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03 Dec 2013

Week 13 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

So, how about those Seahawks? Last night's dominating 34-7 victory over New Orleans just emphasizes what our DVOA ratings already said before Week 13: the Seahawks are the best team in the NFL in 2013. In fact, the big win actually moves Seattle all the way up to tenth on the list of the best teams in DVOA history, although we'll wait until they're in the top ten for more than just one week before we start running that "best DVOA ever" table every Tuesday. The Seahawks are now pretty much guaranteed to get home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. We have their odds at 97.7 percent. (You can see those odds here, or read more commentary on the playoff odds in Danny Tuccitto's weekly ESPN Insider piece.)

Even with the huge opponent adjustments that come from beating the No. 4 overall team, Seattle's single-game rating of 67.4% DVOA doesn't stand as the top game of the week. It isn't even second. Detroit's demolition of Green Bay on Thanksgiving has 98.7% DVOA with current opponent adjustments, the second strongest game of the year behind Philadelphia's Week 9 pummeling of Oakland. Carolina's big win over Tampa Bay finishes second; at 83.4%, it currently rates as Carolina's best game of the year.

Of course, these single-game ratings work both ways, and the Packers were more awful than the Lions were amazing on Thanksgiving. Therefore, the Packers have a ridiculously awful single-game DVOA of -133.2%, the worst for any game this year. The Packers' overall DVOA dropped from 13th to 21st this week; given that our ratings include every game of the season, that's a huge drop this late in the year. It's hard to remember now that the Packers ranked ninth in DVOA after Aaron Rodgers' last full game in Week 8. Of course, the offense has completely fallen apart without Rodgers, who might be the most valuable player in the league, but the defense hasn't helped things either.

Green Bay DVOA, Weeks 1-8 vs. Weeks 9-13
Weeks OFF Rk DEF Rk ST Rk TOT Rk
Weeks 1-8 29.0% 2 10.4% 28 -3.5% 25 15.1% 10
Weeks 9-13 -14.5% 26 21.0% 29 0.3% 16 -35.2% 29

The ranks there represent the ranks among all teams in the time period listed. As long as we're looking at some splits around Week 9, here are three more. All three of these teams have both played only four games in the last five weeks, so the sample size is small -- particularly when it comes to the special teams ratings -- but the results are pretty interesting. First, here are the Philadelphia Eagles in the first eight games of the year compared to the last four, since Nick Foles returned from a concussion in Week 9.

Philadelphia DVOA, Weeks 1-8 vs. Weeks 9-13
Weeks OFF Rk DEF Rk ST Rk TOT Rk
Weeks 1-8 6.0% 12 12.7% 30 -5.7% 28 -12.3% 21
Weeks 9-13 45.5% 1 -1.4% 15 11.0% 3 57.8% 1

Here is New England, starting with the game against Pittsburgh where Tom Brady and his receivers finally found their rhythm. You can see how the Patriots have completely turned things around to become the same team they've been the last few years. The offense is awesome again, and the defense, now riddled with injuries, is once again below average. The special teams, as always, are excellent. (The Patriots have dropped from second to ninth even though their rating is roughly the same because special teams around the league have been a lot better in the last five weeks, partly because the Giants and Texans stopped being historically awful, and that affected the normalization that averages the entire season at zero.)

I could have cut this off to look at the Patriots before and after Rob Gronkowski returned in Week 7, but I'm being a little lazy. Still, this gives you the same feel for what's going on.

New England DVOA, Weeks 1-8 vs. Weeks 9-13
Weeks OFF Rk DEF Rk ST Rk TOT Rk
Weeks 1-8 -5.5% 18 -5.5% 11 6.6% 2 6.7% 13
Weeks 9-13 44.5% 2 8.0% 21 5.2% 9 41.8% 4

Finally, let's look at the Jacksonville Jaguars, starting with their first win of the season against Tennessee in Week 9. It's all about the incremental improvements, especially when you were the worst team in NFL history for half a season.

Jacksonville DVOA, Weeks 1-8 vs. Weeks 9-13
Weeks OFF Rk DEF Rk ST Rk TOT Rk
Weeks 1-8 -42.7% 32 19.7% 31 -0.3% 18 -62.8% 32
Weeks 9-13 -23.1% 29 2.4% 18 7.8% 7 -17.7% 24

WORST DVOA EVER WATCH

Given that Jacksonville improvement over the past four games, it would take some serious implosion for the Jaguars to challenge the 2005 49ers for the title of worst team in DVOA history. Their offense also has improved enough to put some space between the Jags and the nightmare that was the 1992 Seattle Seahawks. The team with the best chance to finish with an all-time worst rating is now San Diego, although the Chargers' defense did improve a little bit this week.

WORST TOTAL DVOA
THROUGH 12 GAMES
x WORST OFFENSIVE DVOA
THROUGH 12 GAMES
x WORST DEFENSIVE DVOA
THROUGH 12 GAMES
x WORST SPECIAL TEAMS DVOA
THROUGH 12 GAMES
Year Team DVOA x Year Team DVOA x Year Team DVOA x Year Team DVOA
2005 SF -59.6% x 1992 SEA -46.8% x 1996 ATL 24.3% x 2010 SD -14.8%
2008 STL -57.9% x 2005 SF -44.9% x 2001 ARI 24.0% x 1995 PHI -12.0%
2008 DET -53.5% x 1997 NO -44.2% x 2008 DET 24.0% x 2008 MIN -11.3%
2009 DET -48.3% x 2002 HOU -43.4% x 1999 CLE 23.7% x 1996 NYJ -11.2%
1999 CLE -48.0% x 2010 CAR -41.2% x 2013 SD 23.6% x 2013 WAS -11.2%
2013 JAC -47.7% x 2013 JAC -36.1% x 2005 HOU 23.0% x 1997 STL -11.1%
2004 SF -44.2% x 2007 SF -36.1% x 2004 STL 22.9% x 2000 BUF -11.1%
2000 CIN -42.7% x 2004 CHI -35.9% x 2004 NO 22.4% x 2009 GB -10.6%
1998 PHI -42.5% x 2010 ARI -35.7% x 1999 SF 22.4% x 1992 TB -10.6%
1989 DAL -41.8% x 2004 MIA -35.7% x 2000 ARI 22.1% x 1998 OAK -10.4%
1992 NE -41.8% x 2008 STL -35.3% x 2008 STL 21.8% x 2007 CAR -10.0%
1991 IND -41.7% x 2006 OAK -34.0% x 2000 SF 21.6% x 2008 MIA -9.2%

* * * * *

Normally when I look at "best ever" and "worst ever" in this column, I'm looking at DVOA ratings. After all, this is the "DVOA ratings column." However, it's time to bring attention to some absolutely awesome play this season from two front lines, the Lions and the Jets. These two teams are currently tied for the league lead with 2.91 Adjusted Line Yards allowed per carry. If the season ended right now, the Lions and Jets would be tied for the fourth-best ALY figure we've ever measured. (Currently, ALY figures go back to 1995.) Arizona and Denver would also be in the all-time top 20. Here's a look at the all-time top ten, plus this year's two big teams:

Best Defensive ALY Rates, 1995-2013
Year Team ALY RB Yd/Car
2006 MIN 2.75 2.99
1998 SD 2.78 2.52
2000 BAL 2.82 2.72
2013 DET 2.91 3.40
2013 NYJ 2.91 2.87
2012 TB 2.96 3.58
2001 PIT 3.07 3.44
1998 BAL 3.08 3.64
2000 TEN 3.08 3.15
1999 BAL 3.10 2.87
1997 PIT 3.12 3.01
2000 NYG 3.12 2.81

Unfortunately, the Lions and Jets can't stop the pass like they can stop the run. The Jets have the best run defense DVOA in the league, but rank 18th against the pass. The Lions are second against the run and 22nd against the pass.

* * * * *

During the 2013 season, we'll be partnering with EA Sports to bring special Football Outsiders-branded items to Madden 25 Ultimate Team. Each week, we'll be picking out a handful of players who starred in that week's games. Some of them will be well-known players who stood out in standard stats. Others will be under-the-radar players who only stood out with advanced stats, including DYAR, Defeats, and our game charting coverage stats for cornerbacks. We'll announce the players each Tuesday in the DVOA commentary article, and the players will be available in Madden Ultimate Team packs the following weekend, beginning Friday night.

The Football Outsiders stars for Week 13 are:

  • Russell Wilson, QB, SEA (Limited Edition): Second among Week 13 QB with 202 DYAR (310 passing yards, 48 rushing yards, 3 TD)
  • Alex Boone, LT, SF: Took over for an injured Joe Staley and didn't allow a hurry or sack to St. Louis pass rushers
  • Zach Ertz, TE, PHI: Second among Week 13 TE with 36 DYAR (5-of-6, 68 yards, 2 TD)
  • DeMarco Murray, RB, DAL: Led all Week 13 RB with 67 DYAR (63 rushing yards, 39 receiving yards, 3 TD)
  • Desmond Trufant, CB, ATL: Allowed only one catch for 33 yards against Buffalo

Some other players we considered (not including players we did in previous weeks or those included in Madden's Team of the Week) were Jon Beason, Andre Holmes, Chris Myers, Matt Shaughnessy, Andrew Whitworth, and pretty much the entire Detroit offensive line.

* * * * *

All 2013 stat pages are now updated or will be updated in the next few minutes, including snap counts, playoff odds, and the FO Premium database.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through 13 weeks of 2013, measured by our proprietary Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) system that breaks down every single play and compares a team's performance to the league average based on situation in order to determine value over average. (Explained further here.)

OFFENSE and DEFENSE DVOA are adjusted to consider all fumbles, kept or lost, as equal value. SPECIAL TEAMS DVOA is adjusted for type of stadium (warm, cold, dome, Denver) and week of season. WEIGHTED DVOA represents an attempt to figure out how a team is playing right now, as opposed to over the season as a whole, by making recent games more important than earlier games.

As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE.

