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» 2016 Slot vs. Wide: Defense

Our final part in looking at slot vs. wide targets focuses entirely on defenses. Which first-round rookie corners had tough times in 2016? Who was the weak link in Denver's No-Fly Zone? Also: the Falcons have a secondary to watch out for in 2017.

11 Oct 2016

Week 5 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

There is only one undefeated team left in the NFL this season, and the Minnesota Vikings have reached that status with a series of impressive wins. Though the Vikings haven't played a particularly difficult schedule so far, four of their five wins have come by more than a touchdown. Their defense is getting the headlines, but the Vikings have been above-average in all three phases of the game. Right now, our DVOA ratings have then third in defense, 11th in offense, and sixth in special teams. Put that all together, and the Minnesota Vikings are the No. 1 team for the first time in the history of our DVOA ratings.

Yes, you read that correctly. Football Outsiders has existed since 2003, but we have DVOA ratings going back to 1989, and we know what they would have looked like on a week-to-week basis through each season. In the 27 years from 1989 to 2015, the Vikings did not spend a single week at No. 1 in our ratings. Now they have finally reached the pinnacle.

Until this year, the Vikings had not even spent many weeks ranked second or third. The two best Vikings teams of the last couple decades are actually ranked surprisingly low in DVOA. The 12-4 Vikings team that Brett Favre led to the NFC Championship Game in 2009 ranked only seventh in DVOA for the season, and the 15-1 Vikings team of 1998 finished the year ranked only fifth. Some possible reasons for that are listed in the original 1998 DVOA commentary that I wrote over a decade ago, although the ratings on that page are slightly different from what we now list with an updated version of the formula.

Two other Vikings teams ranked in the top eight of DVOA by the end of the year: the 1989 Vikings, who ranked fifth at 10-6, and the 1995 Vikings, who ranked seventh despite finishing just 8-8. Neither of those teams ever ranked No. 1, either. And the 2000 Vikings who went 11-5 and eventually made to the NFC Championship Game? They never even sniffed the top of the DVOA ratings, and actually finished 22nd for the year despite their strong win-loss record.

Before this week, the Vikings had only ranked second in five different weeks, and they had only ranked third in five other different weeks:

  • The 1989 Vikings and 2014 Vikings each ranked No. 2 after winning big in Week 1, and the 1992 Vikings were No. 3 after Week 1.
  • The 2009 Vikings peaked at No. 2 after Week 2.
  • The 1998 Vikings ranked No. 2 after both Week 5 and Week 7. They also ranked No. 3 after their Week 6 bye, after they won in Week 8 to go 7-0, and after their first loss in Week 9 made them 7-1.
  • This year's Vikings were No. 3 last week.

Now that the Vikings have reached the top spot, there are only three NFL franchises that have never ranked No. 1 in DVOA. Even though they've been to two Super Bowls and went 15-1 last season, the Carolina Panthers have never spent a week above No. 3 in DVOA. The same goes for Detroit, although that's less of a surprise. The third franchise that's never been to No. 1 has an asterisk, because it's the new Cleveland Browns. However, the original Browns were No. 1 in 10 different weeks before moving to Baltimore.

The one worry for the Vikings going forward is the running game. Although the Vikings are a good, well-rounded team if we look at just top-level offense and defense, their offense is currently seventh in pass offense but dead last in run offense.

Philadelphia drops to No. 2 in DVOA this week after three straight weeks in the top spot. With those three weeks, Philadelphia ties Denver as the teams that have spent the most time at No. 1 in DVOA: 45 weeks each. The other teams in the top five include New England at 40 weeks, Dallas at 33 weeks, and San Francisco at 33 weeks including Week 1 of this year because apparently the San Francisco 49ers have some weird Week 1 superpower.

Most of the other teams in the ratings are about what you would figure. If you've been reading Football Outsiders for a while, it shouldn't surprise you too much to see San Diego ranked at No. 11 despite a 1-4 record. Any team that keeps blowing games late in the fourth quarter has played a lot better than its record, and should win more games going forward. That won't matter for the postseason unless the Chargers can go on an 11-game winning streak like Kansas City did last year, but they are definitely an above-average team this season. However, they do not have the highest DVOA ever for a 1-4 team. Five teams in DVOA history actually had a DVOA over 10% despite a 1-4 record, led by the 2000 Patriots at 17.5%. The others were the 1992 Lions, the 2003 Jets, the 2004 Bills, and the 2011 Vikings.

On the other side of the coin, you might be wondering if the Houston Texans are the worst 3-2 team in history. Not quite. Houston has the third-lowest DVOA ever for a 3-2 team, and is now ranked 31st in the league. The Jets climbed a bit this week, so according to DVOA the only team still playing worse than Houston is the winless Cleveland Browns. However, the worst 3-2 team of all-time was the 2010 Arizona Cardinals at a horrendous -48.6% DVOA. They went 2-9 the rest of the season. The 2007 Detroit Lions also had a lower DVOA than the Texans, and went 4-7 the rest of the season.

* * * * *

Once again this season, we have teamed up with EA Sports to bring Football Outsiders-branded player content to Madden 17 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, beginning at 11am Eastern on Friday. We will also tweet out images of these players from the @fboutsiders Twitter account on most Fridays. The best player of each week, the Football Outsiders Hero, will require you to collect a set of the other four Football Outsiders players that week, plus a certain number of Football Outsiders collectibles available in Madden Ultimate Team packs.

The Football Outsiders stars for Week 5 are:

  • RG Zack Martin, DAL (FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS HERO): No sacks or hurries allowed; helped Dallas RB gain 7.95 yards per carry with 57 percent success rate.
  • LOLB Lorenzo Alexander, BUF: 3 sacks, PD; leads NFL with 7 sacks.
  • RB Jordan Howard, CHI: Finished third among Week 5 RB with 43 DYAR (16 carries, 118 yards; 3 rec, 45 rec yards, TD).
  • MLB Eric Kendricks, MIN: Prevented three third-down conversions with two PDs and a tackle.
  • RT Austin Pasztor, CLE: No sacks or hurries allowed; teamed with Joe Thomas to prevent edge pressure all game.

