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04 Jan 2016

Final 2015 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

Seattle is No. 1 again.

The first-ever DVOA Championship Game turned into a blowout to rival the worst early-'90s Super Bowls. In fact, thanks to the high opponent adjustments for playing Arizona, Seattle earned 115.7% DVOA for its Week 17 blowout victory, the best single-game DVOA rating of the entire year. That game made Seattle the clear No. 1 team for the entire year with 38.0% DVOA, ten percentage points ahead of the rest of the league. Arizona fell behind Cincinnati, which finishes No. 2 for the season at 27.9% DVOA.

Seattle's big win gives the Seahawks four straight seasons on top of our ratings, which no other team has ever done. It even launches the 2015 Seahawks into the all-time top ten, right behind the 2012 and 2013 Seahawks but ahead of the 2014 Seahawks.

The gap between Seattle and Cincinnati ends up as the fifth-highest gap in DVOA ever measured between the top two teams. Four other years have had a gap of at least ten percentage points:

  • 1991: Washington at 56.9%, San Francisco at 26.0%
  • 2007: New England at 52.9%, Indianapolis at 28.3%
  • 1996: Green Bay at 42.0%, San Francisco at 29.3%
  • 1989: San Francisco at 39.0%, Cleveland at 24.4%
BEST TOTAL DVOA, 1989-2015
Year Team DVOA W-L OFF Rk DEF Rk ST Rk
1991 WAS 56.9% 14-2 27.2% 1 -21.1% 3 8.6% 1
2007 NE 52.9% 16-0 43.5% 1 -5.8% 11 3.6% 7
2010 NE 44.6% 14-2 42.2% 1 2.3% 21 4.7% 8
1996 GB 42.0% 13-3 15.2% 3 -19.3% 1 7.4% 2
2013 SEA 40.0% 13-3 9.4% 7 -25.9% 1 4.7% 5
1995 SF 40.0% 11-5 18.6% 5 -23.7% 1 -2.2% 22
2012 SEA 38.7% 11-5 18.5% 4 -14.5% 2 5.7% 3
2015 SEA 38.0% 10-6 18.5% 2 -15.2% 4 4.2% 3
2004 PIT 37.6% 15-1 16.3% 8 -18.9% 3 2.4% 10
2012 DEN 36.5% 13-3 22.1% 2 -13.8% 5 0.6% 13
1989 SF 36.0% 14-2 26.2% 1 -11.5% 5 -1.7% 21
2010 PIT 35.4% 12-4 14.3% 5 -20.7% 1 0.4% 16

Even more impressive than Seattle's total DVOA for the season is Seattle's weighted DVOA, which lowers the strength of games that took place more than a month ago (particularly games more than 12 weeks ago). Seattle is only the third team in DVOA history to finish the regular season with weighted DVOA over 50%. But beware, Seattle fans. The best weighted DVOA ever belonged to the 2010 New England Patriots, a team that won four of its final five games by over 30 points... and then got upset by the New York Jets in the divisional round.

BEST WEIGHTED DVOA AT END OF REGULAR SEASON, 1989-2015
Year Team W-L DVOA Rk WEI Rk Playoffs
2010 NE 14-2 44.6% 1 54.3% 1 Lost Div Round
1991 WAS 14-2 56.9% 1 52.4% 1 Won Super Bowl
2015 SEA 10-6 38.0% 1 51.1% 1 --
2012 SEA 11-5 38.7% 1 47.1% 1 Lost Div Round
2013 SEA 13-3 40.0% 1 43.7% 1 Won Super Bowl
1989 SF 14-2 36.0% 1 42.9% 1 Won Super Bowl
2007 NE 16-0 52.9% 1 42.5% 1 Lost Super Bowl
2004 BUF 9-7 31.3% 3 41.6% 1 Missed Playoffs
2012 DEN 13-3 36.5% 2 41.4% 2 Lost Div Round
2004 PIT 15-1 37.6% 1 41.4% 2 Lost AFC Championship
1992 DAL 13-3 35.1% 1 40.6% 1 Won Super Bowl
1994 SF 13-3 27.6% 3 39.5% 1 Won Super Bowl

I'm often asked which rating actually does a better job of predicting the playoffs, total DVOA or weighted DVOA. The answer is that they are virtually identical. We use weighted DVOA in our playoff odds report, because there's so little difference between the two and weighted DVOA seems to fit common sense. Shouldn't the fact that Kansas City and Seattle are playing better now than they did in September matter when it comes to predicting the playoffs?

And yet, as I pointed out in a long series of tweets yesterday, there's no indication that "being hot in December" leads to playing better in January. Recent history is filled with examples of teams that played well for most of the year, ended the regular season with a poor December, and then turned things back around in January. Weighted DVOA doesn't even look at things in that short a term -- the last eight games are measured at 95 percent strength or better -- and yet it doesn't predict the playoffs better than full-season DVOA. (Playing around with the weights to try to get a version that does predict the playoffs better is one of those things I try to do every couple of offseasons.)

But the good news for Seattle and Kansas City fans is that those teams have been hot for long enough to lift their DVOA ratings for the entire season. The playoff odds report might overstate the chances of the Seahawks and Chiefs winning it all because their weighted DVOA ratings are so high, but Seattle still finished No. 1 overall and Kansas City was No. 5 overall. And both Seattle and Kansas City were exceedingly well-balanced teams this year. Seattle did not finish No. 1 in any of the three phases of the game but did end up in the top four for offense, defense, and special teams. Kansas City ended up sixth in both offense and defense and seventh in special teams.

This is one of the three significant trends of the 2015 season.

  • Trend one: except for two defenses, one good and one bad, no unit was historically great or terrible this season.
  • Trend two: the top teams of 2015 were all well-balanced. The top seven teams in DVOA each ended up in the top 10 for offense and the top 12 for defense. Four of these teams are also in the top 10 for special teams.
  • Trend three: by the end of the 2015 season, most teams had a DVOA rating that matched their win-loss records. Yes, we have a 10-6 team in the top spot while Carolina finishes 15-1 but fourth in DVOA. Baltimore ended up 17th in DVOA but only went 5-11. However, there's no team that missed the playoffs despite a great DVOA rating. The top eight teams in DVOA, and 10 of the top 11 teams, made the playoffs. The exception is the New York Jets at No. 9, but the two teams that won wild cards ahead of the Jets finished ahead of them in DVOA as well. Washington finishes 15th in DVOA, clearly ahead of its three division rivals. Houston makes it all the way up to 18th in DVOA, and is also clearly ahead of its three division rivals.

Carolina had the easiest schedule of the year by average opponent DVOA, but it's not a historically easy schedule. It's not one of the 20 easiest schedules ever, and doesn't even come close to the record, which belongs to the 1999 Rams. Yes, the Rams were great, but their average opponent had an absurdly low -15.7% DVOA. With the Arizona loss and fall in weighted DVOA, the Panthers regain their status as Super Bowl favorites in our playoff odds simulation. In fact, if the Seahawks win in Minnesota this week, the winner of the Seattle-Carolina divisional-round game goes on to win the Super Bowl 42.1 percent of the time.