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

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

TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
WEIGHTED
DVOA
RANK W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
1 SEA 40.7% 1 41.8% 1 11-1 13.3% 5 -20.7% 1 6.8% 2
2 DEN 32.1% 2 28.3% 3 10-2 32.6% 1 0.7% 18 0.1% 17
3 CAR 30.2% 3 32.1% 2 9-3 11.4% 8 -18.0% 2 0.8% 14
4 NO 20.1% 4 20.9% 5 9-3 16.5% 4 -4.9% 11 -1.3% 21
5 NE 19.1% 5 22.5% 4 9-3 11.8% 6 -1.2% 16 6.1% 4
6 SF 16.7% 6 17.6% 6 8-4 5.1% 14 -8.9% 6 2.7% 10
7 CIN 14.8% 7 16.6% 7 8-4 -5.1% 21 -15.5% 4 4.4% 7
8 KC 10.9% 9 7.8% 11 9-3 -0.3% 16 -4.1% 12 7.0% 1
9 PHI 10.5% 10 13.4% 8 7-5 18.2% 3 7.6% 25 -0.1% 19
10 CHI 10.5% 8 7.6% 12 6-6 11.0% 9 1.6% 19 1.1% 12
11 ARI 7.6% 11 9.7% 9 7-5 -7.2% 24 -17.2% 3 -2.5% 24
12 STL 4.4% 14 8.6% 10 5-7 -4.3% 20 -2.4% 13 6.3% 3
13 DET 3.5% 18 4.4% 13 7-5 5.4% 13 -1.7% 15 -3.6% 26
14 DAL 2.4% 12 1.7% 15 7-5 7.9% 10 9.4% 27 3.9% 9
15 IND 1.0% 17 -3.1% 19 8-4 3.8% 15 3.7% 20 0.9% 13
16 PIT 0.5% 15 3.4% 14 5-7 5.7% 12 5.4% 23 0.3% 15
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 MIA -1.1% 21 0.2% 17 6-6 -0.7% 17 -2.2% 14 -2.5% 25
18 SD -1.4% 19 0.3% 16 5-7 22.0% 2 23.6% 32 0.2% 16
19 TB -1.9% 16 -1.3% 18 3-9 -6.6% 22 -6.3% 10 -1.6% 22
20 BUF -4.6% 20 -7.1% 21 4-8 -8.2% 25 -9.0% 5 -5.4% 28
21 GB -5.6% 13 -9.1% 24 5-6-1 11.7% 7 15.3% 30 -1.9% 23
22 TEN -7.7% 22 -9.0% 23 5-7 -2.3% 18 -0.9% 17 -6.2% 29
23 BAL -8.6% 23 -6.6% 20 6-6 -20.7% 30 -7.5% 8 4.7% 5
24 ATL -10.3% 24 -13.3% 25 3-9 6.0% 11 15.5% 31 -0.8% 20
25 NYG -12.5% 26 -7.8% 22 5-7 -12.9% 27 -7.9% 7 -7.5% 31
26 MIN -13.4% 27 -13.5% 26 3-8-1 -7.1% 23 10.7% 28 4.5% 6
27 NYJ -15.6% 25 -18.5% 27 5-7 -27.2% 31 -7.4% 9 4.2% 8
28 WAS -22.3% 29 -21.7% 28 3-9 -3.0% 19 8.1% 26 -11.2% 32
29 CLE -22.8% 28 -23.9% 29 4-8 -17.7% 28 5.1% 22 0.0% 18
30 HOU -23.1% 30 -25.6% 30 2-10 -12.3% 26 4.1% 21 -6.7% 30
31 OAK -30.3% 31 -30.8% 31 4-8 -18.4% 29 6.8% 24 -5.0% 27
32 JAC -47.7% 32 -40.1% 32 3-9 -36.1% 32 14.0% 29 2.4% 11
  • 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 40.7% 11-1 43.1% 10.0 2 -2.0% 19 4.1% 11 13.0% 20
2 DEN 32.1% 10-2 40.0% 10.6 1 -5.7% 31 -15.6% 32 7.7% 9
3 CAR 30.2% 9-3 30.5% 8.6 3 3.6% 5 3.6% 13 9.5% 14
4 NO 20.1% 9-3 19.8% 7.6 8 4.4% 3 15.7% 2 13.6% 24
5 NE 19.1% 9-3 15.6% 8.2 4 2.1% 11 -9.3% 29 5.5% 3
6 SF 16.7% 8-4 11.4% 7.4 9 0.2% 16 9.0% 5 16.0% 26
7 CIN 14.8% 8-4 21.5% 7.7 6 -4.1% 26 -5.1% 22 12.1% 19
8 KC 10.9% 9-3 15.8% 7.1 11 -6.1% 32 -13.3% 31 4.7% 2
9 PHI 10.5% 7-5 12.4% 7.8 5 -4.6% 27 0.7% 15 28.7% 32
10 CHI 10.5% 6-6 8.6% 7.2 10 -2.4% 21 -3.9% 21 10.8% 16
11 ARI 7.6% 7-5 5.3% 7.7 7 3.7% 4 13.5% 3 5.6% 5
12 STL 4.4% 5-7 2.9% 5.8 16 3.1% 7 16.6% 1 22.5% 30
13 DET 3.5% 7-5 7.4% 6.2 14 -2.1% 20 -6.0% 24 13.4% 22
14 DAL 2.4% 7-5 4.6% 6.8 13 -0.9% 17 -1.7% 18 12.0% 18
15 IND 1.0% 8-4 1.5% 7.0 12 -1.5% 18 -11.3% 30 21.8% 28
16 PIT 0.5% 5-7 2.0% 5.9 15 -5.3% 30 -3.7% 20 7.3% 8
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
17 MIA -1.1% 6-6 -0.2% 5.5 18 1.7% 14 -0.1% 17 10.9% 17
18 SD -1.4% 5-7 1.3% 5.5 17 -5.1% 29 0.0% 16 4.0% 1
19 TB -1.9% 3-9 -10.2% 4.8 24 10.4% 1 9.1% 4 8.6% 12
20 BUF -4.6% 4-8 -4.1% 5.5 19 1.8% 13 -7.9% 27 16.1% 27
21 GB -5.6% 5-6-1 -1.2% 5.3 20 -2.8% 22 0.8% 14 22.3% 29
22 TEN -7.7% 5-7 -1.5% 4.5 25 -3.6% 24 -7.8% 26 6.4% 7
23 BAL -8.6% 6-6 -5.6% 5.0 23 -3.1% 23 6.0% 7 5.9% 6
24 ATL -10.3% 3-9 -19.2% 5.2 21 9.8% 2 4.8% 10 8.2% 10
25 NYG -12.5% 5-7 -18.2% 4.4 26 3.2% 6 5.1% 8 13.6% 23
26 MIN -13.4% 3-8-1 -13.6% 4.3 27 2.5% 9 5.1% 9 8.5% 11
27 NYJ -15.6% 5-7 -19.5% 5.0 22 2.9% 8 -6.0% 25 23.8% 31
28 WAS -22.3% 3-9 -25.4% 3.5 28 1.9% 12 -2.4% 19 5.6% 4
29 CLE -22.8% 4-8 -16.5% 3.3 29 -3.7% 25 3.6% 12 10.5% 15
30 HOU -23.1% 2-10 -20.2% 3.2 30 0.4% 15 -5.6% 23 14.1% 25
31 OAK -30.3% 4-8 -27.4% 2.2 31 -4.8% 28 6.5% 6 9.0% 13
32 JAC -47.7% 3-9 -45.8% 1.5 32 2.3% 10 -8.6% 28 13.3% 21

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 03 Dec 2013

229 comments, Last at 08 Dec 2013, 6:26pm by DisplacedPackerFan

Comments

3
by greybeard :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 6:40pm

Is the past schedule an average of opponents DVOAs? I think the median would be a better choice. Or at least removing the impact of the game played between the teams from the strength of schedule.

185
by Kenneth (not verified) :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 5:48pm

The average they do really does suffer from outlier effects. For a while they had the Chiefs future schedule as one of the toughest in the league, only because of two games vs Denver (who doesn't count nearly so much now that Denvers DVOA has declined). What really counts is how many wins the average team would get with this schedule. For that they would have to simulate how a team with 0.0% DVOA would do if it went against the same schedule. Seeing as they already simulate playoffs that way, this would be a piece of cake.

1
by Insancipitory :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 6:39pm

What Detroit did to the Packers was profane. I enjoy my Packers fans lightly salted, not basted in despair.

And there's no call to bring 1992 in to this. Why would you do that? That's not helping anyone.

7
by Perfundle :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 6:47pm

The FOMBC has been insanely powerful so far. It started with Green Bay's defense, went to KC (where someone correctly predicted the three-game slide, but not the general defensive collapse, which came before the Houston injury), and finally Arizona.

14
by tuluse :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:00pm

And Carolina had a reverse FOMBC.

17
by RickD :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:06pm

FOMBC = ?

20
by Perfundle :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:07pm

Football Outsiders' Message Board Curse. Basically, something that strikes a team when one of their fans complains too much about their team's low DVOA ranking.

21
by Insancipitory :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:08pm

Football Outsiders Message Board Curse. Does not apply to fans who use the zlions template.

23
by nat :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:09pm

Football Outsiders Message Board Curse. Check out the glossary for more details.

29
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:15pm

The Curse! Arrrrr the curse, the blight of them that think they're too good for Aaron's almighty acorn electric. They hang a deadened albatross around their own blackened necks and beget their own doom. Arrrrrr!

129
by Duff Soviet Union :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 5:14am

Where's that Packers fan who used to pollute these pages with rants about how puny numbers couldn't possibly quantify the greatness of Wisconsin's finest, that the Packers would be a dynasty along the lines of the Russell Celtics, that Ted Thompson was bringing roster construction into the 51st Century and that Green Bay's defense was totally awesome if you just ignore all the yards and points they give up? I hope he's ok because we haven't heard from him recently.

141
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 11:07am

Maybe he's like the Spurs, and is just parlaying his "David Robinson gets injured year" into a Tim Duncan draft pick?

190
by LionInAZ :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 7:38pm

He was around for an Audibles not long ago, complaining that a NO game that would decide the fate of the Packers playoff seeding wasn't covered, but he appears to have been inundated by a wave of negative comments and a 4 game Packers winless stretch.

198
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Thu, 12/05/2013 - 10:47am

He's currently hiding underground, but once Aaron Rodgers heals up, and the Packers are good again in 2014, I have no doubt he'll resurface.

199
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 12/05/2013 - 12:02pm

I have relatives who are cheeseheads. They all move underground for the winter -- it's warmer there, down in the curd mines.

229
by DisplacedPackerFan :: Sun, 12/08/2013 - 6:26pm

Ahhhhh curd mines .... mmmmmmmm

2
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 6:40pm

The Seahawk's home field advantage is such, and the make-up of their roster is such, that I will be very surprised to see them lose a playoff game in Seattle. As much as I like Wilson, they are not dependent on passing success in the manner of a team led by Manning, Rodgers, Brees, or Brady in recent years. The teams with the best chance of doing so, of course, are teams which manage to just whip their a$$e$ on the line of scrimmage, so I guess that means the Panthers or Niners. I can't envision anybody else having much of chance at all.

I don't have a ton of confidence of any particular team winning the AFC, but at a neutral site I could see any of the likely AFC winners beating the Seahawks in a not terribly large upset.

9
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 6:52pm

Detroit has some shot, I would think. They too can absolutely dominate a team's o-line, though their secondary isn't as good as Carolina's has been.

But let's not forget that similarly dominant home teams have lost playoff games before, and this very Seahawks team had to stage a comeback from 20-0 down to win a game against the 3-9 Buccaneers at home.

They definitely go up an extra gear for these primetime home games, but they almost assuredly won't get one in the divisional round. This is the AFC's year to get the 8PM Sat/1PM Sun games on Divisional weekend (which also pretty much ensures the Broncos, barring a collapse, get the 8PM game), and if there's a game they get knocked off in, I think it is far more likely to be the Divisional Round game than the NFC Title Game, as the Seahawks may rest up Weeks 16-17 (they could clinch the conference with wins the next two weeks).

The NFC Title Game would be a quasi-primetime game, starting at 3:35 PST.

11
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 6:56pm

The Lions are a team prone to playing quite stupidly. If they were to beat the Seahawks in a Seattle playoff game, it would shock me.

15
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:01pm

The Lions beating any single team in the playoffs wouldn't shock me. The Lions putting together two or three games in a row (one or two would be required to make it to Seattle) where they play smart, disciplined, and up to their potential is what would shock me.

99
by nottom :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 10:58pm

If we have learned anything the past few years watching the playoffs, it's that a flawed but talented team is very capable of stringing together 3-4 wins in the playoffs.

16
by tuluse :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:02pm

At the same time they're just so talented at key positions that I could see them winning based off 5-10 amazing plays that seem almost super-human.

78
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 8:32pm

That would be like Steve Smith in the 2005 playoffs or Larry Fitzgerald in the 2008 playoffs. Calvin Johnson is certainly capable of that.

84
by Insancipitory :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 9:00pm

Steve Smith in the 2005 playoffs is an interesting choice for comparison....

90
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 9:49pm

I always saw that game as a terrible coaching mistake, from a good coach.

93
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 10:12pm

I was referring specifically to the divisional game against Chicago, and his superhuman effort against the best defense in the league (by DVOA).

18
by Perfundle :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:06pm

The games where Seattle has struggled in recently have almost always been when their run defense goes awry. Washington and Atlanta last year, Carolina, Houston, St. Louis and Tampa this year (Indy was somewhat due to this, but mainly due to Luck and his receivers playing crazy good). Whenever that happens, their secondary has to play a lot more zone coverage, and so the pass defense gets worse as well.

