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13 Nov 2012

Week 10 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

Let the churn atop the Football Outsiders DVOA ratings continue! Last week, the Broncos dropped down from first to third. This week, with a big win over Carolina, the Broncos are back in first. In fact, the Broncos open up a bit of a lead over the rest of the league. The Patriots are still in second place, although their actual DVOA did drop because of the close game against Buffalo. San Francisco's attempt to make hot incest pr0n with the Rams drops the 49ers all the way from first place to sixth place, but that drop isn't quite as big as it looks because the teams ranked second through sixth are very close together. Don't overeact to the fact that San Francisco is now below Seattle.

Many fans know that fumble luck is a big part of the reason why the Broncos can be first in DVOA despite their 6-3 record. This week, they recovered only one of their own three fumbles, and didn't recover either of Carolina's. For the season, Denver has recovered just 24 percent of fumbles. But actually, the Broncos aren't the only team with such dismal fumble recovery luck this season. Green Bay has recovered just 25 percent of fumbles, and Kansas City has recovered just 22 percent of fumbles. (This is a big reason why the Chiefs have climbed all the way up to a dramatic 31st in DVOA.)

We're also now starting to see differences between total DVOA and weighted DVOA. Atlanta, for example, drops to 11th in total DVOA and 12th in weighted DVOA. Surprisingly, the Falcons at 8-1 have dropped below a team with a losing record, the 4-5 Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys are on a secret hot streak, with over 20% DVOA in each of their last three games even though two of those games were losses to the two teams on either side of them in the DVOA ratings, the Giants and Falcons. The Cowboys are 18th in non-adjusted VOA but 10th in DVOA. The issue is not fumble recovery, but strictly schedule, as the Cowboys have had the third-toughest schedule in the league so far. Their remaining schedule is the easiest in the league by conventional measurement (i.e. winning percentage of opponents) and 25th by our measurement. This little Dallas hot streak should scare the Giants, who seem to have once again gone into their usual November nosedive. With their win this week, and the Giants' loss, the Cowboys see their playoff odds jump by 21.6 percent in the Football Outsiders playoff odds report. Dallas now wins the NFC East in one-third of our simulations. I've learned to have faith in the Giants when they go through this every year, but remember, the second-half swoon has taken the Giants out of the playoffs twice in the Tom Coughlin era.

* * * * *

It's time for an update on the Historically Great DVOA Watch. The Chicago defense just gets better and better. This week's game had a -64.5% defensive DVOA, making it Chicago's second-best defensive performance of the season, behind Week 3 when they beat St. Louis 23-6 and kept the Rams to just 160 yards. The Bears are very close to breaking the -40% barrier on defense and now rank as the second-best defense we've ever tracked through 10 weeks, behind only the 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

However, the Bears aren't the only team on the Historically Great DVOA Watch right now. The Baltimore Ravens special teams have been on fire the last couple weeks, and 42.0% DVOA in this week's huge blowout of Oakland is the best special teams game in the NFL this year. As a result, the Ravens have not only passed Chicago but have also climbed into the top ten for all-time special teams DVOA. The Ravens are slightly below average on punt returns, but excellent in every other aspect of special teams. If kickers had more marginal value, we would be considering Justin Tucker for Rookie of the Year. He leads all kickers this season in both field goal value (7.65 points above average) and gross kickoff value (6.5 points above average).

BEST DEFENSIVE DVOA
THROUGH WEEK 10, 1991-2012
x BEST SPECIAL TEAMS DVOA
THROUGH WEEK 10, 1991-2012
Year Team DVOA x Year Team DVOA
2002 TB -40.5% x 2003 KC 13.9%
2012 CHI -39.9% x 2001 PHI 12.7%
1991 NO -37.1% x 1991 WAS 12.2%
1991 PHI -35.5% x 2011 SF 11.8%
1997 SF -32.2% x 1996 CAR 11.8%
1992 PHI -31.7% x 1998 DAL 11.3%
1993 PIT -30.8% x 2012 BAL 11.3%
1993 BUF -29.9% x 1994 CLE1 11.2%
1996 GB -27.2% x 1993 GB 10.9%
2004 BAL -26.5% x 1993 ATL 10.8%
2011 BAL -26.0% x 1997 DAL 10.8%
2006 CHI -25.9% x 2009 MIN 10.7%

It's a little odd to see no Chicago Bears teams on that "best special teams DVOA" list, but the 2006 Bears would be 13th, the 2011 Bears would be 14th, and the 2007 Bears -- who finished with the best special teams DVOA of the Hester years -- had their best games in the second half of the season.

This year's top offense, New England, is 14th all-time through Week 10, but is on its way to some other records. The Patriots are on pace to break the NFL record for first downs in a season. They are on pace to finish with offensive DVOA above 30% for the third straight year, only the second team to do so. (The other was Kansas City from 2002 to 2004.) This would also give them offensive DVOA above 25% five times in a six-year span: 2007 and then 2009 through 2012.

* * * * *

All stats pages should now be updated including FO Premium stats and snap counts.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through ten weeks of 2012, measured by our proprietary Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) system that breaks down every single play and compares a team's performance to the league average based on situation in order to determine value over average. (Explained further here.)

OFFENSE and DEFENSE DVOA are adjusted to consider all fumbles, kept or lost, as equal value. SPECIAL TEAMS DVOA is adjusted for type of stadium (warm, cold, dome, Denver) and week of season. WEIGHTED DVOA represents an attempt to figure out how a team is playing right now, as opposed to over the season as a whole, by making recent games more important than earlier games. As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE. Now that we've reached Week 10, opponent adjustments are at full strength and will be for the remainder of the season.

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

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

TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
WEIGHTED
DVOA
RANK W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
1 DEN 39.8% 3 41.1% 1 6-3 19.2% 4 -16.0% 4 4.7% 8
2 NE 34.4% 2 34.8% 2 6-3 31.1% 1 1.3% 17 4.7% 7
3 SEA 33.1% 6 34.1% 3 6-4 6.9% 13 -22.8% 3 3.4% 10
4 GB 33.0% 4 31.3% 5 6-3 21.0% 2 -9.1% 7 2.9% 13
5 CHI 32.1% 5 33.9% 4 7-2 -15.7% 27 -39.9% 1 7.9% 2
6 SF 31.9% 1 30.6% 6 6-2-1 19.4% 3 -12.3% 6 0.2% 18
7 HOU 23.6% 8 23.2% 7 8-1 7.3% 12 -24.7% 2 -8.4% 32
8 BAL 15.3% 12 14.4% 8 7-2 7.9% 9 3.9% 20 11.3% 1
9 NYG 13.9% 7 14.3% 9 6-4 8.6% 7 -3.9% 9 1.4% 15
10 DAL 8.1% 11 8.4% 10 4-5 7.8% 10 -0.8% 15 -0.5% 19
11 ATL 7.1% 9 4.9% 12 8-1 7.5% 11 1.7% 18 1.3% 16
12 PIT 4.9% 10 6.3% 11 6-3 4.2% 16 2.3% 19 3.0% 12
13 TB 3.9% 13 3.9% 13 5-4 8.0% 8 -1.5% 14 -5.6% 27
14 DET 2.9% 15 2.2% 14 4-5 18.5% 5 9.0% 25 -6.6% 29
15 MIN -0.4% 16 -0.8% 15 6-4 -7.0% 21 0.4% 16 7.0% 3
16 NO -2.2% 18 -1.1% 17 4-5 15.2% 6 19.1% 30 1.7% 14
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
WEIGHTED
DVOA
RANK W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
17 STL -3.6% 21 -3.5% 18 3-5-1 -4.6% 19 -3.6% 10 -2.5% 24
18 CIN -4.5% 24 -1.0% 16 4-5 1.9% 18 10.2% 26 3.8% 9
19 CAR -6.4% 17 -7.4% 19 2-7 -6.4% 20 -7.1% 8 -7.1% 30
20 MIA -6.6% 14 -8.1% 21 4-5 -14.6% 25 -3.1% 11 4.9% 6
21 WAS -8.0% 20 -8.0% 20 3-6 5.9% 14 7.4% 23 -6.5% 28
22 SD -10.5% 23 -11.0% 23 4-5 -7.2% 22 4.0% 21 0.7% 17
23 BUF -11.9% 25 -10.4% 22 3-6 2.3% 17 20.1% 31 5.9% 4
24 ARI -12.0% 22 -13.8% 24 4-5 -22.4% 30 -13.1% 5 -2.7% 25
25 NYJ -13.8% 19 -15.5% 25 3-6 -20.0% 28 -3.0% 12 3.2% 11
26 PHI -16.5% 26 -18.0% 26 3-6 -14.2% 24 -2.5% 13 -4.7% 26
27 IND -20.7% 27 -21.1% 27 6-3 4.5% 15 24.1% 32 -1.2% 23
28 CLE -22.6% 29 -22.5% 28 2-7 -21.3% 29 6.3% 22 5.0% 5
29 TEN -28.4% 31 -27.4% 29 4-6 -14.7% 26 13.0% 28 -0.7% 20
30 OAK -31.1% 28 -30.2% 30 3-6 -8.8% 23 14.6% 29 -7.7% 31
31 KC -38.2% 32 -35.6% 31 1-8 -29.9% 32 7.5% 24 -0.8% 21
32 JAC -39.0% 30 -39.4% 32 1-8 -25.1% 31 12.8% 27 -1.1% 22
  • NON-ADJUSTED TOTAL DVOA does not include the adjustments for opponent strength or the adjustments for weather and altitude in special teams, and only penalizes offenses for lost fumbles rather than all fumbles.
  • 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).



TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
1 DEN 39.8% 6-3 35.3% 9.5 1 1.7% 12 -17.4% 32 8.3% 11
2 NE 34.4% 6-3 35.6% 8.4 3 0.7% 17 -4.5% 23 10.5% 17
3 SEA 33.1% 6-4 21.1% 8.3 4 7.4% 6 5.0% 8 5.7% 6
4 GB 33.0% 6-3 24.0% 7.9 6 4.8% 7 3.2% 13 13.9% 22
5 CHI 32.1% 7-2 30.6% 8.6 2 -3.4% 24 12.6% 4 8.4% 12
6 SF 31.9% 6-2-1 31.0% 8.0 5 4.6% 9 10.7% 5 22.9% 30
7 HOU 23.6% 8-1 25.0% 6.9 7 2.3% 10 -10.3% 30 12.2% 19
8 BAL 15.3% 7-2 19.8% 6.3 8 -7.7% 27 5.8% 7 19.7% 28
9 NYG 13.9% 6-4 14.3% 5.9 9 -0.1% 19 4.8% 9 27.3% 32
10 DAL 8.1% 4-5 -0.1% 5.8 10 10.7% 3 -8.1% 25 5.4% 5
11 ATL 7.1% 8-1 17.6% 5.8 11 -7.2% 26 0.6% 16 13.5% 21
12 PIT 4.9% 6-3 12.2% 5.3 14 -9.6% 30 -3.1% 21 10.7% 18
13 TB 3.9% 5-4 12.7% 5.6 12 -8.3% 28 3.6% 12 9.4% 14
14 DET 2.9% 4-5 1.3% 5.0 16 1.0% 16 13.7% 2 4.5% 2
15 MIN -0.4% 6-4 3.9% 5.5 13 -3.3% 23 25.0% 1 5.9% 7
16 NO -2.2% 4-5 0.0% 4.7 17 0.5% 18 3.9% 11 10.1% 16
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
17 STL -3.6% 3-5-1 -12.3% 4.7 18 15.7% 1 4.4% 10 9.8% 15
18 CIN -4.5% 4-5 5.4% 4.3 20 -2.8% 22 -9.7% 28 20.7% 29
19 CAR -6.4% 2-7 -14.3% 4.5 19 14.2% 2 -12.5% 31 13.4% 20
20 MIA -6.6% 4-5 -1.5% 5.2 15 -11.6% 31 10.1% 6 17.4% 25
21 WAS -8.0% 3-6 -4.1% 4.0 22 1.4% 14 -1.5% 19 8.6% 13
22 SD -10.5% 4-5 0.3% 3.6 24 -12.2% 32 0.6% 15 7.5% 9
23 BUF -11.9% 3-6 -17.6% 4.2 21 1.0% 15 -8.2% 26 19.0% 27
24 ARI -12.0% 4-5 -17.3% 2.9 27 10.4% 4 12.8% 3 5.1% 4
25 NYJ -13.8% 3-6 -14.3% 3.7 23 9.1% 5 -10.1% 29 23.3% 31
26 PHI -16.5% 3-6 -17.5% 3.3 25 1.7% 11 -0.1% 17 4.7% 3
27 IND -20.7% 6-3 -9.6% 3.0 26 -9.4% 29 0.9% 14 6.1% 8
28 CLE -22.6% 2-7 -9.4% 2.8 28 -2.7% 21 -2.8% 20 8.0% 10
29 TEN -28.4% 4-6 -28.3% 2.2 29 4.8% 8 -9.3% 27 18.2% 26
30 OAK -31.1% 3-6 -24.3% 2.0 30 -2.6% 20 -6.4% 24 14.6% 24
31 KC -38.2% 1-8 -40.8% 1.5 31 -3.9% 25 -0.8% 18 14.4% 23
32 JAC -39.0% 1-8 -37.1% 0.4 32 1.6% 13 -4.5% 22 3.1% 1

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 13 Nov 2012

168 comments, Last at 18 Nov 2012, 3:49pm by Jerry

Comments

1
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 6:33pm

What is the home/road DVOA split for the Seahawks, and is it unusually divergent?

5
by Jericho Southall (not verified) :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 6:58pm

As a Seahawks fan, I'm very interested in this as well.

10
by Vince Verhei :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 7:02pm

Offense: 20.9% home (4th), -6.5% road (21st). The Ravens have an even bigger split: 27.2% home (2nd), -17.8% road (27th)

Defense: -26.3% home (2nd), -19.0% road (4th).

14
by Alan (not verified) :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 7:16pm

Thats really strange that the defense is consistent with the home/road splits but the offense isn't. The common belief is that the crowd noise amps up the defense at home (and causing problems for the opposing offense), thus giving them a bigger advantage.

Any idea why the offense has such a dramatic split?

21
by Jacob Stevens (not verified) :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 7:38pm

The truism is, that defense travels well. Which at least ought to bear the distinction, that good defense travels well. Most defenses perform somewhat better at home.

The home/road splits for offense are likely pretty common. Seattle's may be more noticeable than other teams, but apparently Baltimore's split is wider, so our perception probably contributes.

52
by MJK :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 11:16pm

I would guess an offense would be bad on the road for the same reasons you expect a defense to be good at home...the OPPOSING defense is amped up by the crowd noise.

Actually, I suspect crowd noise doesn't improve the defense as much as it hurts the offense, especially if the offense relies heavily on audibles, the no-huddle, and adjustments at the line. Is that the case for the SEahawks? I actually don't know.

But if that is the reason, one would expect defenses to improve at home only when facing offenses that audible a lot, and their offense to suffer on the road only if they rely on audibles or no-huddle offenses.

59
by Insancipitory :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 12:27am

It helps the defense get explosive get offs because, if the crowd is really loud, they can't hear the change in cadence and the offense is probably using a silent count anyway. False starts also change the plays the offense calls. See the Jets, they were going to go maximum Tebow inside the 5, false start, bring out Sanchez so he can be baited into throwing an interception inches from going for 6. Although, the false start was probably a reaction to the Seahawks rush in that circumstance as the crowd wasn't very loud for the Jets.

55
by matt___ (not verified) :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 11:55pm

Where can you find the home/away dvoa splits?

58
by Vince Verhei :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 12:23am

I'm glad you asked! Those splits and many, many more for this year's teams and dating back to 1992 are available right now to FO Premium subscribers. Click the "Premium Content" tab at the top of this page for more information.

75
by Podge (not verified) :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 9:12am

Hey, if this website doesn't work out, at least you've got a career in advertising waiting for you.

97
by sdweir (not verified) :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 1:45pm

I think it may be interesting to looks at first half/second half splits for the Seahawks, too. Just watching the games it seems that, in all three phases, the Seahawks are pounding other teams into the ground like so many tent pegs in the second halves.

118
by Vince Verhei :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 3:34pm

Offense actually drops a bit in the second half, from 9.0% to 4.9%. On defense, though, they go from -11.1% to -36.0%.

Last year, by the way, Seattle offense went from -26.0% in the first half to 8.3% in the second, and defense went from 6.5% to -21.7%. So this could be a trend for Pete Carroll.

121
by Insancipitory :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 3:56pm

The weird split is probably the 3rd quarter split for Russell Wilson and the offense. Just guessing.

2
by theslothook :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 6:44pm

Ive seen so many different excuses bandied about for the giants 2nd half collapses, but none of them are ever consistent. A few years ago, it was poor pass defense caused by a weak pass rush. Then it was poor pass defense caused by injuries in the secondary. Then last year it was injuries to osi umenyiora. Now, its eli has a weak arm.

