Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

20 Nov 2012

Week 11 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

It's no surprise that San Francisco returns to the top spot in the Football Outsiders DVOA ratings after last night's thorough dismantling of the Chicago Bears. The 49ers ended up with a single-game DVOA of 130.5%, which is the highest in any single game since the New England Patriots (at 130.9%) slaughtered the Tennessee Titans 59-0 in a freak October snowstorm back in Week 6 of 2009.

In fact, the bigger surprise here is that the Bears don't take a bigger hit from their terrible performance in last night's game. Overall, San Francisco's DVOA went up about ten percentage points, and Chicago's went down about ten percentage points. Yet even after the barrage of 49ers passes and seven-OL power runs, the Bears still have the third-best defensive DVOA we've ever tracked through Week 11. In fact, in part because the 49ers offense has been so good this year overall -- they now rank second in offensive DVOA behind New England -- the Bears actually escaped with negative defensive DVOA for the game. By FO standards, the Bears still have not had a game this year where the defense played below average. Part of the issue here is that the 49ers offense was far more spectacular in quarters one and three than it was in quarters two and four. Here is a look at VOA, DVOA, and yardage for each of the four quarters last night:

Bears D vs. 49ers Week 11, by Quarter
Qtr Plays Yd/Play DVOA VOA
1 15 9.87 39.1% 61.0%
2 18 5.61 -21.9% 1.2%
3 9 8.44 37.0% 56.8%
4 11 2.64 -93.1% -66.1%

Yes, the 49ers were essentially running out the clock in the fourth quarter, but remember that DVOA compares plays to similar plays based on situation, so the DVOA ratings here account for the 49ers' lead. The ratings basically say that the Chicago defense played well enough in the fourth quarter to allow for a miracle comeback if the offense had played equally well. Instead, the offense played just as poorly as it had the rest of the night.

When you have a game like this between two very good teams, the opponent adjustments are going to end up blunting the effect for the losing team but boosting the effect for the winning team. Thus, the 49ers move up from sixth to first this week, while the Bears drop only one spot, from fifth to sixth.

This week's other dominating victory came from the New England Patriots, and their overall DVOA goes up five percentage points, although they stay in second place because San Francisco passes them. The Patriots now have the highest Super Bowl chances according to our playoff odds report, and they've moved up onto the list of the best offenses ever. One interesting thing about New England's high total DVOA in 2012 is that according to our metrics, the New England defense is nowhere near as bad as most fans believe. The Patriots are currently 20th in defensive DVOA, with roughly the same defensive DVOA as Washington or Baltimore, and they rank 17th in weighted defensive DVOA, so things are gradually getting better.

What's different between this year's New England defense and the defense that finished 30th in the league a year ago? As far as standard stats go, the Patriots are actually allowing more points than a year ago (22.5 vs. 21.4) but fewer yards per play (5.9 vs. 6.2). When we look at DVOA, the biggest issue is an improvement against the run. Last year, the Patriots were equally bad against both the pass (28th) and the run (25th). This year, they're 20th against the pass but have improved to 11th against the run.

The improvement against the pass isn't about the pass rush. The addition of rookie Chandler Jones and the loss of Andre Carter have basically been a wash, so the Patriots have roughly the same Adjusted Sack Rate that they had a year ago. Instead, there's been a huge change in the team's ability to cover the opponent's best receivers. The Patriots actually rank in the top ten in DVOA against both No. 1 and No. 2 receivers this year. With No. 2 receivers, that's an issue of improved coverage; with No. 1 receivers, they're still allowing plenty of yardage but they've gotten a ton of turnovers (eight interceptions and a forced fumble). Just like last year -- in fact, worse than last year -- the Patriots are getting killed by tight ends and slot receivers. They also are having problems covering opposing running backs that they didn't have a year ago. Here is a look at the defense vs. receivers numbers from both seasons:

vs. #1 WR vs. #2 WR vs. Other WR vs. TE vs. RB
Year DVOA Rk Pa/G Yd/G DVOA Rk Pa/G Yd/G DVOA Rk Pa/G Yd/G DVOA Rk Pa/G Yd/G DVOA Rk Pa/G Yd/G
2011 34.1% 32 8.0 77.7 8.7% 21 7.4 78.4 12.0% 25 8.9 79.6 15.3% 29 7.1 43.4 -16.7% 4 7.6 45.6
2012 -23.9% 7 8.3 74.7 -15.6% 8 5.1 38.7 51.7% 32 7.6 87.3 18.8% 27 9.8 71.1 13.1% 26 8.3 52.7

Whatever improvements the Patriots have made, it is still not helping the team get off the field on third down, as Pats fans know all too well. Last year, the Pats ranked 28th in pass defense on third or fourth down. This year, the Pats rank 29th. As far as direction, the Patriots are still giving up plenty of passes to the middle and right side of the field, but they've become much stronger against passes to the offensive left (or defensive right). Unfortunately, even though the Patriots like to leave cornerbacks on specific sides, we can't really attribute this to any particular player right now because Bill Belichick has been yanking his corners in and out of the lineup all year. Sometimes Kyle Arrington has been over there, sometimes Ras-I Dowling, sometimes Alfonzo Dennard, and sometimes the now-departed Sterling Moore.

I'm sure we'll be looking at this again in a few weeks, when we hit the postseason. By that point, we'll be able to use a lot more charting information, and we'll be able to look at the team's performance with and without new No. 1 cornerback Aqib Talib.

Here's a look at where the 49ers and Patriots stand now that they've moved into the top ten all-time in total DVOA and offensive DVOA, respectively. We now have one team from 2012 in the top ten for each category of DVOA, although it is four different teams: San Francisco overall, New England on offense, Chicago on defense... and the Baltimore Ravens now sitting with the best special teams we've ever measured through 11 weeks of the season. The Ravens' special teams have really been remarkable this season; I gave some details last week.

BEST TOTAL DVOA
THROUGH WEEK 11
x BEST OFFENSIVE DVOA
THROUGH WEEK 11
x BEST DEFENSIVE DVOA
THROUGH WEEK 11
x BEST ST DVOA
THROUGH WEEK 11
Year Team DVOA x Year Team DVOA x Year Team DVOA x Year Team DVOA
2007 NE 74.5% x 2007 NE 51.5% x 2002 TB -42.1% x 2012 BAL 12.7%
1991 WAS 61.8% x 1998 DEN 40.4% x 1991 NO -40.5% x 2004 BUF 11.8%
1998 DEN 44.9% x 1999 WAS 39.8% x 2012 CHI -35.0% x 1994 CLE1 11.6%
2003 KC 43.9% x 2004 IND 38.6% x 1991 PHI -33.6% x 2011 CHI 11.3%
2012 SF 41.7% x 2010 NE 36.3% x 1997 SF -31.9% x 2001 PHI 11.0%
2001 PHI 41.9% x 1993 SF 36.1% x 1993 PIT -29.9% x 1996 CAR 10.9%
2004 PIT 41.2% x 2005 SD 35.4% x 2005 CHI -29.2% x 2003 KC 10.9%
1996 GB 41.1% x 1993 DAL 35.1% x 2004 BAL -28.7% x 1993 GB 10.8%
2002 TB 41.0% x 2012 NE 34.0% x 1991 WAS -28.2% x 1999 JAC 10.4%
1992 DAL 39.8% x 2011 GB 33.6% x 2006 CHI -26.6% x 1995 KC 10.2%
2007 DAL 39.4% x 2002 KC 33.5% x 2008 PIT -26.1% x 1993 ATL 10.2%
2009 NE 39.4% x 1995 DAL 33.5% x 2001 CLE -25.2% x 2007 CLE 10.1%

All stats pages should now be updated (or, at least, will be in the next few minutes) including FO Premium stats and snap counts.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through 11 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.