With that in mind, and given SF's sudden inability to run the ball, i would say that Philadelphia and Carolina are the biggest threats to Seattle.

22
by Zach (not verified) :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:08pm

Philly is an intriguing matchup. Theoretically, the no-huddle offense should have fewer problems with the crowd noise. Plus Philly obviously has some very talented skill players.

That said, the defense isn't very good, and it's hard for me to imagine Philly being able to control the ball even if they were to get a lead.

25
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:11pm

Philly's defense has been much better lately.

39
by Zach (not verified) :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:27pm

Even in the (very generously selected) time frame that Aaron set out in the commentary, Philly is 15th. That's obviously an improvement, but it's hard for me to take that as a sign that they're ready to shut the Seahawks down.

47
by Kal :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:34pm

You don't really need to shut the Seahawks down. You just need to challenge them enough. Their offense is good but not great, and has a hard time if they can't get those explosive plays. Get them behind in the count and you can have a good shot.

I thought Philly and Carolina would be the best bets to beat Seattle at Seattle as well. In particular Philly because they have such a good run offense and Seattle is for whatever reason not as great against the run.

57
by Zach (not verified) :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:46pm

I dunno, the #5 offense in DVOA seems to be verging on "great." They're not Broncos-level (obviously), but they're still quite good. They've also finally got all of their offensive linemen healthy, and even without Percy Harvin they've managed plenty of explosive plays (which they get at a higher rate than just about every team in the league).

Of course, in any given game anything can happen. I agree about Philly and Carolina, though Carolina is the much bigger threat in my eyes.

87
by Kal :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 9:37pm

Nah. They're good. Don't mistake rankings for ratings. They're good, but the difference between their offense and the #1 is the same as the difference between their offense and the #22 team (Tampa, at -6%). Denver has a GREAT offense. Seattle's is 13% over average. That's good. But by value, it's close to Chicago's, Dallas', Carolina and GB.

176
by Glen (not verified) :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 4:46pm

That has more to do with Denver being in an offensive league of their own compared to the rest of the league. The difference between #1 and #2 (10.6%) is the same as the difference between #2 and #11.

210
by formido :: Thu, 12/05/2013 - 3:38pm

Nah, you're wrong.

You know how the Patriot's offense has suddenly looked elite with Gronk playing? Did you know that most of pass blocking has been missing most of the season and since they got back 3 games ago, Seattle's offense is blowing teams out of the water?

43
by Perfundle :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:32pm

Ehh, much of that was built against below-average offenses (though they played well against Dallas), and inflated due to beating Green Bay sans Rodgers. Their next game against Detroit will be a good test for them.

24
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:11pm

I think Foles is going to get hurt.

46
by EricL :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:33pm

The only three games this year where the Seahawks posted an overall DVOA under 27% are weeks 4 (@HOU), 5 (@INDY), and 8 (@STL).

In week 4, the passing offense and passing defense stunk, and they were missing three offensive linemen.

In week 5, the passing defense and special teams stunk, and they were missing three offensive linemen AND their starting tight end.

In week 8, the offense (all parts) and rushing defense stunk, and they were missing two offensive linemen.

Both the week 5 and week 8 games were the back half of back-to-back road games, which I'm beginning to believe is a bigger problem than 10am pacific starts.

That said, watch for the Seahawks to struggle when they visit the New York Giants in two weeks.

53
by Perfundle :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:40pm

Struggling in DVOA isn't the same as struggling in the actual game. Seattle comfortably outperforming Carolina and Tampa in DVOA still resulted in a very close game until the end.

195
by Jared (not verified) :: Thu, 12/05/2013 - 1:07am

I think Carolina would have won that game if not for Williams' red zone fumble at the end of the game. I believe Carolina will be the biggest threat to Seattle in the playoffs. I also wonder if they're ripe for an upset due to their cockiness. As someone else mentioned, Tampa Bay almost beat them.

211
by formido :: Thu, 12/05/2013 - 3:45pm

Why? Carolina couldn't stop Seattle from driving the length of the field after that fumble. Wilson had been tearing them up all game, >300 yards and a high passer rating; still the best QB game against Carolina all season, right? Given that Wilson has like 10 4th quarter comebacks in his career so far and they couldn't stop the close-out drive and Seattle would have been down only a score if Carolina had scored there, it seems quite likely Seattle would have won regardless.

222
by panthersnbraves :: Fri, 12/06/2013 - 12:47pm

Panthers Defense (Secondary) is better than they were back then. I am really impressed with Wilson, and I hope that the Panthers can get a few extra cycles together to find ways to turn "chasing Wilson, but he rolls to his right, and ends up throwing for a First Down" into sacks and throws out of bounds....

19
by Zach (not verified) :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:07pm

Realistically, a team would need to be able to do a couple of things to beat the Seahawks in Seattle.

-Get an early lead. This might serve to take the crowd out of the game some, but it also allows the running game to remain a weapon. Seattle is ok against the run, but very, very good against the pass. When they take an early lead and make you one-dimensional? Good luck throwing the ball, with their combination of excellent secondary and talented pass rushers. Couple that with playing at home in front of a raucous crowd, giving those pass rushers the extra advantage of a silent snap count, and it's hard for me to envision anyone passing their way back into a game.

-Be able to stop the run without overloading the box. This is what Carolina was able to do. If you overload the box, Wilson can kill you, but if your front seven can win upfront, you can slow the offense. The Seattle o-line is better now that everyone is healthy, but it's not great, just solid.

-Be excellent on kick/punt coverage. Seattle is great at stealing 5-10 yards on punt returns (seriously, Golden Tate has been excellent), and if/when Percy Harvin is healthy, he can do the same on kickoff returns. Every inch will matter, which means coverage units have to play well.

Is it do-able? Of course. Seattle isn't unbeatable, but merely playing a good game is unlikely to be enough, at least at CenturyLink Field.

26
by theslothook :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:12pm

I think people are very quickly forgetting how much upsets happen in the playoffs. Think on similar teams of the past and how quickly things go awry in a playoff game when the home team doesn't play well / the other team just takes it to a new level.

A few recent points:

How about that 2011 packers team that went 15-1? Ok, so the d was flawed, but that offense was about as frightening as you can get and guess what? They were shut down(ok, part of it was drops, but that game ended in a blowout).

How about the 2010 NE pats? They lost to the same team they demolished 45-3 a few weeks earlier.

How about the 2007 Patriots? They basically were the epitome of unbeatable and were beat.

And finally, how about the 2005 colts(this loss still burns me to this day) - the colts lost one meaningful game all year(to the chargers) and had blown out the same steelers at home earlier. They were well rested and healthy and still got beat.

Seattle should feel very happy about where their team is position and while I do think they are the favorites, to act like a team can't win unless they put up more than a "good game" is totally ignoring the past.

30
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:18pm

I risked money on the upsets in 2007 and 2011, and wasn't surprised by the 2010 outcome. The common thread was the underdog having clear superiority on the line of scrimmage, against teams highly dependent on passing success.

33
by theslothook :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:22pm

You were not surprised by the 2010 result even though their prior meeting at Foxborough ended in a 45-3 win? I find that exceedingly hard to believe, especially since mark sanchez had just come off a terrible performance against the colts.

42
by tuluse :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:30pm

The previous game between those two teams ended in a Jets victory.

Beware the ides of small samples sizes.

52
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:38pm

I was mildly surprised, at best, that a team that had beaten the Patriots previously in the season did so again. I'm never really surprised much by upsets within a division.

76
by Nathan :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 8:21pm

This. I am way more prone to pick an upset in a divisional game.

89
by dbostedo :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 9:40pm

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3572409

Overall, there are not more upsets in divisional games that in other games. But it seems to depend on how you look at it, and which teams you talk about.

Upset in this case being defined as team A beating team B, where team A has the worse record at the end of the year.

36
by theslothook :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:24pm

And to say those teams were highly dependent on passing success is a bit disingenuous. NE's 2010 team was number 1 in rushing and by weighted dvoa, was the better defensive team that year too. The 2007 squad was also good at rushing and had a better defense than its 2007 opponent. I think hindsight is coloring those teams as one dimensional passing teams, a la the colts of the past. Ne's always managed to round out the rest of their team in ways other similarly built passing teams have not( a testament to their coaching staff).

40
by tuluse :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:28pm

Those teams were productive at running. That is different than being good at running.

44
by theslothook :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:32pm

Their rush offense was 3x better than the currently 8th ranked seattle rush offense.

56
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:45pm

Their rushing offense benefited from a historically great vertical passing attack that kept defensive backs on their heels. Context matters.

66
by theslothook :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 8:04pm

That doesn't mean its any easier to stop.

75
by Cythammer (not verified) :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 8:19pm

I think the point is that the running game wasn't actually good, it was simply effective because of the passing offense. That means that if the passing game is slowed down or stopped, the offense won't be able to fall back on the running game.

55
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:42pm

If you want to say it is disingenuous to claim that the 2007 Patriots were passing dependent, well, golly, you just go right ahead.

Anybody who saw the Giants defensive front just crush the Packers in Lambeau in the NFCCG should have known it was a completely different defense than what the Giants had shown in the regular season, and that they had a decent chance to make the Patriots passing attack ineffective in the Super Bowl.

67
by theslothook :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 8:05pm

To me, the disingenuous part is saying this team won every game solely on the back of its passing offense and if its passing offense didn't play well, they would lose. I think that case is true for a number of colt teams and say the packers of 2011 or even maybe the saints of 2011, but it wasn't true for the patriots of 07. That's all.

As for the giants, yes, their d line was absolutely the best d line I've ever seen in terms of depth and quality, but i still didn't trust eli or the secondary. NE was the better offensive and defensive team.

70
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 8:09pm

Of course, I didn't write that.

77
by Cythammer (not verified) :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 8:24pm

The Patriots had been fading for a long time at that point. The juggernaut of the first half of the season was long gone. Meanwhile the Giants steadily improved. Remember that the Giants almost beat the Patriots in week 17. In the weeks after that game the Giants beat some really great teams (Cowboys, Packers), while the Patriots played relatively poorly against the only okay Jags and the ruined-by-injury Chargers. The line for the Super Bowl that year was a joke. I don't think the Patriots were the better team at that point, and they definitely didn't look it in the actual game.

95
by RickD :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 10:34pm

And still, they came within an uncalled holding/helmet catch insane play/dropped interception of winning that game.

151
by dryheat :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 12:30pm

I think that was borne out by the Giants starting the next season 8-0 or something close to it.

110
by Bay Area Bengal (not verified) :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 12:51am

If you pay attention, you can actually read the part where theslothlook stops arguing with you and begins yelling at the empty chair on the stage:

> And to say those teams were highly dependent on passing success is a bit disingenuous.

Okay, he's still reasonable here. He couches his opinion by using the phrase "a bit."

> NE's 2010 team was number 1 in rushing and by weighted dvoa, ...

Supporting his argument with a relevant fact. That's good!

> ...was the better defensive team that year too.

Being better at defense than your opponent doesn't mean you don't rely heavily on a passing attack, but he's hanging in there.

> The 2007 squad was also good at rushing and had a better defense than its 2007 opponent.

Mayday! Mayday! Losing control fast!

> I think hindsight is coloring those teams as one dimensional passing teams, ...

I'm pretty sure you never called those teams "one dimensional," only asserting that they were "highly dependent" on their passing attack.

> ...a la the colts of the past.

KABOOM!

Ah, now THIS is what it's about! It's about the Patriots being better than the Colts! We're having an argument here, and it's about the Patriots being better than the Colts!

And here I'll bet you thought you were discussing the unsurprising nature of a good defense's ability to counter a favored team's passing attack.

> Ne's always managed to round out the rest of their team in ways other similarly built passing teams have not( a testament to their coaching staff).

