Week 2 DVOA Ratings

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

by Aaron Schatz

So far, 2013 has not been a very good season for the Football Outsiders preseason forecast. Actually, 2013 so far hasn't been a very good season for most anybody's preseason forecast... except at the very top. Many members of the NFL commentariat predicted a Super Bowl appearance for Denver, Seattle, or even both. Denver and Seattle started the season with the two highest mean win projections from Football Outsiders. Denver and Seattle have been the two best teams in the NFL through the first two weeks.

After that, things look a little bit goofy. Right now, Kansas City is third in VOA. The Chiefs were last year's 30th-ranked defense. This year, they rank No. 1. Obviously, we're not including opponent adjustments after just two weeks, and eventually there's going to be a big adjustment for every team that plays Jacksonville. Still, it certainly looks like the Chiefs have done a lot to plug the holes between all of those Pro Bowlers from a year ago. (It helps that one of those holes, Dontari Poe, certainly seems to have taken his own leap to a Pro Bowl level.)

Miami at 2-0 is also an early surprise, and the Dolphins have been very balanced. They rank in the top ten in all three phases of the game.

On the other hand, the six lowest teams in the league include three teams we had projected to go to the postseason -- Washington, San Francisco, and the defending champion Ravens -- plus the New York Giants, who everyone expected to be in playoff contention. Again, opponent adjustments will really change things here. The 49ers have played two of the best teams in the league. The Giants got clobbered by Denver, clearly the top team in the league right now. But did they have to get clobbered by quite so much? Yikes.

What's interesting here is that the strange results of 2013 so far have generally seemed like strange results because of how we projected teams coming into 2013 and what we know about teams historically. One thing we haven't seen is teams that are particularly deceiving at 2-0 or 0-2. Last year, for example, the Cardinals were the third-worst 2-0 team in DVOA history. This year, every 2-0 team has a positive VOA and every 0-2 team has a negative VOA.

That fact probably surprises you if you've been watching the New England Patriots. Given how bad the Patriots have looked in their first two games, it wouldn't be ridiculous to expect them to rank among the "worst 2-0 teams ever." You may be shocked to see them ranked 11th in VOA through Week 2. The reason they are so high? The units you don't see. We've all seen the Patriots receivers play like a bad high school team. However, you may not have noticed that the rest of the time, the Patriots were playing shockingly good defense and their usual great special teams. So the Patriots' ratings look completely wacko: 27th in offense, fourth in defense. This will change going forward, of course. Opponent adjustments will ding the defense because shutting down Geno Smith isn't that difficult. But at the same time, opponent adjustments may boost the early performance of the New England offense because they played the Jets. Yes, we saw the Jets secondary didn't play very well last Thursday night, so perhaps the Jets defense won't return to the greatness I was predicting before the season began. But that team has a great front line, and whatever else may be wrong with him, Rex Ryan still designs an excellent defensive scheme.

(The other change going forward: We'll have to see what the injury to Matthew Slater does to New England's special teams. Over the past few years, Chicago and New England have been the two positive exceptions to the rule that special teams performance is rarely consistent from year to year.)

One other team that's interesting to look at is Washington. There's a good debate to be had about how much to write-off Washington's ability to score points in the second half of games where they are getting blown out in the first half. The policy at Football Outsiders has always been to compare like with like. We want to adjust the offensive rating of a team playing from way behind by comparing them to the average team playing from way behind. And what we've found is that the difference between how well an offense plays when way behind and how well an offense plays in a close game is MUCH smaller than most fans would expect. Therefore, we end up giving credit to an offense like Washington's that comes back from a big deficit, even if they don't come back enough to win the game (in the case of Week 1) or make it close (in the case of Week 2). The DVOA system is based on the idea that this strong play is still evidence that the Washington offense is a good offense; they just happen to have a crazy first half/second half split through two weeks. And so, Washington below is listed as sixth in offense and dead last in defense.

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Obviously, a lot of fans and even analysts will feel differently about this. And so, look at our quarterback stats page and the difference between DVOA and ESPN's Total QBR for Robert Griffin III. (Yes, I've got it listed as DVOA in some places, VOA in others... it's the same thing this early in the season, don't get caught up in how many letters are in the name.) Right now, Griffin ranks 11th in the league in YAR (total value) and 14th in VOA (value per play). Yet ESPN's Total QBR ranks him a dismal 31st out of 33 quarterbacks. That's a huge difference, based almost entirely on the question of what we learn or don't learn from Griffin's strong offensive play in the second half of the last two games. In the first half of games, Griffin right now has 1.9 QBR. In the second half, he has 75.9 QBR. Washington was never above 10 percent win expectancy after halftime in either game, so basically, RG3 starts out as Blaine Gabbert and then turns into Aaron Rodgers once his defense has enjoyed 30 minutes of total nuclear meltdown.

In many ways, the difference between VOA and QBR is caught up in how much you want your rating to be predictive vs. descriptive of the past. Both VOA and QBR are neither purely predictive nor purely descriptive. They both are sort of somewhere in between, but VOA is closer to predictive and QBR is closer to descriptive. This is not a controversial statement, and the folks at ESPN Stats and Information would certainly agree. They added the clutch weighting to QBR in order to have it better line up with a list of which quarterbacks were helping their teams win close games, even if those quarterbacks weren't necessarily actually playing better than other quarterbacks -- who may play better in the first half, or may share a locker room with a terrible defense. It's two ways to analyze the same data. Neither is more right. It's the difference between them that tells the story, or at least part of the story. In this case, it's the story of what is and is not going well for RG3 this season. (This is why I've always been an advocate of more stats, rather than trying to create one rating that synthesizes a player's entire performance into a single number.) 

