game, anyway. And isn't that something that DVOA is supposed to emphasize?

87
by Loose On The Lead :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 12:05pm

I'm going to answer my own post, because I'm pathetic that way.

On one hand, the Redskins did things that should be reflected in DVOA. On the other hand, what held down their scoring--interceptions, a blocked field goal, and substandard performance in the red zone--are also factored into DVOA. As far as DVOA is concerned, the Skins were a mixed bag, and rightly so.

98
by AnonymousD (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 2:21pm

Not pathetic at all. I didn't watch the game, and I'm too lazy to look at the play-by-play, but maybe penalties had something to do with it. 10 for 97 yards for Arizona - were most of them on defense? IIRC, very few penalties are counted in (D)VOA.

32
by AJD (not verified) :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 5:35pm

OK, I'm gonna give this a shot...

'Boys r clearly ranked too low because Romo has the mental toughnesss to will his team to victory. Yahoo's power rankings are way better than this. Get out of ur mom's base ment n try 2 watch some actual football sum time, nerds. Prolly never played football, either. GO 'POKES!!!

How'd I do?

36
by Temo :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 5:49pm

Why would a Dallas fan ever say "go 'pokes"?

68
by The Ninjalectual :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 6:30am

"Cowpokes?"

74
by Temo :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 8:27am

It's not an endearing term.

45
by jpg30@earthlink.net :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 7:45pm

AJD, You're kidding, right?

47
by sjt (not verified) :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 8:18pm

You're kidding about not knowing if he's kidding, right?

84
by Dean :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 11:32am

Pretty good, but you lack swagger.

53
by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 10:05pm

While these numbers mostly pass the eyeball test, we all have to remember that just because this is the best data we have does not mean it is good data -- not just yet, at least.

Do I feel like New England is the best team? They could be at the end of the year. Do I feel like Detroit is the second best team? They could be at the end of the year. Do I feel like Kansas City is the worst team in the league? Well, yes.

Either way, I am very surprised with the Titans performance this week, and I am very surprised with Cincinatti's rating altogether.

Also, how in the world am I supposed to CAPTCHA sub- and super-text? This system expects too much of me!

57
by Anonymous Coward (not verified) :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 10:48pm

Clearly the CAPTCHA's not expecting enough. I feel a sudden need to purchase useless, outdoorsy boots.

Apparently it's cheaper to pay for captcha solvers than for ads on FO.

58
by MJK :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 11:47pm

I don't buy that New England is this good, and I'm a Pats fan. I think early VOA is being unduly swayed by one blowout and one near-blowout win. And by how much the preseason ratings liked them.

Yes, their offense is good. But I don't get the feeling that it's unstoppable, a la 2007 or even last year. In the 3rd quarter of the San Diego game, they looked pretty stoppable.

And I'm surprised that the pass defense they've put on display has allowed them to top the VOA rankings. My eyeballs tell me that Dowling is injured, McCourty is experiencing a sophomore slump, Arrington can't cover any recievers taller than 5'11 or that are reasonably fast, they still have no pass rush, and they can't stop successful passes to running backs coming out of the backfield like Tolbert or Bush. I think they'll be competitive this season, probably a top 8 team if they can get a little improvement out of the defense and if injuries don't derail their impressive looking offense, but I expect them to finish the season with a DVOA in the teens or twenties, not this high.

59
by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Tue, 09/20/2011 - 11:57pm

To be fair, New England was a very good "team" last year. They were not quite dominant, but not exactly an easy out. Last year, DVOA saw their defense as a very middling defense. This year, they have started below average, and DVOA sees that. However, they did play San Diego's offense well enough, and San Diego's offense is not exactly bad -- or, at least, in the past few years it has not been, with roughly the same cast. The predictions had Miami's offense ranked rather high (higher than Green Bay's even), and the Patriot defense held them to "only" 24 points.

Now, again, could New England end up as the best team this year? For sure. Are they right now? I would hear arguments for it. But again, it is early in the year, they have played up/down to the expected quality of their opponent, and have come away with two relatively easy wins. It will get harder for them this year, but I cannot see them not replicating last year's results.

