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24 Dec 2013

Week 16 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

Remember all that stuff from last week about how Seattle had climbed into the all-time DVOA top five because unlike a number of historically great team, they didn't have a letdown in Week 15? Well, apparently they decided to have a letdown in Week 16 instead. Of course, Seattle was so far ahead of the rest of the league that the loss to Arizona doesn't take the Seahawks out of the No. 1 spot. It does drop them down the list of all-time great teams. Seattle now stands as the No. 8 team in DVOA through 15 games.

One of the notable trends of the past few weeks has been teams that looked like they were having historically good or bad years instead starting to regress towards the mean. For a while, we were running a WORST DVOA EVER WATCH every week. We've also talked about where Denver ranked among the best offenses ever, where Seattle ranked among the best defenses ever, and where Kansas City ranked among the best special teams ever. For the most part, 2013 teams no longer appear on the top of these lists. Right now, no 2013 team finishes in the top ten of any "best" or "worst" list for total DVOA or the three units, with two exceptions. First, as noted in the previous paragraph, Seattle is No. 8 overall at 38.6% DVOA. Second, Washington's special teams are still horrible. It's going to take one heck of a terrible Week 17 for Washington to pass the 2000 Bills as the worst special teams ever. As of right now, Washington ranks No. 2 in worst special teams ever after 15 games, at -12.9% DVOA.

As for Arizona, one of the common questions this weekend was whether the Cardinals will be one of the best teams to ever miss the playoffs, assuming that New Orleans beats Tampa Bay this weekend. The answer according to DVOA is "not even close." Right now, Arizona has 12.2% DVOA. That wouldn't even put the Cardinals on a list of the top 20 teams by DVOA to miss the playoffs since 1989. Arizona has of course been much hotter in recent weeks, and they are up to seventh this year with 18.8% weighted DVOA. Right now, that wouldn't make them one of the top 10 teams by weighted DVOA to miss the playoffs, although a big Week 17 victory against San Francisco could move them into that top 10. Arizona's offense (currently 20th) simply isn't good enough to get them near the best non-playoff teams of the last 25 years, no matter how well the defense is playing.

In particular, the Cardinals can't compare to the team that DVOA ranks as the best team to miss the playoffs in the last 25 years, the 2004 Buffalo Bills. Bills fans, I'm so sorry for drudging this up again. The Bills finished third in the league with 31.3% DVOA. They were 20th in offense, like the Cardinals, but had one of the five best defenses in DVOA history and also led the league in special teams. (This year's Cardinals are just 25th.) The Bills were also hot at the end of the season, so they were even bettter in weighted DVOA -- in fact they led the NFL at the end of 2004, with weighted DVOA of 41.6%. The Bills won six straight games from Week 11 through Week 16 by a combined score of 228-89. They scored at least 33 points in each game, but they did it with great field position and special teams, not with a great year from Drew Bledsoe. Then in the final week of the season, all they needed to get into the playoffs was a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, who were resting almost all their starters. Instead, Tommy Maddox and a practice squad back named Willie Parker led the Steelers to a 29-24 that sent the Bills home and continued their (still active) streak of missing the postseason.

The Bills' DVOA is a little juiced because they get opponent adjustments for playing 15-1 Pittsburgh when they really played the Steelers backups, but still, this team was really good and the fact that they couldn't pull out that last game is one of the great chokes of recent years. (I don't believe in "chokers" but I do believe in "chokes" and that was quite a choke.)

The second highest DVOA to miss the playoffs belongs to the 1991 San Francisco 49ers. It was the only year between 1983 and 1998 where the 49ers didn't make the postseason, but a six-game winning streak to end the season couldn't overcome a 10-6 recortd where all six losses came by a touchdown or less. Third you'll find the 2002 Miami Dolphins, one of three different AFC East teams that ranked in the top seven in DVOA for 2002. The Dolphins played the hardest schedule of the three, and so despite finishing third in overall DVOA, they ended up losing a three-way tiebreaker to the New York Jets (sixth) which also left out the defending champion Patriots (seventh). Fourth and fifth are two of the Dick Vermeil-era Kansas City teams. Here are the lists of the best teams to miss the playoffs since 1989 by both total and weighted DVOA:

Best DVOA to Miss Playoffs, 1989-2012   Best Weighted DVOA to Miss Playoffs, 1989-2012
YEAR TEAM W-L TOTAL
DVOA
RANK THAT
YEAR
x YEAR TEAM W-L WEI
DVOA
RANK THAT
YEAR
2004 BUF 9-7 31.3% 3 x 2004 BUF 9-7 41.6% 1
1991 SF 10-6 26.0% 2 x 2005 KC 10-6 33.3% 2
2002 MIA 9-7 24.9% 3 x 1991 SF 10-6 31.2% 2
2002 KC 8-8 24.4% 4 x 2002 KC 8-8 26.0% 4
2005 KC 10-6 24.4% 5 x 2000 PIT 9-7 26.0% 4
2005 SD 9-7 23.3% 6 x 2009 CAR 8-8 25.2% 5
2000 PIT 9-7 22.6% 4 x 1993 SD 8-8 25.2% 4
2006 JAC 8-8 22.5% 6 x 2002 MIA 9-7 24.0% 5
1999 OAK 8-8 21.2% 3 x 1999 OAK 8-8 22.8% 2
2004 BAL 9-7 21.1% 8 x 2001 WAS 8-8 22.3% 3
2012 CHI 10-6 20.5% 6 x 2006 JAC 8-8 21.5% 4
1991 PHI 10-6 17.9% 5 x 2008 NE 11-5 21.4% 8

One other note. Although it does not reach the status of one of the top ten games in DVOA history, Philadelphia's Sunday night non-playoff clinching domination of the Chicago Bears had a single-game VOA rating of 121.9%, which means it the strongest single game this season by a hefty margin. Based on current opponent adjustments, only one other game this year had a single-game rating above 100%, when Kansas City had 104.2% DVOA in beating Washington 45-10 in Week 14.

* * * * *

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.

This week, we complete a couple of holes in the Football Outsiders roster of elite Madden players, with a left end (the last position we had not done) and a player from the Giants (the last team we had not done).

The Football Outsiders stars for Week 16 are:

  • Luke Kuechly, MLB, CAR (Limited Edition): 24 combined tackles (9 solo, 15 assists)
  • Greg Hardy, LE, CAR: 3 sacks
  • Jason Kelce, C, PHI: Helped lead Eagles running game to 165 yards on 16 carries listed as up the middle or behind the guards
  • Mathias Kiwanuka, RE, NYG: 2 sacks, 3 QB hits, PD, FF
  • Logan Mankins, LT, NE: Held Terrell Suggs to one sack allowed despite playing out of position