As to the readers who will of course slag Total QBR because they are suspicious of anything created by the Worldwide Leader: Have you considered reading Basketball on Paper?

* * * * *

During the 2013 season, we'll be partnering with EA Sports to bring special Football Outsiders-branded items to Madden 25 Ultimate Team. Each week, we'll be picking out a handful of players who starred in that week's games. Some of them will be well-known players who stood out in DVOA and DYAR. Others will be under-the-radar players who only stood out with advanced stats. We'll announce the players each Tuesday in the DVOA commentary article, and the players will be available in Madden Ultimate Team packs the following weekend.

The Football Outsiders stars for Week 2 are:

  • WR Steve Johnson, BUF: 8 catches on 10 passes, 111 yards, game-winning touchdown, led all WR in DYAR (Defense-adjusted Yards above Replacement).
  • LG James Carpenter, SEA: Came off the bench to abuse the San Francisco defensive line as the Seahawks ran for 172 yards.
  • DT Dontari Poe, KC: Two sacks and overall domination of Cowboys rookie Travis Frederick.
  • DT Kawann Short, CAR: Three quarterback hits, two assists, and a tackle.
  • CB Richard Sherman, SEA: Only allowed one completion in man coverage according to game charting, which was a "failed completion" that didn't convert third-and-long; also had an interception. (He did allow a second completion, but that was in a zone.)

If you came to our article because you love Madden Ultimate Team and wanted to see who would be the special Football Outsiders players this weekend, and you want to know more about Football Outsiders advanced stats and analysis, please feel free to send us your questions (Contact Us) or ask the regular readers by contributing to the discussion thread below.

One thing I neglected to mention when we first announced this deal: special Football Outsiders players are available not only on XBox 360 and Playstation 3 but also in the mobile (iOS/Android) version of Madden 25 Ultimate Team. It's Football Outsiders on your phone, and Football Outsiders in your pants!

* * * * *

All stats pages are now updated with 2013, including playoff odds, snap counts, and for the first time this season, offensive line and defensive line. The FO Premium splits database will also be updated with 2013 sometime this evening... and, as a special bonus, it will be updated with 1989 and 1990 as well. Also, you may have noticed we have a new green drop-down stats menu at the top of the site. It condenses the stat listing to make it easier to find the right page. Mouse over the listings for either Drive Stats or College Stats to get a more expanded list of those two categories.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through two weeks of 2013, 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 DVOA 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 offense and defense are listed as 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 DEN 72.1% 2 33.0% 1 2-0 47.1% 2 -13.6% 7 11.4% 1
2 SEA 47.9% 9 27.9% 2 2-0 5.8% 13 -32.6% 2 9.5% 2
3 KC 44.3% 1 -1.4% 17 2-0 7.9% 12 -37.5% 1 -1.1% 18
4 GB 30.8% 16 25.5% 3 1-1 63.7% 1 31.8% 31 -1.1% 17
5 MIA 30.0% 3 0.9% 15 2-0 11.7% 9 -12.1% 9 6.2% 6
6 PHI 23.1% 8 4.4% 11 1-1 37.8% 3 21.9% 29 7.1% 5
7 CHI 22.4% 5 5.0% 9 2-0 13.6% 7 -7.1% 12 1.8% 13
8 BUF 21.9% 7 -5.6% 21 1-1 9.4% 10 -11.1% 10 1.5% 14
9 IND 14.8% 6 -1.5% 18 1-1 26.3% 4 9.7% 24 -1.7% 21
10 CIN 11.8% 18 7.1% 7 1-1 8.9% 11 -0.9% 15 2.0% 12
11 NE 10.9% 21 21.2% 4 2-0 -17.8% 27 -24.6% 4 4.2% 8
12 NO 7.9% 15 7.9% 6 2-0 -3.3% 19 -12.3% 8 -1.2% 19
13 ATL 6.9% 20 5.0% 10 1-1 12.4% 8 11.3% 26 5.8% 7
14 STL 3.7% 10 -11.9% 26 1-1 5.0% 14 9.4% 23 8.2% 4
15 TEN 3.2% 4 -12.1% 27 1-1 -17.2% 26 -20.0% 6 0.4% 16
16 HOU 1.5% 11 5.0% 8 2-0 4.8% 15 -9.4% 11 -12.7% 31
17 DET -2.8% 13 -2.5% 19 1-1 4.7% 16 -5.1% 14 -12.6% 30
18 SD -4.5% 23 -6.5% 22 1-1 24.8% 5 29.8% 30 0.4% 15
19 TB -7.4% 17 1.5% 14 0-2 -34.0% 29 -23.4% 5 3.2% 11
20 CAR -8.6% 19 9.6% 5 0-2 1.5% 17 6.7% 21 -3.5% 22
21 DAL -8.7% 22 -7.1% 23 1-1 -14.9% 25 2.2% 17 8.4% 3
22 NYJ -9.3% 14 -7.5% 24 1-1 -39.4% 31 -26.2% 3 3.9% 9
23 OAK -13.4% 26 -15.7% 29 1-1 -0.8% 18 2.4% 19 -10.1% 29
24 ARI -16.6% 25 -12.4% 28 1-1 -9.7% 21 2.3% 18 -4.6% 24
25 PIT -19.1% 28 -4.7% 20 0-2 -21.3% 28 1.5% 16 3.7% 10
26 MIN -24.0% 27 -16.9% 31 0-2 -13.5% 23 9.1% 22 -1.4% 20
27 BAL -29.3% 31 2.1% 13 1-1 -8.5% 20 12.7% 27 -8.2% 27
28 SF -32.2% 12 3.3% 12 1-1 -10.4% 22 13.8% 28 -8.0% 26
29 CLE -37.8% 30 -16.9% 30 0-2 -37.0% 30 -6.8% 13 -7.5% 25
30 NYG -39.5% 24 -7.9% 25 0-2 -14.4% 24 9.9% 25 -15.2% 32
31 WAS -45.5% 29 0.4% 16 0-2 15.7% 6 51.3% 32 -9.8% 28
32 JAC -74.5% 32 -35.0% 32 0-2 -67.6% 32 2.8% 20 -4.0% 23