Cleveland and San Francisco, two of this year's three worst teams, had the two hardest schedules. But remember, these numbers are adjusted for opponent, so a bad team isn't necessarily bad because of a tough schedule. Tennessee, the other team at the bottom, ranked 27th in schedule strength.

Meanwhile, remember what I said about a lack of extremes this season. San Francisco ends up in a virtual tie with the 2001 Minnesota Vikings as the best-rated team to ever finish dead last in DVOA. This is only the fourth season where no team was below -30%. The others were 1995 (Arizona was last at -27.9%) and 2014 (Jacksonville was last at -29.5%).

On offense, DVOA was somewhat unimpressed with Pittsburgh's final victory, so the Steelers fall to third to finish the year. The Cincinnati Bengals are narrowly ahead of the Seahawks as the top offense of the year, with Tennessee as the worst offense. At 18.6%, Cincinnati is the worst offense to ever finish No. 1 in offensive DVOA. The only other offenses to finish No. 1 with a DVOA rating below 20% were the 2008 Broncos (19.2%) and the 1994 49ers (18.9% -- their historically great standard stats were dinged in DVOA because of the easiest defensive schedule in the league). The Titans are the first offense to ever finish in last place with a DVOA rating better than -20%.

Defense is where we ended up with the extremes. Denver drops a bit with its final game, and ends up No. 8 on the all-time defense list. New Orleans made things really close by somehow playing a close defensive game against Atlanta with a 20-17 final, but in the end the Saints are narrowly worse than the 2000 Vikings to establish themselves as the worst defense in DVOA history. Good job, Saints! Things were particular horrible when it came to the passing game, where the Saints pretty much lapped every team we've ever measured with 48.1% pass defense DVOA. Only two other teams had ever allowed over 40% passing on defense, the 1999 San Francisco 49ers (41.7%) and the funhouse-mirror, great-offense and terrible-defense 1996 Ravens in Ray Lewis' rookie year (42.0%).

BEST DEFENSIVE DVOA, 1989-2015 WORST DEFENSIVE DVOA, 1989-2015
Year Team W-L DVOA x Year Team W-L DVOA
1991 PHI 10-6 -42.4% x 2015 NO 7-9 26.1%
2002 TB 12-4 -31.8% x 2000 MIN 11-5 26.0%
2008 PIT 12-4 -29.0% x 2008 DET 0-16 24.3%
2004 BUF 9-7 -28.5% x 1999 CLE 2-14 22.2%
2008 BAL 11-5 -27.8% x 1996 ATL 3-13 21.6%
2012 CHI 10-6 -26.7% x 2004 MIN 8-8 21.6%
2013 SEA 13-3 -25.9% x 1992 ATL 6-10 21.3%
2015 DEN 12-4 -25.8% x 2008 DEN 8-8 20.7%
2009 NYJ 9-7 -25.5% x 1999 SF 4-12 20.4%
2000 TEN 13-3 -25.0% x 2005 HOU 2-14 20.1%
2003 BAL 10-6 -25.0% x 2001 ARI 7-9 19.4%
1991 NO 11-5 -24.5% x 2004 SF 2-14 19.4%

Even more impressive -- or, I guess, the opposite of impressive -- is the colossal gap in suckitude between the Saints and every other bad defense in the league. There has never been anything like it. Despite the best efforts of defensive-minded new head coach John Fox, the Chicago Bears finished 31st in defensive DVOA. But the Bears finished 31st with a rating of 11.3%. So the gap between the Saints and Bears was a mind-boggling 14.8%. In other words, the difference between the Bears and league average was smaller than the difference between the Bears and the Saints. The gap between the Saints and every other defense was over twice as large as the gap between the last-place and next-to-last-place defenses in any other season. The previous record belonged to the 1992 Atlanta Falcons, who had 21.3% defensive DVOA while the Los Angeles Rams were 27th (in a 28-team league) at 14.4%. The only other year where the gap was over five percentage points was 2000, with a 6.7% gap between the Vikings and the No. 30 Arizona Cardinals.

Baltimore finished the year on top in special teams DVOA, positive in every aspect of special teams but particularly strong in punting. Houston finished in last place, a weakness to watch out for in the playoffs. (Kansas City was seventh in special teams and will have a massive field-position advantage when punting.)

Other interesting notes on 2015:

  • Buffalo had finished fourth and second in defensive DVOA the previous two years and added one of the top defensive minds in the game as head coach, and somehow sank to 29th in defensive DVOA. On offense, the Bills had gone 25th and 26th the previous two seasons and went with a veteran quarterback who had never started an NFL game, and somehow finished ninth in offensive DVOA.
  • Kansas City lost its star running back after one month of the season, and finished first in run offense DVOA anyway.
  • Baltimore's game-to-game variance of 3.6% is the second-lowest in DVOA history, trailing only the 1990 Los Angeles Raiders (3.3%). The Raiders were 12-4 and finished third in DVOA that year, so it's better to be consistent and good than consistent and mediocre (and, if you are the 2015 Ravens, unlucky).
  • Arizona had been leading in adjusted line yards on both offense and defense going into the final week of the season. With Seattle's huge victory, the Cardinals fell behind Cincinnati and New England in offensive ALY and the New York Jets in defensive ALY.
  • Preventing sacks on the quarterback is a good idea, right? Yet six of the top seven teams in offensive adjusted sack rate missed the playoffs.
  • San Diego and Washington finished as the league's two worst rushing attacks but both ended up in the top ten for pass offense DVOA. Dallas was the opposite: dead last in passing, ninth in rushing.
  • Only one team finished in the top ten for pass defense but the bottom ten for run defense, or vice versa: Tampa Bay, which ranked 26th against the pass but ninth against the run.

* * * * *

All team and individual stats pages are now updated with final 2015 stats. (Final pending later play-by-play changes by the league, of course.) FO Premium will be updated later tonight with all 2015 stats and special matchup pages for the four wild-card games. Final snap counts may not be updated until tomorrow. We'll get individual 2015 stats onto all of our player pages sometime in the next few weeks.

Vince Verhei will discuss which players had the best and worst seasons by FO stats in tomorrow's Quick Reads Year in Review. Loser League results will be announced in Scramble for the Ball Wednesday, and our Playoff Challenge game will go up on the site sometime tomorrow.

Please note that while this article is called "Final 2015 DVOA Ratings," we will continue with our unofficial postseason weighted DVOA ratings each Monday through the playoffs.

Our Week 17 players for Madden 16 Ultimate Team are not yet decided, and will be announced in a post Tuesday morning.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through the entire 2015 regular season, measured by our proprietary Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) system that breaks down every single play and compares a team's performance to the league average based on situation in order to determine value over average. (Explained further here.)

OFFENSE and DEFENSE DVOA are adjusted to consider all fumbles, kept or lost, as equal value. SPECIAL TEAMS DVOA is adjusted for type of stadium (warm, cold, dome, Denver) and week of season. WEIGHTED DVOA represents an attempt to figure out how a team is playing right now, as opposed to over the season as a whole, by making recent games more important than earlier games. As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE. LAST WEEK represents rank after Week 16, while LAST YEAR represents rank in 2014.

