The Absolute Final Word on Jets-Patriots

by Aaron Schatz

So, regular readers know we've struggled all season trying to explain why are metrics are so uniquely positive about the 5-4 New York Jets. We have the Jets significantly higher than any other metric. Last week they were number one, even this week they are number three.

A lot of people also know that part of the problem is related to the Week 5 loss to the Patriots, where the DVOA system ended up scoring the Jets as the better team. (With current opponent adjustments, the Jets come out with 37.9% total DVOA in that game. The Patriots come out at 14.3% total DVOA.) What's particularly odd is that the system rates the Jets offense as above-average for the game, even though the Jets went three-and-out on seven different drives.

Some readers (for all I know, it may only be two of you, but whatever) are crying out, "Aaron, show us the numbers! Unless we see them, we can't believe!"

Therefore, I present to you a bit of a look into the black box that is DVOA. I can't show you how I figure each baseline, or what the specific equation is to figure play value for each play. However, this table gives you every Jets pass and run from that Week 5 game, plus the one penalty that gets counted in DVOA (Matt Mulligan's false start). It shows you the play value, the baseline, and the difference. To save room, I'm not showing opponent adjustment, so this is technically just VOA, not DVOA.

Go through it and you'll see that there really aren't any plays where the numbers stand out as obviously wrong. What sort of happened is that when we count each play equally, the successes the Jets had on three touchdown drives end up outweighing the failures they had in all those three-and-outs. The three touchdown drives make up 27 plays. The rest of the Jets offense makes up only 26 plays.

Lines in red are red zone plays where "value over baseline" is multiplied by 1.25.

1 1 1-10-NYJ20   pass 6-M.Sanchez 5 complete 23-S.Greene 1 1.17 0.81 0.35
1 1 2-5-NYJ25   rushed 23-S.Greene 3     1 1.00 1.05 -0.05
1 1 3-2-NYJ28   pass 6-M.Sanchez 0 incomplete 81-D.Keller 0 0.00 1.09 -1.09
1 2 1-10-NYJ9   rushed 21-L.Tomlinson 9     1 1.83 0.81 1.02
1 2 2-1-NYJ18   penalty 82-M.Mulligan -4 False Start   0 -1.00 1.71 -2.71
1 2 2-5-NYJ14   rushed 23-S.Greene 4     1 1.50 0.99 0.51
1 2 3-1-NYJ18   pass 6-M.Sanchez 0 incomplete 38-J.Conner 0 0.00 1.55 -1.55
1 3 1-10-NYJ35   pass 6-M.Sanchez 0 incomplete 10-S.Holmes 0 0.00 0.81 -0.81
1 3 2-10-NYJ35   rushed 23-S.Greene 8     1 1.50 0.64 0.86
1 3 3-2-NYJ43   pass 6-M.Sanchez 0 sacked   0 0.00 1.20 -1.20
1 4 1-10-NYJ20   pass 6-M.Sanchez 2 complete 21-L.Tomlinson 0 0.41 0.81 -0.40
1 4 2-8-NYJ22   rushed 38-J.Conner 0     0 0.00 0.82 -0.82
2 4 3-8-NYJ22   pass 6-M.Sanchez 7 complete 81-D.Keller 0 0.63 0.53 0.09
2 5 1-10-NYJ22   rushed 23-S.Greene 1     0 0.00 0.83 -0.83
2 5 2-9-NYJ23 FD pass 6-M.Sanchez 19 complete 17-P.Burress 1 2.90 0.76 2.14
2 5 1-10-NYJ42   pass 6-M.Sanchez 4 complete 23-S.Greene 0 0.82 0.81 0.02
2 5 2-6-NYJ46 FD rushed 23-S.Greene 8     1 2.26 0.96 1.30
2 5 1-10-NE46   rushed 23-S.Greene 5     1 1.17 0.83 0.34
2 5 2-5-NE41 FD rushed 23-S.Greene 5     1 2.08 1.12 0.96
2 5 1-10-NE36   rushed 25-J.McKnight 1     0 0.00 0.82 -0.82
2 5 2-9-NE35 FD pass 6-M.Sanchez 11 complete 10-S.Holmes 1 2.30 0.75 1.55
2 5 1-10-NE24   rushed 23-S.Greene 7     1 1.50 0.82 0.68
2 5 2-3-NE17   rushed 23-S.Greene 1     0 0.42 1.37 -1.18
2 5 3-2-NE16 FD pass 6-M.Sanchez 9 complete 17-P.Burress 1 2.60 1.25 1.68
2 5 1-7-NE7   rushed 23-S.Greene 4     1 1.29 0.92 0.46
2 5 2-3-NE3 TD rushed 23-S.Greene 3     1 4.05 1.39 3.33
3 6 1-10-NE20   rushed 23-S.Greene 4     0 0.82 0.82 0.01
3 6 2-6-NE16 FD rushed 23-S.Greene 7     1 2.18 0.95 1.54
3 6 1-9-NE9 TD pass 6-M.Sanchez 9 complete 11-J.Kerley 1 4.14 0.84 4.12
3 7 1-10-NYJ28   pass 6-M.Sanchez 0 incomplete 10-S.Holmes 0 0.00 0.81 -0.81
3 7 2-10-NYJ28   rushed 21-L.Tomlinson 4     0 0.58 0.64 -0.06
3 7 3-6-NYJ32   pass 6-M.Sanchez 4 complete 11-J.Kerley 0 0.53 0.79 -0.26
3 8 1-10-NYJ27   rushed 23-S.Greene 0     0 0.00 0.83 -0.83
3 8 2-10-NYJ27   rushed 23-S.Greene 3     0 0.49 0.64 -0.15
3 8 3-7-NYJ30   pass 6-M.Sanchez 0 incomplete 17-P.Burress 0 0.00 0.67 -0.67
3 9 1-10-NYJ8   rushed 23-S.Greene 0     0 0.00 0.81 -0.81
3 9 2-10-NYJ8   pass 6-M.Sanchez 0 incomplete 17-P.Burress 0 0.00 0.68 -0.68
3 9 3-10-NYJ8   pass 6-M.Sanchez 0 incomplete 17-P.Burress 0 0.00 0.47 -0.47
4 10 1-10-NYJ15 FD pass 6-M.Sanchez 14 complete 17-P.Burress 1 2.46 0.79 1.67
4 10 1-10-NYJ29   rushed 23-S.Greene 3     0 0.65 0.83 -0.18
4 10 2-7-NYJ32 FD pass 6-M.Sanchez 19 complete 10-S.Holmes 1 3.10 0.84 2.26
4 10 1-10-NE49   rushed 23-S.Greene 9     1 1.83 0.83 1.01
4 10 2-1-NE40 FD rushed 23-S.Greene 5     1 2.38 1.78 0.60
4 10 1-10-NE35   pass 6-M.Sanchez 4 complete 82-M.Mulligan 0 0.82 0.80 0.02
4 10 2-6-NE31   rushed 23-S.Greene 0     0 0.00 0.94 -0.94
4 10 3-6-NE31 FD pass 6-M.Sanchez 7 complete 85-D.Mason 1 2.18 0.71 1.47
4 10 1-10-NE24   rushed 23-S.Greene 3     0 0.65 0.82 -0.17
4 10 2-7-NE21   pass 6-M.Sanchez 0 incomplete 17-P.Burress 0 0.00 0.93 -0.93
4 10 3-7-NE21 TD pass 6-M.Sanchez 21 complete 10-S.Holmes 1 5.30 0.71 4.59
4 11 1-10-NYJ20   pass 6-M.Sanchez 9 complete 10-S.Holmes 1 1.83 0.51 1.32
4 11 2-1-NYJ29 FD pass 6-M.Sanchez 22 complete 11-J.Kerley 1 3.75 1.33 2.42
4 11 2-10-NE49   pass 6-M.Sanchez 0 incomplete 17-P.Burress 0 0.00 0.26 -0.26
4 11 3-10-NE49   pass 6-M.Sanchez -8 sacked   0 -1.40 0.04 -1.44
TOTAL 45% 60.74 46.57 16.16
                      VOA: 34.7%

