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24 Dec 2012

Week 16 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

(Ed. Note: Due to an error, the original DVOA table posted on Monday afternoon had incorrect WEIGHTED DVOA numbers for many teams; the WEIGHTED DVOA stats appeared in order from 1-32 rather than being properly lined up with the teams listed on the left-hand side of the table. This is now fixed. My apologies.)

Seattle has finally moved into the top spot in the Football Outsiders DVOA ratings, propelled by another huge win -- this time over a very good opponent, San Francisco. Both Seattle and Denver pass New England after the Patriots' unimpressive almost-loss at Jacksonville. The 49ers are still fourth, but they almost fell behind the team that had the biggest win this week. Green Bay had 120.8% DVOA in its 55-7 win against Tennessee, which moves them up to 30.0% overall and turns our "big four" into a "big five."

Unless both San Francisco and Green Bay stumble in Week 17, 2012 will set a record for the number of teams that end the season with total DVOA over 30.0%. Only once has the season ended with more than two teams over 30%: 2004, when the top three were Pittsburgh, New England, and Buffalo. That's also the only season that finished with five teams over 25%; those three teams were joined by Indianapolis and the New York Jets. 2004 would have had more teams over 30% if not for the Colts and Eagles sitting starters at the end of the season, but it is the only season that even comes close to matching 2012 when it comes to strength at the top of the league

The hottest team, of course, is Seattle. The Seahawks have averaged 88.5% DVOA over their last three wins. Is this the best three-game stretch in the history of DVOA? Actually, I know of at least one stretch which was even better. In the first three weeks of 1996, the Packers beat Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, and San Diego by the combined score of 115-26, and averaged 93.4% DVOA with all three games coming in at 90% or higher.

Because of this amazing three-game stretch, the Seahawks are even stronger in weighted DVOA, which drops the strength of games earlier in the season to get a better picture of how well teams are playing right now. Going back 21 years, the only team with a higher weighted DVOA through Week 16 was the 1991 Redskins. This table shows you the differences between the teams with the highest total DVOA and the teams with the highest weighted DVOA:

BEST TOTAL DVOA
THROUGH WEEK 16
x BEST WEIGHTED DVOA
THROUGH WEEK 16
Year Team DVOA x Year Team DVOA
1991 WAS 57.9% x 1991 WAS 53.5%
2007 NE 55.7% x 2012 SEA 51.5%
1995 SF 42.4% x 2010 NE 48.0%
2010 NE 42.1% x 2007 NE 46.6%
2012 SEA 41.1% x 2004 PIT 46.3%
2004 PIT 40.7% x 1995 SF 42.4%
1996 GB 38.9% x 2004 BUF 39.5%
1999 STL 38.1% x 1997 PIT 38.5%
1994 DAL 36.4% x 1997 SF 38.2%
2004 NE 36.1% x 2007 JAC 37.8%
2012 DEN 35.3% x 2012 DEN 37.5%
2009 PHI 34.3% x 1994 SF 36.7%

Obviously, Seattle fans have every reason to be very excited about their team right now, but that table of "best weighted DVOA" demonstrates that even finishing the season super-hot doesn't guarantee playoff success. The 2004 Bills, of course, didn't even make the playoffs because they lost in Week 17, even though they were at home against a Pittsburgh team resting its starters. (Buffalo fans, I apologize for the fact that I seem to be writing about that game a lot this season.) The ten pre-2012 teams on the list of highest weighted DVOA through Week 16 have just two Super Bowl titles. If we want to extend our list a bit, we find that out of the top 30 teams in weighted DVOA from 1991 through 2011:

  • Six won the Super Bowl: 1991 WAS (2), 1992 DAL (6), 1994 SF (7), 1996 GB (18), 2004 NE (23), 1993 DAL (24)
  • Three made it to the Super Bowl but lost: 2007 NE (3), 2010 PIT (9), 1997 GB (11)
  • Two lost in the playoffs to a team with a higher weighted DVOA: 1992 SF (26) and 2007 JAC (27)
  • Two didn't make the playoffs at all: 2004 BUF (4) and 2005 KC (19)

The other 17 teams lost at some point before the Super Bowl to a team that finished the season with a lower weighted DVOA, including the team that has the best end-season weighted DVOA ever, the 2010 Patriots.

A number of readers asked questions on Twitter about Seattle's famed home-field advantage. Any team is going to find it harder to win the Super Bowl when it has to go on the road for three straight games, but Seattle is known for having an even bigger home-field advantage than usual. What does DVOA say about Seattle's performance home and away this year? Well, it says about what you would expect. The Seahawks have been a much better team at home than on the road, particularly on defense, where they have the biggest gap between home and road performance in the league. (On offense, the biggest gap belongs to Baltimore.)

What makes Seattle's big home-field advantage special is that it actually seems to exist. Well, that's not quite right -- home-field advantage pretty much exists for every team. However, when you look closer at home-field advantage over a period of several years, almost every team generally has the same home-field advantage, which in DVOA works out to about 8.5% on offense and 8.5% on defense. Teams will see their home-field advantage bounce up and down if you only look at things in eight-game periods that coincide with specific seasons, but if you put together six or seven years of data you are going to end up close to 8.5% difference most of the time. The biggest exception seems to be the four NFC West teams, which over the last decade have enjoyed the four largest home-field advantages in the league. And of those four teams, the biggest exception by far is Seattle. You may remember an article that Bill Barnwell wrote in Football Outsiders Almanac 2011 which looked at point differential at home compared to on the road between 2002 and 2010. Seattle outscored its opponents by an average of 11.7 more points at home during those years. The other three NFC West teams were between 9.3 and 9.5, and the only other team above 8.5 was Baltimore at 9.2.

Here's a look at Seattle's DVOA at home vs. on the road over the past five years. I hope nobody minds if I am lazy and don't look up special teams.

Seattle DVOA, Home vs. Road, 2008-2012
Year Off/Def HOME Rank ROAD Rank Rank Dif
2012 O 28.9% 2 11.5% 10 8
2012 D -32.1% 1 -1.8% 10 9
2011 O 16.4% 11 -22.2% 29 18
2011 D -1.5% 13 -5.8% 5 -8
2010 O -15.9% 29 -18.5% 27 -2
2010 D 2.7% 24 22.2% 32 8
2009 O -13.7% 25 -25.6% 27 2
2009 D 1.8% 22 20.8% 31 9
2008 O -7.2% 24 -21.2% 29 5
2008 D 0.6% 19 22.8% 30 11

The ranks here represent Seattle's rank among all 32 teams looking only at home games or only at road games, so you can see that Seattle has had a stronger-than-average home-field advantage in each of the past five years. Each time a unit has a stronger-than-average home-field advantage, I colored the "rank differential" cell yellow so it would stick out.

I don't have the time to go through 21 years of home/road splits to see if Seattle's home-field advantage (47.6%, not counting special teams) is the highest in history, but if someone would like to look at that, all those home/road splits can be found in the FO Premium database (which is now working again).

To give another example from the NFC West, here are the last five years for San Francisco:

San Francisco DVOA, Home vs. Road, 2008-2012
Year Off/Def HOME Rank ROAD Rank Rank Dif
2012 O 27.4% 3 7.8% 11 8
2012 D -14.4% 4 -16.0% 4 0
2011 O 5.1% 21 -2.8% 19 -2
2011 D -19.3% 2 -1.9% 8 6
2010 O 5.1% 15 -26.9% 30 15
2010 D -12.7% 6 10.1% 24 18
2009 O -17.1% 27 -10.9% 22 -5
2009 D -16.2% 6 -12.0% 3 -3
2008 O -5.9% 23 -25.5% 31 8
2008 D 1.8% 22 5.5% 18 -4

Not every unit is going to have a larger-than-usual home-field advantage in every season, but in general, you can see here that the 49ers have a strong home-field advantage. Now, compare that to a team that is often talked about as having one of the league's strongest home-field advantages but absolutely does not: the New Orleans Saints:

New Orleans DVOA, Home vs. Road, 2008-2012
Year Off/Def HOME Rank ROAD Rank Rank Dif
2012 O 8.4% 11 13.5% 8 -3
2012 D 5.2% 24 23.1% 31 7
2011 O 52.7% 1 22.9% 4 3
2011 D 13.0% 30 17.3% 24 -6
2010 O 2.5% 16 10.9% 6 -10
2010 D 1.7% 23 -9.8% 6 -17
2009 O 29.9% 2 18.3% 4 2
2009 D -9.8% 10 9.1% 22 12
2008 O 27.0% 2 5.9% 6 4
2008 D 8.1% 23 7.4% 20 -3

2010 really stands out here, because the year after they won the Super Bowl, the Saints were a much better team on the road than they were at home. Does New Orleans really have a lower than usual home-field advantage? No, probably not. I'm sure if we looked at a decade or more, the Saints would end up averaging something close to zero in that "Rank Differential" column, the same as most other teams. Still, these numbers help show that the Superdome definitely doesn't give the Saints a superior home-field advantage.

Seattle, however, needs that 12th man more than any other team. The Seahawks are going into the playoffs as the best team in football, but they're going to have to win without him to make it to Super Bowl XLVII. That's why they're only the third-highest team in our Super Bowl odds despite their recent run of dominating play.

* * * * *

BEST DVOA EVER (OR AT LEAST SINCE 1991) WATCH

BEST TOTAL DVOA
THROUGH WEEK 16
x BEST OFFENSIVE DVOA
THROUGH WEEK 16
x BEST DEFENSIVE DVOA
THROUGH WEEK 16
x BEST ST DVOA
THROUGH WEEK 16
Year Team DVOA x Year Team DVOA x Year Team DVOA x Year Team DVOA
1991 WAS 57.9% x 2007 NE 42.7% x 1991 PHI -41.1% x 2002 NO 12.1%
2007 NE 55.7% x 2010 NE 41.3% x 2002 TB -32.1% x 2004 BUF 10.2%
1995 SF 42.4% x 2002 KC 37.5% x 2012 CHI -27.7% x 1994 CLE1 10.0%
2010 NE 42.1% x 1993 SF 34.5% x 2004 BUF -27.2% x 2009 CLE 10.0%
2012 SEA 41.1% x 2004 IND 33.6% x 1995 SF -26.9% x 2007 CHI 10.0%
2004 PIT 40.7% x 2011 NE 32.4% x 2008 BAL -26.3% x 2012 BAL 9.8%
1996 GB 38.9% x 2004 KC 32.3% x 1997 SF -26.1% x 2005 BUF 9.7%
1999 STL 38.1% x 2003 KC 32.1% x 2008 PIT -26.0% x 2001 PHI 9.5%
1994 DAL 36.4% x 2011 GB 31.9% x 1998 MIA -25.7% x 2006 CHI 9.5%
2004 NE 36.1% x 1998 DEN 31.9% x 2000 BAL -24.8% x 1996 CAR 9.4%
2012 DEN 35.3% x 2011 NO 31.8% x 2005 CHI -24.3% x 2000 MIA 9.3%
2009 PHI 34.3% x 1992 SF 31.5% x 1991 NO -22.7% x 1998 DAL 9.2%

Coming into Week 16, New England had put up at least 10% offensive DVOA in every game. This week against the Jaguars, they were at -14.2%, and that drops them off our list of the "best offensive DVOA ever" top 12. My guess is that the Patriots will take care of business in Week 17 and get back on this list. Chicago had their best defensive game since Week 10, which helped their place in history, although they are still far behind the 1991 Eagles and 2002 Buccaneers.