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
LAST
YEAR
WEI
DVOA
RANK W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
1 SEA 38.0% 2 1 51.1% 1 10-6 18.5% 2 -15.2% 4 4.2% 3
2 CIN 27.9% 3 12 23.1% 5 12-4 18.6% 1 -7.0% 10 2.2% 9
3 ARI 27.4% 1 22 16.2% 7 13-3 15.8% 4 -15.6% 3 -4.0% 29
4 CAR 25.9% 6 24 30.8% 3 15-1 9.9% 8 -18.4% 2 -2.4% 23
5 KC 25.6% 5 10 37.6% 2 11-5 11.7% 6 -11.4% 6 2.4% 7
6 NE 22.6% 4 4 13.2% 9 12-4 15.4% 5 -3.4% 12 3.9% 5
7 PIT 21.3% 7 8 26.8% 4 10-6 17.3% 3 -3.8% 11 0.1% 18
8 DEN 17.7% 8 2 16.3% 6 12-4 -8.8% 25 -25.8% 1 0.7% 14
9 NYJ 12.4% 9 27 13.8% 8 10-6 1.5% 14 -13.8% 5 -2.9% 25
10 GB 10.2% 10 3 -3.9% 19 10-6 2.5% 11 -7.3% 9 0.4% 17
11 MIN 5.7% 11 25 12.8% 10 11-5 0.0% 16 -1.8% 14 3.9% 4
12 BUF 2.7% 12 9 1.6% 15 8-8 9.8% 9 8.6% 24 1.5% 12
13 DET 1.1% 16 14 11.0% 11 7-9 1.8% 13 1.8% 16 1.0% 13
14 OAK 0.0% 13 29 -0.7% 16 7-9 -1.3% 17 -1.5% 15 -0.1% 19
15 WAS -0.3% 14 28 7.7% 12 9-7 1.9% 12 5.4% 21 3.2% 6
16 STL -2.2% 15 18 -5.9% 20 7-9 -15.0% 29 -10.5% 7 2.4% 8
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
LAST
YEAR
WEI
DVOA
RANK W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
17 BAL -3.0% 17 5 -2.2% 17 5-11 -5.3% 20 5.1% 20 7.3% 1
18 HOU -5.0% 19 19 5.5% 13 9-7 -8.7% 24 -9.3% 8 -5.7% 32
19 CHI -5.7% 18 26 1.9% 14 6-10 6.8% 10 11.3% 31 -1.2% 21
20 NYG -6.5% 20 21 -9.2% 21 6-10 -1.4% 19 10.5% 30 5.4% 2
21 TB -9.3% 21 30 -3.4% 18 6-10 -1.4% 18 3.3% 18 -4.7% 30
22 PHI -11.2% 22 7 -18.3% 27 7-9 -10.1% 26 3.0% 17 1.9% 10
23 IND -12.9% 26 13 -12.3% 22 8-8 -15.6% 30 -2.1% 13 0.5% 16
24 SD -14.8% 25 16 -16.0% 24 4-12 0.9% 15 10.4% 28 -5.3% 31
25 JAC -16.0% 23 32 -17.4% 26 5-11 -5.4% 21 9.7% 26 -0.9% 20
26 ATL -16.1% 24 20 -23.1% 30 8-8 -7.3% 23 6.7% 22 -2.1% 22
27 DAL -18.3% 27 6 -16.4% 25 4-12 -15.6% 31 4.5% 19 1.8% 11
28 NO -18.7% 28 17 -18.8% 28 7-9 10.5% 7 26.1% 32 -3.2% 26
29 MIA -19.0% 30 15 -15.3% 23 6-10 -7.3% 22 9.0% 25 -2.7% 24
30 CLE -23.0% 29 23 -24.4% 31 3-13 -13.2% 27 10.5% 29 0.7% 15
31 TEN -26.5% 31 31 -33.6% 32 3-13 -15.7% 32 7.0% 23 -3.8% 28
32 SF -27.4% 32 11 -20.3% 29 5-11 -13.9% 28 9.9% 27 -3.6% 27
  • 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.
  • 2015 SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents played this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative).
  • PYTHAGOREAN WINS represent a projection of the team's expected wins based solely on points scored and allowed.
  • 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 2015
SCHED
RANK PYTH
WINS
RANK VAR. RANK
1 SEA 38.0% 10-6 31.4% 12.5 1 2.4% 15 11.8 3 14.9% 21
2 CIN 27.9% 12-4 24.2% 12.3 2 3.3% 13 11.7 4 8.2% 5
3 ARI 27.4% 13-3 27.7% 11.6 3 1.3% 16 12.1 2 23.6% 31
4 CAR 25.9% 15-1 31.1% 11.1 5 -8.6% 32 12.4 1 14.4% 19
5 KC 25.6% 11-5 24.6% 11.5 4 2.4% 14 11.2 6 17.9% 29
6 NE 22.6% 12-4 24.5% 10.9 6 -4.1% 23 11.7 5 12.0% 14
7 PIT 21.3% 10-6 19.5% 10.8 7 4.9% 7 10.7 7 9.4% 9
8 DEN 17.7% 12-4 17.7% 10.7 8 4.1% 10 9.7 10 10.9% 12
9 NYJ 12.4% 10-6 20.3% 9.7 10 -6.7% 29 10.0 8 10.1% 11
10 GB 10.2% 10-6 6.1% 9.9 9 4.6% 9 9.3 11 16.5% 27
11 MIN 5.7% 11-5 5.9% 9.5 11 3.3% 12 9.8 9 15.9% 23
12 BUF 2.7% 8-8 5.8% 8.8 12 -0.7% 18 8.5 13 10.0% 10
13 DET 1.1% 7-9 -4.9% 7.4 19 3.4% 11 6.9 18 16.0% 24
14 OAK 0.0% 7-9 0.6% 7.4 18 4.8% 8 6.9 17 8.7% 8
15 WAS -0.3% 9-7 3.5% 7.8 15 -5.0% 25 8.2 14 16.2% 26
16 STL -2.2% 7-9 -7.9% 7.9 13 6.3% 3 6.5 20 13.2% 18
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK 2015
SCHED
RANK PYTH
WINS
RANK VAR. RANK
17 BAL -3.0% 5-11 -6.1% 7.5 17 5.1% 6 6.0 25 3.6% 1
18 HOU -5.0% 9-7 0.8% 7.8 14 -3.5% 22 8.8 12 17.9% 28
19 CHI -5.7% 6-10 -10.4% 6.8 20 5.5% 4 6.3 22 7.6% 4
20 NYG -6.5% 6-10 -3.8% 7.5 16 -5.0% 26 7.5 16 12.9% 17
21 TB -9.3% 6-10 -9.0% 6.6 22 -7.7% 30 6.0 24 16.1% 25
22 PHI -11.2% 7-9 -12.4% 6.8 21 -1.3% 19 6.7 19 18.8% 30
23 IND -12.9% 8-8 -13.7% 5.5 27 -3.5% 21 6.0 26 12.3% 15
24 SD -14.8% 4-12 -15.2% 6.0 23 5.4% 5 5.9 27 8.3% 6
25 JAC -16.0% 5-11 -11.3% 5.8 25 -6.6% 28 6.2 23 11.0% 13
26 ATL -16.1% 8-8 -9.3% 5.8 24 -7.7% 31 7.8 15 6.8% 3
27 DAL -18.3% 4-12 -19.2% 4.3 31 0.8% 17 5.2 29 4.4% 2
28 NO -18.7% 7-9 -14.8% 5.2 28 -4.2% 24 6.4 21 12.6% 16
29 MIA -19.0% 6-10 -15.4% 5.8 26 -2.4% 20 5.8 28 25.0% 32
30 CLE -23.0% 3-13 -30.4% 4.5 29 8.9% 1 4.0 31 8.3% 7
31 TEN -26.5% 3-13 -25.9% 4.4 30 -5.6% 27 4.8 30 15.5% 22
32 SF -27.4% 5-11 -32.0% 4.1 32 8.6% 2 3.8 32 14.7% 20