There are three things we may be able to test in the offseason that could make DVOA more accurate for this game.

1) It is possible we are giving too much credit for "partial success" plays like a 4-yard gain on first-and-10.
2) It is possible that the bonus for red zone plays is too large.
3) It is possible that we need to include some sort of drive-measuring component that penalizes teams who go mix long drives with three-and-out drives and don't have many medium-length drives.

I hope this helps explain why the Jets come out so high for Week 5, and helps satisfy those of you who are asking questions.. And remember, the Jets' high DVOA this season isn't only caused by this single game. Take out Week 5 for both the Jets and the Patriots, and the Jets would still be third in DVOA. Reverse the Jets' offensive rating and the Patriots' defensive rating for every play during the Week 5 game -- thus making it count as a game worth around -34.7% for both units -- and the Jets would still be fourth in DVOA, falling behind only the Patriots.

Whatever is going on with the Jets this season -- whatever they are doing that the DVOA system likes better than other advanced metrics -- they're doing it in pretty much every game.


69 comments, Last at 18 Nov 2011, 2:05pm

#1 by Temo // Nov 17, 2011 - 1:04pm

It seems obvious that the reason DVOA liked the jets so much is because they had long scoring drives interspersed with some quick 3 and outs. A 3 play drive has little potential for negative value while a long 10 play drive can result in a bunch of VOA.

I don't see the reason to "fix" this though, unless you can prove that a) having consistent drives is a benefit to winning (ie having 2 25 yard drives rather than 1 40 yard drive and a 10 yard drives or whatever) and b) that it's a repeatable skill for teams

Points: 0

#4 by MidnightAngler (not verified) // Nov 17, 2011 - 1:13pm

three-and-outs give the opposing offense more chances to score and put your defense back on the field with less rest. more possessions for the other team definitely matters. three-and-outs are also going to correlate with poor field position, which is definitely important.

Points: 0

#7 by Temo // Nov 17, 2011 - 1:19pm

Still have to prove it though, that's why it's a stats site. Also need show repeat ability, since DVOA is supposed to be predictive. Otherwise you could just use WPA.

Points: 0

#2 by MidnightAngler (not verified) // Nov 17, 2011 - 1:08pm

What about weighting the first three downs on any given possession more heavily than subsequent plays? It seems like a three-and-out should come with a higher penalty than other missed third downs.

Points: 0

#5 by Thomas_beardown // Nov 17, 2011 - 1:14pm

Getting a 3 and out might be more costly to a team in that game, is there any evidence that there is a repeatable skill to get the first set of new downs?

Points: 0

#9 by MidnightAngler (not verified) // Nov 17, 2011 - 1:30pm

Look at the drive success rates. The teams toward the top are quite a bit better than the ones at the bottom. For the case in point, look where new england is and look where the jets are.

I don't think it matters if success on the 1st set of downs is independent from other sets of downs - as long as the first set of downs is more important, it should be weighted more heavily.

Points: 0

#10 by Thomas_beardown // Nov 17, 2011 - 1:35pm

If there it isn't skill based, then it's not particularly predictive. It will tell you why a team one a single game perhaps, but it doesn't tell you anything about whether they will win games in the future.

Points: 0

#17 by alaano (not verified) // Nov 17, 2011 - 2:50pm

What I notice about the drive stats is the Jets are substantially better at scoring touchdowns (15th) than gaining yards (25th). That does seem to be a useful result. Question is whether it is predictive.

Points: 0

#16 by Pottsville Mar… // Nov 17, 2011 - 2:47pm

I don't understand the logic behind this suggestion. Is it really worse to have a 3-and-out followed by a possession with two first downs than it is to have two consecutive possessions with one first down each? I would argue that the net result is pretty similar, and that each offense appears to be of equal strength.

Points: 0

#18 by Arkaein // Nov 17, 2011 - 2:58pm

It might actually be the other way around. At least, I would say that one drive with 4 first downs followed by three 3-and-outs would be likely to result in points on the one drive, while four drives with exactly one first down each is likely to result in zero points.

Of course, spreading the first downs out should put your defense in better field position after each punt. I'd guess that overall the net results are pretty even, but within a specific game one or the other might be favored depending on the game situation and matchups.

If playing from behind it might be better to score when possible and punt the ball quickly to maximize drive opportunities, while playing with the lead you will want to put your opponent in bad field position and control the clock, so spreading out the first downs, working the clock and playing field position would be advantageous.

I suspect that your premise is correct in terms of predicting future performance, in that neither outcome is likely superior to the other.

Points: 0

#3 by Thomas_beardown // Nov 17, 2011 - 1:13pm

I think that it's awesome that you did this Aaron. I didn't really care myself, but the getting a response and interaction like this really make your site awesome.