161 comments, Last at 22 Sep 2013, 11:52am

1 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

I still have trouble believing that the Patriots are as good as DVOA sees them.

Also surprised to see Cincy at #7 ... I can't wait to find out more in the next couple of weeks as they take on Green Bay and New England.

5 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

In reply to by Bay Area Bengal (not verified)

They aren't the 4th best defense in the league, but the probably aren't going to end the season as the 5th worst offense, either. The total seems reasonable for now.

38 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

As much as I would like to see the Patriots really crash and burn, I will believe it when I see it.

If they get 2nd seed in the AFC I will not be suprised.

39 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

But doesn't that speak to the level of the AFC more than the Patriots? Then again, I can't remember a year where so few teams have really distinguished themselves through two weeks.

I believe the Broncos are the only one of the 2-0 teams to win both games by more than 7 points. You can make an argument that three of the 2-0 teams were a handful of plays away from 0-2 (especially New Orleans and Houston). I guess some of the 1-1 teams may go on a run, and I'm sure a few will (I like the winner of GB @ CIN to go on a nice run going forward), but as Scott Kacsmar wrote today, the league has been historically close so far this season.

94 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

I don't think it's so much that so few teams have distinguished themselves as much as we're not ready to accept that the teams that have, KC and Miami in particular, are really that good.

The man with no sig

56 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

Really, after the Broncos, who is the other power in the AFC? Pittsburgh looked awful on Monday. The Ravens have lost half of their best players from last season and looked unimpressive in their one victory, over hapless Cleveland. Do we really think the rest of the AFC West is back? Certainly not the Raiders.

The Chiefs and Dolphins have great bandwagons right now, but I'm still suspicious of both. In the South, the Texans are 2-0 but not in an impressive fashion. And the Colts are definitely regressing to what their defense is.

As for the Patriots, their offense last Thursday was missing its best WR and best RB from Week 1 as well as their all-Pro tight end. All of those guys will eventually be back.

Two months from now the standings won't care that their first two wins were unimpressive.

So while the Broncos certainly look like the class of the AFC right now, the field is thin below them.

66 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

I think that Houston will pull it together and be very good. The Patriots probably will as well, but I could also see them failing to click on offense and continue to look really uninspired on defense. Baltimore and Pittsburgh will get better, but I doubt either ends up looking good at the end of the season.

106 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

If there's one thing for sure, its that the Pats will get back their injured players (one with a back injury) at full strength and suffer no more injuries, and the other teams in the AFC will not get back their players from injury and suffer more injuries. The Pats will have young players improve throughout the season, while other AFC teams' young players will hit the rookie wall or prove to be ineffective. Teams that have played well in the early part of the season will prove to be not good, and teams that have played well in the previous years but have struggled in the parts of the first two games of the season have been exposed as being in decline and nothing more than average.

116 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

If I'm reading this right then every team but the Pats will be bad. That's even more pessimistic than me (unless you're a Pats fan). Or this is sarcasm, Poe's law and all.

67 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

In reply to by Bay Area Bengal (not verified)

VOA. All VOA sees is that NE has played to games and been the better team in both. The system doesn't know that the jets and bills probably be bad.

80 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

That's right. VOA isn't considering opponents, so it sees no difference between New England's defense playing the Jets and Buffalo and SF's defense playing Seattle and Green Bay. When that changes and/or when the Pats play Atlanta and New Orleans, that ranking is going to move.

Also, when Arizona was one of the worst 2-0 teams ever in 2012 (despite the fact that the two wins were against Seattle and New England), it was because VOA does discount some in game events that are not predictive/repeatable/skill-based. The games featured 2 opponent missed field goals, a blocked punt, only 6 drives by Arizona that lasted more than 5 plays or 30 yards (compared to 14 for the Patriots and Seahawks). Thus, VOA indicated Arizona had not outplayed their competition.

VOA is just showing, based on its measurements, the Pats slightly outplayed their opposition to date.

27 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

You and the FO guys need to read this about the changes made to QBR during the offseason. The "clutch factor" now de-emphasizes performance during blowouts rather than emphasizing performance during clutch situations.