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 04 Jan 2016

98 comments, Last at 03 Jun 2016, 4:30am by firehorse

Comments

1
by jacobk :: Mon, 01/04/2016 - 9:43pm

Look at who Denver is right up against in the all time defense ratings. I'd be psyched for a style-reversal rematch in the Super Bowl.

78
by jgalt78 :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 5:23pm

It's true that Denver has had quite the style-reversal since 2013. But not so much for Seattle. Seattle's #4 Defense (-15.2%) vs. Denver's #25 Offense (-8.8%) sounds like another blowout to me.

85
by Perfundle :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 11:51pm

When both defenses are great, the difference in the offenses won't stand out as much. For instance, St. Louis had an even worse offense, but still won in Seattle despite getting outgained by 100 yards. When neither offense can move the ball fluky events have a lot more impact.

98
by firehorse :: Fri, 06/03/2016 - 4:30am

The Rams always give SEA hell because Seattle's pass protection always sucks, and the Rams have super disruptive DL. Not saying you are wrong, but it's not a typical case.

2
by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 01/04/2016 - 10:07pm

It's weird to be pleased with 6-10 and 21st in DVOA, but "below average" is a significant improvement over "syphilitic hobo crapping in my mouth", which is pretty much how being a Bucs fan has felt for the past several years.

29
by qsi :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 7:58am

It just felt good every week when the DVOA ratings came out my eyes didn't automatically go to the bottom of the table to find the Bucs. Improvement indeed!

Still the end of the season with four straight losses hurts and Lovie better turn the defense around next season. It felt that the defense played much worse than their DVOA ranking.

38
by Bright Blue Shorts :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 9:43am

I don't think the Raiders have been in the top half since before FootballOutsiders existed. I checked their two vaguely good seasons of 2010 & 2011 and they were bottom half in both.

Back in 2002 they were 2nd in DVOA and then plummeted off the face of the earth. I blame the Bucs for that ;-)

64
by ChicagoRaider :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 1:16pm

A very sad fact given the number of teams that move from the bottom half to the top half in a given year. This year:

22 moved to 3 (19 place improvement)
24 moved to 4 (20 place improvement)
27 moved to 9 (18 place improvement)
25 moved to 11 (14 place improvement)
29 moved to 14 (15 place improvement)
28 moved to 15 (14 place improvement)

So while the Raiders story is a big jump after years of not having big jumps, there were a lot of jumps this year, three of them bigger than the Raiders' jump. Not that these jumps will change the Super Bowl participants, but at least some have a chance to. I think that overall, dramatic rise and fall is good for the league because it rewards sticking with a team through the lean times.

60
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 12:11pm

Yep, it sucked, but it sucked far less than it has in recent years. To Lovie's credit (and to re-hash the arguments I've been making over on Bucs Nation), 12 of 13 draft picks over the last two years have been on offense and, not surprisingly, the offense has really turned around (and the one defensive pick was fourth-round Kwon Alexander, who played well as a starter as a rookie). The defense is full of guys who weren't seven drafted; it's basically Lavonte David, Gerald McCoy, and a bunch of concession workers. I'd say off the top of my head typical starters included two DEs, a SLB, one safety, and typically one CB who weren't drafted to begin with.

That's a defense really devoid of talent in lots of places, particularly with pass rush and secondary. I'm not sure anybody makes a good defense out of the crap the Dominik/Schiano regime passed on.

Also, just because, @$!! Greg Schiano.

61
by barf :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 12:19pm

You simply must find a higher class of hobo with which to associate, good sir. LOL

3
by techvet :: Mon, 01/04/2016 - 10:23pm

Huge variance in total and weighted DVOA for my Green Bay Packers, which makes sense because they are 4-6 in their last 10 games. Talk about crash-and-burn.

On a separate note, I used weighted DVOA (heavily modified based on mood swings, injury reports, etc.) to get to second place in the office pool for the year. I just looked tonight and if for Week 17, I hadn't changed a thing, I would won the pool for the week and the year. Shame on me but thanks for getting where I did, even if I mucked things up a bit. (I would have won the year if it hadn't been for Greg the Leg getting blocked in OT or PicksPatrick throwing to Bills players like he was still in Buffalo!)

66
by justanothersteve :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 1:28pm

What is really strange for the Packers is the defense (#9) ranked higher than the offense (#11). You'd probably have to go to the pre-Favre days find that for the Packers.

71
by JIPanick :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 1:56pm

I was curious, so I looked it up. The most recent Packer team with a defense better than the offense was...

2010. #2 D, #7 O.

4
by Sifter :: Mon, 01/04/2016 - 10:56pm

Great stuff Aaron, thank you!

Just one typo I found:
"Trend one: except for one defense (Denver) and one offense (New Orleans), no unit was historically great or terrible this season."
Need defense in there for the Saints.

5
by Aaron Schatz :: Mon, 01/04/2016 - 11:02pm

Oops. Fixed.

24
by Jerry :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 4:30am

As long as we're pointing out typos, "Things were particular horrible when it came to the passing game".

And as long as we're thanking Aaron for another year of DVOA, I'll add my thanks.

35
by walterflazarz :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 9:11am

So weighted DVOA stops being used in what week?

7
by DezBailey :: Mon, 01/04/2016 - 11:05pm

The Week 17 BES Rankings are out - http://besreport.com/week-17-bes-rankings-final-issue-of-2015/

Some wackiness to close the season with the Jets No. 1 in BES Overall. That doesn't even agree remotely with Weighted DVOA which usually validates some of the BES' more curious placements.

But wait, it gets better...Patriots 14th...Broncos 18th. The two top seeds in the AFC couldn't even crack the BES Top-10 to close the season. The BES was hard on both for the way they closed out the season, especially the Patriots.

The BES and DVOA do, however, agree on the Seahawks being the best team in the NFC heading into the postseason. Looks like the BES and Weighted DVOA also concur on the Chiefs being the strongest of the AFC squads going into the playoffs. Good stuff there.

Also, watch out for those Raiders next year. They finished 11th in the BES and 14th in DVOA. That's good, positive momentum to take into the offseason. I'm a fan of what Reggie McKenzie has done with them so far. Same with John Dorsey in KC...a couple of Ron Wolf disciples building for long-term, sustainable success.

6
by Paul R :: Mon, 01/04/2016 - 11:04pm

I don't know nothing about computers, but are graphs hard to make?