* * * * *

All stats pages are now updated through Week 5 of 2016. Snap counts and playoff odds are also fully updated.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through five weeks of 2016, 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. As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE. 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 30 percent of DAVE for teams with five games played, and 45 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 MIN 36.0% 3 24.5% 2 5-0 5.9% 11 -24.8% 3 5.3% 6
2 PHI 33.5% 1 14.5% 4 3-1 8.9% 8 -25.1% 2 -0.5% 16
3 SEA 32.6% 2 28.9% 1 3-1 -1.5% 17 -29.5% 1 4.6% 7
4 PIT 20.8% 5 19.5% 3 4-1 17.8% 4 1.3% 20 4.2% 8
5 ATL 20.0% 8 12.1% 7 4-1 25.1% 1 12.4% 26 7.3% 4
6 GB 19.0% 6 14.3% 5 3-1 9.8% 7 -9.9% 8 -0.7% 17
7 DEN 16.9% 4 12.1% 6 4-1 -1.5% 18 -17.4% 4 1.1% 13
8 BUF 12.7% 10 8.3% 8 3-2 5.8% 12 -5.1% 11 1.8% 12
9 DAL 12.6% 9 8.3% 9 4-1 24.8% 2 11.1% 25 -1.1% 18
10 OAK 7.8% 7 4.6% 13 4-1 19.8% 3 15.3% 29 3.4% 11
11 SD 7.2% 13 4.6% 14 1-4 10.8% 5 -1.7% 15 -5.3% 27
12 WAS 4.1% 14 0.2% 16 3-2 1.5% 16 6.2% 23 8.8% 2
13 NE 2.1% 17 7.9% 10 4-1 8.4% 9 7.0% 24 0.7% 14
14 ARI 1.8% 16 6.7% 11 2-3 -9.8% 23 -15.0% 6 -3.4% 24
15 BAL 1.6% 11 3.3% 15 3-2 -12.8% 27 -16.9% 5 -2.5% 20
16 TEN 0.2% 25 -2.5% 19 2-3 2.9% 13 -10.0% 7 -12.8% 32
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 KC 0.1% 15 6.6% 12 2-2 -10.8% 25 -6.8% 9 4.1% 10
18 NYG -1.8% 20 -2.1% 18 2-3 -1.7% 19 -1.5% 16 -1.6% 19
19 CIN -3.0% 12 -0.9% 17 2-3 2.3% 14 1.2% 19 -4.2% 25
20 CHI -4.5% 23 -6.0% 23 1-4 1.9% 15 0.8% 18 -5.6% 28
21 NO -6.2% 18 -4.3% 21 1-3 10.5% 6 13.8% 28 -2.9% 21
22 JAC -6.9% 19 -7.7% 25 1-3 -13.2% 28 -5.9% 10 0.4% 15
23 CAR -8.1% 21 -3.7% 20 1-4 -3.4% 20 -2.5% 14 -7.2% 29
24 DET -8.5% 26 -5.8% 22 2-3 6.4% 10 23.6% 32 8.7% 3
25 LARM -11.0% 24 -7.4% 24 3-2 -21.6% 31 -4.8% 12 5.9% 5
26 SF -14.0% 28 -15.2% 28 1-4 -9.7% 22 -0.7% 17 -5.0% 26
27 IND -14.7% 27 -10.9% 26 2-3 -3.4% 21 20.5% 31 9.3% 1
28 MIA -15.2% 22 -14.7% 27 1-4 -15.1% 30 4.3% 21 4.1% 9
29 TB -21.9% 30 -16.6% 29 2-3 -13.7% 29 5.2% 22 -2.9% 22
30 NYJ -29.8% 32 -21.5% 30 1-4 -10.2% 24 16.4% 30 -3.2% 23
31 HOU -29.9% 29 -23.3% 31 3-2 -25.7% 32 -4.0% 13 -8.2% 30
32 CLE -33.4% 31 -30.2% 32 0-5 -11.8% 26 13.4% 27 -8.3% 31
  • 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 MIN 36.0% 5-0 39.1% 5.0 1 -4.1% 25 2.1% 14 6.4% 8
2 PHI 33.5% 3-1 43.4% 4.0 3 -6.4% 27 11.3% 1 11.0% 18
3 SEA 32.6% 3-1 34.4% 4.0 2 -17.5% 32 2.5% 13 14.9% 26
4 PIT 20.8% 4-1 21.3% 3.7 5 1.0% 15 -6.4% 31 28.7% 31
5 ATL 20.0% 4-1 21.7% 3.9 4 -2.3% 21 3.0% 11 13.3% 24
6 GB 19.0% 3-1 17.7% 3.1 10 4.7% 9 6.4% 4 9.9% 16
7 DEN 16.9% 4-1 29.4% 3.5 6 -5.5% 26 -1.0% 18 12.5% 23
8 BUF 12.7% 3-2 19.3% 2.8 11 -7.0% 29 -4.9% 29 10.3% 17
9 DAL 12.6% 4-1 14.5% 3.4 8 -3.9% 23 7.5% 3 2.7% 7
10 OAK 7.8% 4-1 7.5% 2.5 14 4.6% 10 -2.5% 27 8.8% 13
11 SD 7.2% 1-4 10.3% 2.4 16 -4.0% 24 -4.2% 28 2.6% 4
12 WAS 4.1% 3-2 6.8% 3.1 9 0.0% 17 10.0% 2 6.7% 9
13 NE 2.1% 4-1 8.5% 2.2 21 -12.8% 31 -1.7% 21 16.0% 27
14 ARI 1.8% 2-3 9.9% 2.4 17 -6.4% 28 3.7% 9 11.0% 20
15 BAL 1.6% 3-2 8.9% 2.7 13 -3.1% 22 0.3% 16 2.4% 3
16 TEN 0.2% 2-3 2.0% 2.7 12 -1.9% 20 -6.2% 30 8.9% 14
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
17 KC 0.1% 2-2 -4.1% 3.5 7 -7.9% 30 1.6% 15 48.5% 32
18 NYG -1.8% 2-3 -11.9% 2.2 22 13.1% 1 4.1% 7 1.3% 1
19 CIN -3.0% 2-3 3.5% 2.2 20 1.1% 14 -2.0% 24 7.9% 11
20 CHI -4.5% 1-4 -3.2% 2.3 19 -1.4% 19 5.6% 5 7.5% 10
21 NO -6.2% 1-3 -2.8% 2.5 15 8.3% 3 -1.8% 23 2.6% 5
22 JAC -6.9% 1-3 -3.0% 2.0 23 3.3% 12 -1.1% 20 9.6% 15
23 CAR -8.1% 1-4 -9.8% 1.7 28 7.4% 4 2.6% 12 11.0% 19
24 DET -8.5% 2-3 -11.2% 1.9 24 6.7% 6 4.3% 6 11.7% 21
25 LARM -11.0% 3-2 -9.8% 2.4 18 2.2% 13 -2.5% 26 16.1% 28
26 SF -14.0% 1-4 -14.2% 1.3 31 5.6% 7 -1.8% 22 17.1% 29
27 IND -14.7% 2-3 -11.4% 1.6 29 0.8% 16 -1.1% 19 2.1% 2
28 MIA -15.2% 1-4 -20.4% 1.8 25 -0.3% 18 -2.3% 25 8.3% 12
29 TB -21.9% 2-3 -23.1% 1.7 26 3.9% 11 3.8% 8 20.9% 30
30 NYJ -29.8% 1-4 -30.4% 1.4 30 12.6% 2 -7.6% 32 12.2% 22
31 HOU -29.9% 3-2 -28.7% 1.7 27 6.8% 5 -0.3% 17 14.1% 25
32 CLE -33.4% 0-5 -31.9% 0.2 32 5.2% 8 3.5% 10 2.6% 6