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 SF 41.7% 6 42.4% 1 7-2-1 24.7% 2 -15.4% 6 1.5% 13
2 NE 39.3% 2 41.6% 2 7-3 34.0% 1 2.5% 20 7.8% 2
3 DEN 38.4% 1 39.6% 3 7-3 18.0% 4 -17.4% 5 3.1% 11
4 SEA 34.4% 3 35.1% 4 6-4 9.0% 9 -22.0% 2 3.4% 9
5 GB 31.1% 4 29.6% 5 7-3 18.3% 3 -11.7% 7 1.1% 16
6 CHI 22.9% 5 23.4% 6 7-3 -19.0% 29 -35.0% 1 6.8% 4
7 HOU 20.1% 7 18.5% 7 9-1 9.7% 8 -18.0% 3 -7.6% 30
8 NYG 14.8% 9 13.7% 8 6-4 10.1% 7 -3.2% 11 1.4% 15
9 BAL 13.3% 8 11.2% 9 8-2 3.5% 16 2.9% 22 12.7% 1
10 PIT 5.3% 12 7.6% 10 6-4 3.8% 15 -1.1% 13 0.4% 19
11 DAL 5.1% 10 5.0% 11 5-5 5.2% 13 0.5% 16 0.4% 18
12 ATL 4.8% 11 1.2% 15 9-1 3.4% 17 0.3% 14 1.7% 12
13 TB 3.4% 13 4.5% 12 6-4 8.1% 10 0.3% 15 -4.4% 26
14 NO 2.2% 16 3.7% 13 5-5 17.4% 5 18.4% 31 3.2% 10
15 DET 1.0% 14 0.3% 16 4-6 13.9% 6 7.5% 24 -5.4% 28
16 MIN 0.7% 15 -0.3% 17 6-4 -5.0% 20 1.3% 18 7.0% 3
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
WEIGHTED
DVOA
RANK W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
17 CIN -0.4% 18 2.8% 14 5-5 5.5% 12 10.0% 25 4.1% 8
18 WAS -1.0% 21 -0.4% 18 4-6 6.9% 11 2.5% 21 -5.4% 29
19 CAR -5.1% 19 -4.8% 19 2-8 -4.0% 19 -6.5% 8 -7.6% 31
20 STL -6.0% 17 -6.1% 20 3-6-1 -5.5% 21 -1.4% 12 -1.9% 24
21 ARI -6.0% 24 -7.8% 22 4-6 -22.7% 31 -17.7% 4 -1.1% 22
22 BUF -7.3% 23 -6.9% 21 4-6 2.1% 18 15.2% 29 5.8% 5
23 MIA -8.4% 20 -10.5% 24 4-6 -17.3% 26 -4.3% 10 4.5% 7
24 NYJ -10.2% 25 -10.9% 25 4-6 -16.9% 25 -5.3% 9 1.4% 14
25 SD -11.0% 22 -9.6% 23 4-6 -9.5% 22 2.0% 19 0.5% 17
26 CLE -19.6% 28 -17.8% 26 2-8 -18.9% 27 5.6% 23 4.9% 6
27 PHI -23.4% 26 -25.5% 27 3-7 -18.9% 28 0.7% 17 -3.8% 25
28 IND -26.0% 27 -26.9% 28 6-4 4.0% 14 25.6% 32 -4.5% 27
29 TEN -28.9% 29 -28.4% 29 4-6 -13.1% 24 15.1% 28 -0.7% 21
30 JAC -35.9% 32 -35.8% 30 1-9 -20.2% 30 13.9% 27 -1.8% 23
31 OAK -36.0% 30 -36.6% 31 3-7 -10.5% 23 17.5% 30 -8.0% 32
32 KC -41.0% 31 -40.1% 32 1-9 -29.6% 32 10.9% 26 -0.5% 20
  • 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 SF 41.7% 7-2-1 37.3% 8.4 4 7.5% 6 9.2% 7 30.4% 32
2 NE 39.3% 7-3 42.0% 9.0 2 -0.6% 18 -0.2% 16 9.9% 12
3 DEN 38.4% 7-3 35.2% 9.5 1 0.8% 14 -20.1% 32 8.0% 10
4 SEA 34.4% 6-4 21.3% 8.5 3 9.1% 4 6.1% 10 5.4% 2
5 GB 31.1% 7-3 23.8% 7.9 5 4.8% 8 1.8% 15 10.9% 16
6 CHI 22.9% 7-3 20.3% 7.7 6 -0.3% 16 10.3% 6 14.2% 23
7 HOU 20.1% 9-1 26.9% 6.3 7 -2.1% 20 -6.7% 25 10.5% 15
8 NYG 14.8% 6-4 14.5% 5.9 9 1.1% 13 4.5% 11 28.8% 31
9 BAL 13.3% 8-2 20.3% 6.2 8 -7.0% 27 7.7% 9 19.5% 28
10 PIT 5.3% 6-4 9.3% 5.4 14 -7.4% 28 -5.3% 21 11.8% 18
11 DAL 5.1% 5-5 1.8% 5.5 12 6.0% 7 -3.0% 19 5.5% 4
12 ATL 4.8% 9-1 15.0% 5.5 13 -7.8% 30 3.3% 13 13.2% 20
13 TB 3.4% 6-4 10.6% 5.6 10 -7.7% 29 3.5% 12 7.3% 8
14 NO 2.2% 5-5 7.6% 5.1 15 -4.0% 24 10.8% 5 10.5% 14
15 DET 1.0% 4-6 -2.3% 4.8 17 3.7% 9 7.8% 8 4.2% 1
16 MIN 0.7% 6-4 3.9% 5.6 11 -1.6% 19 20.3% 1 5.6% 5
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
17 CIN -0.4% 5-5 10.3% 4.6 18 -5.4% 26 -7.8% 27 20.3% 30
18 WAS -1.0% 4-6 4.3% 4.5 20 -0.4% 17 -0.8% 17 12.5% 19
19 CAR -5.1% 2-8 -11.9% 4.4 22 12.8% 2 -17.4% 31 13.7% 22
20 STL -6.0% 3-6-1 -15.1% 4.4 21 14.5% 1 11.1% 4 9.9% 13
21 ARI -6.0% 4-6 -12.4% 3.7 24 10.7% 3 13.9% 3 6.0% 6
22 BUF -7.3% 4-6 -11.6% 4.5 19 2.6% 11 -8.7% 29 16.7% 25
23 MIA -8.4% 4-6 -4.9% 5.0 16 -11.1% 32 18.6% 2 17.2% 26
24 NYJ -10.2% 4-6 -10.1% 4.0 23 8.5% 5 -8.3% 28 20.2% 29
25 SD -11.0% 4-6 -2.9% 3.4 25 -7.9% 31 -5.5% 22 6.8% 7
26 CLE -19.6% 2-8 -8.4% 3.1 26 -2.2% 21 -4.8% 20 7.7% 9
27 PHI -23.4% 3-7 -25.8% 3.1 27 2.0% 12 2.8% 14 11.3% 17
28 IND -26.0% 6-4 -18.7% 2.8 28 -4.5% 25 -6.0% 23 8.5% 11
29 TEN -28.9% 4-6 -28.0% 2.2 29 3.6% 10 -9.5% 30 18.3% 27
30 JAC -35.9% 1-9 -37.5% 1.3 32 0.7% 15 -7.4% 26 5.4% 3
31 OAK -36.0% 3-7 -29.4% 1.7 30 -2.9% 22 -6.4% 24 15.0% 24
32 KC -41.0% 1-9 -42.7% 1.3 31 -3.7% 23 -1.6% 18 13.6% 21

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 20 Nov 2012

167 comments, Last at 27 Nov 2012, 10:59am by wowthatsprofound

Comments

1
by RickD :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 4:57pm

The question is not whether the 49ers deserve a big jump for their mauling of the Bears. (They do.) The question is: where was this 49ers team the previous week?

Weeks like this make me appreciate DVOA rankings as opposed to those used by most websites, which intentionally preserve the relative order of teams as long as they keep winning.

4
by dlev (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 5:09pm

Well, given that most "power rankings" are basically "record rankings (with the *occasional* team with a worse record moved up a bit for recent hot play while ignoring whatever poor play led to their defeats to begin with)", that makes sense.

26
by TimK :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 6:16pm

The previous week the 49ers were working hard on their 32nd place in the variance ranking I guess.

The big question to me is if they can survive the playoffs without have an 'oh, we were supposed to play this week?' game again.

57
by Aloysius Mephis... :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 8:38pm

Yep. This may be the most talented 49ers squad since the mid '90s, but they can be so inconsistent. Not just from week to week, but within the same game as well.

59
by bravehoptoad :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 8:52pm

Right, 32nd in variance, just ahead of the NY Giants, and then a big gap to #30.

What in heck happens every third game? I've been "unlucky" enough to miss the Minnesota, Giants, and Rams games, so I haven't seen what happens.

114
by Podge (not verified) :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 5:41am

Likely NFC playoff field:

Falcons
49ers
Packers
Giants
Bears
Seahawks

If its not the Bears or Seahawks, its most likely to be the Cowboys or Bucs.

The Bucs, Cowboys and Falcons all have DVOA around 4-5%. They could potentially beat one of those without showing up. The Giants are at 15%. Bears are at 23%. Packers and Seahawks are both over 30%.

Given that either they are almost certain to avoid the Falcons, I'm guessing the answer is no. The Giants are 31st in variance, so if they managed to play them it could be a brilliant game between amazing teams, or a dreadful game between either one good team and one mediocre team, or just two mediocre teams!

Actually, I'm curious - is there any difference in variance in the playoffs? Are teams more likely to play above their level because its a big game?

2
by AB in DC (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 5:00pm

The Patriots _always_ seem to get killed by tight ends and slot receivers.

5
by PatsFan :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 5:17pm

Which is somehow appropriate, as that's how the NE offense kills other teams.

34
by RC (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 6:32pm

Its not really TE/Slot, its really "Whoever runs a route somewhere around Pat Chung or Brandon Spikes". It could be an eligible tackle, and they still wouldn't be able to cover him.

45
by RedDog (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 7:15pm

I always had the impression that Chung was the best option in the slot when healthy.

So a Gregory/McCourty plus Talib/Dennard/Chung back end. Honestly, the last two seasons, I thought Chung was by far the best defensive back.

