Week 2 DVOA Ratings

Week 2 DVOA Ratings
Week 2 DVOA Ratings
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Aaron Schatz

So, how about those New Orleans Saints? Two big wins give Drew Brees and his boys first place in the Football Outsiders DVOA ratings after two weeks. The Saints are first in offense and third in defense -- isn't playing Detroit before opponent adjustments kick in great? -- although they rank dead last in special teams. Reggie Bush has fumbled twice on punt returns, and the Saints so far have three kickoff returns that didn't even make it back to their own 20.

The flipside of the Saints would be the New York Jets. There's so much talk about the Jets defense, but has anyone noticed the Jets special teams? Jay Feely is booming kickoffs (gross average over 70 yards) and this Sunday Leon Washington brought back the Patriots' three non-squib kickoffs for 37, 40, and 43 yards.

I am fascinated by the turnaround of the Jets defense, though. One of the goals of Football Outsiders is to figure out how teams build Super Bowl contenders and champions, and I want to figure out what exactly changed for the Jets. They are starting basically the same players except for two, Bart Scott and Jim Leonhard. The other obvious change is the head coach and the scheme. Yet, let's be honest -- the previous Baltimore coordinators who moved into head coaching gigs didn't exactly bring that Ravens defensive attitude and quality with them. How is Rex Ryan doing in New York what Marvin Lewis couldn't do in Cincinnati and Mike Nolan couldn't do in San Francisco? Maybe it is the young talent improving, combined with the new coach? Or is it Bart Scott -- is he the first Baltimore defensive player to go to a new team and bring the attitude with him?

Looking past those two teams, the DVOA ratings so far generally reflect what we've seen on the field. (You may be surprised by the Eagles ranking third, but remember that they dominated in Week 1 with a rating over 100%.) Of course, the DVOA ratings so far do not generally reflect what we were projecting in the preseason, just two weeks ago. Some of our "possible surprise teams" like the Rams and Jaguars look horrendous, and the FO Premium picks have had a very unfortunate couple weeks. All I can say is: Hey, it's early. Give it time. If the Premium picks haven't been kind to you, well, trust me -- we're even more frustrated than you are.

Some fun splits so far:

  • What Albert Haynesworth? The Tennessee defense ranks number one in VOA against the run. Of course, the Titans are 29th against the pass.
  • On the other hand, the Giants rank fourth in VOA against the pass and 32nd in DVOA against the run.
  • Miami's offense ranks 26th passing, fourth rushing. Philadelphia's offense is 28th passing, and third rushing.

I have a feeling that some of these big splits are going to get smoothed out with more time and with the introduction of opponent adjustments in two weeks.

* * * * *

And now, a little housekeeping... All stats pages are now updated for 2009 through Week 2. Offensive line, defensive line, and "defense vs. types of receivers" stats are all added for the first time in 2009. Playoff odds are updated. FO Premium is updated through Week 2. If you are wondering about certain columns (estimated wins, schedule, etc.), be aware those will start running next week when we have enough data for it to mean something.

In addition, Premium subscribers will now find a link on the homepage that will allow them to get ESPN Insider at a 25 percent discount. As for our international readers, the ESPN folks tell me that you can subscribe to Insider with a "digital subscription" to the magazine, and this will make the cost the usual $40 instead of the ridiculous fee that international readers otherwise have to pay (to have the magazine shipped to them). If you have further problems with this, please let us know.

One more reminder: Specific questions about DVOA or any other stats are more likely to be answered if you direct them to me through the FO contact form rather than asking the question in the discussion thread. (Of course, questions in the discussion thread are likely to get good answers from veteran readers.)

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through two weeks of 2009, 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 VOA are adjusted to consider all fumbles, kept or lost, as equal value. SPECIAL TEAMS VOA is adjusted for type of stadium (warm, cold, dome, Denver) and week of season.

There are no opponent adjustments in VOA until the fourth week of the season, which is why it is VOA right now rather than DVOA. 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 VOA to get a more accurate forecast of how a team will play the rest of the season. Right now, the preseason projection makes up 75 percent of DAVE.