A statement like "the Chicago Bears finished 31st in defensive DVOA. But the Bears finished 31st with a rating of 11.3%. So the gap between the Saints and Bears was a mind-boggling 14.8%. In other words, the difference between the Bears and league average was smaller than the difference between the Bears and the Saints. The gap between the Saints and every other defense was over twice as large as the gap between the last-place and next-to-last-place defenses in any other season" is so much easier to describe with a bar graph.

30
by qsi :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 8:01am

Hear, hear! (or rather, I'd like to see see a graphical representation rather than oodles of text.)

8
by jwmclean :: Mon, 01/04/2016 - 11:25pm

Would the 'Saints Opposing QB' deserve to win MVP this year? The passing stat line is:

4,544 yards
45 TDs, 9 INTs
68.4% completion rate
8.7 yds per attempt
31 sacks

Those are roughly comparable to Palmer, except with ten (TEN!) more passing TDs. 'Saints Opposing QB' also has a 48.1% passing DVOA to Palmer's 34.5%. I'm assuming the QB-passing-DVOA to team-passing-defense-DVOA comparison is apples-to-apples, which it might not be.

Saints Opposing QB also has as many passing TDs as Cam does passing + rushing (45). But I don't know how to compare the raw numbers for what the Saints gave up on QB runs/scrambles, so I can't really go further.

Of course, the real MVP buzzkill is that Saints Opposing QB's W-L record is only 9-7.

9
by jacobk :: Mon, 01/04/2016 - 11:27pm

Saints Opposing QB obviously plays a me-first style that racks up a lot of yards at the expense of the sound running-and-defense philosophy that wins football games. Also, by negotiating for such a hefty contract Saints Opposing QB really hurt Saints Opposing GM's ability to put a complete team together.

21
by mehllageman56 :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 2:13am

With a 9-7 record, Saints Opposing QB just missed the playoffs after such a record breaking season. Saints Opposing Defense and Special Teams really let him down.

28
by eggwasp :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 7:45am

Nah, Saints Opposing Quarterback just isn't clutch.

33
by The Average Bear :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 8:50am

Well talk about bad luck with matchups. Saints Opposing QB's defense faced a future hall of fame quarterback in every game this season. But the voters never allow for context in these things...

54
by Hammersmif :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 11:39am

Saints Opposing QB rushed 52 times for 194 yards and two TDs.

86
by mitologico18 :: Wed, 01/06/2016 - 12:07am

great comment¡¡¡¡ i love it¡¡ greetings from mexico. and it would be interesting to know the TQBR from that "guy". I think it should be around 85

10
by Will Allen :: Mon, 01/04/2016 - 11:28pm

Drat! The Saints edge out the Vikings again!

79
by jds :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 5:38pm

What’s really funny about that table is the W-L records for the bottom 5. Sure, you expect to see the 0-16 Lions, and a 2-14 Browns, but an 11-5 team? There must have been a great locker room divide, with the O having to drag that sorry-ass defense around all season.

82
by hoegher :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 6:39pm

2000 Vikings were 11-5, the 2001 Vikings were 5-11

11
by Cythammer :: Mon, 01/04/2016 - 11:44pm

Seattle being so far ahead of the field is a little tough to believe… But glancing back at their schedule and realizing how many of their losses are against some of the better teams in the league (and the Rams), I suppose it makes more sense. They could easily have much gaudier and more convincing win-loss record.

Bad luck for the Panthers that they have to probably face Seattle in two weeks. The Vikings' win last night was almost as bad for Carolina as it was for Minnesota.

12
by RickD :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 12:03am

Well they just beat the snot out of what I thought was the best team in the NFL. Yes, it's true that the game was meaningless for Arizona by the time of kickoff. But DVOA doesn't know that. I think the earlier game in Seattle was a fairer test.

Carolina could beat Seattle. Or lose. DVOA is a good system but it's not perfect, and Carolina cannot overcome the softness of their schedule.

13
by jacobk :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 12:24am

It was meaningless by halftime. Tampa Bay led at the end of the first quarter and was competitive until the five minute mark in the second quarter.

Seattle was up 30-6 at the half.

14
by Will Allen :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 12:31am

Other than it will entail the very likely thrashing of the Vikings, a Seahawks/Panthers game in Charlotte promises to be very, very, very interesting.

69
by formido :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 1:46pm

Absolutely wasn't meaningless at kick-off and by the time it was meaningless the damage was done. Arians's face doesn't get that red for a meaningless game.

44
by Joe Pancake :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 10:43am

"Seattle being so far ahead of the field is a little tough to believe…"

If you watched almost every snap of their season, like I did, it's not too tough. They were pretty good even when they were inexplicably blowing sizable leads against top teams (e.g., Cincinnati and Carolina), and then when they won they usually won big (7 of 10 by more than two scores). Their Pythagorean record is almost the same as Carolina's and they faced a much harder schedule.

The 2010 Patriots are actually a very good comp (a few bad games against mediocre teams, a few closely fought games, and a lot of blowout victories), which means that I am fully prepared for them to lose an ugly game to Minnesota this Sunday.

(That last part is just for you Will Allen.)

15
by Blykmyk44 :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 12:34am

I find the Denver defense DVOA rating pretty strange compared to the other top defenses that they are compared against. Just never felt like they were historically that dominating when I watched them,

17
by Perfundle :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 1:10am

Maybe it's because they didn't get that many turnovers. Compare their turnovers forced per drive rankings to the other top teams:

1991 PHI: 2nd
2002 TB: 3rd
2008 PIT: 10th
2004 BUF: 3rd
2008 BAL: 2nd
2012 CHI: 2nd
2013 SEA: 1st
2015 DEN: 17th
2009 NYJ: 11th

Apart from that though, they definitely looked dominant. They dragged arguably the worst offense in the NFL to a 7-0 start, and gave up the fewest points per drive despite given horrible field position.

18
by RickD :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 1:17am

Yes, for a "historically dominant" defense they didn't quite seem to be at that level.

Let the Browns score 23 points, after all. The Chiefs got 53 points in two games.

They gave up nearly 300 points. In 2000 the Titans only gave up 191. And that was 26 more than the Ravens allowed.

19
by theslothook :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 1:36am

@ RicKD - offensive climate is completely different. Also - points allowed has all kinds of issues baked into it - namely, offensive turnovers, field position, etc etc.

Denver's D has regressed some since the beginning of the year, but that feels mostly like function of health as the D was fully healthy for most of the first half before suffering a rash of injuries to the secondary and pass rush. Fortunately, those areas had the most depth so they withstood it. Should be fully healthy by the playoffs.

20
by Perfundle :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 1:59am

Well, if points allowed is the argument, the other strange thing about Denver is how fast they played on offense. The offenses of great defensive teams almost invariably play at a very slow pace; I don't know if this is because coaches think the defenses will tire with a faster pace (I highly doubt this), or if they simply want to keep the scoring down. I don't have the pace numbers for Philadelphia, but here are the other top-10 teams' offensive pace rankings:

2002 TB: 29
2008 PIT: 25
2004 BUF: 25
2008 BAL: 27
2012 CHI: 29
2013 SEA: 29
2015 DEN: 11
2009 NYJ: 25
2000 TEN: 30

Between this and the offense's propensity for turnovers, Denver's defense actually faced the most drives this year. Compare that with Seattle, who despite being a worse defense, faced the fewest drives in the league, 29 fewer than Denver.

