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» Four Downs: NFC North

Our offseason Four Downs series continues with a division-by-division look at each team's biggest remaining holes and their most notable UDFA signings. In the NFC North, quality wide receivers and defensive backs are in short supply.

21 Oct 2014

Week 7 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

This week's news, for those of you who did not have your televisions on Sunday night: Denver is very, very, very, very good. The Broncos are No. 1 in DVOA for the third straight week, but now they are a No. 1 with a big fat bullet. Denver's DVOA rating went up ten percentage points between Week 6 and Week 7. Obviously, the Broncos had a huge win over San Francisco, with a single-game rating of 82.7%. They also got a boost in opponent adjustments thanks to a huge win by Indianapolis and a surprisingly close loss for the New York Jets.

As a result, the Broncos are now living in "best team in DVOA history" territory. The Broncos are now the sixth-best team in DVOA ever measured through Week 7, and the second-best team this century, trailing only the 2007 Patriots. It's interesting to note that there are only four teams from the current century in the top dozen for DVOA through Week 7, and three of those teams had Peyton Manning at quarterback: the 2007 Colts, this year's Broncos, and last year's Broncos, who also had a DVOA rating over 40% after Week 7.

Best Total DVOA Through Week 7,
1989-2014
Year Team W-L DVOA
2007 NE 7-0 69.1%
1991 WAS 7-0 61.8%
1996 GB 6-1 54.0%
1994 DAL 5-1 51.8%
1999 STL 6-0 50.7%
2014 DEN 5-1 48.7%
2007 IND 6-0 47.6%
1990 CHI 5-1 46.8%
1998 DEN 6-0 45.0%
1997 DEN 6-0 43.8%
1991 NO 6-0 42.0%
2013 DEN 6-1 40.9%

Of course, if you read my ESPN Insider piece last week you know that Peyton Manning isn't doing this all on his lonesome, or even with nothing but offense. The Broncos defense has now been ranked No. 2 in DVOA for three straight weeks. This puts the Broncos into an interesting historical group: teams that ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in both offensive and defensive DVOA at the same time. There are a number of these teams early in the season thanks to one or two big wins, but once you get past the first month, very few teams have qualified. The Broncos are only the sixth team since 1989 to rank in the top two for both offense and defense after Week 5. No team had ever accomplished this for three straight weeks after September. Only one team, the 2007 Colts, ever finished a season ranked in the top two for both offense and defense. (In retrospect, that was a pretty incredible team -- they were seriously ignored because the Patriots were setting offensive records, hampered by the terrible special teams typical of the Polian-built Colts, and then suffered a massive upset when Billy Volek came in for the injured Philip Rivers and led a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter.)

Teams Ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in Both Offense and Defense, Week 5 or Later, 1989-2014
Year Week Team W-L DVOA Rk Off Rk Def Rk ST Rk
1994 8 DAL 6-1 48.2% 1 27.0% 1 -18.8% 2 2.4% 8
1994 12 DAL 9-2 40.2% 1 21.7% 1 -15.3% 2 3.2% 6
1994 16 DAL 12-3 36.4% 1 20.0% 2 -14.5% 2 1.9% 6
1995 5 SF 4-1 38.5% 2 24.2% 2 -20.8% 2 -6.7% 25
1995 6 SF 4-1 37.8% 2 24.2% 2 -20.4% 2 -6.7% 26
2003 6 TB 3-2 41.5% 1 24.8% 2 -23.0% 1 -6.2% 29
2007 15 IND 12-2 28.4% 3 21.7% 2 -14.5% 2 -7.9% 31
2007 17 IND 13-3 28.3% 2 22.2% 2 -13.0% 2 -6.9% 32
2012 12 SF 8-2-1 40.1% 1 23.0% 2 -17.7% 2 -0.6% 19
2014 5 DEN 3-1 41.3% 1 26.3% 1 -15.6% 2 -0.6% 19
2014 6 DEN 4-1 38.7% 1 21.5% 1 -16.5% 2 0.7% 18
2014 7 DEN 5-1 48.7% 1 31.4% 1 -18.2% 2 -0.9% 20

Baltimore holds on to the No. 2 spot behind the Broncos. I spent some of last week's commentary trying to figure out if the Ravens were "for real" because they've built their big rating by beating up on mediocre NFC South teams. They went out and beat up on another mediocre NFC South team, so I suppose we don't really know any more about them now than we did a week ago. Seriously, I thought going into this season that the NFC South might end up being the best division in the NFL. Instead, the NFC South is clearly the worst division in the NFL. There is no NFC South team with a DVOA rating above 0.0%, but what is even more mind-blowing is that the four NFC South teams currently have the four worst defenses in the NFL by DVOA. Right now, the NFC South champion has a losing record in 21.3 percent of our simulations; in another 19.8 percent of simulations, the NFC South champion is 8-8; and in an additional 18.3 percent of simulations, the NFC South champion is Carolina at 8-7-1. That's a whopping total of 59.4 percent of simulations where no team in that division wins nine games.

The changing fortunes of the NFC South are part of one of the strange trends of the 2014 season so far. The NFC was much stronger than the AFC a year ago, and it was supposed to be much stronger this year as well. Instead, the AFC is re-asserting its recent supremacy. Although the top eight teams in DVOA are evenly split between the two conferences, the AFC holds seven of the top 11 spots, nine of the top 14, and 11 of the top 17.

Another strange trend in 2014 is the number of very good teams that lost in Week 1. Tomorrow I'll have a column up at ESPN Insider discussing why the Dallas Cowboys are still not in the DVOA top five despite a 6-1 record. As I point out in the piece, the Cowboys would have a higher rating if we took out their Week 1 loss -- but that's only fair if we compare them to how other teams have played since Week 2 as well. And five of the six teams that are now 5-2 lost their first game of the year: Baltimore, Green Bay, San Diego, New England, and Indianapolis. 

The Colts are the big risers this week, moving from No. 13 to No. 5 after dismantling the Bengals. (The Bengals go in exactly the opposite direction, from No. 5 to No. 13.) There's also a surprising entry in the top ten with Miami moving up seven spots -- and passing New England by a small margin -- after a big win over Chicago. However the most surprising position in the DVOA rankings probably belongs to No. 4 Seattle. Certainly cracks have shown in the Seattle armor, and it's never good to be 3-3 in a tough division after six games. However, DVOA still sees Seattle as one of the best teams in the league. Its wins have been bigger than they seem, and their losses not as bad as they seem, because the Seahawks have played the toughest schedule in the league in 2014. That's going to change significantly, starting with this week's game against No. 25 Carolina. Seattle's average opponent over the final ten games has -3.9% DVOA, which ranks 23rd among remaining schedules.

The Seahawks are just one of a number of teams who are about to see their schedules get much harder or easier. Some of the others, with their ranks for both past and future schedule:

  • SCHEDULE GETTING EASIER: New York Jets (from 2 to 18), Indianapolis (from 5 to 28), Minnesota (from 11 to 29), Carolina (from 12 to 30).
  • SCHEDULE GETTING HARDER: Pittsburgh (from 32 to 8), Philadelphia (from 29 to 9), New England (from 28 to 3), St. Louis (from 25 to 4), San Diego (from 24 to 2).

Those schedule changes are a big reason why our playoff odds simulation currently gives Indianapolis, not Denver, the strongest odds of making the postseason at 97.2 percent. The schedule also explains why the New England Patriots are still listed with only a 55.5 percent chance of repeating as AFC East champions despite having a 1.5-game lead over Miami and a 1-game lead (plus tiebreaker) over Buffalo.

* * * * *

Once again in 2014, we have teamed up with EA Sports to bring Football Outsiders-branded player content to Madden 15 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 DVOA and DYAR. Others will be under-the-radar players who only stood out with advanced stats. 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. We will also tweet out images of these players from the @fboutsiders Twitter account on most Fridays. One player each week will only be available for 24 hours from the point these players enter packs on Friday.

The Football Outsiders stars for Week 7 are:

  • WR Sammy Watkins, BUF (24-HOUR HERO): 53 DYAR, fourth among WRs in Week 7 (9-for-14, 122 yards, 2 TD).
  • CB Bashaud Breeland, WAS: 5 Defeats, including a pick, two TFL, and two tackles that stopped pass receptions a yard short of conversion on third down.
  • RB Ronnie Hillman, DEN: Led all RBs with 43 DYAR this week (14 carries for 74 rushing yards, 4-for-4 on receptions for 27 receiving yards, 2 TD).
  • LG Greg Robinson, STL: Rams RBs had 7.8 yards per carry and 75 percent Success Rate running left; Rams did not allow a sack.
  • MLB Lawrence Timmons, PIT: Sack plus three tackles that stuffed Arian Foster for no yards or a loss, including two on third-and-1.

* * * * *

All stats pages are now updated with Week 7 information -- or will be in the next few minutes -- including FO Premium, snap counts and playoff odds.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through seven weeks of 2014, 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 for strength of schedule and 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. Because it is early in the season, opponent adjustments are only at 70 percent strength; they will increase 10 percent every week through Week 10. As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE. 

DAVE is a formula which combines our preseason projection with current DVOA to get a more accurate forecast of how a team will play the rest of the season. Right now, the preseason projection makes up 19 percent of DAVE for teams with six games played, and 8.5 percent of DAVE for teams with seven games played. This will be the last week we consider DAVE; starting after Week 8, we will switch solely to using DVOA and WEIGHTED DVOA.