There really should be a better explanation, especially since at this point its become almost expected, but it really has no clear logic to it. I'd love to hear the latest theories about whats causing this one.

8
by An Onymous (not verified) :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 7:00pm

How about "splits happen"? It's the same reason I'd give to explain how Tony Romo has the best winning percentage in the month of November in NFL history.

20
by Bjorn Nittmo :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 7:26pm

I'm usually thinking the same thing, and "splits happen" still probably makes more sense than anything else. But the repetition is pretty uncanny. In each of the 9 seasons under Coughlin, the Giants have started out exactly 5-2, except 2008 when they were 6-1; in each season they have a worse record in the 2nd half of the year than the first. They've been exactly 6-2 six times; they've lost their next game each time. This is looking like the 3rd year in a row in which they're going to quickly squander a comfortable division lead at the halfway point. Everyone remembers last year when everything worked out fine, but in 2009 and '10 their annual 2nd half swoon left them out of the playoffs. With Dallas having a lot of home games left and a much easier schedule, the Giants could easily cough it up again.

153
by Tim O (not verified) :: Thu, 11/15/2012 - 2:58pm

It's not just randomness that causes Romo/Dallas to do well in November. It's in part because they have the advantage of the Thanksgiving Day game. That is a home game on a short week that they have every year. Romo is 5-0 on Thanksgiving. It will be interesting to see if the Thanksgiving edge persists now that there are so many Thursday games and the other teams become more acquainted with the schedule.

18
by RickD :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 7:22pm

Too much Halloween candy?

62
by Michael19531 :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 12:51am

I was wondering about that myself.

Where did this "Eli's arm is getting tired" stuff originate from? I first heard it Friday afternoon from NFL Films Greg Cosell when he made made his weekly cameo on the Sirius Fantasy Football show on satellite radio.

68
by Vince Verhei :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 2:16am

Fun Fact: In weeks 1-6, Eli was third best in DYAR. In weeks 7-10, he is dead last in DYAR.

69
by Insancipitory :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 2:41am

Doesn't that kind of hint at an undiagnosed injury? It's not like the he hadn't faced some reasonably good defenses in the first 6 weeks. Hell, week 6 was the demolishing of the 9ers.

83
by Dave :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 10:26am

After watching some of his decisions against the Bengals I'd guess maybe it's a brain injury.

84
by Nathan :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 10:28am

I think it started with Jaws.

88
by sundown (not verified) :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 11:27am

I believe the first to bring up that exact term was Greg Cosell with NFL films.

105
by Nathan :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 2:37pm

From the horse's mouth...

“Ron Jaworski and I were having this conversation this week,” Cosell said. “I looked at Eli on Monday; Jaws looked at Eli on Wednesday. And he made a very interesting comment. It really struck me, and I would defer to Jaws on this because I’ve never taken snaps in the NFL. … It looks to him like Eli’s arm is a little tired. And that he’s not driving the ball at the intermediate and deeper levels the way we’ve come to expect. Because Eli has a strong arm.

76
by Podge (not verified) :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 9:14am

Wasn't there something in the book about there being a really weird coincidence of the Giants consistently having a hugely backloaded schedule?

103
by Aaron Schatz :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 2:26pm

Yes, but actually they don't have the backloaded schedule this year. It looked like it before the season but because of certain teams playing better or worse than our projections, this year it turns out the Giants schedule is fairly even between first and second half of the season.

3
by Purds :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 6:45pm

And my Patriot friends at my local poker game think I am kidding when I said last week that I would bet that NE gets to 30 points before the half against the Colts this week. Colts are #32 in defense, and NE is #1 in offense. Normally I could be accused of downplaying the chances of my favorite Colts. This time, I am afraid it's no ploy. Could be an ugly one coming. My eyes agree with those stats as well. Ugh.

29
by Insancipitory :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 8:23pm

Yeah, that might all be true, but there's not much preventing the Colts from putting up 35 in response.

"We don't have any defenses designed to give up 50-yard touchdowns," New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick said.

32
by Bobman :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 8:43pm

Purds, I think your first sentence above contains the nucleus of the whole problem. Colts fans and Pats fans playing a friendly game of poker together? In-season? To quote Obi-Wan Kenobi, I have a bad feeling about this.

I still don't see them as having the worst D in football. In their two blowout losses, there were many turnovers giving the D a short field to defend. Their points allowed are reasonable, so I'll assume the offenses faced were terrible. Hmm, Powers is on IR.... Pats only score as many as their drive count allows--"only" meaning one score per drive. 7 TDs and 2 FGs? Yikes. If Indy turns it over like those people who give out free samples of cologne at department stores, head for the hills. But if the Colts don't turn it over, or mount time-consuming drives... okay, I'm grasping at straws here. Does 42-27 sound right?

35
by Perfundle :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 9:14pm

"Their points allowed are reasonable, so I'll assume the offenses faced were terrible."

Terrible isn't doing it justice. Here are the offensive ranks of their opponents:
27
21
31
2
28
29
26
25
31

And they'll play Kansas City later on, which gives them 7 of the 8 worst offensive teams as opponents, two of them twice.

38
by Insancipitory :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 9:23pm

The Patriots can only put up so many points. Player substitutions, sending plays in, measurements, spotting the ball, and tv timeouts are bound to slow them dowm.

77
by Podge (not verified) :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 9:16am

Didn't they put up 35 in the first half against the Rams (10th in D DVOA)?

40
by Ben :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 9:59pm

Look at the difference between their DVOA and their non-adjusted VOA. I think merely being on the field with the Jags twice and Titans once has done irreparable harm to their DVOA.

Certainly this team is not as good as it's record and will likely get crushed in the playoffs if they make it (the 2003 41-0 drubbing by the Jets in the playoffs comes to mind...), but I still find it hard to believe that they have the worst defense in the league. We'll certainly know a lot more after next weeks game.

159
by Kristian Jens (not verified) :: Fri, 11/16/2012 - 2:40am

And yet they gave up 41 points versus one of the worst offensive teams...

160
by Kristian Jens (not verified) :: Fri, 11/16/2012 - 2:40am

And yet they gave up 41 points versus one of the worst offensive teams...

147
by Purds :: Thu, 11/15/2012 - 1:00pm

Bobman, that number does sound about right. Indy will turn it over a couple of times -- Luck throws a lot of deep balls that are risky. I doubt NE will turn it over much -- they are very god in terms of not fumbling, and the passing game is very short-distant dominated with Brady taking few chances. The only shot is that Brady's having an off day and the Colts can get some pressure on him. Those don't usually happen.

I think NE's run defense will clog up Indy on first downs (is it my imagination or does Indy run the ball a ton on first down?), and then you've got Luck in predictable situations. Not good for a rookie. I was at last year's game in NE, and Orton put a little fear into fans in the last few minutes, so perhaps that will happen again, but there is no way this is a 10-7 game, not even after one quarter.

158
by jebmak :: Thu, 11/15/2012 - 5:02pm

While you may be right, I would totally take a U17.5 bet for the first quarter.

163
by The Ninjalectual :: Fri, 11/16/2012 - 6:27am

Bobman says: Purds, I think your first sentence above contains the nucleus of the whole problem. Colts fans and Pats fans playing a friendly game of poker together? In-season? To quote Obi-Wan Kenobi, I have a bad feeling about this.

That's funny. I write a column (Taking a Knee with 303) where the premise is football is something that can bring people together, it's something everybody has in common. But what do you do if football is what's driving you apart in the first place?

4
by Jeff Huter (not verified) :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 6:53pm

Man, does DVOA hate the Colts! Has a 6-3 team ever had a worse DVOA? -20.7% for a team with twice as many wins as losses as to be a rare occurrence. I'm a Colts fan and greatly enjoying this surprise of a season. I can also appreciate that this team as many, many holes. What I have troubles believing is that there are only 6 teams that are worse in the NFL, especially since there are only 4 teams with more wins.

11
by Jake (not verified) :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 7:05pm

The Colts were crushed by the Bears (understandably) and the Jets (25th in DVOA) and lost to the worst (or maybe second worst) team in football (the Jags). They beat Tennessee (ranked below them at 29th) by 6 and the Browns (28th) by 4. Two of their other wins were over Jax and Miami (20th) by 3. That's why they're so low. Their only two good wins were each by 3 over the Packers and Vikings. Their resume is just not very impressive.

25
by Jeff Huter (not verified) :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 7:56pm

I understand "why" DVOA hates the Colts. Even with their record and lack of any real other contenders in the AFC, it wouldn't surprise me if they still missed the playoffs. The defense has issues and this team could easily have an extended losing streak. With that said, they are playing inspired and anything is possible. For example, I think getting blown out in New England this weekend and squeaking out a close victory are both plausible outcomes even if the conventional wisdom is that the latter will not happen. This team already has twice the number of victories as I expected at the beginning of the year so it's hard to completely count them out.