141 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

like sacks, fumbles, rushing, etc. As opposed to just a pure passer rating built on comp percentage, TDs, INTs, and yards.

It's certainly an improvement over passer rating.

146 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

But it is an improvement over pfr's Adjusted Net Yard per Attempt?

It seems about the same to me, with the draw back of being proprietary, whereas you can calculate any/a yourself.

152 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

QBR takes into account many charting variables that are not recorded in the standard game logs. For instance, it takes into account pressure on throws as well as qb scrambles, etc. I think for the most part, its a pretty effective stat. Opponent adjustment is obviously needed, but the biggest difference I think between anya and QBR is it attempts to add quality to the type of yards you're getting, while anya is agnostic about the type of yards

155 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

Yeah well, we do that with PFF. We do as well somewhat with FO gamecharting. We also have to trust FO somewhat when take DVOA at face value. We know their general methods, but not their weighting. In fact, their weights were designed to best correlate for the future, but those sort of things are highly dynamic and likely change within years, if not week to week.

3 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

My god, it's gonna take a while to get BAL's defensive VOA down to respectable levels after that Denver game, I guess.

31 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

Yes but once weighted DVOA is in effect that first game (80% or something) will become less relevant. And once the Broncos offense is recognized as top shelf, that game will not be as bad (though still bad). Regardless of how bad the Browns offense turns out to be, I'd guess the Ravens D would look good in that game (they gained 4.2 YPP).

4 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

QBR has a lot to like and a lot to dislike. The lunatic clutch factor has to go. For a stat designed by statisticians, I have to believe they pandered to the talking heads on that one. Btw, Chiefs were not the worst defense last year, but were ranked 30th, so they were close.

28 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

I'll post this one more time so hopefully more people see it and stop incorrectly referring to the QBR clutch factor.


42 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

While the "Clutch Factor" has certainly gotten a bad rap, it isn't all that different than WPA from Brian Burke's Advanced NFL Stats. They both weigh performance during high-leverage situations more heavily than others but, although people might not agree with Burke's measure, they don't call it talking-head nonsense either.

52 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

The thing is if we were sane, or at least very serious about evaluating football players rather than very serious about spending some of our free time thinking about football, which we find cool as entertainment, we would call all single number ratings of player performance talking head nonsense because they don't improve our understanding of football. Abstracting something as complex as player performance over an entire season into one number is really only useful in debates like whether Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers is the best QB in the NFL. Which only matter to talking heads, fans and allpro teams. One place it does not matter: in determining how to win football games as an NFL team.

55 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

Not at all true. In baseball, in particular, metrics like this were used explicitly to make teams better by studying numbers to find players that were successful statistically but not as much in conventional wisdom, and to avoid players who were successful in conventional wisdom but not actually statistically. And it changed how the game is managed.

59 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

I think the comment to which you replied may be a bit overstated, but surely the differences between football and baseball -- and, particularly, the degree to which player performance in football is vastly more dependent on the performance of the other players on the field than in baseball -- render individual stats IN ISOLATION relatively useless. It's true that you don't make the perfect the enemy of the good, but it's also true that a little knowledge is dangerous. As long as you understand the limitations of the stats (which FO fully discloses and explains) and use them intelligently together with other information, they're a good thing. (No to mention fun!) But if you ignore those limitations, you end up with analysis that's not meaningfully more intelligent than pure punditry.

71 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

In reply to by whckandrw (not verified)

" we would call all single number ratings of player performance talking head nonsense because they don't improve our understanding of football. "

Not only is this untrue, but its basically an appeal to ignorance. Shame on you.

6 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

That negative offense DVOA by JAX is pretty incredible. Can't wait to see if they can hit the historical lows this season. A full 25 percentage points below the next worst team!

Also bad news for the rest of the league right now: the only team that has a top offense without having a bad defense is Denver.

19 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

Yep, Bears ratings are still in Wacko-ville (OFF > DEF > ST). I don't care how genius-y Trestman is and how clutch-y Cutler has suddenly decided to be, I will boldly predict that ordering will be different by the end of the year.

43 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

Well, that's not quite fair to them. Sure, AJ Green torched the secondary, but a lot of the damage in the first game came from poor tackling, which wasn't nearly as big a problem in the second game.

Speaking of which: they limited AD to slightly under 4 yards per carry, and forced Ponder to throw. Of course they looked bad: it was man coverage nearly the entire time, and Ponder played above his normal skill level.

I'm extremely curious to see how the Bears fare against the Lions.

77 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

I honestly think the only aspect of the Bears defense that is missing is the pass rush. If you believe that this is the year that Peppers' age has caught up with him, that might be a season-long issue, in which case I agree with tuluse that they will have to outscore people. But I'm not ready to say that yet.

126 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

I'm definitely concerned about the lack of a pass rush. I have a suspicion that Peppers might not be useful anymore (although to be fair, he was apparently really sick on Sunday).

I think that as long as the defense stays above-average and the offense continues to improve, they'll be fine. After all of the offseason comments from Cutler and Trestman and company about how the new offense was going to take time to gel, I'm pretty optimistic after the first two games. Yes, there were plenty of mistakes and lots to improve upon, but after years of watching offensive linemen get tossed aside by pass rushes, blown timeouts in the first quarter of just about every game, tight ends that can neither catch nor block, JaMarcus Webb, etc, I like what I'm seeing. Throw in the fact that they are (luckily) 2-0 to start the season and I think they could win the NFC North.