* * * * *

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 16 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 38.6% 1 39.5% 1 12-3 9.1% 8 -24.7% 1 4.9% 5
2 DEN 32.7% 2 25.9% 4 12-3 31.7% 1 -2.0% 14 -1.1% 21
3 CAR 26.8% 3 27.5% 2 11-4 10.2% 7 -15.3% 3 1.3% 13
4 NE 18.7% 6 23.7% 5 11-4 16.4% 4 3.4% 19 5.8% 4
5 SF 18.3% 5 23.5% 6 11-4 8.4% 10 -6.1% 10 3.8% 7
6 KC 18.1% 4 18.3% 9 11-4 3.3% 15 -6.6% 9 8.2% 1
7 NO 16.8% 7 13.5% 11 10-5 13.1% 5 -6.1% 11 -2.3% 24
8 PHI 14.8% 11 27.2% 3 9-6 23.4% 2 5.4% 23 -3.3% 26
9 CIN 14.8% 8 18.6% 8 10-5 0.8% 17 -12.5% 5 1.5% 12
10 ARI 12.2% 10 18.8% 7 10-5 -3.3% 20 -17.8% 2 -2.4% 25
11 IND 4.6% 14 -2.8% 18 10-5 5.4% 12 0.7% 17 -0.1% 19
12 CHI 4.5% 9 -0.3% 17 8-7 12.2% 6 9.6% 26 1.9% 11
13 SD 4.3% 12 7.9% 12 8-7 22.1% 3 18.9% 32 1.1% 15
14 STL 3.0% 15 14.5% 10 7-8 -7.8% 23 -4.8% 12 6.0% 3
15 PIT 1.3% 13 6.8% 13 7-8 4.8% 13 4.3% 21 0.8% 16
16 DET 0.9% 16 2.0% 14 7-8 -0.4% 18 -1.3% 15 0.0% 18
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 TB -2.1% 17 -0.2% 16 4-11 -10.7% 24 -10.7% 6 -2.1% 23
18 DAL -2.3% 19 -8.6% 22 8-7 7.9% 11 14.2% 30 4.0% 6
19 MIA -3.0% 18 0.0% 15 8-7 -0.8% 19 0.3% 16 -1.9% 22
20 BUF -3.5% 23 -6.3% 21 6-9 -12.4% 25 -14.6% 4 -5.7% 29
21 GB -3.8% 21 -10.3% 24 7-7-1 8.8% 9 13.0% 29 0.3% 17
22 TEN -6.2% 22 -5.4% 20 6-9 1.5% 16 3.3% 18 -4.4% 27
23 BAL -6.5% 20 -2.9% 19 8-7 -21.7% 31 -8.4% 8 6.8% 2
24 NYJ -10.0% 26 -9.4% 23 7-8 -17.7% 27 -4.6% 13 3.1% 9
25 ATL -10.9% 25 -17.0% 27 4-11 4.2% 14 14.9% 31 -0.3% 20
26 MIN -14.1% 24 -14.0% 26 4-10-1 -5.9% 21 11.8% 27 3.6% 8
27 NYG -17.7% 28 -11.5% 25 6-9 -20.8% 30 -8.6% 7 -5.5% 28
28 CLE -21.4% 27 -23.2% 28 4-11 -13.7% 26 8.9% 25 1.2% 14
29 WAS -25.3% 30 -23.9% 29 3-12 -7.2% 22 5.2% 22 -12.9% 32
30 HOU -29.4% 29 -37.5% 32 2-13 -19.7% 29 3.9% 20 -5.8% 30
31 OAK -33.2% 31 -34.0% 31 4-11 -17.9% 28 8.7% 24 -6.5% 31
32 JAC -39.0% 32 -24.2% 30 4-11 -29.5% 32 11.8% 28 2.3% 10
  • 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 38.6% 12-3 39.7% 12.1 2 -0.5% 17 3.0% 14 12.3% 18
2 DEN 32.7% 12-3 40.5% 13.1 1 -5.1% 31 -33.2% 31 7.7% 8
3 CAR 26.8% 11-4 23.6% 10.7 3 4.1% 7 -10.9% 25 9.7% 13
4 NE 18.7% 11-4 17.3% 10.1 4 -0.5% 16 -3.5% 20 5.0% 1
5 SF 18.3% 11-4 13.7% 10.1 6 1.8% 10 12.2% 10 12.7% 19
6 KC 18.1% 11-4 22.1% 9.4 9 -8.1% 32 4.3% 13 15.2% 25
7 NO 16.8% 10-5 12.9% 9.1 10 7.1% 2 -2.1% 17 14.4% 22
8 PHI 14.8% 9-6 15.8% 10.0 7 -4.6% 29 -2.3% 18 32.0% 32
9 CIN 14.8% 10-5 20.8% 9.5 8 -3.2% 25 -6.5% 23 14.0% 21
10 ARI 12.2% 10-5 6.7% 10.1 5 5.2% 4 18.3% 5 6.7% 5
11 IND 4.6% 10-5 5.2% 9.0 11 -0.3% 15 -39.0% 32 19.8% 29
12 CHI 4.5% 8-7 3.8% 8.4 12 -3.5% 26 -3.8% 21 16.2% 27
13 SD 4.3% 8-7 5.1% 7.8 14 -4.8% 30 18.1% 6 6.8% 6
14 STL 3.0% 7-8 2.1% 7.4 17 4.1% 6 38.6% 1 24.1% 31
15 PIT 1.3% 7-8 2.7% 7.8 13 -3.6% 27 -21.4% 28 7.3% 7
16 DET 0.9% 7-8 3.5% 7.6 16 -3.0% 24 -14.1% 26 10.0% 14
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
17 TB -2.1% 4-11 -10.3% 6.2 23 9.2% 1 16.8% 7 8.7% 10
18 DAL -2.3% 8-7 0.5% 7.7 15 -2.8% 23 14.8% 8 11.7% 17
19 MIA -3.0% 8-7 -3.4% 6.8 19 3.2% 8 -10.0% 24 10.4% 15
20 BUF -3.5% 6-9 0.1% 6.8 21 -0.6% 18 18.7% 4 15.7% 26
21 GB -3.8% 7-7-1 1.7% 7.2 18 -3.8% 28 4.5% 12 19.0% 28
22 TEN -6.2% 6-9 -4.7% 6.0 24 -0.9% 19 -29.4% 30 6.5% 4
23 BAL -6.5% 8-7 -5.0% 6.5 22 -2.2% 22 14.8% 9 6.2% 2
24 NYJ -10.0% 7-8 -11.7% 6.8 20 0.5% 13 -3.0% 19 20.6% 30
25 ATL -10.9% 4-11 -16.2% 6.0 25 6.8% 3 26.8% 3 6.3% 3
26 MIN -14.1% 4-10-1 -12.8% 5.6 26 1.7% 11 0.9% 16 8.8% 11
27 NYG -17.7% 6-9 -24.2% 4.9 27 5.0% 5 -25.3% 29 14.5% 23
28 CLE -21.4% 4-11 -16.4% 4.3 28 -0.9% 20 1.3% 15 10.6% 16
29 WAS -25.3% 3-12 -28.8% 4.0 29 1.6% 12 -17.7% 27 9.4% 12
30 HOU -29.4% 2-13 -27.9% 3.2 30 2.1% 9 -6.2% 22 14.5% 24
31 OAK -33.2% 4-11 -31.6% 2.2 32 -2.1% 21 32.7% 2 8.6% 9
32 JAC -39.0% 4-11 -37.2% 2.9 31 0.2% 14 4.6% 11 13.7% 20