I sort of view DVOA as style points. It may be predictive of future performance, but personally I'd rather have a team that wins ugly than loses with style.

I'm still curious if they have the lowest DVOA for a team at 6 and 3. -20 DVOA is particularly bad whereas 6 and 3 is usually reserved for at least "good" teams if not Super Bowl contenders (which this team clearly is not).

26
by Vince Verhei :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 8:10pm

It may be predictive of future performance, but personally I'd rather have a team that wins ugly than loses with style.

Teams that win ugly usually end up losing ugly in the playoffs (example: 2011 Broncos).

Teams that lose with style often have trouble making the playoffs, but fare well if they get in (example: 2010 Packers).

Obviously, the ideal is to win with style and crush everyone by 20 points.

57
by Tim T (not verified) :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 12:21am

Those 2011 ugly winning Broncos still managed an ugly playoff win against the 4th ranked team. I think most Broncos fans would consider that year a success. If you're going to play ugly, winning is better than the alternative.

107
by Richie :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 2:47pm

So successful, they fired the QB.

The 2011 Broncos remind me a bit of my 2008 Dolphins. A team that kind of fluked their way to a division championship, but the Dolphins didn't win a playoff game. The season was fun while it lasted, and I hoped it was something they could build on (they didn't).

80
by justanothersteve :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 9:42am

The ideal is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.

95
by Landos17 (not verified) :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 1:29pm

That is good! That is good.

98
by RickD :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 1:46pm

That's not "the ideal," it's "what is best in life".

123
by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 5:04pm

Exactly. It's much better than the open steppe, a fleet horse, falcons at your wrist, and the wind in your hair. If anyone tells you that's what's best in life, they are WRONG!

127
by Intropy :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 7:38pm

No, no. The greatest joy for a man is to defeat his enemies, to drive them before him, to take from them all they possess, to see those they love in tears, to ride their horses, and to hold their wives and daughters in his arms.

129
by nat :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 10:45pm

Hot water, good dentishtry and shoft lavatory paper.

154
by merlinofchaos :: Thu, 11/15/2012 - 3:02pm

Shouldn't it be lamentation of their cheerleaders? Or fans, I suppose. It's a little more in-genre that way.

42
by Dave :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 10:16pm

I think that even if you throw opponent adjustments out, the Colts have played up to (down to) that ranking by the eye test as well. They have been very, very lucky.

I would agree that the schedule actually sets up very favorably for the Bengals, so Nate's "The Colts are going to the playoffs no matter what" storyline isn't etched in stone just yet, and given just how far behind the other playoff teams they are, as a fan I'd rather get a better draft pick... but I also think it's easy enough to argue that their DVOA isn't exactly as predictive as it could be going forward either. The team is so young with so many rookies, particularly at QB, that some serious improvement is to be expected. I don't expect them to be good enough to beat the Texans in week 15 when the Texans are sure to be playing hard (then again, I didn't expect them to hang with the Packers either), but that team will be worlds better than the team that lost early to the awful Jags, and even worlds better than the team we see before us right now that'll still factor into weighted DVOA.

Or so I think. Maybe they'll be better but also less lucky.

I think we can all agree that the only thing that'll stop the Patriots from hanging 62+ on them if they want to is the Patriots' own desire. They might use this game as a chance to practice a weak point on offense after they get comfortably ahead [20 minutes into the game].

50
by Lyford :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 10:56pm

I think we can all agree that the only thing that'll stop the Patriots from hanging 62+ on them if they want to is the Patriots' own desire. They might use this game as a chance to practice a weak point on offense after they get comfortably ahead [20 minutes into the game].

With this defense, I think I speak for many Patriots fans when I say, there's no such thing as "comfortably ahead"...

82
by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 10:18am

"The team is so young with so many rookies, particularly at QB, that some serious improvement is to be expected."

This is what I've been thinking as well. DVOA counts the whole season equally, but for a team like the Colts, they're not going to be the same team in Week 17 that they were in Week 1. That's true of any team really, but even more so for a team with a new roster, new coaches, new systems.

The eyeball test says the Colts are better now than they were in September. How this will bear out over the rest of the season is anyone's guess. I'd expect the winning streak to come to an end this week, but beyond that, who knows.

The good news for a Colts fan is that while the schedule is harder in the second half of the season, it's still not THAT hard. Buffalo, Tennessee, @KC -- the Colts will be favored to win those. Win those games, and you're at 9 wins. 9 wins might very well snag a wildcard spot in the AFC this year. Stealing one against NE, Detroit or Houston (perhaps in Week 17) would provide some cushion. Crazy as it sounds, based on how things have unfolded, the Colts have the inside track to a playoff spot.

109
by Richie :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 2:50pm

The weekly DVOA graph for the Colts would be interesting to see. My perception is that this was not a good team to start the year, and got a couple fluky wins early on. Now, they are playing better and getting some "real" wins.

27
by ODBvernon :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 8:10pm

We can play that game with every team from the Saints on down in the rankings and it wouldn't look much different (close wins, bad losses, etc.).

I would also propose that their two good wins are probably more impressive than anything on the resumes of the 10 teams ranked above them by DVOA.

As a Colts fan, I don't get down looking at these rankings and think: "man, my favorite team REALLY stinks." Rather, I think "the Colts have gotten some lucky breaks, Luck has been incredibly good in the 4th quarter of close games and now they are in position to dramatically over-achieve preseason expectations and make the playoffs."

DVOA rankings don't actually make the Colts suck. They just indicate there are some serious flaws that *could* be exposed.

I would posit the Colts are much closer to a middle of the road team than a bottom-feeder in terms of performance and that DVOA is missing something about this particular team. It happens from time-to-time (the Colts from 2006-2010 ring a bell) and that doesn't undermine the validity of these measures, nor their predictive qualities. DVOA is still the best out there, but it is also still incomplete.

33
by Bobman :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 8:50pm

Extremely plausible. My old arguments (spanning back to 2003?) were that DVOA just doesn't know what to make of Manning. Each year, the Colts were projected for 9-10 wins (mainly due to D and ST flaws) and each year they racked up 12-14 wins, over-shooting their Pythagorean projection by a good amount.

Well, no Manning now. It's a little early to say Luck is the monkey wrench changing everything. Maybe the water in Indy? The air? Why/how can they always over-achieve what the best models project for them? And can I get some of that for my kids, because their grades could sure use a boost?

135
by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Thu, 11/15/2012 - 10:36am

The pythagorean forum, by its very nature, overvalues defense. Changes in the denominator make a much bigger difference than changes in the numerator.

144
by Hurt Bones :: Thu, 11/15/2012 - 12:40pm

Wasn't the Pythagorean forum (agora) in Crotone?

34
by Andrew Potter :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 8:57pm

I would also propose that their two good wins are probably more impressive than anything on the resumes of the 10 teams ranked above them by DVOA.

I'll oppose that by pointing out that the Cardinals, a mere three places above the Colts, beat the #2 Patriots (in New England) and the #3 Seahawks.

36
by ODBvernon :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 9:14pm

Whoops. I stand corrected.

Also, some quick checking from other stats-driven sites (including at least two that are forward-looking measures):

- Teamrankings has the Colts #21 in their predictive standings
- Numberfire has them at a 62% chance to make the playoffs
- PFR has them #25 in a dead heat with the Dolphins and Jets at 24 and 23 respectively
- Pythagorean expectation pegs them as being a 4-5 team

Anyway, I stand by my earlier point: the Colts are not as bad as their DVOA looks and a variety of outside measures validate that stance - it's not just my "gut."

Also, to reiterate: I still love FO/DVOA best of all, I just think something about this particular team is not coming through in the databases here and shouldn't lead people to immediately jump to the "historically bad playoff team" conclusion that some are starting to think about.

45
by Occ :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 10:23pm

I'm going to go ahead and guess, that unless they make the playoffs at 7-9 (2010 Seahawks, featuring -22.9% DVOA, good for 30th in the league), they won't have to worry about being thought of as a historically bad playoff team. Although looking at it now, that's only about 2% worse than the current Colts ranking, so I guess it's possible. But people will only remember W/L numbers anyway.

6
by Special J :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 6:58pm

I'm pleasantly surprised that the Patriots' pass D ranks out to a not-great-but-not-awful 20th ranked 13.8. Considering how close they are to league bottom in yards/attempt, as well in Expected Points Added and Win Probability Added over at ANS. It's certainly not opponent adjustments. Any idea what it is that DVOA likes -- or, really, doesn't hate -- about the Pats' D?