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>

1 NO 64.0% 2 2-0 9.9% 11 51.7% 1 -25.2% 3 -12.9% 32
2 MIN 47.3% 6 2-0 24.9% 2 15.3% 10 -30.0% 2 2.1% 11
3 PHI 36.0% 1 1-1 12.2% 9 -2.2% 22 -34.2% 1 4.0% 6
4 NYJ 35.3% 3 2-0 -4.8% 18 7.7% 15 -17.7% 6 9.9% 1
5 BAL 34.1% 9 2-0 19.5% 5 36.4% 3 -6.8% 10 -9.1% 28
6 GB 29.6% 5 1-1 2.4% 15 12.6% 11 -24.2% 5 -7.2% 27
7 DEN 28.8% 16 2-0 -11.5% 24 23.3% 6 -16.4% 7 -10.9% 30
8 ARI 22.5% 18 1-1 -9.5% 22 2.5% 18 -24.6% 4 -4.6% 26
9 ATL 22.2% 8 2-0 -7.3% 21 21.8% 7 -0.7% 14 -0.3% 18
10 IND 20.4% 20 2-0 29.9% 1 33.6% 4 10.6% 21 -2.6% 22
11 DAL 18.5% 4 1-1 3.8% 14 46.3% 2 29.3% 29 1.6% 15
12 BUF 18.2% 19 1-1 -17.0% 28 28.9% 5 8.3% 20 -2.3% 20
13 SEA 17.2% 7 1-1 12.6% 8 5.3% 17 -8.1% 9 3.7% 7
14 NYG 14.9% 14 2-0 13.6% 7 15.7% 9 -1.6% 13 -2.4% 21
15 PIT 12.1% 10 1-1 18.6% 6 9.1% 13 -2.7% 12 0.3% 16
16 WAS 5.2% 15 1-1 -4.3% 16 -1.1% 20 -4.3% 11 2.0% 12
17 NE 1.4% 17 1-1 19.6% 4 12.5% 12 7.5% 19 -3.5% 24
18 SF 1.0% 21 2-0 -16.7% 27 -15.3% 27 -9.9% 8 6.4% 4
19 CIN -1.3% 12 1-1 -4.6% 17 -4.4% 24 3.9% 16 7.0% 3
20 OAK -5.0% 22 1-1 -10.6% 23 -6.1% 26 1.0% 15 2.2% 10
21 TEN -6.7% 23 0-2 11.8% 10 8.9% 14 4.6% 17 -11.1% 31
22 SD -14.4% 13 1-1 24.0% 3 -4.3% 23 15.6% 25 5.5% 5
23 KC -15.0% 24 0-2 -5.7% 19 -0.1% 19 14.9% 23 0.0% 17
24 JAC -19.1% 11 0-2 8.3% 13 -6.1% 25 15.0% 24 2.0% 13
25 HOU -19.4% 29 1-1 -12.5% 25 -1.9% 21 19.3% 27 1.9% 14
26 CHI -25.0% 25 1-1 9.6% 12 -23.6% 28 5.0% 18 3.7% 8
27 TB -30.1% 27 0-2 -16.5% 26 16.9% 8 42.6% 32 -4.4% 25
28 MIA -35.4% 28 0-2 -17.0% 29 5.7% 16 39.6% 30 -1.5% 19
29 STL -40.6% 30 0-2 -6.9% 20 -24.7% 29 12.5% 22 -3.4% 23
30 CLE -48.4% 26 0-2 -20.1% 31 -25.5% 30 26.4% 28 3.5% 9
31 CAR -67.6% 32 0-2 -17.3% 30 -40.6% 31 16.3% 26 -10.7% 29
32 DET -83.3% 31 0-2 -28.2% 32 -51.8% 32 40.6% 31 9.1% 2


99 comments, Last at 26 Sep 2009, 8:08pm

#1 by crack (not verified) // Sep 22, 2009 - 5:03pm

Can't wait for the CLE & DET opponent adjustments to kick in.

Points: 0

#9 by Tundrapaddy (not verified) // Sep 22, 2009 - 5:19pm

Yeah, my Purples will not be ranked quite so high once that occurs. Really, they'd better learn to start playing from the first whistle, rather than wait until halftime.

Starting this week (San Fran).

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#14 by crack (not verified) // Sep 22, 2009 - 5:30pm

I didn't know Ziggy posted here.

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#46 by Tundrapaddy (not verified) // Sep 22, 2009 - 7:41pm

You've got the better of me there, since i have no idea what you're referring to (and am unlikely to take a few minutes to research 'Ziggy' references online).

Thus, I can only say, "Quois?"

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#47 by Brendan Scolari // Sep 22, 2009 - 7:52pm

I'm guessing he meant Zygi Wilf, owner of the Vikings.

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#17 by Will Allen (not verified) // Sep 22, 2009 - 5:36pm

What is the chance of the Vikings going two consecutive weeks without yielding a touchdown on a punt return?

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#18 by crack (not verified) // Sep 22, 2009 - 5:41pm

That was one thing that looked satisfactory at Sunday's game. I know it was the Lions, but it looked like the ST knew how to tackle.

"..but i have been fooled before." to quote TJ Hicks.

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#64 by alastorisanass (not verified) // Sep 23, 2009 - 1:02am

alastor is a moron!

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#65 by ThisIsHim (not verified) // Sep 23, 2009 - 1:12am

Denver is clearly ranked too high because they rock. FOXSports is way better than this. DEnvr roks! we gonna pwn you foolz, juzt you wathc!

i hope you appreciate that i followed the template.

oh and this is not really what i think..

Points: 0

#66 by alastorisanass (not verified) // Sep 23, 2009 - 1:49am


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#71 by peterplaysbass (not verified) // Sep 23, 2009 - 9:29am


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#2 by Jacob Stevens (not verified) // Sep 22, 2009 - 5:06pm

Seahawks are another team looking better here than they do on the field, with opponent adjustments not yet kicking in.

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#3 by navin // Sep 22, 2009 - 5:06pm

Niners are behind the two teams they beat. I'm pretty sure they outplayed the Seahawks this week. It will be interesting to see what happens when adjustments kick in.

The splits say exactly what we expect: good defense, good special teams, bad offense. This week at Minnesota will be a great barometer to determine whether this team is closer to the contender 49ers of 2001 or the fluke of 2007.

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#13 by Jacob Stevens (not verified) // Sep 22, 2009 - 5:28pm

I think you outplayed both the Seahawks and Cards, face to face. Overall quality of play for two weeks, though: the Cards' completely shut down your running game and set a completion record against Jacksonville. The Seahawks had the greatest margin of victory in week 1. The 9ers are forcing a game of attrition on opponents and winning, but style points there don't come easy.

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#51 by navin // Sep 22, 2009 - 8:46pm

The Cardinals game was a tossup. SF just executed at the end; it could have easily gone the other way.