And yes, that "best total DVOA" table is the same one from earlier in this article.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through 16 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>

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

The Detroit rating is really interesting; I'll try to find time to look into that and write about it sometime in the next week.

Also, many people have asked if Indianapolis has the worst DVOA of any team to ever make the playoffs. Unless they get destroyed by Houston, the answer will be no. The worst playoff team by DVOA was the 2004 Rams, who ranked 31st at -27.2% but snuck into a wild card at 8-8 because the NFC was ridiculously weak that season.

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 SEA 41.1% 2 51.5% 1 10-5 19.5% 4 -16.3% 2 5.4% 3
2 DEN 35.3% 3 37.5% 2 12-3 21.4% 2 -13.4% 6 0.5% 14
3 NE 33.7% 1 35.9% 3 11-4 31.1% 1 2.7% 17 5.3% 5
4 SF 30.8% 4 26.8% 5 10-4-1 16.5% 5 -15.3% 3 -1.1% 21
5 GB 30.0% 5 27.0% 4 11-4 20.4% 3 -9.7% 7 -0.1% 15
6 CHI 23.0% 6 21.4% 6 9-6 -10.2% 24 -27.7% 1 5.4% 4
7 ATL 11.6% 9 7.3% 11 13-2 7.7% 10 -3.0% 11 0.8% 13
8 BAL 11.1% 10 9.5% 10 10-5 4.7% 13 3.4% 19 9.8% 1
9 NYG 9.8% 7 5.4% 12 8-7 9.7% 9 1.7% 16 1.9% 10
10 HOU 9.7% 8 2.5% 13 12-3 1.5% 14 -14.8% 4 -6.7% 32
11 WAS 7.5% 11 13.1% 8 9-6 14.3% 6 3.9% 21 -2.9% 25
12 CAR 4.8% 13 9.6% 9 6-9 6.6% 12 -4.2% 10 -6.0% 31
13 CIN 4.4% 12 14.2% 7 9-6 -0.9% 16 -2.0% 13 3.2% 7
14 DAL 0.3% 16 1.1% 15 8-7 7.1% 11 6.1% 23 -0.7% 19
15 DET 0.0% 14 1.4% 14 4-11 12.7% 7 7.5% 25 -5.2% 30
16 MIN -0.8% 20 -4.4% 19 9-6 -2.0% 17 3.3% 18 4.5% 6
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 -1.6% 19 -0.1% 16 7-7-1 -6.4% 22 -8.3% 8 -3.5% 27
18 PIT -3.2% 17 -1.5% 17 7-8 -5.3% 19 -2.6% 12 -0.5% 17
19 MIA -4.2% 18 -6.6% 20 7-8 -6.3% 21 -1.1% 14 0.9% 12
20 NO -4.4% 15 -2.5% 18 7-8 11.2% 8 14.3% 31 -1.3% 22
21 TB -8.3% 21 -10.6% 23 6-9 1.0% 15 4.5% 22 -4.8% 29
22 SD -8.9% 23 -6.8% 21 6-9 -9.3% 23 1.6% 15 2.0% 9
23 CLE -12.8% 25 -8.2% 22 5-10 -15.5% 27 3.7% 20 6.4% 2
24 BUF -14.4% 22 -11.4% 24 5-10 -5.5% 20 11.6% 27 2.7% 8
25 NYJ -15.9% 24 -15.6% 25 6-9 -20.1% 30 -4.9% 9 -0.8% 20
26 ARI -16.5% 26 -23.8% 28 5-10 -31.3% 32 -13.8% 5 1.0% 11
27 PHI -19.5% 27 -23.5% 27 4-11 -10.7% 26 6.4% 24 -2.4% 24
28 IND -20.8% 28 -19.3% 26 10-5 -4.1% 18 16.1% 32 -0.7% 18
29 OAK -27.7% 30 -26.7% 30 4-11 -10.2% 25 12.9% 30 -4.6% 28
30 JAC -29.1% 31 -26.2% 29 2-13 -16.6% 28 12.2% 29 -0.2% 16
31 TEN -32.5% 29 -32.0% 31 5-10 -20.0% 29 9.5% 26 -3.0% 26
32 KC -38.4% 32 -34.9% 32 2-13 -24.5% 31 11.6% 28 -2.3% 23
  • 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 SEA 41.1% 10-5 32.3% 12.4 3 5.6% 4 -1.6% 17 14.7% 20
2 DEN 35.3% 12-3 36.1% 13.7 1 -4.3% 25 -38.4% 32 6.7% 2
3 NE 33.7% 11-4 36.3% 12.4 2 -2.5% 21 -4.2% 19 12.0% 11
4 SF 30.8% 10-4-1 23.0% 11.7 4 8.0% 3 -16.5% 26 23.6% 31
5 GB 30.0% 11-4 21.8% 11.7 5 2.1% 10 -0.8% 16 16.7% 28
6 CHI 23.0% 9-6 19.2% 10.6 6 3.0% 9 0.0% 15 12.7% 12
7 ATL 11.6% 13-2 16.9% 9.0 7 -4.4% 26 -8.3% 21 13.4% 15
8 BAL 11.1% 10-5 13.1% 8.8 9 -1.7% 17 4.4% 13 15.8% 23
9 NYG 9.8% 8-7 7.6% 8.5 10 4.0% 5 -19.5% 27 32.5% 32
10 HOU 9.7% 12-3 17.4% 8.2 11 -3.1% 23 -20.8% 28 13.0% 13
11 WAS 7.5% 9-6 12.3% 8.9 8 -1.2% 16 0.3% 14 8.6% 7
12 CAR 4.8% 6-9 4.0% 8.0 12 1.7% 12 -4.4% 20 14.7% 19
13 CIN 4.4% 9-6 10.9% 7.8 13 -6.4% 31 11.1% 8 14.3% 18
14 DAL 0.3% 8-7 -3.1% 7.7 14 3.7% 7 7.5% 11 6.9% 3
15 DET 0.0% 4-11 -4.5% 7.1 18 3.6% 8 23.0% 6 6.2% 1
16 MIN -0.8% 9-6 -1.7% 7.7 15 3.8% 6 30.0% 5 7.8% 4
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
17 STL -1.6% 7-7-1 -6.5% 7.4 17 8.0% 2 41.1% 1 9.3% 8
18 PIT -3.2% 7-8 1.4% 6.7 20 -4.8% 29 -12.8% 23 15.8% 24
19 MIA -4.2% 7-8 0.3% 7.5 16 -4.6% 27 33.7% 3 16.4% 26
20 NO -4.4% 7-8 -2.4% 6.3 21 2.0% 11 4.8% 12 14.7% 21
21 TB -8.3% 6-9 -4.5% 7.1 19 -2.1% 20 11.6% 7 14.2% 17
22 SD -8.9% 6-9 -5.1% 6.2 22 -5.3% 30 -27.7% 29 9.8% 9
23 CLE -12.8% 5-10 -6.0% 6.0 23 -3.3% 24 -3.2% 18 13.1% 14
24 BUF -14.4% 5-10 -17.7% 5.7 24 -1.8% 19 -15.9% 25 16.5% 27
25 NYJ -15.9% 6-9 -14.6% 5.6 25 0.9% 13 -14.4% 24 17.7% 29
26 ARI -16.5% 5-10 -26.4% 4.5 27 10.2% 1 30.8% 4 16.4% 25
27 PHI -19.5% 4-11 -22.8% 4.5 28 0.8% 14 9.8% 9 11.5% 10
28 IND -20.8% 10-5 -11.9% 5.2 26 -7.6% 32 9.7% 10 8.6% 6
29 OAK -27.7% 4-11 -23.8% 3.5 29 -3.0% 22 -8.9% 22 15.6% 22
30 JAC -29.1% 2-13 -26.3% 3.0 30 -1.8% 18 -32.5% 31 7.9% 5
31 TEN -32.5% 5-10 -32.3% 2.6 31 -0.8% 15 -29.1% 30 20.7% 30
32 KC -38.4% 2-13 -40.3% 2.3 32 -4.6% 28 35.3% 2 13.7% 16

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 24 Dec 2012

159 comments, Last at 05 Jan 2013, 4:05pm by Sid

Comments

1
by JohnD (not verified) :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 4:00pm

Colts are now almost 5 wins over estimated? How often has that happened?

Houston and Atlanta have also been around +4 for many weeks, but I don't recall either of them reaching +4.8.

2
by JIPanick :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 4:04pm

I always felt that your playoff odds report is much more useful when there is more time left in the season; I also feel it is a little over-confident about individual games (these are related).

Case in point: Redskins better than 80% to beat Dallas?

Also, Denver 13.0 mean wins. Ouch, Kansas City.

6
by Thok :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 4:28pm

They only have the Redskins odds of winning at Dallas at 78%; the Redskins have an additional 6% chance of making the playoffs as the six seed if they, Minnesota, and Chicago all lose.

Edit: that said, something is wrong because they have a nonzero chance of Seattle getting the 6 seed (Seattle has already cliched the 5 seed by beating Chicago and Minnesota).

21
by RickD :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 4:59pm

Seattle would win a head-to-head tie with either Chicago or Minnesota, but what if Dallas beats the Redskins and there's a 3-way tie? Or a 3-way tie with the Giants involved?

I have to admit, I cannot drop the Seahawks to 6 using the ESPN playoff machine no matter what I try.

31
by matskralc (not verified) :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 5:27pm

The Seahawks, already the owners of 10 wins, cannot end the season tied with the Cowboys (currently 8 wins), Redskins (9), or Giants (8). They can equal Washington's record, but Washington would win the NFC East by ending the season with 10 wins. Chicago and Minnesota are the only teams Seattle could be tied with.

33
by matskralc (not verified) :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 5:29pm

Also, the Cowboys can't win the wild card. A win gives them the division, a loss puts them at 8-8, whereas Chicago, Seattle, and Minnesota all have at least 9 wins already.

75
by JoshB22 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 9:48pm

Dallas and Seattle can't tie. And even if they could Seattle beat Dallas and would have the tiebreaker

104
by RickD :: Tue, 12/25/2012 - 9:11pm

I don't know what I was thinking.

The Seahawks and Redskins could both finish with 10 wins, but that wouldn't matter since the Redskins win the NFC East if they get their 10th win.

I was trying to figure out a 3-way tie scenario that would drop Seattle to the #6 spot, but it's just not there.

7
by RickD :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 4:29pm

The table I'm looking at says Washington is 78.4% to beat Dallas.

The Redskins are 7 points higher in DVOA, and they are playing at home. Also, they already beat the Cowboys in Dallas.