Points: 0

#12 by Anonymous454545 (not verified) // Nov 17, 2011 - 1:41pm

I agree with tuluse. I have seen this site grow a lot since the TMQ exile first brought me here. I am disgusted by the cozy relationship with DisESPNy, simply because THEY are the enemy. However, there aren't many sites who would have taken the time to address an issue like this after all the crap Aaron has had to endure about his "black box" and perceived irrational biases (is there such a thing as rational biases?).

Enjoy your holiday in the Turks and Caicos, Aaron and thanks for all the wasteful hours between Sundays.

Points: 0

#27 by Joshua Northey (not verified) // Nov 17, 2011 - 4:11pm

I rationally bias my wife's happiness above that of others.

Points: 0

#29 by Andrew Potter // Nov 17, 2011 - 4:13pm

It's not a question of whether to be biased, it's a question of which bias is the best bias with which to be biased.

Points: 0

#6 by Stats are for losers (not verified) // Nov 17, 2011 - 1:15pm

What about counting punts as turnovers for the offense? (for some reason, I thought DVOA already did this)

Jets seem to be getting too much credit for a three-play "drive" that started on NE20, which was worth more than the 21-yard TD pass on their last drive.

Points: 0

#13 by The Powers That Be // Nov 17, 2011 - 2:08pm

That's a quirk of the bonus 25% for red-zone plays, which applies to all three plays of the one drive, but doesn't apply to the play that starts on the 21-yard line. That's the sort of thing that will wash out over time, presumably, although I hate the 25% bonus. It seems more likely that the "importance" of field position would be some smooth function. Or that the bonus should be applied on a pro-rated basis to plays that go through some number of yards in the red zone, rather than just starting there. But the whole thing does seem disturbingly arbitrary.

As far as the quirkiness of this game, with either three-and-outs or TD drives, that strikes me as a single-game oddity. Unless there's a reason to believe (or evidence suggesting) that some teams have a predilection for bimodal drive length, it shouldn't affect the metrics.

Points: 0

#20 by DGL // Nov 17, 2011 - 3:24pm

"It seems more likely that the "importance" of field position would be some smooth function."

This seems like an interesting view - and more logical than a strict 25% bonus for red-zone plays. If yards gained closer to the opponents' end zone are in fact more "valuable" than yards gained farther away from the opponents' end zone, it would seem that a smooth function would make more sense than a step function at the 20 yard line.

It actually seems to me that success gets more valuable the closer you are to either end zone. I'm picturing the expected points curves that have been generated - I'm thinking that the value of yardage is proportionate to the slope of that curve or something like that.

Points: 0

#63 by FrenchEagles // Nov 18, 2011 - 5:08am

I agree with the smoothing of the red-zone. I don't like the red-zone stats because they are "hard", in the way that a play from the 25 is not counted at all. And 25% is a huge bonus. The 20-30 area should have a bonus, like 10% and 20% for the RZ.

Points: 0

#64 by Jerry // Nov 18, 2011 - 7:27am

I assume that the red zone bonus is where it is because that's what works. There's enough data now that if Aaron wants to break the field down into smaller zones, each bucket will be full enough. I don't expect that it will make much difference, though.

Points: 0

#65 by DGL // Nov 18, 2011 - 9:40am

Could be. Or it could be that Aaron's never thought to try to tune it differently. Even Outsiders can get caught up in the Conventional Wisdom.

BTW, I think it's a great idea for Aaron to publish this data, not just to allay the perception that DVOA must be somehow screwed up, but because it's likely to reveal some ideas for tuning DVOA in the offseason that Aaron and Co. haven't thought of. Crowdsourcing FTW.

Points: 0

#8 by Led // Nov 17, 2011 - 1:30pm

I wonder whether DVOA overvalues the Jets offense because the Jets have an extremely (and possibly unprecedented?) low rate of "big gains" relative to other offenses that succeed at roughly the same rate on a play by play basis. The idea is that within a normal range, "big gains" (however you might define them) are randomly distributed and not particularly predictive, so DVOA discounts them relative to consistent moderate success. Most teams that are good enough to sustain 8-10 play drives a couple times a game will naturally tend to generate occasional big plays to render a long drive unnecessary. So they get a certain amount of easy points. But what if that never happens? It's too hard to sustain 8-10 play drives frequently enough to win, even for a team that consistently runs successful plays, if you're not also getting the occasional easy TD or 50 yard gain.

Points: 0

#14 by Vincent Verhei // Nov 17, 2011 - 2:23pm

Actually, the Jets get a decent amount of big plays, if you define a big play as "20 or more yards."

The Jets have an overall success rate of 40.2%. They gain 20 or more yards on 5.9% of all PLAYS, and 14.8% of all SUCCESSFUL plays. They rank exactly 18th in each of those percentages, which is kind of remarkable.

The Jets of one of eight teams with a success rate between 39.0% and 41.0%. Of those eight teams, they rank sixth Big Plays/Total Plays, ahead of San Francisco and WAY ahead of Washington.

Points: 0

#42 by Led // Nov 17, 2011 - 5:27pm

Thanks for the info. Do you have numbers for longer plays? I may be wrong, but I can't recall any plays over 40 yards this year and maybe not even any over 30 yards. They do complete a fair number of passes in the 20-30 yard range.

Points: 0

#53 by Vincent Verhei // Nov 17, 2011 - 9:14pm

The Jets have 11 30-yard plays. That's below the league average (13) but way more than the worst team (Jacksonville, 5).

However, they have only two 40-yard plays, which is tied with Washington for fewest in the league.

Points: 0

#11 by M // Nov 17, 2011 - 1:37pm

On the 8 unsuccessful drives (including the final 4-play drive), the Jets had 7 successful plays on 1st/2nd down and 11 unsuccessful plays. All eight 3rd down plays were unsuccessful.

On the 3 scoring drives, 1st/2nd down plays broke down into 14 successes and 10 failures, while the 3rd down plays had only 3 successes.

While I'm not taking into account the relative weight of each play, this seems to imply that the part of the issue is 3rd down performance. Obviously, the fact that they were successful on 5 of 7 red-zone plays combined with the higher relative weighting also affects their overall rating.

To me, this seems to be a better illustration of Simpson's Paradox than the Green Bay vs. Cincinnati variance discussion in the Week 10 DVOA thread. Simply, it's just a function of the weighting of the plays. The question is, does the current DVOA algorithm provide the optimal play weights for input assumptions? That answer may differ depending on whether one is trying to explain past performance or predict future performance. I do not claim to know which is preferable, but to me DVOA is NOT broken if the current assumptions regarding weighting of various plays is deemed to be optimal given what DVOA is trying to measure.