Is Chung really that bad?

71
by RickD :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 10:12pm

The consensus at ESPNBoston is that Chung is way down this season compared to the last two years. He's probably been dealing with some unacknowledged injury issues this season. In terms of his play level, he's not been good this season.

Right now it seems like the best secondary has Talib and Dennard at CB, Gregory and McCourty at safety, with Arrington and Wilson added as necessary.

74
by RC (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 11:17pm

chung has never been a good coverage guy, his strength has always been run support, and bumping guys up at the line. He's been terrible in coverage this year.

3
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 5:08pm

I don't think they can do it, but the weird scheduling has resulted in a situation where, if the Vikings can win three of the four games with the Bears and Packers, I think they'll win the division. If you had asked me on Labor Day if that was going to be possible to say on November 20th, I'd have said you were nuts.

Now, again, I think they'd do phenomenally well to manage a split, and if I had to bet I'd wager they lose three, and maybe all four, but if they do get a break, and beat a Bears team which is going to be pretty nasty come Sunday in Chicago, this very strange season will get even more strange. Obviously, they have a better chance of winning a 13-10 nailbiter if Cutler doesn't play.

7
by RickD :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 5:20pm

Careful - don't go raiderjoe on us. Next you'll be drinking Sierra Nevada. When the typos start appearing, it's too late.

12
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 5:31pm

I aspire to be RJ's pale imitation.

35
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 6:41pm

I look forward to reading your appreciation of chstern pnooder and party harveyn.

38
by tuluse :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 6:51pm

All Viking's player names will spelled right, but he'll hate Arron Rodgkers and Jules Peplers

82
by Scott C :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 12:45am

RJ doesn't tend to mis-spell, just mis-type.

There is a difference.

Rodgers -> Rodgkers is not RJ, there is just one extra letter (k) and it is not adjacent on the keyboard to 'g' or 'e'.

Aaron Rodgers -> Aarom Rodgets might be -- the mis-placed letters are adjacent on the keyboard to the correct ones. The vast majority of the 'mistakes' are adjacent keys from the actual spelling.

84
by justanothersteve :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 12:50am

Some is also a bit of typing dyslexia, which I also suffer from. Loins anyone?

89
by Ryan D. :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 1:26am

Those keys (i & o) are also adjacent, so it's still more likely to be mistyping.

90
by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 1:32am

At least buy me dinner first.

91
by Bobman :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 1:43am

Some day, somewhere, somebody (perhaps not yet born) will earn a linguistics or neurology PhD by studying and analyzing RJ's posts. Scott C has made a good strat on that work. It'll be fun work, but challenging, and will be capped by a cold Sierra Nevada IPA. The side benefit is that this non-foorball-fan student will come out the other side with a phenomenal education on 70s/80s football and a solid foundation in the game in general. The constant barrage of "the beer bottle's always more than half full" optimism will also render the doctoral student perpetually cheerful.

I think I just made an argument that the world needs a LOT more RJs. And I'm okay with that.

95
by The Hypno-Toad :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 1:51am

I still giggle about Brian Vroom from time to time... and some others.

118
by Nathan :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 8:06am

Sierra Nevada Pale Imitation Ale

29
by ammek :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 6:20pm

I'm sure I don't remember Future Schedules around 20% (plus or minus) DVOA this early in the season before. I hate this year's scheduling. Roethlisberger could miss only three games, and two of them would be against Baltimore — a short injury thus having a disproportionate impact on the divisional race. Also, when divisional rivals play twice in a short space of time, doesn't it encourage the kind of hitting-to-injure mentality the league is trying to discourage? Since the Vikings have two games in a fortnight against Chicago, and two in a month against Green Bay, isn't it in their interest to go after Cutler and Rodgers?

32
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 6:23pm

You just injured Christian Ponder's feelings!

All kidding aside, I really dislike this scheduling as well.

31
by Steve in WI :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 6:23pm

If Cutler doesn't play Sunday, I'm predicting the Bears score at most 7 offensive points. Blame Campbell or the line or some combination, but he simply doesn't have time to complete passes, and the Bears can't run well when they're one-dimensional.

In fact, even with Cutler, I'd give the Vikings a very good chance to win at least one of the games against the Bears. Maybe I'm overemphasizing last night's game, but the Bears just looked awful in all phases.

33
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 6:28pm

The Vikings will have a very tough time scoring more than 10 points. If Cutler plays, I think the Bears win very comfortably, especially if Kluwe does not have a career day punting. If Campbell plays, the Vikings have a decent chance, but I'd still favor the Bears.

72
by TomC :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 10:22pm

If the Bears have to consistently drive 80 yards, I agree, they won't score very much on Sunday. But I doubt that will happen. Unless the Minnesota offensive coaching staff is good enough to figure out exactly what Harbaugh did last night and implement a working version of it on Sunday, I think we'll be back to short fields and defensive scores. Or at least I hope to God that's what happens.

6
by Joe C (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 5:19pm

Well hey, Seahawks are the only team in top 10 in all 3 categories, yay! Though it certainly doesn't feel like a top 10 offense. I actually think it's funny, if you went to anyone and said Seattle has a top 10 offense they'd probably think you're crazy and while I don't know if they're a top 10 offense, they're certainly better than the national perception.

9
by Perfundle :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 5:28pm

Bye's defense must've been really bad, because Seattle's offensive DVOA went up 2.1% from playing them. In fact, the other three bye teams' offensive DVsOA went up by 2.0%, 1.6% and 1.5%.

11
by Joe C (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 5:30pm

Bye's defense should get a tryout in Indy.

48
by Kevin from Philly :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 7:22pm

Bye is being coached by Juan Castillo.

92
by Bobman :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 1:45am

Ouch. True, but still, I've seen worse D in the old blue and white.

14
by Aaron Schatz :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 5:32pm

That's because DVOA ratings are now normalized so that league average is always 0%. This week was the worst offensive week of the season, BY FAR, because of all the backup quarterbacks. So all teams saw their ratings for all past weeks go up in order to keep the season average at 0%.

19
by ammek :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 6:02pm

This is why I argued in favor of a multi-year rolling baseline for calculating DVOA. The aim of the change was to improve comparisons across eras, but it would actually make comparisons harder in a hypothetical year where Brady, Brees, Manning and Rodgers all got injured, and average offense slumped across the league as a result.

I don't doubt that, say, a three-year baseline (up to and including the year in question) would be a headache to devise. But it would better mitigate 'freak weeks'.

51
by Jacob Stevens (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 7:35pm

Seattle definitely doesn't feel like a great offense. Because they still aren't. But, the 6th-ranked schedule the offense has had to face (-4.6%) has something to do with it.

Continuing to run the ball despite having greater payoff in the passing game (24.7% vs. 10.2%) also keeps them from feeling like a top 10 offense. They aren't achieving the production that this kind of quality play is capable of.

8
by In_Belichick_We... :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 5:28pm

"The addition of rookie Chandler Jones and the loss of Andre Carter have basically been a wash"

Now that Chandler left a game with an injury?

Entitled freeloader

10
by In_Belichick_We... :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 5:30pm

And I assume the "wash" is only as it pertains to pass D. Chandler seems to hold his own fairly well against the run (better than what I remember of Carter).

Entitled freeloader

120
by Nathan :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 8:10am

Yeah this doesn't pass the eyeball test to me. Maybe they're putting up similar numbers but to my eyes Jones is much more disruptive. I basically watch him or Wilfork on every defensive snap.

13
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 5:32pm

As of right now, the six most likely playoff teams from the AFC (as per the Playoff odds) would be the six playoff teams from last year. Not only that, the four division winners would repeat (HOU, DEN, NE, BAL), and the two Wild Card teams would be the same. Has this ever even come close to happening?

For years 5 or 6 (or even 7) of the previous year's playoff teams haven't made it back. This year, all six could reasonably (and basically four are locks at this point, and the Steelers close) make it back. Obviously, Denver is a far different team this time around, but I have to think that this hasn't happened in a long time, if ever. Just going back the last 10 years or so, the closest I could come up with is 2004 & 2005 in teh AFC, where four teams returned (Colts, Patriots, Bengals, Steelers) and then 2007 & 2008, where four again did (Colts, Steelers, Chargers, Titans). The NFC had four return from 2003 & 2004 (Eagles, Rams, Seahawks, Packers).

16
by justanothersteve :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 5:46pm

Yes, for all the talk of parity, things haven't changed much this year in either conference. In the NFC, three of the four current division leaders are the same as last year's playoff teams (Packers, 49ers, and Giants), with the Falcons going from wild-card to likely NFC-S champ. If the playoffs started today, the two wild cards would be Bears and Seahawks. Both won their division two years ago. Not quite as static as the AFC, but still less upheaval than in previous years.

18
by Rhombus (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 5:57pm

This is still more odd considering the uncertainty of last year's season following the lockout. I would have expected a higher upheaval than normal.

24
by ammek :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 6:09pm

What's really surprising is how balanced the top teams are. Last year there were lots of one-dimensional teams, but most seem to have patched up their weak unit without regressing too much where they were strong.