22
by Hummingbird Cyborg :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 2:24am

The Broncos defense also had to defend the 29th worst starting field position of any team. You mentioned the Seahawks, they faced the easiest starting field position.

23
by Dave :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 2:28am

Two of those games had pick sixes and the other had four short fields. Hard to hold that against the D.

I agree that they were very good but not historic... Sneaky good rather than scary. But boy did they have some great games.

43
by poplar cove :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 10:39am

I think the reason why they seem not as dominant is probably because they benefitted more from opponent adjustment's more than most all-time great teams I'd imagine. Shutting out a bad offense is something most would remember as being a dominant performance but holding a top ten offense to less than 4.5 yards per play might actually be more impressive.

The Broncos defense faced the 4th toughest schedule of opponent offenses this year in the NFL. They went up against (DVOA offensive rank in parenthesis):

KC #6 (2X)
Detroit #13
Minnesota #16
Oakland #17 (2X)
Green Bay #11
Chicago #10
New England #5
San Diego #15 (2x)
Pittsburgh #3
Cincinnati #1 (granted it wasn't vs Dalton)

But they also caught Flacco with Baltimore, Luck with Indianapolis and even McCown with Cleveland.

Only 1 QB threw for over 300 yards against them this season and that was Big Ben but he also had 55 attempts in their game. They also held him to 1.49 yards per attempt below his season average in that game.

48
by Denverite :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 11:04am

I actually think their historic DVOA ranking understates their performance. As others have noted, they played one of the toughest schedules of offenses in the league (FO has them at #4 in terms of defensive SOS), they had to defend one of the worst starting field positions in the league (#29), and they literally had to do so more times than any other team in the league (they're #1 in terms of opposing possessions).

To lead the league in yards allowed, passing yards allowed, yards per play, and to be within a point per game of leading in scoring in THAT environment is really jaw-dropping.

62
by lokiwi :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 12:21pm

Doesn't DVOA already take all of that into account, though? The only reason they are anywhere near the top defenses historically is because field position and opponent strength are accounted for, with # of opposing possessions not mattering because it is not a counting statistic. If those aren't accounted for, their traditional metrics show a good but not great defense.

63
by tuluse :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 12:54pm

I guess being in the top 8 defense of the last 25 years isn't enough.

65
by Hummingbird Cyborg :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 1:24pm

SOS is accounted for and is part of why their DVOA rating is better than some conventional statistics might suggest, but field position is not adjusted for by DVOA. A team that starts with worse field position on average usually would give up more points on average even if they have the same performance by DVOA.

67
by lokiwi :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 1:36pm

DVOA is a play-by-play efficiency measure, and whether any given result is successful or unsuccessful depends in part on field position. So yes, starting field position is built into the calculation, even if they don't adjust for it later.

75
by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 4:53pm

DVOA tries to take that into account - but we still see weird results when teams have really weak schedules or really strong ones - or when a really good team plays a really bad one.

16
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 12:42am

For what it's worth (which is nothing), if every game had ended at the end of the third quarter this year, Carolina would have led the league with 14 wins, and the Bengals, Cardinals, and Seahawks would all be next with 12. (Arizona would also have a tie.)

32
by Travis :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 8:47am

If every game had ended at the end of the third quarter this year, Tom Coughlin would still be employed.

37
by Bright Blue Shorts :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 9:31am

And he'd still be exhorting his players to make sure they FINISH

25
by Rikki :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 4:54am

Interesting how most teams in the bottom half have made either small but nontrivial improvements, or have a franchise quarterback. Could be an interesting offseason, with even more optimism around the league than usual.

26
by ammek :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 5:15am

For the first time in ages, I'm relieved the regular season is over. As Aaron implies, 2015 was a season of mediocrity. But actually it was worse than that, because we might at least hope that league-wide mediocrity would put a few unlikely teams in the playoffs. Instead we've ended up with the Seahawks on top of DVOA for the fourth season running, byes for Denver and New England also for the fourth season running, a very undeserved playoff berth for the Packers, and a continuation of the almost complete stasis in the AFC. Mediocrity without parity.

For the first time ever, there are six AFC teams which have not been to the playoffs in seven or more years. In addition, the Jets have not made the postseason in five years. There is a total logjam in the AFC. Worse, it doesn't look like it's going to change any time soon. Miami, Tennessee, Jacksonville and Cleveland are all in the bottom quartile in DVOA. Buffalo and Oakland are the third best teams in their division. Perhaps this wouldn't matter if the Patriots, Texans, Chiefs and Broncos were dominant and/or fun to watch, but they are not.

Throw in the two NFC teams that have not made the playoffs in seven seasons – the Rams and Bucs – and that makes fully one quarter of the league. That hasn't happened since 1980 (and remember, prior to 1978, only four teams from each conference qualified for the postseason). Between 1999 and 2005 – the heyday of parity – there were only ever one or two teams in the entire NFL with a playoff famine lasting seven or more years (basically: the Bengals). The AFC has never had more than four such teams before, not even in the stagnant 1970s. (In 1973, there were six NFC teams which had not been to the playoffs in seven years, and for most of the 1970s, as well as the 1990 season, there were five such NFC teams.)

What has happened to parity? Clearly, quarterbacking is part of it: the rule changes have allowed passing offenses to be more consistent, and QBs to be healthier, for longer; plus there has been a glut of HoF-worthy QBs who entered the league in 1998-2006 and are still playing. But that doesn't explain why Brian Hoyer, Alex Smith and Brock Osweiler are in the 2015 AFC playoffs.

Whatever the reason, I think the NFL has to make changes, because I'm sure I'm not the only casual fan who dreads another playoff game between offensively inept Denver and soporific New England. I'd like to see the regular season schedule altered so that interconference games are determined by seed rather than division. All the AFC #1 seeds would play all the NFC #1 seeds, making it harder for teams to have repeat 12-win seasons. It should make for more interesting games too: who would not rather have watched Carolina play the Pats, Steelers and Broncos in 2015 rather than the Texans, Jags and Titans?