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 24 Dec 2013

60 comments, Last at 29 Dec 2013, 9:55am by gahe

Comments

1
by Nick Bradley (not verified) :: Tue, 12/24/2013 - 8:22pm

looks like Seattle improved this week? nice.

3
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 12/24/2013 - 8:33pm

Please FOMBC, ignore this poster, he knows not what he does. Plus their season DVOA has gone down.

Though I don't quite get how SF's weighted DVOA goes down when their DVOA for the Atlanta game was higher than their previous week's weighted number?

4
by tuluse :: Tue, 12/24/2013 - 8:36pm

Two obvious options:
Opponent adjustments went down
An earlier game was even higher was counted for less

5
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 12/24/2013 - 8:38pm

Looking at the numbers I'd guess it's down to the 49er numbers losing the influence from good performances against the Rams and Titans earlier in the year. Seattle must have a similar thing going on in the opposite direction, presumably games where they struggled with offensive line injuries.

8
by Perfundle :: Tue, 12/24/2013 - 8:54pm

Seattle suffered the same fate last week as San Francisco this week, when their DVOA went up but their wDVOA went down.

I said this last year too, but personally I would've made wDVOA something like 90% old DVOA + 10% DVOA from this week, so that DVOA and wDVOA would go up and down together.

7
by Perfundle :: Tue, 12/24/2013 - 8:52pm

The curse already took down Seattle's special teams, with the missed field goal and the fumbled kickoff return. It could've been even worse, but two penalties wiped out a missed extra point and a long punt return.

12
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 12/24/2013 - 10:42pm

I'm pretty sure that Mr Bradley is the Nick Bradley from Niners Nation and he is exasperated about how strongly DVOA rates the Seahawks. That's why I'm trying to placate the vengeful Forces of the curse.

22
by Nick Bradley (not verified) :: Wed, 12/25/2013 - 2:02am

Yeah its me.

I like DVOA for breaking down individual performance, but its pretty weak at the team level.

It's a needlessly complicated black box to sell premium subscriptions.

Adjust the EPA on each play for its in-game context, WPA. Then, add them up. Then, adjust those for opponents. Then, weigh for recent performance.

23
by tuluse :: Wed, 12/25/2013 - 2:09am

"I like DVOA for breaking down individual performance, but its pretty weak at the team level."

This is the exact opposite I feel.

24
by Perfundle :: Wed, 12/25/2013 - 2:30am

You sure don't make it sound complicated. Besides, I would think those are the things you look for when analyzing a game beyond simple statsheet reading.

31
by Nick Bradley (not verified) :: Wed, 12/25/2013 - 10:13am

It's not complicated. You simply adjust expected points for the situation. That's it.

And I'm talking about team level metrics. WP-weighted EPA is great for that. You can also glean situational data: down/distance, run/pass, etc.

28
by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 12/25/2013 - 8:16am

I'm with Tuluse on this, DVOA is at its best at the unit level. There it doesn't have to try to separate the qb play from receivers or the linemen and has a larger sample size.

It struggles more for individuals, ie the third receiver that plays alongside better players will likely be more productive than his pure talent would suggest.

It isn't perfect, it's blind to injuries and so on but with a little parsing I think it's pretty handy.

30
by Nick Bradley (not verified) :: Wed, 12/25/2013 - 10:09am

It's not the opposite.