60
by RickD :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 12:58am

Let's not forget the Pats beat both of the Super Bowl teams in the regular season last year. Are they a perfect team? Far from it. But they've had two games where their offense has looked excellent and their defense has been decent enough. Who else is there? The Steelers took a dump in Baltimore, and the Ravens took one in Tennessee. The Packers had major problems with a Panther team that doesn't have a lot of cred over the past two seasons (no matter how much you love Cam Newton). The Falcons, Eagles, Chargers and Saints all have losses already. The Jets are undefeated, but that's only because of Romo's bizarre collapse in Week 1.

The moral here is to not take any of this too seriously.

63
by Intropy :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 4:04am

"The moral here is to not take any of this too seriously."

Key point here. Every team has up and down games. With this small a sample those can dominate. I like DAVE better than VOA for the early part of the season, but even that, well lots of salt needed.

77
by RichC (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 8:42am

I don't get all the "no pass rush" comments.

They sacked Rivers twice, forced him to throw interceptions twice when he was hit by a lineman, and forced him to scramble a bunch of times. They collapsed the pocket and made him throw on the run. They also hit him once for a RTP. The passrush was pretty effective.

Problem was, he completed those passes on the run.

Do people expect them to sack the QB every play?

80
by Nathan :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 10:31am

Collapsing the pocket and fighting through blocks to get pressure isn't as sexy as a premium pass rusher blazing around the tackle virtually untouched. And there you have it.

82
by Anonymous1 (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 11:28am

"Yes, their offense is good. But I don't get the feeling that it's unstoppable, a la 2007 or even last year. In the 3rd quarter of the San Diego game, they looked pretty stoppable."

So, for one quarter out of 8 (perhaps two if you want to add in a rough stretch in Miami) against two of the top 8 or so defenses from last year and that leads you to this conclusion?

This offense is more promising than the 2007 unit. They don't have Moss, but the TEs are vastly superior, the RBs are vastly superior, the secondary WRs are improved and the offense overall is more diverse in how it can attack a defense. I also think the OL looks improved, though it is a little early to tell. At the very least, this offense has much more ability to match up against a heavy pressure D like the Giants.

"My eyeballs tell me that Dowling is injured, McCourty is experiencing a sophomore slump, Arrington can't cover any recievers taller than 5'11 or that are reasonably fast, they still have no pass rush, and they can't stop successful passes to running backs coming out of the backfield like Tolbert or Bush."

Dowling has been fine, even good for a rookie. I suppose your eyeballs could be talking about when he actually WAS injured against the Chargers, but he never returned so I'm assuming otherwise.

Arrington is the same guy he was last year except he now is the dime CB instead of being outside.

NE had more QB hits week one than 30 other teams. Against SD they didn't do as well, but SD has a good line and NE only blitzed twice all game.

Tolbert's success was a function of NE's emphasis on Gates. What did Bush do that makes you concerned?

"I think they'll be competitive this season, probably a top 8 team if they can get a little improvement out of the defense and if injuries don't derail their impressive looking offense, but I expect them to finish the season with a DVOA in the teens or twenties, not this high."

NE will finish the year at least in 30s and likely as high or higher than they were last year. They will also win no less than 13 games. All of this barring injuries, of course. I think you are completely misguided when it comes to this team.

90
by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 12:30pm

Considering their competition, New England can be taken one of two ways -- dominant or fortunate.

If you consider them dominant, then you are essentially eschewing the fact that neither the Chargers nor the Dolphins looked very good against teams that are nowhere near the talent level of the Patriots. The Chargers were not exactly world-beaters against the Vikings, who are quite possibly a last-place team in their division. The Dolphins were felled by a Texans team that, until this year, had no chance of winning their division and has never made the playoffs.

The takeaway? The Patriots have beat teams that have been historically not terrible on offense, defense, or both, but have been playing essentially a down year (or, as the Chargers are wont to do, starting slow).