27
by ammek :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 5:51am

Since I have the data to hand, here's a list of the teams with a playoff famine lasting at least seven years (in italics: a famine lasting five or six years):

2015: 8/10: Buf, Cle, Jax, Mia, Oak, Ten, StL, TB; NYJ, Chi
2014: 6/8: Buf, Cle, Jax, Oak, StL, TB; Mia, Ten
2013: 4/8: Buf, Cle, Oak, StL; Jax, Mia, Ten, TB
2012: 4/6: Buf, Cle, Oak, StL; Jax, TB
2011: 4/4: Buf, Cle, Oak, StL
2010: 6/8: Buf, Cle, Hou, Oak, Det, SF; Den, StL
2009: 6/7: Buf, Cle, Hou, Oak, Det, SF; StL
2008: 3/6: Buf, Hou, Det; Cle, Oak, SF
2007: 3/8: Buf, Ari, Det; Cle, Hou, Mia, Oak, SF
2006: 3/5: Buf, Ari, Det; Hou, Mia

2005: 1/4: Ari; Buf, Det, NO
2004: 1/6: Cin; Buf, Jax, Ari, Det, Was
2003: 2/3: Cin, SD; Ari
2002: 2/4: Cin, SD; KC, Car
2001: 1/3: Cin; SD, Car
2000: 1/3: Cin; SD, Chi
1999: 2/5: Cin, NO; Bal, Oak, Chi
1998: 3/7: Cin, Sea, Ram; Oak, Ten, NO, Was
1997: 4/7: Cin, Sea, Ari, Ram; NYJ, NO, Was
1996: 4/6: Sea, Ari, Ram, TB; Cin, NYJ

1995: 3/5: Sea, Ari, TB; Cin, Ram
1994: 3/5: Ind, Ari, TB; Sea, Ram
1993: 3/5: NE, Ari, TB; Ind, Sea
1992: 3/5: Ari, GB, TB; Ind, NE
1991: 4/5: SD, Ari, GB, TB; NE
1990: 6/7: SD, Ari, Atl, Det, GB, TB; Dal
1989: 5/6: SD, Ari, Atl, GB, TB; Det
1988: 0/6: SD, Ari, Atl, Det, GB, TB
1987: 0/8: Buf, Cin, SD, Ari, Atl, GB, Phi, TB
1986: 2/5: Ind, NO; Buf, Oil, Phi

1985: 3/4: Ind, KC, NO; Oil
1984: 3/3: Ind, KC, NO
1983: 2/3: KC, NO; Bal
1982: 3/4: KC, Sea, NO; Bal
1981: 4/6: KC, Det, GB, NO; Sea, StL
1980: 7/10: KC, NYJ, Det, GB, NO, NYG, SF; Cin, Sea, StL
1979: 8/9: Cle, KC, NYJ, Det, GB, NO, NYG, SF; Buf
1978: 6/9: KC, NYJ, SD, Det, NO, NYG; Cle, GB, SF

The 16-team 1982 postseason distorts the data for the mid-1980s a little bit, but excluding it altogether would only add the Cardinals, Falcons and Packers to the list; and even then the Packers were a clear third seed in 1982.

31
by Jerry :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 8:38am

Thanks for putting that together.

It should make for more interesting games too: who would not rather have watched Carolina play the Pats, Steelers and Broncos in 2015 rather than the Texans, Jags and Titans?

They'd still get the Texans, not the Colts. The people who'd be unhappy in this switch would be ticket buyers in non-first place cities who would now get lesser opponents instead of seeing every team from the other conference come through town every eight years.

34
by ammek :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 9:05am

That's a fair point, although I wonder whether, for example, Rams fans enjoyed watching their team lose 45-7 to New England in 2012 and 42-6 to Indianapolis in 2009. Scheduling the last-placed Browns instead would have produced a closer game and might have extended Rams (or Browns) fans' interest in the season beyond the month of October.

36
by Jerry :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 9:16am

I'll guess that most people who attend games in St. Louis would rather see Brady and Manning (in the two cases you cite) than whichever fine quarterback the Browns had at the time. And, of course, those fans also want to take advantage of the opportunity to see some non-quarterbacks, as well. This is less important to people who just watch on television, where all these guys pop up regularly anyway, but ticket sales are still a significant revenue chunk.

76
by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 4:57pm

I think the people in St. Louis would rather see their team have a chance of winning. I can't expect that ticket revenue is higher in games with huge predicted spreads. Concession revenue is usually terrible in these sort of games (stadiums are empty by about halftime)

77
by tuluse :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 5:04pm

I think he's arguing that football fans in St Louis would rather see star players than anything and have no real attachment to the Rams. I've heard this argument with regards to basketball before, and I think it's a real phenomenon there (ie Bulls fans paying to watch Kobe back when the Bulls were terrible), but I think it's less so in football which is far more of a team sport.

81
by panthersnbraves :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 6:27pm

If you are an out of region fan, that is your one chance to go see your team. Steelers fans who live within a couple of hours of Charlotte know that they can see their childhood team again in... {consults almanac}... 2022! Make your plans now!

The regional/rival thing is OK, but baseball showed the "Law of Unintended Consequences" when the Atlanta Braves got stuck playing the powerhouse Red Sox over and over again, while other teams got to play cupcakes. It's OK for preseason/exhibition, but when these games count towards the postseason, equity needs to be involved...

84
by Jerry :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 11:17pm

Actually, Steeler fans around Charlotte can watch non-starters in the exhibition finale every other year. (The same is true for Pittsburgh-area Panther fans.)

As a ticket buyer, if your primary concern is seeing your team win, there'll be a bad visitor or two you can go see. If you want to see greatness, it's nice to know that everybody in your conference comes through town at least once every six years, and from the other conference every eight years. You can love the Rams or Bears and still want to see Manning or Brady or Watt play in person. If the home team upsets them, so much the better, but it's still likely to be more memorable than a game against the Browns.

93
by panthersnbraves :: Fri, 01/08/2016 - 12:57am

Yes, I know they always play the last pre-season, but I have some family friends who are Steeler fans, so I head to mention them...

94
by Jerry :: Fri, 01/08/2016 - 4:46am

And those fans are indeed planning for 2022, when the game will bear very little resemblance to the exhibition game.

On a personal note, enjoy the playoffs.

40
by t.d. :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 9:59am

For the first time in years, the wild cards look as likely to win the conferences as the top seeds. The gulf, in the AFC at least, has been shrinking. Two years ago, Denver and New England were crippled by injuries, and yet nobody could get close to them. Cincy was a poorly timed broken thumb from the 1 seed. This year, its five evenly-matched teams and Houston

50
by panthersnbraves :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 11:17am

QB play is going to be a big jumble over the next 3 years, I think. The "Elite but Aging" players are beginning to fade. The "Really Good but sometimes Inconsistent" guys are all pretty much at their ceiling. The "Young Guns" have had a couple of flame-outs, but are on the rise. As a result, all three of these groups are more-or-less all about the same production level at the moment, and I think that is part of how we ended up here this year.

Will there be enough talent coming in to improve the weaker teams though?

53
by Will Allen :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 11:29am

What irritates me is the paucity of offensive line talent coming out of college these days. The spread offense, it appears, is not conducive to developing offensive linemen who can do what is needed against NFL defensive personnel.

58
by mehllageman56 :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 12:03pm

You'll be happy with this draft then, Will. Tunsil, Stanley, Decker and Conklin are all good tackle prospects. Unfortunately for your Vikings, they made the playoffs, so the Colts, Bills and Jets are drafting ahead of them.

57
by mehllageman56 :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 12:01pm

A lot of the problems with the weaker teams involves people who are not on the field. New England, Carolina, Denver, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Arizona are all well run teams. There are some teams outside the playoff field who seem to have turned a corner (the Raiders, the Jets), but most of the bottom half is either firing a head coach or a general manager this week. The Colts and Cowboys have the best chance of turning it around next year, as well as the Raiders, who will be favored to make the playoffs for the first time in a while next year.