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 11 Oct 2016

88 comments, Last at 15 Oct 2016, 9:28am by Kevin from Philly

Comments

1
by Temo :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 6:00pm

So according to DVOA, the Cincinnati game was the worst defensive performance the Cowboys have had this year. That doesn't pass the sniff test to me.

I suspect that it's largely because they played almost exclusively in the Nickle in the second half and Cincinnati were satisfied to lead plodding drives full of runs and dink-and-dunk passes while down 4 touchdowns early in the 3rd quarter.

2
by JIPanick :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 6:04pm

DVOA has always struggled with borderline garbage time.

4
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 6:12pm

FWIW, I think Marinelli has worked a miracle with the talent he's had to work with this year No doubt it's been aided by an offense which conceals the defense's weaknesses magnificiently, but I'm still very surprised at what that bunch has been able to accomplish. I've always thought highly of Marinelli, so I've enjoyed this.

6
by Temo :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 6:38pm

I wouldn't praise it too much, they're still pretty bad. But yea, there is zero pass rush talent on the team, and the secondary is overrated (I personally do not buy the Claiborne renaissance).

But yea, Marinelli is fine. We just need some talent infusion.

8
by JohnxMorgan :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 6:58pm

Funny, I've always thought Rod Marinelli was among the worst coaches in football and that he's essentially lived off of the goodwill, or maybe more accurately pity, football fans felt for him when he coached the Lions to the first 0-16 season in NFL history. I remember a lot of hoopla about how he "kept the locker room together" or some such, a lot of fawning coverage for how "brave" and "steely" he was in the face of a disaster he was at least somewhat the cause of.

By DVOA his defenses have finished:

Detroit (as head coach): 28, 32, 32

Chicago (defensive minded head coach Lovie Smith): 4, 4, 1

Dallas (offensive minded head coach Jason Garrett): 22, 19, 25

Not saying which of us is right but it's striking how different two people's perception of a coach can be. I wonder if what makes you think high of him makes me kind of snicker at his continued employment.

11
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 7:48pm

If you think there is a coach on the planet who can overcome A)crappy talent, and more importantly, B) crappy upper management/ownership, we'll have to agree to disagree. You get Millen hired in Detroit two years earlier, and he somehow convinces Darth Hoodie to go there, Hoodie has about as much success as any other Millen hire, which is none.

(Edit) Also, in the two years previous to Marinelli's arrival in Chicago, Smith's defenses were 10th and 7th by DVOA.

82
by JohnxMorgan :: Thu, 10/13/2016 - 6:41pm

I don't at all agree with your hypothetical. I think Belichick would do pretty well, whoever the GM. And that's the problem with hypotheticals like that: the conceiver often seems to think they confirm their point, when in fact there is no logical foundation for any conclusion derived from a fantasy scenario. It is fundamentally illogical.

I was not intending to entirely discredit Marinelli's work in Chicago, only point out that defensive-minded head coaches are typically credited for their team's defense, and not the defensive coordinator. I know this very well, and do in fact agree with it as a heuristic. Consider Gus Bradley in Seattle, for a recent example of a well-respected coach's inability to duplicate success he enjoyed under a like-minded head coach. Bradley, I would think most would agree, can no longer be considered a particularly effective defensive coach. If he has success independent of Carroll, we would reconsider that. But, as-is, the preponderance of evidence argues that Carroll is an all-time great, and Bradley was lucky to have coached under him.

The very value of DVOA is, to me anyway, that it is dispassionate, totally unaffected by sympathy or prejudice. Chicago was 21st in defensive DVOA in Marinelli's first season with the Bears, and 7th the previous season. Not knowing how much to credit a defensive line coach, I didn't include these data. But, and quite obviously, the Bears did not become good when Rod Marinelli joined their team. Chicago finished 9th, 1st, 2nd, 10th and 7th in defensive DVOA under Lovie Smith from 2004-2008.