Also, through two games, Long and Mills have looked insanely good for two rookies. It's really weird to watch a Bears game and see that the offensive line might be a strength now rather than a weakness.

40 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

And they face Seattle next. On the road.

Since Seattle can't hold Jacksonville to negative points, there's been some joking talk at the Seahawks' SB Nation blog that they might be able to hold them to negative yards. It's been done twice before since 1940, most recently in 1979 to the Seahawks themselves. The worst anyone's managed this century is Cleveland in 2004 against Buffalo, when they got 26 yards.

41 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

On that note, if they shutout the Jags (or allow only a safety - which I wouldn't normally bring up, but since the Jags have already accomplished that feat so far...), they can set a new record for fewest points allowed through three games. The 2001 Packers and 2004 Seahawks allowed 13, the current record. The Seahawks of today are at 10.

78 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

I hadn't realized that was the matchup this week until I looked at the point spreads. Definitely the earliest in a season I can remember seeing a 20-point spread (in the NFL). And given how unimpressive Seattle's offense has been, that means that Vegas thinks a shutout is likely.

83 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

I'm sure I saw an article about "trap games" once that said they didn't exist ... nonetheless I'm going to pretend they do and say that Jacksonville represents one for Seattle particularly given that they have the Texans the following week. Professional or otherwise it's hard for players on a good team not to be arrogant and to come out less pumped up for playing against a crappy team. While I expect the Seahawks to still win it, I'm not sure it'll be the blowout that Vegas seems to think.

86 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

Well, the last two times they faced wretched offenses at home last year, they held the Jets to 185 yards and 0 offensive points, and the Cardinals to 154 yards and 0 offensive points. I have a feeling the defense is in a record-breaking mood this year, and FO has shown they're significantly better at home.

89 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

I recall the article, and the hard part was defining what constituted a "trap" in the first place. It's a moving target. Sort of like "elite" with less media overkill.

84 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

I know Vegas lines predict nothing other than trying to balance where the money goes, but if you look at the combined spread+over/under, we're looking at a 30-10 result.

Somehow, I can't see Jacksonville scoring as many points against the Seahawks defense as Carolina and SF combined. But, then, that's why they play the games.

130 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

Points aren't only scored by the offense. Carolina almost had a pick-6 against Wilson in the first game, for instance, and last year the Jets scored on a fumble return for their only points of the game.

120 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

Vegas only cares about getting the money split semi-evenly and they think to do that, this game requires a big spread. It opened in some places at 21 and was bet down so there are plenty of people out there who think a cover of that magnitude might be hard especially coming off a huge win on Sunday night against a hated division rival.

In 12 games with point spreads 19 or more, only 2 have covered.


123 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

I see that the 2007 Patriots are featured a whooping 4 times there, and failed to cover every single time. They really seemed to ease off the throttle late in the year.

127 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

Ever since AJ Feeley and the Eagles nearly beat NE in Week 11, the Pats have been quite awful at covering double digit lines. THey're a huge public money team, so lines still get inflated. Great value going against NE when they're double digit favorites (last week, for instance).

129 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

Right. I believe that was the first time they failed to cover one of the big spreads that year. They won, but barely. Start of the end of the 'Eff-You' Pats, that really only showed up after that in the Pittsburgh game.

148 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

All I know is that the dumbass line made me plenty of money in the Superbowl that year. Shame I ran out of time to take the under on total points scored.

115 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

And they've done that without Von Miller or Champ Bailey in the lineup. If the Clady injury isn't the straw that breaks the camel's back along the offensive line (lousy place to get concentrated injuries), they should just get better as a team.

117 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

If anyone can overcome massive O-Line injuries, it is Peyton. Von Miller is the key. If he comes back and plays close to 2012 level, they should be fine. Of course, he was that good in 2012, and they still lost, but I still see Denver as the best team in the AFC.

76 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

I would think it wasn't all that bad. The Bears' turnovers all came when they had decent field position, including 1st and Goal from the 1. That's got to hammer their offensive rating. Hester went wild on ST, but the Vikes had a TD, and given the situation, I doubt Carlson's fumble hurt too badly.

9 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

Yikes, SF's numbers are stunning until you remember that opponent adjustments haven't kicked in yet, but still...

16 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

I've been reduced to praying to Buddha, Allah, Ganesh and Jebus that the 49ers numbers are going to improve. And also that we try that esoteric offensive play called the 'lead iso', a little known wrinkle against teams that are crashing the outside run that has only really been an NFL staple for sixty years.

17 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

I think things will get a lot better moving forward. Look, they played GB in week 1, a team that basically sold out exclusively to stop the run at all costs. Then the next week they played a team that is extremely good defensively and it felt like everyone on the team never showed up. I wouldn't take these two games as an omen honestly.

20 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

Except that after the Colts we have a four day week leading into a road game against the Rams followed by the Texans. And the fates of football seem to be determined to exact revenge on two good years of injury luck with four major players now out.

What really worries me is that if Seattle get home field advantage and the road to the Superbowl goes through the Clink then that dratted crowd will get even louder and I don't see them losing under those circumstances.