97
by packfaninMN :: Mon, 01/11/2016 - 5:53am

I am obviously biased given my screen name, and they certainly limped in to the playoffs, but why is Green Bay's playoff bid "very undeserved"? They beat 3 playoff teams (SEA, KC, MN) in their 10 wins, and were within 1 score in 4 of their losses. They were top 10 in DVOA, which is I think the main metric for this site, which was higher than MN and Washington, two other playoff teams in the NFC. Also, to be undeserving implies there is somebody more deserving that is not in the field. Who exactly would that be in the NFC? Atlanta, NO, Detroit? I would love to see an argument for any of them, and why GB would be the team to be replaced as opposed to MN or Washington.

39
by Never Surrender :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 9:47am

The DVOA vs. weighted DVOA comes up against an interesting test with the Packers-Redskins playoff game. Do we predict that the Packers are 10% better or worse (in terms of DVOA) than the Skins?

46
by DrunkenOne :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 11:02am

Vegas has Redskins -1

51
by Will Allen :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 11:23am

Washington can block, and I see no reason at this point to have confidence in the Packers ability to score points. I think Washington wins.

51
by Will Allen :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 11:23am

Washington can block, and I see no reason at this point to have confidence in the Packers ability to score points. I think Washington wins.

59
by Eleutheria :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 12:09pm

Keep in mind home field advantage is 15 DVOA. So really the question is are the packers roughly even with the redskins (after home field adjustments), or significantly worse?

72
by ChrisS :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 2:16pm

And 5 points of DVOA are approximately 1 point so Vegas thinks Green Bay is 10% DVOA better than Washington.

91
by Eleutheria :: Thu, 01/07/2016 - 5:16pm

Which means Vegas trusts the regular DVOA not weighted DVOA, at least in this matchup.

92
by Eleutheria :: Thu, 01/07/2016 - 5:17pm

Which means Vegas trusts the regular DVOA not weighted DVOA, at least in this matchup.

83
by DezBailey :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 6:57pm

Well the BES has the Redskins (2.94) rated .10 points higher than the Packers (2.84) - http://besreport.com/week-17-bes-rankings-final-issue-of-2015/

Looking at their at their BES scores, the Redskins have a slight edge in Pass Protection (3.04) vs the Packers Pass Pressure (2.99).

Another key area is the advantage the Redskins have in Takeaways (2.68) vs the Packers low Ball Security (2.24). I believe that, coupled with the Packers low Pass Protection score (2.21) could prove to be the story of the game. And all of this on top of the Redskins having homefield advantage.

41
by ammek :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 10:13am

Congratulations to the San Francisco 49ers, who finish in the bottom six for Adjusted Yard Lines and sack rate on both offense and defense.

And boo hiss to Zach Mettenberger, whose -408 passing DYAR as a non-qualifier prevents St Louis from achieving the full house of worst DYAR at RB, TE, WR (actually the worst and next-to-worst) and QB.

42
by Kyndynos :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 10:26am

How do we evaluate the Patriots going into the playoffs? DVOA seems to think that they will be the team of the past six weeks after Belichick started grabbing some random dudes out of a Boston homeless shelter to play WR and O-line. As a Patriots fan, I still think that New England is the favorite to win the AFC (and Super Bowl, unless they play Seattle again) because most, if not all, of the important injured players will be back for the divisional round and because they don't have to play Pittsburgh (the team best suited to attack New England's defensive weaknesses) until a hypothetical AFC title game in New England. Is there any way to tell which opinion is right?

47
by steveNC :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 11:03am

>Is there any way to tell which opinion is right?
Give me a few weeks, and I'll be happy to tell you.

49
by t.d. :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 11:07am

How is Brady's ankle? How healthy is Edelman? If they're healthy, they're the favorite in the AFC. I'd still take the top three NFC teams over them in the Super Bowl, but that's a ways away yet

70
by formido :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 1:54pm

If Edelman is back healthy, the Pats are the favorites to win the Super Bowl.

45
by poplar cove :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 10:52am

Would love to see a the 2nd half of the season ONLY DVOA team ranking. The Detroit Lions would most likely be around a top 5 team overall as they played 7 of their remaining 8 games with a positive DVOA and that one negative game wasn't that bad at -4.0%. In 6 of their final 8 games they also had an individual game DVOA of 17.4% or higher.

Be interesting to see if anything like that carries over for them next season.

55
by mehllageman56 :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 11:53am

Barnwell wrote an article a year or two ago about how improved play in the second half of the season does not carry over. He went by wins though, not DVOA.

73
by ChrisS :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 2:22pm

I hope so. Part of the improvement was a much easier second half schedule, and part was getting rid of Lombardi as the OC. Stafford played much better in the second half as a result of these two things, -100 DYAR in first half 900 DYAR in the second half of the season. Losing Teryl Austin (the DC) to another team would definitely hurt. They should probably promote him and get rid of Caldwell.

80
by DezBailey :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 6:20pm

This isn't DVOA but in terms of wanting to see how teams would stack up weighted more toward a second half push, the BES Rankings can give you a pretty good idea...

Here's the final Week 17 BES Rankings - http://besreport.com/week-17-bes-rankings-final-issue-of-2015/

You can see many of where the teams rank are akin to where they are in Weighted DVOA. Meanwhile, other differ widely...namely the Jets, Patriots and Broncos.

56
by Eleutheria :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 11:55am

The gap between New Orleans and 2nd-worst defense Chicago is larger then the gap between 12th place New England and 31st place Chicago.

I feel really bad for Drew Brees, still one of the best QBs in the game but you can't win when your secondary is as laughably bad as the Saints one is.

68
by steveNC :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 1:44pm

According to the tables above, it looks like PIT's best finish since 1989 in both total DVOA and weighted DVOA at the end of a regular season was in 2004. Was 2004 the year of Spygate?

74
by anotherpatsfan :: Tue, 01/05/2016 - 4:47pm

No

87
by Eleutheria :: Wed, 01/06/2016 - 1:43am

Taping signals from the sidelines was banned in 2006, week 2 of 2007 was when the Patriots got caught doing it.

So no. taping signals was legal in 2004, so if the Pats were doing it then, it was within the rules of the game.

89
by PatsFan :: Wed, 01/06/2016 - 9:12am

They were actually caught in week 1, @NYJ.

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by mehllageman56 :: Wed, 01/06/2016 - 2:00am

It was Rothlisberger's rookie year, the year they went 15-1, blew out the Pats in the regular season, beat the Jets by 10 in December, and then watched Doug Brien miss two field goals to allow them to win in overtime. Thanks for reminding me. And oh yeah, the Pats beat them 41-27 on the way to another championship.

So if karma holds, expect a Bengals victory by two touchdowns this weekend.

90
by medelste :: Thu, 01/07/2016 - 10:09am

@Aaron Will you consider Paul DePodesta's job offer when it comes? He's going to need some help with the NFL, no better than you.

95
by PalleyPall :: Sat, 01/09/2016 - 1:14am

What is the link to the complete understanding of DVOA Ratings or guide? Thanks in advance.

All the best!

@PalleyPall

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by Jerry :: Sat, 01/09/2016 - 6:21am

Under Statistics at the top of the page:

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/info/methods