The Niners did beat down the Seahawks, they would have been up 20-10 even without the Hasselbeck injury. (13-10 at halftime, Gore TD run on the first play from scrimmage in the second half.)

I'm worried about the offense's propensity to keep running Gore into 8 man fronts. I charted the first half of the Arizona game and the Cardinals consistently put 8 and even 9 men in the box in running situations, yet the 49ers kept running Gore at it. The first run fake didn't even come until the last scoring drive before halftime.

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#73 by bravehoptoad // Sep 23, 2009 - 10:32am

I know. Don't you get the idea we could have scored twice as many points with just a little smarter play-calling? That our two successful drives, one per game, could have been five or six successful drives?

And that our coaches don't care about that? That as long as they squeak out wins, they don't care how many points they're leaving on the field?

That's the idea I got in 2007, anyway, and I'm getting the same idea now.

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#96 by navin // Sep 25, 2009 - 10:38am

I do think the team could score more with better playcalling; my worry is that they just don't care, and the points left on the field will cost them wins. If Arizona happens to score at the end of the game, SF is 1-1 and not 2-0. Smarter playcalling earlier in the game prevents that situation.

2007 was flukier. I remember the last drive against Arizona where Alex Smith fumbled into the endzone, two Cardinals missed it, and a receiver (Hill, Battle?) recovered before SF won.

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#85 by Jacob Stevens (not verified) // Sep 23, 2009 - 4:59pm

I think Arizona played slightly better overall, but I also think it was a tossup. What I meant was, you outplayed your opponents, and beat down Seattle, but DVOA is a measure of quality of play.

So, though you won the matchup, the Cards' shutting down of your running game exceeds anything else the three teams have accomplished, in terms of standing out from the crowd this year or any other year. And Seattle beat down the Rams a lot more so than you did Seattle. Hence, for week 2 without opponent adjustments, you've been the better team head to head but haven't produces the highest quality of play execution.

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#86 by Jacob Stevens (not verified) // Sep 23, 2009 - 5:00pm

Oh an let's not forget Arizona outplayed a Jacksonville team that may be as good as any of the three of us, and set a completion record in the process with Warner going 24 of 26.

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#95 by navin // Sep 25, 2009 - 10:35am

I agree with all of your points. I was just trying to put how SF played into perspective (and not really complaining about the rankings).

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#4 by JasonK // Sep 22, 2009 - 5:10pm

I'm pretty sure that the column labeled "Last Year" should read "Last Week."

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#5 by Red Hedgehog // Sep 22, 2009 - 5:11pm

How are Philly's special teams still sixth after their horrendous performance last week and what I thought to be a merely decent one week one?

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#15 by Pat (filler) (not verified) // Sep 22, 2009 - 5:33pm

Returning a punt for a TD is "merely decent"?

I also think "horrendous" overstates things. The fumble was horrendous. The penalties were probably equalled out by the 60-yard kickoff return. One of Rocca's punts was awful, but he also had two fantastic punts, helped by the fact that Reggie Bush is godawful - a 49 yarder that netted 46 yards, and a 61 yarder that netted 67. That punt alone in field position was worth 2 points, and probably saved 4 points.

When opponent adjustments come in, most likely the Eagles special teams will get significantly worse for Week 2, because the Saints special teams will probably be below average. But on balance, not knowing that, the Eagles special teams last week were probably just bad, not horrendous.

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#28 by Red Hedgehog // Sep 22, 2009 - 6:28pm

> Returning a punt for a TD is "merely decent"?

Coupled with a blocked kick and a kickoff out of bounds, I'd say that qualifies the special teams play as decent.

As for this week, I'd give you two penalties equals out to one 60 yard return, but the Eagles had 4, all of which caused them to start behind the 15. Then you have the fumble (really bad), and Rocca's punts which netted 34, 35, 46, 67, and 26 yards (and none of the short ones were inside the 20).

Sure, the Eagles could have done worse, but for a professional football team that looked really bad.

Points: 0

#42 by Pat (filler) (not verified) // Sep 22, 2009 - 7:32pm

"Coupled with a blocked kick and a kickoff out of bounds, I'd say that qualifies the special teams play as decent."

A TD scores 7 points. A blocked kick costs you about a point (it wasn't a gimme, it was a 51 yarder), and a kickoff out of bounds (which aren't *that* bad since they have no return possibility) is only about a point. That's not "decent," that's solidly above average.

"but the Eagles had 4, all of which caused them to start behind the 15."

Right, so that's about 10 yards of field position each, or 40 total. Which is about what they gained with the 60 yard return.

"and Rocca's punts which netted 34, 35, 46, 67, and 26 yards (and none of the short ones were inside the 20)."

That's not a terrible day for a punter. The short ones were a touchback and two out-of-bounds kicks. They're short, but they had no chance for a return. The 46 yarder is above average, and the 67 yarder is really, really good. On balance he helped the team more than he hurt them, though not by a lot.

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#54 by Red Hedgehog // Sep 22, 2009 - 10:33pm

It's not really worth arguing whether the Eagles' special teams were merely bad or horrendous. But I'm having fun doing it anyway.

For example, I don't think adding the yardage of the one good return and the four penalty returns really works as I don't think that it's a one-to-one correspondence. If we're counting points, I'd say the difference of the big return was 2.5 (maybe 2 2/3) points, while the penalties totaled up to something like -4.

As for the punts, sure if you just average them out, it comes out above average. But a 35 yard or so punt is only acceptable when it leaves the opponent inside the 20. None of the short punts did that. And since we're discussing net punt yards, it doesn't matter whether they went out of bounds or were kicked 50 yards and returned 15.