I think its lousy for the team level. It works well for units. I should have been more clear.

2
by panthersnbraves :: Tue, 12/24/2013 - 8:22pm

Looking forward to Sunday!

6
by lefty :: Tue, 12/24/2013 - 8:38pm

That Eagles Weighted DVOA is pretty crazy considering last week's game, but I guess a season-best game will do that.

10
by Semigruntled Eagles fan (not verified) :: Tue, 12/24/2013 - 9:28pm

Weighted DVOA loves the Eagles!

25
by ammek :: Wed, 12/25/2013 - 3:39am

It's possible they'll end up high on that 'Best Weighted DVOA to Miss the Playoffs' list.

9
by jonnyblazin :: Tue, 12/24/2013 - 9:18pm

I'm very troubled by the Ravens DVOA the last 6 years:

2008: 27.6%
2009: 29.1%
2010: 21.7%
2011: 14.5%
2012: 9.8%
2013: -6.5%

I'm not sure John Harbaugh is a good coach. This is a disturbing trend, just based on the regular season the team has declined 4 straight years.

14
by Cythammer (not verified) :: Tue, 12/24/2013 - 10:53pm

If DVOA included playoffs then I'm sure the 2012 numbers would be significantly better, and superior to at least the 2011 team.

18
by beargoggles :: Wed, 12/25/2013 - 12:23am

Fire the bum.
I'd blame the aging of 2 elite defensive players and poor draft position. Honestly, they tried to tank this year and haven't been eliminated from the playoffs yet. I expect a bounce back next year. Although that Flacco contract is the biggest issue going forward.

34
by RickD :: Wed, 12/25/2013 - 11:22am

By all means, I'm sure many AFC fans would be happy to see Harbaugh fired.

This is clearly the down year following the end of the Ray Lewis era. And as down years go, it's not that bad.

45
by jonnyblazin :: Wed, 12/25/2013 - 7:51pm

I think AFC teams would be much happier to see Ozzie Newsome retire. But if Harbaugh would be fired, who would hire him? Which teams would want to bring in a guy who brings zero expertise on both the offensive and defensive side of the football?

46
by Sporran :: Wed, 12/25/2013 - 11:15pm

I'd take Harbaugh over half the coaches in the league. I think it's harder to coach special teams than either offense or defense. You can't rely on superior talent on Special Teams -- everyone is pretty much on the same level.

Give me a coach who knows how to manage the strengths and weaknesses of his players -- and who knows how to hirethe right people.

51
by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Thu, 12/26/2013 - 10:22am

Harbaugh seems to fit the same mold to me as Ryan, Shwartz, etc. The guy who screams a lot and manages to get his players fired up and playing well the first two years or so, but then they just start blocking it out.

53
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Thu, 12/26/2013 - 11:18am

You may be suffering from a little recency bias.

Being a Lions fan who lives in Baltimore, I could not disagree more. Schwartz and the elder Harbaugh couldn't be more different. And I don't know how you seem to think Harbaugh gets his team playing well "the first two years or so", when his teams have played well (accounting for their relative talent level) for the entire 6 seasons he's been in Baltimore. This year was anticipated to be a rebuilding/dead cap space-clearing year, yet his team is still in playoff contention.

55
by Hurt Bones :: Thu, 12/26/2013 - 12:17pm

He's also wrong about Ryan as well. Rex may get his team fired up, but he keeps getting them fired up. Rex may have a lot of shortcomings, but his team tuning him out is not one of them.

37
by Hurt Bones :: Wed, 12/25/2013 - 12:14pm

I think Harbaugh is a good coach, not a great coach but good. He has weaknesses. Does he deserve some of the blame for this season? Of course. But there’s plenty to spread around. The organization at the top made the decision not to make a repeat of 2001 and pull out the stops to repeat. They didn’t restructure deals. Instead they gave themselves a team that would compete for a playoff this year even if it wasn’t as good, while giving itself the opportunity to compete in the future.

The team has underperformed but heading into week 17 they still have a shot at the playoffs. There are some very worrisome things going on. The foremost for me is how in the heck did Jim Hostler (the man who gave us us the 2007 SF offense) get so involved in game planning and playcalling.

44
by jonnyblazin :: Wed, 12/25/2013 - 7:46pm

It's a bit troubling for me that this is the worst offense in Ravens history, much worse than any Brian Billick led team, if you can believe that. The defense has been good when Rex and Pagano were coordinators, but with Harbaugh's guys of Pees and Mattison they've been only good despite having outstanding talent. Harbaugh doesn't seem to have any capacity to contribute to the offense. But hey, he does know special teams!