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
TOTAL
DAVE
RANK W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
1 DEN 48.7% 1 44.2% 1 5-1 31.4% 1 -18.2% 2 -0.9% 20
2 BAL 28.5% 2 26.1% 2 5-2 16.2% 4 -8.8% 6 3.5% 8
3 GB 26.1% 4 25.6% 3 5-2 19.9% 2 -4.4% 10 1.8% 14
4 SEA 22.7% 3 21.0% 4 3-3 15.5% 6 -8.1% 7 -0.9% 21
5 IND 19.4% 13 18.1% 5 5-2 8.7% 8 -5.6% 9 5.1% 4
6 PHI 14.5% 6 12.6% 7 5-1 -2.9% 18 -6.3% 8 11.1% 1
7 DAL 13.7% 10 12.2% 8 6-1 16.5% 3 1.3% 19 -1.6% 22
8 SD 13.2% 8 13.2% 6 5-2 15.7% 5 4.7% 23 2.1% 11
9 KC 9.9% 14 7.2% 9 3-3 6.6% 10 -1.4% 14 2.0% 13
10 MIA 6.8% 17 4.8% 11 3-3 5.6% 11 -11.1% 3 -9.9% 32
11 NE 5.7% 11 6.2% 10 5-2 1.8% 16 0.1% 16 3.9% 6
12 DET 5.2% 7 4.0% 12 5-2 -11.3% 26 -24.9% 1 -8.4% 31
13 CIN 2.7% 5 2.2% 13 3-2-1 1.9% 15 1.7% 20 2.5% 10
14 PIT 2.2% 20 2.0% 14 4-3 5.6% 12 7.4% 26 4.0% 5
15 ARI 0.6% 19 -0.5% 15 5-1 -11.2% 25 -10.0% 5 1.8% 15
16 BUF -0.4% 18 -1.0% 16 4-3 -16.5% 29 -10.5% 4 5.5% 3
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
TOTAL
DAVE
RANK W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
17 CLE -0.9% 9 -3.4% 20 3-3 5.4% 13 5.8% 25 -0.5% 18
18 ATL -1.8% 12 -2.6% 19 2-5 7.6% 9 16.0% 31 6.6% 2
19 CHI -1.9% 16 -1.4% 17 3-4 1.5% 17 -1.8% 12 -5.2% 28
20 SF -4.5% 15 -3.4% 21 4-3 -3.2% 21 -3.4% 11 -4.7% 27
21 NO -4.6% 25 -1.5% 18 2-4 11.8% 7 17.7% 32 1.3% 16
22 NYG -5.6% 21 -5.3% 22 3-4 -2.9% 19 1.0% 18 -1.7% 23
23 HOU -9.2% 24 -9.1% 23 3-4 -4.9% 23 -0.3% 15 -4.7% 26
24 WAS -10.3% 23 -10.7% 24 2-5 -3.0% 20 0.3% 17 -7.1% 29
25 CAR -12.4% 22 -11.4% 25 3-3-1 2.3% 14 14.0% 29 -0.7% 19
26 TEN -14.1% 26 -13.3% 27 2-5 -5.2% 24 5.3% 24 -3.6% 25
27 NYJ -14.7% 28 -13.7% 28 1-6 -16.2% 28 2.3% 21 3.9% 7
28 STL -15.7% 27 -12.9% 26 2-4 -4.6% 22 12.2% 28 1.1% 17
29 OAK -22.3% 29 -21.4% 29 0-6 -16.0% 27 8.4% 27 2.0% 12
30 MIN -29.2% 30 -23.7% 30 2-5 -29.8% 32 2.8% 22 3.3% 9
31 JAC -29.8% 31 -27.9% 31 1-6 -28.7% 31 -1.4% 13 -2.4% 24
32 TB -49.0% 32 -39.3% 32 1-5 -25.8% 30 15.0% 30 -8.2% 30
  • NON-ADJUSTED TOTAL DVOA does not include the adjustments for opponent strength or the adjustments for weather and altitude in special teams, and only penalizes offenses for lost fumbles rather than all fumbles.
  • ESTIMATED WINS uses a statistic known as "Forest Index" that emphasizes consistency as well as DVOA in the most important specific situations: red zone defense, first quarter offense, and performance in the second half when the score is close. It then projects a number of wins adjusted to a league-average schedule and a league-average rate of recovering fumbles. Teams that have had their bye week are projected as if they had played one game per week.
  • PAST SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents played this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative). It is not adjusted for which games are home or road.
  • FUTURE SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents still left to play this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative). It is not adjusted for which games are home or road.
  • VARIANCE measures the statistical variance of the team's weekly DVOA performance. Teams are ranked from most consistent (#1, lowest variance) to least consistent (#32, highest variance).



TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
1 DEN 48.7% 5-1 46.2% 6.6 1 5.6% 6 -0.9% 15 7.9% 6
2 BAL 28.5% 5-2 33.1% 4.6 5 -5.7% 26 -3.7% 22 9.4% 8
3 GB 26.1% 5-2 26.3% 5.2 2 -3.4% 22 -6.8% 32 11.2% 11
4 SEA 22.7% 3-3 11.9% 4.5 7 12.6% 1 -3.9% 23 20.4% 23
5 IND 19.4% 5-2 19.5% 5.1 3 5.9% 5 -5.4% 28 14.9% 16
6 PHI 14.5% 5-1 14.7% 4.7 4 -7.8% 29 2.5% 9 11.3% 12
7 DAL 13.7% 6-1 12.6% 4.6 6 -4.4% 23 -1.0% 16 17.8% 20
8 SD 13.2% 5-2 24.6% 4.4 8 -4.9% 24 11.8% 2 6.3% 4
9 KC 9.9% 3-3 6.6% 4.3 9 9.3% 4 1.2% 11 26.1% 27
10 MIA 6.8% 3-3 13.2% 4.2 10 2.9% 10 1.2% 10 10.1% 9
11 NE 5.7% 5-2 12.8% 3.4 19 -6.8% 28 11.4% 3 19.0% 21
12 DET 5.2% 5-2 15.3% 3.7 11 -5.8% 27 -4.9% 26 12.1% 13
13 CIN 2.7% 3-2-1 2.4% 3.5 15 4.2% 7 -1.3% 17 26.4% 29
14 PIT 2.2% 4-3 6.0% 3.5 16 -10.5% 32 3.1% 8 14.5% 15
15 ARI 0.6% 5-1 2.3% 3.5 13 3.2% 9 5.1% 5 5.8% 3
16 BUF -0.4% 4-3 0.0% 3.2 22 -1.4% 19 5.0% 6 7.2% 5
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
17 CLE -0.9% 3-3 3.6% 3.6 12 -2.6% 20 -4.2% 24 12.2% 14
18 ATL -1.8% 2-5 2.7% 3.4 17 -8.5% 30 -5.0% 27 26.1% 28
19 CHI -1.9% 3-4 -3.0% 3.5 14 -0.1% 16 -6.2% 31 10.1% 10
20 SF -4.5% 4-3 -5.1% 3.2 21 10.0% 3 0.1% 12 15.4% 17
21 NO -4.6% 2-4 0.0% 2.7 23 -10.3% 31 -2.2% 19 15.5% 18
22 NYG -5.6% 3-4 -10.1% 3.2 20 1.8% 13 -0.5% 14 31.1% 31
23 HOU -9.2% 3-4 -8.1% 2.4 27 -0.5% 17 -2.6% 20 1.6% 1
24 WAS -10.3% 2-5 -12.3% 2.6 26 -3.0% 21 -4.8% 25 21.8% 24
25 CAR -12.4% 3-3-1 -15.0% 3.4 18 2.0% 12 -6.1% 30 15.6% 19
26 TEN -14.1% 2-5 -9.3% 2.6 25 0.7% 14 -0.4% 13 21.9% 25
27 NYJ -14.7% 1-6 -16.0% 2.7 24 10.7% 2 -1.4% 18 8.7% 7
28 STL -15.7% 2-4 -11.7% 2.3 28 -5.3% 25 5.3% 4 19.7% 22
29 OAK -22.3% 0-6 -24.9% 1.7 30 0.4% 15 13.2% 1 4.2% 2
30 MIN -29.2% 2-5 -27.3% 2.1 29 2.1% 11 -5.8% 29 22.9% 26
31 JAC -29.8% 1-6 -26.0% 1.7 31 3.4% 8 3.7% 7 27.1% 30
32 TB -49.0% 1-5 -43.6% 1.5 32 -0.6% 18 -2.7% 21 36.3% 32

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 21 Oct 2014

163 comments, Last at 28 Oct 2014, 12:23am by ziuziu

Comments

1
by theosu :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 6:47pm

Impressive that the Browns went from 20.7% offensive DVOA to just 5.4% on the "strength" of one game. One really, really bad game. But one game all the same.

42
by herewegobrownie... :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 11:32pm

Well, they are basically back to where they were before they blew out the Steelers in overall DVOA, and their defense is actually up 4 spots from last week (Tashaun Gipson's 2-pick effort against Bortles made up for the D's atrocious showing against Denard Robinson.)

Their playoff odds were sliced roughly in half, and their projected wins dropped from 9 to 8 (i.e. this was considered a basically guaranteed win, allowing for some adjustment from other factors.)

2
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 6:49pm

I'll note again that any who claimed Adrian Peterson was overrated are devoid of clues.

3
by MarkV :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 6:52pm

I find the broncos ranking excellence interesting, but would be equally or more interested in seeing comparisons of their DVOA % compared to others. How does the 31.4 & -18.2 compare to other teams at the same time.

160
by bedsidetrash :: Sat, 10/25/2014 - 4:24pm

DVOA means defense-adjusted value over average - it is a comparison to other teams. Maybe it would be interesting to see a comparison to 2nd best teams or something?

4
by theslothook :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 7:00pm

Sf dropped a whopping 10 percentage points because of that game. Fair? Clearly not - but will be balanced as time goes along.

Denver subjectively is very strong in all of the places you want to be strong at - qb, receivers, pass rush, and corners. Not coincidentally, that's where their best players are. What's more, they've been very fortunate injury wise. The areas that have been hit are all the areas they weren't particularly strong at anyways and could be mitigated - ie running back and linebacker.

22
by Rick_and_Roll :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 8:36pm

This could be Denver's best defense since the 1970s Orange Crush Gradishar teams... They probably have the best bookends in the NFL at CB (Harris/Talib) and Edge Rusher (Miller/Ware)...