I also don't agree that Marinelli deserves a pass because of poor upper management. A defensive-minded head coach and a defensive coordinator bear much of the credit or blame for the talent of their defense. Each is a central part of how that talent is identified and selected, and each is the most important person in determining how we perceive that talent. Pete Carroll, arguably the most successful defensive mastermind of the last five years, did not create an exotic or innovative scheme. He recognized the hidden talent of players like Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman, and put those players in a scheme in which they could thrive.

If Dallas lacks talent on defense, Marinelli surely deserves some of the blame. He may not be picking all of the ingredients, but he's surely contributing to the process. If he has "worked a miracle" which is the phrase that motivated me to respond, one must assume: the talent on his defense is markedly perhaps historically bad--how else could 25th be miraculous?--and that he bears no blame for that talent being historically bad.

Much simpler would be: Rod Marinelli is a very poor coach. The more control he has had over his teams or units, the worse they have performed.

83
by Will Allen :: Thu, 10/13/2016 - 9:30pm

There are so many things you write here that I disagree strongly about that I can scarcely list them all, so I'll pick just a few. Is there some empirical evidence with regard to Bill Belichik's team performance, when that team is in the midst of a crappy and unsettled ownership situation, with less than wonderful talent? Why, by Lombardi, there is!

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/cle/1995.htm

A team that had gone 11-5 the year previous (following 6-10, 7-9, and 7-9 under Belichik), when confronted with the sudden announcement of the team leaving for another city, the villification of the owner, and the owner lending no support for the coach, fell apart. Belichik is on record as saying he lost the team. He failed, in a very large and obvious way. I can't think of any proposition I differ with more than any coach, even a HOF coach, would do "pretty well", regardless of the quality of the GM and owner that manage him. Believe it or not, the quality of the football players, and how they are managed, from the top of the organization down, is really, really, really important. Really.

Next, if you assume that Rod Marinelli has significant input as to what players he is coaching, you are completely ignorant of the history of the Dallas Cowboys, under one Jerral Wayne Jones Sr., after Jimmy Johnson left.

84
by bigpoppapump :: Fri, 10/14/2016 - 8:05am

But the HOF Belichik did not exist in the mid 90s.

The coach that failed in your chosen scenario did not have much HC experience. You're choosing the management situation as the reason for the failure of that organisation that season, but you could just as easily choose inexperienced Head Coaching.

85
by Will Allen :: Fri, 10/14/2016 - 8:52am

The head coach that season had 4 full seasons under his belt, going into the season that resulted in his dismissal. It is not accurate to state that he was inexperienced. Did Belichik become a better head coach in his second stint? Undoubtedly, and perhaps the most important way in which he became better was the way he viewed coaching opportunities. Like deciding he was better off working for Bob Kraft than Woody Johnson.

I really find it remarkable that it is asserted that any coach can be expected to do "pretty well", regardless of the quality of the GM and owner the coach reports to.

87
by theslothook :: Fri, 10/14/2016 - 5:38pm

I root for them, but the colts are not a good organization. I strongly believe without Manning, they would be remembered as quite lousy even in their heyday. I hate using meathead terms to discuss football, but they are perpetually a soft team.

I know perrigrine lamented the falcons continued inability to field a good defense. I feel the same way about the colts: A decade and a half run has produced the same qb receiver led teams. On the other hand, a look over at other organizations means you can definitely do a lot worse.

15
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 7:52pm

As a Lions fan, I have zero reason to be charitable to Marinelli,but I find it strange that you don't want to give any credit to him for coordinating an outstanding defense in Chicago when he had actual good players, yet you want to bury him for having below average defenses in Dallas with mostly crap players. I happen to think his defensive DVOA rankings in Dallas are damn miracle with the talent he was given.

As far as his head coaching tenure in Detroit, lambaste away. He was definitely out of his depth as a head coach, but there are plenty of highly regarded coordinators who have proven they don't make good head coaches (Wade Phillips, Norv Turner, Jim Schwartz , etc). And as Will pointed out, even Bill Grumblelord would have probably topped out at 7-9 with the talent Millen stocked that roster with.

10
by TomC :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 7:44pm

The year before he took over the Bears defense, they were 21st, and the year after he left they were 25th, so 4th, 4th, and 1st looks pretty damn good. Injuries and Lovie leaving had a lot to do with the 2012-2013 drop, but that doesn't explain 2009 to 2010-12.

13
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 7:51pm

I thought they improved when Marinelli arrived in Chicago, but I don't think the defense was that bad. Maybe I looked at the chart wrong

19
by dank067 :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 8:29pm

You might be looking at the "last year" column in the 2009 DVOA rankings. The Bears defense was not very good in 2009, although it didn't help that Urlacher missed virtually the entire season.

Bears fans can correct me if I'm off here, but I do believe when Marinelli came into Chicago he shifted the Bears base defense out of Cover 2 into more of a Cover 3—I think its very fair to attribute a lot of their defense success in those years to him specifically.

70
by tuluse :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 3:44pm

I think they had already moved away from a mostly Cover 2 set by that point. Babich really loved the "mug" look with linebackers threatening the A-gap which worked really well for about 3 games and then offenses figured it out.

I remember one thing he and Lovie did was have the safeties (Wright and Conte at the time) line up way far back. Like 25 yards downfield, and essentially just start sprinting forward until they read the play. It was interesting because they were fast enough to make it work and it helped them read the offense which they struggled with at times.

74
by dank067 :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 9:00pm

Good info, thanks. Also realize that I had forgotten that Marinelli initially joined the Bears in 2009 and was promoted to DC the next season.

Was just inspired to look up what happened to Babich and, even though I was living in the orbit of Chicago at the time, I either had no idea or completely forgotten that Babich actually stayed on with the Bears through the end of Lovie's tenure. How unusual for a coach to accept a demotion and remain with the same team.

38
by TomC :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 10:57pm

Marinelli arrived in 2009 but he was only D-line coach. He was DC 2010-12.