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#58 by mm (not verified) // Sep 22, 2009 - 11:09pm

The Eagles probably get credit for the Saints kicking a kickoff out of bounds, although I don't believe they really had anything to do with that.

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#82 by Red Hedgehog // Sep 23, 2009 - 3:38pm

I think things like opponent's kicking are actually part of "hidden" factors of special teams and not actually including in a team's special teams score. I know, for instance, that opposing field goal percentage is is there.

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#89 by mm (not verified) // Sep 24, 2009 - 2:50am

A kicker on a field goal generally isn't bothered by the rush (unless they actually block it); since the rushing team isn't contributing to the field goal percentage, it isn't included.

Kicking out of bounds, however, can result from teams trying to kick it away from a good returner; in these cases its an indication of the receiving teams' quality. I admit I don't recall them saying its in the formula (I'm sure they've tested it to see if it improves predictions), but my guess its in there, perhaps with a small adjustment.

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#91 by Eddo // Sep 24, 2009 - 10:37am

Any credit that the receiving teams gets for kickoffs against going out of bounds is added manually, and only for certain teams. Aaron started doing this when it became apparent that no one was kicking to Hester and Cribbs in 2007. I can't say if he still does this or not.

Points: 0

#81 by Pat (filler) (not verified) // Sep 23, 2009 - 2:50pm

For example, I don't think adding the yardage of the one good return and the four penalty returns really works as I don't think that it's a one-to-one correspondence. If we're counting points, I'd say the difference of the big return was 2.5 (maybe 2 2/3) points, while the penalties totaled up to something like -4.

On first down, field position is roughly linear. When you get to 3rd/4th down, it's pretty noticeably curved, but on first down, it's pretty much just "yards/point = 100/7". It's in one of FO's old articles.

The first two penalties were ~0.75 points in field position. I have a hard time guessing what the cost of the double-penalty on Jackson's return was, because without those, he doesn't spring free. I guess you could include Jackson's mistake and say it should've been a touchback, but I think that's dangerous - the punt could've pitched up and been downed at roughly the same spot. Personally I'd split the difference and say it's about 10 yards, or ~0.75 points. The last penalty was only about ~0.5 points.

The long KOR is about 4 points, if you assume the average start is at the 20, where the average next score is ~0.25, and at the 35 it's ~4. So yeah, they about equal out.

It's easy to see that the KOR is worth *at least* 3 points: a first down at the 35 is a near guarantee of a field goal.

And since we're discussing net punt yards, it doesn't matter whether they went out of bounds or were kicked 50 yards and returned 15.

It matters if you're evaluating the punter. You'd rather have a punt that went out of bounds for 35 yards than a 40 yard kick that was returned 5. The result on the game is the same, but the latter in the future could cause more problems than the former.

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#6 by crack (not verified) // Sep 22, 2009 - 5:12pm

Little of this makes any sense. I know it is early, but the vaunted adjustments are based on these early games.

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#7 by theshadowj // Sep 22, 2009 - 5:17pm

I'm wondering what the Texans defensive splits by down look like. So far, they've actually been pretty good on first and second down, but then been terrible on thrid down. Sanchez had over 200 of his 272 yards on third down, while Chris Johnson had both his 57 yard run(on 3rd and 19) and 91 yard run on third down.

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#8 by MC2 // Sep 22, 2009 - 5:18pm

I haven't had a chance to see either the Saints or the Ravens thus far. For those who have, I'm wondering which is more likely to be for real: the Saints' defense or the Ravens' offense?

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#10 by crack (not verified) // Sep 22, 2009 - 5:20pm

Darren Sharper using cunning and wiles on inexperienced QBs is real. However they aren't as effective against experienced QBs.

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#12 by Tundrapaddy (not verified) // Sep 22, 2009 - 5:25pm

Well, let's compare; the Saints' D has thus far faced a McNabb-less Philly offense and a talentless Detroit offense (okay, they do have Megatron).

The Ravens O has faced the vaunted KC defense, followed by the apparently-worse-than-expected Chargers defense.


Even so, I'm more inclined to trust the Ravens offense. Flacco is talented, young an improving. The running game is established, the O-line is one of the best, and even if you haven't heard of any of the wide receivers not named Derrick 'Mini-Favruh' Mason, well...they all have to get their start somewhere.

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#20 by MC2 // Sep 22, 2009 - 5:45pm

You're probably right, but if I were a Ravens fan, I think I'd be concerned that so many key players (Mason, Heap, McGahee) are old and/or injury-prone. Still, a good young QB and a solid O-line can cover up a lot of flaws, so they may be able to get by even if (when?) the injuries start to pile up.

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#22 by t.d. // Sep 22, 2009 - 5:49pm

Has the Saints offense been that much better than they were last year? Also, I like the Ravens, but San Diego moved up and down the field against them all game. Maybe losing Ryan and Scott has hurt them more than people expect.

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#24 by Ben Johnson (not verified) // Sep 22, 2009 - 6:14pm

I agree. San Diego had no problem moving the ball (scoring) and KC with Brodie Croyle at QB hung 28 on them on the road. The Raiders held KC and Matt Cassell to 10 points at home. The Ravens defense doesn't seem to have it this year.

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#27 by Quincy // Sep 22, 2009 - 6:27pm

Baltimore's defense only allowed 188 total yards against KC. A blocked punt and long interception return provided one KC touchdown and set up another. The Chargers lit them up a little bit, but it's too early to say the defense has lost it.