I'm still worried about their OL and running backs. Their OL isn't gelling and I'm not a Hillman believer. In the 2013 draft Elway was targeting LeVeon Bell in the 2nd round, but th Steelers nabbed him a few picks earlier... It's scary to imagine Denver's offense had Elway been able to draft Bell. However, Colorado might not be the best environment for LeVeon.

23
by theslothook :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 8:44pm

I think hillman has been pretty good and Baldinger did a cut up piece for him this week. He's definitely of the one cut and go runner who's size means he can squeeze through a hole quickly. In fact, that's really what you need with Denver's o line largely built for protection and Julius thomas's piss poor blocking. On the other hand, hillman still worries me from a fumble/durability standpoint.

59
by bravehoptoad :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 10:17am

Yeah, DVOA sees a dominant win by Denver over a pretty good team. No way to tell it that over half SF's starting D was out, and 3/5 of the starting o-line.

Since I have a 3-year-old I haven't been watching as much football, so I don't have a feeling how unusual that amount of injury is recently. But I've never seen this team like that (since about 1993).

5
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 7:03pm

Romo really wasn't ready to go by week one, it seemed to me, so I expect that Dallas, especially on offense, is going to continue to rise. I think a Packers-Cowboys playoff game would be among the most interesting possible January match-ups, and one where HFA would be practically non-existent for either side. Here's hoping we see it.

20
by Temo :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 8:33pm

I think there's a decent chance Romo doesn't make it through the season without injury. He's currently playing with back, ankle, and ribs injuries and took a painkilling injection last week just to play. NYG game was the first where he didn't take a huge shot, and I'm not sure how much longer that'll be the case.

I wish he'd take his eyes off the receivers occasional to protect himself. His tendency to be looking downfield all the time gets him rocked more often than most good QBs, I feel like.

30
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 9:26pm

I really hope that doesn't happen. I thought the Cowboys defense was going to be hideous again, taking the Cowboys out of their running game, forcing Romo to get pass happy, get beat up, and forced into steep decline. As a fan who has appreciated him since he replaced Bledsoe, and admired his play while his o-line was playing "Let's kill the quarterback!", it's been a pleasure to see the guy operate under favorable conditions. I hope it continues.

58
by herewegobrownie... :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 10:11am

They've already exceeded my guess on their win total for the year. I thought they would need to play Weeden a decent amount, and their defense would be atrocious.

Hard to believe that Rolando McClain looks like a better 2010 draft choice than Joe Haden if we're strictly looking at this year.

61
by BJR :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 10:31am

Yeah, it must be lousy enough being a Raiders fan without seeing your previous draft busts prospering out of nowhere on other teams.

106
by David C :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 4:56pm

I know you're referring to late hits, but using sacks alone, Romo's actually doing okay. He's only had 225 in his career after the equivalent of roughly 8 seasons. Just to give you some idea of how good that is:

Ben Roethlisberger 406 10 seasons
Eli Manning 265 10 seasons
Phillip Rivers 261 8.5 seasons
Aaron Rodgers 249 6 seasons
Carson Palmer 248 9 seasons
Jay Cutler 235 7 seasons
Tony Romo 225 8 seasons
Matt Ryan 172 6.5 seasons

I'm roughly estimating season equivalents so if they started 10 games one season, and 6 games in another season then that's 1 full season. Eli Manning, Carson Palmer and Matt Ryan are only slightly better than him. Big Ben (who may have declined this season) and Aaron Rodgers seem to be the biggest worries. By the way, this is one of the things that Peyton Manning is amazing at:

Peyton Manning 278 15.5 seasons

That's just ridiculous.

108
by Will Allen :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 5:17pm

Especially once you factor the turnstiles he had in front of him the last few years with the Colts. Hell, a normal qb could get easily sacked 60 times in one season, with Charlie Johnson at left tackle!

111
by theslothook :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 5:29pm

Ive also wondered lately if PM is also protecting his o line's health this way. By getting rid of the ball quickly, the o linemen have less of an opportunity to have their legs get rolled under them.

I remember thinking that when the niners lost kilgore and just how often it seems that can happen to an o linemen.

6
by theslothook :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 7:07pm

As a colts fan, that 07 loss to the chargers was one of the most aggravating losses for me. Rivers' jawing with the fans made me actively root against him for a few years before finally getting over it. That team turned the ball over three times in the red zone on crazy wide receiver fumbles/ tip drill ints.

A defense that was number 1 in dvoa got pushed around by the chargers - with BILLY FREAKEN VOLEK at qb.

Now, they did lose Freeney for the season so I doubt even if they had won that game they would've beaten NE the following week, but it was really upsetting.

8
by commissionerleaf :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 7:25pm

That was a crazy game, and it was only the second-craziest game they played with the Chargers that year: back on November 11th, in a driving rainstorm, Peyton Manning threw 56 passes, six of them caught by Chargers and three of them by Antonio Cromartie, on the way to a 23-21 Chargers win in which San Diego managed 177 yards of offense and only 86 net passing yards.

Outside of that game, Manning's 2007 was of 305 of 459 for 3712 yards with 29 TD and 8 interceptions. I'm convinced that game does not happen with Tony Dungy as a head coach.

10
by theslothook :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 7:31pm

Dr.Z had a great article about that game. I've seen Manning handle the pats defenses, the ravens, the steelers, but strangely the chargers have always been a tough nut to crack for Manning and its true even in Denver. For whatever reason, things just are a slog even when SD's defenses have been dreadful.

32
by stanbrown :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 10:22pm

My comment below [38] was intended to be a reply here. SD used to just kick the crap out of the Indy O-line. Brutal.

57
by turbohappy :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 9:51am

I've always believed that the Colts don't win the Super Bowl in 2006 if they had to play the Chargers. I was a Pats fan for 3 hours that year, rooting so hard for them to beat the Chargers! Even better that since that gave them a surprising home game I had tickets :o)

86
by commissionerleaf :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 1:41pm

Manning's Colts were 5-2 against the Patriots after 2004 while still in Indy, despite playing for progressively weaker overall teams throughout that span. I'm still convinced that the best Colts team Peyton ever had was the 2005 model. They lost a close game to a Pittsburgh defense at the height of its powers.

Manning's Colts were 1-5 against the Chargers over the same period. And it's weird, it isn't as if the Chargers were all-world in that time; they just matched up well with the Colts.

Of course, the most astonishing playoff loss of Manning's career has to be this one:

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/201101080clt.htm

In which a washed-up LaDainian Tomlinson and the very ordinary Shonn Greene combine for almost 40 carries and 169 yards and the teams EACH punt four consecutive times to open the gam. Reggie Wayne getting one -target- on Revis Island, complete for one yard. Manning finishes 18 of 26 for 225 yards, the Colts have no turnovers, and they nonetheless lose on a last second field goal.

On Indianapolis' last drive Manning's passes were all targeted to Blair White or Jacob Tamme. On their second-to-last drive:

4the Quarter, 5:16, 3rd and 7 at the NYJ 15: Dominic Rhodes left end for 1 yard (tackle by Brodney Pool). Up to that point, Dominic Rhodes had 13 carries for 32 yards. Mercifully, he never touched the ball again.

16
by Purds :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 8:04pm

How could you get the most bizarre moment? AV missing a 29 (!) yard FG to lose it!

62
by Bernie :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 10:52am

I remember watching that game, and thinking to myself, "I can't believe we're still going to win this game afte manning has thrown 6 ints", and then 10 seconds later, Vinatieri misses a chip shot. It was unbelievable.

64
by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 11:04am

Technically the 6th INT happened after the missed field goal (it was a hail-mary), but yes they came a chip shot away from winning a game despite 5 interceptions and two special teams TDs allowed.

34
by stanbrown :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 10:24pm

Throwing to Craphonso was a real adventure.

56
by jedmarshall :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 7:41am

And despite all that they should have won still, but Vinatieri Vanderjagt'd a 20-something yard field goal at the end.

The '07 team was fantastic until Freeney got hurt. I was so mad they lost to the Chargers because even without Freeney I felt a rematch with the Pats would have been close.

36
by Paul R :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 10:35pm

Was that the same game where Mike Scrifes put on a punting clinic? Even though my Colts were losing, I remember just marveling at those punts. Scrifes' punts were like Tiger Woods approach shots. He was booting it fifty yards in the air and the ball would hit the Colts' one-yard line and just stop dead.

37
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 10:38pm

That was the year after, in the 2008 Wild Card game.

That game ended nicely partly because Gijon Robinson forget the snap count and let Manning get sacked on a 3rd and 2 where a first down would have ended it.

How ridiculous was the field position difference: The Colts had three drives that ended in punts longer than ANY OF THE CHARGERS SCORING DRIVES!!!

7
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 7:14pm

It has to be frustrating to be a fan of a team so clearly ahead of the pack on defense, like the Lions, and see that defense paired with hideous special teams. That ain't what the recipe calls for.

14
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 7:49pm

Well, hideous kickers, really. The rest of the special teams is actually decent, but 6-16 on field goals will lower your ratings quite a bit, as it turns out.

I'm more concerned about the hideous offense. I know Johnson has been out or limited and there have been ither injuries, but there should be enough other pieces where they should at least be average without him.

47
by zlionsfan :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 12:35am

Yeah, if you look at the Special Teams page, FG/XP are 2/3 as bad as every other team with a negative FG/XP combined, or worse than the 11 teams with a negative score (other than Cincinnati (-8.7) and the Lions) combined. Atrocious.

The other aspects are about average (K, KR (surprisingly) and P) or slightly above average (PR). So it's really that the Lions are finding all the worst kickers in the league - guys who can't hit from 40-49 indoors - while the rest of the units are fine.

Despite all that, when I read about five of the six teams at 5-2 losing their opening game, my actual thought process was "the Lions are the sixth, of course. They won in Week 1. Wait, are they 5-2? Yeah. Let me check. Right, they really are 5-2. Because of their defense. Wait, what?"