If you consider them fortunate, it is that they faced a Chargers team during their slow months, and a Dolphins team that was projected as being better than they actually are.

The takeaway? Regardless of historical performance, each of the two teams the Patriots have beat are regarded with higher esteem than their actual performance suggests, so the Patriots are getting a huge bump from the perceived ability of their competition.

With all that said, I would say they are a combination of dominant and fortunate. They are a good team, with the possibility of being a great team, and they were fortunate to play two teams that were cold at the wrong time. That is what the game tape says, and that is what these numbers are likely going to reflect when adjustments kick in.

95
by Intropy :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 1:22pm

We don't take too kindly to balanced, lucid propositions 'round these parts.

97
by Anonymous1 (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 2:17pm

What exactly wasn't balanced or lucid about my comment, seeing as it seems yours was a passive agressive attack.

100
by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 2:30pm

I am fairly certain the writer of that comment was referring to mine (as it is a response to my comment), and was poking at me for making argument and counter-argument in the same post, allowing for both sides to be debated and come away with a win.

101
by Intropy :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 2:45pm

Yes I was referring to your comment. I was poking a bit at the double-argument thing, but I hope I didn't come across as passive-aggressive since I was aiming at good-natured. Primarily, I thought that your analysis was sound, and your point was well-made precisely because you presented multiple possibilities and described how they could combine rather than arguing it is all one thing or all another.

103
by Anonymous1 (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 2:59pm

Gotcha. It did come across as PA to me, but I should have given you the benefit of the doubt.

99
by Anonymous1 (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 2:29pm

How did Miami and SD do on defense in their other games? Since the crux of your argument is them "not looking good" against Hou and Minny, it might be important to note that SD held Minny to 39 yards passing and under 200 total yards.

NE has scored more than two touchdowns greater and rolled up over double the yardage (that's right, double) that their opponents allowed in their other games. They are dominant on offense, shakey on defense, as VOA indicates.

I'm all for being cautious with early season evaluations, but you are using a lot errors in logic in this post. We can't conclude anything about NE, but we are certain about where both SD and Miami stand? Miami struggling with Houston is supposed to be important even though Houston didn't have anywhere near NE's offense success? Or the same for SD?

Again, caution is good. But we still need a cohesive argument.

102
by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 2:55pm

I get it. You are a fan of New England. Slow down and read next time. I gave "your" team every benefit of the doubt just as I took away from the Chargers and Dolphins.

Let me break it down even further for you.

The Texans -- in games played this year, and considering their competition's competition, and their competition's competition, and so on -- are not as good as the Patriots, but within reason to say they are "close" in skill. The Dolphins lost by 14 against the Patriots and lost by 10 against the Texans. In fact, those scores were almost exactly as expected, as the Patriots are worth a few points over what the Texans are worth over an average opponent in a game.

The Vikings -- again, in games played this year, and considering their competition's competition, and their competition's competition, and so on -- are not good at all, and can be considered a below average team. The Chargers beat them in what turned out to be a very weird, very sloppy game. In fact, the Chargers rate out as being just barely better than the Vikings, and the Vikings other team rates out as being barely better as well.

Put it all together, and the outcome is what you consider "a conclusion about other teams but not about the Patriots." Sure, the Patriots have won, but against suspect competition. The teams the Patriots have beat have won or loss against suspect competition, and the competition to the competition is as best "not as good as the Patriots, but close," and at worst "as bad as a team the Patriots have beat."

So yeah, muted optimism about the Patriots possibly being the best team is the way to go. To just flat-out say they are dominant is missing the mark.

104
by Anonymous1 (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 3:20pm

My fandom has little to do with what I saw as questionable logic in your intial argument.

"The Texans -- in games played this year, and considering their competition's competition, and their competition's competition, and so on -- are not as good as the Patriots, but within reason to say they are "close" in skill. The Dolphins lost by 14 against the Patriots and lost by 10 against the Texans. In fact, those scores were almost exactly as expected, as the Patriots are worth a few points over what the Texans are worth over an average opponent in a game."