NE is TeH BEsTEst!!!!! tEH COachES BellyChECk is SMARTEREST tHAN OTher coAchess!

124
by theslothook :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 3:39am

Funny. Cut my paragraph into smaller excerpts and you can almost make it seem like I think all 3 of the pats sbs were the result of spygate!!!! "what's that? how many rings has tom brady won without the help of videotapes???"

> ...a la the colts of the past. KABOOM!" - I see what you did there, highlighting a particular sentence and then conveniently leaving out other sentences where I mentioned the packers and saints along with the colts. Not surprising, since doing so would've undermined your larger point.

Being as sensitive as I am, I will actually waste my time defending my larger points and even addressing the bottom assertions you've made.

First, I was responding to a retort that attempted to brush off the big upsets I listed above. Their main contention - those teams were pass heavy teams that basically were going to lose if you could shut down their offense. Ok, makes sense intuitively, but to conclude it like that completely ignores the ancillary evidence, like the fact that despite being better passing teams, some of those teams above also happened to be better on defense, running game, and special teams. Basically, dvoa suggests that even if the passing offense struggles, those teams are still superior at other facets that they should still be able to win. Somehow, all that gets tossed away because they were great at passing. Its almost like people believe that if you stop the vaunted pass offense, the rest of the team's parts will get exposed as a mirage. Sorry, I don't buy it.

Second - I used the patriots specifically for a few reasons, mainly because I find them interesting. They seem to buck many trends that affect so many familiar teams. The packers, saints, chargers and a few others have all followed a similar trajectory that the colts have. Namely, one that increasingly becomes dependent on the passing offense for success. Slowly, the defenses starts to become poor, the special teams starts to crack apart, and sooner or later, it becomes all about the quarterback and receivers.

I've had debates with Nat about this issue, but the stats seem to agree that pats have managed to avoid these kinds of pitfalls basically throughout their run. Outside of the disastrous 2011 season(even there, their scoring defense was quite respectable), they've managed to field at least average units and often great units with routinely great special teams. Their run games haven't fallen off a cliff the way the colts, chargers, packers, and saints at varying times have either. Most of all, this season showed that they could still win games while their offense was struggling to find its way. Can the same be said for any of the other teams I listed?

Notice, I didn't want to take this discussion in the direction of analyzing pats vs colts, but you decided to misconstrue my statement.

128
by Will Allen :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 4:46am

Uh, I never wrote that anyone was "basically going to lose" if their offense was shut down. I said they were teams whose success was heavily pass dependent, whose chnace of a loss rose greatly, if they were soundly whipped on the line of scrimmage.

The two statements are not remotely synonymous.

130
by theslothook :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 7:28am

Will,

Let me start by saying i like you and I think we mostly agree on how we view football.

That said, take this last statement. I gave you three examples of teams who were great, but led by passing attacks. While you agreed with me, you would note that they got soundly whipped at the LOS. Again, what if I said NE was rated highly at both lines, would that change your opinion. WHat if I told you that 2010 ne had a great o line(which they did according to pff) and that 2011 pack had a great pass blocking o line(again according to pff). In fact, sf last year had the best aly lines in the nfl combined(combining both offense and defense) and they still managed to lose. Would that change your mind?

My ultimate point which no doubt drew the ire of Sea fans is...the playoffs are weird. They are weird because not only do great mvps play poorly, but units that played well throughout the regular season play poorly as well. Simply put, for whatever reason, the playoffs are a diff animal and the results seem pretty random.

Hell, I think Pm is the greatest individual football player who ever set foot on a football field. But even he isn't infallible to the playoff gods. If he isn't, what makes us sure R. Sherman, R. WIlson, and M. Lynch are?

134
by Will Allen :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 9:25am

You keep arguing with things I didn't write. It's puzzling. I've already written that I'd give NFC teams, outside of the two who I think have the best chance of winning a playoff game in Seattle, a roughly 20% chance of doing so as well. All I've said is that Seattle has the best home field advantage matched to roster construction I've seen in a while, which makes a home field playoff upset less likely.

181
by theslothook :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 5:20pm

Ok,

Let me start by saying, if it feels like I'm arguing with things you didn't write, then I apologize. I think what's happened here is in making a point, multiple people disagreed and I was trying to respond to all while responding to you. So, for that, I would just say its a misunderstanding.

158
by Bay Area Bengal (not verified) :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 2:09pm

Here is the EXACT QUOTE from Will Allen in which you have invested so much time in combating:

> I risked money on the upsets in 2007 and 2011, and wasn't surprised by the 2010 outcome. The common thread was the underdog having clear superiority on the line of scrimmage, against teams highly dependent on passing success.

You are literally, actually, for real going on rants against points Will Allen didn't make. He NEVER wrote that any of the teams you cited "basically were going to lose." He NEVER wrote that the Patriots "won every game solely on the back of its passing offense and if its passing offense didn't play well, they would lose."

Nope.

Nuh-uh.

Not at all.

He just said that he thought that the Giants "had a decent chance to make the Patriots passing attack ineffective in the Super Bowl." He said he put a little money on it and won. He said it wasn't that surprising.

And because his opinions from 5, 3 and 2 years ago (which turned out to be right enough to win him money) were different from yours, you called him "disingenuous" and decided to misquote him, mischaracterize him and pick a fight with numerous people in this thread.

***

As a bonus attack on your reading comprehension skills, here is the EXACT QUOTE from you which I chose to dissect/make fun of:

> And to say those teams were highly dependent on passing success is a bit disingenuous. NE's 2010 team was number 1 in rushing and by weighted dvoa, was the better defensive team that year too. The 2007 squad was also good at rushing and had a better defense than its 2007 opponent. I think hindsight is coloring those teams as one dimensional passing teams, a la the colts of the past. Ne's always managed to round out the rest of their team in ways other similarly built passing teams have not( a testament to their coaching staff).

I didn't leave out other sentences where you discussed the packers and saints because you NEVER DISCUSSED THOSE TEAMS IN THE POST THAT I QUOTED. (Do you know how quotes work?)

I quoted this post in its entirety, because that was the response where I thought you were starting to lose it. But now I realize that I was wrong ... you'd lost it long before that post.

Thanks for the continued entertainment!

164
by SmoothLikeIce :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 3:14pm

Calm down.

182
by theslothook :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 5:22pm

Wow,

Well, obviously I gave you the wrong impression. Here's the problem with writing multiple upon multiple quotes, you mention some things, then truncate them further. When you cited your belief that this was all a ploy to drag up NE vs the colts by citing that quote, I guess I should have taken that to mean you didn't read my other postings. For that, my mistake.

37
by Zach (not verified) :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:25pm

I very much agree with your general point, yet it does fail to recognize two key points.

The first is that three of the teams you mentioned (Packers, both Patriots teams) had great offenses and decent-to-bad defenses. The 2005 Colts were good in both phases, but were bad on special teams. At the moment, the Seahawks are top 5 in all three areas.

The second is that no one is saying the Seahawks are guaranteed to win the Super Bowl. We're saying that it's hard to envision a team going to Seattle and winning. There's no obvious weakness with the Seahawks, at least not one that's as glaring as the weaknesses in the aforementioned teams. Of course it could happen. It might very well. It just seems unlikely on the face of things.

41
by theslothook :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:30pm

I just feel like this is all in hindsight. 2007 Ne was 1st in offense, 11th in defense, 7th in special teams. They were all better in ratings than the 2007 giants. I'm still not sure what people say in the giants that made them think they would beat the pats other than the any given sunday sentiments.

If you don't like that example, how about some others? Dallas that year was 9th in offense, 4th in defense.

How about in 1997 when denver was 4th in offense, 3rd in defense and got upset by jacksonville who was 17 in dvoa.

50
by Zach (not verified) :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:37pm

Two points. The first is that Super Bowl XLII was played on a neutral field. No one appears to be saying the Seahawks are sure to win the Super Bowl. The home field advantage (which is clearly more meaningful in Seattle than anywhere else) MATTERS.

Second, remember that the Giants had taken the Patriots to the brink in Week 17. Yes, that game was in New York (well, New Jersey), but still, it wasn't as if there was NO REASON to think that the Giants couldn't win.

Also, there was one clear area where the Giants had the advantage: their ability to rush Brady with their Four Aces package. It's not that it wasn't an upset (it was), but it was explicable.

That's what I was trying to in my first comment. If Carolina (for example) came to Seattle and won, it would make a certain kind of sense. They can control the line of scrimmage on defense (as they did for most of Week One), and they can run the ball on the Seahawks D. Of course, those things were both true in Week One, and they were at home, and the Seahawks still won, so...

58
by theslothook :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:46pm

I think my general premise is...this idea that only certain teams who matchup well should be expected to beat the other team is purely a hindsight thing. I can name so many teams that blew out their opponents in the regular season and they got beat in the playoffs by the same team.

The broncos last year destroyed the ravens but ultimately lost a close game.

The colts blew out the steelers but lost a close game.

The patriots blew out the jets, but lost a close game.

People will now point out that stylistically, all of those teams are passing dependent teams, but honestly, it doesn't take much to lose in the nfl. In many of the games this year, the seahawks have struggled offensively and needed a few things to break their way to ultimately win the game. They are a great team, but they aren't incapable of losing even to teams that they should in theory beat quite easily. The panthers game they really could've lost. The houston game they absolutely should have lost. The 49ers game they again could have lost. The rams game they very easily could have lost. Now people will point to these and say...see, those teams have formidable dlines. They lost to the colts who don't, but then that gets explained way by special teams gaffes, penalties, bad coverage, etc. That's the point. In the playoffs, anything can happen because anyone can play poorly that week.

One last example. By pff numbers, SF's entire secondary graded well last year. Both safeties, brown, rodgers, and culliver. In the playoffs, nearly all graded negatively in basically all of their postseason games. Ask a 49er fan prior to the playoffs what they might think if they were told that despite an entire year's worth of data that their secondary was good, that in the next 3 games they would play lousy, what might you have thought?

62
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:58pm

When I saw the weather in Denver last January, my expectations of a Broncos loss jumped a lot, in that the weather really hurt the Broncos home field advantage, as dependent as that team is on Manning's passing.

No, the Seahwaks aren't invincible at home. Yes, they are very formidable at home, especially if the opponent doesn't dominate the line of scrimmage. I haven't see enough of Carolina to have confidence in them doing so, but that might change as I watch them for the balance of the month. Other than the Niners, I don't see any NFC teams with enough talent on the line of scrimmage to make an upset in a Seattle playoff game more than, I dunno, a 20% chance.

65
by theslothook :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 8:03pm

Will, how do you explain Sf's dbs playing very poorly throughout the post season? My point is, is it really so unreasonable to expect SEA's dbs to have a bad game once in the postseason or for wilson to have a meltdown? I don't think one or even a string of games should brand any one player, but bad games happen to everyone at any time.

73
by Perfundle :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 8:18pm

Well, I certainly don't expect the DBs to play at last night's level. That was the best secondary performance I have ever seen against an elite quarterback throwing accurate passes. I'll need to see the All-22 to see in detail how it was schemed out (and I missed Gruden's explanation of their "triangle defense"), but balls were getting batted out or jarred loose at the very last second with minimal interference (I've heard that there was possibly some on one of the 4th-down throws to Graham).

Also, quarterbacks seriously need to learn not to throw those floaty passes down the sideline against Sherman. He always seems to be in better position than the receiver to catch those, and probably would've again had he not been slightly interfered with.

144
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 11:25am

'and I missed Gruden's explanation of their "triangle defense"'

1. Seattle plays a 3-deep
2. Unlike other teams, they don't play off to do this; Seattle plays a press 3-deep
3. This is because their DBs are not only big, they are fast
4. And even when they aren't, Earl Thomas is very fast.

In part, their gargantuan DBs allow them to interchange who is playing coverage and who is coming up and playing as a hybrid-LB in the Troy Polamalu role.