The D is ridiculous. Even with an easy dSOS (Exhibit A: Drew Brees v2.0), the Lions are first against both the pass and the run. Not only have they not had a D like this in the (current) DVOA era, they've only had a top-10 defense twice in 25 years, and they've never had both pass and rush defense finish in the top 10. The only reasonable offenses they have left to face are Atlanta in London, Miami (?), New England (kind of, with Brady v2.0) on November 23 in Gillette, and Green Bay on December 28 at Lambeau.

I don't even know what to think.

51
by Jerry :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 2:20am

Just take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy it.

53
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 4:49am

Turns out Teryl Austin is a pretty good coach. Think about what he's had to work with. He's down to his 2nd string MLB, and 4th string nickel corner. His starting SS has missed half the season. One outside corner is 34 years old. The other is a 2nd year player who was benched more times than I can count last year. It boggles the mind that this unit is playing so well.

This has been discussed here before, but Jim Caldwell's best coaching move was convincing Austin to come over with him from Baltimore, and then staying the hell out of his way.

88
by ChrisS :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 1:57pm

It seems to me that the problem on offense is the line. If Stafford takes more than a two step drop he is going to get hammered. I think that until Calvin comes back they need to go to a quick passing game. They probably don't have a lot of that available though since the O-Line was amazing last year and the play-book probably reflects the expectation of that continuing. Also Stafford has been more inaccurate than usual when he does have time.

93
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 2:38pm

I think you're spot-on. Don't know if it's trying to pick up a new blocking scheme (apparently more complicated in the Saints offensive system than in Linehan's), injuries, or individual decline in performances. Probably a bit of each.

One thing I noticed in the 2nd half of the Saints game, things got much better once they went shotgun-heavy, which they hadn't done most of the year. Historically, Stafford's DVOA splits show he's way better in shotgun than under center. That would hurt the running game, but it's not like the running game is doing anything, anyway.

122
by ChrisS :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 10:16pm

I had not noticed the switch to more shot gun. They certainly did run it heavily in prior seasons, so maybe that will help.

15
by tuluse :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 8:00pm

On a related note, it seems like a sad state of affairs to me that Dave Toub hasn't been given a head coaching job yet.

73
by Noah of Arkadia :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 12:25pm

Miami's on a similar boat and they get to play the Lions. Should be an interesting game.

------
Who, me?

84
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 1:28pm

Fans of offense might take "interesting game" to be facetious. Stafford and Tannehill would be wise to update their health insurance policies before the game.

On the plus side, people who like defense should be entertained. And who knows what crazy things will happen in the kicking/return game?

9
by tuluse :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 7:31pm

The Chicago Bears defense is clearly ranked too high because Brian Urlacher and two clones of Deion Sanders would make a better linebacking corps. Ranking defenses based on Ryan Tannehill incompletions is way better than this. Cut all the starting linebackers!!!111cos(0)

11
by theslothook :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 7:33pm

Chicago's defense subjectively feels terrible but then I forget that they've had some very respectable moments. They handled Atlanta and got SF to turn the ball over 4 times. On the other hand, I would not be surprised to see them go into the tank by the end of the year.

12
by tuluse :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 7:41pm

Well the d-line is good, and the secondary is ravaged with injuries.

That game against Atlanta was all backup linebackers :)

13
by TomC :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 7:48pm

Echoing what I said in the Quick Reads comments, the DL is playing well, but the LBs and safeties are awful, so if the pressure doesn't get there, the middle of the field is generally wide open. Any team with a competent OL and QB (or just a great QB like Rodgers) is going to have success---unless the receivers drop seven balls and alligator-arm several others, as Atlanta's did.

19
by Rick_and_Roll :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 8:26pm

SF seemed more like Kaepernick implosion

17
by jonnyblazin :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 8:14pm

I find it strange that Aaron questions whether the Ravens are "for real" because they've been mauling mediocre to bad teams. I thought that was a mark of a good team.

The Ravens were consistently good to excellent from 2008-2012, and had a down year in 2013 after the post-super bowl roster purge. It shouldn't be too surprising that they're good again now that they've restocked the roster. Also they hired an offensive coordinator who is light years ahead of Caldwell and a definite upgrade from Cam Cameron as well.

Of course, they might start sucking and go on a losing streak too, but 7 games is a pretty decent sample.

18
by theslothook :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 8:21pm

Id say their complete 180 on the offensive line has been pretty surprising. Not that I expected them to repeat their terrible performance from a year ago, but they went all the way from possibly the worst to one of the top 5.

27
by Hummingbird Cyborg :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 8:53pm

Their 2012 was above average, but during the regular season, it was built on a crazy good special teams to go with approximately league average offense and defense.

So, after last year, I think that a bit of a rebound wouldn't have been unexpected and speaking for myself, I'd just shrug my shoulders if they were in the teens in DVOA, but a jump to second best in the league with a very good team is a bit of a surprise.

That Gary Kubiak could make their line play well? The level of the turnaround is a surprise, but I remember those Broncos lines. They work with players that wouldn't work with other schemes and so it's not an utter surprise.

Also, looking back, isn't it at all amazing that Kubes did what he did with Houston's offensive talent? Before last year, they always seemed to have overachieving results.

29
by Hurt Bones :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 9:22pm

Juan Castillo deserves a lot of the credit. Harbaugh brought him in at the end of 2012 and I think wanted Castillo to implement a zone blocking scheme last year, but there was a lot of blow back. A lot of anonymous criticism of Castillo appearing in the media. I think he clashed a lot with Jim Hostler (who was a sort co-OC last year and now Sr Off Asst for the Bills juggernaut). Castillo didn’t mesh with Hostler or Wilbur Montgomery or Andy Moeller (all three gone), but Castillo’s coaching meshes extremely well with Kubiak’s system. Replacing Gradkowski with Zuttah has been a huge upgrade. Yanda was struggling through all of last year with a shoulder injury as well. Castillo has a history of developing young lineman and there is quite a bit of young OL potential there.

33
by jonnyblazin :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 10:23pm

I think Kubiak and Castillo deserve a lot of credit for getting the O-line in shape but they've been working with good players.

Monroe is a good LT, although he's missed a couple games and Hurst has been bad in his place.

Osemele is arguably the best guard in the game, and he's missed a couple games and Urschel has been good in his place.

Zuttah is a major upgrade of Gradkowski, although overall an average player.

Yanda is still Yanda.

Wagner has been better than Oher, a very pleasant surprise. The coaching staff deserves credit for developing him.

21
by nat :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 8:33pm

As a result, the Broncos are now living in "best team in DVOA history" territory.
That's a wee bit overblown, ain't it?
DVOA history currently lists just 25 seasons. The median value for a week seven leader is whatever comes a couple after last year's Broncos on your list. It is probably around 39%, maybe a bit less.
10 points over the median and 20 points below the best is much closer to "typical for some team to be this good" than it is to "best ever".

25
by Rick_and_Roll :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 8:49pm

If you look at the 12 teams who appear on the list...

Five won the SuperBowl...(WAS 91, STL 99, GB 96, DEN 97, DEN 98)
Two made the SuperBowl and Lost... (NE 07, den 13)
One lost in the 94 NFC Championship, aka the real SuperBowl: DAL 94

While not definitive, there are some positive trends that look good for Denver and their fans.

24
by mitch :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 8:45pm

I doubt Denver is in the top 10 best teams. Looking back, those past 3 games will be the best 3 games of the season for Denver. And with just 7 games played it's easy to see how they would be inflated. With 16 games played those 3 games will have less influnence on the overall rating.

Denver is not as good as Seattle of last season.

Ravens are not close to the 2cd best team either. DVOA is way off base on that.

As far as guts and stomps, the research I'm aware of applies to teams once they reach Championship game or Super Bowl. I'm not aware of any research that would show guts and stomps being a good method going forward in the regular season.

Doubtful Ravens reach the AFC Championship game.

28
by Hummingbird Cyborg :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 9:16pm

So far, Denver's offense has been much better than Seattle's of last year and their defense has been very good. No team this year has a defense like Seattle's last year. A defense like that comes only every few years as defenses tend to have a lower rating than offenses. But, an elite defense to go along with a top offense? Yeah, Denver has that and that means they may well be better than Seattle last year with an otherworldly defense and a very good offense.

Oh, and San Francisco and Arizona were two of their top three games. They also put up a very good rating against the Chiefs (Much higher than the score would suggest). The game against the Colts stands in the mid forties and the game against the Jets is in the upper twenties.

The game against Seattle is all that weighs them down and it was rated around 10.

Of course, most of the teams with ratings this high ended up regressing by the end of the season, so it's possible that Denver will, too, but the defense has been consistently very good this year and the offense has been very good as well. So far, the only thing keeping them from reaching the top teams is that their special teams are average and their running game has been below average.

I guess it's a wait and see game, but so far they look a lot like the 2012 team, but with a better offense.

40
by jsf80238 :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 11:11pm

I'm a Denver fan and very pleased so far but worry about some of the remaining games (6 of 10 on the road): at New England, Kansas City, and San Diego, and perhaps Cincinnati a little bit. I see us finishing between 11-5 and 13-3, with 11-5 probably not good enough to win the first or second seed.

45
by merlinofchaos :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 12:24am

I don't see it. After Thursday, the Broncos will have played the toughest part of their schedule, and things get easier from here, except for the part where it's mostly on the road. To go 11-5 they'd have to lose 5 of their next 10. Chargers twice, Raiders twice, Chiefs once, Patriots, Bills, Rams, Bengals, Dolphins.

Chargers have a legitimate shot, but I'd be shocked if they do worse than split that. Raiders only have a chance if the Broncos take the day off, which I admit has happened in the past. Chiefs are good and stand a shot.

Patriots? Maybe, but the Broncos have been poison for Brady and Belichick.. But Bills, Bengals, Dolphins, Rams? I don't see any of them with a legitimate shot unless the Broncos, again, take the day off.

That means realistically I'd put my money at 3 losses at most of those 10, and honestly, I think 2 seems more reasonable. That ends the season at 13-3 and #1 or #2 seed -- and really only #2 if the loss is to the Patriots and they win the head-to-head tiebreaker.