A consequence of stasis: how many coaches will be fired between now and January? A dozen?

15
by rusty_spatula (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 5:44pm

I would have expected either Houston or Jacksonville to experience a spike in their variance after their barnburner (e.g. either the Texans played an awful game or the Jags played a good one), but it doesn't seem like that was the case? If anything, Houston's variance declined.

30
by Mr Shush :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 6:21pm

Believe me, Houston played an awful game, especially on defense. Their normally excellent safety pairing was shockingly bad, Danieal Manning in particular following up his best game as a Texan with his worst. Their OLBs were almost totally ineffectual. Foster fumbled on a give-up draw on 3rd-and-17 after it had been completely blown up and he tried to reverse the field from a position Barry Sanders probably couldn't have pulled off. Jackson had been detailed to cover Blackmon, played his worst game of the season, and no adjustment (ie switching Joseph onto Blackmon) was made when it became evident Blackmon would be Henne's primary target and Jackson couldn't cope. Schaub made some nice throws, but some horrible plays as well.

The return game was much improved, though, so that's something. Well done Keshawn Martin.

40
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 6:53pm

This is starting to make me terrified that they'll have an awesome bounce-back game this Thursday, meaning Stafford will have 5 passes batted back into his face, and Jonathon Joseph will put a picture of Optimus Prime as his profile picture on Facebook at 4:15pm Eastern Time. Oh well, all I have left to root for this year is better draft position for the Lions.

94
by Bobman :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 1:50am

No. You could look for a spoiler role when they play the Colts (I can just see RaiderJoe's comments about Loins vs Clots...). MOst Colt fans are looking at that game as the fulcrum of the second half--there are games they should win, games they should lose, and the up-and-down Lions who will be the real measuring stick, or so we fear....

134
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 1:22pm

I find that to be an interesting game, as well. Playing the spoiler can be fun, sometimes, too (although I have been silently rooting for Luck...great story).
But the curse of rooting for a mediocre team is that you never know what you're going to get from week to week (ironically the Lions are #1 in variance....leading the league in being consistently average!).

116
by socctty :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 6:42am

Pretty sure Joseph is out with a hamstring injury. Calvin Johnson is going to have a good day.

147
by LionInAZ :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 6:26pm

Now I'm really worried. The Lions have a habit of doing worse when an opponent's star is injured (see last week's game vs Packers).

17
by Paul M (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 5:50pm

This year is a classic exception to the rule. I believe it has been at least a decade where a minimum of 5, and often 6 or 7, playoff teams turn over-- total, of course, including the NFC. Though a Pittsburgh collapse given their QB situation could allow Indy and perhaps another outlier such as Buff, NYJ or MIA to sneak in. So there could still be 2 new AFC teams. The Bears are a "new" team in the NFC, as would Seattle or TB or Dallas or Minnesota be-- the likeliest #6 NFC qualifiers (other than NO). So it could still be a 4 team turnover year, not so different than the recent trend.

I like how "5-5" Seattle is rated one spot higher than "8-2" GB. And assuming that if that pass had been correctly ruled an INT, it wouldn't be enough to reverse the positions. On one hand it makes the Packers performance that night a bit more tolerable-- on the other it grates even more that the outcome was bastardized.

21
by Paul M (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 6:04pm

In fact the impact of the Seattle "Fail Mary" on the postseason is starting to get more clear (and perhaps less meaningful):

1) If the Packers win on the road against both NY and CHI, that phantom loss will probably not cost them either the division title or the #3 seed; A loss to either could still allow that Seattle game to cost them both of those positions. A loss to both means they, at best, finish 11-5 which would have been 12-4. 11-5 may or may not be enough to win the division or beat out the Giants-- it is highly doubtful that it will be enough to best either SF or ATL and get a bye and at least one home field game. 12-4 might have been enough, but if not the Packer loss to the Niners at Lambeau will probably be the difference-maker, so you can't blame Seattle for that. So maybe they lose out on one Lambeau game and a Bye (SEE BELOW)

2) A Packer mediocre finish (lose at least once to the Vikings, lose both away games to NY and CHI) will make them 10-6, instead of the 11-5 they should be, and at least somewhat vulnerable in terms of the WC. The worst of all worlds would be a 3 way tie with MINN and SEA where the Packers lose out to the Seahawks because of the call, and to the Vikings because of a weaker in-division record. Not sure how the tiebreakers would play out in a 3 for 2 situation, but that's sort of the nightmare. But they would have only themselves to blame finishing 3-3.

And if they have to play Atlanta at the Georgia Dome or the 49ers at Candlestick instead of Lambeau, I know in the first case they'd be happy and in the second I'm not sure venue matters. This latest iteration of the Packers have not yet demonstrated an affinity for playing well in the brutal cold of Greeen Bay in January. So Lance Whatever Your Name Is/Was-- we're done with you-- Packers will rise or fall on their own merits.

49
by Keasley (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 7:23pm

Probably yesterday's news, but I'm a little tired of the 'Fail Mary' moaning.

There were multiple bad calls throughout that game, including at least one that allowed a drive to continue that ended in Green Bay's lone touchdown.

As I recall, Sea was flagged 14 times and a good number were highly questionable, ticky-tack or just wrong. There were also bad calls made against Green Bay in the game, not including the final play of the game.

The entire game was, well, an abortion and even if it ended on a bad call, it was just one of many bad calls in that game -- for both teams. The Seattle defense played a magnificent game and Green Bay may have made just enough halftime adjustments to squeak out a win. We'll never know. The refs ruined that game with something like 26 penalties and a possible blown call at the end. I also think that one of the main 'halftime adjustments' made by Green Bay was to hold Seattle's pass rushers on many plays and they kept getting away with it. As a somewhat defensive Seahawks fan, still a little sore about the SBXL screwjob, I don't feel that game came down to a single play.

135
by Ender (not verified) :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 2:01pm

Having watched that game the refs blew a ton of games including 2 times before that pass that GB would have won the game. The bad calls definitely hurt GB more than Sea overall.

136
by Ender (not verified) :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 2:02pm

Ton of calls, not ton of games~.

55
by bucko (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 7:59pm

As a long-time Packer fan I say this with all sincerity:

Just shut up.

Just

Shut

Up

For the love that is all good and holy...............JUST..............SHUT...............UP

Thank you

68
by RickD :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 10:00pm

I've got it - let's talk about the uncalled holding on the helmet catch in Super Bowl XLII!

:)

23
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 6:07pm

It was a catch, it should be regarded as one of the greatest calls in NFL history. Simultaneous possession is awarded to the offensive player, if Tate didn't have it then why couldn't Jennings take the ball away from him?

25
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 6:15pm

I usually use a small electric motor for this stuff.

39
by commissionerleaf :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 6:53pm

RJ lite.

Kudos.

Anyway, I don't view the SEA-GB call as being particularly good or bad. It was a CLOSE call. That is what makes for referee controversy, and the referees at the time had (for good or bad reasons) less credibility than, er, Ed Hochuli.

44
by tuluse :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 7:10pm

What people should be complaining about is the litany of bad calls throughout the 2nd half, not the impossible to tell in real time call at the end.

79
by Insancipitory :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 12:19am

I think we're still deluding ourselves by pretending the regular officials would have done a better job. Their job would at best have been equally horrible, but just quicker. Since I basically have to leave for the stadium 4 hours, or more, before kickoff, I'm in no hurry.

In fact, I find it to be hilarious that Green Bay fans are complaining still given that they needed an egregious no-call to avoid continuing the Lions likely scoring drive. It seems to me that they should be silently greatful to benefit so conspiciously via officiating as they inventory winter cheese stockpiles in their igloos.

103
by tuluse :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 2:25am

I disagree the regular officials are as bad. I suspect neither one of us has any real evidence to back up our claims, so I'll leave it at that.

60
by Paul M (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 8:54pm

Please-- I don't want to adjudicate this to death, but did you not watch the replay, and see Tate's hand come free from Jennings as they fell to earth? If the defender has both hands wrapped around the ball the entire time and the receiver, lying underneath him, has just one hand on the ball, and perhaps not for the entire catch, then that is clearly not simultaneous possession. I understand against the grain is a virtue around here, but there wasn't much doubt on this one. And as for bad calls, sure it went both ways-- but all of the bad calls near the end went one way and the bogus refs were clearly influenced by the crowd and a situation they were unprepared for-- thus no discussion amongst themselves, no correct review procedure, etc, etc....

My point was to bring up what could become a pretty strong theme line as the playoffs approach-- this, other than perhaps the Tuck, was probably the most notorious single call in recent NFL history given the situation and the immediate outcome the call produced in terms of the NFL-referee negotiations. And it was certainly the most impactful single play of this season. To pretend that it will not be revisited if both the Seahawks and Packers are vying for the playoffs-- and perhaps the same spot-- is naive. I actually am showing a way that its significance could be greatly reduced in the end, if not eradicated altogether. If the Packers take care of business, the worst one might be able to say is that they lost out on a chance to get homefield vs. Atlanta and/or SF. In the case of the latter, their own home defeat was even more critical. In the case of the former, they'd rather play the Falcons in the Georgia Dome.