To summarize, during the (likely?) offseason review of the DVOA, it may very well turn out that this game is a statistical quirk, and that DVOA is in fact working quite well as a model and should not be changed. It's also possible that DVOA needs tweaking in various assumptions, but one game in and of itself cannot be used as irrefutable evidence that the entire model is completely broken.

Final anecdote: The 1976 Oakland Raiders had the only the 7th highest point differential in the NFL, but also had the best record. Before the playoffs started that year, would everyone have suggested that they were only the 7th best team in the league purely due to their point differential? Or would a more nuanced view take into account that they were "on a roll" and were co-favorites to win the Super Bowl along with the Pittsburgh Steelers? The "numbers" suggest that they were only 7th best, but I have a hard time believing ANYONE watching the teams that year believed they were anything worse than the 2nd best teams.

I mention this only to state that what we see/believe with our own eyes will not always match what the numbers say, and no amount of model tweaking will ever fix that. Aaron is not suddenly an idiot because numerical truth doesn't match what we believe to be true. Reality is a difficult thing to measure - if anyone can figure out how to do it perfectly, make sure to apply for a patent!

Points: 0

#15 by Karl Cuba // Nov 17, 2011 - 2:43pm

Is there any weight added to plays that move the offense into field goal range? Perhaps this would increase as each yard makes a subsequent field goal more likely.

Points: 0

#19 by Andrew Potter // Nov 17, 2011 - 3:23pm


Awesome that you did this. Thank you!

First impressions: I expected the sacks to be more negative, incompletions to be more negative than false starts (false starts don't cost the team a down), and first downs/touchdowns to be more of a bonus than they are. As it is, the eight yard sack was only marginally worse than the false start penalty, despite costing more yards and a down. The other sack was on third down and killed a drive; I'd have expected that to be more negative too.

Also, I didn't realise that incompletions were worth 0.0 VOA regardless. So the only ways to actually lose VOA are heavily negative plays (big sacks, runs for losses, fumbles, interceptions, penalties), which are exactly what the Jets didn't have against New England.

Terrific work. Thanks again. Enjoy your break!


Points: 0

#21 by Vincent Verhei // Nov 17, 2011 - 3:36pm

Also, I didn't realise that incompletions were worth 0.0 VOA regardless. So the only ways to actually lose VOA are heavily negative plays (big sacks, runs for losses, fumbles, interceptions, penalties), which are exactly what the Jets didn't have against New England.

No, no, no, no, no. An incompletion has a play value of 0.0. That is not the same as VOA. Each play value is compared to the baseline value, which is the average of all play values in that situation, to determine value over baseline. VOA is then found by dividing value over baseline by baseline value.

Take the very first incompletion, for example, the Jets' third play of the game. An incomplete pass in that situation has a play value of 0.00, with a baseline value of 1.09. This incompletion thus has a value over baseline of -1.09 (0.00 - 1.09), and a VOA (for this one play) of -100.0%

Which, now that I think about it, is going to be the VOA of every incomplete pass.

Points: 0

#24 by Thomas_beardown // Nov 17, 2011 - 3:59pm

This means any play for no gain is going to be exactly -100% VOA then? That seems a little wrong actually. If the expected yards are 10 or 5, no gain is exactly the same?

Points: 0

#35 by Vincent Verhei // Nov 17, 2011 - 4:53pm

On those two plays, the VOA will be the same. However when we analyze a group of plays over a drive or a game or a season, we don't take the average VOA of every play. We total the play value, then total the baselines, then check the difference and VOA off that.

So two incomplete passes will each add 0.0 to the collective play value total. However, an incomplete on third-and-5 will add more to the collective baseline value than an incomplete on third-and-10 would. In essence, it would "count more" in DVOA.

Points: 0

#26 by Andrew Potter // Nov 17, 2011 - 4:09pm

Ahhh. Yeah, I see that now. Sorry, just woke up and was so excited to see this I read it before I had an appropriate caffeine-to-blood ratio.

Still seems to me that the penalty shouldn't be worth 'more' than any of the other unsuccessful plays, more even than an eight-yard sack on third down. Based on that, the main point I made, I feel holds: the "big" negatives such as those I listed are all outcomes the Jets avoided against the Patriots. There are only two negative gains on that entire list - the false start, and the final sack. From that, I take that DVOA values the ability to not lose yardage highly, more highly than I thought it would. (Or to phrase it another way, unsuccessful plays are bad. Unsuccessful plays that also lose yards are very bad.)

Thanks for the reply. Am I understanding what's going on?

Points: 0

#22 by Led // Nov 17, 2011 - 3:47pm

Man, the Jets need to quit passing on 3rd and short.

Points: 0

#28 by Rhombus (not verified) // Nov 17, 2011 - 4:13pm

DVOA still loves Philly. They're the best team with a losing record, and are rated higher than 6 teams with records better they have. Not saying that's a bad thing, as I do think they are better than your average 3-6 team, but they are still "overrated" by the system.

Points: 0

#25 by bubqr // Nov 17, 2011 - 4:03pm

Initiative is very much appreciated Aaron.

It does bring up back to the drive vs play by play efficiency discussion, which will I hope be the main subject of a study this offseason.

Points: 0

#30 by Temo // Nov 17, 2011 - 4:27pm

Dang, I just realized that the Jets passed on every single 3rd down. Fire Schottenheimer.

Points: 0

#31 by tpc (not verified) // Nov 17, 2011 - 4:27pm

I would wager the Jets are best -- or among the best -- at limiting any negative yardage plays, and are best -- or among the best -- at yards remaining to get for a first down on third down.

The Jets have this really weird offense. Sanchez is pretty terrible, and doesn't hit receivers accurately often, but they do it enough that when Holmes or Plax hauls in a leaping catch downfield, it reinforces to their playcaller that they can continue running such plays.

Say he only hits 1 out of 4 passes that travel over 20 yards, but that pass goes for a 28 yard completion. 7 yards per attempt. Not bad! Being awful 75% of the time still leads to a relatively great YPA.

I would also wager the Jets have the most -- or have close to the most -- plays in the league where they get between 0-4 yards. DVOA sees 'consistency' in not having many 3rd and 10s, and probably gives them too much of a bonus/doesn't penalize them enough for that one nice completion downfield scattered among awful passes.

Also, I know this adds to much 'subjectivity' to DVOA, but there needs to be a multiplier for a team's passing DVOA based on dropped interceptions, tipped passes, and 'awful' throws. DVOA sees a Sanchez incompletion the same as it does a Rodgers or Brady or Brees incompletion, when that's just not the case.