9
by theslothook :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 7:01pm

probably their red zone defense

136
by RC (not verified) :: Thu, 11/15/2012 - 10:37am

They also force a lot of turnovers.

7
by theslothook :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 7:00pm

The colts have had some pretty close wins and some very lopsided losses all the while facing a pretty easy schedule. Its pretty disheartening when your defense gets impaled by the likes of the punch less jets and Bears, not too mention, making brandon Weeden look like the first overall pick. Offensively, they are getting better at running and throwing, but Luck has been fortunate(notice what did there) that he hasn't been picked off more. The 6-3 record is really nice, but this is a team that still has so little talent outside of their qb, their one receiver and tight end. The defense has three above average players currently(freeman, a healthy mathis, and redding), a couple mediocre types(old aged freeney and bathea) and a whole lot of terrible players. This isn't the worst playoff bound team I've ever seen, but its up there.

12
by Joe C (not verified) :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 7:12pm

Don't overreact doesn't mean I can't be excited that the Seahawks are ahead of the niners! woo hoo!

13
by zenbitz :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 7:16pm

Why do niners in playoff odds have a record of 6-3-1? Not sure it affects their Mean wins over the season though.

15
by RickD :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 7:17pm


"Many fans know that fumble luck is a big part of the reason why the Broncos can be first in DVOA despite their 6-3 record. This week, they recovered only one of their own three fumbles, and didn't recover either of Carolina's"

Also, they weren't even charged for the fumble when Holliday dropped the ball before going into the end zone! That takes "fumble luck" to a whole new level!!

30
by TimK :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 8:32pm

Yes, and despite having the only player within yards of that one they didn't recover it either :D

There is a certain advantage to the dunk-over-the-crossbar celebration, at least with that one you have to actually carry the ball over the goalline first... (although Holliday might be a bit short to actually carry that one out!)

16
by rengewnad (not verified) :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 7:19pm

although i've seen the games and love what I see, i just can't emotionally handle the broncos at #1 DVOA. and look at that special teams ranking!!! single digits!!! i've been watching this site for years and that just can't be right... not for MY bronco's.

something more like a ~10ish offense, ~15ish defense, and ~30ish special teams are the written-in-stone bronco DVOA ranks that I am used to seeing.

22
by BroncFan07 :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 7:44pm

Yeah but this year is way more fun than last year when we had to keep scrolling down the list to see what middling ranking Tebow led them to that week.

60
by The Truth (not verified) :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 12:34am

"~30ish special teams are the written-in-stone bronco DVOA ranks"

2011: -0.2% (18)
2010: -2.6% (27)
2009: -0.4% (18)
2008: -7.0% (31)
2007: -5.1% (28)
2006: 0.6% (15)
2005: -3.6% (28)
2004: -2.9% (25)
2003: -1.8% (23)
2002: -1.8% (20)
2001: 2.2% (8)
2000: -4.6% (24)
1999: -1.6% (22)
1998: 2.3% (9)
1997: 4.3% (4)
1996: -2.1% (19)
1995: 3.0% (7)
1994: 1.8% (7)
1993: -2.5% (21)
1992: 1.5% (9)
1991: -4.9% (23)

Average: -1.2% (18)

99
by RickD :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 1:50pm

I can't believe you went back all the way to 1991.

17
by RickD :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 7:21pm

I see after only getting .1 estimated win last week, the Broncos are back in form, with 1.4 estimated wins this week.

19
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 7:26pm

'The niners are underrated because.....

err

...

Hmmmm, they're not are they? They've been too random, have allowed a 100 yard rusher in three of their last four games (only Arizona didn't reach that mark, which doesn't say very much), the kick coverage has gone to pot, Akers isn't close to his performance last year and they haven't been forcing anywhere near as many turnovers.

Rather depressing.

74
by Danish Denver-Fan :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 7:14am

Easy Karl. Think back two years and imagine your feelings when looking at this table.

91
by bravehoptoad :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 12:49pm

Every time I watch them, they win. Then I spend a weekend away and all hell breaks loose, and I'm left trying to piece together exactly what happened from pieces of the internets.

Frustrating.

92
by Podge (not verified) :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 12:56pm

Please stop watching them.

23
by G (not verified) :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 7:47pm

I'm new to the site and enjoy it very much. Can someone offer a bit more clarity on estimated wins? Is that referring to the number of games left in the season, or total wins for a season?

24
by tuluse :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 7:50pm

Estimated wins is how many wins a team would have if they played an average schedule thus far into the season.

This has one really odd quirk which is that it counts bye weeks as though a team had played that week.

37
by Perfundle :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 9:19pm

Without that adjustment you wouldn't be able to compare the teams' estimated wins with each other.

I imagine that after next week, when every team will have had their bye week, that the estimated wins can be rolled back one.

78
by Podge (not verified) :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 9:25am

Plus assuming average luck. I think "luck" here covers fumble recoveries and a variety of kikcing based things that teams can't really effect (opponent kickoff distance, opponent punt distance, opponent field goal accuracy). Possibly it also covers return yardage on fumbles and interceptions, although I might be wrong on that.

43
by Dragon Pie (not verified) :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 10:16pm

It's the estimated wins if a team didn't play a bye. I don't know too much more about it, but it's for up to that point if the team played every week how many wins would you expect. And I think it's against the schedule that they faced, but i'm not sure.

28
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 8:22pm

How bad is the defensive DVOA split for Tampa for their horrible pass defense vs. excellent run defense?

31
by D :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 8:37pm

Not totally on topic, but Washington and Oakland fans, does Jason Campbell check down on every single throw? I was watching the Bears-Texans game and it was like he was incapable of throwing the ball more than 7 yards even when he had guys open down the field.

66
by vcs (not verified) :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 1:57am

Yep, that's exactly how he played in Oakland. He also throws the ball away frequently, upside being few interceptions & sacks.

The play where he was injured (run for first down) was uncharacteristic of him, you probably won't see that again.

72
by BigCheese :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 4:13am

I'm a Bears fan, not a Washington or Oakland one, but his reputation, at least with teh Skins, was that he had a maddening tendenvy to take the checkdown every single time.

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

111
by Jimmy :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 3:18pm

I had never been impressed with Campbell until he got to Oakland where he was having the best season of his career and was playing genuinely winning football. I thought he was unlucky not to be given a chance to start this year. However the Bears O is playing worse than the Oakland O was last year so he may regress along with every other Bears offensive player not called Marshall.

112
by Jimmy :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 3:19pm

I suppose I should probably add Webb and Louis to the list, they are both playing better than last year (I may even go as far as to say they are playing quite well).

116
by tuluse :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 3:27pm

I think Webb and Louis are still playing pretty well, but you don't notice as much because Rachal is not very good and Carimi is awful at pass pro.

Well Webb is playing the same, whether or not that is "pretty well" is another question.

39
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 9:42pm

It's amazing that this, by DVOA, could easily be Peyton's best team. It still amazes me that this guy was on the open market, and him picking Denver may end up being a lot smarter and prescient than many of us believed.

That defense is so much better than I thought it would be, and I guess it would have been hard to predict this, hard to predict Mike Adams and Wesley Woodyard playing this well, or Tony Carter having a great season, of Vickerson at DT. Miller has gotten better, and even Elvis has had a nice season.

Couple stats I love about the Broncos. Top 10 in both pass defense and rush defense by DVOA. 1st in ASR on defense and offense (has that ever happened before?). 2nd in yards per play with 6.1 (.1 behind Tampa(?)), while tied for first in fewest yards allowed per play with 4.8. Just a really solid team, and with their schedule, getting better. That set, this could all set up for another round of "Manning's a choker" if they lose to New England in Round 2.

44
by AJ (not verified) :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 10:22pm

Personally, the best team pm has had was the 07 colts imo. It got overshadowed by the 07 pats, but they were very dominant. That loss to the chargers had me sooooo bitter...three fluke turnovers in the red zone while having a complete meltdown offensively.

one think noticed about this year, Denver's on the play calling in the first quarter is unusually conservative. They they seem to committed to short route screens and running the ball, which gets predictably stopped on short yardage 3rd downs. not sure if this is Manning's doing or McCoy, but they need to behave like the old colts and come out passing.

46
by AJ (not verified) :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 10:25pm

Srry for all the typos, sending this on my phone while on the subway. Meant meltdown defensively

48
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 10:47pm

I have to agree that Peyton (or McCoy) seems to audible to runs on 3rd downs a little too often. It seems pretty evident that usually this is not catching anyone by surprise.