Apparently Denver's mean wins should be 12.956, since there is positive probability that they don't get a bye.

Watch out for that round-off. That must be where you got the 80% for Washington beating Dallas.

35
by JIPanick :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 5:30pm

No, what happened was that I read the 'Skins playoff chances; I forgot they had a backdoor scenario. I think 78% is still excessive.

I knew about the round-off in Denver's case, I just thought it was funny that an allegedly professional football team could be so bad their chances of winning a given game are quite literally a rounding error.

56
by BJR :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 6:45pm

78% is obviously excessive. Vegas will have that game somewhere around 65/35.

9
by Hummingbird Cyborg :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 4:36pm

I was thinking that it's surprising to see only a 52.5% chance of Houston being the first seed which means that the Colts are just very slight underdogs.

37
by JIPanick :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 5:31pm

I noticed that too - keep in mind HOU is still the #1 seed in the case where they, Denver, and New England all lose. I suspect FO overrates Indy's chances, especially since they have nothing to play for.

57
by Mr Shush :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 6:48pm

Does the playoff odds report understand tiebreakers properly? I'm sure there was at any rate a time when it didn't.

64
by JohnD (not verified) :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 7:25pm

The week 15 playoff odds table was at serious odds (hah) with all other estimations of the Colts chances (one blogger calculated that there was only one very unlikely scenario in which the team wouldn't make it), so I'd say there are glitches.

69
by dm_md (not verified) :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 8:49pm

After this discussion, I can't help but ask about whether FO is looking for random code monkeys or what the application process generally looks like. I sat down just last night and wrote my own playoff calculator code from scratch just because I wanted to play with things, and it at least computes tiebreakers correctly.

If nothing else, if someone on staff monitors this thread and wants a CV, you now have my email.

90
by JohnD (not verified) :: Tue, 12/25/2012 - 9:22am

Take a deep breath, remember it's supposed to be the season of goodwill toward humankind, and don't make any bets based on these playoff odds. They'll come 'round soon enough, no need to bash the people who give us this great resource.

119
by dm_md (not verified) :: Wed, 12/26/2012 - 11:06am

No bashing here. I just want to offer to put my skills to good work!

3
by theslothook :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 4:24pm

Indy's 28th ranked DVOA feels about right. What will be interesting is what next year will bring. Ind's D can't possibly play any worse and their o has to improve. This team still sports a minus turnover margin so that should improve too. But then, all those close wins and the easy schedule will turn around. I suspect next year's team will be a healthy mid round dvoa team and end up 6-10. Worst thing, the expectations will be unrealistic going into next year.

20
by bernie (not verified) :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 4:57pm

It's hard to tell what will happen with them next year, until you see what personnel changes they have. 90% of the Colts offensive woes can be attributed to an offensive line that doesn't understand that they are there to block the opposition, not just get the number of players on the field up to 11.
As to the defense, there's just too many problems there to be fixed in 1 offseason.
I'm expecting Arians to be scalped by some team looking for a new Head Coach, so the Colts will have an opening for a new Offensive Coordinator...possibly Norv Turner? His runs on the board as an OC are fairly decent, and it would be an attractive opportunity for him.

26
by theslothook :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 5:15pm

True. No one knows what this team will be next year, let lone the next 2 or three. I have a hard time seeing anyone on the o line lasting more than 2 more seasons(other than Costanzo but even hes one more poor season away from being cut).

The organization should have a ton of cap room and its not clear what free agents will be available to them.

I've had this discussion with other fans, what should the colts be drafting? IMO and I've gotten a fair amount of disagreement, If the colts get a chance to grab a good receiver, I think they need to target a receiver. Wayne is on his last legs and while brazil and hilton are ok, they are not really starting receivers.

After that, colts need a pass rusher, some corners, a good linebacker, some offensive linemen-particularly guards and center - and maybe even some safeties. Other than that, we're good!

40
by Aloysius Mephis... :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 5:42pm

Heh. Hard to claim extreme talent-poverty as an asset, but it does simplify drafting if you know you're going BPA with every pick.

58
by BJR :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 6:50pm

The Colts have by far the most important position on the team nailed down for the next ten years, so they are probably in a better drafting situation than half the teams in the league.

118
by DisplacedPackerFan :: Wed, 12/26/2012 - 10:49am

This is important. I realized the other day that the only player the Packers have on their roster that isn't a Ted Thompson guy is Donald Driver. Thompson got to Green Bay in 2005. He decided to rebuild the team despite having Favre around and his first several drafts were designed to just churn the roster. A lot of trading down and just getting bodies to fix the mess Sherman had made. He got lucky getting Rodgers in his first draft but by the Super Bowl year the team had I think only 4 guys (Driver, Clifton, Jenkins, and Wells) that were players that Thompson hadn't drafted or signed as free agents. You can turn a roster over fast in the NFL. Having Favre, Driver, and a few other solid players around let them go deep in the playoffs in 07, but they weren't building for win now.

Having he QB position locked up, it was easy to just get players early on in the rebuild that should help. Starting around the 08 draft (his 4th draft) even though he mostly still was trading down, he was starting to do a bit more targeting of players and positions, that was even more clear in 09 with the Raji pick and trade up for Matthews. Last year's draft was even more obvious. But his strategy changed after 3 years or so because he already turned most of the roster over.

If you lock up the QB spot and get him a few guys to throw the ball to early you can be good quick. Colts have Luck and Wayne, like Favre and Driver in that regards. The Packers during their rebuild (and they did rebuild) took a lot of first to 3rd round receivers. They grabbed Terrence Murphy in that first draft (his rookie season was a lot like Randall Cobbs rookie season, stat wise, until an injury ended his career) got Jennings in the 2nd draft, James Jones in the 3rd draft, Jordy Nelson and Finley in the 4th draft. They took Cobb two years ago (7th draft) and I fully expect they to grab a WR in the early rounds in the 2013 draft even if they resign Jennings. While you can get 10+ years out of a WR, I really think the Packers philosophy is that you get your 3-5 years from the rookie contract, and then maybe you get 3-4 more out of a 2nd contract, then you move on. Of course that is really probably just the NFL, but I expect this roster to turn over every 5 years or so now. Heck Rodgers is the only player left from Thompson first year as GM in 05, and the 06 group of A.J. Hawk, Greg Jennings, Jarrett Bush (waiver wires), Ryan Pickett (UFA-StL), CB Tramon Williams (UDFA originally picked up by Houston), and Charles Woodson (UFA-Oak), most them are gone after this year, Williams, Bush, and Pickett are likely the only ones who will be back as they are the only ones with contracts that don't allow the team to easily let them go without a penalty. James Jones might be about the only 07 group left too (the others are Crosby and Jon Kuhn).

So yeah, the Colts are in prime position to be regular Super Bowl contenders buy 2014 or so, and just keep reloading like the Patroits, Packers, Manning Colts, and others have done. It only takes about 4 years to fully erase a bad draft class.

125
by ODBvernon :: Wed, 12/26/2012 - 3:00pm

I completely agree that having a QB is the critical first step and I think the core of skill position players in place are worthy of a playoff-caliber team, particularly going forward - Ballard has already shown marked improvement as this season has gone on (by standard and advanced measures, as well as from the "eyeball" test), Hilton and Allen look like definite keepers and ideally either Fleener or Brazill turns into a reliable 4th receiving option.

The other consideration for the Colts rebuilding process is that for the first time in over a decade they are going to have a ton of potential cap room. Usually I am not an advocate of major rebuilding through free agency, but there are some young-ish, decent players at critical positions likely to be avaiablel for the Colts to sign (Levitre from the Bills comes immediately to mind).

Either way, even if the Colts were looking at a 6-10 finish I'd be pleasantly surprised with this season as that would've beat my preseason expectations for the team. And the 2012 draft also already far exceeded realistic goals with two key contributors coming from the 3rd round and one from the 5th.

As long as the Colts have another solid draft in 2013 and stay near .500 next year (which I think is a realistic expectation), as a fan I'd be happy that they are still on the right track for building a long-term contender.

126
by theslothook :: Wed, 12/26/2012 - 3:34pm

@ Displaced...

that Strategy from Thompson is both a blessing and a curse. What you're describing sort of reminds me of Bill Polian and his strategy with the colts. Sure, that keeps the roster moving and fluid so that the team's identity remains consistent even when its pieces of the roster move on, but it also makes your team embarrassingly dependent on a few stars being superb. In fact, the mirror images are almost shocking(Rodgers-Manning), (Mathews-Freeney), (Woodson/Williams-Sanders), etc etc. Sure, this strategy leads to plenty of wins and even some sb's, but it also leaves you vulnerable talent wise when you run into a team that can shut down your passing offense. Basically, that pretty much explains most of Manning's defeats in the post season, it also explains what happened to Gb last year and while their d is better now, if this team's pass offense is shut down, I don't know if they can win.

Ultimately, I still favor what NE does, which is having a flexible strategy when it comes to team identity and free agency. It essentially allows them to grab best available and build the system around them rather than finding pieces to fit the system. It meant they weren't losing games even when Brady was injured.

We'll see how the colts approach it.

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by DisplacedPackerFan :: Wed, 12/26/2012 - 5:00pm

I don't disagree and it's not like Thompson hasn't hit FA (Woodson, Tramon Williams, Ryan Pickett, Sam Shields were all FA), it's just generally not been big time FA (Williams and Shields were both UDFA). Saturday and Benson were both FA pick-ups this year, sure low rung again, and Saturday was replaced by EDS (who was also a FA pick-up back in 2010), and now Benson has been replace by Grant (who was a trade pick up initially in 07 and technically a FA pick up this year) and Harris (a FA pick-up mid season).

He also does try to get into the trade market, I mentioned Grant from 07 he also traded Caleb Schlauderaff to the Jets for a draft pick in 2011). I still wonder what may have been if Thompson would have given the 2012 conditional pick that he refused to part with for Lynch. He offered the 4th rounder and 7th in 2011, the Bills took the 4th and conditional (that turned into a 5th) in 2012. This has been confirmed by sources from both the Bills and Packers that the trade was on the table, the Seattle upped and Thompson held.

I also wouldn't be surprised to see the Packers start doing more in Free Agency with going for a few bigger names. People thought Thompson would never trade up in the draft either, it's not that he won't, it's that he is on the conservative side and wants to make sure he gets value; Matthews, Casey Hayward, Jeron McMillian, and I believe Morgan Burnett are all players he traded up to get recently, Jordy Nelson is a good example of a player he traded down and still got. But for the first 4 years or so, churning the roster and getting rid of the cap room hell that Sherman had put them in was more important.

I've mentioned in other posts that I think improving the running game is something they are working on this season with some of the offensive line changes, and will be going forward as well. Counting Rodgers as a player they can't lose, I discount because that's true even for Brady, yes Cassel stepped in one year, but he was suspect. I bet Flynn could have taken last years team to 11+ wins as well. They lost Matthews for 4 games this year and went 3-1 in them, and that was with several of the players that were supposed to lessen the load he carries also injured. Back when it was Woodson/Harris they survived stretches without them. Last year the blow they did not absorb was losing Nick Collins at safety and having Williams playing at 75% because of the shoulder injury. But this year they have absorbed the loss of Woodson and Shields at the same time (that's two of their starting corners even if Woodson was being phased out).

