Week 5 DVOA Ratings
by Aaron Schatz
Denver is still awesome and Jacksonville is still terrible, but Week 5 brought some interesting movement in the rest of the Football Outsiders DVOA ratings. A number of AFC teams dropped significantly: New England, San Diego, Tennessee, Miami, and especially Houston, which is now all the way down to 27th overall. Houston's big loss was San Francisco's big gain, as the 49ers leap back into the top ten.
Looking at the DAVE ratings, which combine performance so far in 2013 with our preseason projections, teams have settled into some pretty clear tiers this season:
- THE FAVORITES: Denver and Seattle
- THE CONTENDERS: Green Bay, New Orleans, Kansas City, Indianapolis, San Francisco, Chicago, New England, Cincinnati
- THE SPOILER: Carolina. Carolina is still tenth in DVOA and eighth in DAVE, but it's hard to consider the Panthers a contender given the coaching staff and its seemingly regression-proof inability to win close games. Also, with only four games played, the Panthers' high DVOA is heavily dependent on one single blowout win against the Giants. But they can really mess with the playoff outlook with games against San Francisco and New England, plus two games with New Orleans in the final four weeks.
- THE LOSERS: Oakland, St. Louis, New York Giants
- THE WORST TEAM THAT EVER WAS: Jacksonville
- EVERYBODY ELSE: Everybody else
The most surprising result of the week might be the Bears moving from 11th to seventh after losing to New Orleans 26-18, while the Saints actually drop one spot. The DVOA ratings for this game really came out different from the final result. Chicago's single-game DVOA of 57.1% was actually the second highest of the entire week, behind San Francisco (64.9% DVOA against Houston). The Saints only come out with -15.6% DVOA.
Why did Chicago do so much better in DVOA? Well, the Bears actually were much better in yards per play as well, with 8.0 yards per play compared to just 5.3 for the Saints. Some of that is because of "meaningless" yards that didn't get Chicago into scoring position in time for the end of a half. Jay Cutler had 50 yards on three passes before halftime but the Bears ran out of time for a field-goal attempt, and then Cutler had another 21 yards on the final pass of the game. These passes still count in DVOA because they're still predictive when it comes to Chicago's pass offense in the future -- and the Bears would have ended up with the higher DVOA rating even without these four passes. Otherwise, there just seem to be a lot of little plays that ended up going the Saints' way. Chicago lost 43 yards to penalties, while the Saints lost only 10 yards. The Saints extended a drive at the end of the first half by going for it on fourth down and succeeding, and they ended up with a touchdown.
Also, for those wondering: Chicago's rating is higher than New Orleans' is low because of opponent adjustments, and because both teams were good on special teams.
WHO NEEDS BALANCE?
If you look closer at the ratings for offense and defense, you'll find some fascinating causes of imbalance between run and pass this year. Perhaps the most incredible imbalance belongs to the Kansas City defense, which moved into the top spot in defensive DVOA this week. The Chiefs lead the league in pass defense but rank just 27th in run defense DVOA. It sure seems like they've got a better run defense than that, right? Well, some of that is an issue of analyzing totals compared to efficiency. Because the Chiefs are 5-0, their opponents have been forced to give up on the run early in most games. Only New Orleans and Denver have faced fewer runs per game; of course, those are the other undefeated teams. Defensive DVOA looks at every play equally, rather than being an average of pass defense and run defense. The Chiefs have faced many more passes than runs, so that strong pass defense influences their total rating more than the few long runs they've given up.
Kansas City's first two opponents didn't have much success running the ball, but then again, Jacksonville hasn't had any success doing anything. The next two weeks, the Eagles and Giants had success running the ball on the Chiefs, before falling too far behind. Kansas City's run defense problems in this week's win over Tennessee were actually more an issue of stopping Ryan Fitzpatrick scrambles, which are included in rushing DVOA. Chris Johnson and Jackie Battle combined for just 55 yards on 16 carries -- 37 of those came on one run for Battle -- but Fitzpatrick had 51 yards on five scrambles.
Cian Fahey will surely be looking at this run/pass dichotemy in this week's Film Room column, where he will be looking at the scheme changes and talent upgrades that have contributed to Kansas City's huge defensive turnaround.
New Orleans and Indianapolis have similar splits to Kansas City. Both teams rank in the top seven for pass defense, and the bottom five for run defense. The New York Jets and Chicago Bears have the opposite issue. The Jets are far ahead of every other team with -42.4% run defense DVOA, but rank just 18th on pass defense. The Bears are second in run defense, and 19th in pass defense. Dallas, Denver, and Green Bay have also been much stronger against the run than against the pass.
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The splits are less pronounced on offense but are still pretty heavy. Even after Philip Rivers wasn't so great against Oakland, the Chargers rank second in pass offense behing Denver. However, they are just 22nd running the ball. New Orleans is currently fourth in pass offense DVOA but just 27th in run offense DVOA. The teams that go the other direction come from the Department of Duh: Minnesota (23rd passing, seventh rushing) and Carolina (29th passing, fourth rushing).
One other note regarding balance: There are some fun results when you look at schedule balance. San Francisco ranks fourth in schedule strength so far, and 31st in schedule strength remaining. On the other hand, four teams go from having a bottom ten schedule in the first five weeks to a top seven schedule in the final 12 weeks: Kansas City (32/6), New Orleans (24/3), Oakland (26/7), and St. Louis (31/1). Atlanta's schedule is also going to get tougher in the future. Yeah, things are not so great for the Falcons this year.
BEST AND WORST DVOA EVER WATCH
| BEST TOTAL DVOA
THROUGH WEEK 5
|x|| BEST OFFENSIVE DVOA
THROUGH WEEK 5
|x|| WORST TOTAL DVOA
THROUGH WEEK 5
|x|| WORST OFFENSIVE DVOA
THROUGH WEEK 5
There's one table missing after we ran five of these tables a week ago. After a positive Week 5 game on special teams, the New York Giants no longer rank among the worst special teams we've ever measured.
* * * * *
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 standard stats. Others will be under-the-radar players who only stood out with advanced stats, including DYAR, Defeats, and our game charting coverage stats for cornerbacks. We'll announce the players each Tuesday in the DVOA commentary article, and the players will be available in Madden Ultimate Team packs the following weekend, beginning Friday night.
The Football Outsiders stars for Week 5 are:
- OLB Lance Briggs, CHI (Limited Edition): Six Defeats including two TFL and three tackles to prevent third-down conversions on receptions.