The larger take-away is that Carroll actually structures his team a lot like Belichick used to -- it's a series of mostly-interchangeable parts that revolves around what his players can do well, instead of asking them to do things they cannot. Where NE started with a very good d-line, Seattle starts with a new concept for DBs and really solid draft luck.

148
by gomer (not verified) :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 11:50am

When you are doing something new. Like bigger DBs that might be slower, they are, it takes less draft luck because there is less competition for the new skill set. The guy the Seahawks had to hit on was Earl Thomas, but until more of the NFL adopts their philosophy they will be able to pick who they want of big physical 1/2 step slow DBs.

You see this more in College where somebody comes into a conference w/ a new philosophy, like Oklahoma and Texas Tech introducing the Air Raid to the BXII. In the beginning they did better than everyone else because nobody was competing for what they wanted talent wise. Also, something similar, I believe is happening with Oregon's depth, as Baylor is using almost the exact same style of athlete. And a couple of other schools as well.

79
by Hector Rex (not verified) :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 8:35pm

Much of what you say is true, but just to pick a nit, it seems a stretch to say that they could have lost the 49er game. The final was 29-3.

82
by theslothook :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 8:43pm

See below. The 49ers turned the ball over 3 times and had a safety. One turnover led directly to a field goal. Another turnover led to the ball being placed at the SF 2 which led to a td. Another td drive was setup by 3 penalties, one that wiped out an obvious seahawks punting situation(their pass was incomplete at 3rd and 28). Essentially, 19 of their 29 pts came directly off turnovers or penalties. Of course, it's a mistake to say the seahawks deserve no credit, I'd rather just say the seahawks offense deserves no credit for those 19 pts.

91
by Perfundle :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 9:58pm

Just because only one unit "deserves credit" for a win doesn't mean they could've lost the game is what people are saying.

121
by theslothook :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 3:28am

That's true. If they rematched, I think the hawks would win, but I don't know if the 49ers offense would be quite as terrible as it was that game. Of course, the seahawks offense will likely be better, but I think it would be a close game.

165
by cjfarls :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 3:23pm

I agree with this.

I agree folks often try to "over fit" the data, and rationalize things post-hoc.

DEN wins that game last year Rahim Moore takes a decent angle on a floating deep ball... what does that have to do with a passing centered offense? They still scored 30-some odd points, so if you want to lay the blame somewhere why aren't folks looking at the collapse of a previously very strong pass defense? Similarly NE wins the 2007 SB if someone's helmet is for some reason covered in stick-um, etc. etc.

Upsets happen all the time in the NFL... its easy to look back in hindsight and say "it was because XYZ", but the reality is that a few bad bounces, a great catch or 2, an off day from a HOF-caliber player (they happen more often than folks like to admit), etc. and it really is "any given sunday". Even the most favored team is probably only maybe an 80% bet, and 20% odds succeed 1 in 5 times.

That said, bet on Seattle. While I won't be surprised at all if they lose to someone in playoffs, betting against them in any particular game (particularly at home) is surely against the odds.

167
by Will Allen :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 3:39pm

Denver scored two touchdowns on kick returns in that game. To say they "still scored 30 odd points" in that game, in this context, really misses the point. My guess is that the number of other playoff games lost by the home team, when scoring 2 tds on kicks, approximates zero. Yes, Denver's defense screwed up hideously, but it is also true that the Broncos passing game greatly underperformed, although, to be fair, that underperformance included a pick six in which the db blatantly fouled the receiver, and went uncalled.

227
by Shattenjager :: Sun, 12/08/2013 - 1:57am

"My guess is that the number of other playoff games lost by the home team, when scoring 2 tds on kicks, approximates zero."

The number of other playoff games in which a home team scored two touchdowns on kicks is actually zero:

http://pfref.com/tiny/ae6lr
http://pfref.com/tiny/uxebf
http://pfref.com/tiny/5RjFd

This is not meant to refute your point or to agree with it, or to make any other point. I just found it an interesting bit of information.

133
by panthersnbraves :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 9:23am

Yes, they did. I am hopeful that the Panthers swagger index will overcome that next time.

OK - I hope that their improved Oline and Secondary play are enough....

177
by KD (not verified) :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 4:47pm

I stick to the elite matchups trump general team quality.

IE: I picked Baltimore to beat NE because NE was notoriously bad at deep ball defense (and had a single good, oft injured DB saving their pass defense), and Flacco (that year) had only a deep ball passing attack. When elite aspect of one team runs into poor aspect of opposing team - upsets usually happen.

Also, with Brady I've noticed, if he's against an elite pass rush, trouble happens. I think PFF pointed this out, but Brady's basically a mediocre to bad QB compared to all other QBs when he is being pressured.

178
by dryheat :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 4:51pm

I'm pretty sure I remember an analysis from this site that said the opposite. All QBs hate pressure, and all with a decent sample size perform worse against pressure than without. I think the research said Brady performed closer to his normal than most.

180
by tuluse :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 5:06pm

"All QBs hate pressure"

Except Roethlisberger who was immune.

186
by bravehoptoad :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 6:10pm

Cutler. DVOA actually improves when he's pressured.

187
by Will Allen :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 6:23pm

Clearly, the Bears made a mistake in improving their offensive line.

188
by tuluse :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 6:33pm

And you thought Mike Martz didn't know what he was doing with 7 step drops behind Jamarcus Webb.

191
by LionInAZ :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 8:13pm

Well, it seems the Bears can't get better no matter what they do.

189
by KD (not verified) :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 6:34pm
192
by Otis Taylor89 :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 8:27pm

Well Brady was also missing the best TE in the NFL in the AFC Championship game - think the outcome would have been the same if Gronk were able to play?

97
by RickD :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 10:43pm

I think there are some blurred memories regarding the 2007 Patriots. They were not the Patriots of more recent years, with mediocre pass defenses. They still had a good defense (-5.8% DVOA) in addition to the historically great offense. It was hardly a "glaring weakness". And, FWIW, it wasn't the unit that failed in the Super Bowl (that would be the offensive line). Overall they had a 52.9% DVOA, still well ahead of the Seahawks' current 41.8%.

The Seahawks currently have a great defense, though not historically great like the Patriots' offense (-20.7% vs. 43.5%). The Seahawks have a good offense, but certainly stoppable.

103
by Perfundle :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 11:13pm

As others have pointed out, that 52.9% DVOA was mainly built up at the start of the season, like Denver this year. Their weighted DVOA was only 42.5%, essentially the same as Seattle's 41.8% right now.

212
by formido :: Thu, 12/05/2013 - 3:57pm

Seattle's offense is top 5 while missing most of its pass blocking for most of the year. We'll see if your "stoppable" claim bears out the rest of the year. :)

32
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:22pm

I'd say that a team would have to play very well and then get a bit lucky. All that damn noise makes it so hard against a team that's damn good to begin with and after that comeback against Tampa I doubt the crowd would shut up even if you took the lead.

38
by theslothook :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:25pm

The 49es could've won in Seattle this year were in not for a colossal meltdown by Kaep and a bunch of ridiculous penalties. That came was close almost throughout till the said penalties and turnovers made the score lopsided.

48
by formido :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:36pm

Seattle was up by more than a score and SF had shown no ability whatsoever to move the ball. Even when the score was close, the game seemed firmly in Seattle's hand.

49
by Perfundle :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:36pm

I think Bevell called an extremely conservative game that night, considering SF's utter inability to move the ball. He probably would've opened up the offense a bit more if the Niners had shown any kind of fight on offense.

54
by Zach (not verified) :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:41pm

Really? The 49ers have come to Seattle twice in the last calender year and lost by a combined 71-16 (and that's with an utter garbage time TD at the very end of the first game, when they were down 42-6). Kaepernick melted down in both games, so saying "if he hadn't have melted down" is somewhat akin to saying "the 49ers would have won the game if they'd only outscored the Seahawks." The Seahawks utterly dominated that game, as they did in the game last year.

59
by theslothook :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:52pm

Ok.

I never said the two years ago matchup was close. But to say Seattle dominated the 49ers in their first matchup only describes one side of the ball. At halftime, the seahawks were up 5-0, with 2 pts coming off a safety and another 3 coming off a kaep pick that set them up in Sf territory. One of sea's tds was setup by a chain of 15 yard penalties.(deservedly so, but it's not something seattle exactly drew up in their offensive game plan).

Russel wilson completed less than 50 percent of his passes for under 200 yards with 1 td and one int. He also had 3.3 yards per carry so he wasn't even effective running the ball. He was also sacked 5 times.

The game was a blowout in a very defensive centric kind of way, but to say Seattle thoroughly dominated the 49ers is solely looking at the final score and not the progression of the game.

60
by Zach (not verified) :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:56pm

Domination can happen when one defense utterly strangles the opposing offense, which is what happened in that game. At no point did the 49ers look even remotely close to scoring a touchdown on anything other than a fluke play.

64
by theslothook :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 8:01pm

I agree they didn't, which is why I didn't say the seahawks didn't win that game.

Look, I'm not trying to bash the seahawks at all. They are clearly the best team and clearly the most balanced of any team in the nfl. I also think that it's much better to be well rounded than a top heavy team like Denver. I think my larger point was, anyone and any unit can play poorly at any time so no one should be shocked if the seahawks get upset, even by teams like philly or detroit, let alone teams like SF or CAR. I still think Sea will win it, and in fact, I think they will win it all this year, but just reminding people not to forget the past. As this colts fan can tell you, even when you're team looks like it has things worked out pretty well, it can go up in smoke right before your eyes.

92
by Jerry :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 9:59pm

Without contemplating the Seahawks at all, I agree with your general point. Enough random things happen during the playoffs that there are no guarantees.

69
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 8:08pm

The Seahawks got a pick in their own end zone, surely that is 'remotely close'?

81
by theslothook :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 8:41pm

I'm sorry. SF "fumbled" the ball which setup the seahawks at the SF 29. They later threw a pick that set up the seahawks at sf 2. Basically, 1 td started at the 2, another came off a drive set up by 3 penalties, including 2 unnecessary roughness(one that wiped out a seahawks 3rd and 28.)

See, no one ever remembers these details.

86
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 9:10pm

Hooky, I was replying to the bloke that suggested the niners never had a sniff of scoring even though they drive most of the length of the field before throwing a pick in the end zone on their second drive (I think it was that drive).

100
by Cuenca Guy :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 11:06pm

Yes, they had a sniff of scoring, but the drive was set up by a botched punt because half of the Seahawks thought they heard a whistle.

You're right that they were close to scoring, but it doesn't change the fact that SF's offense had very little success which I think was the main point.

137
by Crunch (not verified) :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 10:28am

I just now realized his name wasn't "the sloth ook".

That said I think that, as good as Seattle is, people are underselling the NFC field. San Fran, Carolina, New Orleans are all very good teams. Detroit, Philly and Dallas are all unstable enough that trying to figure out how good they are on any given weekend is an excercise in frustration.

Seattle is no doubt the best team in the NFC, but if I had to choose between them and the field I'd choose field.

183
by theslothook :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 5:28pm

Exactly what you said.

Btw, just for people who care, my name is a truncated form of this play you could run in madden called, "slot hook N Out" which was one of those money plays that got a receiver wide open via a pick crossing route.

63
by EricL :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:59pm

Another side of this is that Kaepernick has never beaten the Seahawks. When SF won the meeting at Candlestick last year, Alex Smith was still the quarterback.

I'm very interested in how Kaep's going to perform against the Seahawks outside of the Clink.

68
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 8:06pm

Well nobody else has beaten the Seahawks at home for three years, it seems a bit harsh to hang that criticism on Kap.

71
by EricL :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 8:12pm

Oh, it wasn't meant to be criticism. I'm just curious to see how he's going to perform after having been pretty well shut down by the Seahawks twice in a row. SF isn't known for having a huge home-field advantage, but just not being in Seattle should provide a boost.