The worst, worst case scenario is losing to the Chargers twice and having to go in as the #5 seed. I guess Thursday will tell us a lot about whether that scenario is possible. The Chargers ARE good this season, for sure.

46
by merlinofchaos :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 12:25am

I think the trouble is that if you assume every team that has a good shot of winning is going to win, you're not really giving the team a lot of credit. Some of the teams with a good shot will win, but not all of them.

(Also, the Bengals, the way they've played lately? I don't think so).

26
by mitch :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 8:50pm

I do agree Denver should be ranked no. 1. They are better than last season, better defense and better overall balanced team to this point than last season.

31
by stanbrown :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 10:21pm

Watching the SD defensive front physically dominate the Indy line every time they played made you appreciate just how good 18 was. On a run off rt tackle, the tackle got knocked backward 5 yards. That's so bad, it's scary. The year the offensive line had rookie guards (one a late pick, the other a UFA cut by someone else) one of them got bullrushed straight back almost 8 yards, past 18. The pass rusher then just reached over and pulled him down for the sack.

One could watch decades of NFL games and never see such physical asskickings that were dished out routinely by the Charger defensive front.

52
by Rick_and_Roll :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 3:06am

I'm a Bronco fan, so my statement has no fandom based bias...

SD probably had the best roster in the NFL from 2005-09 and have nothing to show for it, which is a testament to how important coaching (Norv, nuff said) is in the NFL. They owned the Colts and always played the Pats tough.

140
by greybeard :: Thu, 10/23/2014 - 9:19pm

05 and 06 was Schottenheimer not Turner. I would consider 4 playoff appearances in 5 years and playing a conference championship game as more than nothing. They did to live up to the talent level they had but they certainly did more than nothing.

141
by theslothook :: Thu, 10/23/2014 - 9:49pm

Sd also got unlucky. Their top pass rusher and potentiall hall of famer got hurt and was gone. Then their gm.played hardball and ruined relationships w jackson and mcniel. Then he traded away antonio cromartie and had nothing to show for it. Thats a big chunk of the core that got frittered away.

146
by Rick_and_Roll :: Fri, 10/24/2014 - 11:51am

My point was that with their talent they should have at least made one SuperBowl. Yes the AFC West was much more competitive than the AFC South (Colts) and East (Pats), but they had the best roster.

Their front office made some awful decisions in that they let too many cornerstone players go and fired a solid coach, Marty, to bring in Norv. I don't know if they thought they could get someone better and settled on Norv, or if they targeted Norv, but either way it was a big mistake.

154
by Bright Blue Shorts :: Fri, 10/24/2014 - 1:57pm

I don't remember any other team in NFL history firing their headcoach after a 14-2 season.

Think Marty contributed a lot more to developing the talent of the team than AJ did in keeping it.

35
by Paul R :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 10:28pm

The top 5 teams have future schedules that are either significantly easier for the second half of the season, or about the same (Ravens.) The teams immediately below the top five all trend towards harder schedules.
I haven't consulted my Lucky Astrology Mood Watch yet, but it sure looks like those first five should start to pull away from the pack in the coming weeks.

147
by Rick_and_Roll :: Fri, 10/24/2014 - 11:58am

Yes Denver's schedule is easier but of their 9 remaining games, 6 are on the road, including an upcoming stretch with 3 in a row...

38
by Ranccor :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 10:57pm

Kyle Orton just wins football games.

41
by jsf80238 :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 11:13pm

Just not when he played for Denver.
But, most of us liked him as a player and a person.

44
by Paul R :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 11:49pm

To be fair, when he was at Denver, Orton didn't have the advantage of playing on a Broncos team quarterbacked by Peyton Manning. His win/loss record would have been much better if he had.

50
by intel_chris :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 1:37am

:-)

60
by D2K :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 10:27am

"Kyle Orton just wins football games"

Huh? He is 73-72 for his career. He is as average as he looks on a weekly basis. The Bills offensive DVOA just continues to drop (#29 this week).

Its ridiculous that the Bills pulled the plug on their 1st round pick 14 games into his career. Its even more absurd that they made the decision because of Kyle Orton.

65
by duh :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 11:11am

I could be wrong but I read his comment as a snarky reference to Orton's days in Denver and the fella who replaced him ... though I could be over-reading.

119
by The Hypno-Toad :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 8:46pm

It's also exactly what a lot of people in Denver were saying when Orton arrived in the Cutler trade. It was really strange.

66
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 11:21am

I agree with your assessment of Kyle Orton, but i think pulling Manuel was the right move. He was actively hurting the team.

Things are different now if Spiller and Jackson miss significant time, but at the time, they felt they had a roster that could compete for a playoff spot if they simply got average play from the quarteback position. They knew exactly what they were going to get with Kyle Orton (as you pointed out, average quarterback play).

This leads to another discussion of how many games do you wait for a highly-drafted quarterback to "get it." ProfootballReference did a historical study that showed that if a QB's performance (they used Y/A or ANY/A, don't remember which) didn't significantly improve by year two, then it was unlikely to improve a whole lot later.

I grant you that Manuel has too small a sample size of games to close the book on his career. His audition was rushed because the Bills wanted to compete now. And Troy Aikman looked pretty bad in his 2nd year before taking a leap later on. But for the most part, history is littered with 1st round prospects that teams stuck with waaay too long before deciding to move on (to the teams' detriment).

67
by Will Allen :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 11:30am

You're hurting Christian Ponder's feelings.

69
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 11:34am

I probably am, but I'm sure his photogenic spouse and large bank account will be enough to console.

70
by tuluse :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 11:36am

Well Aikman did look way better in year 2 than year 1. So the improvement was still there even if it was still bad.

As for the Bills, Orton has a higher DVOA than Manual, so I'm pretty sure their ODVOA is dropping because because of opponent adjustments on earlier games.

75
by Noah of Arkadia :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 12:35pm

And, do QBs mature faster now? It sure seems that way. I can't recall a good young QB who struggled badly for a long time before taking off other than Alex Smith in the last few years.

------
Who, me?

76
by tuluse :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 12:47pm

How recent? Drew Brees sort of fits the mold. Aaron Rodgers sat for multiple years, so we don't know how much if any he would have struggled.

I suspect that coaching changes at both collegiate and professional levels are doing a better job preparing QBs, and then utilizing their talents better than in the past.

You could probably make an argument that Cam Newton struggled his first two years before putting it all together his 3rd, but his "struggles" include throwing for 4000 yards.

Maybe Matt Stafford would be an example.

80
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 1:13pm

I don't even think you could use Stafford as an example, because he only played 2.5 games in his 2nd year due to injury. Eyeball test wise, he definitely looked better than when he was a rookie, but it's too minuscule a sample size to really judge.

94
by tuluse :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 2:40pm

Stafford completed 53% of his passes as a rookie.

I was more thinking if Stafford figures everything out, he would be an example as I don't think he has yet.

97
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 3:14pm

What's your standard for "figuring it out?".

The Manuel discussion was more related to whether or not it was time to move on from a particular quarterback. Whatever Stafford's limitations are, DVOA and DYAR both think he's been solidly above average for the past three years in row, not someone you'd consider benching.

101
by tuluse :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 3:42pm

Let me borrow a phrase and say I can't define it, but I know it when I see it.

Stafford makes me think of Jake Delhomme right now. He was pretty good for a while too.

105
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 4:30pm

Well, like all subjective assessments, I guess you're entitled to your opinion. You may ultimately be proven right, but there's still more than half the season left.

150
by Noah of Arkadia :: Fri, 10/24/2014 - 12:07pm

Brees, but he's not a young guy anymore. Rodgers doesn't count and Newton, as you rightly point out, only struggled to a degree. In the past it was the rule, not the exception, but now it seems upside down.

------
Who, me?

96
by Ezra Johnson :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 2:43pm

I think more QBs are playing in pro style offenses in college, making the transition easier. Alex Smith playing the spread in college may have slowed his development a bit. Then again, the surrounding talent probably has more to do with it than anything. Put Russell Wilson or Kaepernick in Jacksonville three years ago, and their career arcs would be much different.

91
by Ezra Johnson :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 2:31pm

More ridiculous than drafting him?

109
by D2K :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 5:19pm

Why would you consider it ridiculous to draft him? With his physical tools (admittedly not the end all be all), his big school pedigree, his 4-0 record in bowl games and his 66.9% completions while at FSU give me plenty of reason to draft him in the 1st round.

The problem with the Bills (I am a Bills fan) is the fact that there is new ownership in town and everyone in the organization is in a "win now" or lose your job mode. They are essentially admitting that we dont have the time to properly develop a player at the most important position in the sport so lets try to maximize our opportunity at being around next year. This move reeks of desperation and instead of addressing the real problem of this team, the offensive line, they blame the failings of the coaching staff on the easiest target. the young, inexperienced QB.

To give a 1st round pick 14 games is ludicrous IMO, especially considering that those 14 games were choppy. By that I mean that Manuel started the first 5 games last year, got hurt in Cleveland on Thursday Night and didnt return until week 10. He then played another 5 game stretch going from week 10 through week 14 before re-injuring his knee. Fast forward to this year where he starts the first 4 games, puts up a 2-2 record (beating Chicago and Miami) before panic sets in after the Pegulas are officially announced as new owners.

I like the conversation up top about "how long do you give a 1st round pick before you cut ties, but with Manuel, there are extenuating circumstances that other 1st round QB's havent had to deal with, namely new ownership coming in.

When a teams OLine is struggling mightily to give time to the QB, wouldnt it be wiser froma football perspective to start the player that is more mobile as opposed to the Journeyman backup who is a statue?

112
by Will Allen :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 5:51pm

If there as any doubt whether everybody has to get fired, not making the playoffs while starting a 32 year old Kyle Orton seals the deal.

113
by tuluse :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 6:21pm

Does sitting Manual now mean they've given up on him?

I mean he could easily start next year no? While not picking up bad habits from trying to learn on the job.

