Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

Most Recent FO Features

JohnsonKer18.jpg

» Seventh Day Adventure: Week 13

The biggest game this week is the Iron Bowl, where the playoff hopes of Alabama, Auburn, and Georgia hang in the balance.

13 Oct 2015

Week 5 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

(Note: The odds for teams going undefeated listed below were artificially high and have been retroactively changed. More details on that can be found here.)

What a difference a year makes.

That's not necessarily true when it comes to which teams are on top of the Football Outsiders DVOA ratings. The New England Patriots are the defending Super Bowl champions, and they are once again No. 1 in DVOA this week after their big win over Dallas. Same old, same old. Sure, the Patriots started last season off slowly, but by Week 5 they had demolished the Cincinnati Bengals and climbed back into the DVOA top ten. Overall, seven of the top ten teams after Week 5 of 2015 also ranked among the top ten teams after Week 5 of 2014. Another team currently in our top ten, Pittsburgh, was No. 11 at this point last year.

No, the difference is in just how well the best teams are playing this year compared to last year. This is what I wrote a year ago after Week 5:

Even with the sizeable gap between Seattle/Denver and the rest of the league, neither of last year's Super Bowl teams is playing at a historic pace. In fact, one of the hallmarks of this season has been the total absence of superlative teams or even units. That's in part reflected in the fact that no team even made it to 4-0 this year, but DVOA gives us an even better look at the situation. In most years, we're usually running tables at this point that talk about where some current team stands among the best or worst teams in DVOA history through X number of weeks. That's not going to happen in 2014. No team this year ranks among the top 20 or bottom 20 teams through Week 5 in total DVOA, offensive DVOA, defensive DVOA, or special teams DVOA.

That's where the difference is. This season absolutely is bringing us some superlative teams, plus a couple of extra good teams that have managed to start undefeated thanks to close wins and/or easy schedules.

As it says above, no team in 2014 started the season at least 4-0. One year later, there are six different teams still undefeated after five weeks: four at 5-0 and two at 4-0. As far as I can tell, this is an NFL record for undefeated teams after Week 5. Looking just at the years we have DVOA for, back to 1989, there are only two other seasons where there were at least four teams undefeated after Week 5. There were five undefeated teams at this point in 2009 (Denver, Indianapolis, Minnesota, and the Giants at 5-0, plus New Orleans at 4-0) and four teams in 2003 (Kansas City, Indianapolis, Minnesota at 5-0, plus Carolina at 4-0). Before 1989, you had no bye weeks and fewer teams, which meant lower odds of multiple undefeated teams this late in the season.

Of course, to the list of superlative teams in 2015 you have to add a one-loss team, the Arizona Cardinals. With their huge win over Detroit this week, the Cardinals rose from 49.8% DVOA to 51.5% DVOA. This is only the second time going back to 1989 that two teams have been over 50% DVOA after Week 5. The other year was 2009, and like this year, those two teams included one undefeated team (New Orleans) and a team that had a single loss but three huge blowout victories (Philadelphia). If you want to go back in time, here's the DVOA ratings commentary from Week 5 of 2009, though the ratings are slightly different from those listed below because of methodology changes in the past six years.

New England and Arizona have been so good this year that they both have climbed onto the list of the ten best teams in DVOA history through Week 5. These numbers are retroactively figured as if we were doing DVOA by our current methodology in those years, so like the ratings now, the opponent adjustments are only 50 percent strength and based solely on games played through Week 5 of that season. New England has a bit of a sample-size advantage over Arizona because they've only played four games, but they would also make a list of the top ten teams ever through four games.

BEST DVOA EVER THROUGH WEEK 5   BEST DVOA EVER THROUGH 4 GAMES
YEAR WEEK TEAM W-L DVOA x YEAR WEEK TEAM W-L DVOA
1991 5 WAS 5-0 71.5% x 2007 4 NE 4-0 73.4%
2007 5 NE 5-0 68.1% x 1991 4 WAS 4-0 71.8%
1999 5 STL 4-0 62.1% x 2013 4 DEN 4-0 62.2%
2009 5 PHI 3-1 57.1% x 1999 5 STL 4-0 62.1%
2006 5 CHI 5-0 56.3% x 1996 4 GB 3-1 60.8%
2015 5 NE 4-0 55.9% x 2009 5 PHI 3-1 57.1%
2009 5 NO 4-0 54.4% x 2015 5 NE 4-0 55.9%
1992 5 PHI 4-0 54.2% x 1989 4 CLE1 3-1 54.8%
1996 5 GB 4-1 53.5% x 2009 5 NO 4-0 54.4%
2015 5 ARI 4-1 51.5% x 1998 4 DEN 4-0 54.3%
2013 5 DEN 5-0 51.3% x 1992 5 PHI 4-0 54.2%
2001 5 PHI 2-2 49.8% x 1992 4 BUF 4-0 51.5%

What's interesting is that New England and Arizona have been dominant overall without being historically great in any one area of the game. The Patriots come closest; their current offensive DVOA of 38.1% ranks 11th all-time through Week 5. But both teams are well-rounded. Both teams currently rank in the top ten in offense, defense, and special teams. Yes, New England really has climbed into the top ten on defense. You might fault our opponent adjustments for this, because we use a single opponent adjustment for the entire season. The Patriots get a little bit of a boost because we're comparing their performance against Brandon Weeden to how the Cowboys offense played both with Weeden and Romo. But that's actually countered by the fact that the Patriots played the Steelers with Ben Roethlisberger, but are being compared to how defenses have fared against both Roethlisberger and Michael Vick.

There are actually four teams far ahead of the rest of the league in DVOA. Green Bay and Cincinnati are also above 30%, with no other team above 20%. And Green Bay and Cincinnati have also been strong teams in all three phases of the game so far this season. They don't rank in the top ten in all three phases, but they are each above average in all three phases.