I'm curious if his performance against the Seattle defense is the norm, or is just the in-Seattle norm.

I'm personally expecting something of the 17-14 variety, and at this point I'm not really sure which way to lean.

88
by greybeard :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 9:38pm

What?
They lost multiple games in 2011, the last one being against the 49ers.

61
by Perfundle :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:56pm

I would add that being able to draw penalties has been the opponent's best play recently. Three straight offensive drives against Minnesota were stopped because of penalties, and Seattle had another 8 last night. Holding penalties, in particular, have been the bane of the offense, and the special teams uncharacteristically added two more against the Saints. You'd think they would've learned by now that Wilson and Tate are generally more than capable of operating without them; it's the same with holding calls against Peyton Manning's tackles.

94
by 3Monkies (not verified) :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 10:24pm

According to the Las Vegas Hilton Super-Book @JayKornegay, a Denver vs. Seattle Super Bowl would be a "pick em"....

Unless there is an abundance "root for Manning" or Bronco fan wagers, I would think the public money and the wise guy money would be on Seattle, so the early pick em line is a bit confusing. Obviously a point spread is about evening out the wagers and not who's better, but considering that LV makes its money on setting lines, this is interesting.

104
by Perfundle :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 11:17pm

I guess you could argue that while Denver as they are now are probably an underdog against Seattle in cold NY, a Denver that makes the Superbowl, exorcising Manning's cold-weather issues along the way, would be a battle-tested team and more likely to win it all.

111
by RickD :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 1:41am

Why would you think the public money would be on Seattle? Denver is the team with the marquee QB. They have far more public cache' than the Seahawks do.

119
by 3Monkies (not verified) :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 3:14am

True and perhaps there is a contingent that would want to root for Peyton, but:

1. Game will be in NY in Feb.
2. Seattle is pulling away on every statistical metrics based site as well as every "Power Poll" as the best team.
3. Manning hasn't been consistent in big games

122
by BigWoody (not verified) :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 3:29am

>1. Game will be in NY in Feb.

It snows in Denver. It doesn't snow in Seattle. This SB could very well be played in snow. What WAS the NFL thinking?

>2. Seattle is pulling away on every statistical metrics based site as well as every "Power Poll" as the best team.

"Public Money" rarely cares about stats. "Power Polls" maybe a little.

123
by theslothook :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 3:32am

YOu know how big games are defined? The one's said player didn't win. Manning won a sb and 9 playoff games. None of those were big games. Manning has lost 11 playoff games, every single one of those was a "big game."

166
by cjfarls :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 3:31pm

Exactly. PM has a QB rating of above 100 in playoff games... its not like he sucks in the playoffs, even when he throws a pick in the SB or a pick to basically end a game in overtime. Picks happen. His penchant for failure in the playoffs is a myth, and powered completely by upsets, randomness, and a public/media need for a narrative to explain why such a great player loses occassionally.

169
by Perfundle :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 3:48pm

"PM has a QB rating of above 100 in playoff games"

If this was true, you think he would have the reputation of a playoff choker?

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/play-index/pgl_finder.cgi?request=...

He has a passer rating of 88.4, slightly above Brady's, although with far less wins.

171
by nat :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 4:00pm

Tony Eason tops the list?

That's just sick.

172
by cjfarls :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 4:15pm

My mistake and thanks for the correction. I could have sworn I'd read that somewhere in one of the numerous articles debunking that myth... maybe it was for a subset of games like the SB loss where folks were especially harsh on him.

Anyway, thanks for the better info.

173
by Hurt Bones :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 4:15pm

Yikes! Craig Morton 12 career playoff games 40% completion rate 42.9 rating

170
by Hurt Bones :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 3:54pm

Except that he doesn't have a QB rating of 100 in playoff games. In 20 career playoff games his QB rating is 88.4, but I do agree with you about the myth.

174
by Hurt Bones :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 4:17pm

In contrast the opponent QB rating in those 20 games - 83.5.

113
by PaddyPat :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 2:41am

Must also be influenced by many fan memories of the early season Broncos of this year, which appeared to be virtually unstoppable. That would be counterbalanced by more up-to-date observations of the 2 teams...

139
by Crunch (not verified) :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 10:34am

Up to date would seem to indicate that the Broncos are still pretty unstoppable on O. They scored 64 in their two losses. It's not like either NE or Indy could stop them from scoring.

143
by nat :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 11:15am

64 is wrong. The Denver O scored 24 in New England. There was a defensive TD, too.

In New England, the Denver O scored at a rate of 1.71 points/drive. That's not a shutout. But it would put them 21st in the league. That's not unstoppable. That's more stopped than almost two-thirds of the league.

It would be more accurate to say that the Denver O is the best or nearly so, hard to stop, but still stoppable in a big game.

138
by killwer :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 10:32am

I think Seattle away from home field is the big thing. If Seattle was at home they would be 4 points favorites (Im pretty sure I have seen that Seattle has +4 for home field over the normal +3)

213
by formido :: Thu, 12/05/2013 - 4:06pm

Vegas consistently underrates Seattle. Seattle led the NFL in record against the spread last year, and they are 8-4 this year. Russell Wilson's record against the spread, including play-offs and preseason is ridiculous, something like 27-9.

214
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Thu, 12/05/2013 - 4:27pm

I basically agree with everything you're saying, but adding in preseason to Wilson's W-L record. undermines your point. Preseason wins/losses more to do with guys who are currently waiting tables at Outback or assistant coaching in high school than it does with your starting quarterback.

4
by Bobman :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 6:41pm

Wait wait wait, Indy cannot possibly be that low. (pauses to look at each individual team above, ponder for a few moments, nod). Okay, never mind.

5
by someguy (not verified) :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 6:43pm

Crap, the Seahawks took a huge leap this week.

13
by robbbbbb (not verified) :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 6:58pm

They beat the bloody hell out of the number four team in the league. The offense moved the ball efficiently, and the defense completely stifled Drew Brees' ability to throw any farther than five yards downfield.

80
by Perfundle :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 8:40pm

What surprised me was that DVOA considered the Panthers to be more dominant. I'd've guessed the third-ranked defense going up against the 20th-ranked offense would yield something similar to what actually transpired, but the Panthers' defensive DVOA made a sizable jump of 2.8%, even higher than Seattle's 2.5%.

6
by willybhu :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 6:46pm

Is the Eagles' ridiculous variance because because of Nick Foles entering mid-season? Or have they actually been that variable even with Nick Foles?

8
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 6:52pm

Even Foles had that Dallas game.

228
by frank kenney (not verified) :: Sun, 12/08/2013 - 4:56am

I think that while the bad game Foles had against Dallas is definitely a factor, I think it's most likely due to the variation between early in the season and after Foles came in. On top of that the defense has been extremely inconsistent, playing downright awful early in the year and closer to average for the last month or so.

When you factor in those things plus the extreme highs and lows of Foles play (vs. Oakland as opposed to vs. Dallas) it makes sense that the Eagles have been more inconsistent than most/all teams in the league.

10
by theslothook :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 6:52pm

I am a bit surprised to see SD's offense still at number 2 in the league. They eat up yardage, but given how much Fo loves red zone production, they don't seem to be all that great in that category.

35
by Perfundle :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:23pm

Do they really love it, though? When Green Bay was the second-best offense, their red-zone offense was pretty mediocre as well. I would think that being able to consistently reach the red-zone is far more valuable than performance once inside. With that in mind, is it possible to get an extra column in the drive stats page regarding what fraction of drives end up in the red-zone? I'm sure San Diego is top 5 in that stat.

45
by theslothook :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:33pm

Well...they explained that predictively, the red zone performance counts for more in terms of dvoa than non red zone plays. But yes, if you're not getting into the red zone that often, its not going to be a big help.

12
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 6:56pm

The Lion's DVOA against the Packers is even more impressive when you consider they committed 4 turnovers, missed a 31yd field goal, and kicked off out of bounds twice.

That's how you win by 30 points and yet still leave your fans angry and frustrated for most of the game.

117
by justanothersteve :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 2:56am

The Packers have sucked so bad since AR went down that even when the Lions try to give them the game they still get blown out.

27
by RickD :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:13pm

The future schedule ratings for the Broncos and Patriots would seem to give little hope to any other team in the AFC that wants a bye week.

Denver has the second lightest past schedule and the lightest future schedule. That might be a cause for concern.

83
by nat :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 8:59pm

DVOA takes opponent strength into account now, not so much a few weeks ago.

And they narrowly lost in OT at New England, and narrowly avoided overtime at KC. Home field is usually worth about 15% in DVOA, so I kinda trust this. If the Broncos manage to hold onto the first seed, they'll be favorites until they lose a game or get to the Super Bowl.

98
by RickD :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 10:48pm

They should be favorites.

But they were also favorites last season. I don't see them quite as dominant as the Seahawks right now.

127
by td (not verified) :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 4:32am

... and Seattle didn't look so hot a few weeks ago when they were struggling with Houston, Tampa Bay, and Indy. Team strength ebbs and flows through every season, largely through injuries, and it'd be ridiculous to try and project the Super Bowl this far out (though it is unusual that the preseason favorites are still favored this deep into the season)

140
by Crunch (not verified) :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 10:47am

Denver and Seattle both lost at Indianapolis (In somewhat similar fashion Den lost 39-33, Sea lost 34-28. Denver put up 429 Total yards. Seattle put up 423. Seattle allowed 317 Yds. Denver allowed 334. 23 1st downs for Denver, 21 for Seattle. Seattle did better on turnover margin, but allowed a D/ST score). I'm not seeing that as hugely dominant. I think DVOA is probably correct that Seattle is a much better Defensive Team and Denver much better offensively and by roughly the same margin.

Is the perception that SEA is that much better based entirely on the OT loss at Foxborough versus a team Seattle has not played?

159
by Rick & Roll (not verified) :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 2:13pm

Seattle extending their DVOA lead seems to be more about Seattle staying near the same level and Denver falling back a bit. Denver's offense is still great, just not all-time great like it was the first part of the season, and while their defense has improved, it's not enough to compensate and their special teams has gone from a top unit to average. Perhaps Denver's strength of schedule is pulling them down as well.

Much of the perception (non DVOA) regarding the two teams is based on their most recent prime time games against top teams.

Would Seattle be as dominant (if at all) if the game were in New Orleans ?

Does Denver choke away a 24 point lead to the Pats if the game is in Colorado? Essentially a likely tie was turned into a Pats win on a fluke special teams play, what if that didn't happen?

Denver and Seattle will be a great SuperBowl. If Seattle loses Browner and it's not windy (Peyton in cold is overblown. Peyton in wind is not), I can see Denver winning and think they probably should be favored.

168
by cjfarls :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 3:43pm

Agree with all of this.

DEN has regressed a bit on offense as oline injuries, and injuries to Julius Thomas have made the offense only dominant rather than other-worldly.

Peyton's struggles in the cold and playoffs are overblown, but he doesn't have the biggest arm/throw the prettiest ball so windy weather could potentially hold him back (though I think that is true of pretty much any QB to some extent). If it is forced into a slogged run battle, I'd bet on Lynch and the seachickens but there is no guaruntee that is the case as a wet/slick day could just mean its easier for the WRs to get open.

209
by formido :: Thu, 12/05/2013 - 3:33pm

Perception has nothing to do with it. Seattle got its pass blocking back three games ago. That's precisely as "coincidental" as the Pats suddenly playing better with Gronk back.

208
by formido :: Thu, 12/05/2013 - 3:30pm

As always, context matters. When Seattle lost to Indy, they were missing their reigning Pro Bowl LT, their reigning All-Pro C, their RT and their 4th best pass blocker TE Zach Miller[1].

They all were back finally three games ago. Since then, Seattle's game play and DVOA have spiked.