- RT Andre Smith, CIN: Helped Cincinnati gain 8.4 yards per carry on runs marked right tackle or right end.
- CB Darius Butler, IND: Held Sidney Rice to one catch on eight yards; game-ending interception.
- FS Charles Woodson, OAK: Interception, fumble return for a touchdown.
- SS Eric Berry, KC: Helped prevent Tennessee from completing a single deep pass (16+ yards through the air); also three tackles, two assists, and a PD.
Other players we considered this week who didn't make the cut: Ryan Allen, Adam Jones, Eric Reid, Brandon Spikes, Olivier Vernon, and Kyle Williams.
* * * * *
All 2013 stat pages are now updated, including snap counts and playoff odds. The FO Premium database will be updated later tonight.
* * * * *
These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through five 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 DVOA are adjusted for strength of schedule and 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.
Because it is early in the season, opponent adjustments are only at 50 percent strength; they will increase 10 percent every week through Week 10. As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE.
DAVE is a formula which combines our preseason projection with current DVOA to get a more accurate forecast of how a team will play the rest of the season. Right now, the preseason projection makes up 27 percent of DAVE (40 percent for teams with only four games played).
To save people some time, please use the following format for all complaints:
<team> is clearly ranked <too high/too low> because <reason unrelated to DVOA>. <subjective ranking system> is way better than this. <unrelated team-supporting or -denigrating comment, preferably with poor spelling and/or chat-acceptable spelling>
- NON-ADJUSTED TOTAL DVOA does not include the adjustments for opponent strength or the adjustments for weather and altitude in special teams, and only penalizes offenses for lost fumbles rather than all fumbles.
- ESTIMATED WINS uses a statistic known as "Forest Index" that emphasizes consistency as well as DVOA in the most important specific situations: red zone defense, first quarter offense, and performance in the second half when the score is close. It then projects a number of wins adjusted to a league-average schedule and a league-average rate of recovering fumbles. Teams that have had their bye week are projected as if they had played one game per week.
- PAST SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents played this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative). It is not adjusted for which games are home or road.
- FUTURE SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents still left to play this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative). It is not adjusted for which games are home or road.
- VARIANCE measures the statistical variance of the team's weekly DVOA performance. Teams are ranked from most consistent (#1, lowest variance) to least consistent (#32, highest variance).
149 comments, Last at 13 Oct 2013, 7:16am
#1 by Will Allen // Oct 08, 2013 - 6:34pm
If the Vikings could have byes for the next two weeks, they could crack the top 10 DVOA!
Dave remains a pompous ass, however......with him it is always "Oh I know what the future holds!", this, and "Listen to my projections!", that.
Eff you, Dave.
#3 by hoegher // Oct 08, 2013 - 6:45pm
Yeah, (tr)uck DAVE!
#2 by mm(old) (not verified) // Oct 08, 2013 - 6:42pm
Probably should add New Orleans-Denver to your Super Bowl match-ups: "Peyton vs. his father's team II" or "Peyton vs. his hometown team II".
#5 by Bobman // Oct 08, 2013 - 6:49pm
A likely candidate. Home cooking for both sides. Except that it's in Jersey, of course.
#60 by RickD // Oct 09, 2013 - 1:17am
Make Eli cook.
#8 by Anymouse (not verified) // Oct 08, 2013 - 6:58pm
Super Bowl XLIV QB rematch (NO-DEN)
#9 by BroncFan07 // Oct 08, 2013 - 7:01pm
Also need a DEN - SEA matchup. We can call it "AFC West Throwback".
#11 by Bobman // Oct 08, 2013 - 7:03pm
Well, as long as we're doing AFCW throwbacks, I'll ask on behalf of Raiderjoe... what about Oak-Sea? Okay, never mind, I can hear you laughing over my modem.
#14 by Aaron Brooks G… // Oct 08, 2013 - 7:26pm
You actually can hear someone laugh over a modem.
#27 by Mountain Time … // Oct 08, 2013 - 8:21pm
Denver Seattle is already the weed bowl.
#10 by Bobman // Oct 08, 2013 - 7:01pm
Yeah, well THIS time Manning would be supported by a defense that doesn't allow opposing QBs to go 22/24 in the second half... or, uh, I mean, that wouldn't allow the opponent to throw for 516 yards and 5 TDs... oh hell, what's the over ya think? 110 pts?
#12 by dmstorm22 // Oct 08, 2013 - 7:13pm
Of course, that time it was NO-IND. I realize IND was somewhat of a 1-man team by the 2009 season, but give the other 52 guys some credit.
#40 by Bobman // Oct 08, 2013 - 9:40pm
Just bitter that once Freeney went down the D folded up shop. One more thing for me to blame the Jets for....
#77 by devz0r (not verified) // Oct 09, 2013 - 10:08am
Super Bowl XLVIII: Peyton vs. Payton
#79 by Hurt Bones // Oct 09, 2013 - 10:29am
The E/A E/A Oh Bowl.
#122 by Mr. Morden (not verified) // Oct 10, 2013 - 12:02am
They also seem to be missing a rather obvious matchup: KC vs. SF: Alex Smith Bowl.
#127 by QCIC (not verified) // Oct 10, 2013 - 12:34pm
I think Alex Smith beating the 49ers and being Super Bowl MVP would be both an awesome story, and a crazy one to tell people from 2009 about when you time travel!
#4 by Burbman (not verified) // Oct 08, 2013 - 6:49pm
So if Jacksonville continues at its current level of ineptitude this next week, they should conceivably see a bump in DVOA based solely on opponent strength? Isn't that kind of like dividing by zero??? (Does not compute)
#55 by Rhombus (not verified) // Oct 09, 2013 - 12:08am
You have to feel a little bad for them, though. They play against five of the best six teams in the NFL this year (SEA, SF, DEN, KC, IND, and excluding NO) in the first 8 weeks this season. That would be tough for ANY team to go through, let alone a team that's a bit of a mess. They actually had NFL semi-competitive scores on the road against oakland and st louis.
I'm not saying Jacksonville isn't the worst team in the league this year. But I'm going to reserve "worst ever" judgment until they finally get a couple home games against easier teams. With Blackmon back, they could turn out to be competitive with the bottom 5-10 teams.