63
by bucko (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 9:12pm

You can stop any time.

Like, say, now? Please?

83
by justanothersteve :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 12:47am

Other than the Tuck play, the most notorious call in recent history? I think we've hit a new high in hyperbole here. And I'm a Packers fan who grew up in the Lombardi era. The Testeverde TD at the half yard line? The botched coin flip? The bean bag toss into Orlando Brown's eye? The only reason this play became so famous is it put the final nail in the coffin to kill the replacement refs fiasco. Fans of at least half the NFL teams can point to bad calls just as memorable for their teams. If most people remember this ten years from now, I'll agree with you. But I think for most people the Seattle- Green Bay game will be just another game by then.

105
by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 3:28am

Well, if we are defining recent history as 'since the Tuck Rule', then I would say there have still been more notorious calls. First, the ending of the San Fran/Giants Wild Card game in 2002, where the league admitted the missed call.

We also have the collective missed calls and the fallout from the 2003 AFC Title Game. The entirety of Super Bowl XL.

Then there are just controversial close plays, like the Pats fans that argue that Manning was in the grasp, or the people that still claim to have not seen any real evidence that Santonio Holmes got his second foot down.

There's also the Calvin Johnson TD not-catch. Even the Troy Polamalu INT overturn, which luckily for the Steelers didn't end up costing them the game in the 2005 Divisional against the Colts.

Then there are forgotten calls that seriously affected the outcomes of playoff games, like the refs not calling a delay-of-game after the clock was on '0' for a good 1.5 seconds in the Baltimore/Tennessee 2008 Divisional, or missing the facemask on the Aaron Rodgers fumble TD that ended the 2009 Wild Card.

Honestly, if Green Bay makes the playoffs, not many people will remember that Tate catch/interception years from now.

107
by Andrew Potter :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 3:51am

I'm glad you mentioned the Polamalu interception, as that's the example I was going to raise. It remains the single worst refereeing call I've seen in a playoff game. Another notorious example is the Hochuli "incomplete pass" gaffe in September 2008. What's notable about those two is they were clearly, obviously wrong calls, completely beyond debate to the point where the even the league itself publicly acknowledged that fact. The same cannot be said of the Tate touchdown, and I maintain that the biggest problem with that play wasn't actually the ruling itself but the identity of the people making it - they just didn't carry enough respect to make such a controversial call. Had it been ruled an interception, Seahawks fans could have rightly felt just as aggrieved as the Packers fans did for it being ruled a catch.

144
by RickD :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 5:20pm

"Had it been ruled an interception, Seahawks fans could have rightly felt just as aggrieved as the Packers fans did for it being ruled a catch."

Um, no.

One guy caught the ball. And then the other guy got his arm on the ball that the first guy had already caught. Seahawks fans would not have an equal right to feel aggrieved if the correct call had been made.

146
by Andrew Potter :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 5:48pm

One guy caught the ball. And then the other guy got his arm on the ball that the first guy had already caught.

That's simply not what happened.

150
by kb (not verified) :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 7:37pm

I have to disagree. I remember very vividly the Packers safety came down with the ball and the Seahawks WR reaching his hand around from the back of the defender to grab the ball. It was simply clear as day and multiple Seahawks fans now admit as much. After the play they were obviously very biased and thought it was the right call but about 3 weeks later multiple fans told me Green Bay got 'screwed'.

That isn't even mentioning the Interception(that wasn't) that happened earlier on the drive when a very bad roughing the passer was called. Also what about that HORRIBLE PI that was called on the GB CB when Rice shoved him. That was the most blatant Offensive PI I've ever seen called on a defender.

So basically that Interception... I mean catch in the endzone should of never happened in the first place. I admit there were bad calls throughout the game but GB definitely was on the wrong end for a majority of the plays.

153
by Insancipitory :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 10:45pm
158
by In_Belichick_We... :: Thu, 11/22/2012 - 7:38am

Again, another one that hasn't watched the frame by frame. If anybody has seen a frame by frame that shows Jennings catching the ball first, post a link, I'd like to see it. I am very objective on this issue. I'm a Pats fan. I really don't care which way the call went except that millions are complaining that is was an interception when is clearly wasn't.
If you haven't watched the frame by frame that shows Tate catching the ball with one hand and bringing it to his body before Jennings ever touches the ball, then stop arguing and go watch the frame by frame.

165
by Ender (not verified) :: Sat, 11/24/2012 - 10:55pm

Nobody has watched that frame by frame because it doesn't exist. Jennings had the ball in 2 arms before it was ever touched by Sea. That call gets extra annoying because of the blatant push off that wasn't called because the replacement refs were told not to call PI on jump balls because they aren't experienced enough to get the call right.

166
by In_Belichick_We... :: Mon, 11/26/2012 - 12:41pm

Nobody has watched that frame by frame because it doesn't exist. Jennings had the ball in 2 arms before it was ever touched by Sea."

The frame by frame exists.
http://www.coldhardfootballfacts.com/content/shame-the-angry-mob-golden-...

123
by In_Belichick_We... :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 10:01am

Since when is two hands required for possession? I have heard the "one hand came free" argument many times and it is completely flawed. Players maintain possession of the ball with one hand regularly.
Also, if you find the frame by frame break down of the play, you will see that Tate had possession first. In real time, it looks like Jennings had the ball first but the frame by frame clearly shows that Tate had possession first and never lost possession (unless you believe Tate requires two hands on the ball to maintain possession).

If you want to see a good frame by frame breakdown of the play, search for the Captain Comeback (Scott Kaczmar) column on the play "Shame on the angry mob: Golden Tate's touchdown was legit."

If you still think it was an interception, then you obviously refuse to take off your Packer goggles.

Entitled freeloader

124
by Paul M (not verified) :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 10:51am

LOL. It was an Interception-- the first time I saw it, the 2nd, the 25th, etc....

I said "most notorious"-- not worst, not most egregious, etc.... Clearly it got more attention-- because of the replacement situation and the immediate aftermath-- than any other call since the Tuck. Our young secondary played tough when it mattered against Matty and his pathetic Lions?? Could/Should have been an interference/holding call?? I'm crying crocodile tears, believe me. Losers lose.

129
by In_Belichick_We... :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 11:51am

"LOL. It was an Interception-- the first time I saw it, the 2nd, the 25th, etc...."

Then you didn't watch the frame by frame. The frame by frame shows cleary that Tate gained possession first and never lost possession (unless you believe that he can't maintain possession with one arm).

145
by RickD :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 5:25pm

"The frame by frame shows cleary that Tate gained possession first and never lost possession (unless you believe that he can't maintain possession with one arm)."

It really doesn't show that.

If we cannot agree on the underlying facts, further discussion is useless, yes?

Tate did not have possession first. End of argument.

Edit: and let's not forget the unwhistled, egregious, OPI by Tate. Seahawks fans would never have any argument to make if the call had gone the other way.

148
by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 7:19pm

Tate begins to catch the ball with his left hand first, it's pretty clear on the frame by frame.

If you want to argue for the OPI then I agree it should have been called but be aware that it simply opens another can of worms as there is a tendency, or atleast a perceived tendency, for OPI not to be called on hail marys so some would disagree with that call too.

152
by Nathan :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 10:08pm

unsubscribe

162
by Karl Cuba :: Thu, 11/22/2012 - 12:20pm

Could you please explain this comment?

163
by Mr Shush :: Fri, 11/23/2012 - 7:23am

I think he means he's sick of hearing about that play.

149
by Guest789 :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 7:35pm

The part of the play that everyone is forgetting is the blatant, two-handed shove in the back Tate gives Sam Shields before the ball arrives. If he doesn't illegally knock Shields down, the ball never gets to him or Jennings.

-----

“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.”

159
by In_Belichick_We... :: Thu, 11/22/2012 - 7:40am

Nobody is forgetting the OPI. It just isn't called during cluster f*** group hug hail mary plays, ever.

133
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 1:16pm

I'm having trouble understanding (both context and grammar) your dig at the Lions in this discussion. Yes, that could have been pass interference in the endzone that would have given the Lions first and goal at the 1 and a likely 10 point lead instead of a 6 point lead.

But since the coulda/shoulda/wouldas tend to cancel out for both teams (and there were several no calls that went against both sides), I didn't really perserverate on it (like you seem to be doing on the Golden Tate thing), and you never heard me once complain about it. The Lions had several opportunities to close out that game, but couldn't get it done. No excuses. Good teams overcome bad calls (like the Giants did in the divisional playoffs last year). It didn't work out that way for the Packers in Seattle. Just let it go, man.

139
by In_Belichick_We... :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 2:37pm

At the risk of sounding silly answering for somebody else:
I believe he is stating that there should have been a call against Seattle that would have killed the whole play. This has been discussed many times as well. In general, DPI or OPI isn't called in cluster f*** group hug hail mary plays.
I believe his Lions comment was to congratulate the Packers secondary in their performance against Matty and the Lions this past week.