I should also note that there is no equivalent to New England and Arizona on the other side of the league, now that Chicago has won a couple games after playing so badly in its first three. The last-place team in DVOA right now is San Francisco at -40.8%, but the 49ers don't even make a list of the 40 worst teams in DVOA through Week 5. The worst offense (Denver), defense (New Orleans), and special teams (Houston) are nowhere close to being historically awful.

Last week, I talked about how strong the chances are for teams to finish the 2015 regular season with a 16-0 record, and those chances have just gotten stronger with five of the six undefeated teams adding another win in Week 5. Last week's playoff odds simulation gave a 9.4 percent chance of at least one team finishing 16-0. This week, that's up to a 16.2 percent chance of at least one team finishing 16-0. (That includes overlap where multiple teams finish 16-0; add up each team's individual odds and you get 17.0 percent.) The playoff odds simulation is based on DAVE, our metric which combines performance so far with preseason projections. For New England, Green Bay, and especially Cincinnati, performance so far is far exceeding our preseason projection. Each week those teams continue to play well, they not only turn another possible loss into a definite win, they also see their DAVE increase because this year's performance becomes a larger part of the equation. The same is true for Atlanta and Carolina, though those teams are not playing as well as the other three. Denver is the only one of the six undefeated teams not currently outplaying its preseason projection, but the Broncos are still putting wins into the win column and increasing their chances of going 16-0.

The Patriots are by far the most likely team to go undefeated this year. The huge win over Dallas increased their DAVE rating so much that our odds of New England going 16-0 again went from 4.1 percent to 9.4 percent this week. It also helps that future opponents such as Indianapolis, Denver, and Miami keep underperforming compared to preseason projections, although games against the Eagles and Giants certainly look harder now than they did a week ago.

Surprisingly, Cincinnati's odds of going 16-0 only increased from 1.3 percent to 1.5 percent despite beating Seattle, one of the toughest opponents on their schedule. The problem for Cincinnati is the schedule going forward. We currently have the Bengals' remaining schedule ranked 15th, but that's strongly split into games against poor teams and good teams. The Bengals only have one game against the other undefeated teams, at Denver in Week 16, but they also have to go to Arizona in Week 11. (Another undefeated team, Green Bay, also has to go to Arizona to play in Week 16.)

In addition, DVOA says the AFC North is a lot better than people seem to think this season. You may be surprised to see Pittsburgh ranking No. 5 in DVOA despite the two games with Michael Vick at quarterback. The Steelers are still fourth in offense despite the Vick games, because they bulldozed the 49ers in Week 2 and made a late comeback attempt against the Patriots in Week 1. Roethlisberger should be back by Week 8, the first of two Bengals-Steelers matchups. The Steelers are also surprisingly average on defense so far this year, a huge improvement from their performance in 2014. The Bengals also still have two games against Cleveland, which climbed up to a surprising 19th in DVOA after beating the Ravens. And the Ravens themselves still rank 16th in DVOA despite their 1-4 start; the good news for Cincinnati is that the rematch isn't until Week 17, it's in Cincinnati, and the Ravens will likely have nothing to play for.

Another team that DVOA suggests is better than its record is Seattle. That's not a surprise, right? Even if we look only at 2015 performance, not using DAVE which incorporates the preseason forecast which had Seattle as the projected No. 1 team in the NFL, the Seahawks are still a top-ten team at 2-3. It certainly seems like the Seahawks should improve on their current ranking of 12th in defense. Their defensive DVOA was 14.4% in Weeks 1-2, but is -12.6% since Kam Chancellor returned in Week 3. Perhaps more of a surprise is that the offense, which looks like it is struggling significantly, comes out as average in DVOA and currently ranks 14th. The Seahawks rank just 22nd passing the ball but are fifth running with the ball (including Russell Wilson runs).

Seattle's best unit so far has actually been special teams, where the Seahawks are No. 1 in the league right now. The Seahawks were fifth in special teams when they won the Super Bowl, but just 18th a year ago. This year, the Tyler Lockett experience has returned this unit to glory. The Seahawks rank third in our ratings for kickoff returns, and fourth for punt returns. Steven Hauschka has also been excellent at kicker, and the Seahawks are No. 3 in both field goals and kickoffs. The only problem has been punt returns, where Seattle is usually strong but has been let down this season. Tavon Austin had a 75-yard return touchdown in Week 1, but the bigger problems were against Cincinnati this week. The Bengals had five different punt returns of 10 or more yards, and the three longest (17 yards by Brandon Tate and 19 and 35 yards by Adam Jones) came in the fourth quarter and overtime, setting up the Bengals drives that made the 17-point comeback win possible.

* * * * *

Once again in 2015, we have teamed up with EA Sports to bring Football Outsiders-branded player content to Madden 16 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 5 are:

  • RE Jurrell Casey, TEN (24-HOUR HERO): 6 combined tackles, 1.5 sacks, 3 QB hits.
  • WR Julian Edelman, NE: Finished No. 3 among Week 5 wide receivers with 53 DYAR (4-of-5 on passes for 120 yards and a TD).
  • C Khaled Holmes, IND: Helped limit J.J. Watt to 2 assists and no sacks; Colts running backs averaged 4.8 yards per carry on runs up the middle.
  • CB Quinten Rollins, GB: 2 interceptions including a pick-six, plus a run tackle to prevent conversion on third-and-2.
  • RB Shane Vereen, NYG: Finished No. 3 among Week 5 running backs with 53 DYAR (8-of-8 on passes for 86 yards and a TD, plus 5 carries for 24 yards).

* * * * *

All stats pages are now updated with Week 5 information, including FO Premium, snap counts and playoff odds.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through five weeks of 2015, 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 50 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 27 percent of DAVE for teams with five games played, and 40 percent of DAVE for teams with four games played.