Miami was within 3 points midway through the 4th quarter against Houston. Against NE it was a 21 point game before NE went prevent and allowed Miami to attempt a backdoor cover. Basing anything on margin of victory seems misleading to me.

"The Vikings -- again, in games played this year, and considering their competition's competition, and their competition's competition, and so on -- are not good at all, and can be considered a below average team. The Chargers beat them in what turned out to be a very weird, very sloppy game. In fact, the Chargers rate out as being just barely better than the Vikings, and the Vikings other team rates out as being barely better as well."

I never contested that. But SD still held them to 187 yards and 10 total first downs despite falling behind by 10 points early in the game. No NFL team does that to another without having something positive going on defensively, And NE tore up that same defense to the tune of 500 yards and 23 FDs.

FWIW, that same Minnesota team put up nearly 400 yards on Tampa just one week later.

"So yeah, muted optimism about the Patriots possibly being the best team is the way to go. To just flat-out say they are dominant is missing the mark."

I don't disagree overall, though I think it is a foregone conclusion that NE is going to be dominant offensively. Caution as a default stance early on is a fine position to hold, I just don't think your argument as to *why* we should be cautious holds much water.

105
by Keith(1) (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 3:33pm

By your logic, the fact that the Lions have won twice, once in a blowout, the other in a relatively easy win (as the Bucs scored to get within a score almost too late), the Lions are a dominant team? The fact that the Jets have won twice, once in a blowout, the other in a close game down to the final minute, they are merely just very good? The same for the Bills? The Redskins? The Texans?

Which other teams, by whatever measure you are using, are dominant, if none of the other 2-0 teams? (The closest proxy for the Patriots this year using straight record (2-0) and similar SRS are the Texans, but I am going to go ahead and assume that you will call them not dominant based on their competition -- even though they an opponent.)

107
by Anonymous1 (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 3:46pm

NE Offensive DVOA/ranking

2010 - 46.1/1
2009 - 29.6/1
2007 - 45.2/1
2006 - 15.1/4
2005 - 16.8/7
2004 - 24.6/3

Just like FO is allowed to use their projections in the DAVE ratings, I think it is perfectly reasonable to enter prior evidence into the discussion. NE's offense is actually equal to or stronger at every position across the board than they were in 2010, with the possible exception of center now that Koppen has been placed on IR. If you'd like, I'd be happy to quantify that statement if you think I'm being excessively optimistic.

So, yes, I'm perfectly comfortable in stating that, barring injuries, NE's offense will be dominant in 2011. But I don't begrudge anyone for feeling like patience is prudent.

114
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 09/22/2011 - 8:23am

Yes - and by the same token we should probably expect that the 2011 Texans have an elite offense (though not as good as New England's). It's the Texans defense that's still a massive unknown - clearly it's better than the abomination that took the field last year, but is it actually in any way good, or is it still well below average and the Dolphins offense really quite bad?

115
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 09/22/2011 - 8:27am

"Miami was within 3 points midway through the 4th quarter against Houston. Against NE it was a 21 point game before NE went prevent and allowed Miami to attempt a backdoor cover. Basing anything on margin of victory seems misleading to me."

If you're giving the Pats a 21 point win, you should probably give the Texans a 17 point win. They had 1st and goal at the 1 when they started kneeling.

But I imagine the Pats VOA against Miami was much higher than Houston's, yes. They're a better team.

110
by t.d. :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 7:33pm

So how has the 'great on offense, shaky on defense' model worked out in the Bellicheck era, anyway? I think, given the current state of the rules, the first half of that equation is pretty dime-a-dozen if you have an elite quarterback, and there are more of those than I can ever remember.

113
by Anonymous1 (not verified) :: Thu, 09/22/2011 - 7:31am

How well does a shakey defense work under any coach?

Clearly the plan is to try and be less shakey as the season goes on.

116
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 09/22/2011 - 9:15am

Historically the solution has been: get Bob Sanders back.

Sadly, he's not on the Patriots' roster.