154
by Alaaaa (not verified) :: Thu, 11/22/2012 - 12:05am

How about Marshawn Lynch and his entourage? Do they have Packer glasses? Because according to Michael Silver, the thought it was a terrible call.

160
by In_Belichick_We... :: Thu, 11/22/2012 - 7:43am

Did Michael Silver break the play down and provide facts and photos supporting his argument? If so, post a link, I'll read it.
I have yet to see a legit breakdown of the play that proves it was an interception.
OPI, sure, but that is missed regularly.

157
by theslothook :: Thu, 11/22/2012 - 2:37am

SO Karl, can I assume I received my appropriate penance from you?

161
by Karl Cuba :: Thu, 11/22/2012 - 12:19pm

OK, there's a boulder in Tartarus that I'd like you to roll to the top of the nearby hill. Shouldn't take too long.

64
by Rich A (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 9:16pm

As a Pats fan who has no horse in this race, and who hasn't taken too many looks at the replay so I won't be opinionated, I'm thinking I'd love to see a rematch, if only for the discussion threads here. Either field works for me, GB running up the score on Sea in Sea could be kinda nice though,

96
by Bobman :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 1:55am

No way, dude. Do you remember the bile, vituperation, and long-windedness of the Peytom Branning threads? (and that was just MY posts!) The comments on this potential playoff rematch alone could crash the FO servers. Seattleites would disinter their SB bad call gripes, and GB fans would just start throwing cheese.

151
by The Hypno-Toad :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 7:41pm

Would it be possible to get a dedicated Irrational TD/INT thread going?

20
by snafu (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 6:03pm

Is it possible to examine how the Bears' defense has performed if you ignore takeaways? Would that lend better predictive value in games against teams with excellent ball security like the Texans, Niners, and Packers? Obviously those three teams aren't immune to turnovers, but it seems like so much of the Bears' defensive value is derived from takeaways that are less likely to occur in certain matchups. I'm not trying to discredit their accomplishments so far, just curious.

117
by David :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 7:06am

I feel that this is back to the predictive/postdictive split for DVOA. Interceptions (and turnovers generally) are a big reason for why games turned out the way they did, but they are always low sample size, so have limited predictive value

I think this is just one where you have to apply external filters to the raw numbers

22
by Sifter :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 6:06pm

Most of those best-of offenses/defenses I am familiar with off the top of my head, but seeing the 1999 Redskins at #3 on the best offenses through Wk11 list left me scratching said head. Had to go and look them up to see what the story was. Brad Johnson was the QB, Stephen Davis the RB, and Norvalous Turner the HC (presumably OC as well). They finished 10-6 that year, Johnson threw for 4000 yards, Davis rushed for 1400, and they lost in the divisional round of playoffs vs Tampa Bay. I had no memory of all this - I'm getting old...

27
by Aaron Schatz :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 6:17pm

Yeah, that team was nowhere near the top ten before I normalized DVOA to 0% each year, because the level of offense in 1999 was much lower than 2004 onwards or even the early 90's.

46
by justanothersteve :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 7:16pm

It's probably forgotten because that was also the first year of the Rams Greatest Show on turf and Vermeil getting his Super Bowl win. I didn't remember it either.

155
by Usernai (not verified) :: Thu, 11/22/2012 - 12:23am

That was a great offense especially considering the poor wide receivers (though they dropped off substantially when Westbrook got hurt the next year--probably the key to the whole disintegration of the regime).

Problem was, Johnson got noodle-armed towards the end of the year. Against Tampa in the playoff game, tithe Skins were leading in the third when a receiver was open down field but Johnson couldn't get it there and the ball was picked. TB took the lead and Johnson led the team to a 52 yd or so attempt as time expired (a long shot for their kicker) but the snap was botched and no attempt made.

The next year saw the fantasy spree whose main fault was not getting a deep threat when Westbrook was so injury prone. The team had horrible field goal kicking that may have cost a few games. Still, in the beginning of a trend that has continued through the Snyder era, they beat the Super Bowl winner and loser (and the defending champ rams) all on the road. Then the had o line injuries and the Eagles blitzed up the middle every down, which the line couldn't handle, and every other opponent followed suit, and the season was kaput. And even so, if they hadn't fired Turner they might have made the playoffs, and certainly won another game or two.

28
by RC (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 6:18pm

"Yes, the 49ers were essentially running out the clock in the fourth quarter, but remember that DVOA compares plays to similar plays based on situation, so the DVOA ratings here account for the 49ers' lead."

I've been asking for 5 years now, and still don't have an answer for what 'similar plays based on situation' means in the case of a blowout?

Everyone here knows that being up 25+ points in the 4th quarter is different than being up 15 points in the 4th quarter, but we still don't know whether or not DVOA is lumping these plays together.

36
by JonFrum :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 6:46pm

We could tell you, but then we'd have to kill a kitten.

97
by Bobman :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 1:57am

That's a risk I am willing to take.

37
by Vince Verhei :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 6:50pm

I just want to point out that Seattle is nearing the top ten defenses of all time even though they've only forced 16 turnovers, about half of Chicago's 30.

73
by Ghost Shock :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 11:00pm

How much do turnovers boost DVOA on average?

41
by Waverly :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 7:01pm

Three AFC East teams are ranked 22-24; three AFC South teams are ranked 28-30.

70
by RickD :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 10:05pm

And the Patriots and Texans each get 9 games against those six teams!

Don't be surprised if they both get byes.

77
by Alternator :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 11:59pm

Ravens have the tiebreaker on the Patriots, but the Ravens are starting to look weaker and weaker as the year goes on. Patriots have the tiebreaker on the Broncos, who are starting to look better.

I think the Pats are more likely to be the #2 seed than the #4, but I'd still expect them as the #3.

80
by RickD :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 12:22am

Well, if the Ravens lose to the Broncos to fall into a 3-way tie, the first tiebreaker, head to head, would be out. The next tiebreaker would be common games. After that would be conference record, which would favor the Pats right now. They'd probably also win common games, since their two non-Ravens losses are to NFC teams.

I don't really think the Pats should be favored for a bye. The Texans would have to collapse to not get one of the two byes. Denver has the easiest schedule, and the Ravens have the head-to-head tiebreaker.

93
by The Hypno-Toad :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 1:48am

For non-divisional ties (i.e. wild card or seeding) the first tiebreaker after season head to head sweep is conference games. Then comes common games.
http://www.nfl.com/standings/tiebreakingprocedures

After the Sunday games, I noticed that there's a (slim) chance that all four division winners in the AFC could finish 13-3. It's even a pretty straightforward and somewhat reasonable scenario: the Broncos and Patriots win out, Baltimore wins all but the Denver game and Houston loses to the Patriots and one other game. If that happened, the seedings would be:
1) New England
2) Houston
3) Denver
4) Baltimore

How much would it suck to be a four seed with a 13-3 record?

99
by Bobman :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 2:01am

The first round would not suck because you'd be playing (right now) a team ranked 28 in DVOA. Ain't that a trip. Never having HFA does suck.

That's a fun scenario, BTW. Nice work.

101
by The Hypno-Toad :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 2:10am

Thanks. Your comment about the first round reminded me of this:

http://www.theonion.com/articles/new-orleans-saints-lose-firstround-bye,...

The NFL is a weird place, and the playoffs are exponentially weirder. Ever since Jacksonville came into Denver after the 1996 season and beat the Broncos, I can't quite imagine what it would be like to have confidence in a playoff matchup.

122
by In_Belichick_We... :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 10:00am

theonion. Yikes. don't read the Roethlisberger/Sandy prayers piece.
The Bear's new turnover piece isn't bad though.

106
by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 3:31am

Well,the playoff odds give the Pats about the same chance of the 2/3/4 seeds, and I would agree. They need to do a full two games better than the Ravens in the remaining six games to get a higher seed because of the h2h loss. If the Pats drop one of their remaining games, I could easily see a situation where they end up with the #4 seed. I realize the Ravens have looked completely unspectacular, but at some point we have to admit that they just keep winning games, and that is good enough for seeding. How far they'll go in the playoffs is another issue. I for one really hope if the Colts do make the playoffs, they draw Baltimore, the one team I feel like wouldn't humiliate the Colts.

113
by The Hypno-Toad :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 4:34am

There's an exception built into that. The Patriots only need to win one more game than the Ravens over the last 6, provided that they wind up tied with a third team that the Ravens have not swept.
There are caveats in the exception above, like if the Pats win out and the Ravens only lose one more game and both wind up in a tie with a third team, that one loss for the Ravens *must* be a conference game (I think... There are some strange possibilities if Houston loses to the Patriots and one non-conference game, leaving all three teams with one conference loss.)
But if we assume that Houston hangs on to the #1 seed, it's vital to New England's prospects for a first round bye that if they wind up with a three-way tie for second, the third team must not have been swept by the Ravens and that the third team has exactly as many conference wins as NE and BAL. Or BAL and the third team must wind up with fewer conference wins than NE.
I am not at all sure I explained that well.