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 NE 55.9% 1 41.3% 1 4-0 38.1% 1 -8.7% 9 9.1% 3
2 ARI 51.5% 2 36.2% 2 4-1 25.2% 3 -22.2% 3 4.1% 6
3 GB 41.2% 3 32.5% 3 5-0 20.1% 5 -19.3% 4 1.8% 13
4 CIN 32.3% 4 25.1% 4 5-0 30.2% 2 -1.5% 14 0.6% 15
5 PIT 18.5% 6 14.6% 6 3-2 20.7% 4 -0.2% 15 -2.4% 24
6 NYJ 15.6% 9 9.3% 10 3-1 -4.2% 20 -26.7% 2 -6.9% 30
7 BUF 15.4% 8 9.5% 9 3-2 7.9% 8 -7.3% 10 0.2% 16
8 NYG 15.3% 11 10.4% 8 3-2 9.8% 7 -1.6% 13 3.8% 7
9 SEA 11.7% 12 15.3% 5 2-3 -1.0% 14 -1.7% 12 10.9% 1
10 DEN 11.1% 7 12.2% 7 5-0 -26.7% 32 -31.9% 1 5.9% 4
11 CAR 10.0% 10 4.7% 13 4-0 0.6% 11 -19.2% 5 -9.7% 31
12 PHI 8.8% 17 7.7% 11 2-3 -5.0% 22 -12.8% 7 1.0% 14
13 ATL 8.7% 5 7.2% 12 5-0 13.1% 6 2.8% 17 -1.6% 22
14 TEN 3.7% 15 -4.1% 18 1-3 -2.0% 16 -12.6% 8 -6.9% 29
15 WAS 2.7% 18 -3.0% 16 2-3 -2.5% 17 -5.4% 11 -0.2% 18
16 BAL 0.3% 14 1.8% 14 1-4 -0.9% 13 4.6% 19 5.8% 5
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 OAK -1.0% 16 -3.0% 17 2-3 -1.2% 15 3.2% 18 3.5% 8
18 STL -3.3% 13 -0.5% 15 2-3 -19.1% 30 -13.9% 6 1.9% 12
19 CLE -7.6% 24 -8.0% 22 2-3 -3.3% 19 14.1% 27 9.8% 2
20 SD -8.6% 23 -4.8% 20 2-3 4.1% 10 6.8% 22 -6.0% 26
21 MIN -10.8% 20 -4.2% 19 2-2 -4.3% 21 5.9% 20 -0.6% 20
22 IND -11.1% 21 -6.6% 21 3-2 -5.5% 23 7.6% 23 2.0% 11
23 KC -13.7% 27 -8.7% 23 1-4 -0.5% 12 16.0% 29 2.7% 9
24 DAL -13.8% 19 -10.6% 24 2-3 -6.0% 24 6.2% 21 -1.7% 23
25 JAC -17.2% 26 -17.0% 26 1-4 -2.7% 18 8.2% 24 -6.3% 27
26 NO -18.4% 25 -12.9% 25 1-4 4.3% 9 21.8% 32 -0.8% 21
27 TB -23.4% 29 -20.6% 29 2-3 -21.8% 31 1.1% 16 -0.5% 19
28 DET -26.9% 22 -18.7% 27 0-5 -14.8% 28 12.0% 25 -0.2% 17
29 MIA -28.5% 28 -18.9% 28 1-3 -13.3% 26 17.9% 30 2.6% 10
30 CHI -30.7% 31 -24.3% 30 2-3 -9.3% 25 14.7% 28 -6.7% 28
31 HOU -36.7% 30 -28.2% 31 1-4 -14.1% 27 12.2% 26 -10.4% 32
32 SF -40.8% 32 -31.3% 32 1-4 -15.4% 29 21.0% 31 -4.3% 25
  • 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 NE 55.9% 4-0 50.4% 5.0 1 0.7% 15 -1.4% 20 1.6% 3
2 ARI 51.5% 4-1 59.6% 4.6 3 -24.0% 32 5.6% 7 15.4% 24
3 GB 41.2% 5-0 42.6% 5.0 1 -15.4% 29 -5.2% 25 3.7% 9
4 CIN 32.3% 5-0 33.2% 4.3 5 -2.3% 20 1.8% 15 8.5% 15
5 PIT 18.5% 3-2 21.0% 3.0 10 0.7% 16 8.9% 2 15.9% 25
6 NYJ 15.6% 3-1 33.8% 4.6 4 -9.6% 26 5.6% 8 8.4% 13
7 BUF 15.4% 3-2 23.1% 2.6 15 7.1% 7 1.9% 14 14.1% 22
8 NYG 15.3% 3-2 14.5% 3.4 6 -5.6% 23 0.6% 18 2.1% 5
9 SEA 11.7% 2-3 11.8% 2.8 12 2.5% 11 1.3% 16 13.3% 21
10 DEN 11.1% 5-0 23.2% 3.3 7 -10.4% 27 6.1% 6 1.0% 2
11 CAR 10.0% 4-0 24.4% 3.2 8 -23.9% 31 2.9% 12 1.0% 1
12 PHI 8.8% 2-3 9.3% 2.9 11 -1.0% 19 6.7% 4 12.6% 20
13 ATL 8.7% 5-0 15.0% 3.2 9 -4.7% 22 -12.7% 32 3.5% 8
14 TEN 3.7% 1-3 1.6% 2.5 17 -6.6% 25 -6.4% 29 32.6% 31
15 WAS 2.7% 2-3 2.3% 2.7 13 0.2% 18 1.9% 13 10.9% 19
16 BAL 0.3% 1-4 0.2% 2.6 14 10.7% 6 -0.5% 19 1.6% 4
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
17 OAK -1.0% 2-3 -0.9% 2.5 16 1.1% 13 0.7% 17 16.4% 26
18 STL -3.3% 2-3 -9.6% 2.2 20 25.1% 1 -7.7% 30 8.5% 14
19 CLE -7.6% 2-3 -4.9% 2.4 18 2.0% 12 10.8% 1 22.3% 28
20 SD -8.6% 2-3 -9.3% 2.3 19 1.1% 14 -3.8% 24 8.1% 12
21 MIN -10.8% 2-2 3.8% 2.2 21 -16.3% 30 5.3% 9 23.8% 29
22 IND -11.1% 3-2 -15.6% 1.7 22 -3.8% 21 -1.5% 21 6.8% 10
23 KC -13.7% 1-4 -12.5% 1.4 28 3.5% 10 -1.7% 22 7.8% 11
24 DAL -13.8% 2-3 -21.0% 1.5 26 14.1% 4 6.5% 5 8.9% 16
25 JAC -17.2% 1-4 -15.0% 1.5 24 0.6% 17 -5.8% 27 3.1% 7
26 NO -18.4% 1-4 -22.5% 1.6 23 6.6% 8 -6.0% 28 10.6% 18
27 TB -23.4% 2-3 -22.8% 1.5 25 -11.7% 28 -2.1% 23 27.7% 30
28 DET -26.9% 0-5 -33.4% 0.5 31 11.0% 5 -5.3% 26 10.5% 17
29 MIA -28.5% 1-3 -25.7% 1.4 27 4.1% 9 8.4% 3 14.9% 23
30 CHI -30.7% 2-3 -35.1% 0.9 30 17.9% 3 -8.8% 31 17.1% 27
31 HOU -36.7% 1-4 -34.2% 0.3 32 -5.9% 24 3.1% 11 2.4% 6
32 SF -40.8% 1-4 -44.3% 1.0 29 23.1% 2 4.0% 10 33.4% 32