The one thing I do like is the Broncos seem to be kicking off first. Not sure if that's just the opponents winning the toss and electing to receive, or a decision by Fox to defer, but I totally approve of deferring.

The '07 team was very good in the first half of the season, but after Freeney's injury the defense wasn't that great. It was really apparent in the playoff game where they couldn't get any pressure on Rivers at all.

To me, '05 was the best Manning-led team. Their first 13 wins were all by at least a TD. That team was just dominant, outscoring their (admittedly weak) opponents 366-162 in the first 12 games.

As I said, this could be the best team as measured by DVOA that Manning's ever had.

63
by The Hypno-Toad :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 1:10am

I usually miss the coin toss, but at least the past two weeks have been the Broncos deferring. Between them benching Knowshon Moreno and Joe Mays and deferring kickoffs, it's starting to feel like the Broncos have been reading my dream journal.

64
by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 1:31am

Or maybe Manning is just being the coach now, making the decisions himself...

In reality, I'm happy of all the moves the Broncos have made in teh Manning era, other than John Fox still being a little too conservative (though this might not be as true as I think from anectodal evidence).

81
by Ryan D. :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 10:15am

John Fox loves to defer. He never wants to put his defense out on the field after halftime if possible. In his time coaching in Carolina, this helped prevent a lot of 10-to-14-point runs straddling the intermission by the opposing team.

131
by The Hypno-Toad :: Thu, 11/15/2012 - 3:42am

Well... At the start of this season he was electing to receive every time the Broncos won the toss. His first deferral this season was not before three weeks ago. Granted, some of those coin tosses the Broncos did not win, but he definitely chose to receive more than once at the beginning of the year.
In fact, he was asked about it after... I think it was the Patriots game, and his response was something very much like, "If you look at the numbers it doesn't really matter, the possessions tend to balance out over the course of the game." Which struck me as a very silly way for a smart football coach to talk about the issue.
As I recall, he was also electing to receive here last year, but that's just my spotty memory.

152
by tuluse :: Thu, 11/15/2012 - 1:54pm

There seems to be a lot of inertia keeping coaches receiving in the first half when it's obvious that 90% of the time they should be deferring.

The 10% is only if you have a really good offense and really bad defense, and you need to keep pressure on the other team the entire game.

67
by theslothook :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 2:03am

Real question is what sort of rotation will DJ williams and tracy porter have coming back, especially since carter, woodyard, and really chris harris have all played exceptionally well.

I can see dj finding a niche when they go base in their standard 3 4 4, but remember, jack del rio uses some pretty funky formations and it could be personnel drive as much as anything so its not clear where DJ will fit in. And as for porter, who the hell knows.

70
by The Hypno-Toad :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 3:37am

I think at this point, Porter is just depth, or if Harris or Carter really just fall off the map at some point, he's a very capable #4 CB to plug into the lineup.
DJ is a more interesting situation. I've been a rabid Woodyard cheerleader since the Broncos picked him up as a Rookie Free Agent, and my devotion has been paid off in spades this year... But in the past, extensive action for him over a prolonged period of time has led to a decline in performance. I don't know if it's just because he's undersized (which would indicate that it could happen again), or because he needed to get into a routine of being more than a special teams standout (which would lead me to think he may have gotten over the hump) but it's something to keep an eye on.
What makes DJ Williams so valuable is that he's played all three LB positions in a 4-3 and ILB in a 3-4. He's certainly versatile.
My best guess for where he fits in coming back, especially in the first few weeks is as a rotational player at MLB. Brooking has exceeded my expectations, but it would be nice to be able to get him some rest on a regular basis. DJ is on record as not particularly liking to play Mike, but with Woodyard playing so, so well, I can't see him taking over at Will (especially since Woodyard has been wearing the radio helmet the last few weeks). And I think it's safe to say he won't be displacing Von Miller at the Sam. My hope is that DJ can content himself being in a timeshare at Mike until the end of this season, when the Broncos might just cut/trade him rather than deal with his brand of crazy. I also hope that Danny Trevathan doesn't wind up the odd man out with DJ's return, as I've been impressed with him.

71
by The Hypno-Toad :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 3:59am

In my head, I think of DJ Williams as being an asset when it comes to covering Tight Ends... But given that I've lived in terror of opposing Tight Ends for most of the last decade and looking at the Broncos' DVOA vs. Tight Ends over the last few years that he played, I can't for the life of me figure out why I think that. Seeing as I was thinking of that as a strength of his when I was writing the above post, I now have to question whether he makes it back on the field as much as I was thinking he might. Hrm.

104
by cjfarls :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 2:29pm

I don't think DJ is great in coverage by any stretch, but compared to Mays/Haggan/Davis/etc. that DJ has been playing with in base formation the past few years, he's exceptional. The TE coverage problems last year were mostly Mays and 2 rookie safeties, and Miller also was still getting used to coverage (the few times we don't have him rushing the passer). DJ's probably the one of the better coverage LB on the team with Woodyard (who is similarly decent, but not great).

I wouldn't be surprised to see DJ take some nickel LB responsibilities from Trevathan and Brooking. His speed is an asset over Brooking, and Fox likes veterans over rookies. But I do like what I've seen from Trevathan (great for a 6th round rookie), and Brooking has been a pleasant surprise, though he is definitely physically limited.

156
by merlinofchaos :: Thu, 11/15/2012 - 3:15pm

My best guess is that Del Rio will do a lot more 3-4 base defense, which the team has already been experimenting with, and DJ will line up alongside Brooking as ILBs. You'll then see 3 down linemen, and Miller moving around as the 4th pass rusher. In the nickel, which is where DJ has always excelled, they might then pull either Brooking or Williams in favor of a 5th DB, using Williams as primarily a run stopper/spy/checkdown/tightend coverage and Woodyard more in coverage.

In his first game back, I imagine we'll see Williams play 10-15 snaps, and then if the performs well, 20-25 snaps the week after. One thing I'm sure of is that they can't take Woodyard off the field in place of Williams, and they don't really 'replace' Miller, instead they go with 3 down linemen and pull one of the tackles. That works really well since Wolfe is labelled a DE but actually plays inside a lot anyway, so pulling a tackle and sliding Wolfe in and having Miller playing more like a DE seems very successful.

That's my theory on what we'll see, and I'm sticking to it.

One thing I will say -- I don't think I really realized how much of a liability Mays was until he got pulled.

94
by commissionerleaf :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 1:29pm

By 2007 the Colts were pretty clearly a declining team, held together by Manning and a few oft-injured other stars. By then Sanders was in and out of the lineup, Harrison nosedived that year, and Clark was in injury purgatory off and on as well.

I agree that 2005 was the year that they "should" have won their Super Bowl; the whole league was so terrified of Manning that they were actually a balanced offense, and the defense wasn't done declining yet. 2006 was the year they made it, but 2005 was a better team. They had the 5th ranked defense by DVOA that year... playing a Tampa 2. In '03-'07 excluding that year the defense was more averageish (except of course in '06 when it was simply bad until the playoffs).

By 2010 the Colts had declined, and were held together by Manning and what we now recognize is the still-burning start that is Reggie Wayne.

41
by disfargeg (not verified) :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 10:14pm

is clearly ranked because . is way better than this.

47
by AB in DC (not verified) :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 10:36pm

Does DVOA count the fake FG (TD run) toward special teams ratings? If so, I'm curious how much that contributed to the +42% this week

54
by jonnyblazin :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 11:27pm

If I remember correctly, no, fakes aren't included. Special teams rankings measure standard things like field goals, punts, and returns.

49
by Jon Goldman (not verified) :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 10:54pm

God DAMN the Bears are ridiculous. I just wish they had an even mediocre offense.

Anyone willing to run a theoretical model of just how good a Bears' team with, say, the Bengals' offense would be?

96
by Steve in WI :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 1:38pm

#1 in defense, #27 in offense. I did not see that coming this year. Frankly, even without adding Marshall and Jeffery, I would have expected their offense to be better than #27.

For the first few games, I kept thinking that things would eventually come together for them, but now we're more than halfway through the season and they're getting worse, not better. And now it appears next week's game won't tell us much assuming Cutler is out. I guess it's better to be in this position than to have a team with mediocre talent that is getting everything it can out of its players and has nowhere to realistically improve, and I keep hoping that the offense will get hot going into the playoffs, but man...I'm going to be so frustrated if the defense keeps up this level of play and the Bears make an early exit from the playoffs.

51
by MJK :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 11:13pm

The Patriots Defense is clearly ranked too high because...well just look at it. It should be obvious. ... Oh never mind.