So, to recap:

The Jets are really good at being average, and really good at not being good, and DVOA doesn't know just how bad Sanchez is -- or how bad McNabb was during his non-TO Philly days. So DVOA sees them having a low variance on yards per play and thinks they're better equipped at being able to produce sustainable drives. DVOA sees "Oh, two plays for four yards each and an incompletion, two plays for four yards each and a 0 yard run, two plays for four yards each and a one yard run, two plays for three yards each and a 19 yard completion" and thinks that it's just variance that's causing the Jets to not have many successful drives when in reality it's having a bad quarterback and running backs bad enough to not be homerun threats but not bad enough to constantly be tackled for loss.

The Jets aren't good in any measurable way, but since they aren't awful in any measurable way, we're getting a Simpson's Paradox of sorts.

Points: 0

#33 by tpc (not verified) // Nov 17, 2011 - 4:33pm

As Tanier just pointed out, an Aaron Rodgers incompletion != a Mark Sanchez incompletion. DVOA knows the spikes and what not, but doesn't know the difference between Finley coming down with the ball out of bounds and Cobb dropping a crossing route AND Sanchez missing a receiver by 7 yards or bouncing a ball off the hands of a defender that should've been intercepted.

It also doesn't know that a Rodgers completion != a Sanchez completion. That Rodgers' back shoulder throws and missiles to Jennings on a skinny post are not the same as Plax leaping grabs and Holmes having to break stride when open to catch a poorly thrown pass.

Points: 0

#34 by Vincent Verhei // Nov 17, 2011 - 4:48pm

I would wager the Jets are best -- or among the best -- at limiting any negative yardage plays, and are best -- or among the best -- at yards remaining to get for a first down on third down.

40 negative-yardage plays, tied for fourth-lowest. 7.0% of all plays lose yards, sixth-lowest. However, average yards to go on third down is 7.1, 16th.

Points: 0

#40 by tpc (not verified) // Nov 17, 2011 - 5:07pm


Jets passing DVOA: 15th in the league.
Jets rushing DVOA: 14th in the league.

With minimal negative-yardage plays.

And now we look at the defense:

Jets defense DVOA: 2nd in the league.

This has to be the answer, right? DVOA sees an average offense -- that doesn't lose yards -- and a great defense.

My bias against Sanchez aside, this is perfectly reasonable. The defense keeps the Jets in games, and the offense can be expected by DVOA to do well on enough of their drives because a) they're league average and b) they don't lose yards.

Points: 0

#61 by RickD // Nov 18, 2011 - 12:51am

People have not been questioning the ranking of the Jets' defense. It's the offense that leaves people scratching their heads, esp. when they ended up with a better DVOA in a game that was seemingly dominated by the Pats (their game in Foxboro).

Points: 0

#43 by tpc (not verified) // Nov 17, 2011 - 5:29pm

More thoughts:

--Are the Jets the leaders or among the leaders in lowest variance for rushing plays? Greene's long carry of the year is 24 yards, Tomlinson's is only 20.

Take any team. Have them run the ball twice in a row 10,000 times. Some team might average 7 yards, with 95% of the two carries falling between 2 yards and 11 yards. I'm thinking the Jets' 95% would be the narrowest or among the narrowest in the league. That would probably get DVOA all hot and bothered.

--Shonn Greene's DVOA is 0.6%. A VOA of -1.0%.
Tomlinson's DVOA is -2.6%. A VOA of -1.8%.

The Jets are exceptionally good at both not being bad AND not being good. They are exceptionally good at being exceptionally average.

--I.. can't even believe I'm about to go down this road, but...

Mark Sanchez's DVOA: 2.6%. Good for 18th in the league. The rate being above average.
Mark Sanchez's QBR: 36.4. Good for 28th in the league.

The 28th QB in DVOA is Kerry Collins, at -8.8%.

QBR has some faults, but FOR EVALUATING SANCHEZ, I think it does a better job. It weighs for yards the pass traveled in the air, which obviously considers the difficulty of the pass, and also makes it more punitive for a 4 yard completion that was dumped off to a man in the flats on 3rd and 6.

Colt McCoy's DVOA is 29th, at -9.1%. What would the Jets' ranking be with the Colts' passing DVOA?

Ponder is 27th, at -5.3%. McNabb is 23rd, at -2.6%. What would the Jets' ranking be with the Vikings' passing DVOA?

Points: 0

#36 by Special J // Nov 17, 2011 - 4:53pm

Ok, so, it seems like what happened with DVOA in the Jets-Pats game is something that happens with regular rate stats as well -- a quarterback can be miserable for 3 quarters, help dig his team into a hole, but because the offense can't stay on the field early, he ends up throwing over half his passes in an abortive fourth quarter comeback attempt, and ends up with a solid YPA and decent passer rating. DVOA is not as context-agnostic as pure per-play rate stats like YPA, but it only factors in the context of whether each individual play is the sort that helps move the chains or not -- it's still measuring the team's performance strictly per-play, not per drive.

I suppose one could try to equalize the weight of each drive as it affects DVOA. This might help make the results more descriptively accurate, as each possession has essentially the same potential to affect the outcome of the game, but it could possibly hurt the predictive value of DVOA, giving undue weight to a few bad plays on third downs early in drives.

I guess one thing to look at is whether this sort of streakiness in offenses is a repeating trait or not. Is a team that has a feast-or-famine offense in one game more likely to have the same kind of streaky performance in others? Is per-play success or per-drive success a better indicator of future per-drive success?

Points: 0

#38 by Jonadan // Nov 17, 2011 - 4:57pm

As much as I want to say DVOA over-rates the Jets - even seeing the data - and as much as I think this particular article is about three weeks overdue... the same time, that whole 2-time AFC Championship game participants thing has me thinking that they can't be really that overrated, since I really don't think it's inconceivable they make it 3 times running (even if they lose again).

"When you absolutely don't know what to do any more, then it's time to panic." - Johann van der Wiel

Points: 0

#39 by gman (not verified) // Nov 17, 2011 - 5:00pm

I have to agree with the comments that drive value vs play-by-play value needs to be factored in somehow. Some relevant comments:
1. I've seen parts of a couple of other Jets games and the pattern of several 3-and-outs mixed with long scoring drives are there as well. It would be interesting to chart drive length by number of plays offensively.
2. Without checking the data, should a 7-play, 80-yard TD drive be less valuable than a 14-play, 80-yard TD drive? Probably not but you have twice as many plays to add value.
3. Near the end of halves and games, time to drive should also be factored in. How good does it do to take up 6 minutes on a TD drive in the last half of Q4 when you're down by 2 or more scores? Yet it should be a bonus if the score is tied or you're ahead.
4. Should the Jets have lost VOA for their time management/TO at the end of the first half against the Patriots?