#7 by Vobs56 // Oct 08, 2013 - 6:58pm
lol Lance Briggs. 14 tackles, a sack and 3 TFLs but he made a boneheaded mistake with a neutral-zone infraction midway through the 4th quarter that all but sealed the game. 4th and 1 for the Saints up 23-10 on their own 47. There was absolutely no way they were going to run a play. Bad mental lapse.
#15 by TomC // Oct 08, 2013 - 7:27pm
If you'd have told me that the two plays that sealed the game would be made by Lance Briggs and Earl Bennett, I would have guaranteed a win. Simply stunning that those two guys would each make a face-palmer in the same 4th quarter.
#33 by Richie // Oct 08, 2013 - 8:49pm
Any relation to Carson?
#42 by Thomas_beardown // Oct 08, 2013 - 9:44pm
He's the defensive Tony Romo.
#6 by Bobman // Oct 08, 2013 - 6:53pm
And TY Hilton jumps about 25 spots in the WR list while DHB plummets about 40, like a sphere of infinite density being dropped to the deck of a balsa wood raft. I suspect those two spikes will even out a bit over time, but still....
#13 by TomC // Oct 08, 2013 - 7:25pm
The Bears have three wide receivers with positive DVOA. Truly the end times.
#19 by theslothook // Oct 08, 2013 - 7:47pm
So hard to disentangle the lovie effect from the regression/injury effect. I don't know which it is and I suspect we'll never know. Say what you want about all of Lovie's shortcomings, he's an awesome defensive coach and not one that was married to a philosophy till the bitter and obvious end(see Martz). The team started with cover 2 and then morphed to single high and constantly adapted. I think bears fans really underestimated his influence.
#47 by Braddw54 (not verified) // Oct 08, 2013 - 10:36pm
this one did not he was a great coach and tresman has to win a superbowl to be better in my eyes
#16 by Karl Cuba // Oct 08, 2013 - 7:39pm
To add to the discussion I had with a few people on the Audibles thread about Kaepernick:
49er receiving by DVOA:
The others haven't seen the necessary five targets to be ranked.
It's a two man job and when Davis, one of the two men was out of action it was always going to be tough for Kap.
#18 by theslothook // Oct 08, 2013 - 7:43pm
I will fully admit, I have been driven to root against boldin an effort to keep from eating crow - but on this occasion, I still feel like I'm right. remove that explosion in week 1, and boldin has been average at best.
#20 by Karl Cuba // Oct 08, 2013 - 7:49pm
There is no-one else, Davis is running at half speed and the rest couldn't uncover if they were working in a strip club. He's seeing quite a lot of coverage and has been the only target worth having at receiver.
#36 by greybeard // Oct 08, 2013 - 9:07pm
There was someone on the texans SbNation site that did a film study on Kaepernick: http://www.battleredblog.com/2013/10/4/4803524/the-film-room-colin-kaepernick-game-manager
#45 by Karl Cuba // Oct 08, 2013 - 10:08pm
The majority of the analysis in that article is nonsense, it isn't really analysis but rather describing plays that didn't work and then guessing why not. It's the standard SB Nation crap, NN is full of it (as is PFF). Why did Kap get happy feet? (actually because his line has let a rusher through) Or why can't he throw to his left? (illustrated with plays where he has no shot.
I'm not saying he's perfect but that type of picking holes is pointless.
I'm getting tired of hearing 'why didn't he see this guy running free?' pseudo-analysis. Harbaugh runs a variant of Lindy Infante's scheme where has a read to one side while dropping back and then looks to the other side for the rest of the progression. As a result there will be occasions where there are free receivers that are missed.
#17 by theslothook // Oct 08, 2013 - 7:42pm
Denver has all the makings of an old colts team that is highly susceptible to an upset. I've seen this horror show way too many times. The great and unstoppable offense has an off day where the receivers can't get open/drop passes, the run game gets stuffed, they fail to execute in the red zone, the opposing team's defense plays well and then their own defense just can't get them back on the field. Of course, one consolation to this colts fan is that this kind of narrative isn't just restricted to the colts. (see 2011 packers, 2010 Patriots). Ugh, I know von miller is awesome, but I don't think even 2 players can cure a defense by themselves. Once again, its better to be balanced in all phases than ultra elite at one. Then again, if you're the ravens or giants, maybe its just better to sleepwalk through the regular season.
#23 by tunesmith // Oct 08, 2013 - 7:59pm
Well, technically they had five defensive starters out in Dallas - one of whom was their signal-caller - but yeah, I have a hard time trusting a well-oiled passing attack when things get gritty later in the year.
#24 by An Onymous (not verified) // Oct 08, 2013 - 8:04pm
Denver leads the league in dropped passes, and has had plenty of bad rushing performances. They've also lost their top two centers and their All Pro LT (in addition to the two TEs who opened preseason atop the depth chart, although that Julius Thomas kid has been passable filling in). I'm not saying that they'll never have a bad game, I'm saying that I'd expect their bad games to be a lot better than other offenses' bad games.
Also, it's important to remember that Denver wasn't just down two defenders against Dallas. Von was suspended and Bailey was hurt, yes, but Robert Ayers, Wesley Woodyard, and Chris Harris all left the game with injuries, too. That's Denver's top two pass rushers, their top two cover corners, and their MLB / defensive captain (who is responsible for relaying the defensive plays and getting everyone lined up right). That's half of Denver's first-string defense, including (for my money) their four best players in Von, Champ, Harris, and Woodyard. 31 of Dallas's 48 points came with those guys off the field.
Denver was a top-5 defense last year. So far this year, they've been fantastic against the run, and their pass defense is just about to gain some serious reinforcements. Maybe they don't reach the top 5 again, but there's no reason this can't be a top-10 overall defense going forward. Denver will be balanced enough to be a richly deserving SB favorite.
#28 by Rick S (not verified) // Oct 08, 2013 - 8:23pm
Could not have said it better... I was surprised that Simms did not mention that Denver was down 5 defensive starters in the game. With all of their defensive injuries (& suspension), it is a good thing they are playing JAX this week.
#31 by dmstorm22 // Oct 08, 2013 - 8:42pm
In many ways, this is analogous to the 2006 Colts, who's defense was the worst of the Colts era in teh regular season, but they had shown to be a Top-10 unit in 2005 (and were again in 2007-09). They had injuries (Sanders played 4 games, Freeney had his worst season, Gilbert Gardner was playing instead of working at a Denny's), but got it all corrected by the playoffs.