If he sticks with Caldwell as OC, I'd say this team is definitely going to continue being one of the worst offenses in the league. And he hasn't shown much skill in bringing in good coordinators, which he needs because he doesn't coach offense or defense.

57
by pbeez :: Fri, 12/27/2013 - 4:55am

You do realize John Harbaugh has been a running backs, secondary, tight ends and outside linebackers coach in his career, right? His dad's profession was head coach. He has a Super Bowl ring. He might have his flaws but managing 53 players isn't one of them, and that's as big contributor to the offense as designing plays.

11
by herewegobrowniesherewego (not verified) :: Tue, 12/24/2013 - 9:55pm

Interesting stats:

Chiefs/Chargers is considered a push (the model doesn't account for the Chiefs resting starters, I'm sure.)

Brownies have a 15-25% chance of foiling the Steelers' playoff hopes, and if the Steelers win they have a ~11-12% chance of everything else falling their way (assuming, again, that the Chiefs/Bolts odds aren't off.)

Broncos have just a 65-75% chance of beating the Raiders? (And that's not even assuming they rest starters.)

15
by Hurt Bones :: Tue, 12/24/2013 - 11:42pm

The Chargers could also come out flat. Both Baltimore and Miami play at one.
If either win, the Chargers would be eliminated before kick off. That happened to the Ravens in 99, Billick's first year. They started out 2-5, then turned it around to 8-7 with 4 straight wins headed into week 17 with a playoff possibility. They were eliminated by a one o'clock game. Then went out at 4 with a 4 turnover 9 penalty clunker against the Pats losing 20-3.

16
by Cythammer (not verified) :: Tue, 12/24/2013 - 11:59pm

I wonder if motivation affects level of play that much. The Eagles and Bills, both with nothing to play for, crushed teams that desperately needed to win this past week.
Still, I'm surprised the NFL didn't switch the schedule a bit to make that game more likely to be interesting. It's relatively unlikely that Chargers' fans are going to care about the result by the time their team plays. The weird part is that if the Dolphins and Ravens both win then the play of the already-eliminated Chargers will decide who gets the last playoff spot. If one of the Ravens and Dolphins wins while the other loses then the Chargers' game won't matter to anyone.

29
by Hurt Bones :: Wed, 12/25/2013 - 9:41am

Preparation is the difference here. You can prepare yourself for a game that doesn't mean anything, but if the chance for the playoffs is out there and you've been preparing all week, you know you need to win, and then you find out 15 minutes before game time that you've been eliminated. Believe me that's a kick in the guts.

13
by Danny White Fan (not verified) :: Tue, 12/24/2013 - 10:51pm

I'm surprised 2008 Matt Cassel Patriots at 11-5 isn't in the top 10 DVOA that missed the playoffs

17
by MJK :: Wed, 12/25/2013 - 12:00am

They're #10 on the wDVOA list. Remember, Cassel was pretty bad the first few games he played, when Aaron and others dubbed him "Rusher McFumbles", so that probably hurts their total season DVOA.

That team also had a pretty pathetically easy schedule, if I recall correctly. One of the great "what-ifs" is what would have happened if Brady-with-a-motivated-Moss had played that season against that schedule...

19
by Anonymous3 (not verified) :: Wed, 12/25/2013 - 1:46am

"That team also had a pretty pathetically easy schedule, if I recall correctly"

Yeah, they did. They played the AFC West: Chargers (8-8), Broncos (8-8), Raiders (5-11), and the Chiefs (2-14).

They also played the NFC West: Cardinals (9-7), 49ers (7-9), Seahawks (4-12), and the Rams (2-14).

And, of course, two games against the Bills.

20
by Bobman :: Wed, 12/25/2013 - 1:46am

Cassel had a rough start--not sure if there were a lot of INTs early, but there were a lot of sacks. 3-4 per game on average. When they faced the Colts in mid-season I figured, here we go, boys, here comes the team to fix your woeful D stats rack up a few sacks, a few INTs, coast to easy victory.... That, of course, was the week Cassel "figured it all out." From there on he looked pretty competent. (I wonder if he sent Dungy a fruit basket or something to say thanks.)