Points: 0

#44 by Led // Nov 17, 2011 - 5:30pm

"Should the Jets have lost VOA for their time management/TO at the end of the first half against the Patriots?"

They should've lost something. I lost years off my life.

Points: 0

#48 by DisplacedPackerFan // Nov 17, 2011 - 6:14pm

To your point #2. A 14 play drive also gives you more chances to lose value and you may not make that up with the other plays so the 14 play drive could be less valuable.

Though on average I would say a 14 play drive that scores should almost always be more valuable than a 7 play drive that scores because that 14 play drive will take more time and from what I've seen controlling the ball while also scoring is usually a good way to win games. The times it isn't are when you are trailing in the game. But most teams want their offense to have the ball longer than the other team as long as most of those possessions result in scores. Since this example is specifically about a scoring drive I would think that yes a 14 play drive should be more valuable.

It's accepted that it's harder to play defense, you get tired faster because you are reacting and you can't take a play off either. So even if you are behind and you have a time consuming scoring drive you get some additional benefit over one that takes less time.

Your point 3 does cover this. But there are simply more situations where the longer drive would seem to have benefits. Even if you are down by 21 in the first quarter it could be argued the longer scoring drive is slightly more valuable because it could result in a drive that scores later as opposed to stalls, it likely robs the other team of a possession. It lets your D regroup, whatever. Should it be worth a lot more? Probably not, and DVOA probably doesn't give it much more value honestly. There are examples in the log that show that not all first downs are equal even if the yardage is similar. The 3 plays that get you 12 yards without ever losing do look to have more value than the 3 plays that get you 12 yards but one of them lost yards.

Points: 0

#41 by Anonymous999 (not verified) // Nov 17, 2011 - 5:24pm


Points: 0

#46 by nat // Nov 17, 2011 - 5:41pm

Aaron, first of all, thank you.

Second, I think I owe you a response. So don't take this as criticism, but as my fulfilling my part of an implicit bargain.

Red Zone Bonus: I'd prefer you did away with it entirely, since it's non-predictive. But I also notice that you apply a multiplier to the Value Over Base, but not to the Base itself. That makes the effective red zone weighting depend on the base, which is probably not what you intended. It's a minor effect, but something to think about over the offseason. The red zone bonus was worth about 4.2%. This effect was about 1.3% a sizable portion of the bonus this time.

Variations in the Base: I was surprised how much variation there was in the base. For example, the third quarter three-and-outs averaged a base of 0.70, while the first half three-and-outs averaged 0.99. That gives the Jets a relative bonus of about 2.6 success points or about 6% VOA for doing nothing on those third quarter non-drives. The tactical situation isn't much different, so I'm guessing this is due to being compared to teams that are down by 10 in the second half.

That problem may be unavoidable. Your baselines contain two effects: teams that are behind are generally worse, and teams that are behind have to play catchup. I don't have any suggestions. This may just be a DVOA soft spot: teams that fall behind and come back are rewarded over teams that build a lead and let it shrink. In essence, a team gets an unearned bonus for being lumped with bad teams that fall behind, or an undeserved penalty for being lumped with teams that take leads into the second half.

Garbage Time: The baseline effect here is huge. The average baseline for the Jets last drive was 0.54, while the average for the rest of the game was 0.91. That's 1.48 success points or +3% VOA, essentially as a reward for getting the ball last.

My only suggestion for that one is to not bucket garbage time as its own baseline, but instead to just report garbage time VOA and YAR as an auxiliary number. Fans can interpret the results themselves.

Lastly, for Jets fans: Wow! That fourth quarter drive was really valuable. And rightly so.

Overall, the Jets got something in the order of 13% of unearned VOA, just from the order the plays fell out. There is probably more in the baseline for the other second half drives, too, for similar reasons. Likely, similar effects plagued the Patriots in reverse, being compared to teams with leads, etc. This wasn't anything truly broken in DVOA. It was a just perfect storm of several effects.

Thanks again for sharing this data.

Points: 0

#47 by DisplacedPackerFan // Nov 17, 2011 - 5:49pm

What jumps at me is that they only lost yardage twice only one of those was very negative (the false start for -2.71). The 13 times they gained 0 yards weren't very negative (all in the -0.5 to -2 range considering it doesn't seem to hard to get +2 or more points on a single play based on this log that means most aren't very negative).

Normally I would think a team that doesn't lose yardage does have an advantage on offense, so in that regard I think DVOA is telling us what we want.

If we do think this game is pointing out a flaw in the system I immediately start to wonder if the issue is that 0 yard gains aren't penalized enough. Or if failed 3rd down conversions aren't penalized enough.

We get see that a 0 yard gain on 1st and 10 is worth -0.81 points several times. The 0 yard 3rd down plays got -1.09, -1.55, -1.20 and -0.47. So getting 0 yards on 3rd down can be better than getting 0 yards on first down. It may be true 0 yards on first is worse as a predictor of future success than 0 yards on a 3rd down play but it doesn't feel that way. The other failed 3rd down plays were 0.09, -0.67, and -1.44 (and that was an 8 yard sack). So there were three times where failing to convert a 3rd down was views as less damaging than getting no yards on a first down. One time failing to convert a 3rd down was actually a positive result.

Again I can understand that this makes sense, that this might actually predict future success better, but if we think there is an issue that this game is exposing and you are looking to correct it checking to see that a failed 3rd down conversion always comes out as a negative play and possibly that it always comes out worse than first and ten turning into second and ten might be a place to start. I do not have the ability to test this. I'm just going on my experience of watching games and my feeling that a failed 3rd down conversion is pretty much always worse than getting no yards on a first down.

If you change every failed third down to be at least -0.82 points the effect on this game is that the Jets lose another 1.41 points and that only drops VOA to 31.7% which is still high. So again I'm not saying it's the problem or even a problem but it does feel odd to me.