115
by Will Allen :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 6:31pm

The only reasons I can think of not to play a guy in his 2nd season is 1)You have a better long-term option 2) Your team is so good outside of the qb position that even a small marginal improvement at qb can likely result in you winning playoff games 3)You don't think the guy can play. 4) The offensive line is really, really, really bad, and you'd rather get somebody else killed.

If a guy is going to develop bad habits by playing, after a year in the league, then he's likely a bad player.

117
by tuluse :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 7:46pm

Well I think the Bills probably do think Manual is likely a bad player. However, likely bad and definitely bad are not the same. There is a good chance that continuing to play Manual at this point doesn't serve him or the team, but he could possible improve by spending him time working on mechanics instead of gameplans.

123
by Will Allen :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 10:49pm

It serves the team to definitively establish beyond all doubt that a roster spot should not be taken by Manual.

151
by Rick_and_Roll :: Fri, 10/24/2014 - 12:07pm

While I don't think Manuel was worth a 1st round pick, he a has a chance to be solid to good (not great) if given a chance to develop... Orton is playing because the coaches are coaching for their jobs...

153
by tuluse :: Fri, 10/24/2014 - 1:06pm

My question is, does sitting Manual now decrease his chance to develop?

If yes, then it's stupid to play Orton.

If no, then it's a reasonable thing to do. The Bills have won to down to the wire games where Orton lead last minute scoring drives, and he has a higher DVOA than Manual. The Patriots look more vulnerable than they have in a long time, and the Bills have to think they have as good a chance of winning the division as anyone. Might as well put your best foot forward and give yourself a chance.

128
by Ezra Johnson :: Thu, 10/23/2014 - 1:15pm

Yes - they should have used that pick (what was it - #14?) for an O-lineman, when almost no one gave Manuel a 1st-rd grade (for what that's worth). If they really liked Manuel they probably still could have gotten him in the 2nd or 3rd while giving him that O-line help. And this isn't hindsight; it's just general team-building philosophy.

120
by Ranccor :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 8:55pm

Some QBs you got to be patient with. The best example I can think of is Drew Brees. Easily the 3rd best QB of the '00 (behind Manny/Brady), but he spent several years as mediocre to bad in SD. They drafted Rivers and all of the sudden, it clicks for him. Maybe Manuel is a Brees or maybe he is Tim Couch. I'm going to go ahead and admit I haven't watched a single game with the Bills all the way through in the last year, so I certainly have no idea.

121
by theslothook :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 9:10pm

Is there,a,way to tell which qbs need time to develop ex ante? We've named brees, Smith , and i guess eli manning, but we never remember the qbs who got multiple chances that led to lost seasons. Carr lingered on houston longer than he should have. Ditto for Sanchez and now Locker and bradford. Can you imagine if the vikes had given ponder another year? I think the safer play is to give them two years and if they are still woeful, you cut bait. For the bills, i cut bait.

127
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Thu, 10/23/2014 - 9:20am

I agree with you. For every Drew Brees or Alex Smith, there are 5 or 6 Joey Harringtons, Rex Grossmans, and Kyle Bollers.

I think it's the same when teams hire retread coaches that failed elsewhere. Everyone points to Bill Belicheck and Pete Carroll as retreads that succeeded at their second chances, but then everyone forgets about the multiple Marion Campbells, Ray Perkins, Jerry Glanvilles, and Dennis Ericksons.

Betting on the longshot is not a good business strategy when the price of failure is losing your job.

129
by theslothook :: Thu, 10/23/2014 - 2:04pm

I'm not as convinced as you about retreads. But then honestly, I'm not sure most coaches do anything beyond the average anyways. Of course, there are your MCdaniel's, Kotite's, and Petrinos, but the rest all feel like they do the exact same job. Someone like Pagano succeeding and Nolan failing feels completely tied to the fact that one got Andrew Luck as the first overall qb and the other got alex smith.

And then most are fired because the ownership needs a fall guy to sell to the fan base.

130
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Thu, 10/23/2014 - 2:22pm

Maybe. It's all subjective, and there's really no way to measure it. Any data is "behind the curtain." The example I think if is how much better the Bill Parcells Cowboys played compared to the Dave Campo Cowboys, along with all the other coaching jobs Parcells had. On the other hand, maybe that was Bill strategically choosing coaching jobs where he could replace guys like MacPherson, Kotite, and Campo, so he could like like a superstar by comparison.

131
by theslothook :: Thu, 10/23/2014 - 2:33pm

Yeah I think Bill's ability to resurrect was greatly exaggerated.

I remember finding it funny that people said the cowboys inconsistencies began after Parcells left. Um...no, they were just as inconsistent under Bill as they ever were.

133
by Will Allen :: Thu, 10/23/2014 - 3:19pm

I don't think it was exaggerated. He became head coach of three teams which were mired in losing, with bad rosters. He quickly improved those rosters, won a championship with one, went to a conference title game with another, and went to the playoffs twice with the third, and left it in relatively good shape.

134
by RickD :: Thu, 10/23/2014 - 3:29pm

He even won that conference title game with the second team, before losing in the Super Bowl.

135
by Will Allen :: Thu, 10/23/2014 - 3:40pm

Yeah, I somehow left out the Patriots. He became head coach of four bad rosters mired in losing. He won a championship with one, went to the Super Bowl with another, a conference championship with the third, and two playoff appearances with the 4th. The last stop included going 10-6 with a roster coming off three straight 5-11 records, with the dynamo Quincy Carter at qb. Remarkable.

136
by Travis :: Thu, 10/23/2014 - 4:16pm

And he left enough of a roster and an organizational structure in place so that none of the Patriots (coming off 1-15, 6-10, and 2-14), Jets (6-10, 3-13 and 1-15), nor Cowboys (three straight 5-11 seasons) has had consecutive losing seasons since he left.

138
by Will Allen :: Thu, 10/23/2014 - 4:50pm

What was really dumb were the meatheads on radio and t.v. who said that the Cowboys going 13-3, with Wade Phillips at the helm, the year after Parcells left, was evidence that Parcells was overrated as a coach.

132
by Rick_and_Roll :: Thu, 10/23/2014 - 2:38pm

Success in the league is much more about QB play than anything else, so a retread coach like John Fox looks like a genius while Lovie Smith does not.

Don't get me wrong, Coaching definitely matters, just ask any Chargers fan who watched their team squalor in mediocrity under Norv, despite having a 3 or 4 year window having arguably the most talented roster in the NFL.

137
by Ezra Johnson :: Thu, 10/23/2014 - 4:45pm

I think there's a lot of confirmation bias or illusory correlation in this persistent belief. Is it really QB play, or is it creating the conditions that allow QBs to succeed? Everyone can agree there are good QBs and bad QBs, and the same for every other component part of a football team, but there are many shades in between. I think teams that say, "all we need is a good QB" do so at their peril. If the rules today favor QB play, that means it's easier to play QB, not harder. So you don't need to chase after that "elite" QB - you need to create conditions that allow your Matt Ryan or Russell Wilson to succeed.

Edit: Actually, Joe Flacco and Eli Manning would have been even better examples.

139
by Rick_and_Roll :: Thu, 10/23/2014 - 6:34pm

Of course there needs to be a team around the QB, my point was that there is a strong correlation between teams having good QBs and success. Obviously there will be outliers on both sides

118
by Ranccor :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 8:44pm

Swoop in with a snarky comment and come back a few days later and it has evolved into an amazing mini-thread.

My comment was to mock what the TV personalities might say after Buffalo's win this week. They used to say the same thing when he played for Chicago and would "lead" his team to 13-10 victories.

125
by shoutingloudly :: Thu, 10/23/2014 - 12:20am

I think Orton is a living version of the NFL QB Mendoza line — his career average performance is roughly equivalent to a .215 batting average. If you can't do at least as well as Kyle Orton, you can't keep a job as a starter for even an OK team. If the coach is seriously wondering if he'd rather have Kyle Orton taking snaps, the current QB's job is in danger.

Maybe we could describe such quarterbacks as "Sub-Orton" (or, for the pun-minded like myself, "Sub-Ortonate"), and FO could rate quarterbacks by their VOO, "Value Over Orton".

143
by ZDNeal :: Fri, 10/24/2014 - 9:54am

I like the idea of Orton being the name of Replacement Level QB.

39
by serutan :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 11:05pm

I was tempted to complain about the Cardinals' stagnation this week, then
realized that the opponent adjustment of the Raiders was in play.
______
Was wr

110
by kerouac9 :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 5:20pm

I'm interested in why the Cards are so low, as well. I'm guessing it's because the offense is so bad, but shouldn't that be adjusted some for playing some good defenses?

They're 5-1 and they're ranked well, well below teams with .500 records. They've beaten their weaker opponents by more than 7 points. Would a 17-point win really vault them up the rankings?

I guess the less complain-y question is: if DVOA "loved" the Eagles of the aughts, does it "hate" the Cards for similar reasons? Different ones?

Or: Does outperforming DVOA but not win expectation speak to the quality of coaching/game management/an X-factor?

114
by tuluse :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 6:23pm

The Cardinals offense--at least while Palmer has been out--seems predicated on a couple big plays and not doing much the rest of the time. That's a perfect storm for getting better results than DVOA will see as sustainable.

43
by herewegobrownie... :: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 11:34pm

CAR 3-3-1 7.1
NO 2-4 7.1
ATL 2-5 6.5
TB 1-5 4.1

This is a *worse* average projection than the 2010 NFC West ended up being (7, 7, 6, 5!) Yikes!

63
by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 10:54am

What the hell happened to the NFC South? Wasn't this supposed to be a good division? I mean, some expected backsliding from the Saints/Panthers, but the Falcons and Bucs were going to rebound a bit, right?

Tampa is #32 in offense and defense. Gaaaaaaaaah.

68
by Will Allen :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 11:31am

Now, now, the Bucs are merely 30th in both. The Vikings, devoid of the running back which has carried their offense for 6 of the 7 previous years, are dead last on offense.