3
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 6:06pm

Pretty interesting for a team that really has been bad at blocking to be ranked number 1. They really need to have good injury luck from here on out, or I fear they have peaked. They also signed Jake Long today, so I'll just optimistically assume that his refusal to sign a contract with an injury waiver with the Ravens is the only reason he's available, that since then he's just been biding his time to sign with an otherwise good team with a deseperate need for blocking. If he can attain average left ot performance, and they finally get some good injury luck, I'll like their chances against anyone, especially with 2 home playoff games. They actually have a good chance of getting better on defense, given how many contributors on defense are 26 or younger, and if Walsh gets out of his slump, they'll likely move into the top two or three on special teams.

It's also interesting to see how volatile the past and future schedule rankings are from week to week, at least this early in the season.

14
by Perfundle :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 7:52pm

Seattle has been #1 four straight years mostly with horrible blocking, but of course Wilson mitigates that a bit. I've only watched a bit of Vikings games this year, and Bradford didn't look particularly mobile, so how have the Vikings been so successful passing the ball? A lot of max protect? Getting the ball out quickly? The fact that they can't run the ball at all makes their great passing ranking even more surprising.

39
by nosoop4u :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 11:22pm

how have the Vikings been so successful passing the ball?

"Getting the ball out quickly" is the correct answer.

From http://www.espn.com/blog/minnesota-vikings/post/_/id/20630/sam-bradfords...

Bradford had the shortest time before pass in the NFL in Week 5, getting rid of the ball in an average of 2.0 seconds. He tied Tom Brady for the shortest time in the pocket (at 1.98 seconds), and even on the infrequent occasions he looked downfield, Bradford worked quickly: he posted a league-best average of just 2.33 seconds to throw his six passes of 10 yards or more, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

16
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 7:55pm

Will, I remember how nihilistic you were about the 2016 Vikings season after the Bridgewater news broke. I can only imagine what a strange emotional experience the last 5 weeks have been.

21
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 8:38pm

I thought they were going to try to win games with Shaun Hill pushing the ball within a box defined by the line of scrimmage, a line about 17 yards downfield, and the hash marks. With bad blocking. Obviously, Spielman and the coaching staff had better insight than I, regarding the quality of the rest of the roster, and acted on that belief, thank goodness.

5
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 6:27pm

When I have more time to waste, I'd like to go look at previous years, to see if there is any commonality that can be noticed about teams which perform better in the playoffs than their DVOA rank would have suggested, beyond getting lucky in their playoff match-ups. The NFL isn't nearly as predictable, in terms of playoff success being consistent with regular season performance, as the NBA, but my sense is that it is more predictable than baseball. I might be wrong about that, however.

42
by Duff Soviet Union :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 1:48am

FO have done a couple of "secret sauce" articles in the past and didn't find much useful. It's basically just randomness / matchups.

51
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 9:42am

I strongly suspect it's matchups.

Fencing is infamous for this. I've seen guys lose to fencers who are hundreds of ranks behind them. Bs lose to Ds and As lose to Cs (sort of like a AA baseball team beating the Dodgers). Some of it is one-off bad matches, but a lot of it is just one guy who does something weird that you can't cope with.

7
by CaiusDrewart :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 6:48pm

New England's 24th-ranked defensive DVOA is really surprising to me. I can't think of any major injuries that could explain it. I'll have to keep an eye on that.

And is Tennessee the class of the AFC South? Looks like a decent offense and a decent defense. The special teams have been bad but that's the least predictive of the three, right? Plus a super-easy schedule the rest of the way, as one would expect. I'll take them to get to 9-7 and grab the AFC 4 seed.

Got to like San Diego at home over Denver as an upset pick this Thursday, especially if Siemian is limited.

40
by GrandVezir :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 11:36pm

New England's 24th-ranked defensive DVOA is really surprising to me. I can't think of any major injuries that could explain it. I'll have to keep an eye on that.

Gronkowski was injured to start the season and has come back slowly.

Also they missed a few games with a quarterback or two.

41
by Cythammer :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 12:25am

He's talking about defensive DVOA, not overall team DVOA.

44
by Kulko :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 5:56am

This is standard behaviour for DVOA.

NE DEF has two particular traits that dont sit well with DVOA.

1. The relatively often surrender big leads, to a point where the game gets close again, but the parts rarely lose these games in the end. SO DVOA thinks this is bad defense while you think this was garbage time.

2. In the last 2 years they seem to found there mixture with bend but don't break again, as they had in the early oughts. But DVOA sees a lot of unsuccessful plays followed by 1 turnover or a stand at the 30 yard line.

This trend has been there for a long time, and NE has been able to outperform def DVOA relatively consistently, So I just discount DVOA here a bit. I Assume there is a similar bias, making there OFF DVOA too high, because I fing thir overall DVOA to be pretty ok most of the time.

53
by Anon Ymous :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 10:34am

"But DVOA sees a lot of unsuccessful plays followed by 1 turnover or a stand at the 30 yard line."

Should I presume you meant to say, "successful"?

54
by Athelas :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 11:08am

Unsuccessful from the defensive point of view.

46
by FireSnake :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 7:46am

Dont'a Hightower has a knee injury. When he was playing he barely looked like 60% of himself. He started to look much better against the Browns, but was subbed out after the Pats had a big lead.

Dude's a difference maker, much like Gronk on offense, probably even more important. Certainly the most important and hardest to replace player the Pats have on D (I am not saying he is the best defensive player they have, just the most important).

47
by roguerouge :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 8:17am

Ninkovich was also suspended for the first four games.

66
by Drunken5yearold :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 2:00pm

I would NOT bet on the Chargers this year in any game, no matter the spread.

They've gone 1-4 and only played one decent team (Oakland) and four bad teams (KC, Jac, Indy, NO).

They're comically inept in the second half of games.

The head coach is ultra-conservative and highly suspect as the source of many of their problems.

Basically all of their really good, recognizable players are on IR (Keenan Allen, Verrett, Woodhead, Teo (he sucks though)).

The o-line is already getting banged up, and that was one of the main reasons for the team's tailspin last year.

On the other hand, I do like Jatavis Brown a lot and he is almost certainly an improvement on Teo (who's lack of coverage ability essentially lost the KC game).