I can't really buy that they are hugely dependent on key players anymore. They have always had to lose a couple before they have really shown the signs. The only games they have really been blown out in since Rodgers took over were @NO in 2008 (51 - 29 loss), I'd count that Dallas game at 27 - 16 too because that was worse than 11 point margin, the first 09 Minnesota game was 30 - 14 with 7 minutes left and I'll grant that, even though the 2nd Min game had a higher margin of defeat. They were never blown out in 2010 or 2011, and then New York blew them out this year (in fact that is the worst loss since 2008). New England has suffered worse losses in that time.

They absorb injuries frequently too, though not much worse than middle of the league most years. Ranks is Most to least injured so in 2010 there were 2 teams with a higher (worse) AGL.

YEAR - AGL (rank) record DVOA Pt Diff
2008 - 48.2 (16th) 6-10 09.2% +39
2009 - 37.0 (25th) 11-5 29.1% +164
2010 - 86.3 (3rd ) 10-6 23.0% +148
2011 - 58.7 (17th) 15-1 27.0% +201
2012 - ??.? (????) 11-4 30.0% +100

I've got a feeling that 2012 is going to be around 70 or so and 8th or so in the league for AGL.

I figure 20%+ DVOA and 100+ point differential means you are a Super Bowl contender. 10 - 20% DVOA and 60-100 point differential is a solid playoff contender that needs even more luck than normal to get to/win the super bowl. Anyone who makes the playoffs with the format has a chance.

And while everyone wants 5 appearances and 3 wins in 10 years, I'll take 2 appearances and one win every 10 years, with a real shot in 7 other years without complaint.

But I'm interested to see what the Colts do, and how the Packers continue to evolve now that the organization and rosters are built how they want.

137
by theslothook :: Wed, 12/26/2012 - 5:41pm

I think you're probably right.

I am curious as to your thoughts on something that just occurred to me. You said Flynn probably gets to 11-5+ with last years packers and I actually agree. The question is why. The defense this year is much better than last years(though last years was not nearly as bad I think as is conventionally seen). But even still, what is the big difference in this years offense versus last years? Is it solely injuries? I would argue the receiving core this year is even better than last years(jones, finley are having better years, and cobb is a much larger part of the overall offense).

This leads to something I also wonder about Rodgers. I've had this debate with my one of my friends who feels rodgers is more a function of the talent around him than I do(bear in mind, when he says more of a function - hes saying Rodgers isn't quite god, but just garden variety elite). I'm curious how you see it. Obviously, we saw last year with the colts that sometimes who pulls the trigger does ultimately determine the success and failure of an offense. We saw that too in Arizona. And yet, why isn't it the same with GB or NE?

In my honest opinion- in some ways, I feel given what GB has in terms of talent, this offense could be even better.

140
by DisplacedPackerFan :: Wed, 12/26/2012 - 8:50pm

There are a few things that I think I can point to about the difference between last year and this year. One of the most obvious is opponent adjustment. They have played a harder schedule. That doesn't explain all of it. Injuries matter too. The injuries that Jennings had and the timing of them basically mean that he is just now rounding out of the preseason. He was injured in the early season and it wasn't until he had surgery that it cleared up. He's had enough time back for him to be in regular season shape about now.

Now the Packers have a bunch of #2 receivers, but Jennings is really the only one that you think of as a #1, though Cobb is getting there. As good as Nelson is, he is weak in the middle. As many TD's as Jones has caught, he is essentially NFL average at many things and double coverage can be very effective against him. Cobb is small, and as good as he is in the open field, he's not really proven to be a able to take the top off a defense. Jennings is very good at running precise routes, and can run them anywhere on the field.

After seeing what the Packers did last year, everyone started playing 2 or 3 deep against them. To beat this you need a couple of receivers who can take the top of (Nelson + Jennings) so that it doesn't matter, one of them will get single coverage, or find a seam in the deep zone to get open. You can also run against it enough to make some of the deep coverage cheat up. You can continually expose the short and mid seams/holes in, typically in the middle or short. Since Nelson does at times have issues with beating press coverage (same as Jones), that left Cobb as the only consistent option for the short outside. Finley kept dropping passes when he was open in those zones and lost Rodgers confidence, some of that is back. As we all know they couldn't run.

So now you have a lot fewer deep options open, the coverage never softened, and they didn't have the Nelson + Jennings + occasionally whoever else won a match-up to make it not matter. Add to this the downgrade at center, and the weaker pass pro and Rodgers was getting hit more early in the year. McCarthy didn't adjust as well as I would have hoped. He kept trying to make the home runs open up, and the issues made that just not work.

The running game his improved recently, and I think EDS being significantly better as a run blocker than Saturday is part of the reason Saturday got benched. A stronger run game helps this offense. Finley has started to catch the ball, that helps. Jennings + Cobb is more likely to get a coverage blown because inside moves have from either of them has to be respected more than one from Nelson would have been. So they have a better chance of getting open deep regardless of coverage than Nelson + Cobb.

Rodgers also has had a few more errant passes than he did last year. Finally while the defense is better and I haven't checked field position and number of drives, they are averaging about one less turn over per game this year. That means even with more 3 and outs there have likely been a few less short fields for quick strikes.

The upshot is Rodgers had 45 passing TD's in 15 games last year vs 35 this year. Crosby has missed way more FG than his career average. So that's probably one score a game (FG or TD) they are missing. That could have turned some close games into 2 or 3+ score games earlier in the game and made the whole complex of games look different. A last year Matt Flynn probably only has this team, everything else being equal, at 8 or 9 wins at this point, and I believe Flynn has a Schaub type ceiling still, so the ability to look like a top 10 maybe even top 5 QB with the right talent around you, but even on a lesser team no worse than 16th or so. So Rodgers probably gets you a 1 - 3 more wins a year. I'm not sure how elite you want to call it, but that is elite.

As to the final note, GB's WR talent might not be as good as it looks either. Rodgers throws one of the best balls in the league (and maybe a tight spiral isn't the best ball to catch, I don't know) but given how accurate his throws can be, some of the non catches are baffling. I don't think Jordy Nelson has one of the best receiving DYARs in the database with Brady, Manning, or Brees throwing to him last year (a healthy Manning that is, Eli or Peyton). Some of the catches he made 30+ yards down field required a throw that was easy to catch and had to hit a very small window because it was designed to go over tight coverage and couldn't make him move his feet or he was out of bounds. The talent on the team to allow Nelson to get there, was unique, but so was Rodger's ability to place the ball there.

In ways the unique circumstances of coming out of the Tedford system, then being retooled for 3 years on the bench produced a nearly perfect spiral. The Tedford college system helped developed great ability to hit a specific spot. I think it was you who commented later in the thread about Rodgers not being as good had he been in San Fran. I agree. I think he still would have turned out better than Smith did, but he wouldn't be what he is now. He did need a year or so to have some of his mechanics and decision making processes reshaped, and when he finally started, the team had been mostly rebuilt around him.

So yeah a lot of thoughts on why this years offense is merely great vs historically great and also part of why it's starting to round into form later in the year than earlier in the year.

141
by theslothook :: Wed, 12/26/2012 - 9:54pm

All good points. Judging the packer receivers is difficult to do. I would say though one positive thing about them is I don't think anyone of them other than Cobb is what is confined to a certain set routes. While Nelson is flawed in the way you describe, he still able to run most of the route tree(or at least thats what it seems like). In a sense, this is also true for james jones and Greg jennings as well as Finley. And while Cobb is more of the harvin in space shift type of guy, hes perfect within the structure that the offense works out of. Simply put, while none of these receivers are necessarily elite, their versatile skills allow them to dictate certain mismatches more easily than most other teams. In that sense, the group is a tad underrated.

My opinion of Rodgers is also mixed, in the sense that is he the best qb I've seen since I started watching football(I started in 1998). While I don't think Favre ever had the talent Rodgers does now, Rodgers is maybe the only qb that is able to harmoniously blend running versus throwing since maybe Steve Young(I didn't see him). His accuracy is also pretty ridiculous- I'd say in terms of consistency, he, brees, and manning are the class of that. The lone weakness in his game as far as I can see is his propensity to take sacks.

138
by Insancipitory :: Wed, 12/26/2012 - 7:19pm

I just had to compliment the beautiful formatting of your post. Someone somewhere owes you one super-delux foot-rub, good job.

113
by turbohappy :: Wed, 12/26/2012 - 2:47am

Not sure I can agree with this analysis. Wayne has been awesome this year. Obviously he is getting old for the NFL, but I haven't seen anything that indicates he is done. Hilton seems to have potential and Brazil doesn't see the field all that much...both are rookies so seems a little early to decide on them.

If next year's draft is as successful as this one, they will just keep getting better. Almost all of the draft picks are starting (obviously winning 2 games last year helps, but that's a good draft). Hopefully the expectations won't be too lofty.

All of their linemen are limited. They have some decent pass-blockers and some decent run-blockers (Castonzo in particular is great in the run game), but all of them have serious limitations to their all-around game.

117
by Johnny Socko (not verified) :: Wed, 12/26/2012 - 9:58am

TY Hilton looks far better than "OK" to me. He has 750 yards, 7 TD's, and 4 games with more than 100 yards receiving. Aside from the stats, he looks dynamic when in the open field. Not bad for a 3rd round rookie.

Otherwise I agree with your assessment of the Colts talent (or lack there of) across the board.

127
by theslothook :: Wed, 12/26/2012 - 3:41pm

Maybe hilton looks better than I give him credit for. He probably is at least a good number 2 in the making. Wayne is having a big year but its not as if the number 1 receiver slot is sewed up for the coming years. And we still don't know how much the entire passing offense is a function of wayne in particular. Either way, the Colts could use a number 1 type receiver in the future imo.

4
by Cro-Mags :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 4:25pm

So, I suppose it begs the question, since Seattle will likely be playing on the road without the boost they get at home, what can be expected out of them in the playoffs.

11
by Jon Goldman (not verified) :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 4:41pm

They play either the Redskins or the Cowboys in the 1st round, so they will likely get a win there. After that they play what are probably going to be the Packers, which I honestly see as a huge blowout due to, well, you know.

19
by Perfundle :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 4:55pm

If the third seed (likely the 49ers) wins, then Seattle would play Atlanta in the divisional round. They would most likely face Green Bay in the conference championship.

As for Green Bay getting revenge, they sure didn't get it last year (NY knocked them out in 2007, Favre's last game as a Packer).

24
by Hector Rex (not verified) :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 5:06pm

If Seattle wins its first playoff game, chances are they'll face Atlanta in the divisional round. The only way they go to GB in the divisional round is if the six seed wins in SF, which is unlikely.