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 13 Oct 2015

100 comments, Last at 20 Oct 2015, 10:05pm by Tomlin_Is_Infallible

Comments

1
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 6:51pm

Give the Giants some injury and recovery luck, and I expect them to have one of the top two or three weighted offenses by the end of the year, and then heaven help any playoff opponent who only fields two competent corners.

Atlanta really just might be able to ride a super easy schedule to HFA, and then their defensive weaknesses can be greatly covered for.

I'm rooting for Pittsburgh to win everything, for what it will do to a certain regular poster on this site who holds the head coach of his favorite team in utter contempt. Watching fans of teams suffer hideously, when their teams lose elimination games in heartbreaking fashion, appeals to the sadist in me. Watching a fan suffer hideously, when his favorite team experiences the greatest success, would be too entertaining for words!

3
by Tomlin_Is_Infallible :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 7:12pm

The same inept chucklehead that didn't even realize his team got shortchanged 18 seconds @ crunchtime last night by the corrupt homecooking timekeeper?

Contempt is not even close to the right word.

--------------------------------------
The standard is the standard!

4
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 7:18pm

Like I said, I'm pullin' for ya'! Hell, they get to the last game, or even the 2nd to last game, I'll be whirlin' a yellow fabric around my living room!

2
by ammek :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 7:11pm

The Patriots' surprisingly strong defense is going to look stronger still by the end of the season, at least by traditional stats. Their remaining schedule pits them against only two offenses currently in the top 15 – the Giants at #7 and Buffalo, which is remarkably still #8.

If they can avoid Cincinnati in the playoffs the Pats could get all the way to the Superbowl without playing another good offense.

19
by CaffeineMan :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 12:33am

That Giants-Pats game is going to be very interesting. Despite DVOA, I'm not yet a believer in the Pats defense.

23
by ncuba :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 6:57am

The game in week 10... or L?

39
by PirateFreedom :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 10:26am

I think the corners are suspect.
A good QB with a collection of decent receivers will find some easy match ups.
That third receiver who can win one on one is hard to scheme around.

I like Butler and McCourty but the rest of the DBs make me nervous.

97
by Nathan :: Sun, 10/18/2015 - 1:44am

Agreed, Pats have a good front 7, with great LBs and a better pass rush then they've had in years, they have the defensive firepower to generate negative plays, sacks and tackles for losses (especially with 5 man pressure), and ballhawking safeties that can generate turnovers on poorly thrown or ill advised deep routes when mediocre QBs try to make up for said negative plays. The defense seems to be predicated on getting 2-3 3rd and longs per drive and betting that you won't be able to convert one of them before they run out of field. What they have yet to do is face a QB (besides Roethlisberger) who can consistently dig his team out from the odd 2nd and 16 or 3rd and 11. I think once they do, we might see the corner depth exposed.

41
by Steve B :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 10:37am

"...the Pats could get all the way to the SB without playing another good offense"

Steelers?

47
by aces4me :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 11:24am

Possible, but Steelers are a long shot to get into the playoffs at this point.

After a bit more research I guess they aren't as long a shot as it feels right now. I guess a lot will hinge on how quickly and how completely Ben recovers.

48
by Steve B :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 11:27am

They currently hold the #2 WC spot and should have all three of Ben, Bryant and Shazier back by next weekend + Pouncey a couple weeks after that. Outlook for winning the AFC North is cloudy, but they haven't played the Bengals yet.

49
by aces4me :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 11:32am

I may not be looking in the right place but the NFL site I am looking at has them at #7 not #6.

51
by tuluse :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 11:37am

Yeah the Bills have the better in conference record right now. Of course trying to figure this out after week 5 is rather pointless.

53
by Steve B :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 11:40am

Looks like you're correct. The Bills are also 3-2 and one of their losses was to the Giants. Regardless, hardly a "longshot".

61
by BJR :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 1:16pm

Likely nobody is making it into the AFC playoffs as a wildcard from the South or West. Bills, Jets and Steelers are the clear front-runners for the two spots. Yes, calling them a longshot is absurd.

62
by Tomlin_Is_Infallible :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 1:20pm

With the return to EJ Manuel @ QB, I think we can chalk the Buffalo season up as "done" .

--------------------------------------
The standard is the standard!

90
by RickD :: Thu, 10/15/2015 - 4:57pm

Oddly, all three of the Jets, Steelers, and Bills are now reduced to playing their backup QB.

Only the Jets are happy about that.