72
by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 11:42am

You're right, I just saw "32" in the DVOA/DAVE columns and for some reason chose not to research further. That, or I have developed a concussion from repeatedly banging my head upon a wall and my vision is starting to go. At this point, either seems a plausible scenario.

87
by Peregrine :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 1:47pm

And yet with a rookie QB making his starting debut, the Vikings put up 350+ yards in the first half against the Falcons defense. Yeah, that's how bad it is.

Atlanta lost two starting OL for the year in that game in Minnesota, and LG Justin Blalock picked up an injury there that has limited him in recent weeks. I think the offense could have won some shootouts if the line were intact, but geez, no dice. Matt Ryan better up his insurance.

I actually don't want to win this division. Changes need to be made. Hate saying that, because I've liked Dimitroff and Smitty for the most part, but it's like an entire brain trust forgot what football was about.

71
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 11:40am

Well the FO guys saw Carolina coming, but weeks 1-2 threw everyone off the scent for a while. I have no explanation as to why the Saints are so putrid on defense this year after being decent last year. The Falcons have nobody who can pass protect or rush the passer, which is, uh, kinda important in the NFL these days. The Bucs..well you know all about them.

Ultimately, I think the Saints are good enough on offense to win enough shootouts to get to 8+ wins, which I think will win this division easily. However, if they get a bit of bad luck, I think a 6-10 or 6-9-1 division winner is in play.

98
by commissionerleaf :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 3:24pm

Hard to get a 6-10 division winner with 6 games each against division opponents. Really have to be putrid. Schiano - putrid.

Rob Ryan's defenses are based on not-particularly-calculated risks. What you're seeing is noise in the data plus injuries.

99
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 3:28pm

"Really have to be putrid. Schiano - putrid."

There's the Lombardi Trophy, the Halas Trophy, and the Hunt Trophy. If a team with a losing record wins the NFC South, can we award them the Schiano Trophy?

107
by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 4:58pm

If it's not too much trouble, I'd like anything Schiano-related placed as far from the NFC South as humanly possible.

124
by herewegobrownie... :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 11:14pm

Remaining schedule for Car: ATLx2, NOx2, Sea, Cle, @ Phi, @ Min.

For NO: All NFC Norths besides Min, all AFC Norths besides Cle, ATL, Car x 2, SF

ATL: Car x 2, Cle, Pit, @ NO, @ TB, AZ, all NFC Norths besides Min.

TB: Cin, @ Cle, all NFC Norths, Wash, all div teams once more.

A division winner at 6-10 or 6-9-1 is certainly possible. Looking at the out-of-division games, I see only a few in which the NFCS team would be even a slight favorite, depending on whether Atlanta and Cincy right the ships.

48
by Badfinger :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 12:49am

Am I reading correctly that DVOA likes the Broncos so much that it is giving them .6 wins more than games played?

49
by merlinofchaos :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 1:10am

Yes, estimated wins counts bye weeks.

54
by Duff Soviet Union :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 5:32am

Where does Tampa rank on the all time bad list? They're WAY behind everyone else.

155
by Bright Blue Shorts :: Fri, 10/24/2014 - 2:17pm

Give the Raiders a few weeks. They've had the soft part of their schedule and are now facing the hardest schedule in the league for the remaining games. Denver & Chiefs twice, Chargers once, the Seahawks, 49ers, Rams, Bills and Browns.

Probably the best hope now for the Raiders to win a game is if Denver locks up HFA with 14-1 records going into week 17 and puts the scrubs out. But only if Elway, Fox and Peyton are willing ...

55
by James-London :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 7:09am

Miami seems high at #10, and that's with the worst ST in the league. I assume the win against the Pats looks much better to DVOA now than it did at the time?

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

74
by Tim F. :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 12:33pm

Even the loss to #3 ranked GB. People thought that was ugly because they had the lead and lost in the final seconds, but apart from 3-4 stupid mistakes (picks, some coaching decisions) that game showed they could hang with and weren't intimidated by the best. That game was probably more sound than the Bears game (worse coverage in secondary but better offense against a better all around team).

77
by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 12:51pm

If they jump on that fumble they are 4-2, tied in the loss column with the Pats with a head-to-head win.

So much changes because they didn't jump on the fumble after the strip sack and the Packers did - (that and them getting burned on the 4th and 10, or not tackling the receiver inbounds off of the fake spike play).

78
by Bernie :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 1:05pm

How would you rate Tannehill at the moment? I haven't really watched much of Miami other than when they appear on RedZone, so I'm not in a good place to judge. But from what I've seen this year, it seems he has patches of really good play, where he sets his team up for success, and then has other patches of really awful play. Is this fair, or is it off base due to not having seen enough play?

81
by Tim F. :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 1:15pm

It's fair. Still has some accuracy issues, still holds the ball too long at times, still can't throw downfield. But it does seem he's really enjoying the read-option and that it gets him going, and he reads the D well and executes it well. So it seems like if they establish some consistency in the next couple of weeks, they could really start clicking.

And as Pouncey gets more comfortable at RG (and if the whole OL can avoid injury), the offense as a whole could really start grooving. Wallace has really developed into a fairly complete WR, Landry is coming on, Clay getting involved, running game going better than expected.

83
by Tim F. :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 1:27pm

That being said, I wouldn't consider him a very erratic QB... not like Cutler or Orton or Geno Smith. Just that he still has some limitations and is on a team that sometimes is flat as a whole unit.

And the accuracy issue (at least on the short and intermediate routes — where, earlier in the season, you would see him impeding WR routes with his placement) has seen significant improvement as the offense starts to establish a rhythm.

92
by Ben :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 2:35pm

Since you mention the OL, I have another question. Is Samson Satele really playing competently at center? As a Colts fan, I find that unfathomable. He was supposed to be ok when he came to the Colts from the Raiders, but he was just terrible for the 2 years he was in Indy. I mean, it got to the point where a Colts fan site had a weekly "WTF is Samson Satele thinking?" post showing his terrible plays.

95
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 2:40pm

Hey, Rolando McClain is playing competent football in Dallas, so stranger things have clearly happened.

100
by Tim F. :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 3:41pm

Yes, highly competent. The OL is certainly weakest along the interior but that's likely more to do with RG. He's doing all the calls at the line and doing it well. Certainly not the strongest Center but seems to be doing better than when he was last with Miami (unsure if that's scheme or other strengths across the line or his own development/health since I last paid attention to him). But it was a no brainer not to replace him with Pouncey — if that tells you anything... and it should. Pouncey needs to adjust to the position move more, moving his feet better, being in space, but there was definite progression this week. Could be a hell of a line with continued development.

Maybe silly to call them best in the league but easy to say insanely improved going from worst to top five with Albert, Colledge, Satele, Pouncey, and James. Hickey, John Benton, Lazor, and the players deserve major kudos.

I guess we'll see exactly how good they've become in the coming weeks, with games against Jacksonville, Detroit, Buffalo (already gave them major fits but very early in the season and have historically done so), and Denver.

85
by johonny :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 1:32pm

Just going by the weekly websites numbers here. He was one of the 3 worst QBs after 3 weeks. He is now hovering in/near the top 10 in weekly performance. If you assume as Miami learns the new offense they will improve then Tannehill might have turned the corner. If you assume Miami tends to be streaky in performance then his overall production is more significant than the past 3 games. Which is the true Ryan Tannehill? The Dolphins might make a play off run or they might continue to 8-8 or 7-9. In other words: it seems like a typical 3-3 Miami Dolphins team. There's promise there but they've often been mediocre to the extreme.

89
by Tim F. :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 2:13pm

Agree with the reserved skepticism, but that's why I commented on the low variance below. I don't have access to the Premium stats so not easy to look at his individual FO numbers week-to-week (unless I'm missing something?), but I know in the Bills and KC games, the team as a whole was not good (Bill's DL owns Miami particularly; WR drops, poor — or at least porous — defenses), then they were in a hole and had to get pass happy. Yes, a great QB can carry that weight, but I don't necessarily fault him for poor QB stats when playing from such deficits in desperation. The progression of the offense in recent weeks, strong OL play, and low variance has me on the side of optimism.

Is there a variance stat for Pass Offense (rather than Pass + Rush) in Premium? Or variance for just the QB position? I think that would be more useful than saying — Miami has historically been inconsistent; therefore, I will presume Tannehill is still inconsistent.

102
by johonny :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 3:49pm

The easiest thing to do is look at Tannehills performance in quick looks each week. It's harder for all the other positions but the QBs are all listed each week. I think the O-line played stronger earlier in the year. Pouncey hasn't wowed at guard and the run blocking hasn't looked as crisp with him in there. That said he missed a lot of camp and the season so it is to be expected. Obviously they think in the long run he will be an up grade. Miami's ability to put up 7-9 seasons year after year pre-dates Tannehill. It is generally assumed to be a symptom of a poor front office.

116
by Tim F. :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 7:08pm

The O-line certainly did not play better in the Bills or the KC game, and the Pats D looked very weak and out of sorts in week 1. Their run blocking is better than their pass protection and competing for best in the league. Any deficiencies in Pouncey's play are to be expected with the position shift and we're looking at a extremely small sample size of 2: 1 against a very, very good team and 1 against a reasonably good to fair team, certainly a good player in Raitliff. [Sorry for any errors or the numerous edits, kept jumbling the schedule in my head.] So I'm not sure what you are seeing.

Shelley Smith was injured in Week 2 so there was a real hole at RG in week 3. Pouncey's progression seems more to do with getting used to a new position rather than his health (yes, he considers guard his true position and that's what he was primarily in college but he hasn't played it in 4 years and never with this personnel). So, yes, even if, and that's a big if but one I could consider as reasonable, Pouncey is less of a RG than Shelley, he's certainly much better than Thomas was in week 3, and... Shelley is healthy again so he's an option now to take Pouncey's place if necessary.