Of course, maybe this is a 2011 Packers situation, where a top-5 defense from the past season, without much personnel change, becomes useless.
#37 by Hummingbird Cyborg // Oct 08, 2013 - 9:20pm
Nevermind. I misread your post. "Without much personnel change".
I still think that their injured players have been significant. It would be a surprise if they don't improve with several of their best players coming back.
I mean, before this game, they weren't that bad overall and that was without Von Miller and Champ Bailey.
#73 by Sakic (not verified) // Oct 09, 2013 - 9:35am
The Packers lost Cullen Jenkins to free agency and Nick Collins for the career in the second game of the season in 2011 so that certainly contributed to the Packers abyssmal defense that season but I agree that it wasn't enough to explain the overall drop.
#82 by Arkaein // Oct 09, 2013 - 10:36am
GB's D was 25th in DVOA in 2011. A very steep dropoff from 2010, to be sure (caused in large part by the significant personnel changes that Sakic points out), but not really close to abysmal.
The yardage given up was awful, no arguments. But GB had 31 INTs that year, 8 more than the second place Patriots and 49ers in that category. So GB's D was terrible only if you go by the "official" numbers based solely on total yardage, which I thought most people around here realized was idiotic. You'd basically have to credit opposing offenses for all of the big plays that they made, while giving zero credit to the defense for intercepting opposing QBs twice per game.
#44 by Hummingbird Cyborg // Oct 08, 2013 - 10:00pm
As far as Denver leading the league in dropped passes, I have two thoughts there.
1. A greater percentage of Denver's balls are likely dropable, so that makes a difference in how often there is a chance for a drop.
2. Denver passes a lot. This also increases the chance for some drops.
What I'd find interesting is their drop rate of dropable passes compared to other teams.
#49 by dmstorm22 // Oct 08, 2013 - 10:42pm
Can you elaborate on point #1? Not sure what you mean by 'droppable'
#51 by Hummingbird Cyborg // Oct 08, 2013 - 10:58pm
Well, an accurate QB such as Peyton Manning will throw a higher percentage of his throws into the receivers hands and thus the percentage of throws that are considered catchable will be higher. Normally this helps receivers' numbers, but it also means more overall passes are thrown their way that could be classified as drops.
#52 by dmstorm22 // Oct 08, 2013 - 11:08pm
Understood. Makes sense, actually. I guess throwing a more 'catchable' ball also makes it more 'droppable' because there's more opportunity.
#83 by An Onymous (not verified) // Oct 09, 2013 - 10:53am
I actually agree with both points, and I'd run the numbers a couple of weeks ago. Peyton Manning at the time had a very slight lead over Josh Freeman in percentage of passes dropped, but if you eliminated spikes and throwaways, Freeman would edge slightly ahead, and if you counted "Drops / (catches + drops)" (a calculation meant to represent drops by droppable passes), Freeman shot way ahead. So it really depends on how you measure. I do agree that "Drops / (Catches + Drops)" is by far the best way to measure dropped passes, but even by that metric, Denver is well above league average (if not the runaway #1 like they are in total drops or the slight #1 like they are in drops / attempts).
#58 by kamiyu206 // Oct 09, 2013 - 12:52am
Am I the only one who thinks return of Champ Bailey won't help Broncos defense that much? Von Miller is a totally different story, but 35 year old cornerback with injury doesn't give me much confidence. Yeah, he might be completely healthy when he steps on the field, but he is still 35.
#63 by Hummingbird Cyborg // Oct 09, 2013 - 1:33am
Well, he was a very good CB last year, but he doesn't have to play at the same level to improve the Broncos defense. If he's an upgrade over Tony Carter, he'll be an improvement to the pass defense overall. I think he will be, but I also understand that at 35 sudden dropoffs do happen.
#84 by An Onymous (not verified) // Oct 09, 2013 - 10:57am
It'll help Denver's defense a ton. As was pointed out, all he has to do is be an improvement over Tony Carter... and even at 35, Bailey is very much that. Tony Carter is a fantastic dime CB who has been starting on the outside because Denver's second best CB (Harris) absolutely lives in the slot. DRC/Bailey on the outside with Harris in the slot is a lot better than DRC/Carter on the outside with Harris in the slot, and miles better than DRC/Kayvon Webster on the outside with Tony Carter in the slot (which is how Denver's defense was aligned by the end of the Dallas game).
#41 by Bobman // Oct 08, 2013 - 9:43pm
I've been there and I hear ya' but look at it this way: Maybe last week was that week you're talking about--when everything goes wrong (for the Broncos' D). If that's the case... no problem.
#64 by silm // Oct 09, 2013 - 1:45am
"Then again, if you're the ravens or giants, maybe its just better to sleepwalk through the regular season.
Ravens 9-2 going into a 3 game losing streak in which 2 ended on game-ending FGs, followed up by a total domination of the Giants and of course the hot playoff run. Ravens were very much in contention for the #1 or 2 seed going into their Denver game in Week 15.
Giants started 2011 6-2, including a win over NE on the road before hitting their typical rough patch and finding their way late. Yes they needed a must win with DAL to end the season but they still finished 10-6.
Those are not "sleepwalking" through the regular season teams. Its easy to paint that false narrative because they were the 4th seed, had injuries and Denver looked so dominant comparatively but it just aint true.
Winning it all as a 4-6 seed is not all that hard to believe and its not indicative that they are skating by in the reg season. 10-6 is not just skating by on flukes especially when you're playing a first place schedule (as 2012 BAL did).
I just hate the constant narrative that #1 or 2 seeds are assumed to make the Super bowl and if they don't its by some weird fluke by an "average" team. Just isn't true.
#65 by theslothook // Oct 09, 2013 - 2:17am
I think you misinterpreted my point. I guess that's understandable given sleepwalking has all kinds of connotations. I should have said it better. I think what I meant was, baltimore last year and the giants perpetually tend to be very streaky(that's my perception anyways). They had some good games last year, but plenty of absolute debacles. They barely beat the lowly chiefs last year, 9-6. Needed a miracle 4th down conversion to beat the chargers(seriously, how often does a dump off on 4th and 20 get converted?) They got absolutely annihilated by the texans, 13-43, somehow lost to the charlie batch led steelers at home and then got roasted by denver at home a few weeks later. This of course was perfectly in line with the kind of QB flacco was in the regular season last year. I didn't write them off in the playoffs entirely because I knew they were capable of playing well, but they were hardly consistent either.