58 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

I was surprised the 9ers didn't play Chris Harper. He was drafted for physicality, practiced to develop that physicality against the Seahawks secondary for weeks, and the Seahawks thought well enough of his efforts to try to stash him on the practice squad before the 9ers signed him. I think he was active, but I don't think I saw him. Certainly by the time the weather delay finished it was pretty apparent that the 9ers didn't really have any better ideas. Seems like that's the exact guy you want to play with a chip on his shoulder in a game when one's receivers are being handled by his clearly more physical former team.

Of course no one is paying me millions to guide their billion dollar entertainment corporation to preeminence, so I assume I've grossly oversimplified the situation.

11 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

I don't understand how Mario Williams was not one of the stars, he had 4.5 sacks, and set a team record for buffalo.

18 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

Madden Ultimate Team picks 10 players of the week earlier in the week. They were called the "fantasy players" last year... I think they are called something else this year. We can't pick any of those players for our five players. So that took out, among other players, Mario Williams. The general idea of the FO players is to find guys a bit more under the radar.

13 Special Teams

"Over the past few years, Chicago and New England have been the two positive exceptions to the rule that special teams performance is rarely consistent from year to year"

Didn't Buffalo have few year streak with good/great special teams?

15 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

I know you guys have thought of this but is there any way we can get a page with the teams sorted by DAVE? Thanks!

70 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

Bears clearly due for an enormous collapse since they are the only team spelled correctly by RaiderJoe.

By extension, the Broblns simply have to win it all this year.

79 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

If I didn't have the context, I would have had no idea who the hell the "Broblns" were. Instead of the Broncos, I would have thought it was the Browns and Lions merged into one uber-cursed/snakebitten franchise.

22 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

The relative ratings of Carolina and Buffalo sort of surprise me. They both lost close games in week 1, then they played each other in a close game in week 2. I guess the gap will probably close when opponent adjustments kick in and everyone that played Seattle jumps several points.

75 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

Actually, I started looking at the chart at the bottom, and then read upwards until I saw CAR. Quite confused on how high they are ranked, but then again, they played a top team to a draw, and had a decent team beat.

After spending a week being inundated by "The sky is falling" on my usual chat board, I am going to have to think about this for a while.

26 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

I can't find the article, but I'm fairly confident that the guy whose primarily responsible for creating the QBR system stated that they tossed out the clutch factor this year because they found out what everybody already knows - quarterbacks play just as well in the clutch as they do at any other point of a game.

44 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

In reply to by CowboysFAN (not verified)

Considering he has the highest career rating in the 4th quarter among active quarterbacks, you just might have a point.

50 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

In reply to by CowboysFAN (not verified)

Or Tim Tebow. I know we don't use such language at FO, but as a Bronco fan and atheist, I've never screamed louder at my TV than two years ago, every game, all season.

Why Jacksonville did not snatch him up that off-season...it's just foolhardy. He may never be an "NFL-caliber QB" - but Jags current roster of QBs really are?

Hell maybe Tebow will never be a DVOA consideration for QB, but football players operate in a psychological state that very few of us understand, and I watched elite veterans bend down to pray with Tebow at the end of games - he made believers out of even hardened veterans, and they played above their level, for that kid!

Tim "God-Boy" Tebow may be the answer on several different teams right now, but none as much as the Jags. But it doesn't matter. Too much NFL dogma is working against him.


And did I mention ticket sales and jerseys? I didn't!!!


98 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

Why would the Jags want to be mediocre this year when they can be the worst and get themselves an elite player? Not that I necessarily agree that Tebow would be an improvement. Yes, people like him personally, but remember, even granting him "4th quarter kid" status, Tebow is useless unless your defense holds the the opposition to under 10 points through three quarters.

The man with no sig

32 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

Could we see the VOA for the Seahawks/49ers game? I'm curious to see exactly how dominant Seattle's defense was.

99 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

Meaning that SFs terrible VOA is mostly the result of one horrible game. Probably not as big a deal as people are making it out to be. Unless you expected them to be the best team in the league... that's pretty much out, I think.

The man with no sig

110 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

I'm surprised the disparity is that big. The SF offense value isn't a shock (and will look better after opponent adjustments), but I'm surprised the D graded out as below average against Seattle. Are the penalties a big factor there?

113 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

I do have access to premium and his numbers aren't far off. I have two questions though: are the personal foul penalties included, as you have asked? Secondly, is Kaepernick's scrambling included under rushing DVOA or passing?

BTW, it's the passing DVOA that's really, really bad.

121 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

Has to be rushing DVOA. There's no way to tell a scramble from a designed run in a box score.

Teams with mobile quarterbacks will have their passing DVOA boosted because of that, since an incomplete pass/sack turns into a quarterback scramble, likely for positive yardage. The same happened with Newton last week.

34 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

I'm glad that VOA is showing my worries about the GB defense to not all just be in my head. It feels a bit like 2011 again. An offensive that is nutso and a defense that does just enough but has clear weaknesses. I know I know, no Burnett and no Hayward. That still won't make up for Jones and Hawk as the ILB's and Nick Perry not seeming to be improving at all as an outside rusher to compliment Matthews. At least I feel comfortable with the D-line, which I haven't in years past. I'm not sure the players in the secondary are awful, but I'm also not sure that the new plan to just leave Williams and Shields on a side instead of matching them to receivers is going to work either. Of course Capers may have felt that way too as he put Williams in the slot for about 30 snaps against Washington and had Shields and House on the outside.