46
by Cuenca Guy :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 5:56pm

The Seahawks haven't lost by more than 7 points all season. While Green Bay would be a favorite in that game, I wouldn't want to face the Seahawks anywhere. That kind of motivation is generally overrated, and the Seahawks have motivation to prove that win wasn't a fluke. An interesting read on the first game at the link below.

www.coldhardfootballfacts.com/content/shame-the-angry-mob-golden-tates-t...

59
by Mr Shush :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 7:03pm

I'm ready to be proved very, very wrong, but I still suspect the Seahawks of being a slight mirage. They haven't played a top class passing offense on the road all season, and the only first rate aerial attack they've faced with the regular officials in charge was Brady back in Week 6. I don't think they're anything like certain to win in Atlanta, I really, really don't like their chances in Green Bay, and I think the Broncos would crush them in New Orleans if it came to it.

65
by Perfundle :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 7:31pm

"They haven't played a top class passing offense on the road all season"

You sound like someone on another forum who claimed that they needed to see Seattle dominate an elite team on the road for them to be considered legit, when it turned out that the only two examples of this in 2012 were Denver over Baltimore and Green Bay over Houston, and of course DVOA doesn't even have Baltimore and Houston as elite.

"the only first rate aerial attack they've faced with the regular officials in charge was Brady back in Week 6"

How exactly did the replacement officials help Seattle's defense against GB and Dallas? If anything, they helped offenses by not calling holding calls.

"I don't think they're anything like certain to win in Atlanta"

No one is claiming they are.

"I really, really don't like their chances in Green Bay"

This certainly would be a hard game, but then no one saw NY's crushing of the Packers last year either.

"and I think the Broncos would crush them in New Orleans if it came to it."

So your criteria is the need to face a top class passing offense on the road? Denver faced two, Atlanta and New England. They lost both games.

There are several reasons to doubt that Seattle can make the Super Bowl, but this type of ridiculously high standard that almost no one can say they've met isn't the way to go about it. In any case, that's only on the defensive side, which indeed will be impacted if Sherman is out and Thurmond can't make it back on time. You neglected to mention Seattle's offense, which currently shows relatively few weaknesses that can be exploited. If their defense puts them in a hole, their offense has shown that they have enough firepower to come back.

78
by Mr. X (not verified) :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 11:16pm

The Giants deserved the win, but the effect on the team of the death of then-OC Joe Philbin's son the week of the game should not be overlooked. I will bet we hear more about that event as the years go by.

131
by Bjorn Nittmo :: Wed, 12/26/2012 - 4:37pm

"the only two examples of this (dominating win over elite team on the road) in 2012 were Denver over Baltimore and Green Bay over Houston." Don't forget Giants destroying 49ers in October in SF. Very easy to forget that occurred this season with the way the Giants have been playing. Houston also destroyed Denver early in the season in Denver, which did not seem so surprising at the time. I'd also put Vikings over Texans this past Sunday on the list, despite Houston playing some very unimpressive games this half of the season.

157
by Mr Shush :: Fri, 12/28/2012 - 6:23pm

This isn't a generalised criterion for me thinking a team's good; it's a specific factor in my suspiciousness towards the Seahawks. I don't think their pass rush is good enough to do the business against the best quarterbacks. I may very well be wrong, but that's my suspicion. I also think the NFC West as a whole is somewhat over-beloved of DVOA (not that it isn't still a very strong division) which probably inflates opponent-adjustments a bit.

As for the matter of the replacement refs, I believe that the failure to call illegal contact hurt pass offenses (especially the elite spread-type offenses in New England, New Orleans and Green Bay) far more than the failure to call holding hurt defenses. The three aforementioned teams clearly underperformed dramatically during the games the replacements officiated. The Team that Passing Forgot (Arizona) overperformed dramatically during the same stretch. I absolutely stand by that position.

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by Mr Shush :: Fri, 12/28/2012 - 6:25pm

Double post deleted.

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by formido :: Wed, 12/26/2012 - 3:44pm

I can't tell who you think will blow out whom. However, if you are suggesting Seattle will blow out the Packers, I agree. Their first game was played dead even, decided on a 50/50 call, a hail mary where the defense almost always easily successfully defends. It was a miracle that Wilson and Tate were able to make the play as close as they did, regardless of how you think it should have been called.

So, the game was even. You definitely couldn't say anything predictive about future match-ups between those teams based on that game. But, the media has trumpeted far and wide that Green Bay "should have won" that game. Green Bay players have said that repeatedly in the press. They feel they won that game. So, do you think Seattle has a chip on their shoulder about that game? I do. Green Bay has nothing to prove since it's accepted they were "better".

Last year, NY beat SF in the play-offs, but it was widely believed that SF was the better team. This year, the Giants whipped SF in Candlestick, even though everyone expected the reverse. After the game, NY players talked about how annoyed they were that even though they beat SF, people said it was a fluke. This shoulder chip model fits the facts of Seattle/Green Bay the best.

Since their first game, Seattle has improved more than Green Bay has. In a rematch, I would expect Seattle to blow out Green Bay.

145
by mark Brody (not verified) :: Thu, 12/27/2012 - 9:25am

Yeah, I see a blow-out too, the Hawks will destroy them...haha, watch

23
by Perfundle :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 5:03pm

I don't know the DVOA split numbers, but looking at their point differential split, Green Bay in 2010 should've had a big DVOA difference between home and road, and they fared pretty well on the road in the playoffs. Sherman's potential suspension is going to matter more than Seattle's lack of home-field advantage.

47
by Cuenca Guy :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 5:57pm

His contamination claim may actually help Sherman win his appeal. We'll probably hear more this week.

38
by JIPanick :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 5:33pm

I suspect the Seahawks will leave a burgundy-and-gold or silver-and-blue smear behind them in the wildcard, knock out the Falcons, and then have a competitive game @Niners/Packers winner in the CCG.

89
by Rikki (not verified) :: Tue, 12/25/2012 - 9:09am

NFC Championship Game, Seahawks at Packers, overtime, Russell Wilson guarantees a win at the coin toss, then throws a pick-six to Sam Shields

5
by Nathan :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 4:26pm

Crazy to see Carolina so high but confirms what my eye has been telling me... Much better than their record indicates and all the calls for Rivera's head and talk of how the new regime should consider trading Newton was headline grabbing drivel.

12
by Insancipitory :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 4:41pm

Carolina had a brutal early schedule

@Buccs
Saints
Giants
@Falcons
Seahawks
Cowboys
@Bears
@Redskins
Broncos
Buccs

There is not an easy game in there, and the easier games in there were when those teams were at their best before they started to fade. Compare that to the Panters 2011 schedule which was much easier and no wonder Cam was frustrated early in the season. It probably felt like he was promoted to a secret NFL which is played on a higher difficulty.

8
by Hummingbird Cyborg :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 4:31pm

I'm still curious how the Giants would rate in all time variance.

15
by Jon Goldman (not verified) :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 4:49pm

As am I.

17
by Perfundle :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 4:51pm

I looked this up last week. There were about 5 to 6 teams with higher variance than them, but none of them made the playoffs. It doesn't look like NY is going to either.

Interestingly, their variance actually dropped this week. They need a blowout win over the Eagles to bump it back up.

10
by Polaris (not verified) :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 4:37pm

I think there is something wrong with the Playoff Scenario on this site. It shows Seattle having a 9.9% of being the sixth seed but unless I am missing something obvious, that is impossible.

Seattle has 10 wins. Only Minny and Chicago can get ten wins in the NFC without securing a Divisional Crown, and Seattle has beaten both of them.

That tells me that if Seattle gets a wildcard berth it has to be the five-hole, right?

What am I missing?

-Polaris

13
by Jon Goldman (not verified) :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 4:43pm

The nonzero (yet infinitesimal) chance that the League will fix the fail mary call.

32
by Glen (not verified) :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 5:27pm

Stop crying, leave the mob, educate yourself, and then come back and apologize.

39
by JIPanick :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 5:34pm

That was an obvious joke dude, chill.

41
by Jon Goldman (not verified) :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 5:45pm

I'm a Bears' fan, I found the events of the game hilarious, and I was joking. Calm down.

97
by IHeartAdderall (not verified) :: Tue, 12/25/2012 - 3:31pm

This single comment makes me fervently hope that Seattle gets obliterated in the first round of the playoffs. Which, assuming half of their defensive backfield is suspended for steroid abuse, is still likely to happen.

101
by GroshKar (not verified) :: Tue, 12/25/2012 - 5:50pm

Well, actually Browner dropped his appeal and started his suspension before the game against the Cardinals 3 weeks ago, so after the Rams game he will be eligible to play again for the first game of the playoffs. A defensive backfield of Thomas, Chancellor, Browner and Lane is still pretty tough.

152
by RickG (not verified) :: Thu, 12/27/2012 - 3:19pm

As of today, Richard Sherman's appeal was sucessful and will continue to play. Browner will be back on the first playoff day. The strongest secondary in the NFL will be intact.

105
by RickD :: Tue, 12/25/2012 - 9:15pm

If we can believe the media reports, Richard Sherman's sample may not have been treated properly by the collectors, in which case his suspension may have to be cancelled.

92
by pqlqi (not verified) :: Tue, 12/25/2012 - 12:20pm

You are correct. No way Seattle can be the 6 seed.

Probably FO playoff odds calculator is incorrectly set up. The only way I could see them blowing it is the situation where Washington, Minnesota, Chicago and Seattle all end up at 10-6, and the machine is not excluding the divisional champions before doing the wild card computation.

132
by Bjorn Nittmo :: Wed, 12/26/2012 - 4:40pm

Nothing. Seattle can't fall to #6 because of the reasons you state.

14
by anderson721 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 4:47pm

I find it incomprehensible that Washington's weighted DVOA is lower than its total DVOA. You mean they've been playing worse lately?

16
by Jon Goldman (not verified) :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 4:50pm

Well yeah. They beat the Giants by a Tynes miss, the Browns, and escaped the Eagles.

That's not exactly a fearsome set of wins.

18
by ian :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 4:52pm

Seattle is clearly ranked too high because South Alaska isn't actually part of the USA so it can't have a team in the NFL, plus, munchkin quarterbacks, an unusual proportion of dreadlocks, and psilocybin-aided draft picks aren't a recipe for a winner. Joe Buck's gut is way better than this. Go Argonauts.

36
by moore2012 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 5:30pm

Well done, sir.

71
by Insancipitory :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 9:07pm

2/10 obvious troll, prefered nomenclature is "Baja Canada." "Idaho's Liberia" would also have been acceptable.

22
by dbostedo :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 5:00pm

Is it possible that home field advantage shows up not just in a team having a better DVOA at home, but also in their opponent having a worse DVOA on the road there, than on the road other places? Or is that factored in already somehow?

25
by theslothook :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 5:10pm

Thats what makes this so hard to analyze. Is it the road team being worse or the home team being better? Kind of like trying to cross compare years. Is it the level of defense getting worse now or the offenses are better? How does one actually categorize these sorts of things. Are we so sure the 85 bears defense would hang with todays offenses or is it vice versa?