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#32 by MC2 // Sep 22, 2009 - 6:38pm

I actually thought the Raiders defense looked pretty good against the Chargers in Week 1. They finally broke down at the end, but that seemed to be a function of being on the field for almost the entire 2nd half, due to the offense's ineptitude.

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#55 by mm (not verified) // Sep 22, 2009 - 10:54pm

Has the Saints offense been that much better than they were last year?

The running game, with Mike Bell on the team, is much better. Pierre Thomas has been injured; hopefully he'll start playing again this week and give the running attack a bigger boost. Heath Evans, the FB they signed from New England, also seems to be an upgrade, adding versatility to an offense that knows how to use versatile players.

At times last year the offense played at this level (I'm thinking the Raiders game, the Monday night game vs. Green Bay, and the San Diego game in London), but not against a team with as good a reputation as Philadelphia.

One thing that held the offense back last year was injuries to key offensive skill players (#1 WR, #1 TE, 2 of the top 3 RBs). A bit better injury luck and they'll be better than last year (of course, so far their 1&2 running backs both have sprained knees, and their slot receiver was pulled out of the Eagles game early with a tight hamstring).

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#52 by Joseph // Sep 22, 2009 - 10:08pm

Disclaimer: I am a Saints homer, and somewhat biased because of that. I also have not seen the Ravens either.
Having said that, check out the preseason stats for the Saints D. They are for real, but not #3 in DVOA real. I am guessing that they end up middle of the pack--which with the #1 offense is a scary thought.
On a side note, they have had pretty good luck so far this year--McNabb's injury, no suspensions forthcoming for DE's Grant & Smith, playing all their away games in the north during Sept & Oct, season-ending injuries to DT's in ATL & CAR, etc. As we FO followers know, injury luck sometimes puts you in the SB over a superior team that has a key injury at the wrong time (or a total meltdown by the opposing QB works, too).

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#11 by ChicagoRaider // Sep 22, 2009 - 5:24pm

This is ridiculous. Oakland's offense was Shane Lechler punting and Michael Huff intercepting a pass. How can they not be the worst offense in the NFL?

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#16 by crack (not verified) // Sep 22, 2009 - 5:35pm

Well, they are 26th. I suspect the primary difference with the people below them is fewer turnovers. (2 ints, 1 Fum)

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#26 by Brendan Scolari // Sep 22, 2009 - 6:26pm

Well the Niners are 27th on offense and they have only one turnover so far (a fumble). They have (I think) one other offensive fumble that they recovered, but no picks yet.

That combined with Gore's two 80 yard runs, makes it a bit hard to believe that they would be ranked below the Raiders. Though I guess the offense was really bad against Arizona and the Raiders offense was decent against the Chargers in week 1.

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#33 by crack (not verified) // Sep 22, 2009 - 6:40pm

I'll point to my comment @ 6.

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#45 by thok // Sep 22, 2009 - 7:38pm

Actually Gore's two runs are part of the confusion.

The 49ers have 582 total yards of offense and 43 points score: roughly 210 of those yards and 21 of those points came from 3 plays (the two Gore runs and Bruce's 50 yard TD catch week 1.)

Those plays look impressive, but aren't that different from 3 plays of 30 yards that get a TD each and thus aren't worth as much as you think they are in DVOA.

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#48 by Brendan Scolari // Sep 22, 2009 - 7:58pm

I realize that big plays are not weighed as heavily as the common perceptin would weigh them.

Also, Bruce doesn't have any TD's yet. He had a 50 yard catch in week 1 but was tackled at the 6 yard line. Gore ran it in for a TD the player after that. Not that it changes too much but there were only 14 points scored from those 3 plays directly.

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#35 by johonny (not verified) // Sep 22, 2009 - 6:53pm

It's hard to intercept a Raider pass. They are so badly thrown. A flaw in the system :)

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#19 by starzero // Sep 22, 2009 - 5:43pm

the once vaunted afc south has completely collapsed this year, with the 1st place colts' two wins coming against cream puffs. at this rate even if the colts go undefeated their opponent adjustments will keep them around the middle of dvoa.

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#25 by Quincy // Sep 22, 2009 - 6:18pm

It's only 2 games. Both the Titans and Texans played tough week one opponents and I expect their numbers will get better. The Jaguars, on the other hand, just might be awful.

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#76 by iapetus (not verified) // Sep 23, 2009 - 11:26am

Since when were the Colts not a tough week one opponent?

The Jaguars might, indeed, be awful this year, but your reasoning certainly is.

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#21 by C (not verified) // Sep 22, 2009 - 5:48pm

Teams that played the Lions are #1 and #2 in DVOA.

The cowboys have a higher DVOA than the Giants. I guess beating the Bucs and losing to the Giants makes you better than the Giants.

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#23 by t.d. // Sep 22, 2009 - 5:52pm

The Giants look good, but dvoa doesn't adjust for HFA, and the Giants won on a last second field goal. Not exactly a curbstomping.

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#31 by Quincy // Sep 22, 2009 - 6:38pm

The Giants get their own shot at the Bucs this week, followed by the Chiefs and Raiders. I expect they'll move up the rankings over the next three weeks.

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#41 by Tundrapaddy (not verified) // Sep 22, 2009 - 7:32pm

I'd abandon that kind of logic. It doesn't work any better here than it does in BCS rankings.

It's only been two games, so the variance is still pretty large. That will smooth out over the next few weeks.