[1] Even so, if you watched that game, Seattle was very close to blowing it wide open and failing to do so hinged on a series of bad breaks. Wasn't very similar to Denver/Indy.

217
by Rick & Roll (not verified) :: Thu, 12/05/2013 - 6:15pm

Yes, context does matter.

Denver played Indy without either of their starting OTs and moved their RG to RT or their MLB (Woodyard) who is their defensive captain. Their absence directly led to turnovers that accounted for a safety a touchdown and a FG... Additionally, to Indy, the Denver game was like a SuperBowl.

In Denver's two losses the scored over 30 points and committed 3 turnovers in each game.

218
by Perfundle :: Fri, 12/06/2013 - 2:45am

"Additionally, to Indy, the Denver game was like a SuperBowl."

I'm pretty sure every game Seattle faces is like a Super Bowl to the opponent as well.

"Much of the perception (non DVOA) regarding the two teams is based on their most recent prime time games against top teams."

Yes, and Denver had their chance to blow out a fellow top team at home, against Kansas City, and failed to do it.

219
by theslothook :: Fri, 12/06/2013 - 5:44am

I know I'm coming off as a seahawks hater, so I should preface by saying... I am a colts fan first. Now, Seattle I believe is the best football team in the nfl. They are balanced across the team and strong with talent at some important places.

That said, this latest blowout does not serve to prove SeA greatness anymore than close losses to the bucs and rams. Those games, seattle was decidedly poor in. To forgive those and just focus on the last game is just wrong and the ridiculous overhyping I'm seeing from other posters is slightly reminiscent of paulm's style hyperbole. Sea is great, but can lose like they did last year against atlanta. They can lose at home, they can lose on the road. They can be beaten. Even great teams get beat.

224
by Perfundle :: Fri, 12/06/2013 - 1:26pm

I think close losses to the Bucs and Rams would not result in Seattle being thought of as the best team, but I know what you mean. In any case, I'm only replying to how Seattle is perceived versus Denver, not about their supposed invincibility; that last game said more about New Orleans on the road than anything.

However, to be fair, the ridiculous overhyping is accompanied by an explosion of posts looking for reasons why Seattle won't win it all, more than if they had just won by 7 points, I feel; the same happened with Denver at the start of the season.

221
by Karl Cuba :: Fri, 12/06/2013 - 10:40am

"I'm pretty sure every game Seattle faces is like a Super Bowl to the opponent as well."

Barf

223
by Perfundle :: Fri, 12/06/2013 - 1:06pm

I'm just seeing if he would apply his logic to Seattle as well, that's all.

28
by panthersnbraves :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:13pm

I realize that Seattle is traveling to San Francisco, but even with the 3-point Home Field advantage, how is SF a 2.5 point favorite over Seattle?

34
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:23pm

Because the perception is that the Seahawks aren't nearly as good on the road.

51
by Kal :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:38pm

And SF has been playing much better as of late, and has Crabtree back.

115
by BigWoody (not verified) :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 2:51am

But the Seahawks are 5-1 on the road this year. Bill Parcells would disagree with "the perception".

Though I do agree that the 49ers are playing well and should be favored at The Stick.

125
by BigWoody (not verified) :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 3:48am

Then again, both Iupati and Staley are "out with a knee". Maybe the 49ers should not be favored.

96
by rrsquid :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 10:39pm

Well, pet peeve of mine. Lines are for betting. Casinos try to have 50% of all bets on either team. They make money by taking off the top of winning bets. They lose huge if a heavily betted team wins. They have nothing to do with anyone's perceived strength of a team or belief of actual results. This is why lines move as the % of bets start to favor one team or the other.

101
by Cuenca Guy :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 11:07pm

They have very much to do with perceived team strength and belief of actual results. That's why the gamblers are betting their money. It may not necessarily be representative of "analysts" or "the population at large", but unless the line was set very poorly, it's a decent representation of what the money "believes".

207
by formido :: Thu, 12/05/2013 - 3:16pm

The lines are generally biased against Seattle. Seattle is 8-4 against the spread this year and was 11-5 (best record against the spread) last year.

31
by Andy (not verified) :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 7:19pm

The entire NFC West is in the top 10 for Weighted DVOA?! Amazing that the whole division went from the very bottom to the very top in just a few years.

85
by Jake (not verified) :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 9:01pm

I kind of feel bad for the Rams. I wonder if they'd send that Redskins draft pick to Minnesota for the opportunity to swap divisions.

116
by BigWoody (not verified) :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 2:55am

Nah, the Vikings don't want to follow the Lakers to LA.

118
by justanothersteve :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 2:58am

I think they'd prefer to send that pick to Houston. The Rams might dominate the current AFC South.

72
by bucko (not verified) :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 8:14pm

I remain firm in the belief that Mike McCarthy has completely failed as a head coach over the past 5 games.

With that schedule and 3 games at home a team of any kind of ability should be able to gut out 1-2 wins

To have the team not just go winless but in multiple games be non-competitive is completely ridiculous.

I wasn't a McCarthy basher by any measure prior to this season. Thought the guy had some strengths and some frustrating weaknesses like any number of coaches.

But I have serious doubts now about what is happening in the GB offices. Your team at least needs to show some spunk. Not just roll over and play dead.

Nobody need respond with any type of rebuttal as I am not budging.

74
by Hurt Bones :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 8:19pm

Not so fast Bucko!

105
by toolkien (not verified) :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 11:56pm

You know, I'd really would have liked to "budge" you but then I remembered that the NFL is now a festering pile of crap. Is anybody else even dimly aware of the terrible shape this sport is in? It is pretty much unwatchable for anyone who used to enjoy the game - even well into the 90's. For the last 15 years it has turned into a ridiculous afterimage of its former self. It sort of looks like football if you don't pay too close attention. But it's a folding chair away from being a scripted show like the WWF.

106
by Will Allen :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 12:06am

You'll probably need to fertilize your lawn more, too, as stressed as it is.

102
by RickD :: Tue, 12/03/2013 - 11:13pm

That was a seriously impressive win by the Seahawks last night. If they play at that level in the playoffs, they'll be a Super Bowl favorite.

The biggest problem with be maintaining that level of play. Can they keep it up for another 8 or so weeks?

I still find it hard to accept that a Pete Carroll-coached team is playing this well. The Patriots of the late '90s were never close to this good.

107
by Grant (not verified) :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 12:10am

I still find it hard to accept that a Pete Carroll-coached team is playing this well. The Patriots of the late '90s were never close to this good.
Coaching is a skill like any other. If a person is dedicated, willing to learn from mistakes and has opportunities he can become a better coach over time.

145
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 11:33am

There appears to be a very real chance that while at USC, Carroll learned how to use his assistant coaches.

152
by EricL :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 12:49pm

In an interview a few weeks ago (video is out there somewhere, but I can't remember where the interview was aired), he said that when he returned to the college game, he revamped his entire approach on how to run a program/organization.

So, I'm sure his approach to assistant coaches changed as well. He's certainly a different coach, with a very different approach, than the last time he was in the NFL.

156
by dryheat :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 1:37pm

He apparently stopped trying to win games by the power of positive thinking and enthusiasm and started strategizing a bit.

160
by 42Freddie (not verified) :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 2:15pm

He still gets jacked and pumped though :)

175
by In_Belichick_We... :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 4:28pm

Jacked and pumped enough that his players take meds to deal with him.....

108
by 3Monkies (not verified) :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 12:31am

Things change and team adapt. Seattle looks great, but they could lose to the Saints in the playoffs. They have a great QB and coach so while Seattle should be a heavy favorite, anything is possible.

Last year Denver blew out the Ravens similar to Seattle over the Saints last night, and that game was in Baltimore on a relatively cold day. In the playoffs, it was a different story. Circumstances like weather (coldest Bronco playoff game ever), injuries (LT Clady & RG Kuper play injured while Balt is healthier), etc totally affect the game.

126
by Hurt Bones :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 3:54am

Agreed except for one little thing. 53° and sunny in Baltimore on Dec 16 is 'relatively' warm not cold (about 8° above average). Weather wise it was a beautiful day. I was there. I had complaints about the result, no complaints about the weather.

109
by Max Kingsbury (not verified) :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 12:51am

Did you ever watch USC play?

112
by RickD :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 1:46am

No, why would I?

I'm from New England. We don't do college football. (BC notwithstanding)

Also, I have a real problem with how the NCAA makes millions of dollars from athletes without paying them. And Pete Carroll's USC teams were among the most notorious of rules violators. In any case, success at college football largely comes down to recruiting.

There's no shortage of college coaches who have failed at the pro level. So if you have a coach who has previously failed at the pro level and who has had some success at the college level, it doesn't follow that his college success is a better predictor of how he'll do later as a pro coach than his earlier NFL gigs (esp. if there were multiple gigs).

114
by dirge (not verified) :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 2:48am

Carroll's USC teams got in trouble for allowing some of their players to be paid... which you would seem to support.

Carroll's still a goof, but he does seem to have learned a lot since his time in NE. His teams are consistently energized and aggressive; his teams seem to enjoy playing for him and their games are exciting. As a fan, there's not much more you can ask for (besides wins, of course).

155
by RickD :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 1:27pm

I support allowing players to be paid. I don't support programs violating rules to gain an unfair advantage over their competitors.

That shouldn't be so hard to understand.

162
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 2:18pm

"I support allowing players to be paid. I don't support programs violating rules to gain an unfair advantage over their competitors."

Aren't you a Patriots' fan? =)

201
by RickD :: Thu, 12/05/2013 - 12:55pm

Somehow, I don't take the rule about the location of a camera used to view the opponents' coaches on games nationally televised in front of 60,000 fans very seriously. Especially since the commissioner (a former Jets' employee) blatantly mis-interpreted it.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/199345-the-truth-about-spygate-punish...

"A September 6, 2006 memo from Ray Anderson, the NFL head of game operations, adds to this. However, the rules don’t support this belief. Anderson’s memo reads, “Videotaping of any type, including but not limited to taping of an opponent’s offensive or defensive signals, is prohibited on the sidelines, in the coaches’ booth, in the locker room, or at any other locations accessible to club staff members during the game.”

Unfortunately, the memo misquotes the rules, and Anderson can’t change the rules. Rule changes must be proposed to and voted on by the teams. "

Even the name "Spygate" is misleading. It's not spying if you're just noticing what is being done in public.

The NFL under Goodell has become lawless. If Belichick and Kraft had fought the charges like Jonathan Vilma had, Goodell's abuse of power would have become more apparent.

To make an analogy with our Federal justice system, Goodell's office took on the roles of legislature, prosecutor, and judge. He rewrote the rules, selectively applied them against his former employer's chief rival, and made up a punishment based on a whim. The Jets were caught doing exactly the same thing the previous season and didn't lose a draft pick.

According to the rules written at the time by the Rules Committee, not the memo put out by the league office, what the Patriots were doing was legal. A camera on the sidelines was not illegal.


"The rule mentions only three spots where teams can’t use video equipment during games—the coaches’ booth, the locker room, and the field. No rule bars teams from recording signals as long as they locate their cameras properly."

It's a source of unending annoyance that semi-educated fans have been railing against "spying" for 6 years based on nonsense charges.

I don't see this as remotely comparable to a university (or its boosters) paying an athlete under the table.

202
by Karl Cuba :: Thu, 12/05/2013 - 1:03pm

Oh gods, not this again.

Zzzzzzzzzzzz

226
by RickD :: Sat, 12/07/2013 - 12:20am

Again?

Hey, Karl. You could read the link if you want some education.

Find out something about how a team can be punished for a rule that wasn't really a rule, and have doubt cast on Super Bowls won between 2001 and 2005 for a rule "clarification" published in 2006.

As we found out during the most recent Jets-Patriots game, sometimes rule clarifications published by the league are controlling, while sometimes they aren't.