27
by Gregory111 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 5:20pm

I think your list is completely wrong. How is it possible that the 2007 Patriots are not one of the 10 best offensive DVOA thru 16 weeks? That is an indictment on the stat if the greatest offense ever is not even in the top 10 of offensive DVOA

30
by Hummingbird Cyborg :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 5:24pm

It does seem that they made a mistake in compiling that stat.

I don't know about "completely" wrong though. It could be a simple error.

42
by JIPanick :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 5:46pm

I do recall that the '07 Pats laid a massive egg in week 16 (barely surviving a low-scoring game with the Jets). Killed all the teams that had ridden Brady and/or Moss to fantasy Super Bowls. Maybe that is part of it?

54
by Aaron Schatz :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 6:33pm

Nope. That one is a mistake. Cut-paste error. That's on me. I'll go fix it.

62
by Charles (not verified) :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 7:09pm

I was at that game.

It was never particularly close. The score was 20-10, and the Jets' touchdown was a fluke.

The problem was that at kickoff it was 29 degees and snowing; and at the end of the third quarter it was 37 degrees and sleeting. There were fewer than 20,000 fans there - to watch a team that was 14-0 going in!

We threw iceballs from the upper deck. One of them knocked down a Jets' coach; I wish I'd been the one to throw it!

67
by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 7:54pm

I remember that game.

Yes, the score was 20-10, but weren't both of New England's offenses kind of random as well. One was a pick-six, and the other, I believe, was a 1-yard TD after a blocked punt.

Also, not that it means anything because the '07 Patriots were mistakenly left off the list, but that game was in Week 15.

The Week 16 game was a 28-7 win over Miami. It was an average game for the offense though. I remember Brady just lobbing balls up to Moss, maybe in hopes of giving him the record at home. Brady threw two picks in that game.

70
by JIPanick :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 8:58pm

I was misremembering how close the game was, it seems. Still a lousy day for the Pats O.

28
by meher (not verified) :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 5:21pm

Well Seattle has to win on the road. The home field advantage is great play a good team on the road like say..the Washington Redskins? or the Green Bay Packers? ]

I guess they would prefer Atlanta who haven't won a playoff game in over 8 years.

29
by meher (not verified) :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 5:22pm

Also Pete Caroll has *never* advanced past the divisional round in his entire NFL coaching career.

34
by Glen (not verified) :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 5:29pm

And Harbaugh sucked as a QB, but what does either one have to do with this year? Nothing.

44
by theslothook :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 5:48pm

Now wait a second- what you just said is utter rubbish and factually untrue! Harbaugh was a MEDIOCRE Starter. Not terrible, MEDIOCRE! Yes, there is a difference. He was the Matt Schaub of his era, not the mark sanchez.

As for the rest of your point...yeah, i mean, I'm not sure what that has to do with the seahawks playoff fortunes.

53
by Paddy Pat :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 6:32pm

Schaub is a lot better than mediocre. Jim Harbaugh was more similar to someone like Brian Griese--capable of producing well for stretches, but generally a marginal starter.

68
by theslothook :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 8:41pm

Is schaub alot better than mediocre? I fundamentally think this goes back to how we define good qb. Its almost become a tautology to say a successful offense has to have a good qb pulling the trigger. Why can't it be, successful offense has good parts on it and thus the qb pulling the trigger looks better. This is certainly the case with matt cassell in NE and why couldn't the same be true for Schaub?

Personally, having watched Schaub a fair amount(not a ton), but a fair amount, he really is average. If you stuck him on the jags, how much better are they? Or if he was stuck on the jets, how much better are they? They might improve a few wins, but it wouldn't exactly be a huge turnaround.

Schaub's success to me is as much a function of playcalling, scheme, and being a complimentary piece while having the luxury to throw to one of the game's best receivers.

72
by LionInAZ :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 9:26pm

This is like asking if the Ravens would be better off with Brandon Weeden than Flacco, or if the Falcons would be better with Josh Freeman than Matt Ryan.

73
by JIPanick :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 9:34pm

Both good questions. I'd venture "probably yes" and "probably no".

74
by theslothook :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 9:43pm

Yes, and thats why you have to start looking and weighing different factors to come up with a very subjective viewpoint of talent versus circumstance. In schaub's case - I noted that a high volume of his throws end up going to Johnson while at the same time, this offense completely fizzles when its behind. Its also heavily dependent on the run game. Now I know there was one year it was fairly good despite having a poor run game but just off what I've seen from Schaub, he seems like a competent qb in a good system.

Again, can anyone name a below avg qb being a cog in a great system? I would say SF's Smith is a great example, but then I'm pretty sure most SF fans feel smith is at worst an average qb and maybe even above average. Which again hammers home the point, can you have a good passing offense with a below avg qb? And the reverse is the case, are all poor passing offenses the result of below avg qb play? I think its simply too simplistic to boil it down that way.

76
by JIPanick :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 9:58pm

Some candidates:

Brad Johnson, age 34, made the Pro Bowl for the 2002 Bucs.

The Ravens have had quality offenses some years with Flacco.

Brian Griese had a 19/4 TD/Int ratio for the Broncos in 2000.

Matt Cassell and the 2008 Patriots.

Kyle Orton had a huge season in 2010 for the Broncos.

Alex Smith in Frisco you've already mentioned. Kaepernick isn't any better, either.

Matt Stafford's 5,000 yard season has a case.

Freeman 2010.

That year that Beuerlein went nuts for the Panthers ('99?).

I could come up with more.

83
by theslothook :: Tue, 12/25/2012 - 3:29am

Are the names above examples of below avg qbs on successful passing offenses?

As far as reading that list: I think Flacco is above average as I really feel like his offense is medium and deep centric so its not as conducive to pretty passer rating and completion percentages. On top of that, their wide receivers have been mostly of the suspect variety.

IMO, you could probably also include Mcnair's 2005 season with the Ravens on that list.

96
by JIPanick :: Tue, 12/25/2012 - 2:19pm

Well, they are candidates for such. I'm not claiming to be the definitive authority.

103
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 12/25/2012 - 7:17pm

Maybe I'm just a homer, but regarding Stafford, I would have a hard time characterizing a quarterback who finished almost 15% DVOA in 2011 (ranked 10th) and 12% DVOA this year (11th) as "below average"...even if you give him a penalty for having Calvin Johnson to throw to. Even his biggest detractors in the Detroit media give him the benefit of being at least average.

109
by JIPanick :: Tue, 12/25/2012 - 11:28pm

Well, like I said, I was throwing candidate seasons out there; I'm not trying to give any definitive answers as to who is and is not a below-average quarterback.

Personally, I think "average" describes Stafford perfectly.

111
by theslothook :: Wed, 12/26/2012 - 12:16am

The trouble with Stafford is that he is still very young and likely to improve. As far as looking backward and what he is currently, I think he's average or below. Throwing to Calvin is a ridiculous luxury, not too mention his stats are partly a result of the massive volume of throws. ON the other hand, i truly believe, this is how you train a qb. Force him to throw and read defenses and not lean on anyone. So, while stafford may be average, I think he'll get better.

116
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 12/26/2012 - 9:22am

All fair points. Stafford often has moments of brilliance, followed by moments of forehead-smacking ineptitude; which I guess is better than consistent "averageness", because it implies that if he can stamp out the moments of ineptitude he can really accomplish something. He reminds me a lot of a young Drew Bledsoe, who often racked up big yardage numbers because the Patriots threw the ball so much, but was also prone to bizarre, game-killing mistakes. When Bledsoe had a decent team around him, he delivered a conference championship, which I think any Lions fan would take at this point.

129
by theslothook :: Wed, 12/26/2012 - 3:46pm

I think Stafford first and foremost has to fix his mechanics and be willing to do so. He can be so deadly accurate sometimes and then just badly whiff on some of the other easy throws. I don't know if he's willing to change that habit, but hes still talented enough where even with these flaws, he should still be pretty good.

133
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 12/26/2012 - 4:55pm

Agree on the mechanics part. But the sidearm thing is overblown. He's thrown some of his most impressive passes side-armed. What kills him is the moments he doesn't set his feet and/or fades backwards as he throws (usually when he's getting pressured).

It's very concerning to me when I keep hearing him and his coaching staff constantly telling the media that his mechanics aren't a problem, when pretty much everybody else can tell they most certainly are. As much as it would be fun to knock the Bears out of the playoffs and avenge the last game of the 2000 season, the more rational part of me wants the Lions to lose again, in the hope that a Raheem Morris-like losing streak will provide an impetus to replace the current coaching staff (not to mention the higher draft pick).

135
by DisplacedPackerFan :: Wed, 12/26/2012 - 5:19pm

Every time I read something like this or see a QB that does things that I see Stafford do in games, I say "thank you Mike Holmgren" because Favre had some of the same tendencies and Holmgren would hound him about them constantly. It didn't fix everything, but it helped. Then Rhodes came in and wasn't as tough and Favre regressed a bunch, they got rid of him brought in Sherman who did harp a bit, but started having issues as coach because of his GM duties (I think he would have been OK as just a coach, but both jobs did not work). McCarthy came in, he hounded, Favre was better and he's kept some of that attitude with Rodgers. Childress hounded him in Minn he was better. Holmgren and McCarthy weren't afraid to say they had to get on him to the media either.

I think Stafford (and probably Cutler too) need someone like that to reach their potential. I think guys like Manning, Brady, Brees, and Rodgers are good in part because they still take coaching well. They don't have to be driven to it. Favre took coaching but needed to be pushed too it. I think Stafford would be better if he were pushed to it, but with him and Schwartz treating it the way they do, I don't think he is getting the leadership that can fully unlock his potential.

While I'm being thankful, I'm also thankful for how the careers for Alex Smith and Aaron Rodgers have gone. McCarthy was in San Fran when they got Smith, he wanted Smith over Rodgers, and when he went to GB he and Ted had some friction about Rodgers. Ted had to convince him a bit. McCarthy now trusts Ted's decisions a bit more. That isn't to say he is silent about them. Harrell was not a guy McCarthy wanted anywhere near the top of the board in the 07. Thompson ended up taking him because he was zero'd in on another player (I think Revis) and when he was gone and Ted couldn't swing a trade he took Harrell. The way that turned out has allowed McCarthy a bit more say (he was a big lobbyist for Matthews as I understand it, and got him moved up the Packers board which helped Thompson pull the trigger on trading up). It's not perfect but both men seem to have learned, and they work very well together. McCarthy still claims he has no desire to take on different duties right now. Wolf and Holmgren worked well together too, but Holmgren wanted more and that helped things fall apart. It take a very unique person to be a GM and a HC, it's much easier to find a good GM and a good HC and pair them up, getting lucky and finding good ones who realize they are better as a team is lucky and I'm glad the Packers have that, and some of that is because they have embraced some lessons from each other.

136
by theslothook :: Wed, 12/26/2012 - 5:35pm

This isn't necessarily germane to the main topic of this thread, but, I really believe Rodgers, had he gone first instead of Smith, likely would've been seen as a bust. That isn't to say I know and this certainly isn't to say Smith would've gone on to succeed like Rodgers has if he was in GB. But rather, Smith had the great misfortune to go to one of the most talentless rosters in football. This coupled with the yearly turnover at receiver and offensive coordinator would've scarred Rodgers. I didn't really watch Rodgers in college, but he was certainly listed as weaker qb prospect than other notable first rounders. How much his success is due to sitting and being worked on over years is probably something you can answer better than I can.