Another issue, that again is a small effect and I'm basing this on feeling again, seems to be that an unsuccessful play can still have a positive value over the baseline. This game showed 4 "unsuccessful" plays that had positive VOA and 1 successful play that had negative VOA. Again I understand that VOA is value over average so getting positive VOA on an unsuccessful play means that on average teams must be unsuccessful on that play and you were just a little less unsuccessful. But it still seems odd. But this is a total of 0.14 points from unsuccessful plays and -0.5 points from successful plays that were the opposites in terms of success in regards to VOA.

Plays by points over average.

over -4 .: 0
-2 to -4 : 1
-1 to -2 : 5
+0 to -1 : 20
+0 to +1 : 12
+1 to +2 : 9
+2 to +4 : 4
over +4 .: 2

So 26 plays that were negative points and 27 plays there were positive points. The distributions of what is negative and what is positive are clearly different.

The "Red Zone" bonus looks like it added 2.49 points which is about double what the 3rd stuff I talked about earlier does.

Get rid of both of those (removing 3.90 points) and the VOA drops to 26.3%. My "feel" for this game is that it should be about a 10 - 20% VOA. 3 Touchdowns and not really losing yards ever is not bad. Removing the red zone bonus and penalizing failures on 3rd down more start to bring it pretty close to that.

Again though as I've said my feel could have horrible correlation to what actually helps predict future success. Even if it does match perhaps a failed 3rd down should simply be penalized even more than what I changed them too. I seem to recall reading that failure to convert 3rd downs and turning the ball over do have a good correlation to losing. We know turn overs are penalized. But failed 3rd downs don't seem to really be. They aren't positive plays by any means but an 8 yard sack on 3rd and 10 when I'm watching a game sure feels like it's a lot worse than no gain on first and 10. -1.44 points vs -0.81 points over baseline doesn't look a lot worse though. Of course when I take the feeling out I know that an 8 yard sack on 3rd and 10 (unless it takes you out of field goal range) isn't that much different than an incomplete pass on 3rd and 10. So I also understand why it might not be that negative.

Points: 0

#49 by Jeff Fogle // Nov 17, 2011 - 6:25pm

Would like to add my thanks to all the others. Great decision I believe in terms of the spirit of analytics.

What jumped out at me was how horribly the Jets performed offensively when they were within one score of New England...but then how well they performed when they had fallen behind by more than one score. I think we may be seeing some of how defensive strategy currently plays in the league...where defenses really try to clamp down when it's close...but back off a bit and play it safer when they're up by more than one score. Green Bay's been doing this a lot. Indy did when Manning was healthy.

Anyway...the Jets were awful when it was 0-0, 7-0, 10-7, and 17-14 (-8 ish in value over baseline for all drives when down by 7 or less-or tied).

But, they were great when it was 10-0, 17-7, and 27-14, etc.. (+24ish in value over baseline for the five drives they had when down by more than 7 on the scoreboard).

I think this is one reason the perception of people watching was so far off DVOA. When the game was close...the Jets were absolutely hapless. Once they fell behind by 10 points or more, they started moving the ball...only to stop once again when it got close.

A couple of years ago I mentioned in one of many grouchy posts that more focus should be paid to rewarding offenses that move when the game is close, and penalizing those who can't. This game might provide some evidence for that line of thinking. The Jets didn't remotely have a great offensive game here in terms of what matters most. They were a disaster when the game was close (against a non-power defense). Your stat framework didn't penalize them for that the way the final score or the drive data did. They got massive credit for scoring from behind...but minimal penalty for not doing what it took to be competitive when they were within one score.

Hope that helps in future iterations of the program. I think its important. With my own stuff I used to try to calculate yards and yards-per-play by hand based on the one-score threshold. ESPN drive charts aren't laid out well for that though, and you get a migraine after about the third game on a Sunday (lol). That's why I thought to check it here. Off to take an aspirin.

Thanks again for providing this information for fans and skeptics alike. Working towards consensus may eventually yield a day when there's no skeptics.

Points: 0

#56 by MJK // Nov 17, 2011 - 11:51pm

This might not be due just to defsnes clamping down when it's close, but also offenses playing more desparately and more aggressively when it's not. We know that passing is (usually) more effective than running, but when the score is close, too many coaches still try to "establish the run". When they're down, they adopt the better (albeit riskier) strategy of passing more heavily.

Points: 0

#57 by MJK // Nov 17, 2011 - 11:53pm

This might not be due just to defsnes clamping down when it's close, but also offenses playing more desparately and more aggressively when it's not. We know that passing is (usually) more effective than running, but when the score is close, too many coaches still try to "establish the run". When they're down, they adopt the better (albeit riskier) strategy of passing more heavily.

Points: 0

#50 by Jeff Fogle // Nov 17, 2011 - 6:29pm

double post

Points: 0

#51 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 17, 2011 - 6:30pm

I noticed a couple of times here where the Jets had a failed 3rd-down conversion, but they were good failures -- either very close to zero or occasionally positive -- despite ending in a punt regardless.

It's sort of like getting a lot of partial credit for consistently wrong answers.

Points: 0

#55 by Whatev // Nov 17, 2011 - 11:16pm

I don't think that's really true; I think it just means they're eating more of the negative value for the drive on the previous two plays.

Points: 0

#52 by nat // Nov 17, 2011 - 8:31pm

A bit more on the Baselines: There is a definite trend towards easy grading as the game moves into the second half with the Jets down by more than a score. The correlation between quarter and base value is a surprising -0.30 over the whole game. That's pretty good, considering it's all downs and distances. But it's not much data to go on. The slope is about -0.03 per quarter, or about 3.4% of the average baseline. No doubt, a potion of that is the steep drop off for the garbage time drive.

This merits some offseason work. It might be possible to tease out what portion of that effect is due to the situations, and what portion is due to the quality of the teams that tend to get in each situation. Only the first part should be in the baseline, of course, since we don't want to reward teams for being bad.

This doesn't add to what I discovered above. It's just a different way of looking at the easy baselines the Jets were compared to in the second half.

So what? Simply put, trust first half DVOAs more than second half DVOAs. Assume teams with second half leads get undervalued and teams playing from behind get graded on an easier curve. This should effect both offenses and defenses equally, but I'd guess not special teams.

Points: 0

#60 by Jeff Fogle // Nov 18, 2011 - 12:01am

Was wondering if there might be something about second halves for the season that would help explain Aaron's point about how throwing out the odd numbers from this New England game still wouldn't change the rating much. The Jets have had some crappy first halves this year. Used halftime of Jets/Broncos to go back and figure halftime scores for the Green Bay-Jets-Patriots sandwich at the 3-4-5 spots in DVOA.