61
by Jerry :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 1:57am

All VOA can do right now is evaluate what's happened in the first two weeks. I doubt that anyone thinks the Steelers are the worst team in the AFC North (I know some hope that's the case...), but their performance in Baltimore was bad enough to have them ranked there right now. Like Keith says, any of these things may or may not hold up as the season goes along, but this is a reasonable reflection of what's happened so far.

72
by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 8:16am

I never take the rankings seriously before the opponent adjustments come in. Before that, they are interesting but not really useful.

64
by Rhys :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 4:08am

Anecdotally, the Patriots Defense has seemed to firm up a lot inside the Red Zone. They let both Miami and Sand Diego march down the field like a bottom 10 defense, but they've put together a couple goal line stops and their defense in general seems to be between good and average inside the 20 (as opposed to between poor and awful on the rest of the field).

Are the 4 man lines they're using more frequently this season just more suited to not having vast stretches of space behind them to defend? Or is the secondary just bad? (Again, inside the red zone it seems to firm up, so I don't think that's the whole story.)

81
by Nathan :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 10:48am

I have a kind of unsubstantiated theory that doubling Gates (which took him completely out of the game) loosened up the defense. Maybe that safety or linebacker that was the 2nd man would have been responsible for the back in coverage, so that's why the backs ripped them apart. Maybe with Gates having less room to work they didn't need to double him down there? I'd be curious to see what the Chargers red zone personel was.

85
by Anonymous1 (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 11:35am

That isn't an unsubstantiate theory, that is precisely what happened. NE took away Rivers' binky and forced them to do go elsewhere.

BB's defenses are always a work in progress, so I'd expect them to do a better job on the secondary receivers later in the season.

65
by Zheng :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 4:09am

Top ten teams include CIN... BUF... HOU... DET. *head explodes*

66
by Mr Shush :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 5:22am

More to the point: HOU and DET may very well both be legitimate top 10 teams, not just early-season oddities.

69
by The Ninjalectual :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 6:35am

Until Matt Schaub gets hurt. And FWIW, all since last season, I've been saying on my ridiculous football blog that Detroit will make the playoffs this year, possibly as a division champ. Nobody listened to me last year, and thought I was stupid. Now, everybody pretends like they knew it all along.

70
by dk240t :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 7:01am

Until Matt Stafford gets hurt.

76
by Mr Shush :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 8:41am

Um, indeed.

Schaub:

10 games missed through injury in 4.125 years as starter.
Healthy 85% of starting career.
Started 16 games twice out of four full seasons as starter (50%)
Current consecutive start streak: 34
Seasons ended on IR: 0/4

Stafford:

19 games missed through injury in 2.125 years as starter.
Healthy 44% of starting career.
Started 16 games zero out of two full years as starter (0%)
Current consecutive start streak: 2
Seasons ended on IR: 2/2

And Schaub is the one you think is likely to get hurt?

108
by TomC :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 3:49pm

I am still not convinced. They're obviously hugely improved from 3 years ago, but they're far from a complete team. The front four is damn good, but just before week 1, I heard Michael Wilbon call them "unblockable", which is just silly, considering that the awful-est offensive line in the leage (Chicago) ran up 500 yards on them last year (and I don't think the addition of Fairley makes that much difference). The secondary is suspect, so if the line isn't getting constant pressure, they can be passed on fairly easily, and the O-line still scares me.

Even if Stafford stays healthy, this team is nowhere near as good as Green Bay. They may or may not be better than the Bears, depending on what Bears team shows up on a given day. I'm guessing they'll go 3-3 in the division---though I think that (despite the Vikings' fans pessimism) this week is a potential upset---and about 9-7 overall.

117
by ASmitty :: Thu, 09/22/2011 - 9:32am

Cutler abused the Detroit LBs last year, not the CBs. You could screen Detroit to death last year because none of their LBs outside of Levy could cover or tackle anyone, and Levy missed the first six or so games of the season. In fact, all three of Detroit's Week One starting LBs last season are out of football. All three. Out of football.