The giants have followed in similar vein for years.
#66 by theslothook // Oct 09, 2013 - 2:23am
I also want to add something. I don't consider the ravens an unworthy sb champ. Their defense played great and flacco was absolutely on fire in the playoffs. They deserved to beat every single one of the teams they faced last year(even denver). That said, there was very little I saw of them that inspired me to think they were anything better than moderately above average in the regular season. They were 13th in offensive dvoa(15th in passing) and 19th in defense. That basically screams average. It's one thing to say, they played really well in the playoffs, it's quite another to say they were this great team that everyone was completely clueless about. Hence why I said sleepwalking, because either they hit the magic power up button once the playoffs started, or they were underachieving for large portions of the regular season.
#67 by JIPanick // Oct 09, 2013 - 2:25am
In 2011 the Giants were outscored on the year, although they did play a difficult schedule. "Average" is a perfect word for their regular season.
As far as fluke, if they weren't a fluke champion no one ever will be.
- Worst record? Check.
- Worst point differential? Check.
- Needed egrerious unforced errors by opponents to even make the playoffs, let alone the Super Bowl? (Here's looking at you, Dallas everyone and San Fran's punt returner)
The Ravens were a little better, and probably grade out as above average unless your spread for "average" is fairly wide (12th by SRS, 8th by DVOA), but that 9-2 included convincing wins over only Cleveland, Oakland, and Cincy (waaaay back in week 1), while the Ravens got blown off the gridiron by Denver and Houston. The fall from 9-2 to 10-6 wasn't a 9-2 quality team seeing a rough stretch; it was a 6-5/7-4 quality team seeing their luck even out.
As far as "fluke" goes for them, let's see them play the Manning era Broncos with a temperature above 0 F and fair officiating before we make a judgment about that.
Oh, wait, we've seen that twice.
The fact that everyone harps on these teams as flukes actually supports your point that a 3-6 seed can win a Super Bowl without being an average team on a flukey run, since almost no one makes corresponding complaints about the 2010 Packers (#6), 2006 Colts (#3), or 2005 Steelers (#6).
Bottom line, the reason people call the 2007 Giants, 2011 Giants, and 2012 Ravens flukes is *because they were*, not because of some bias against low seeds.
#72 by jonnyblazin // Oct 09, 2013 - 8:47am
"As far as "fluke" goes for them, let's see them play the Manning era Broncos with a temperature above 0 F and fair officiating before we make a judgment about that."
If the Broncos constructed a team that can only succeed in good weather conditions, then they deserve to lose when they play their home games in Denver in January. And the Ravens soundly outplayed the Broncos on offense and defense, it was only Denver's special teams that made the game close in the end. And your claim of fair officiating is ridiculous, ignoring the amount of PI, holding, and illegal contact that Denver gets away with. So, not a fluke. You're also completely ignoring injuries, like how the Ravens got their players back for the playoff run but were decimated in the second half of last year.
#90 by JIPanick // Oct 09, 2013 - 11:39am
I didn't say "good weather conditions", I said any temperature above 0 F (which, incidentally, was the coldest game ever played at Mile High, not typical Denver weather).
What the Broncos may or may not get away with in other games is irrelevant; the Ravens' pick 6 involved blatant, uncalled DPI. The WP of that play outweighed all other debatable officiating int that game by a significant margin.
If you thought the Ravens outplayed the Broncos soundly on offense and defense, you must not have been watching the same game I was.
The criteria for "deserving" vs "fluke" Super Bowl winners should be "could a reasonable person argue that this was the best team in football this year?". The Ravens fail that test. Ergo, fluke.
#102 by jonnyblazin // Oct 09, 2013 - 3:08pm
We were watching the same game but perhaps through different lenses, if you want an objective measure, here's the VOA for Divisional Round playoffs:
And DPI similar to what happened on the pick 6 going uncalled happens way more often than you think. Watching games last weekend on Sunday ticket there were probably a dozen that I noticed. Part of playing smart football is recognizing what you can get away with and what you can't.
And the temperature was 13 degrees, not 0. But the specifics aren't that important, if a team is going to build it's offense around a precision passing attack and a QB without a good arm, then in cold/windy conditions a good defense will clog the short intermediate game and stuff the offense. That's an inherent weakness in roster construction and strategy.
It seems like there have been a lot of fluke super bowl winners recently. Maybe that's a sign that your expectations and the actual probabilities are not aligned. You might want to look at the talent and health of a football team, and determine their upper limits of productivity before determining how good they are. Regular season performance is not always a reliable way to find out which team is best. I think most coaches strive to win as many games in the regular season as possible, and to have each player improve during the season so that they are in optimal position in the playoffs to play their best football. No coach or executive strives to have the "best" regular season team by your definition, they try to put their team in position to make the playoffs and win the super bowl by both accumulating talent and coaches to utilize that talent. But things don't always coalesce during the regular season.
#103 by theslothook // Oct 09, 2013 - 3:19pm
I rewatched that game and two things stuck out. The first was flacco was amazing, but I would say the biggest thing that stuck to me in that game was how unbelievably amazing the coverage was by the bal corners. Go look at all 3 of manning's tds and every single one of the three had to be fitted into the tightest of windows. They were just unreal throws. But that's what it took all game and even the great PM wasn't going to thread it in that weather all game. That was biggest mystery to me of all. These were the same corners that got torched in baltimore and then they go out and play awesome. I had to shrug my shoulders on that one, this game is funny sometimes.
#115 by Anonymous53 (not verified) // Oct 09, 2013 - 6:27pm
Did R. Lewis play in the first game?
Baltimore has always seemed to give Brady/NE fits, and from watching those games it mostly seems because while the pats would typically have 2-3 plays a game that totally fool the defense and generally keep them off balance the rest of the time, against Baltimore it would be their offense fooled/out guessed on the key plays. I attribute that to Lewis/Reed.
Lewis and Reed might not have been very good running/tackling anymore, but they probably were getting the team in the right defenses to counter the Manning playcalling and that may not have been done in the regular season.
#75 by my name is my … (not verified) // Oct 09, 2013 - 9:53am
I thought the dolphins were the only team with flukes? I does help explain their dropped passes.
#78 by Hurt Bones // Oct 09, 2013 - 10:28am
No Dolphins are mammals. Miami is a little south for flukes, New England maybe.