Points: 0

#57 by mm (not verified) // Sep 22, 2009 - 11:02pm

. I guess beating the Bucs and losing to the Giants makes you better than the Giants.

There aren't any opponent adjustments yet, so the 2 performances are still weighed equally.

DAVE is supposed to be better than VOA right now. The Giants are 7th in DAVE, the Cowboys 14th.

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#70 by C (not verified) // Sep 23, 2009 - 9:26am

But the Giants beat the Cowboys
( even on the road in front of the largest NFL crowd ever)

Redskins are better than the Bucs...

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#74 by Bowl Game Anomaly // Sep 23, 2009 - 11:22am

Whaaa? Did Chris just say something positive about the Redskins? Next thing you know he'll be complimenting Jason Campbell by saying he's "better than Tarvaris Jackson."

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#72 by Wanker79 // Sep 23, 2009 - 10:15am

Rawr!!! The Giants are the awesomest. Everyone else in the NFC East is a pile of crap. Jason Campbell is the suck. Eli can do no wrong. DVOA sucks because it doesn't give the Giants extra points for their awesomeness. Rawr!!!

Chris, if you copy and paste the above every week it'll save you alot of time.

Former Eagles Fan. Go JETS!

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#90 by C (not verified) // Sep 24, 2009 - 9:18am

Are you 13 going on 30 ?

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#29 by are-tee // Sep 22, 2009 - 6:29pm

The Jets' defense had a lot of talent in place - Revis, Jenkins, Harris, Rhodes, Ellis - but Mangini and Bob Sutton (who somehow stayed on as LB coach) just used very poor schemes that didn't play to their strengths. And Scott is a huge upgrade over Eric Barton. Don't forget that their best pass rusher last year, Calvin Pace, hasn't played yet due to his four-game suspension.

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#59 by Z-Dog (not verified) // Sep 22, 2009 - 11:16pm

The Jets defense was very good last year too - in fact, it was dominant until Kris Jenkins got hurt late in the year. That injury as much as Favre's cost them a playoff berth. In terms of new personnel, the Jets upgraded their secondary significantly, going from a late-round rookie (Dwight Lowery) to a veteran Pro-Bowler (Lito Shepperd), and replacing Eric Smith, a marginal NFL starter, with Leonhard, an undersized player, but one who has already proven himself in the scheme.

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#30 by rengewnad (not verified) // Sep 22, 2009 - 6:32pm

Help me explain what's up with Denver and San Diego?

Denver ranked at DVOA 7 and DAVE 24 (delta of 17), or San Diego ranked DVOA 22 and DAVE 3 (delta of 19)

Is it as simple as:
"Oak and Pit" vs. "Cin and Cle"?

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#37 by Sean D (not verified) // Sep 22, 2009 - 7:06pm

Try again.

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#39 by Thomas_beardown // Sep 22, 2009 - 7:11pm

I don't think you are understanding what those stats are.

DAVE includes the preseason projection, DVOA is how the teams have played thus far. Opponent adjustments either aren't in, or are very weak right now.

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#43 by HostileGospel // Sep 22, 2009 - 7:33pm

"DAVE is a formula which combines our preseason projection with current VOA to get a more accurate forecast of how a team will play the rest of the season. Right now, the preseason projection makes up 75 percent of DAVE."

So yes, you are correct. Opponent adjustments will be gradually increasing week by week, until DAVE is replaced by full-on DVOA (I forget which week that is, though).

Overall, I'd be kind of embarrassed to critique something when I didn't know what the hell I was talking about, but then, oh yeah, my NAME is on what I write, isn't it?

-Les Bowen

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#34 by jimm (not verified) // Sep 22, 2009 - 6:43pm

Will - I don't want to temp fate - but - other than that one breakdown the punt and kick coverage has been excellent. Farwell sure seems to make a big difference - 6 total tackles in two games..not sure if they are all on special teams. Brinkley and Onatolu seem to be solid special teamers as well.

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#44 by Tundrapaddy (not verified) // Sep 22, 2009 - 7:36pm

Maybe Loate died.

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#75 by peterplaysbass (not verified) // Sep 23, 2009 - 11:24am

Farwell does nice work. I like the way special teams looks. I'm ignoring the Cribbs touchdown as an anamoly due to a special returner.

Does it worry you that Winfield is making tackles on special teams? It makes me nervous.

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#92 by Aerogopher (not verified) // Sep 24, 2009 - 10:01pm

With Winfield's experience and his willingness to deliver the blow, I think that's why he shows a good history of solid health. He is an excellent athlete. (I was surprised the Vikings signed him by the way. They have in general not been interested in older players). One of the keys to how far the Vikings go is their health compared to the top teams in the NFL. I am talking about more than just Favre.

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#36 by Sean D (not verified) // Sep 22, 2009 - 7:05pm

San Diego's offense is sorely in need of some Baltimore and Oakland defense adjustments.

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#40 by johonny (not verified) // Sep 22, 2009 - 7:21pm

No worries they face the Dolphins secondary next week.

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#49 by RaidersFanSB (not verified) // Sep 22, 2009 - 8:02pm

Wow...am I reading this right? A Raiders defensive adjustment yielding an IMPROVEMENT for an offensive unit? !?!?!?!?!?!??!11.1!/1/!/??

I'll take that as progress. Amazing what a huge man in the middle of the d-line can do for a defense. :D

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#38 by Thomas_beardown // Sep 22, 2009 - 7:09pm

The Chicago offense is only half as bad as it was after week 1! So I'm guessing they were a league average offense against the Steelers, once opponent adjustments are in that might look pretty good.