Alright enough homercentricism for now.

92 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

As another displaced GB fan (San Diego) I am worried that the coaches aren't doing enough to address this. Although it's only 2 games in, seems like they're not scheming enough to bring pressure. It's one thing to watch Matthews get double teamed and have an excuse but when there is then 3.5 (RB perhaps) to go 1 on 1 with the other 3 rushers it doesn't exactly shift the opportunity to the defense.

There needs to be some changing on how often more than just 4 are being sent, it doesn't seem like it's enough to do what GB should be doing best. Hurry the QB, bad throws, opportunistic corners (Shields, Tramon, Hayward when back).

35 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

Saints Running Backs:

Mark Ingram: 17 runs, -54.3% VOA
Pierre Thomas: 14 runs, 27.8% VOA.

Can anyone get this info to Sean Payton? It seems he is the only one watching Saints' games who doesn't intuitively know this.

BTW Aaron, will you have the possibility in the future of using Snap data to provide DVOA numbers for teams with a given player in the game? It would be interesting to have a number for Saint's DVOA on all plays with Pierre Thomas on the field (even on plays he doesn't touch the ball), and compare that to numbers for Ingram & Darren Sproles.

I'm sure there's a lot of interesting things questions you could do with that data. It would help show how certain players are good blockers or good decoys when they don't get the ball.

51 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

The NFL's snap data only gives snap totals for a game. It doesn't tell you which 22 players are on the field for each snap. To track that, you would need financial resources that far outstrip what I have for Football Outsiders.

45 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

Rankings are crap now. No way are Raiders only 2 things ahead of crappy Steelesr. Raiders annihilated Jaguars and almost beat Cotls. Steelers lose at home to Titans and lose to Bengals. This not good tema. Steelers are crap. Horrible running attaxk, crap receivers, defense aging, ofensice line turdful. Defense okay.

Raiders solid everywhere. Good up and comingers at QB and head coach.

47 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

I think GB's Defense will move up the rankings a decent bit over the year.

Game 1 they played a team (SF) that had an entire Offseason to Game Plan for them.
Yes, GB did too but SF Coaches >>>>>>>> GB Coaches. Not surprisingly, GB could not force turnovers (common for them vs SF) and mix ups with their safeties ended up in the Defense get torched.

Game 2, they shut out Wash in the 1st Half and then went into classic McCarthy take foot off pedal mode: Run, Run, Pass, Punt and Loose coverage.

The Pass Rush obviously is a concern and Perry does not impress me that much so far. I think their D Line is a decent bit better with both Jolly and Jones. The LBs I think are similar compared to last year. The secondary I would think is either equal or slightly better this year (hard to say)

90 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

Being a Packer fan I chalk week one up to they wanted to see what Kaepernick could do against a zone. He did well, and outplayed the coached defense. I was shocked there wasn't half time adjustments to go into Man or more pressure but thought it could be because the coaching staff felt they didn't have the personnel to do this for that game.

Either way, SF is a good team, Kaepernick can pass or run GB's defense to death clearly.

Week two they looked good, but partially because Washington's offense is so bad right now. GB has a big problem like you said about getting pressure which has to do with scheme I believe more than personnel. When you're only sending 4 against SF or 4 against Washington's run first offense, it's not going to generate too much pressure. There needs to be 5 and 6 man blitzes in man coverage, but the question is who do they send, and who stays to cover while some guys are hurt?

GB's defense will get better (there is no other way to go) but if the scheme doesn't change I don't envision much better. I'd GUESS a 31 to 23 type shift is about it.

49 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

I would have loved to read BASKETBALL ON PAPER 25 years ago, before watching an NBA game became almost as much fun as a root canal.

53 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

Regarding the Patriots: If their offense is ranked so poorly at the end of the year, I'll be surprised. Of course, if their starters at the end of the year at the "skill" positions are Julian Edelman, Kenbrell Thompkins, Aaron Dobson, Michael Hoomanawanui (sp???), and LeGarrett Blount, I will also be surprised. And if those are their starters throughout the year, they deserve a terrible offensive ranking!

61 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

Well, they did have Ridley in their last game. I know it was easy to miss - he had a bad game. But the Pats really haven't been able to run on the Jets in years. Whatever Rex Ryan's flaws are, he can design a defense that stops the run.

Gronk is 50-50 for Sunday. Presumably that means he'll be back for the Falcons game. Amendola will likely be a couple weeks more, and Vereen a few weeks more than that.

I think, though, that the only way that the offense can be considered "elite" this season is if the rookie WRs dramatically improve. Dobson in particular is supposed to have a pretty high ceiling. (I refuse to use the word "upside".)

63 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

Given their history, isn't it reasonable to expect Gronk and Amendola to miss more time this year even after they return from their current injuries? I think expecting more than 8 healthy games from either of them is aggressive.

73 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa.

Amendola is just as healthy and durable as Wes Welker. We've proven that. Pay no attention to how often he gets hurt or how many games he misses. He's just a bounce away from going on a Favreian streak, wherein in 2030 he's hawking discount jeans and losing fumbles against the Saints.

119 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

Any reason why you have to act like a jackass? If anything Patriot fans are more down on Amendola than they should be, certainly they aren't acting as if he is an iron man. And the comment beneath this does a fine job of refuting the main gist of this point.