52
by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Thu, 12/26/2013 - 10:26am

Cassel didn't "figure it out" that week. The Patriots started calling different plays, and letting Cassel throw down the field... so teams couldn't keep their DBs close to the line of scrimmage and blitz every play.

I've never understood why the response to young QBs always seems to be "lets gut the offense down so much that the defense knows exactly whats coming every play". I know you need to simplify, but I think coaches go way too far, and put the young QB in a situation that's actually worse than trying to play with the full playbook.

21
by Bobman :: Wed, 12/25/2013 - 1:50am

Jeepers, I thought the Colts would inch up a bit more this week, losing an early-season stinker (losses to Miami? San Diego? Or maybe the win over SF...) and add a pretty convincing full-team win over highly rated KC. Ah well.

26
by Rick & Roll (not verified) :: Wed, 12/25/2013 - 4:43am

Amazingly, Denvers defense is better than their special teams.

Denver's Special Teams has been atrocious the last few months. They now rank 21st but considering they were rated very high in the first few weeks........ The coverage units allow big returns, Holiday is more likely to fumble than have a big return and his return/fair catch decisions have been awful. When they do allow a return there is a penalty or they have stupid penalties that change the game (Irving offsides against SD).

27
by TimK :: Wed, 12/25/2013 - 5:27am

Yup.

I'm strongly of the view that a big reason for some offensive clunkers has been awful field position from some bizarre fair catches and excessive return penalties. They get very conservative when backed up, and seem to have had a lot of their 3&outs in position to give their opponents very short fields. This has probably been a reason why the DVOA improvement in the defense (that might well evaporate now Miller is out again) has not been so reflected on the scoreboard.

I wonder how much of Holiday's troubles have been that since he has not been back all the time he doesn't know whether to go for everything or play things very safe and gets caught in overthinking rather than just playing his natural game.

33
by Shattenjager :: Wed, 12/25/2013 - 10:37am

I've had the same question about Holliday. Fumbles were always an issue for him, but I'm rather afraid that the coaching staff might have changed him from a super high variance player into one with only negative outcomes by jerking him around because of the fumbles.

32
by Nick Bradley (not verified) :: Wed, 12/25/2013 - 10:28am

The 1991 49ers team had an atrocious kicker. Mike Cofer was only 14/28 on FGs that year, including only 3/10 from 30-39 and 4/10 from 40-49.

Shocking thing is, they kept him for another two seasons, where he was still a low 60s kicker.

40
by sycasey (not verified) :: Wed, 12/25/2013 - 2:57pm

Cofer had a big leg, and at the time the 49ers thought they had such a good offense that they could get away with having a bad kicker as long as his kickoffs were great (most of the time, that was true). But in '91 they had injury issues with their QBs and some very average running backs (this was the year "in between" Roger Craig and Ricky Watters) and probably needed those FGs.

Even with the poor kicking, the 49ers' point differential that year would normally be enough to easily put a team in the playoffs (their Pythag record was 12-4). But, as it says above, they were 2-6 in games decided by 1 score or less -- awful luck in close contests.

41
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 12/25/2013 - 3:41pm

They were very much like the 2010 Packers...a dominant team that was beset by injuries, and had some bizarre losses to inferior teams. The second loss to Atlanta, on a hailmary no less, really stands out. The rest of the NFC was probably lucky they lost out on tiebreakers. The '91 Redskins were still the superior team, but the way the 49ers were playing at the end of the season, they would have given them a tougher game than almost anyone else.

42
by ElJefe :: Wed, 12/25/2013 - 5:36pm

Heh. Don't sleep on the other "top DVOA to miss playoffs" team on that list. The Eagles (of the greatest defense of the DVOA era) did beat the Redskins that year, albeit in a game that the Redskins didn't need to win. They also accounted for over half of the sacks that Mark Rypien suffered that season(9 total, 7 for Rypien in 428 attempts; the Eagles had 5 in the two games vs. the Redskins).

The 1991 Redskins were one of the greatest teams in NFL history, but they really hit the lottery when two other teams that could have been historically great couldn't keep their quarterbacks healthy. The 49ers had all 16 games started by backup QBs (although to call Steve Young a backup ...) while the Eagles got to the 4th-string starter by the end of the season.

Overeducated Layabout

43
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 12/25/2013 - 7:08pm

I didn't forget about the Eagles, which is why I said "almost". I remember how awesome that defense was. But having Steve Young and Steve Bono as your fill-in starters obviously puts you in a better position than having some of the camp arms the Eagles were forced to start that year.