Bosa also had a very impressive debut.

It's very easy to imagine an alternate universe where the Chargers are 5-0 if Allen and Bosa had played in every game.

9
by DezBailey :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 7:02pm

The Week 5 BES Rankings are out - http://besreport.com/week-5-bes-rankings-2016/

Looks like the BES and DVOA are in virtual agreement on the occupants of the top-10 this week with the exception of Seattle. The BES instead spots the Patriots among its top-10 at No. 6. Meanwhile, Seattle isn't far behind, landing on the outskirts at No. 12.

The BES and DVOA also agree on the Panthers at 23rd. It's been tremendously bizarre to watch their fall and not to hear them mentioned amongst the league's current top teams.

Staying in the NFC South, the BES and DVOA both have ATL at No. 5. I really love the Falcons offense...so many ways they attack you. You can take Julio Jones out of the game and still get blown by30 points at halftime.

12
by Cythammer :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 7:48pm

The Jags are the second best team in the AFC South… Wow, what an incredibly bad division. Unfortunate that one of those teams is going to be hosting a playoff game.

It's remarkable how far Buffalo and the Jets have gone in opposite directions since NY won that Thursday night game a few weeks ago. While there's reason to believe that some of the teams behind them (i.e., NE) might actually be better, the Bills being third best in the whole AFC after that poor start is pretty amazing.

17
by enaidealukal :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 8:00pm

The 1998 Vikings team that went 15-1 didn't finish that season in the top-8 in DVOA? I'm afraid that says alot more about the DVOA metric than it does about that team.

18
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 8:07pm

What are you talking about? '98 Vikings were #5 in total DVOA.

20
by mrwalterisgod :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 8:36pm

I think Seattle has a good chance to go #1 again in DVOA. They've got a renewed pass rush, which has been lacking the last two years, and their schedule isn't exactly brutal. The offense has had some early season clunkers, but that's to be expected. They always finish stronger under Carroll and usually don't start fast. Fascinating matchup against Atlanta on Sunday.

22
by Sixknots :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 8:50pm

Yes, this Sunday we will be treated to the DVOA #1 offense at the #1 defense. Good times!

23
by Cythammer :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 8:52pm

DVOA adjusts for schedule anyway, so that part shouldn't matter either way.

24
by Sixknots :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 9:00pm

OK...any moment now we are going to be treated to a RaiderJoe literary and spelling onslaught. The Raiders slipped from 7th to 10th in DVOA after defeating the Chargers who rose from 13th to 11th!

86
by Sleet :: Fri, 10/14/2016 - 9:53am

I get why a statistical view of the SD game would do that. Raiders came back and won b/c of an unconventional 4th down call, a fumble, a bad punt, a bad spot and a botched FG. Rivers was in contol of the game before that, scorching the Raiders' secondary. Yet, the eye-ball test says that the Raiders left a lot of points, early, on the field. The Raiders' run D was stout most of the game. And several of SD's big plays benefited from pretty obvious holds--calls SD got last night against Denver. PFF pushed the Raiders' ranking up to #7 after the victory. BSPN dropped the Raiders to #12. Jury's clearly still out.

25
by andrew :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 9:19pm

I know they don't go back that far, but I think it clear the 1969 Vikings would have ranked #1 in DVOA in the NFL. That team had mostly unimpressive offense but lead the league in scoring due to the defense giving it the ball repeatedly. They gave up less than ten points per game (something that has only been exceeded by the gritz blitz falcons who had an even worse offense), and the stomped their toughest opponents that season 52-14, 27-0 and 54-3. Not sure where they would have ranked with the AFL thrown in though.

1975 would be the other season that the consensus had them as the best team in the NFL, with their 10-0 start, but the Rams and Steelers may have been more impressive statistically, dunno.

26
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 9:31pm

With the benefit of hindsight, it's obvious that the SBIV Vikings should not have been heavy favorites over the Chiefs. KC's defense was loaded with HOFers,too, their o-line had HOFers, too, and most importantly, they had a HOF QB and kicker. In some ways I think Stnerud's long first half field goals were decisive.

29
by jmaron :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 9:55pm

Not sure about that - I think they probably were a much better team and just laid and egg in the Super Bowl - as they tended to do.

My reasoning:

1) The two teams played the first game of the season the very next year in Minnesota - The Vikings won 27-10. It was the first year of inter-league regular season play.

2) In 1969 the Vikings had a point differential adjust for opponent of 17.6 vs KC's 11.9. But the AFL was almost assuredly a weaker league as evidenced by the fact that in 1970 where there was inter-league games the best AFL team in adjusted point differential was KC again at 1.5. While Minnesota in 1970 once again led that stat league wide at 13.7.

There's not much doubt in my mind the the Vikings were the best team in football for 1969 and 1970, they just played some bad games in the playoffs. That's sports in North America - we like to crown champions based on small sample sizes vs large ones.

33
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 10:11pm

When you are mediocre to bad at qb, and the other guy is good to great at qb, and his roster is stocked with HOFers and other great players, too (Culp,Buchanon,Brown,Lanier,Bell, Robinson, Thomas, Taylor, Budde, Tyrer, Dawson), including a much better kicker and punter, Stenerud and Wilson, it's hard to argue you should be double digit favorites on a neutral field championship game.

56
by Bright Blue Shorts :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 11:56am

I seem to remember when I first watched/read about football in the 80s, that the explanation given for SBIV was that the Vikings couldn't cope with the moving pocket of the Chiefs thereby protecting Dawson. I don't know how true that is, or whether it's too simplistic an explanation.

That and "75 toss power trap" as the Chiefs metriculated the ball down the field

61
by Will Allen :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 12:42pm

Eh, the story of that game was that Eller, and to a lesser extent Page, kept biting on misdirection, and thus the Vikings gave up some easy running yards that they had not all year. The Chiefs had much better punting and kicking, and then the Vikings got caught in the wrong defense, followed by the corner missing a pretty easy tackle, thus giving up a cheap long touchdown. The Vikings offense was poorly equipped to play from behind, because Kapp was not a good passer, and the Chiefs had some terrific defensive players themselves. The Vikings wouldn't get good qb until 1972, and by then the defense was still good, but not crazy good.