126
by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 10:59am

I do understand what you are saying. I see that this is definitely a possibility, so I guess it is slightly easier for the Patriots to have a better seed then needing to be a full two games better.

121
by In_Belichick_We... :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 9:48am

Hoping for: "Any given Sunday: Chargers over Ravens."

A good a time as any for the Ravens to lay an egg.

Entitled freeloader

42
by Brad M (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 7:01pm

Out of curiosity, what was the 99 Rams Off. DVOA at week 11?

43
by Ben :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 7:07pm

Aaron,

Where are the Colts on the list if the worst defenses ever through week 11? I just looked at the final defensive DVOA's and if the Colts finish with this DVOA, it would be second worst of all time.

Can you explain why DVOA has the Colts defense so much lower than conventional stats? By the eye test, I wouldn't even have ranked this as the worst defense the Colts have had in the last decade, let alone historically awful.

47
by Perfundle :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 7:19pm

Because they've played the worst offensive schedule in the league, and that's after playing the Patriots.

And, despite playing the easiest offensive schedule, they've somehow managed to still have the worst VOA, which makes for a monstrously bad DVOA.

53
by Vince Verhei :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 7:39pm

A few examples:

* They allowed the Jets to average 5.5 yards per play with no turnovers. Jets average 4.7 yards per play this year, with 1.5 turnovers per game.

* They allowed the Titans to average 6.1 yards per play with no turnovers. Titans average 5.5 yards per play this year, with 1.6 turnovers per game.

* They allowed the Bears to average 6.1 yards per play with one turnover. Bears average 4.8 yards per play this year, with 1.8 turnovers per game.

* They allowed the Browns to average 5.5 yards per play with one turnover. Browns average 5.0 yards per play this year, with 1.6 turnovers per game.

* They allowed the Dolphins to average 6.3 yards per play with no turnovers. Dolphins average 5.0 yards per play this year, with 2.0 turnovers per game.

So, in a nutshell, offenses tend to get more yards and fewer turnovers against Indianapolis than they do against anyone else.

56
by Ben :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 8:10pm

Do turnovers affect DVOA that much? That's one area that the Colt's defense is certainly terrible. I also understand why they are penalized so harshly for their schedule, but even their VOA is worst in the league, while conventional stats have them as just a normal bad defense. Their per attempt/per drive/per game stats aren't abysmal.

Don't get me wrong, I'm in no way advocating that this is a good defense, but just have a hard time seeing it as one of the worst of all time.

50
by jimm (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 7:28pm

I was looking at the drive stats and was thinking what if the field was like a 1000 yards long - first in the end zone wins. Kick off from the your own 470 yard line and let the fun begin. No substitutions either - not even for injuries....then all the war like terms we all use would make real sense.

62
by commissionerleaf :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 9:12pm

I thought this was a cool idea until I realized it would validate all the DVOA underrates big plays comments.

65
by Rich A (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 9:17pm

Maybe do like the Canadian Football League and add a 12th player for each team. Keep the same width though, the CFL field is way way too wide

66
by Salur (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 9:29pm

It's not exactly the same thing, but on a similar note, check the link in my name (assuming this works).

The CAPTCHA requirement made me realize how spammy that sentence must sound.

85
by Scott C :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 1:03am

It would be strange, every team would have one defender who is not trained to be fast in 30 yard sprints, but trained to be able to run about 500 yards efficiently to catch up to anyone who breaks away when they get tired.

115
by Danish Denver-Fan :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 6:25am

Maybe with a cap on one-play gains, so you only can gain, say, 100 yards on a single play?

100
by Bobman :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 2:05am

That's awesome. Then again, I am a guy who often thinks golf should be played with one club--instead of all this situational dicking around, just grab a 5-iron and go mano-a-mano. Some similarities with the 1,000 yd field, first score wins.

127
by Nevic (not verified) :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 11:25am

My freinds and I do this, but at a par 3 course. You grab an 8 iron or 9 iron. Some holes are long so you put the ball back in your stance and let it rip. Other holses you're only swinging at 70% speed. Let me tell you, putting with a 9 iron took some work. Now I'm pretty good, though.

52
by PSL (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 7:36pm

I'm not sure how the Niners can be ranked only the 6th best defense when compared with almost any other statistical measure, which seems to show that it is better than that. Their schedule has been tougher than everyone but Seattle and Arizona with defenses supposedly ranked higher. They are in the top 3 in rush Y/A, pass Y/A, opp rush first downs, opp pass first downs, opp third down comp. %, opp. total Y/G, and opp. pts./G by a large margin. To me, it just doesn't seem to be consistent...

54
by Vince Verhei :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 7:42pm

17th in turnovers forced.

67
by PSL (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 9:42pm

It seems then that forced turnovers is overweighted then, since Seattle has only forced one more turnover than the Niners, yet are ranked 2nd defensively. While looking at the other stats mentioned, Seattle is nowhere higher than the Niners.

69
by DEW (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 10:05pm

Remember that DVOA isn't just a stew of average stats, thrown in and blended to a fine mix. It values not only things like how many yards a team gains, but when and where it gains those yards. It recognizes that a 14-yard gain on 3rd-and-17 is a failed play. Likewise, don't overlook the value of opponent adjustments. In short, context matters, which to me is the most significant aspect of DVOA and DYAR than other "summary" stats.

86
by PSL (not verified) :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 1:11am

Sure. I understand that situation and context matters. I would contend that takeaways/turnovers should matter a lot less, as it is much more subject to variance and "good fortune" than other summary stats. As a defense, you can learn to be better at creating turnovers, stripping the ball, etc., to a point. But, compared to other stats, is more prone (slightly) to just plain good luck. To an extreme, it seems that a defense that allows one rush Y/A and creates zero TOs/G should be considered better overall than one that allows five rush Y/A and creates five TOs/G, for example.

There must be something more than this (that I am missing) to explain why there seems to be a somewhat significant discrepancy with the summary stats. Is it that the Niners give up 1-2 rush Y/A on first and second down, but then give up eight rush Y/A on third?

76
by Perfundle :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 11:54pm

" Their schedule has been tougher than everyone but Seattle and Arizona with defenses supposedly ranked higher."

I assume you're going by some sort of pure SOS. But a team can be good despite their offense, like Chicago. Holding them, a 7-2 team last week, to 7 points is less impressive than holding New England, a 6-3 team last week, to 14.

Similarly, your other stats do not account for SOS. San Francisco's opponents have been average at offense, whereas Arizona and Seattle's opponents rank 3rd and 4th at offense. SF will be playing New Orleans and New England on the road soon, though, so that should even out the offensive schedule strength.

Also, because they run so much, they have noticeably fewer drives than other teams, which artificially lowers bulk stats like yards, first downs and points per game.

Look at it this way: almost no statistical measure of the ones you posted would indicate that SF has the second best offense in the NFL, because they have so few drives, and because they've had the second-hardest defensive schedule. So it works both ways.

87
by PSL (not verified) :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 1:22am

Sure. I would agree that the Niners having the 2nd best offense, also did not seem consistent. :)

My question then is, given this, at what point would it be expected that DVOA to be "accurate" for the sample size of a football season?

110
by Danny Tuccitto :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 4:17am

Perhaps the graph in this post helps answer this. Perhaps not. Either way, worth checking out. Basically, we can explain about 60% of the variation in full-season DVOA with DVOA after 11 weeks.

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/dvoa-ratings/2011/week-4-dvoa-ratings

58
by bucko (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 8:39pm

I am digging on how the green bay defense is playing with so many young guys in the secondary

Just awesome

78
by Alternator :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 12:03am

Patriots are playing a really young defense, as well. Feels good, man.

61
by ammek :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 9:00pm

The difference between wins and estimated wins for the Falcons is 64%. That must be the biggest ever gap at this stage of the season. I assume they're the worst ever 9-1 team as well.

102
by Bobman :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 2:12am

Not sure how you get 64% but I nominate the Colts for a bigger differential. For the Falcons, I have (9-6.8)/9 = 30.0% difference, while the Colts have (6-2.8)/6 = 53.3%.

Ugh, why am I pointing this out? It's like two parents have a "my kid is uglier" contest.

104
by The Hypno-Toad :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 2:30am

I'm guessing (9-5.5)/5.5 = 63.63%
If you apply that methodology to the Colts, I think you get 114% (6-2.8)/2.8

75
by MJK :: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 11:34pm

Out of curiosity, how much does one play affect special teams ratings? If the somewhat questionable short game winning FG the Ravens kicked to beat the Patriots during the early stages of the refpocalypse had been reviewed and overturned (unlikely, but just what if), how much would that hurt theirall time great special teams score?

81
by Anonymous guy (not verified) :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 12:44am

How does DVOA take into account nonsense penalties like that illegal touch on the 49ers?

112
by Jerry :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 4:32am

DVOA is just from the play-by-play. There's no provision for questioning questionable calls, or anything more subjective than classifying plays as kneeldowns, spikes, or hail marys.

88
by Jon Goldman (not verified) :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 1:24am

Out of curiosity, has a team with far better Defensive DVOA than offensive (in terms of ranking, not history; let's say a difference of 20 spots) ever won the super bowl?