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#50 by Bronco Jeff // Sep 22, 2009 - 8:37pm

Since I came into this season with absolutely zero expectations for the Broncos, the 2-0 start sure has been great (hopefully 3-0 after the Raiders game).

Will Denver crash and burn horribly? Probably. But let me enjoy this soft schedule while it lasts.

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#60 by PerlStalker // Sep 22, 2009 - 11:34pm

I'm with you basking in the glory of a top 10 ranking before the beast that is the rest of the schedule brings the Broncos back down. On the plus side, the D looks a LOT better this year.

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#79 by zerlesen (not verified) // Sep 23, 2009 - 12:37pm

Yep, the disparity between DAVE and VOA is pleasing to the senses. Obviously the CLE opponent adjustment this year is going to be brutal, though.

(And speaking of brutal, after the Oakland game it's not impossible to see five straight losses coming up...)

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#53 by GnomeChumpsky (not verified) // Sep 22, 2009 - 10:21pm

I'm not sure that I understand the basis for your snarky comments about the Saints easy schedule. You're dismissing the statistics until opponent adjustments kick in, but you're ignoring the reason for waiting to adjust for opponent adjustments. You simply don't have the data to say that the Lions are bad yet; they've played The Saints and the Vikings, who are one and two in your rankings. How much better are you than the subjective commentators if you explain results that you disagree with as anomalies?

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#56 by Dales // Sep 22, 2009 - 10:56pm

I suppose it is theoretically possible that the Lions, who were quite subpar last year, markedly improved in the offseason by importing a lot of players who were considered relatively unimpressive as a whole by most and by throwing a rookie-- one with the type of college record and statistics that are not highly correlated with success- quarterback into a starting role.

I think, though, it is very unlikely and as such it is a reasonably safe assumption that the Lions are not good.

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#61 by parttimemovieguy // Sep 22, 2009 - 11:40pm

I expected Indy's offense DVOA to be much higher. Given that the Colts were only given 15 minutes of possession, they totally maximized every bit of it. I think Indianapolis scored every series? It was a great performance.

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#63 by MC2 // Sep 23, 2009 - 12:29am

Actually, I think they went 3-and-out on the first posession in the 2nd half. But I agree that overall, it was a great performance.

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#87 by turbohappy (not verified) // Sep 23, 2009 - 6:21pm

I'm pretty sure they had a 3&out in both halves. Other than that they scored on every drive though.

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#62 by Rick A. (not verified) // Sep 23, 2009 - 12:16am

Yes Warholabowie, one of many things DVOA cannot do is come up with a rating
for teams doing what they NEED to do when they need to do. There will never be
a way to quantify "clutch". DVOA is the best statistic based analytical tool I've ever seen but there's so much about the game that NOTHING can measure. Peyton Manning and his compadres have turned in so many great performances that are just hard to believe as you watch them unfold, but DVOA will not reflect that come the Tuesday following. This was the latest of those, and one of the all timers.

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#67 by mm (not verified) // Sep 23, 2009 - 2:37am

The Colts are first in DAVE, what more do you want?

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#78 by DaveRichters (not verified) // Sep 23, 2009 - 12:28pm

Why don't you think "clutch" can be defined? I feel I can recognize a "clutch" moment, and performance can be measured in those moments.

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#84 by Arkaein // Sep 23, 2009 - 4:04pm

If I remember correctly, I think FO has looked at this by analyzing performance specifically in late and close games, and found the concept of "clutchness" to be basically non-predictive.

Clutch performance only seems to work in hindsight; we can identify players who have performed great or poorly under pressure, however we can't reliably use this to predict future performance. Players who are perceived as clutch are often just great players who performed well in almost all situations. Think MJ in NBA playoff games, sure he was usually great, but he was great the rest of the time too, so is he clutch are just great all around?

Players perceived as chokers often are victims of small sample size. Playoff games are a small number of events, and players that fail to advance can be labeled due to a few bad performances (or even average performances that simply look bad because the competition is better than during the regular season). Peyton Manning had a bit of a label of not being able to win the big one, mainly because he was up against a Patriots dynasty. He eventually did win, and the label was proved to be inaccurate.

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#83 by Red Hedgehog // Sep 23, 2009 - 3:49pm

Actually, one can define "clutch" numerically.

In baseball, it is done by seeing what players did the most to help their teams win games. A stat called WPA (win probability added) looks at the current game situation and the situation after it and determines what the change in a team winning is. A pitcher or batter is given positive or negative points based on how his actions affected the game state. So this stat rewards players for hits and strikeouts in key situations and doesn't give them much credit for the same in blowout situations.

The advanced nfl stats website has compiled game situations and win percentages for football, so one could attempt to use this to create a football WPA stat. Of course, with 11 men on each side, it would be difficult to isolate who to assign the points to, but you could at least look at whether the offense or defense was more clutch (and of course, assume that the QB is wholly responsible for passing plays, RB for running plays, etc.)

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#68 by ammek // Sep 23, 2009 - 4:13am

So it looks like another big year for passing. The median DVOA for pass offense is over 20%. Even the Raiders are above average! What's going on there? Do the conventional stats show the same kind of improvement (league-wide, not Raider-specific)?

Lots of moaning in Packerland this week about the offense. Then, boom! DVOA ranks it eleventh. Somewhat of a surprise. I guess one turnover in two games is good. The rest? Above average rush offense — with Ryan Grant at his usual 3.5 yards a pop, ranked 30th in success rate.... Wow. Thank heavens for quarterback scrambles.