All the teams below these three are also below .500 right now. The expected threats might be KC, San Diego, and Baltimore. KC and Baltimore are both 1-4 and look awful. With Charles gone, I think we can write off the Chiefs. I don't quite know what's up with the Ravens, but they're out West again, and they will probably lose in Arizona at be at best 2-5 after that. The Chargers have serious flaws but might be the team to beware of should two of the top three falter.

Does anybody believe in the Browns or Raiders? I believe in the skeleton of the Raiders, but I think they're a year or two off. And then they'll be scary. As for the Browns, if they can beat a vulnerable Denver team, then I'll take them seriously.

Then there's the AFC South. Best to not discuss them in polite company.

93
by Raiderfan :: Fri, 10/16/2015 - 10:54am

Yes, some people do believe in the Raiders, and are looking forward to seeing the, back in the postseason.
I agree they are a year away from taking their division, though.

96
by mehllageman56 :: Fri, 10/16/2015 - 12:50pm

The Raiders may be a bigger threat than people realize. They get the Jets at home, and that may be a favorable matchup for them. The Jets have no tight ends to speak of, and that's been the huge weakness in the Raiders' defense.

5
by HPaddict :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 7:43pm

Has someone done analysis on the predictive accuracy of playoffs odds? I would consider betting 10 bucks on either the Patriots or the Packers not making the playoffs at ~130 to 1.

6
by Thok :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 7:49pm

The problem is that an Aaron Rogers injury or a Tom Brady suspension might be enough to keep either team out of the playoffs, and such events probably have an unknown but non-trivial chance of occuring.

7
by HPaddict :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 8:03pm

Yeah, those were my thoughts as well. I guess I don't understand how I am supposed to interpret the numbers without just describing how they were calculated.

Edit: Or maybe I don't understand how they are calculated. Are the team strengths updated inside each trajectory?

13
by NYMike :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 10:09pm

They're calculated by running season simulations 25,000 times, based on performance to date.

50
by HPaddict :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 11:36am

No internal updating then. I'd be interested to see if anything changes drastically if updating were to be incorporated. I know playoff previews have game-by-game DVOA ratings, but do cumulative DVOA trajectories exist anywhere?

46
by TADontAsk :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 11:17am

I think a Brady/Rodgers injury would also cause them to re-calculate those probabilities, similar to what they've done with Pittsburgh and Dallas. The current probabilities are for the current rosters, as far as I understand.

16
by anotherpatsfan :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 11:56pm

Tom Brady injury perhaps has non-trivial chance of occurring, but suspension has no chance of occurring this season.

25
by Kevin from Philly :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 7:57am

Except for the non-trivial chance that they get caught doing something else.

31
by RickD :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 9:14am

They didn't get "caught" doing the last thing.

35
by Guest789 :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 9:57am

Oh god, please not this debate again.

42
by bsims :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 10:41am

Come on, let's focus on what's important here: wildly speculating what the next set of allegations will be.

Tying their shoes using illegal knots? Really low water pressure in the visiting team's locker room? Is Edelman a 13-year-old undocumented immigrant? Did Belichick summon a football-playing demon, then cut it for being late to a team meeting? Wearing pink outside of October? Robert Kraft's wardrobe being too stereotypically rich white man-y?

55
by justanothersteve :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 12:08pm

Finally, something meaningful about this controversy.

73
by Bobman :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 3:12pm

@anotherpatsfan, you are ignoring the potential for a suspension for wearing Uggs in public. You know how uniform-conscious the NFL is and it's just a matter of time before those things are outlawed.

And before you object, I fully expect any appeals court to uphold that suspension.

76
by CaffeineMan :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 3:37pm

Heh. Probably would uphold the suspension at that...

Adding to the probability of a Brady injury: Pats LT Solder is now out for the season with a torn bicep.

How's the Indy pass rush these days? They are listed here as having six sacks but are ranked 31st in adjusted sack rate.

79
by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 3:59pm

The Solder injury is definitely not a good thing - but I don't think it's a huge deal - he's been a bit shaky this season, and Cannon has been decent.

I think the big problem is that if Vollmer continues to sporadically miss games, they're going to either have a guard playing tackle, or be pulling someone off the PS

83
by anotherpatsfan :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 10:45pm

Nice - agree the Uggs are eye-rolling and should be scrutinized carefully by the NFL...

18
by CaffeineMan :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 12:31am

Given what I've read about the hearing schedule, I think the probability of Brady being suspended this season is quite low. On the other hand, given the 5 sacks against the Dallas pass rush and the 3 games against the #1 and #2 defenses, you can replace that with a non-trivial probability of injury.

*edit* Ha! Too slow on my post.

94
by Steve in WI :: Fri, 10/16/2015 - 12:13pm

I might consider it too just for the potential payout, but I'm not sure that 130 to 1 would be such a great deal on odds. The Packers could go 5-6 the rest of the season and still get to 10 wins which is typically enough for a wild card spot, if needed. There is also the chance that a 9 or even 8 win team could win the division since none of the other teams look strong. The team is strong enough and well-coached enough (in terms of developing players - not so much on in-game decisions) that I think even with Rodgers injured they'd stand a very good chance of winning 5 more games this season.

The Patriots of course have one fewer win "banked" at this point, but I think they're even better coached. They do seem to have a more competitive division than the Packers though.

95
by tuluse :: Fri, 10/16/2015 - 12:38pm

If I've done my math right, FO odds are 1:77 that either the Patriots or Packers don't make the playoffs. So 1:130 is a "good" bet, but it's still really rare that it will actually happen.

8
by Led :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 8:11pm

Boy, Jets fans were spoiled by a decade of Mike Westoff coaching special teams. Whatever Bobby April is drawing up for punt coverage, it ain't working and he should do something else. April's ST in Buffalo were awesome, but since then...meh.

9
by Jerry :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 9:09pm

The Steelers are also surprisingly average on defense so far this year...

It's correct, but this is a sentence I never expected to read.