Basically, do the Bears still have a chance, or is the horrible offense going to screw them over?

Oh, and would anyone be all that surprised if the Giants beat the Packers by a ton, then fell down against the 'Skins? I'm just trying to figure out whether variance has any predicative capabilities, or is just a statistical reference for writers/fans who want to know what they're talking about. I assume the latter, but there has to be SOME way to predict when the Giants will go all 4th quarter Eli the entire game.

98
by RC (not verified) :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 1:58am

2002 TB isn't all that far off.

They were O: -4%, D: -31% ST: 3.6%
Chicago is ): -19% D:-35% ST: 6.8%

So TB's offense was a bit better, but their defense and STs were both a little worse.

108
by Andrew Potter :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 3:53am

...has a team with far better Defensive DVOA than offensive (in terms of ranking, not history; let's say a difference of 20 spots) ever won the super bowl?

RC mentioned the '02 Bucs with the #1 defense and the #20 offense. Also the 2000 Ravens with the #2 defense (-23.8%) and the #22 offense (-8.1%).

Honourable mention to the 06 Bears who fell at the final hurdle while sporting the #2 defense and the #20 offense.

109
by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 4:10am

2008 Steelers fit also.

#1 defense (-29.0%), #21 offense (-1.5%). I don't think any team has won a Super Bowl in the DVOA era with an offense this bad in overall DVOA percentage terms though.

111
by Andrew Potter :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 4:19am

Hah. I was mildly surprised to find that the 05 Steelers didn't fit those criteria. It never even occurred to me that the 08 Steelers would.

125
by Will Allen :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 10:55am

At least that 05 Steelers team could block. The latter bunch's offensive philosophy was "Well, we have a Kodiak bear paying qb, so we'll just have him shrug off pass rushers until somebody gets open!"

140
by Jon Goldman (not verified) :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 2:58pm

Thanks for the response: not exactly inspiring, considering this offense is way below average, but enough to give me hope that the Bears can pull something out of their collective ass and accomplish something.

142
by Steve in WI :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 3:39pm

Hey, I think the Bears have a great chance to win the Super Bowl, as long as they can find a way to get back to scoring multiple defensive TDs per game. Uh oh.

With the defense now #1 and the offense #29, a morbid part of me hopes the offense gets even worse and they finish the season with the best defense and the worst offense in the league. I'm assuming that's never happened before.

119
by nat :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 8:10am

but remember that DVOA compares plays to similar plays based on situation, so the DVOA ratings here account for the 49ers' lead
This remains the biggest flaw in DVOA. Chicago's D gets an undeserved bonus for being in a situation usually occupied by bad defenses.

Being blown out in the fourth quarter, the average result is NOT the result of an average team. It's the result of a bad team. You're comparing to a biased baseline.

Fix this, Aaron. Or at least measure it, and tell us the size of the effect.

138
by zenbitz :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 2:27pm

I think the only way to deal with this is to correct for leverage. The leverage of all those plays (even in the 3rd quarter) was very close to 0 - check the WPA graphs.

But I am not sure weighting VOA by leverage (before or after opponent adjust) is a great idea; while it handles the low leverage case - it will artifically clutchify a big sucessful play late in a close game. Maybe you could 1-tail it? So leverage >1 == 1. That would be odd though.

141
by nat :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 3:36pm

Leverage is exactly the wrong thing to adjust for. We're looking for a measure of predictive skill, not a measure of the good fortune of having your best plays come when the game is on the line. (Unless you believe in clutch play, in which case you belong on another website.) Weighting plays by leverage is excellent for quantifying the narrative of the game. But it fails as a way to judge the quality of play over the course of a game or season.

What we want is to rate each play on how well the team did compared to an average team, considering the difficulty of the situation and the strength of the opponent.

What we have with DVOA is close, but not close enough. We compare to the average play rather than to the average team for each situation. But extreme situations (blowouts) do not equally sample teams of all skill levels. The more extreme the situation, the more skewed the so-called average becomes.

Let's face it: top-half teams seldom find themselves down by three scores in the fourth quarter, at least when compared to bottom-half teams. So any DVOA that compares to average results when being blown out is going to have a biased baseline. It's not DVOA, it's DVOBOT (defense adjusted value over blown out teams) - which is not useful at all.

In theory, this objection could apply to other situations. Are all teams equally represented in the "third-and-twenty" bucket? Probably not. But I'd guess this problem is largest in blow-out fourth quarters.

156
by zenbitz :: Thu, 11/22/2012 - 2:17am

Well, it's a blowout, right? So predictive skill isn't important. It's basically garbage time. The -96 Chicago DVOA is completely wasted because the probability of an average team (not just the hapless Bears offense) coming back (i.., their WPA) is essentially 0 at that point in time. Not only is the WPA 0, but the DERIVATIVE of it is 0.

However, you are correct, you would not want to weight by leverage when leverage was greater than 1 - you are trying to correct for situations where the winning team doesn't care (i.e., kneeldowns are -3 yard rushes, but for obvious reasons are excluded from DVOA, similarly INTs on Hail Marys are discarded). The same is true for plays run - essentially ALL plays run - in the 4th Q of a blowout. Only HUGE plays can even cause the WPA of the game to flicker.

A successful play in the VOA sense is not always worth the same.

128
by Trust Doesn't Rust (not verified) :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 11:29am

Still don't get how the Texans can beat the #6 & #3 teams on the road (not to mention beating #9 by almost 30 points), and still be below them in your numbers.

130
by Rick S (not verified) :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 12:11pm

The AFC is like a South American country that has no middle class. In the AFC, you are either good or you suck. The AFC has only one average team, Cincy, (ranked between DVOA of 11 to 21)... Just crazy.

This seems like an odd year in that there is crazy turnover at the number one spot. Obviously there is not an '07 Pats or '98 Broncos this year, but still, the top spot is often set or at least jockeys between two teams that have separated from the pack. It looks to me as if 5 teams have a chance at finishing number 1.

Some other thoughts....
SuperBowl XL was easily the worst officiated game I've ever watched.
Atlanta is the worst or 9-1 ever.
Houston ranking so low surprises me. They have two of the best road wins of anyone this year. At Chicago and at Denver.

132
by DisplacedPackerFan :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 12:51pm

On the lines of your other thoughts.

I'm wondering how deep in a season, since the realignment to the 4 team divisions, one division has had all 4 teams with a positive DVOA like the NFC North currently does. I think I recall seeing the NFC East with everyone positive in week 14 or so one year, but I'm not sure and don't have a good way to check.

131
by DisplacedPackerFan :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 12:39pm

So I know Crosby has pulled out of slumps in the past and replacing a kicker late season isn't as clear cut as folks say, but it's killing what is otherwise darn good special teams, they are top half of the league in every other phase.

GB has given up 9.9 points with the FG/XP part of special teasm (by far the worst in the league, Indy is at -6.3). They have gained 2.1 on Kick offs (10th), lost 0.3 on kick returns (15th), picked up 9.8 on punts (3rd; so glad that Masthay developed like I kept crowing on about for years), and 1.7 on punt returns (11th). They are actually doing well on hidden (10th) and weather adjustments (15th; more dome games than normal this year and well the bad weather hasn't started yet).

I'm a little curious what the worst FG/XP is for a season, I don't expect GB to be in the top 10 but I'm wondering how bad things can get. I also wonder about Houston's kick offs, -15.2 points, I just don't recall seeing numbers that bad for a single phase of special teams very often. Of course I'm not looking closely as Oakland is -19.0! on punting.

So yeah I'm just curious as to where the historically bad teams are in terms of each phase of special teams, we get to see overall, but I'm wondering about the breakdowns in historical context.

137
by Andrew Potter :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 2:12pm

Of course I'm not looking closely as Oakland is -19.0! on punting.

I expect that a big chunk of this will be the snapper disaster against the Chargers on September 10. Long snapper Jon Condo was hurt during the game so they put in Travis Goethel as his replacement. Goethel's performance was disastrous, resulting in effectively three blocked punts.

143
by DisplacedPackerFan :: Wed, 11/21/2012 - 4:31pm

Yeah, that's very possible. I of course heard about that game, but it had slipped my mind and I have seen punt value shift by over 7 points based on what happened in a single game when I've been paying closer attention to the numbers.

So yeah I would find it interesting to the see the effect of that single game on Oakland's numbers as well as a break down of the historical levels for each component of special teams. Yes I'm aware I have access to all the date, I just don't have access type that makes it easy to compile it.

164
by bengt (not verified) :: Fri, 11/23/2012 - 9:06am

In 2004 the Steelers, Colts, Ravens and Bills were also in the top ten all-time, one in each category.

167
by wowthatsprofound (not verified) :: Tue, 11/27/2012 - 10:59am

Remember when Philadelphia and New England had No. 1 DVOA in 2010 and then early round playoff exits.

Last year, GB and Pittsburgh No. 1-2 year end DVOA. And..playoff exits!

Currently, SF and NE No. 1-2 DVOA. Early playoff exit?