58
by eggwasp (not verified) :: Fri, 12/27/2013 - 5:50am

Its not "awful luck" losing close contests if you keep a bad kicker! Thats called getting what you deserve!

47
by MJK :: Wed, 12/25/2013 - 11:38pm

Was he worse than Scott "Missin'" Sisson, who played for the Patriots (and cost them a number of games) in 1993?

48
by MJK :: Wed, 12/25/2013 - 11:49pm

Wow, I forgot just how terrible Sisson was... 53% success, including 5 misses under 30 yards and going just 2 for 6 between 40 and 50.

The Pats went 5-11 that year. There were SIX games that they lost by 3 or fewer points (two decided in OT), where Sisson missed at least one FG. Then there were two other losses that his poor accuracy may have hurt them (can't tell without going through the old gamebooks)--in one, they lost by 3 without attempting a FG (maybe because they had no confidence in him?), and in another they lost by 4 and he missed one (which if he made, maybe they would have been able to play for a FG on their final drive).

Even if you don't count these two against him, and even if you say "well, the other team would have played differently if he'd made some of those FG's" and figure that they still would have lost two out of the other six, that's still four wins he cost them.

That's the difference between a 5-11 laughingstock and a 9-7 playoff contender...

50
by Athelas :: Thu, 12/26/2013 - 9:52am

Back when Boston was Loserville.

I try to keep that time in the forefront of my thoughts in order to appreciate what has been going on here for the last decade+. I'm afraid it will all come to an end soon and I don't want to have wasted this extremely fun sports era.

54
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Thu, 12/26/2013 - 11:24am

That was Bill Parcells' and Drew Bledosoe's 1st year together in New England. They had a ton of close losses to start 1-11, before winning their last 4 to finish 5-11. I remember everyone thinking even back then that the Patriots wouldn't stay losers for long with those two around.

35
by bbb (not verified) :: Wed, 12/25/2013 - 11:44am

That 2004 bills team fell to a breakout game by this unknown handcrafted 7th named Willie parker

36
by bbb (not verified) :: Wed, 12/25/2013 - 11:45am

Lol autocorrects turned undrafted to handcrafted

38
by andrew :: Wed, 12/25/2013 - 1:13pm

I notice this week the future schedules are exact mirrors.... e.g., if you look at the rank of a team's future schedule, then look up what team is ranked that, you find their next opponent, or vica versa.

Thus Seattle, the #1 team has the #14 future schedule (3.0%), as they play St. Louis, the #14 team with a dvoa of 3.0%. St. Louis' future schedule is #1.

I checked about six teams before deciding they are indeed exact mirrors.

However, that begs the question... does future schedule take home field advantage into account? Shouldn't it be possible for them to not be exact since one of them is playing at home, and the other on the road? I mean, clearly we do not seem to do this, but should we? Would this not be a better indicator of future schedule?

39
by leviramsey :: Wed, 12/25/2013 - 2:01pm

AFAIK, past/future schedule is just an average DVOA of teams played/remaining.

Early in the season, we saw this with teams that still had the Jaguars: no matter who else was on your remaining schedule, it seemed, the presence of the Jaguars made your future schedule easier than that of any schedule which didn't have the Jaguars remaining.

What would make the most sense is to judge schedules based on how a 0.0% DVOA team would expect to fare (i.e. sum of win probabilities), taking HFA into account. Then you'd have diminishing returns from having exceptionally good or bad teams remaining.

49
by Travis :: Thu, 12/26/2013 - 9:11am

Then in the final week of the season, all they needed to get into the playoffs was a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, who were resting almost all their starters. Instead, Tommy Maddox ...

Not quite - the Bills also needed the Jets to lose, which they did - but in overtime, 40 minutes after the Bills game had ended. Also, Tommy Maddox played the first 2-1/2 quarters, but left when trailing 17-16 - Brian St. Pierre "led" the Steelers comeback by handing off to Parker a bunch of times.

56
by Perfundle :: Thu, 12/26/2013 - 5:23pm

Although Seattle may not be in the best defenses list, their pass defense DVOA rating is 5th in FO history at -33.9%, only behind the 2002 Bucs (-51.9%), the 1991 Eagles (-48.6%), the 2009 Jets (-36.5%) and the 2004 Bills (-34.7%). Interestingly, the four teams ahead of them all had poor offenses, and probably not coincidentally, Seattle's pass defense has gotten better as the offense has gotten worse.

59
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60
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