10
by Tomlin_Is_Infallible :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 9:11pm

yep, personnel wise on the back end, they were a predictable dumpster fire.

of course, without Cockrell pickup, those stats go down....

also helps that the new DC actually is letting the DL penetrate to
account for the fack the OLB play is not generating enough pressure.

--------------------------------------
The standard is the standard!

11
by tuluse :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 10:01pm

I'd be very curious to see DVOA splits for the Bears with and without Cutler. Both defense and offense. Does the defense improve with a non-useless offense? Secondarily I'd be interested to see if the defense gets worse after so many plays.

15
by dank067 :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 10:31pm

My intuition agrees with you that defensive DVOA might decline when your offense is hapless thanks to number of plays and situational effects. But was the Bears defense actually that much worse in the 6+ quarters Clausen played? The Cardinals had one of their second half TDs set up by a short field and Seattle struggled a bit on offense and had a return TD.

12
by dank067 :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 10:05pm

Some fun DVOA splits this week. Denver is #1 in defensive DVOA (-31.9%) and #32 in offensive DVOA (-26.7%). Jets have a similar profile at #2 defense (-26.7%) and #20 offense (-4.2%), but looking at those numbers... how in the hell is the Jets offense doing *that* much better than the Broncos??

GB has the #1 passing defense (-39.4%) but the #31 rushing defense (5.1%). Tennessee similarly has the #3 pass defense (-28.9%) and the #28 run defense (2.0%).

The Packers fan in me is ecstatic at how well the defense is playing, but also knows full well the extent to which a bad run defense can burn you in certain matchups (Seattle, SF, and Adrian Peterson in recent years), even if DVOA (correctly, I think) makes it clear that pass defense is more important.

36
by Oscar Wild :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 10:18am

I would agree the bad run defense would be troubling except that the packers have played 3 or 4 very dangerous rushing based offenses and have mostly contained what were fatal flaws in previous seasons. Specifically mobile QBs Wilson and Kapernick. They also more or less neutralized Gurley, who looks like a phenom and Jamal Charles. My biggest fear is that they are probably an injury or two from becoming decidedly average on defense.

58
by shoutingloudly :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 12:53pm

Did a quick Google search of FO and couldn't find an immediate answer. What are the biggest splits in the DVOA database between a team's offensive and defensive prowess? Surely the Broncos' current difference of 58.8% is at least uncommon (doesn't happen every year), yes?

The defense is more than 5 points better than the next-best squad, and the offense is almost 5 points worse than next-to-last. That's pretty stinkin' weird.

(To say nothing of how awful it is to watch the offense every week. Ye gods. Thomas and Sanders are practically the only saving grace. It's almost like having two versions of 2010 Larry Fitzgerald on the same team.)

85
by Grendel13G :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 11:39pm

I would be very interested in this answer, as well. The #1 defense vs #32 offense split has been there for weeks now, and every week I think how unprecedented it's got to be.

Ye gods, indeed.

14
by Thok :: Tue, 10/13/2015 - 10:23pm

Incidentally, where does Atlanta's schedule rank historically? It's got to be in the bottom 10, right? (Obviously this will change with opponent adjustments and future play, but it's probably worth noting now.)

17
by Eleutheria :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 12:11am

To me by far the most interesting thing for this weeks stats is the seemingly massive 21.4% chance of a Packers-Patriots Super Bowl.

28
by PirateFreedom :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 8:43am

I think the odds of both would be the product of the odds of each, approx 0.2 X 0.3 = 0.06

34
by Tomlin_Is_Infallible :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 9:47am

Uhhhhh......

--------------------------------------
The standard is the standard!

52
by Arkaein :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 11:39am

You're multiplying the Superbowl win odds.

The Superbowl appearance odds (aka Conf Win) are 54.7% and 39.7%. 0.55 x 0.4 = 0.22.

68
by The Ninjalectual :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 2:45pm

So what you're saying is there's a 6% chance that both the Pates and Packers win the super bowl this year?

71
by Tomlin_Is_Infallible :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 3:09pm

https://media.giphy.com/media/1guRIRFV5gN4ikrUakg/giphy.gif

It's beautiful.
--------------------------------------
The standard is the standard!

81
by NYMike :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 10:02pm

I know you're just trolling, but don't confuse independent events (the Packers and the Pats road to the Super Bowl) with dependent events (they play each other in the Super Bowl, and obviously only one can win ... so multiplying doesn't work anymore).

84
by dbostedo :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 11:10pm

I don't think he was trolling... I think he was joking. There's a difference.

91
by RickD :: Thu, 10/15/2015 - 5:01pm

FWIW, that would be .547 (Prob Pats win AFC) x .397 (Prob GB wins NFC) = .217. (Prob GB-NE Super Bowl).

20
by MrPerfect :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 2:49am

NE has the #25 DVOA rush Defense at -0.7%?? o_O So that means 25/32 teams according to DVOA have above average Rush Defenses so far.

I understand that this may be because it is partly graded relative to prior years, although having 25/32 ranked as above average seems quite odd to see.

26
by Ghost Shock :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 8:07am

"NE has the #25 DVOA rush Defense at -0.7%?? o_O So that means 25/32 teams according to DVOA have above average Rush Defenses so far."

What?

League average run defense per play is something like -13% because, on average, rushing isn't as rewarding as passing.

(By definition, 25/32 teams could not have above-average run defenses.)

27
by Tomlin_Is_Infallible :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 8:10am

"(By definition, 25/32 teams could not have above-average run defenses.)"

You sure about that?

--------------------------------------
The standard is the standard!

30
by PirateFreedom :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 9:08am

average vs median

33
by White Rose Duelist :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 9:34am

In this case, they certainly could. First, DVOA is being compared against 25 years of historical averages, so 25 teams are above the average of the 700+ teams in the sample. Considering how running is deemphasized recently, this isn't that surprising.

Also, since DVOA is calculated on a play-by-play basis, the totals can have an unusual distribution. Hypothetically, if one team has all 3.125% of the worst run plays of the year, and the other results were relatively evenly distributed, you could actually have 31 of 32 teams above average (though there would still only be 16 above the median.)