56
by Rich A (not verified) :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 12:14am

The Patriots are clearly ranked too high because their defense is a sieve and can't stop giving up yardage. The eyeball test is way better than this. The Patsies won't even mkae the playoffs with this defense because they couldn't even stop the anemic Jets offense.

A pats fan.

100
by RickD :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 1:52pm

..and yet the Pats gained a game in the standings on the Dolphins, Jets, and Bills this weekend.

Just when you think somebody in the AFC East might compete with the Pats, the Dolphins go out and lay a stinkbomb against a mediocre team.

53
by KW (not verified) :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 11:19pm

Am I missing something or is the estimated record for Denver 9.5 and -0.5? (This may have been covered on previous threads). I assume this is expected wins through ten weeks (ie not factoring in the bye). Pretty good record though. imagine how the old Dolphins players would react if a team did finish 17 and -1?

61
by Hentgy5400 (not verified) :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 12:43am

Detroit is clearly ranked too high because the Vikings are ranked behind them, but have beaten them twice this year. Otherwise, looks great!

73
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 6:51am

As a Detroit fan, I was wondering about that myself. How did the Vikings beat the Lions this past weekend, yet the Lions DVOA went up, and Vikings went down? Did opponent adjustments (for previous games) kick in that much?

90
by Dragon Pi (not verified) :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 12:41pm

Maybe the vikings did better by DVOA rating, but still lost the game.

126
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 7:19pm

I assume you mean the Lions had a better DVOA rating, but still lost.

After watching the game I find that hard to believe, as it seemed like the Vikings outplayed the Lions in every facet.

128
by Vince Verhei :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 10:20pm

DET DVOA: -4.0%.
MIN DVOA: -7.4%

Didn't watch much of the game so I don't have a ton of explanation, but the Vikings had five fewer first downs than Detroit and recovered two of the three fumbles in the game.

130
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 11:32pm

I guess that makes sense, as the two recovered fumbles were big plays at key parts of the game, and the Vikings offense was very boom or bust (two big plays basically accounted for 14 points).

65
by lester bangs (not verified) :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 1:55am

I won't overreact to the misspelling of overreact.

But when is it okay to overreact? I'm always told not to overreact to this or to that. When is panic the right play?

79
by peterplaysbass :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 9:34am

Women tend to ovary-act.

85
by jdiko :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 10:32am

And suffer short-term mammary loss.

89
by In_Belichick_We... :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 11:43am

Oh how I miss my Mammary Match game. Does anybody have a copy?

Entitled freeloader

86
by In_Belichick_We... :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 10:37am

"They are on pace to finish with offensive DVOA above 30% for the third straight year, only the second team to do so. (The other was Kansas City from 2002 to 2004.) This would also give them offensive DVOA above 25% five times in a six-year span: 2007 and then 2009 through 2012."

Unfortunately, this appears to be a recipe for zero Super Bowl wins.

Entitled freeloader

101
by RickD :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 2:00pm

Pats fans have gotten so spoiled.
How did we reach a state where people complain about a team that's won 9 division titles in the past 11 years, in addition to 5 conference titles and 3 Super Bowls over the same time period? This is the same franchise that made exactly two Super Bowls out of the first thirty-five played, losing both, with one of the losses considered possibly the most lopsided Super Bowl ever played.

102
by Will Allen :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 2:17pm

It's really interesting to see fans' expectations wax and wane through different eras. I reached the conclusion a long time ago that if the team you root for, at the time the ball is kicked off at their last regular season game, hasn't been mathematically eliminated from the tourney, ya' gotta say it was a successful season.

108
by cjfarls :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 2:47pm

Fan expectations indeed fascinating.

My team, Denver, has something like 4 losing seasons in the last 30 years, and even in the bad years, often still had a shot at the playoffs going into week 16/17... yet folks freak out about mediocre stretches like 2007-2010. For too many, front office was obviously garbage and the team the worst ever. Mediocre players that actually were performing relatively well, like Orton or DJ Williams, get scapegoated, booed, etc.

Then suddenly, the team goes 8-8 and a gets a playoff win, and is "the best team" we had in "decades" (forgetting that we went 13-3 and hosted an AFC Championship game ~5 years ago). This sentiment went to the point that a fair number of folks were questioning the decision to bring in Manning over the punt protector.... and it continued to percolate under the surface until about 2-3 weeks ago, but now everyone seems onboard for the most part.

Living outside Denver and seeing bad ownership sabotage the local team up close (I live in Wash DC), I always tr(y)(ied) on the Broncos blogs to keep things in perspective for folks... but that's probably a futile effort given folks short attention spans and inability of observers to look at events in context of the average. DVOA and other stat-based assessment certainly helps me keep things in perspective.

122
by commissionerleaf :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 4:24pm

While obviously he's no Peyton Manning, Kyle Orton was one of the most ridiculous scapegoats in the history of the NFL last year. He was coming off a good season as a first year starter with a relatively raw set of receiving talent, and appears to have been benched because the ball slipped out of his hand once in the rain after a relatively slow but not awful start.

He is one of the 32 best quarterbacks in the NFL and has been for about four or five years. Orton makes Miami or Kansas City a playoff contending team.

124
by Nathan :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 5:37pm

Also, as a Pats fan, I'm pretty sure that his perceived inability to come away with TDs in the Red Zone was in fact due to the McOffense.

132
by The Hypno-Toad :: Thu, 11/15/2012 - 4:01am

Yeah... Denver fans. Maybe it's going on all over, or maybe I'm just suffering from early onset "kids these days" syndrome, but I definitely used to think of Bronco fans as reasonably well-informed fans, and certainly reasonably polite fans (Outside of Raider week and to a lesser extent Chiefs week). They used to understand that sometimes you should punt on fourth and medium to short, and thus booing this decision makes you look stupid. They used to understand that you simply don't do the wave when your offense has the ball.
Not any more. A lot of Bronco fans are just ignorant about football, and they are unbelievably rude to visiting fans and to eachother. During the offseason I actually sold my season ticket to a friend who has the two seats next to mine, but because he's a good guy, he let me buy it back when I was hit with the sellers' remorse.
What's really strange to me is that this sense of entitlement and influx of crappy fans didn't even happen when the Broncos were excellent. It really seemed to accelerate towards the end of the Brian Griese era. There have been so many times that I've been completely ashamed by the actions of the people in the stands with me. There's never an excuse to belittle a kid who's just there to root for a team that happens to be the visitors.
My son had a Cutler jersey, and he was 7 when Cutler was traded. I was worried about taking him to a game in his jersey because the local vitriol regarding Cutler had gotten that bad. I'm sure nothing would have happened, but the fact that I was worried that Bronco fans might verbally harass a 7 year old kid because he was wearing the wrong Bronco jersey made me realize that I don't really think much of the fan base.

Well, somewhere along the line, that turned into a manifesto. Sorry about that.

133
by The Hypno-Toad :: Thu, 11/15/2012 - 4:17am

Just to be 100% clear, none of my criticisms of Bronco fans are intended to refer to or apply to anyone who posts here.

137
by Will Allen :: Thu, 11/15/2012 - 10:48am

I wouldn't even consider paying money to sit in the stands, these days, at any NFL game, given the quality of many of the people who would likely be around me.

(edit) Now that I think about it, I don't think I'd sit in the stands at any game, if you gave me tickets for free. Hell, I don't even like to watch games in a sports bar all that much, given the knuckleheads who can't hold their liquor, but it is easier to 86 a drunk in a sports bar than to do so in a stadium, and I'm less likely to see children subjected to abusive language in a sports bar, simply because rhere are fewer of them around.

138
by jebmak :: Thu, 11/15/2012 - 11:27am

I completely agree on a pro level. But the fans in the semi-pro stands just want to eat a hot dog, laugh at the mascot, and enjoy the game (win or lose). Those games are much better date/family outings in my opinion, cheaper too.

140
by Insancipitory :: Thu, 11/15/2012 - 11:31am

I have to wonder where you guys are getting your impressions of NFL games from. Having gone to 100s of games at this point I've really only seen a handful things that I would consider troubling.

141
by jebmak :: Thu, 11/15/2012 - 11:49am

Maybe you are more comfortable with drunk idiots screaming and swearing right next to you?

143
by Insancipitory :: Thu, 11/15/2012 - 12:23pm

Well I guess if peace and quiet is what you're looking for, maybe an NFL game isn't for you. But again, I've only rarely seen a problem.

145
by Will Allen :: Thu, 11/15/2012 - 12:45pm

Truly, are you unable to discern between peace and quiet, loud football fans, and a drunk screaming "YOU STUPID MOTHERF**KER!!"?