Green Bay 168, Opponents 108 (+60)
New England 118, Opponents 77 (+41)
NY Jets 99, Opponents 107 (-8)

So, one might be able to deduce from those numbers that the model may be undervaluing first half production and overvaluing second half production...or at least not giving much credit to teams who jump to big first half leads for what they do after that.

Green Bay 152, Opponents 78 (+74)
NY Jets 116, Opponents 93 (+23)
New England 141, Opponents 123 (+18)

To the degree strength of schedule is involved, Green Bay has had it much easier than the other two according to both FO and Sagarin. So, that brings the Packers back to the threesome a bit. Maybe something about the second half baselines are giving the Jets a lot of credit for rallying from soft first halves, while not giving NE and GB enough credit for strong first halves.

Just building off Nat's points and in-depth work to the limited degree I could on short notice. I do think it's true that the Jets have had some very lousy offensive stretches when they're within one score (as discussed here, then also vs. Denver tonight, and also in the first half vs. Buffalo, then also vs. SD before that when their only TD of that type came on a 19-yard drive after an interception of Rivers in the fourth quarter. Can the Jets only drive the field for TD's when they're down by more than one score? Will try to itemize that if I get a chance in the next few days.

Jets played their 10th game tonight, and were 3-3 at the half, before a 14-10 second half loss keyed by a pick six and then a last second Tebow drive. Jets are now 3-5-2 at halftime, meaning just three leads in 10 games.

Points: 0

#66 by nat // Nov 18, 2011 - 9:43am

Mea culpa:
Now that I compare like situations (1st-and-10) in each half, it looks like the baselines aren't dropping off in the second half so much, except for the garbage drive.

It may simply be that the Jets avoided more situations with high expectations in the second half. The zero-yard first down plays would account for this in the three-and-outs. Generally avoiding third downs on their good drives may account for this effect in the scoring drives. Getting the ball last certain explains the low expectations in the garbage drive.

What the Jets did well in that half was not so much increase success as to depress expectations, although they did some of both.

The second half had 53% of the success points, but 76% of the VOA. It had just 45% of the baseline. Yes. Their expected value of an average play dropped from 0.979 in the first half to 0.823 for the bulk of the second half to 0.535 on the garbage drive. Those are drops in the grading curve of 16% and 45%.

This easing of the grading curve is a larger effect than the increased success.

Points: 0

#69 by Jeff Fogle // Nov 18, 2011 - 2:05pm

Just went through drive by drive for the whole season off the ESPN drive charts that go along with each boxscore. Not ideal, but we're looking for generalities.

Based on Drive Charts (which is length of drive divided by plays, not perfect)
Within one score: 4.3 yards-per-play
Trailing by 9+: 5.5 yards-per-play
Leading by 9+: 5.0 yards-per-play

Not sure what league standards are...but 4.3 is basically the equivalent of the Cleveland Browns...which means horribe. 5.5 is a touch better than league average. So, when it's close, the Jets are horrible (and it's been close in about 60% of their offensive drives this year). When they fall way behind, they rise up to league average.

But, that "trailing" thing is badly hurt by the Baltimore game, where the Jets were just awful all night and trailed by a bunch the whole way. If you throw that game out, the average rises to 6.8...which is much more in line with recent impressions...the Jets are Cleveland when the game is close, but have had a lot of success outside of the Baltimore game when trying to drive the field from behind.

TD's of drives of 60 yards or more:
23% of the time when down by 9 or more
16% of the time when up by 9 or more
8% of the time when the game is within one score

Again, that 8% long TD rate reflects drives that take up about 60% of the season. All games start out close...and the Jets aren't a team that offensively creates big leads for themselves in the first half outside of the Jaguars game (their 3-5-2 first half "record" has wins of 15-3 over Jax, 14-6 over Miami with a defensive score, and 3-0 at Buffalo).

To the degree Aaron's metrics are showing the Jets to be an above average offense (or above 0.00 in DVOA), it may have something to do with not penalizing bad drives enough when the game is close...or over-rewarding scoring drives that come after a team has fallen behind. He also mentioned in the article something about the play length of drives. The Jets do have a zillion 3 and outs.

Tough...because it's kind of a needle in a haystack...and the Jets show so poorly in so many normal metrics (while often flunking the eye test) that it's hard to know what was incorporated into the metric that's causing the decent showing. And the "predictive value" possibilities from a couple of weeks ago have faded with the home loss to NE and the road loss to Denver where the Jets missed market expectations by quite a bit. Glad so many people are putting their heads together to try and figure out the mystery.

Points: 0

#54 by Axe2Grind // Nov 17, 2011 - 10:14pm


Points: 0

#58 by MJK // Nov 17, 2011 - 11:56pm


Just wanted to add my thanks for this.

Will write more when I have time.

Points: 0

#59 by MJK // Nov 17, 2011 - 11:56pm


Just wanted to add my thanks for this.

Will write more when I have time.

Points: 0

#62 by ClavisRa (not verified) // Nov 18, 2011 - 1:47am

Just watched some highlights from the Jets-Patriots week five game to refresh my memory. I remember feeling at the time that the Patriots were clearly the better team, no question. They had some big plays go against them, like the pick in the end zone on the pass targeted to Hernandez. That play is a highly negative result, yet has almost no predictive value. Most time Hernandez makes that catch and it's a TD. If I'm evaluating that game, I can't give the Jets much credit for the pick, nor even blame the Patriots too much. It's a mark against Hernandez' consistency, that's it. Yet, still the Patriots score 30 points. Also, the Jets offensive success was clearly more a product of inconsistent defensive play by the Pats than good execution by the Jets; when the Pats executed their offense the Jets could not stop them no matter how well they played defense; when the Pats executed their (very inconsistent) defense, the Jets had only modest ability to produce offense. Their best weapon is deep passes where their big receivers have a huge advantage.

There is a rock-paper-scissors aspect to the way defense and offense match up at times. Brady has always struggled against pressure up the middle. If your defense can bring consistent pressure, you can get a lot of stops/turnovers vs. the Pats, regardless of how your overall defense rates. The database can't capture that. And it's scoring plays based on the game value of the result, not on the quality of the playing.

Points: 0

#67 by Danish Denver-Fan // Nov 18, 2011 - 12:57pm

Dumb question alert. What does FD stand for in the 1/TD column?

Points: 0

Save 10%
& Support Aaron
Support Football Outsiders' independent media and Aaron Schatz. Use promo code SCHATZ to save 10% on any FO+ membership and give half the cost of your membership to tip Aaron.