56
by ronnyo :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 12:45pm

If 31 teams had a -20% and one team had a 0%, then 31/32 teams would have above-average run defenses. I think you're confusing average (mean) with median.

86
by Aaron Schatz :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 11:47pm

I believe this is explained on the offense and defense stats pages, but team pass offense/defense and team run offense/defense are compared to a baseline of ALL plays, not just passes or runs. Therefore, almost all teams will be positive on passes and negative on runs, because passing is generally more efficient than running. ZERO PERCENT is the average of ALL PLAYS being considered in DVOA (including the penalties that are measured for offenses only), not the average of ALL RUNS and ALL PASSES separately.

However, to correct White Rose Duelist, DVOA does not compare every play to a baseline made up of 25 years of data. We changed the formula a couple years ago to normalize every season so that every season ends up averaging zero. Otherwise, a league-average offense would have an amazing 9.5% DVOA right now!

88
by Tomlin_Is_Infallible :: Thu, 10/15/2015 - 9:16am

it might be interesting if you had that as an extra column in the table every year.

--------------------------------------
The standard is the standard!

21
by bubqr :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 3:24am

Is the FO crowd really thinking of the Cards, Falcons and Bengals as serious SB contenders? I really, really don't know what to make of those teams. I keep thinking the first 2 are overrated, and the 3rd one, well, is waiting for the "real" Dalton to show up, but as weeks go by, I'm wondering if I should change my point of view. DVOA at least seem to agree on the Falcons.

24
by BJR :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 7:32am

Cincinnati is perfectly healthy on offence right now. If (or more likely when) injuries hit we'll likely see a decline. That's when we'll start hearing stories about the 'real' Dalton showing up.

37
by tuluse :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 10:19am

The Cards have stomped every team but one and that was a nail biter they barely lost. The only team that's looked better is the Patriots.

92
by RickD :: Thu, 10/15/2015 - 5:08pm

Cards? Yes. Falcons? Maybe. Bengals? Not quite yet.

The Bengals have played a soft schedule, aside from Seattle and whatever is left of Baltimore. Dalton didn't suddenly become an elite QB, so I'm expecting some drop off. Their next two games (@BUF, @PIT) should clarify some things. Later in the season they'll also have road games at Arizona and at Denver. Plus the usual problems of their division, whose weakest team could win the AFC South.

The questions are whether Dalton and Lewis can be trusted in the playoffs.

If Arizona wins the NFC West (which I think they will do), they are definitely a serious threat to Green Bay.

22
by ammek :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 4:07am

I'm a little surprised that Houston is the favorite for the top pick. Its future schedule is not as easy as I imagined, the AFC East being the strongest division in spite of imploding Miami.

It would be the third time in 11 years the Texans drafted first overall, and quite possibly for the third time there won't be a quarterback worth selecting.

32
by RickD :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 9:19am

Ironically, the stench that is the AFC South should make it less likely that any of those teams get the #1 pick. Somebody has to win all those intra-divisional games. And even the Colts have fallen back to the pack. A weak team from a division that is otherwise strong (like, say, the 49ers) ought to have a better shot.

I guess that explains why the 49ers have better odds of being in the top 3, even though Houston has the best odds of getting the #1 pick.

29
by Noah Arkadia :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 8:45am

So for all their issues the Eagles are still 12th in DVOA. Interesting. I guess the surprising thing is they've been doing it on defense.

------
Who, me?

57
by TecmoBoso :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 12:47pm

Did it on D last year too.

38
by Independent George :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 10:22am

Denver's offensive DVOA just makes me sad. I want Peyton to win, but I don't want him to win as Dilfer.

40
by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 10:32am

no way Raiders are worse than Seattle tnenessee, Wash, balt and Eags. Raiders have same record than those teams and better than two of them. Raiders lost ot better quality teams such as undefeated Bengals and broncos. Raiders still top half of league team eben wikth losing record. Can still exceed my predicted record of 12-4.

43
by bsims :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 11:01am

Let me reformat that:

"Oakland is clearly ranked too low because Raiders have same record than Seattle tnenessee, Wash, balt and Eags and better than two of them. Raiders lost ot better quality teams such as undefeated Bengals and broncos. My personal power ranking is way better than this. Raiders still top half of league team eben wikth losing record. Can still exceed my predicted record of 12-4."

Not trying to put words in your mouth or say you're not entitled to your opinion, but FO does provide a format for these types of complaints. Makes it easier for everyone.

54
by Hummingbird Cyborg :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 11:53am

Raiderjoe is above the rules and will do as he passes while typing awesome content while drinking Sierra Nevada.

44
by Bright Blue Shorts :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 11:02am

Thing is bsims ... RJ did follow the template and include some bad spelling as it prefers :-)

45
by big10freak :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 11:13am

The Packers defense is likely overrated a bit but not horribly so. At minimum it's fun to see the defense make successful aggressive plays on a semi-regular basis. Matthews mad dash up the A gap on Sunday is not possible if he's not confident in his peers holding the fort should his initial attempt fail or be delayed.

72
by Oscar Wild :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 3:11pm

Yeah, the whole defense looks a lot more mobile. I think a big part of that is getting rid of AJ Hawk, who was a solid linebacker if you ran into him, but had the speed of a tackling dummy.

59
by TecmoBoso :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 12:54pm

Surprising: Denver being so low. I get it, but still surprising. I'd throw Minnesota onto the list of surprisingly low. The Lions sure seem like a better team than they are by any measure you'd like to use.

On the flip side: surprised to see Tennessee and Washington being so high. Eagles and Saints too. Tennessee/Was/Philly strike me as a below average teams, though I guess the Eagles do have a good D. Saints offensive being 9th is a little surprising.

60
by Will Allen :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 1:02pm

Minnesota is so low because they made the 32nd ranked team look like the 1962 Packers in the opening game.