The LBs were definitely the major flaw on that defense last year, along with the early season plan to start BOTH C.C. Brown and Johnathon Wade. While everyone has been high on the Lions because of the offense so far, I'm bull-ish on them because of what they're building on defense. The front seven is very good, and while the back four is still sort of the island of misfit toys, I don't believe it's a bad group. Houston and Wright are decent corners who got bad raps, Delmas is a Pro Bowler, and Spievy is solid and improving in his first full season at safety.

They have a great front four, good LBs and a serviceable back four. Ofgfensively they can throw it with anyone but can't run it at all. They're not complete, but I don't really see a team out there that is.

118
by tuluse :: Sat, 09/24/2011 - 12:45am

I think he abused the entire back 7. When the LBs miss their assignments there should be safeties behind them, no?

71
by starzero :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 7:52am

is it possible for someone to win the mvp without playing? the colts have fallen so far without mannning that it's clear he's their most valuable player.

--
hail damage

86
by Dean :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 11:35am

He could be a theoretical "Most Valuable Asset" or "Most Missed Non-player," but his actual contribution to the performance on the field is zero (unless you want to get esoteric and start discussing "intangibles" and "locker room presence" which he theoretically might still have in some non-measurable capacity). But a Most Valuable Player has to actually, you know, play.

93
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 1:02pm

As things are going, Manning might lead the team with a DYAR of 0.

89
by RichC (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 12:16pm

If we're going to think about that, we might as well just give it to Bill Polian for his drafting the last couple years.

106
by DisplacedPackerFan :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 3:40pm

The Packers D fared a bit better than I expected. But the defense vs type of receiver is very telling.


vs #1's -38.0% (02), 13.0 Pass/Game, 96.5 YD/G
vs #2's -25.0% (07), 09.7 Pass/Game, 29.2 YD/G
vs OWRs +56.7% (28), 07.8 Pass/Game, 61.1 YD/G
vs TE's +25.2% (22), 08.2 Pass/Game, 54.5 YD/G
vs RB's +57.1% (28), 09.8 Pass/Game, 114.6 YD/G

So Williams, Woodson, and Shields have been fine vs the 1's and 2's. But that 3rd, 4th or 5th WR, the TE's and the running backs are killing them. So like last year the backers still can't cover, and Burnett and Collins haven't worked out so well when they put them in single coverage on TE like they've tried a few times, and Bush being the dime back game one and nickle game two doesn't help.

Some of this I think is fixable. Zombo / So'oto I think will actually improve pass coverage over Walden / Jones when they get healthy. I think with Peprah replacing Collins there is going to be a bit more zone, it might not be the standard corners in man on the 1's and 2's, and Peprah is assignment sure. But you might see a few more big plays the to 1's and 2's then. I also think Bush plays better in zones than man up. I wouldn't be completely surprised to see MD Jennings playing a bit on some passing downs as well in place of Peprah.

Rodgers saying they needed to give the ball to Grant and Starks more is because he reads this site and saw that the Packers have the best rushing VOA in the league. Yep. :) Grant has been exactly what I expected, Starks has been a bit better than I expected. I was expecting a better rushing game but it's not going to last. I find it interesting that Starks (39.5% VOA, 50DYAR, 71% success rate, 6.8 Y/A) is putting up Charles like numbers, but at least Grant (21.1% VOA, 20 DYAR) is putting up good numbers too. The difference with the split though is that GB is actually playing Starks more. Grant may be the "starter" but Starks is getting more carries. Starks is not Charles, but no senior year because of injuries, injuries early last year, I don't mind the Packers splitting carries. Grant is still a better blocker, but Starks is getting there.

109
by SkinsFan (not verified) :: Wed, 09/21/2011 - 6:36pm

Almost all of the subjective rankings for the Redskins have them in-between the VOA ranking of 13 and DAVE of 20. Seems about right to me. I saw one that had them at 7, which just seems ridiculous. But, then maybe they COULD be one of the 2-0 teams that keeps it going.

Dang, I messed up the script.