I guess that then brings us to the point of, how much qb drafting is proper development versus innate ability and its difficult to disentangle. Tom Brady to me is someone who you saw the development was gradual as tom brady today is nothing like the tom brady who won his first sb.

84
by Rick S (not verified) :: Tue, 12/25/2012 - 7:50am

Schaub success is a product of the Shanahan system that Kubiak employs. It is overly dependent on running game and playa ruin roll outs. Succeeding in that system doesn't translate to being a successful QB. In this system, Schaub is better than Griese but not as good as Plummer (Plummer won almost 75% under Shanahan).. I would put Schaub in the Griese/Plummer level in that they are capable of succeeding in stretches when running game is going, but when running game is stopped, they are ineffective.

107
by RickD :: Tue, 12/25/2012 - 9:27pm

Pete Carroll's coaching career is obviously more relevant than Jim Harbaugh's QBing career.

Carroll is on his third stint as an NFL head coach. It's very rare for any coach to get a third shot at head coaching in the NFL. Carroll had to have enormous success at USC to get this opportunity.

As a long-time Patriots fan, I can say that many of us remember his constant expression of bewilderment in the late 90s, as he took over the AFC champions and the team steadily got worse, year after year, as his system replaced the Parcells system. Given his previous weak record at the Jets, it was reasonable to think that Carroll just didn't have what it takes to coach an elite NFL team.

Having said all of that, I'm very surprised at how good the Seahawks are. I think the defense is one of the best in the league, and with that rushing attack and Russell Wilson at QB, they've got one of the most balanced teams in the NFL.

They didn't get the #1 position by accident.

Watching an interview with the new Pete Carroll, I don't see that terminally confused expression on his face any longer. It's like he's learned a few things about coaching along the way. Maybe if he'd had a Brady to work with in New England instead of Bledsoe, things would have gone better for him. Or maybe he's just gotten a better feel for coaching and more self-confidence thanks to his Trojan years. Belichick certainly improved as a coach after the debacle in Cleveland. It can happen.

110
by Jim D (not verified) :: Wed, 12/26/2012 - 12:03am

The Seahawks definitely look pumped and jacked

146
by Purds :: Thu, 12/27/2012 - 10:02am

Having seen some long interviews and articles about Carroll with USC, I think it's clear that he does extremely well with college-age egos, mentalities, etc. His current success, I would guess, has much to do with the makeup of his team -- in general, they are a very young squad. Carroll's "schtick" doesn't work well (or didn't work well) with older vets like Bledsoe, but with young guys (Wilson) and guys who need to prove themselves, I think he resonates better. I could be wrong, but that would be my Lucy 5 cent interpretation.

43
by Aloysius Mephis... :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 5:47pm

Not only that, Russell Wilson has *never* even won a single playoff game in his entire NFL quarterbacking career!

45
by theslothook :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 5:49pm

Exactly! What the hell are those clowns thinking! Especially when the jets have not one, but two proven playoff winners at QB! Don't the seahawks wish they were the NY Jets right about now!

61
by Yah (not verified) :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 7:09pm

Wilson is the first QB to lose a Rose Bowl to Oregon since 1916.

106
by RickD :: Tue, 12/25/2012 - 9:18pm

Sounds like the Seahawks are in trouble if the Oregon Ducks make the NFC playoffs.

99
by Lance :: Tue, 12/25/2012 - 5:21pm

You make it sound like he's been coaching for decades with loads of play-off coaching failures over the years. This is his seventh season of coaching, and he's been to the play-offs 3 times. Dom Capers hasn't advanced past the divisional round in his entire coaching career, either. So... I guess we should assume that Houston is doomed to flame out this year because of that?

100
by DisplacedPackerFan :: Tue, 12/25/2012 - 5:29pm

Dom Capers, as a defensive coordinator, has a super bowl ring from the 2010 season since he's been with the Packers since 2009. I would count that as part of his coaching career. I either missed your point or you got a name wrong.

48
by Danish Denver-Fan :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 6:15pm

I dunno. It doesn't feel right that GB gets a better rating for whipping the lowly Titans than SEA does for their slightly-lesser-whipping of an elite team. I'm familiar with guts and stomps, but still...

60
by jebmak :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 7:05pm

Actually, Sea of SF was a "dominate".

49
by Polaris (not verified) :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 6:15pm

Correction: The Playoff odds chart show a 4.4% chance of Seattle getting the six hole, but I still haven't heard yet from anyone (Aaron?) how this is even possible. Near as I can tell, it's not. Seattle can not get the 1 spot, 4 spot, or six spot. The one spot is obvious. The four spot is obvious too since in order to win the NFCW, you'd need at least 11 wins and the NFCE will be won by at most 10. As for the six spot, the only team that could catch seattle (if seattle were to lose in week 17) and win the tiebreaks would be the Redskins, but if that happens the Redskins win the NFCE. Seattle has beaten both the Bears and Vikings this year.

Not to sound petulant, but I'd still like to hear an explaination, or at least what I may be missing.

-Polaris

51
by Aaron Schatz :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 6:22pm

It's possible that we don't have all the tiebreakers properly programmed in, which leaves us two choices.

First, I could call Mike Harris, who volunteered to create the playoff odds report, and scream at him and tell him to delay Christmas with his family to make sure that the FO playoff odds report is absolutely perfect.

Second, we could all relax a little bit and people can take into consideration the fact that Football Outsiders has fewer employees than some other NFL analysis websites.

I want it to be right, but I'm going to pick option B here and not ask Mike to ruin his holiday over it.

As for why you haven't heard from anybody about the problem, we don't spend all day monitoring the discussion threads. We try to check in on them once in a while, especially Rivers, but I'm sure Rivers and Danny are both getting ready for spending the holiday with their family. As the non-Christmas guy, I've been preparing the game charting template and finishing Quick Reads so that Vince Verhei could also go have a nice Christmas with his new fiancee.

P.S. OK, that may have been a bit too sarcastic, but the "why has nobody responded to this" thing was, in fact, really petulant.

52
by Polaris (not verified) :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 6:29pm

Fair enough. Part of that was a genuine question though. I thought I was missing something. You're right that it's not important enough to ruin someone's X-Mas over it, but I do think when you guys get the chance you should look into it for future reference.

I meant no offense.

-Polaris

55
by Paddy Pat :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 6:37pm

Aaron,

Not to sound too much like I'm lecturing, but, regardless of your limited staff, you sometimes seem to forget that your organization is no longer a couple of fascinating individuals working out of their home, but is, in fact, one of the most reputable and respected analysis centers for America's most popular sport. People look to you for deity-like wisdom and they are stunned and confused when you make a mistake. They are almost more inclined to imagine that they must be wrong in the face of all reason than that you could have made a mistake. You should take the commenters' confusion and dismay as a complement--they expect you to be omniscient because you generally seem to be.

Merry Christmas Aaron--take a load off, we love you.

102
by Danny Tuccitto :: Tue, 12/25/2012 - 7:07pm

I, for one, am a non-fascinating individual working out of my home.

50
by Polaris (not verified) :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 6:19pm

Correction to my correction. The NFCW can be won (by San Fran) with 10 and a half wins if both SF and Sea lose next week. That's still more than the NFCE best winning divisional record, however (Redskins).

-Polaris

63
by Darius Silophus (not verified) :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 7:13pm

Bengals Defense, how good are they ?
Defense + solid road team is very dangerous.

66
by Anonymous- (not verified) :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 7:37pm

I often see you guys say something to the extent of "I didn't have the time to do..." that seem like pretty easy (<1 min) things to do for someone who has there data organized well. Do you guys know how to use R? Matlab?

77
by DisplacedPackerFan :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 10:25pm

Is part of the strength of the top teams this year the interconnectedness they have?

Looking at the "Top Half" of their schedules, and I'm including Chicago who is 12.3 points behind #2 Denver, while being 11.4 points ahead of #7 Atlanta so they are closer to the Big 5 than they are #7 and below and while injuries have slowed them they still have a defense that separates them from other teams this year.


#1 has played 3, 4, 4, 5, 6,15,16,17
#2 has played 3, 7, 8,10,12,13,21,22
#3 has played 1, 2, 4, 8,10,17,19,24
#4 has played 1, 1, 3, 5, 6, 9,15,16
#5 has played 1, 4, 6, 6, 9,10,15,15
#5 has played 1, 4, 5, 5,10,12,14,15

The NFC North (top to bottom) and NFC West (concentrated power) are clearly the best divisions in football this year and they played each other, with the North winning 9-7. You also have the 2 games against each divisional foe and they both have two teams in the top 6. Then you get the NFC West and AFC East playing each other so New England got those games. The NFC North played the AFC South so Houston got to see all of the solid North teams (Min is the worst at #16), they also got Denver and New England to help tie things together.

Denver is the "oddball" in the top 6 since they didn't get all those inter division games, but they got New England and a lot of the "Best of the Rest" with Atlanta, Houston, Baltimore, Cincy.

I just don't recall so many of the top DVOA teams playing each other so frequently in past years, and even the top teams with weak schedules still had a lot of games vs the top half of the league. It just feels like we got a lot of testing of just how good the good teams were and not all of the games were lopsided, though a few of them were and helped solidify positions.

81
by jerbear (not verified) :: Tue, 12/25/2012 - 3:16am

@displacedpackerfan

I think we've had more matchups between two good or very good teams than we normally do. I can't back that up, but the following factors could be at play...

1. 6/8 repeat division winners (assuming a SF win or SEA loss this week). Looking at the AFC, the four division winners from last year all came back with very, very strong years. It's hard to imagine an AFC championship game that won't be a rematch of a regular season game.

2. 2 top-notch divisions matched up in the NFC West and NFC North.

On a relatively unrelated note, I'm going to punch the next person who tells me they like the NFL better than MLB because there is more parity. I realize that it's way too early to say this, but I'm going to anyway: We may be headed for three straight years without any turnover in AFC division champs. It's obviously a less than 50 percent proposition, mostly because of the Ravens, but DEN, NE, and HOU figure to enter next year as heavy favorites to win their respective divisions.

Further, I'd argue that seven of the eight favorites to win their divisions this year did so (again, Week 17 pending). I'm certain that Vegas had Hou, SF, GB, and NE as favorites to win their respective divisions entering the year. I'm pretty sure the same goes for Den, Atl, and Bal, although I could be wrong. The NFC East is clearly the exception, and even there two of the teams (NYG and DAL) have regular season profiles close to what we saw last season.

85
by Rick S (not verified) :: Tue, 12/25/2012 - 7:59am

AFC starting to look like NFC of 70s where you knew division winner every year. Now 3 of 4 are set in stone. Only competitive division is North with an up and coming team, Cincy, and a tradional power ,Pitt, there to challenge Balty.