77
by Eggolas :: Thu, 10/13/2016 - 11:25am

Stram was effusive about his "stacked defense" in SBIV, where the linebackers were directly behind the defensive linemen and the Vikes did not adjust to blocking requirements. After the next season's opener at Met stadium, Grant was quoted as saying that they figured out they had to angle block it.

80
by andrew :: Thu, 10/13/2016 - 12:58pm

IIRC the Vikings did have any film of the Chiefs and did not gameplan them at all, which is kinda shocking given the Jets winning the year before.

31
by jmaron :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 9:58pm

I also think the 1975 team was no where near as good as the 1969-71 teams. They had a huge pt differential but that was largely because they played such a soft schedule. They had a much better QB, but the great defence was starting to fade. As well, the AFC was by 1975 a much stronger conference.

34
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 10:13pm

The '75 defense was aging, true enough.

27
by Duff Soviet Union :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 9:31pm

If they ever get to 1988, I'll bet that Vikings team ranks #1. That was one of the best (and probably most underrated) defenses of all time. That was such a weird team, I think Aaron could write a lot about them.

30
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 9:58pm

Yeah that '87-'89 team was loaded with talent on the lines of scrimmage, had good receving, rbs, and dbs, and linebackers. 3 HOFers, another who was on a HOF track before ruining his knee in'90, a couple other guys with decent arguments for the HOF, and bunch other guys with long distinguished careers with Pro Bowl selections. Wade Effin' Wilson at qb, who I personally witnessed blowing a regular season game to the eventual champ Redskins in '87, in a game where the Vikings controlled the line of scrimmage.

(Edit) Oh fer' the luv' of Otto Graham, you prompted me to go look at boxscore....

http://www.pro-football-
reference.com/boxscores/198712260min.htm#all_team_stats

...which, bad as it is, doesn't detail Wilson flat out missing wide open receivers 40 yards downfield. THE HORROR! THE HORROR!

32
by jmaron :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 10:01pm

then they went and dumped all those picks for a RB. Had they spent those picks on a QB those 88 and 89 times might have won something.

35
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 10:30pm

The "they" was one freakin' guy, GM Mike Lynn, who had grabbed power and cash from an aging, always dysfunctional ownership group, by pitting them against one another. The coaches, players, and scouts hated the trade, and the ironic part is that they had two of the best scouts in the business, Frank Gilliam and Jerry Reichow, dating back to just before Grant getting hired. Those two guys eventually overcame the Walker fiasco, too, restocking a roster that made the playoffs for most of the '90s, until Denny Green grabbed too much personnel power and things fell apart at the turn of the century.

Being a Vikings fan for lo thse many decades has been like watching a gridiron mash up of "Richard III", "King Lear", and "Hamlet" except with heartbreaking nail-biters and blowouts, instead of stabbings and poisonings.

57
by Bright Blue Shorts :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 11:58am

Will ... did you rate Gannon when he was with the Vikings?

60
by Will Allen :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 12:32pm

Gannon was frustrating, because he obviously had the athletic tools to excel, but could never quite put it together. I really don't fault anybody; I think he was just the late bloomer of all the late bloomers.

36
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 10:41pm

I mistyped the link, due to the PTSD.....

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/198712260min.htm

49
by andrew :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 8:50am

hey that was the last year a certain future exotic smashmouth architect was on our team, he showed on up on the stat sheet... we also had a pretty good defensive staff including Lane Kiffen's dad and a certain DB coach who would go on to greater glory.

The one iconic failing moment of those teams, the horror story, was the Steve Young 49 yard td scramble in the final minute of the game versus the 49ers that they should have won, in 1988.

That year the Niners only barely made the playoffs. If the Vikings win that game, they almost certainly would have been out. and the Vikings would have won the NFC central and had homefield in the playoffs (you could argue the Bears might have tried harder in their second game against them in the season finale, but given the result (28-27 vikings) it is hard to say they weren't trying.

But they lost, the Niners squeaked into the playoffs at 10-6, got hot, routed the Vikings in San Fransisco in the playoffs and went on to win the Superbowl over the Bengals (with the worst record for a Superbowl champ until the Steelers #6 seed passed it two decades later).

It is hard to find a single play during the regular season in NFL history that had a greater impact on the superbowl champion apart from maybe injury situations.

73
by t.d. :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 8:19pm

the Steelers 6 seed was 11-5. it was the 2011 Giants that broke the 'worst record for champs' record

79
by Swervedriver :: Thu, 10/13/2016 - 12:32pm

I frequently remind my 49ers supporting friend about how 'lucky' they were with this.

81
by Travis :: Thu, 10/13/2016 - 3:57pm

The 49ers had clinched the NFC West going into their Week 16 game against the Rams; had they needed the win, the game might have gone differently (among other things, Joe Montana was benched at halftime).

It is hard to find a single play during the regular season in NFL history that had a greater impact on the superbowl champion apart from maybe injury situations.

Just limiting it to Super Bowl winners this century and plays largely out of their control:

2015 Broncos: In the Week 12 Patriots-Broncos matchup, the Patriots muff a punt up 21-7 early in the 4th quarter, sparking a Broncos comeback and overtime win. Without this win, the Patriots have home field advantage and the Broncos lose the AFC West to the Chiefs.

2011 Giants: Up 5 points with 2:25 to go in the Week 14 Cowboys-Giants matchup, Tony Romo barely overthrows a wide open Miles Austin. A completion would essentially have ended the game and knocked the Giants out of playoff contention.

2001 Patriots: In the Jets-Raiders Week 17 game, the Jets' John Hall hits a 53-yard field goal with a minute to go, knocking the Raiders down to the #3 seed and giving the Patriots a first-round bye. (Hall missed twice from shorter distances in the same stadium six days later.)