The Pack's rush defense didn't take much of a hit either. Maybe Cedric Benson's big day wasn't that impressive after all. I thought DVOA would love all those 12-yard runs on first down, but he didn't make the top six in Quick Reads.

No Al Harris love this year? The Packers are 2nd in overall pass defense, 31st against opposition #1 receivers. Hester and Ocho have gone 8-for-8, I believe. Is Dread and Jam now toast?

Great to see the Bucs and Lions at the foot of the defensive rankings. Nostalgia for the old NFC Central. Never got my head around Tampa being competitive, especially on defense. Time to bring out Brucie and the orange throwbacks.

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#69 by DGL // Sep 23, 2009 - 8:00am

I see the Steelers' ST ranking is once again below their Offense and Defense rankings.

Thank you, Jeff Reed, for restoring order to the universe...

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#77 by MCS // Sep 23, 2009 - 11:59am

The Packers are clearly ranked too high 4 defensive VOA because their defense is offensive. They can't tackle or cover. My six year old playing "Pin the Team on the List" is way better than this.

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#80 by jimm (not verified) // Sep 23, 2009 - 2:26pm

The Vikings have now won their last 5 road games outscoring their opponents 146-75...not exactly a murderers row of opponents though:

Det 27-13
Cle 34-20
Arz 35-13
Det 20-16
Jack 30-12

weak opponents for sure but there was a time (the last 10 years) when a road win was cause for celebration among Viking fans

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#88 by Raiderjoe // Sep 23, 2009 - 8:24pm

Come on hera first time since think wekekend and come to see Raiders is ranked 20th. Is computer broke? Raiders alsmost win first game then win second game. Have to be better ranking then 20. Should be 14 or 15. maybe Dvoa calculate soemthign wrong or DVAE.
Buty does ranking all that matter anyway?
only important thing to knwo is Jamarcus Russell growing up nwo. Great gutchekc performance in game at Kc. Had trouble all game some passes came out a little funny but when game is on line Russell come through like Ken Stabler in 1974-76 . Also Russell come through at end of Week 1 game but then Raiders defense melt down at end.

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#93 by Alex (not verified) // Sep 25, 2009 - 12:40am

I think it's odd the Eagles are ranked #1 overall on defense after surrendering 48 points to the Saints. But maybe that's just me. I know they were great in week 1 but you have to wonder if the weighting of DVOA good vs bad performances isn't skewed.

I also accept the fact the Saints look like they're going to have an all time great offense.

48 points is still 48 points though.

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#94 by nat // Sep 25, 2009 - 9:54am

48 points is actually 41 points.

One NO TD was on an interception return. It would have been very interesting if the Eagles defense had made the tackle on that play.

The real story is probably field position. Here's what the NO offense did when it got the ball inside its own 40 yard line: TD, Punt, Pick, Punt, FG, Punt, Safety.
That's 8 net points and a turnover. That's actually pretty good for the Eagles defense.

On the other hand, here's what NO did when they got the ball between the 40 and 50 yard line: FG, TD, TD. And here's what they did when they got the ball inside the Eagles 30 yard line: TD, TD. That's bad Eagles defense, but not many plays.

Overall, I'd say that the Eagles defense was bad, but not completely awful. And they did drop from -94% defense VOA to -34% VOA.

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#97 by Rick A. (not verified) // Sep 25, 2009 - 2:01pm

Well, Alex and Nat, like always in the early season, making judgements based on anything, much less DVOA, is pretty ridiculous. No one is as good or bad as they appear to be. The Saints deluge will last until Brees gets banged up, Bush gets banged up, Colston gets hammered, or the defensive coordinators find the keys to slowing it all down. Also, their weaker defense will get them behind early in games and then it will be a different story. And, of course, all of those things WILL happen. The Eagles will find their footing when they get used to the new guy, defensive coordinator, who has a tough act to follow. But it will happen. The Eagles will have a decent year because Dallas and Washington will very likely be more of the same--i.e. very over-rated and prone to serious inconsistency. Worrying about the Eagles is, historically, unnecessary. They are a good franchise with a coach that knows how to win on the road--and that is the real name of the game, i.e. winning on the road. Some of our fellow readers here want to minimize that but that IS what it's all about. Assuming you have a decent record at home too, of course. But check the record, Andy Reed and company have won on the road over the decade, during the regular season. Just didn't win the big playoff road games. Not many teams do.

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#98 by Alex (not verified) // Sep 25, 2009 - 4:28pm

Disagreed about Bush. I think his impact is significantly less than a guy like Kevin Faulk. Faulk's impact with the Patriots is limited too.

Yes, if Brees goes down that offense is no where near as good.

He's already proven that he can do without Bush and/or Colston though. Plenty of play makers on that team. I think the offense would probably remain potent without Brees for a few games though. Just not as potent. Brunell has been around and if healthy can probably get the job done for a game or two.

As far as the Eagles, I'm not counting them out - I'm just questioning whether DVOA isn't slightly off on this one. It'll be interesting to see what the Saints do against other good defenses this year.

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#99 by fireorlime2 (not verified) // Sep 26, 2009 - 8:08pm

It makes me happy to see the Ravens so highly regarded. I'm afraid to breathe heavily for fear of causing Joe Flacco to turn into the slew of mediocre quarterbacks Ravens fans have known ever since there were Ravens fans.

Survivor league question - I have to pick a team to win this weekend, and I can't take the Ravens. I'm debating among MIN, DAL, NYG, and PHI. Any input?

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