206
by formido :: Thu, 12/05/2013 - 3:08pm

Pot meet kettle, as they say. It's a source of unending annoyance that semi-educated fans still call Carroll Pete the Cheat based on a witch hunt and trumped up associations of impropriety to Carroll himself. You were perfectly comfortable talking about Carroll's "notorious" program even though Carroll's direct involvement was never proved and the penalized misconduct was not all that extensive.

In fact, there is very good reason to believe that the investigation of USC was not in good faith at all:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Southern_California_athletics...

A USC RB coach, Todd McNair, sued the NCAA and won:

"On November 21, 2012, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Frederick Shaller ruled that the NCAA was "malicious" in its investigation of McNair. In his ruling, the Judge stated that e-mails between an investigative committee member, an NCAA worker, and a person who works in the agency's appeals division "tend to show ill will or hatred" toward McNair. In an e-mail, one staffer called McNair "a lying morally bankrupt criminal, in my view, and a hypocrite of the highest order." Judge Shaller said he would unseal the entire inquiry into McNair in December. "I understand [why] the NCAA wants to keep this quiet," the Judge said. "But I'm not going to seal the record... I know you guys are going to appeal it but from my part.. There's no reason to seal it.. I think the public has a right to know."[13][14]"

225
by RickD :: Sat, 12/07/2013 - 12:18am

I didn't say Carroll was personally involved.

And the link you provide doesn't say anything to contradict the charges against Reggie Bush and/or OJ Mayo.

I don't have an opinion about whether USC was unfairly targeted. As far as I'm concerned, most major programs have money going under the table to "amateur" athletes, and this isn't anything new.

My defense of the Patriots is based on a different point: that the commissioner didn't apply the rules as written.

My second point is that people accuse the Patriots of "cheating" to win Super Bowls when the only possible relevant "rule" was a "clarification" written in a memo in 2006.

161
by 42Freddie (not verified) :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 2:18pm

I don't think anyone was saying that his USC success was a predictor of NFL success, just that there's no reason coaches can't improve.

120
by BigWoody (not verified) :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 3:16am

Hey Aaron, here's a couple additions for your Special Super Bowl Matchups.

Who Dey? vs. Where Dat? (Cin-Sea)

Hearing impaired fans special. (KC-Sea)

135
by panthersnbraves :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 9:33am

I like your "hearing impaired" one, but since it would be a neutral field, would that apply? I thought that almost everyone at the game itself was there as part of a corporate dealio...

Also, what were the chances of them NOT setting the record by at least one decimal point after setting everything up? Conspiracy theorists want to know...

205
by formido :: Thu, 12/05/2013 - 2:43pm

As a Seattle fan, I was hoping they would fail. It just paints a target on their back for the league and provides a ready-made story line to discount every victory in Seattle.

220
by Karl Cuba :: Fri, 12/06/2013 - 10:20am

You're a Seattle fan? I never would have guessed. Maybe a name change? I suggest formidoM.

146
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 11:35am

In the spirit of the previous matchup, can we just call the KC-SEA game "What?"

131
by CBPodge :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 8:22am

How close is the NFC West to being the best division ever by combined total DVOA or average DVOA (or maybe not ever, maybe since the change to the current setup of 8 4-team divisions)?

I can't remember a division having 4 of the top 12 before.

136
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 10:01am

I know you already stated since the new division format, so my example doesn't apply, but the only one that comes to mind was the 1995 NFC Central: the Top 4 teams were in the top 10 by DVOA. Of course the fifth team, Tampa Bay, dragged the division down as a whole. Nothing else is really coming to mind in the 8 division era.

142
by CBPodge :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 11:14am

What is the NFC East now was great in 1991 - the Redskins, Giants, Eagles and Cowboys combined for 90.8% DVOA. The Phoenix Cardinals dragged it down with a -24.3% DVOA.

The 2007 AFC North was pretty good - Colts (2nd), Jags (3rd), Titans (11th) and Texans (18th) combined for 58.7% DVOA. The NFC West currently has 69.4% combined though. The 1995 (current) NFC North, despite their 4 top 10 finishes, only combined for 45.8% DVOA.

I would be really interested to see which division in history had the best total DVOA.

147
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 11:45am

When DVOA gets through the 80's, the 1984 AFC West looks like a good candidate. The Broncos, Seahawks, and Raiders had 13, 12, and 11 wins. Even the bottom of the division was no slouch, with the Chiefs at 8-8 and Chargers at 7-9. However the Broncos and Raiders were one and done in the playoffs, calling into question how strong any of them were by DVOA (not that upsets don't happen to great DVOA teams).

149
by Hurt Bones :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 11:57am

Obviously AFC North is a typo, but it got me looking and it looks like the AFC North's best year was 2004 53% DVOA

153
by CBPodge :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 12:49pm

Sorry, AFC South. I got confused by starting out from Indianapolis, which to my way of thinking (known as logic!) being most vaguely definable as north.

157
by Perfundle :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 2:06pm

The current setup only encompasses 12 years, so tabulating the numbers was easy enough.

The best and worst division by DVOA occurred in the same year, and unsurprisingly, they played each other. The 2004 AFC East had three teams in the top 4, and the 2004 NFC West had three teams in the bottom 4. This year's NFC West is tied for 3rd place for the best division with the 2008 NFC East, behind the 2005 AFC West and the 2004 AFC East. And since I have the numbers, here are the average division DVOA ratings in those twelve years:

AFC East 5.88%
NFC East 4.59%
AFC North 4.38%
NFC South 0.51%
AFC West 0.11%
AFC South -1.71%
NFC North -3.80%
NFC West -10.72%

The NFC West averaged at most -7.15% for every year except the last two.

184
by Danny Tuccitto :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 5:40pm

Looked into this. Perfundle's delivered the goods, but would just like to add the following:

1) 2004 AFC East is best & 2004 NFC West is worst even going back to 1989.
2) NFC West from 2004 to 2010 comprises 7 of worst 8 divisions since 1989.
3) Top 3 divisions per offense DVOA are all early naughts AFC West: 2002, 2005, 2004.
4) 2004 AFC East also best defensive division since 1989.
5) 2002 NFC South is best special teams division since 1989.
6) Early naughts AFC East has third- through fifth-best special teams divisions since 1989: 2004, 2002, 2005.

Of course, yeah, the extra teams per division before 2002 means less likelihood of extremes. Also, we're comparing the NFC West's DVOAs through 12 games with everyone else's end-of-season DVOAs. Maybe I can convince Aaron to add a blurb in next week's column looking at this with "DVOA through X games" instead.

197
by CBPodge :: Thu, 12/05/2013 - 7:17am

So the NFC West's sending a 7-9 division champion to the playoffs in 2010 was really the culmination of half a decade of collective incompetence.

203
by EricL :: Thu, 12/05/2013 - 1:09pm

Bill James did an article on this on baseball back in the early-mid-80s called "Competitive Mediocrity." When your primary rivals all suck, you don't have to do as much to make the same relative progress as when you're in a highly-competitive environment. Over time, this leads to what we saw in the NFC West for most of the Aughts.

Once SF broke out of it, suddenly the other teams had to do more to stay competitive. And, frankly, I'm surprised it turned around this fast. Usually there's more of a laggard.

204
by formido :: Thu, 12/05/2013 - 2:40pm

Seattle was already well on its way to climbing out of it, SF was just in a coincidental position to temporarily jump past their rebuild.

215
by Will Allen :: Thu, 12/05/2013 - 4:59pm

You really need to turn down the flow rate in the fan-boy intravenous drip. I think Seattle is going to win the NFC, and I'll probably favor them in last game of the year. However, absent a lucky break with a 3rd round draft pick in the spring of 2012, they'd very likely still be looking up at the Niners.

216
by SmoothLikeIce :: Thu, 12/05/2013 - 5:17pm

Just wanted to raise an internet glass to your successful "find everything critiquing the Seattle Seahawks or their coach on this page and reply to it" campaign this afternoon! Good on you, my friend.

132
by CBPodge :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 8:28am

I'd be really excited to see how the #1 pick odds might look next week if the Falcons, Redskins and Bucs all lose and the Texans beat the Jags - it'd look like you'd have 5 teams with roughly 15-25% chances of it.

This excites me because I'm a Rams fan and am desperately hoping the Redskins lose out and give us a #1 or #2 pick.

150
by BigWoody (not verified) :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 12:04pm

The question is...would you take a QB with that pick?

154
by CBPodge :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 12:56pm

I'd guess no, because Fisher and Les Snead both love Bradford. Assuming his knee will be ok in the long run, he didn't do anything to argue against that, and was having his best year as a pro despite playing half of it with no running game and receivers who didn't seem to know what they were doing!

I imagine they'd be quite happy to try to get another RG3-like deal from a team needing a QB or Clowney. Our main needs don't really tie up that well to the guys I'm seeing at the top of the draft (given that those are mainly QBs and pass rushers, and assuming we're happy with Bradford we need neither). I doubt we'd get a similar deal to the RG3 one though, even if we were picking #1/#2. I suspect its irrelevant though - the Redskins will win a game or two between now and then, and we'll have their pick around 5 or 6. Which still makes the RG3 trade a great deal for us (and to be fair, a pretty great deal for Washington too IMO).

163
by TomC :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 2:57pm

I think it's only still a good deal for Washington if they 1) can keep Griffin healthy and 2) come up with a new offensive gameplan now that NFL defenses have figured out the read option. I think both of those necessitate dumping the Shanahans.

179
by dryheat :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 4:55pm

I don't even think you need an excuse to dump the Shanahans. The elder has been a fraud for a long time, and the younger has a job in this league solely because he has the same surname as the fraud. The Schottenheimers are much better than their Shanahan counterparts, and I think very little of Brian Schottenheimer.

Belichick hired his son as an assistant coach. There's a difference between helping one's son get started in the industry by breaking down film and assisting a positional coach and letting him co-ordinate one's offense.

200
by RickD :: Thu, 12/05/2013 - 12:33pm

The Redskins' offensive scheme isn't the problem. RG3 isn't the same QB as he was last year, and that slight difference is noticeable. In any case, the problem isn't the running game. That's fine. They need better pass blocking, badly. Justin Tuck came into Sunday's game with 2.5 sacks all season. He got 4 against the Redskins. They also need considerable improvement on defense.

Given that Shanahan inherited an above-average defense and turned it into crap, I would not count on him fixing things. He's really on thin ice these days.

Things started going south with the weird dynamic going on between him and RG3. Shanahan doesn't do much to counter the impression that there are special rules for RG3. And RG3 seems to channel RG2 way too much.

Shanahan has been making too many excuses lately.

193
by Dave B (not verified) :: Wed, 12/04/2013 - 10:53pm

The Rams as the 12th best team this year looks like kind of a mirage to me.

They are running at a net -0.5 yards per play deficit. They are 26th in the league in net drive success rate with both sides of the ball being equally poor

Advanced nfl stats has them at 28th in their team efficiency model.

Special Teams and Turnovers likely explains why they are high in DVOA currently.

194
by jamie_k74 :: Thu, 12/05/2013 - 12:52am

Not meaning to sound all Peter Kingish, but something that may interest only me; over on the Playoff Odds page; look at the two tables "Playoff Scenarios" & "On The Clock". PS lists 21 teams, OTC shows 11, total 32. But NYJ appear on both; 0.1% chance of a Conference appearance, and 0.9% chance of a top-3 draft pick. So who misses out? The NYG are the ones in mediocrity limbo; assessed as having no chance of post-season sucess, nor of the consolation of a premium draft choice. They will, of course, be joined by more teams over the next month.

196
by Hurt Bones :: Thu, 12/05/2013 - 4:20am

Ladies and gentlemen, your Football Outsiders Message Board Preferred Poster Note of the Week (FOMBPPOTW). Me, I only noticed that Baltimore had the worst DVOA of any team that still had a mathematical chance at a No. 2 seed.