Not only did you create a straw man, you entirely fabricated an argument than no one was even making, so you are basically mocking yourself. Really strange.

74 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

Gronkowski has never started less than 11 games.
Amendola played 1 game in the season he blew out his elbow in week 1, but other than that, he has played 11, 16, and 14 games.

So why the hell should 8 games be the expectation?

101 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

Other than his established history of being built like a china doll?

He's the Bob Sanders of wide receivers.

Wes Welker: Danny Amendola
Troy Polamalu: Bob Sanders

103 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

The only real difference between Welker and Amendola injury-wise is that Welker's major injury happened in week 16, and Amendola's in Week 1.

I'd argue that Welker's had a far more negative affect on his team's season that Amendola's.

104 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

It's an interesting question, though - is the timing of injuries a random occurrences, or indicative of extended wear & tear? Was it pure chance that Welker was injured later in the year, or is he just more durable and lasted longer? Does Amendola's early injury make him more likely to be injured again later on, or is it a random occurance?

Hell if I know.

109 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

I think it's mostly random, with a slight amount of skill. You've had the most opportunities to be injured by week 16, so lets say injuries work like a die roll. A really durable player is only injured on a 6, while an Amendola is injured on a 3-6. As the opportunities to roll a 6 increase you would expect it to happen more. So a week 16 injury means the player has had the most opportunities to be hurt, while in early weeks there have just been fewer opportunities.

However, I believe wear and tear do add up and as the year goes on, the odds of being injured increase, but I bet it's not a big difference.

That said, an early injury that takes you out for a few weeks probably makes it less likely to be injured later. You have less wear and tear from actually playing, and you've decreased your opportunities for injury. It depends what the injury is of course. Something like a high ankle sprain would cause more of the wear and tear effect than playing in the games.

160 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

It seems like it should be possible to do an analysis of new names on team Injury Reports and/or the IR/PUP list and find out whether the incidence of injury league wide is higher late in the season than early. While it wouldn't answer questions about individual players durability, it might give some insight into how much "wear and tear" contributes to major injury.

105 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

So if we compare Welker and Amendola's injury years, we find that Welker was able to play 14 games before getting injured, and Amendola was able to 1 game before getting injured. Therefore, Welker is 14x less likely than Amendola to suffer a season ending injury in a single game, given those data points.

124 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

That's not even considering their entire careers, as I noted in another thread. I mean, if you compare both players' career started games, you'll find Welker played an enormous amount of games before getting injured, while Amendola started a few. Saying that Amendola is as durable as Welker is right there with "Tim Tebow rocks" as the falsest football ideas I've ever heard.

The man with no sig

140 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

Not really.

Mind you, I'm a big Welker fan and wish the Pats had retained him. But this kind of analysis you guys are doing to estimate "durability" is just so much crap.

You're throwing away all the knowledge we have of the human body and postulating that "will be injured" is a 1-parameter variable with an i.i.d. distribution, where the parameter varies from player, and can be easily validated by simply seeing how quickly a player is injured the first few times.

That's just not even remotely scientific.

What you can do is say "Gronkowski has a history of back issues, and is more likely to have a flare up of the same condition."

What you cannot do is say "Danny Amendola injured his elbow in 2011 and his groin in 2013 therefore he is more likely to be injured again in some third way in 2013."

"Built like a china doll" is not literally true.

Yes, Amendola hurt his groin. That's gotta be one of the most common injuries at the WR position. The fact that he hurt his wrist two years ago is, at this point, completely irrelevant.

144 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

So you're saying durability has nothing to do with not getting injured vs playing time? Cause that's what I'm saying. Some people simply have more resilient bodies, are better "built", just like any other machine, and so can withstand more abuse. Is that truly throwing out all we know about the human body? I seriously doubt it.

The man with no sig

145 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

I think I agree with you, but there is another plausible theory - that injuries in one part of the body tend to cascade as the player changes his form to compensate, leading to additional injury. And that slighter-built payers are more prone to accumulated injuries, just as heavier players are more prone to back or knee injuries.

I freely admit I don't know that any of this applies; I'm not a doctor, and human physiology is so random that it's hard to generalize about things like this.

I'm just saying that in some cases, there might actually be a sound scientific premise underlying the anecdotal 'conventional wisdom', and it shouldn't be dismissed out of hand.

159 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

"... and human physiology is so random..."

I think that pretty much says it all. Do we really need elaborate theories to say some players are more injury-prone than others?

The man with no sig

137 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

And this is where you veer wildly away from making a cogent argument involving facts and degenerate into pure nonsensical name-calling.

"Other than his established history of being built like a china doll" is the kind of argument I expect at Yahoo or ESPN.

97 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

"The Pats really haven't been able to run on the Jets in years."

In 6 games against the Jets prior to this one, the Pats run yardage has been: 131, 152, 60, 152, 113, 101.

54 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

KC Defense is clearly poor because FO predicted they would be worst in the league but VOA after two games is best in the league. This means that the actual results of the games are "strange".

60 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

In reply to by Buck B (not verified)

Basically they are saying that anyone who plays Jax is more difficult to rank because the quality of their offense diverges so much from even an average offense.

69 Re: Week 2 DVOA Ratings

Is the Texans' Special Teams ranking all Bullock's missed FGs? Their actual punting and kick-offs have been better this year, and they're doing a very good job of defending returns.