Five big games this weekend match the first place and second place team in a division. Aaron takes an Outsiders-style look at different trends and tendencies of the teams involved to show you what to look for on Sunday.
Never let it be said we don't take constructive criticism here at Football Outsiders. Responding to one of two common complaints, here is a new attempt at weighting our VOA ratings so they better reflect the current abilities of teams.
Why do our VOA ratings have some teams ranked far higher than public perception? The answer lies in teams that have improved or declined since the season began. Aaron breaks the season in half to show which teams are on the rise. Plus, the final word on Tampa's inconsistency, Jon Gruden vs. Dennis Erickson, Miami's lame offense goes nuts on the previously great Cowboy D, and more commentary for the math-o-phobic.
The latest VOA ratings are here, measuring how each NFL team has performed on a play-by-play basis. And yes, those losing-record Tampa Bay Bucs are back at #2. Could they share a fate with the team that finished surprisingly high in last year's ratings despite an 8-8 record? Hint: One year later, that team is 10-1.
Here's the latest run-through of the VOA ratings, which compare every single play in the NFL to league average based on situation. The gap between Kansas City and the rest of the NFL actually widens despite the Chiefs' loss, Carolina brings back memories of the 1998 Arizona Cardinals, and the AFC North struggles to produce an actual winning team.
Aaron breaks down every team in the NFC, complete with DVOA ratings split into pass and rush, special teams ratings split five ways, and projections of every team's final win-loss record. All the stats are ranked 1-32 to help you figure out where your team tops the league and where it comes up short. Even more commentary than the AFC article, including a section on Carolina and Tampa Bay that is longer than the odds on Arizona making the playoffs.
Out of last week's top ten teams, five lost and two more were on bye. So you can imagine that the VOA ratings have gone through some changes. Kansas City's still in the top spot, and they are pulling away from the rest of the NFL. Plus, comments on St. Louis-Baltimore and Miami-Tennessee, and a detailed discussion of what statistics can and cannot tell you.
Aaron breaks down every team in the AFC, complete with DVOA ratings split into pass and rush, special teams ratings split five ways, and projections of every team's final win-loss record. All the stats are ranked 1-32 to help you figure out where your team tops the league and where it comes up short. Plus, obnoxious commentary for the math-o-phobic, featuring pop culture references of Milleresque randomness.
In the final TMQ, Gregg Easterbrook introduced the idea of The Maroon Zone, the area between the 30 and 40-yard lines that often is the barrier between punting and scoring. Or is it? We compare performance all over the field to winning and scoring and discover an even more important new area: The Scarlet Zone.
KC stays at #1. Topics for this week's commentary include the Patriots' intentional safety, the turnstile that is Wade Smith, the true purpose of ESPN NFL Matchup, and why an unexplained change at ESPN.com will limit the information you get from this website. No, that has nothing to do with TMQ.