86
by Rick S (not verified) :: Tue, 12/25/2012 - 7:59am

AFC starting to look like NFC of 70s where you knew division winner every year. Now 3 of 4 are set in stone. Only competitive division is North with an up and coming team, Cincy, and a tradional power ,Pitt, there to challenge Balty.

108
by RickD :: Tue, 12/25/2012 - 9:32pm

The Texans should face some good challenges in the near future from the Colts.

The collapse of the rest of the AFC West is baffling. The Norv debacle has been a long time coming in San Diego. And Oakland traded their future for Carson Palmer - a dubious decision that will cost them years of rebuilding. As for the Chiefs, they might be able to do much better with better coaching if they could find a legitimate starting QB.

So, yeah, the Broncos should be safe for 2-3 years, or until Peyton Manning's arm falls off, whichever comes first.

120
by Paddy Pat :: Wed, 12/26/2012 - 11:24am

In the AFC East it seems more a credit to coaching. New England has faced what really should have been stiff tests from the Jets and the Dolphins in the last few years and have been able to hold them off. Now both of those teams are rebuilding. The AFC North seems to shift a lot between the three teams. Cincy is competitive about once every 3 years under Marvin Lewis, and Baltimore and Pittsburgh are always fighting. The South will probably be a 2 horse race again soon, maybe as soon as next year. The West is really the mystery. Time has been, all 4 teams were competitive...

130
by theslothook :: Wed, 12/26/2012 - 3:51pm

Maybe thats part of the key. If you aren't winning the division or making the playoffs within a few years, you're forced into a rebuild. Compare the jets and 49ers- both teams were essentially mirror images but one organization was allowed time to build and nurture, while the other went into arm's race short term mode of win now and lost badly. The pats stranglehold on the division has greatly contributed to the routine churn of head coaches, scheme changes, philosophies, and roster turnover in that division.

148
by Ender (not verified) :: Thu, 12/27/2012 - 10:34am

Parity is more a function of the unbalanced schedule and injuries combined with a 16 game schedule. It is much easier to luck into the playoffs in the NFL than pretty much any other sport.

79
by MudShark (not verified) :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 11:43pm

Seattle is #1 in overall DVOA! So the Mayan prophecy is true, we just had the date wrong! In that case, let me be the first to say: Welcome to the 14th B'ak'tun bitches!! ;-)
Chin up now, it's only a 144,000 day cycle...

80
by MudShark (not verified) :: Mon, 12/24/2012 - 11:58pm

And in case my little winking smiley face wasn't clear enough, that was totally tongue-in-cheek, so don't go flying off the handle there fellas.

88
by Rick S (not verified) :: Tue, 12/25/2012 - 8:12am

Funny stuff...Sponsored by Doritos, Zig Zag and Pink Floyd.

That would also make for interesting Doritos "make your own commercial contest"

87
by Rick S (not verified) :: Tue, 12/25/2012 - 8:09am

Chicago at 6 is the biggest surprise. My subjective view is that their defense totally dominates average and below teams and is a non-factor against quality opponents (HOU, Sea, GB)... Also, any team with Cutler at QB can't be #6.

98
by MikeM (not verified) :: Tue, 12/25/2012 - 5:06pm

As a hawks fan, my eyeball impression is that the bears D really forced the hawks' O to *earn* all of their points. As the saying goes; "good throw beats good coverage". You can't prevent the opposing offense from making plays, but you can force them to have to execute very well to make plays. I think the other big factor is that the hawks pulled out the read option in the 4th quarter, and no one was expecting that. How the heck is a defense supposed to defend against that without any preparation? 14 of the hawks points came off of drives that were sustained because of the read option.

My other impression of that game: Marshall is a beast.

122
by Steve in WI :: Wed, 12/26/2012 - 1:13pm

The only game this year where the defense looked truly awful was in San Francisco. Houston beat the Bears 13-6; I'd say any game where you hold your opponent to 13 points is a pretty good defensive effort and should be a win. The defense was good against Seattle up until the last two Seattle drives; yes, they gave up TDs but I wouldn't call them a non-factor in that game. As for the Packers, the Bears D gave up 23 and 21 points in those games (and let's not forget that Cutler threw 4 picks in the first game)...the reason the Bears can't beat the Packers is much more offense than defense.

All that said, I think you're absolutely right that the Bears D dominates poor teams and plays less well against good teams...I just don't think they're *bad* against good teams.

91
by beargoggles :: Tue, 12/25/2012 - 11:57am

What are the odds for the "Smok-A Bowl" (DEN-SEA)? Certainly seems plausible, unless motivation becomes an issue.

93
by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Tue, 12/25/2012 - 12:46pm

I for one reject the new Seattle overlords

94
by Back link sites (not verified) :: Tue, 12/25/2012 - 1:20pm

Informative and statistics. Thanks for the sharing.

95
by Ohsodistant (not verified) :: Tue, 12/25/2012 - 1:50pm

@beargoggles,

Smoke-A-Bowl....aaahaaaaahhaa! Brilliant! I live in Seattle and yes, we are ahead of the curve on this one. Viva Los Seahawks!

112
by beargoggles :: Wed, 12/26/2012 - 2:03am

Thanks. Unfortunately, I am a 49ers fan and my team got smoked this week. Which I saw coming. Also, our state failed to set the bar on the other issue a couple of years ago.

114
by Rick S (not verified) :: Wed, 12/26/2012 - 3:08am

Quick question...
Given there is only one week left in the season, and Denver is playing an awful team, is it safe to say that Seattle locked up the regular season ending DVOA #1 ranking.

115
by Rikki (not verified) :: Wed, 12/26/2012 - 7:13am

I'm not a football outsider, but as I understand it, as DVOA is supposed to put opponent strength into perspective, no. Green Bay improved significantly by thrashing a bad opponent.

144
by Hummingbird Cyborg :: Thu, 12/27/2012 - 2:05am

For Denver to improve the required 5ish points, they'd have to have a game around 80 points better than however Seattle plays, so I doubt that happens especially because KC has such a bad opponent adjustment that Denver will let it's foot off of the gas against them if they're in an obvious winning situation.

121
by usernaim250 :: Wed, 12/26/2012 - 12:21pm

Weighted DVOA for the Redskins is six points higher in playoff odds than here. This makes a substantial difference to all the NFC playoff odds. What's the deal?

123
by Danish Denver-Fan :: Wed, 12/26/2012 - 2:01pm

They seem to all be different. Weighted DVOA here is, I believe, some weighted average over the last ten weeks. Maybe the WEI DVOA for PO-odds are from a shorter time span?

124
by nat :: Wed, 12/26/2012 - 2:37pm

Crap!

The weighted DVOAs are in rank order 1-32, same as the standard DVOAs. Somebody has been screwing up the Excel sort!

I'm guessing that the Weighted DVOAs in playoff odds are the correct ones.

139
by Richie :: Wed, 12/26/2012 - 7:48pm

Any theories on why the 4 NFC West teams have such strong HFA's? It seems unlikely that there is something specific about their stadia/teams that make them better at home.

I know the results of divisional games in the NFC West have been crazy the past few years, so early this year I decided in my pick'em pool that I would pick the home team in every one of the NFC West matchups this year (and done pretty well because of it).

A couple theories:
- The NFC West have not had many good teams over the past decade. So these average-to-poor teams go on the road and usually lose (therefore pumping up HFA for their NFC West brethren).
- The 4 teams have more average geographic distance between them than any other division(?) meaning more travel time, which affects performance.

There has to be something to the fact that they have the 4 best HFAs and they all play each other twice per season.

143
by Danny Tuccitto :: Thu, 12/27/2012 - 12:44am

Don't have time at the moment to delve into the specifics of these 4 teams, but my 2007 study -- since ignored by the "ground-breaking" authors of Scorecasting, who "discovered" that officiating plays a major role -- demonstrated that penalty differential (i.e., home teams get called for fewer penalties) is a good explanation for HFA.

http://www.amstat.org/chapters/boston/nessis/abs.pdf (p. 14; Apologies. Abstract typos were on the copy-editing end.)

p.s. Yeah, I'm bitter, but I did purchase the book, and thereby added to their royalties, nevertheless. I even recommend it!

142
by Aaron Schatz :: Thu, 12/27/2012 - 12:29am

My apologies for the error in the original DVOA table posted on Monday. The table above is now corrected with the proper WEIGHTED DVOA and rank for each team.

147
by nat :: Thu, 12/27/2012 - 10:07am

Thanks. Shit happens. You guys still have the best site around for intelligent football stats and analysis.

149
by Tim Ertmer (not verified) :: Thu, 12/27/2012 - 12:46pm

I am having trouble seeing a scenario where SEA or SF is not the 5 seed - SF already has 10.5 wins, and SEA already has 10 wins and beat the only other 2 teams that can get to 10 as a wild card entry (MN and CHI). How do MN and CHI both have a non-zero 5 seed % in your playoff odds report?

150
by Tim Ertmer (not verified) :: Thu, 12/27/2012 - 1:02pm

I now see this topic was addressed earlier - thanks for the forum

151
by Candyman (not verified) :: Thu, 12/27/2012 - 2:21pm

On the NFC West teams having outsized HFA, I think there is another way to look at it. Those teams routinely travel more miles than any other division for their road games and of course the West to East travel is more difficult for the body to adjust to than East to West. So rather than having a bigger HFA, it may be that they have a bigger Away Field Disadvantage. Not sure how to tease that out of the numbers but I'm guessing that would be the biggest factor in the delta of home/road discrepancy vs. other teams' discrepancy.

153
by Scott Crowder (not verified) :: Thu, 12/27/2012 - 3:27pm

Sorry I don't have the link, but a study was made on cold hard football facts - which was later presented to Goodell - which shows that west coast teams playing on the east coast at 10am pacific time only won something around .222% of those games.

So I believe that it is more a away field disadvantage showing up, rather than a homefield advantage.

154
by junglejoe_lv :: Thu, 12/27/2012 - 9:12pm

Ratings even look way off from last few weeks.
Was this error done previous weeks Aaron?
I've been wondering why the recent games don't
change to WGHT DVOA very much for a while now.
If due to the error, makes sense...if not seems
too many games earlier in the season are used still.

155
by JK (not verified) :: Fri, 12/28/2012 - 4:04am

Maybe Seattle's slightly possible 6th seed position takes ties into account? Some sort of unlikely but bizarre situation if anyone vying for the playoffs ties this week.

I'm pretty sure Vegas gave San Diego slight edge to winning the division prior to the season.

156
by unclecheese :: Fri, 12/28/2012 - 6:00pm

i wonder if it's possible to get home and away dvo ????????????thnx dave

159
by Hummingbird Cyborg :: Sat, 12/29/2012 - 2:08pm

Splits like this are available in premium content.

160
by Sid :: Sat, 01/05/2013 - 4:05pm

"The biggest exception seems to be the four NFC West teams, which over the last decade have enjoyed the four largest home-field advantages in the league. "

I've been saying this for years, that NFC West teams have a disproportionate HFA. Good to see the numbers back it up.