48
by Sakic :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 8:48am

That game was worth checking out just because Ali Haji Sheikh was the kicker. One of my favorite football names as a kid.

62
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 12:51pm

The late 80's Vikings will have a special place in my heart because of Jerry Burns' f-bomb laded press conference where he vociferously defended his offensive coordinator. It wasn't quite at the level of Denny Green's "Crown their ass" tirade, but it was still pretty great.

63
by Will Allen :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 1:15pm

Yep, this.....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNcBFZ26lcI

....is how you defend one of your coaches, after a victory, no less. Up to and including calling the booing fans "f*ckers". I'll take it over Denny's tirade any day.

64
by Bright Blue Shorts :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 1:22pm

From the days before every coach or athlete got media training. Beautiful.

Would love to see more coaches/players speaking their minds in interviews. I guess Richard Sherman did a while back, and Norman says what ever he thinks but generally it's also tame.

During the Olympics, it was dull as anything listening to the British athletes who'd been trained parrot praise for their coaches, their teammates, their opponents, the fans back home and the National Lottery.

65
by Will Allen :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 1:30pm

Zimmer cleans his language up in the pressers, but he's still really blunt, and thus refreshing. Loved it last year when he said if he ran into Jeff Fisher on the sidewalk, it'd be Fist City, and he didn't say it in the Rex Ryan blustering way, but rather in the "I'm Dead Serious" way. Parcells was my favorite, due to the caustic wit. Belichik is kind of the Andy Kaufman of coaches in the media, with his absurdist mocking, which I enjoy quite a bit.

67
by ZDNeal :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 2:11pm

Wasn't it the Offensive Coordinator, Schnelker?

The best part is that final "F*ckers..." as he wanders off.

68
by Will Allen :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 2:20pm

Yep, Bob Schnelker, who was pretty good, but was tasked with making Wade Wilson functional, and then working in the very one dimensional, and not all that great at that dimension, Herschel Walker.

71
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 4:06pm

Thanks for the link! I still get a chuckle out of it.

I believe it was after this game:

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/198911050min.htm

The scoring summary for that game is humorous to look at...Rich Karlis and his 7 field goals. I guess the media was frustrated by the offenses' many red zone failures.

72
by Sakic :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 5:12pm

I remember that game...or at least the highlights from it...don't think we'll ever see a game again where the only scoring from one team is 7 field goals from a barefooted kicker and a safety to win it. And yeah, Schnelker was the O-coordinator having come over from Green Bay (I think.) The only thing I remember about him was that he didn't like using the shotgun ever...at least with Green Bay but he might have changed after moving to Minny.

Side note...seeing the other games that week made me realize that was the same week the Packers beat the Bears in the replay game. Majikowski threw a TD pass to beat the Bears (for the first time in forever) and got flagged for being over the line of scrimmage but it got overturned on replay to give the Packers the win. Ditka looked like he was having a seizure on the sideline...lots of interesting press conferences that day!

58
by JIPanick :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 11:59am

"1975 would be the other season that the consensus had them as the best team in the NFL"

1975 was the year Chuck Noll's Steelers peaked. Best team in the NFC, probably.

75
by andrew :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 9:25pm

I kinda think their peak was the 1976 squad once they got rolling after their 1-4 start, where they won out allowing only 28 points in nine games (and 16 in one game, meaning 12 in the other 7). At least until injuries caught up with them..

"I was corrupt before I had power!" - Random

76
by Jerry :: Thu, 10/13/2016 - 5:25am

People in the organization, like Chuck Noll and Art Rooney, claimed that 1976 was the best of those teams. I doubt we'll see DVOA to confirm it.

28
by Duff Soviet Union :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 9:48pm

That 88 team was so stacked. As you mention, there was so much talent on offense they made Wade Wilson into a Pro Bowler and that was nothing compared to the defense. And yet they somehow lost two games to a 4-12 team while winning 7 games by 20+ points and at one point allowing 9 points in 4 weeks. Insane. That team absolutely should have won a Super Bowl, Wade Wilson or not.

78
by Swervedriver :: Thu, 10/13/2016 - 12:29pm

I think the Vikings that season gave up 150 yards in totals over TWO games vs the Lions.
A modern era season series record I wonder?

37
by TheAnonymousCom... :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 10:50pm

I'd like to make a request for an additional matchup in the "Special Super Bowl Matchups" section of the playoff odds report: the "Someone would have to win bowl", MIN vs BUF. I guess that because of tie breakers and so on the probabilities are not perfectly independent, but it looks like right now it would have about a 2.7% chance of becoming a reality...

50
by ZDNeal :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 8:55am

+1 I agree.

Or maybe "Who's the next Denver?" :)

43
by Raiderfan :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 3:44am

The Raiders are clearly ranked too low because 1) they beat a team that rose in the rankings, 2) DVOA fails to incorporate the ingame skill of "Black"Jack Del Rio, and 3) Carr=elite.

45
by snakedoctor34 :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 6:32am

Anyone know how to find the DVOA breakdown by WR1, WR2, WR3, TE, and RB on this website? I saw that table last week but I cannot find it this week?

Snakedoctor34

59
by JIPanick :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 11:59am

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/teamdef

Scroll down to the second table.

52
by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 10:06am

no way should Raiders drop to 10th. they beat the chersga who if not sio dopey at end of agmes could be 4-1. that is quality win. Raiders should move up. not down. Possibly are best tema in AFC. maybe pitt, Denver or Pates netter but it can be argued. No need to worrt. Raiders will show who is boss when face Denver laetr in season

88
by Kevin from Philly :: Sat, 10/15/2016 - 9:28am

Thank god you told me - I was just about to worrt.

55
by Tomlin_Is_Infallible :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 11:39am

I know it's only week 5 (err...6 pending; hardly predictive of who will win the SB and all that), but when was the last time that the top 3 teams were all so Defense-heavy ?

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

69
by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 3:18pm

Probably 2008? The Giants were up there and more balanced, but the top teams that year by DVOA (PHI, TEN, PIT, BAL) were all defense-dominated.