#89 by dbostedo // Oct 09, 2013 - 11:39am
Wrong definition of fluke... it can also be part of a whale.
#91 by Hurt Bones // Oct 09, 2013 - 11:52am
Maybe but it's tastier.
#98 by dbostedo // Oct 09, 2013 - 1:19pm
I wouldn't know... I've never eaten a dolphin tail to compare... have you?
#101 by Independent George // Oct 09, 2013 - 2:52pm
F*** you Whale! F*** you Dolphin!!!
#87 by JIPanick // Oct 09, 2013 - 11:28am
#21 by An Onymous (not verified) // Oct 08, 2013 - 7:51pm
Is the 127% (DVOA) / 104% (DAVE) gap between the Broncos and Jaguars the biggest single-game disparity of the DVOA era? Wondering both with and without home-field adjustments.
#22 by NorCalMafia (not verified) // Oct 08, 2013 - 7:51pm
Seattle is clearly ranked too high because the '85 Bears could shuffle. The Russian Olympic Figure Skating Judge's Ranking system is way better than this. Sea Hags have never even won a superbowl and their stupid number twelves will never see a Lombardi.
#25 by jonnyblazin // Oct 08, 2013 - 8:11pm
Ravens every bit as much a contender as NE or the Bengals, DAVE be damned. The defense has put up 4 straight good games after the Denver debacle, as long as the offense gets sorted out they should be good. Monroe > McKinnie, Gradkowski showed some improvement at C last game, and the young WRs are playing well and gaining chemistry with Flacco. Plus Pitta will be back later in the season, possibly solving their TE woes.
#71 by Spleen (not verified) // Oct 09, 2013 - 8:14am
On the other hand, the last four QBs they've faced were Weeden, Schaub, Manuel and Tannehill (defensive DOA is finally in the negative again, woo!) Rodgers, of course, is a different animal. I don't have any doubts about the pass rush and defensive line, but the secondary scares me enough to think that Rogers will still be able to put 30 or so on them.
Prove me wrong, kids! Prove me wrong.
#132 by commissionerleaf // Oct 10, 2013 - 7:31pm
Baltimore is clearly ranked too high because they haven't played a real NFL teams since Week One. Rankings that ignore Buffalo entirely are way better than this. Baltimore is basically the 2006 Panthers except that for some reason they decided to really overpay Jake DelHomme.
More seriously, Baltimore rode a streak of good deep passing luck and special teams play to a Super Bowl win. Only a passable quarterback could be that good even on a hot streak. But Flacco is more DelHomme than Favre, and the defense is rebuilding.
#26 by Mountain Time … // Oct 08, 2013 - 8:19pm
DENVER is clearly ranked too low because THEY'RE GOING 16-0 BABY! Living in Colorado and smoking LEGAL WEED is way better than this. DENVER SEATTLE WEED BOWL 2013! WOOT!!!
#57 by Bobman // Oct 09, 2013 - 12:43am
Well, the network will have no problem selling air time for Doritos ads and those stoner-focused Jack in the Box Late Night Munchie Meal ads that have been saturating the airwaves the past few weeks.
#59 by Paul R // Oct 09, 2013 - 1:17am
It will be a good match. Both teams are used to playing outdoors on grass.
#29 by milo // Oct 08, 2013 - 8:29pm
Yes, the Bears at 57.1% DVOA and the Saints at -15.6% DVOA gives the true measure of the performance of the two teams. In a game where the Saints led from their first possession, had the largest lead of the week at the half, and the Bears were never in a position to win with one score.
Somehow, I think you missed the true nature of the game. About par for the course around here.
#30 by Mountain Time … // Oct 08, 2013 - 8:35pm
You realize DVOA isn't an actual person, right? Did you have to learn equations in school?
#35 by milo // Oct 08, 2013 - 9:02pm
I'm sure that whatever quantity of equations I learned in school it wouldn't be enough satisfy you. But I have learned, professionally, to always check boundary conditions before I publish my results.
#38 by Hummingbird Cyborg // Oct 08, 2013 - 9:25pm
I didn't watch the game, but I've seen games like this in which one team easily moves the ball all game and the other comes up with more touchdowns or their drives happen to stall in no mans land and they're forced to punt the ball twenty yards over and over. The other team maybe is getting totally stimied a lot, but nothing good is coming of it.
Anyhow, DVOA has been shown to be pretty predictive over large samples, so a single stray example that seems counter to the normal narrative is going to happen from time to time.
#39 by dmstorm22 // Oct 08, 2013 - 9:29pm
Yeah, there will always be a few games each year where DVOA doesn't resemble the score for the game at all. I believe it was in 2011 when the Patriots beat teh Jets in Foxboro around this time of year and the Jets had the better DVOA. The uproar was so loud Aaron came as close as he probably ever will to letting us see the method behind the madness that is DVOA.
Over larger samples it works. There is a reason why DVOA likes long sustained drives, doesn't like umpteen unsuccessful completions on 3rd down, etc.
#108 by Bay Area Bengal (not verified) // Oct 09, 2013 - 4:27pm
Have you learned that you don't destroy a largely successful system just because of a single outlier?
No predictive model is 100% accurate ... edge cases are always inevitable.
#46 by nat // Oct 08, 2013 - 10:27pm
Aaron actually messed this comment up a bit. When comparing two teams playing each other in a game, you need to use VOA. DVOA tells you how they played vs. how an average team would do against the same opponent. VOA tells you how they did in the game.
That's why VOA is better to explain who played well enough to win that game, while DVOA is better for predicting future success.
#85 by Just Another S… (not verified) // Oct 09, 2013 - 10:58am
Having watched the game in question, and knowing a thing or three about probability and statistics, I can safely say that the DVOA numbers do not shock me in the least for this game. If you ignore the final score of the game, and just look at the play to play and drive to drive performance of both teams, and the traditional stats for the game, you'll see that the Bears' Offense was more efficient at making yardage on the field than the Saints' Offense. They had more passing yards, more running yards, more first downs and better overall efficiency. Saints drives stalled many times getting into the red zone, resulting in four field goal attempts. Those 12 points were the final difference in the game.
