Just in case Sunday night did not make it clear, defense rules the NFL in 2016. The best teams in overall DVOA all combine top-five defenses with below-average offenses. The Eagles now lead the league in both defense and special teams and are back to No. 1 overall.
17 Nov 2015
by Aaron Schatz
Well, that was certainly an interesting week of games, wasn't it? Road teams went 11-3 in Week 10, while underdogs were somewhere between 9-3 and 11-3 depending on whether your gambling arena of choice listed a "pick 'em" line for the Dallas-Tampa Bay and Washington-New Orleans games. Seven of the top dozen teams in last week's DVOA ratings lost this week at home, and six of those losses were to teams that ranked lower in DVOA. As noted in the Any Given Sunday column earlier today, Andrew Healy's "Surprise Score" would rank Week 10 of 2015 as the second-most surprising group of upsets since 1979, trailing only Week 6 of 2001.
Despite all the upsets, the top four teams in DVOA remain the same and in the same order this week: Patriots, Cardinals, Bengals, and Panthers. However, three of the four teams saw their actual DVOA ratings drop even though they rank in the same places. Yes, I said three of the four. The Patriots at No. 1 fall from 40.0% DVOA to just 34.5% DVOA. The Bengals at No. 3 fall from 30.0% DVOA to 26.5% DVOA.
But here's the surprising one... Arizona at No. 2 plummets from 36.2% DVOA to 30.2% DVOA even though the Cardinals beat the Seahawks this week. Arizona's drop helps explain why Seattle shoots up from ninth (14.0%) to fifth (20.0%) despite losing. The DVOA ratings for this game were very, very different from the final score.
By DVOA, this actually came out as the best game Seattle has played all year, at 79.0%. And it came out as the worst game Arizona has played all year, with a single-game DVOA of -9.0% despite the boost that comes from opponent adjustments for playing Seattle. These numbers are even more surprising given that Arizona won despite Seattle recovering all three of the game's fumbles.
|DVOA (Opponent adjustments included)|
|VOA (No opponent adjustments)|