And, yes, I understand the era of mediocrity but the problem is there have been substantial changes across the front office and coaching staff every couple of years or so (Ireland was fairly stable for 5 years but it's unclear how much control he truly had when Parcells was around). It's certainly pretty obvious that Hickey has assembled a much better OL and that Lazor is doing better as OC than Sherman — at least to me. Seems blatantly absurd to say that because Parcells/Ireland/Sparano/Henne were mediocre, it follows that Hickey/Philben/Lazor/Tannehill are also mediocre.

Yes, the Quick Reads help some, but as I've said, the early three games the WRs were dropping, the OL was getting beat in weeks 2 & 3, and they got behind and had to try to dig out of a hole in those games... I'd like to see some stats for Tannehill's inconsistency that tries to separate that out or barring that, just looks at it more closely. Considering several of the Quick Reads dedicated most of their content to the streakiness of QBs and Tannehill was called "streaky" in this past week's Quick Reads despite it being his most consistent (there was some let up in the 2nd half with the 2 score lead) and there's the general impression that he's either wildly inconsistent and inaccurate and a lower 3rd tier QB OR potentially on the cusp of being a top 10-15 QB, I think it would be very interesting if FO took a closer look at it.

148
by Noah of Arkadia :: Fri, 10/24/2014 - 12:00pm

I'm with you on the KC game, but I thought Tannehill played very poorly against Buffalo. Since this is only the second offense of his career, it seems very likely to me that he's turned a corner. I don't think I've ever seen him as comfortable as he was against Chicago, and the Oakland and Green Bay games were very good, too, except for that first half against the Packers.

------
Who, me?

152
by Tim F. :: Fri, 10/24/2014 - 12:14pm

I don't see where you're getting the impression that I said that Tannehill played well against Buffalo... What I did say was they were completely owned by the Bill's D line, the WRs weren't helping (although, yes, Tannehill was far less accurate then than now), and they got into a hole — so I'm willing to discount the KC and Bills game to some extent.

103
by Duff Soviet Union :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 4:01pm

It's kind of funny how many people say things like "well Richie Incognito is a tool, but he's a good lineman" and yet the teams he's on have been uniformly mediocre or usually much worse and the one constant between them was horrible offensive line play.

I'm not at all surprised they're much better without him.

104
by Tim F. :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 4:21pm

Richie Incognito was indisputably good for the Dolphins in 2010 and 2011. And they didn't have him last year but for a game or two (don't recall or care at this point). So I'm not even sure why you are bringing him up now.

79
by Tim F. :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 1:07pm

What does surprise me is their relatively low variance (particularly for individual offense and defense rather than total DVOA). I wonder if that would change if you looked at it by the half...

149
by Noah of Arkadia :: Fri, 10/24/2014 - 12:02pm

Same here, I've been wondering about that since week three or four. Except for the Green Bay game, none of their games has been close.

------
Who, me?

82
by Sporran :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 1:16pm

I just read Aaron's ESPN Insider article on the Cowboys. In the article, he refers to the Cowboys as the 6th-best team -- but this is contradicted above, where they are 7th by DVOA and 8th by DAVE. What gives?

90
by RickD :: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 2:22pm

Two of Dallas's opponents (San Francisco and Houston) were the losers in the Sunday and Monday night games. SF in particular got nailed. Presumably that hurt Dallas's strength of schedule and opponent adjustments. Aaron might have written his article before those late games were processed.

Just a wild guess.

126
by mitch :: Thu, 10/23/2014 - 8:44am

Chargers could very well be in this game with a chance to win the game and very well might do that. Denver, ranked as 6th best shows they have peaked, playing their best games, and would be more likely to regress than maintain the same level of play.

142
by The Hypno-Toad :: Fri, 10/24/2014 - 2:10am

I think that would have been a lot of definitive sentences to pull out of the game even had it gone that way. I would submit that last season's Thursday night loss to the Chargers didn't have a lot of predictive value for the remainder of the Broncos' season. And while I agree that this game could have certainly gone the Chargers' way, unless it had been a full on dismantling, I think it would have been more indicative of the Chargers being an ongoing paper to the Bronco rock (scissors to paper, rock to scissors, pick your matchup) than a nail in the Broncos' coffin.
It's certainly possible that I and other Bronco fans will stand in the midst of a one-and-done playoff appearance and look back at this five day period as the peak of this season from which everything fell apart, but even with my Chicken Little tendencies, I'm going to wait for a trend to develop before I insist that the sky is falling. And if a trend is going to develop, a three game road trip (with a full calendar month between home games) seems like the optimal time.

145
by Rick_and_Roll :: Fri, 10/24/2014 - 11:36am

I like Denver's chances against the Pats because they have a mini-bye to prepare and are very healthy... They also matchup well defensively in that they are great against the run, and because (even going back to college) Von Miller consistently dominates Nate Soldier.

When I saw the Broncos schedule, the game that concerned me was the Rams because it was the third road game in a row and their physical front seven matches up well against Denver's weakness, their OL.... IMO, the way the schedule fell turned what I would consider an easy W into a much harder game. One of the most successful handicapping rules is to go against teams playing their third road game in a row.

156
by theslothook :: Fri, 10/24/2014 - 2:26pm

Denver's Run D is in some ways the unheralded key to their team. The challenge Denver presents is that you have to be efficient on offense because Denver will move the ball. But if you can't run it, you are forced to air it out and this puts Denver in the position they want, with their pass rushers being so strong. Philip Rivers did well to scale that challenge, but most qbs are not going to consistently stare down the gun barrel and find the right read.

144
by Mugsy :: Fri, 10/24/2014 - 9:59am

Sanchez may have "lingered too long", but on the other hand I think he may have won more post season games than Tony Romo. It's not like the Jets have had great success with their QBs!

& If I were a Broncos fan I'd be feeling very good about their chances.
What would concern me is that the Jets were only down by 7 in the 4th quarter against Denver, and they have defensive backs named Allan, Walls & Adams (& only one interception all year)! One writer claimed that the Jets do not have a "professional" secondary, and another said their secondary should be caller a tertiary!
Maybe this is a credit to Rex, but perhaps a team with a strong secondary could duplicate whatever scheme worked so well for Rex.

159
by The Hypno-Toad :: Fri, 10/24/2014 - 9:10pm

their secondary should be caller a tertiary

I really enjoy that turn of phrase. It may be that it's an old joke, but I've never heard it before.

157
by KB :: Fri, 10/24/2014 - 3:27pm

I'm really curious as to why GB's Defensive DVOA went down after allowing 3 pts in the first 3 quarters against a offense that looked really good the week before in the Panthers.

Actually GB's Defensive DVOA has only increased by 3.3 when in the last 12 quarters or really 3 games of quarters(obviously lol) over 4 games(excluding the 4th quarter again Car and Minn because the games were blow outs and defensive backups were inserted) they have allowed 27 pts. 21 of those pts coming against MIA in the 2nd half after GB lost both starting CB's.

If you take away that 2nd half and the 4th quarters again Car and Minn, GB has allowed 6 pts in 10 quarters going back to the 2nd half of the Chi game. 2nd half Chi - Zero pts, 1st half Mia - 3 pts, 3 quarters Minn - Zero Pts, 3 quarters Car - 3 pts.

How is the last quarter with backups inserted when the team is up by 5+ TD's weighted? I mean its pretty obvious that GB went to a very light defense with their backups in and the only goal at that point is avoiding injuries.

158
by KB :: Fri, 10/24/2014 - 3:39pm

This defense has looked really good and honestly resembles their 2010 defense when they were one of the better defenses in the league. That team had a fantastic secondary, similar to this season. They may not have Collins who was easily one of the best Safeties in the NFL or Woodson who I can't say enough about that year but GB does have a VERY deep secondary and actually much deeper than in 2010.

Shields is one of the better man to man cover corners in the NFL and is still young and improving, Williams has taken on more of a utility role and is all over the field and is still a good cover corner( almost any team would love to have Williams as a #2). Hayward is rounding back into form after missing all of last season and having one of the best rookie seasons I've seen from a CB. They also have House who has the best size among GB's CB's and is finally starting to live up to his potential that he has shown throughout his career on a more consistent basis.

At Safety they are 4 deep with Burnett coming out of the slump he was in last year which I believe has more to do with a competent safety in HHCD than anything he was truly doing. McMillian and MD Jennings was a horrible safety combination and probably the worst in the NFL last season. Hyde has lost a bit of playing time but not really because of him and more because of the very fast development of Clinton-Dix.

This team is also very deep from the 3-4 OLB spot. Having Matthews, Peppers, Perry, and Neal rotating means they all stay fresh and the opposing offense is usually in trouble when they drop back.Matthews hasn't even played to his standard yet the pass rush has still been solid.

Mike Daniels is rapidly becoming one of the better 3-4 DE's in the NFL and is vastly underrated around the league. I doubt that trend continues though. By the end of the season, the national media will be all over this guy. Datone Jones has also exceded my expectations so far and is coming back from an injury. Amazingly, without Guion, I don't think this defense would be nearly as good. Something I never thought I would say....

There is one major weakness though. This is obviously in the middle of the field at ILB. Hawk is who he is, like him or not. I'm more towards the not side.. The only thing Packers fans can hope for is Barrington and Lattimore continue to show improvement similar to the last couple weeks. Going into the '15 draft, ILB is by far the biggest need.

Sorry for this long unnecessary breakdown that I doubt anybody reads. Didn't realize how long it was until I went back to proof read and gave up when I noticed how long it really was.

Basically, I'm excited for the Packers defense for the first time since 2010. I truly think they finally have a top 10 defense again and easily one of the best pass defenses in the NFL. A pass rush as deep and good as the Packers have and one of the deepest secondaries in the NFL full of play makers will do that.

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by bedsidetrash :: Sat, 10/25/2014 - 4:29pm

k

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by mitch :: Sat, 10/25/2014 - 6:07pm

GB is not doing the things Super Bowl winners do. This team is similar to the 15-1 team that lost in the first round to Giants.

Many a web site tried making excuses for that teams defense giving up so many yards, but in the end they were not that good. 2011 all over again for Packer fans.

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by ziuziu :: Tue, 10/28/2014 - 12:23am

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