148
by Intropy :: Thu, 11/15/2012 - 1:02pm

I think I could tolerate fans screaming about the game much further than I could fans screaming at other fans.

150
by The Hypno-Toad :: Thu, 11/15/2012 - 1:06pm

This. Exactly this.

155
by Insancipitory :: Thu, 11/15/2012 - 3:04pm

For me, that kind of behavior has always been an outlier. Again, I have only attended games in Seattle.

157
by jebmak :: Thu, 11/15/2012 - 4:59pm

Um, yeah, clearly something is one or the other. No in between at all. Sigh.

161
by Insancipitory :: Fri, 11/16/2012 - 2:49am

From my vantage, you're the one prone to hyperbole. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to get over it.

142
by Will Allen :: Thu, 11/15/2012 - 12:18pm

I've been to over a hundred games, in four different stadiums. Over time, I noticed an increase in drunks who drop f-bombs and other vulgarities at high volume. I've spent enough time in military and maritime settings, along with locker rooms, that such language doesn't cause me heart palpitations, but I find it very tiresome and stupid, and would rather not be around it.

146
by Purds :: Thu, 11/15/2012 - 12:56pm

Alas, Will, at some point we all grow up and would rather be in better surroundings that listen to guys try to impress one another with the 50th F-bomb about their QB or the opponent's QB. I am with you on this one -- it's just tiresome.

151
by Will Allen :: Thu, 11/15/2012 - 1:07pm

I enjoy hooch more than the average person, I suspect, but I really can't stand to be around people who can't manage it.

149
by The Hypno-Toad :: Thu, 11/15/2012 - 1:04pm

I've been to around two hundred Bronco games (I've missed very, very few since 1990) and I have definitely seen more than a handful of troubling things. What's more, I've seen an impressive increase in the frequency of troubling things. But even the baseline behavior seems to be on the decline, even leaving aside the fighting and the vomiting and child-insulting.

I dunno, It seems like every year, there are more and more fans who aren't even there to watch the games. They just get more and more drunk, find the nearest fan of the opposing team and spend most of the game faced away from the field hurling insults at the opposing fans. It baffles me. There are only eight regular season home games. Even in the (pretty reasonably priced) nosebleeds where my seat is the tickets are far from free, it just seems like a completely idiotic way to spend your time, your money, and your rare opportunity to watch a live professional football game.

Of course, some of this might be specific to Denver where the fans have spent most of the time since Elway retired trying to find issues to divide themselves into militant camps over. So most Bronco fans have spent a good portion of the last 15 years hating most other Bronco fans at one point or another... Not really conducive to a good environment in the stadium.

That's part of what's so exciting right now. For the first time in a while, it seems like all the Bronco fans are on the same side. Manning is a uniter, not a divider.

162
by Jerry :: Fri, 11/16/2012 - 6:03am

My experience in Pittsburgh has been that the proportion of drunks and idiots hasn't really changed over the years. One thing that has changed is that I'm less likely to recognize the people around me, which is probably a product of the legitimized online secondary market. There are times when I want to tell some of those people to "act like they've been here before", but I'm not sure how helpful it would be.

An old friend of mine now lives in Denver and has Bronco tickets. He's moved into club seats the past couple of years because he didn't like some of the behavior around him in the regular seats. I'll add that I've been to four Steeler games at Mile High in the last decade, and I have no complaints (with the possible exception of January's overtime). In fact, after the January 2006 Championship game, I was surprised by how many people came over in the parking to wish us luck and say they were rooting for the AFC.

166
by The Hypno-Toad :: Sun, 11/18/2012 - 4:04am

I'm very glad to hear that you've had (generally) good experiences in Denver. Particularly as you're a Steeler fan. For whatever reason (probably because the Steeler contingent in the stands is so large, vocal and passionate) some of the most embarrassing behavior I've seen from Bronco fans has been directed at Steeler fans.

Unrelated note, I remember at halftime of that AFC Championship game, I went to one of the smoking sections on the fifth level and I was sitting on the ground having a cigarette and staring into the middle distance trying to figure out how I had been so wrong about how that game was going to turn out. A very kind Steeler fan came over and started talking to me, trying to help me feel better about the game. It was a really nice conversation.

167
by DragonPie (not verified) :: Sun, 11/18/2012 - 12:32pm

I'm a Broncos fan who has only been to a few games. I can say that when I DID go to a game as a teenager against the vikings, I sat in the old mile high south stands and there was a fist fight and some stupid drunks along with a snowball fight. Frankly, I've always seen football as a sport that attracts a lot of macho people who feel like they have to prove how tough they are.

But, like I said, I've only been to a few games in my life and most people have been really respectful, but then you have that jerk.

As for how Denver fans view mediocrity, well, I think that we have been spoiled in having very few bad teams and so we did criticize Plummer, Griese and Cutler a lot despite them leading very good offenses and taking us to the playoffs, but we even did that sometimes with Elway, so I don't think it's a new thing.

168
by Jerry :: Sun, 11/18/2012 - 3:49pm

My negative reaction in January was just to the play itself. I left in shock while lots of celebrating was going on around me, but nobody said or did anything to me.

The thing about halftime of that championship game was that I knew exactly how you felt, since I felt the same way a year earlier, just 20 degrees colder.

113
by In_Belichick_We... :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 3:19pm

Spoiled indeed.
I try to remind my kids, who starting watching the Pats in 2000, that it won't last forever. The Pats were once, and will probably be again someday, the laughing stock of the NFL. I'm not looking forward to life after Belichick.
I remember we used to call the Colts-Pats games the stuporbowl. I also remember recording entire 2 or 3 win seasons on VHS tapes. The early 90s were tough.

Entitled freeloader

134
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Thu, 11/15/2012 - 7:30am

But Dick MacPherson was fun to watch on the sideline, eh?

87
by In_Belichick_We... :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 10:48am

I love that #1 ranking the Jags have earned.

Entitled freeloader

93
by Ender (not verified) :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 1:27pm

This just makes Aaron Rodgers that more impressive. To put up the numbers he has with 2 injured WR, a cruddy offensive line, no running game and having faced top rated defenses in 6 of his 9 games is just impressive.

106
by Richie :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 2:39pm

Can anybody explain the joke about San Francisco's attempt to make hot incest pr0n?

114
by Jimmy :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 3:20pm

Because tieing a game is like kissing your sister.

117
by In_Belichick_We... :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 3:30pm

I've never been involved in a tie game so I wouldn't know.

Entitled freeloader

119
by Jimmy :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 3:40pm

And I have no sisters. Truly we are lost.

120
by Richie :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 3:49pm

Thanks. I should have been able to figure that out.

115
by Jimmy :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 3:21pm

Edit: double post.

110
by Richie :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 2:58pm

The Dolphins playoff odds changed by -36.5%. What a crushing loss that game was to the Titans.

125
by Anonymous- (not verified) :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 6:32pm

Only a part of that swing is due to the actual importance of that one game. I think the main thing driving that swing is that the Dolphins played so badly that game, that DVOA rates them much lower now, heavily impacting the predicted results of their future schedule.

139
by jebmak :: Thu, 11/15/2012 - 11:29am

I don't know if it is relevant, but the difference between 4-5 teams making the playoffs and 5-4 teams making the playoffs is one of the largest one-game differences.

164
by Dc21 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/17/2012 - 1:43pm

Let me preface this with stating that I am a Cowboys fan so I might have a little bias in me, but my eyeball test of this team sees something rather similar to the 2007 Giants. They certainly don't have the elite pass rush that team had, but if there's a team that is thisclose to having it figured out, it is Dallas. That "they always have the talent and can't put it together" cliche doesn't fit this team in my mind. I think it is a young team in crucial positions that is working its way there, but had the gauntlet of a schedule early in the season. The abundant interceptions are indicative of a young o-line and Dez Bryant misreading a couple of option routes (also a young player figuring it out despite the hoopla about him).

Anyway, all of that leads me to believe that they are on their way as those young guys are developing and getting better every week especially with the soft schedule ahead of them. I feel like this can be one of the elite teams this year which makes me wonder, if the early Bears and Seahawks games are taken out of their DVOA, what would it look like? Would it be comparable to that pack of teams 2-6?

165
by Dc21 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/17/2012 - 1:51pm

Also, I feel like Houston is toying with us. Anyone feel like its a huge stretch of the imagination that they air it out in the playoffs and that offense ranking looks inaccurate when all is said and done? Obviously there's no way to account for intrinsic value of a football team but that offense looks to me like a boxer beating people up with jabs because it hasn't had to mix any uppercuts and hooks in yet.