DVOA accurately captures that it wasn't a good day for the Saints' defense, save for a handfull of good plays, and that while the Saints were able to score, they weren't making especially productive plays against the Bears' defense. In hearing Sean Payton talk about the game plan in his interviews this week, he talked about their philosophy for the game. On offense, it was ball security first, and taking what the defense was giving, which was lots of short yardage stuff. On defense, it was largely bend, but don't break and wait for the Bears' Offense to make mistakes. It worked. The Saints were +1 on turnovers for the game and that one possession was a big difference on how the game played out. Getting a lead made the Bears take more and bigger risks than they would normally have, leading to the few mistakes that they made.
DVOA is great at exposing the quality of the players, but isn't especialy good at describing coaching quality. It tends to not reflect the effects of good coaching decisions by the head coach during the course of a game, but can sometimes shade a bit on the coordinators. This is what many people miss when they criticize the system.
Is it perfect? No! This is largely because the sample size that you're dealing with is just too small for it to fine tune itself over the long run. Teams undergo minor changes from week to week that it doesn't usually see right away either. And trying to do much more than historical comparisons with previous season data is pretty much useless given the roster turnover that most teams see in the off-seasons. Those challenges would be difficult for any mathematical system to overcome.
#94 by Pat (filler) (not verified) // Oct 09, 2013 - 12:56pm
Honestly, I really don't get the people who are surprised by this. New Orleans got a few breaks, gained a full drive over the Bears due to great time management (two of the Bears drives were without enough time remaining to be reasonable scoring opportunities), and the Bears also lost a scoring opportunity due to a decision to go for it on 4th and 2.
It was just one of those games where the "breaks" happened to be high-leverage situations. 3 4th down conversion attempts in the game, and the Saints make 2 of them (and the Bears miss on theirs). 33 additional penalty yards on the Bears, and all of the penalties on the Bears being of the type that tend to just be random. And that ridiculous punt that pinned the Bears at the 1.
A lot of that is just good coaching decisions, and a bit of luck, and DVOA can't really count those. The clock aspect is pretty important here - the Saints gained a touchdown on that last drive before the half, and the Bears couldn't respond.
#107 by Bay Area Bengal (not verified) // Oct 09, 2013 - 4:19pm
Aaron highlighted the Bears/Saints game in his commentary specifically because "The DVOA ratings for this game really came out different from the final result."
He goes on to explain that the reason DVOA saw the game differently is primarily due to a higher yards/play average by the Bears.
All this means is that when Team A (in this case, the Bears) outperforms Team B (in this case, the Saints) in yards per play, it's typically an indicator that Team A would win the game. That sounds reasonable to me.
Aaron goes on to explain that some "meaningless" big plays by the Bears helped skew the data, and that penalties by the Bears and aggressive coaching by the Saints helped make the outcome different than the data might expect.
Note that Aaron doesn't say that DVOA is right and the outcome was wrong. He simply provides us with the data, accompanied by his insight into the data, leaving us to make our own opinions about what it all means.
It's totally okay to come away from Aaron's analysis with the opinion that "DVOA sure got that one wrong," and it's totally okay to share that opinion in the comments section, supported by other metrics, such as "the Saints led from their first possession, had the largest lead of the week at the half, and the Bears were never in a position to win with one score." Hey, that's interesting stuff!
But if you feel that DVOA in consistently inaccurate, then feel free to stop visiting this website, reading articles, ignoring the author's commentary, and posting sarcastic comments that prove your lack of understanding about the way that DVOA -- and data analysis in general -- works.
If you're so smart, why don't you chart every single play of every single team every week and program your own predictive model that outperforms DVOA?
#113 by milo // Oct 09, 2013 - 5:19pm
The answer to your question is:
A) I don't gamble.
B) I don't play fantasy football.
Given A) and B) it would be a waste of time.
#32 by Otis Taylor89 // Oct 08, 2013 - 8:45pm
STL seems like a team people should look at closely as they may be unloading anyone and everyone with the hardest remaining schedule (after starting with the 31st).
#34 by Will Allen // Oct 08, 2013 - 8:58pm
Bears/Saints was a game where the Bears offensive performance really is quite statistically overrated. They gained 41 yards on their first 5 possessions, with a turnover deep in their own territory, and the Saints jumped out to a 13-0 lead halfway through the 2nd quarter. The Saints win probability at that point is 88%. I submit that when your offense plays in such a fashion that the opponent has an 88% win probability midway through the 2nd quarter, and you don't get to within 8 points until you absolutely must try an onside kick late in the 4th quarter, you've had a bad game offensively, no matter how many yards you piled up in the last two and half quarters.
In addition to the 50 meaningless yards at the end of the half, the Bears had another 74 yards in the fourth quarter, which ended on downs. The problem was that it was a drive that took over 7 minutes, when the Bears were down 13. I think consuming 7 minutes in the 4th quarter to go 74 yards, while down 13, is some of the least valuable 74 yards an offense can gain on a drive, even if you kick a field goal, which of course is why Trestman went for it on 4th down.
#43 by Thomas_beardown // Oct 08, 2013 - 9:57pm
On the other hand if that drive ends in a td, you're in a single score game with plenty of time left.
#48 by Will Allen // Oct 08, 2013 - 10:41pm
Sure, but in taking 7 minutes to go 74 yards, you magnify the cost of failure to near catastrophic. Hurry the hell up, says the God of Seconds.
#50 by Thomas_beardown // Oct 08, 2013 - 10:51pm
Obviously it wasn't an ideal situation, but sometimes you just have to do what your team is capable of doing, not what you wish it could do.
This probably feeds into your original idea that the Bear's offense was overrated by DVOA.
#53 by Will Allen // Oct 08, 2013 - 11:22pm
Yeah, if your offense can't get it done any more quickly than that (which is contradicted by the fact that they did do it on the next possession) down 13 in the 4th, your offense isn't playing well. I couldn't understand the lack of urgency in getting the plays off in that drive.
#96 by Pat (filler) (not verified) // Oct 09, 2013 - 1:14pm
Yeah, that's a good example of where a team can have an advantage and it not show up in DVOA. The Saints effectively had 10 drives to the Bears 9 in this game. Even if the Bears did better on a drive-by-drive basis the Saints win because they just had an extra drive, and a lot of that was just bad clock management.
That entire drive started out on a *crazy* good punt by the Saints. 55 yards and it goes out of bounds at the 2? That's going to be part of the issue too in the relative DVOA of the two teams, because while the Saints get a boost for a good punt, I don't think the Bears get docked at all - there's nothing that they can do about a punt that goes out of bounds.