63
by Jovins :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 1:33pm

Can anyone explain that game? It was one of the weirdest results I've seen in hindsight.

64
by Will Allen :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 1:49pm

Road openers are always a challenge, and then you had it with 7:15 PM start on the West Coast, meaning a 9:15 start Central time. Go look at how East Coast teams do on regular Monday Night games on the West Coast, which is a 9:30 start Eastern time zone. The fact that the Vikings were favored made that game likely the easisest wager that the sharps will have all year.

66
by LyleNM :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 2:20pm

But Will, Monday night games start at 9:30 Eastern no matter which time zone they are actually played in.

67
by big10freak :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 2:22pm

Incorrect. MNF games begin typically at 8:30 or so EST. But the first game of the season MNF has a doubleheader leading the second game to start later than usual

69
by Will Allen :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 2:50pm

Yes, that is what I meant to write. Every other week, MNF has a 8:30 start time Eastern, and East coast teams do unusually poorly when they travel to the West Coast for Monday Nights, as the opponents' circadian clocks are at 5:30. In this game, the West Coast team's circadian clock was at 7:15, and the oppenents circadian clock was at 9:15. The Vikings certainly played like it was past their bedtime.

70
by leviramsey :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 2:58pm

Eastern/Central timezone teams in games played after 9:00 Eastern, from 2006 onwards:

  • 2015 (Week 1): Vikings lose 20-3
  • 2013 (Week 1): Texans win 31-28
  • 2010 (Week 1): Chiefs win 21-14
65
by Tomlin_Is_Infallible :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 2:13pm

It's interesting, none of the last 3 seasons look remotely alike
through week 5

2013: http://i.imgur.com/AWphOnal.jpg
2014: http://i.imgur.com/9NzhF5Bl.jpg
2015: http://i.imgur.com/mgrPyI8l.jpg
--------------------------------------
The standard is the standard!

82
by Tomlin_Is_Infallible :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 10:11pm

Wonder if this will hold up to this extreme
--------------------------------------
The standard is the standard!

100
by Tomlin_Is_Infallible :: Tue, 10/20/2015 - 10:05pm

I had hoped to update by now,
tomorrow is crazy busy for Prof TomlinHater

will have to wait to Thursday, not that you care, apparently.

--------------------------------------
The standard is the standard!

74
by medelste :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 3:12pm

@Aaron: have you given any thought this year to nudging up the importance of the kicker's performance within Special Teams DVOA, and then nudging up Special Teams DVOA importance in Total DVOA? It seems with the new extra point rules, weak kickers are more costly to a team's chances than they have been in the past, and strong kickers are more valuable. I'd think kicking would take a greater role in team strenght - and thus predicting future team results - than it has when your model was created.

#kickersrule

77
by leviramsey :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 3:39pm

Special teams DVOA is already worth exactly as much as offense or defense (though the variation is less, which accounts for the "DVOA is 3/7 offense, 3/7 defense, and 1/7 special teams" thing).

Baselines for PATs should probably be adjusted, though.

87
by Aaron Schatz :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 11:51pm

It's actually more like 4 parts offense, 3 parts defense, 1 part special teams, not 3-3-1.

Baseline for XPs is already changed. Each week, in fact, I change the baseline to equal the average for the entire season. (I can't do that with field goals because the sample size from each distance is so much lower.) I will note I have not had the time yet to incorporate either a) weather/altitude adjustments for XP or b) adjustments for XP based on different distances due to penalties (the "48-yard XP," etc.). I hope to have those in by December.

I don't think kickers are any more important this year than in past years. The poor clutch performance of a handful of kickers in Weeks 3-4 was likely a fluke of random variation.

89
by medelste :: Thu, 10/15/2015 - 3:09pm

Thanks, Aaron, I appreciate the response and the adjustments that you're already making.

Time will tell whether kickers have gotten more important in 2015. I very much value your hunch that it's been a fluke. Here's my argument, and I'll admit that these are totally off-the-cuff numbers. In previous years, the delta between a strong kicker and a weak kicker was the difference between a 100% success rate on XPs for the strong kickers and a 96% success rate on XPs for weak kickers. If teams score an average of 2.3 TDs a game, that 4% delta costs teams with bad kickers an average of 0.09 points per game - or about 3.4 points per season - as compared to strong-kicker teams.

I'm going to estimate that by the end of 2015, we'll see that strongest kickers achieve a 100% success rate at XPs while the weakest kickers achieve a success rate of about a 85% at XPs. (As I write this, 8 teams have an XP success rate under 89% but it's a low sample size so this is the biggest guess of this whole exercise.) At the same 2.3 TDs a game rate, that 15% delta costs teams with bad kickers 0.35 points per game - or about 12.7 points per season - as compared to teams with the strongest kickers.

So it's that wider impact difference between strong kickers and weaker kickers with the new XP rules that leads me to think that kickers are more important this year than in past years.

#kickersmayrule

75
by Bobman :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 3:15pm

Whoa, a Khaled Holmes sighting (for something good). That's... unexp-- no, not nearly emphatic enough. How about stunni-- no, wait... I need a moment to gather myself.

80
by Kal :: Wed, 10/14/2015 - 5:16pm

I think the most shocking thing to me is that despite the Seattle offense not scoring more than 19 points in any single game they have 'average' DVOA for their offense (14th, just below 0%). They haven't looked like that in any of the games, and I would have thought their anemic performance against the Lions would have really doomed them.

98
by rbergs215 :: Sun, 10/18/2015 - 1:40pm

Surprised you left out the most shocking revelation. How many times in the history of dvoa has a team had the best and worst units on both sides of the ball. Defense wins championships, but apparently it also wins regular season games for the Broncos as well.

Four of a Kind, read em an weep
4 Super Bowls
2001,2003,2004,2014

99
by vrao81 :: Mon, 10/19/2015 - 12:19am

So how far does Arizona drop in the rankings now that they lost to Landry freaking Jones?