But even if you just look at that drive: it didn't result in any points. Why? Because he went for it on 4th and 2. Which is the right decision. They didn't make it. That happens. It's not a huge indictment of the Bears offense: 1/3 of 4th and short plays don't succeed. But it directly cost them 3 points.
#106 by Will Allen // Oct 09, 2013 - 4:01pm
The huge indictment is the clock management, and I suppose it could be debated whether that is part of offensive performance. I tend to think of it as being so, because how fast you get something done is nearly as important as what you do, especially when trailing by a lot in the 4th quarter.
That drive, combined with how slow the Bears were to react to the Saints' blitz schemes, resulting in 5 wasted drives at the beginning of the game, leads me to suspect that Trestman's scheme isn't getting full application yet. Yes, I know the first year is learning curve, for even the best players, but man, by the 5th game, ya' ouughta' be able to conduct a 4th quarter drive with some urgency, and not take 5 possessions to work out a protection package against some pretty vanilla blitzes. I have no idea whether that is on the coaches or the players in this instance.
#121 by Eddo // Oct 09, 2013 - 11:39pm
Actually, I think the Saints game was an outlier from a clock management perspective. In general, it has been one of the major upgrades from the Lovie Smith era.
In fact, I'm surprised you in particular have this opinion, Will. The Bears' clock management at the end of the first half of the Vikings game was outstanding. I posted the following in the week two Audibles thread:
"Also, the clock management at the end of the first half was outstanding. For those who missed it (apparently Fox lost signal during the first half): the Bears got the ball back with 1:11 left, at their own 20. Two Forte runs gained 15 yards, so the Bears had the ball at the Vikings' 49 with 29 seconds left. Cutler hit Earl Bennett and Marshall to get to the 2-yard-line with 12 seconds left, and the clock stopped.
At that point, the Bears were able to run three quick passing plays - unfortunately, all incomplete - and still kick a field goal as time expired. I was impressed."
(Hmm... I forgot about Fox losing signal. I guess that's probably why you don't recall that sequence, Will.)
#123 by Will Allen // Oct 10, 2013 - 1:17am
Well, it wasn't so much an opinion about the season as what I saw on Sunday. I started to think that the Bears had the belief they were up 13 points.
#136 by Jon74 (not verified) // Oct 11, 2013 - 12:14am
When did the Saints have an extra drive? Are you counting the drive where they recovered the onsides kick? Why would you count that?
#137 by Thomas_beardown // Oct 11, 2013 - 12:18am
He's saying the Bears drives at the end of each half don't count because there wasn't enough time to do anything useful.
#138 by Jon74 (not verified) // Oct 11, 2013 - 12:33am
Why should the Saints drive after the onsides kick count?
If you don't count that drive, each team had 9.
#139 by Thomas_beardown // Oct 11, 2013 - 12:40am
Because there was 2 min left in the game at that point. If the Bears had recovered the onside kick there is enough time for them to score.
#142 by jon74 (not verified) // Oct 11, 2013 - 10:36am
You probably didn't watch the game, so you don't know what happened. The bears scored with 2:10 left in the game, and after that score, they onsides kicked. The saints recovered. They ran one play into the two minute warning, then ran two plays after the two minute warning, then punted with twenty five seconds left. It is really hard to see why you count that as a drive
#54 by whckandrw (not verified) // Oct 09, 2013 - 12:03am
Forget the Bears' DVOA this week against the Saints, how is Dave Toub so good at special teams? He leaves the Bears and they're back to the middle of the pack while his Chiefs special teams are 2nd in the NFL.
#56 by Bobman // Oct 09, 2013 - 12:31am
Okay, I am no gambler, but the Colts are favored by 1.5 to 2.0 over SD this week. We're talking the #4 O vs the #32 D, and on the other side, the #3 O vs the #17 D. Even in SD, how does that say 1.5 points? It's not like SD is mighty where the Colts are weakest (vs the run) and SD is horrid in a balanced fashion on D (32 pass, 30 run), against a balanced O (#10 pass/#2 rush) that should be able to take whatever it is given. I officially scratch my head in Vegas's direction.
#62 by RickD // Oct 09, 2013 - 1:24am
There are many things that Vegas has not caught up to. Or rather, the typical gambler.
#86 by An Onymous (not verified) // Oct 09, 2013 - 11:05am
In my experience, assuming Vegas (or the "typical gambler") is slow to catch on to something is a pretty good way to go broke. Go check the lifetime performance of DVOA against the spread and see if Vegas just doesn't understand the game better than analytics.
#88 by Johnny Socko (not verified) // Oct 09, 2013 - 11:35am
This is a fascinating question. Has anybody done the research?
#92 by DEW (not verified) // Oct 09, 2013 - 12:26pm
Remember, though, that Vegas is not interested in successfully predicting the outcome of the game. Vegas is interested in successfully predicting what bettors will believe to be the average outcome of the game, so that bets can be equalized and the gambling houses face no risk. The betting lines are set by analyzing human psychology about football analysis, rather than by directly analyzing football.
I assume that Vegas is very fast to catch on with what puts money in their pocket--i.e. the gambling business. If they're slow to catch on to advanced statistical analysis of football, I further assume that it's because they are correctly assuming that the betting public is equally slow in doing so, and that their lines need to reflect what makes them money.
#95 by RickD // Oct 09, 2013 - 1:11pm
And yes, there are people who make a living handicapping sports events and who feel that they can reliably see lines that they can beat. All that means is that they are better at picking the line than the public is. They're not beating "Vegas" so much as they are beating "the typical gambler."
There's no reason to suppose that gambling prognostication is a skill divided equally across the population.
#100 by mrh // Oct 09, 2013 - 1:36pm
I've always believed Vegas isn't picking the game so much as reading the gambling public. I still do, but one bit of evidence that the Vegas line influenced by the wisdom of the crowd is pretty good:
In 2012, using data from PFR on the spread and o/u for 254 of 256 games (not sure what happened to the other 2) to project a final score, the average projected score was Favorite 25.1, Underdog 19.7. The average actual score was Favorite 25.6, Underdog 19.9. I find that to be amazingly close.
#114 by dbostedo // Oct 09, 2013 - 5:30pm
That's only amazing if it varies a lot from year to year, and if the projections vary to suit it. I could be hugely off week to week, or team to team, but if I bounce up and down, the average will still be close at the end of the year.
If Vegas tends to have reasonable o/u numbers, and reasonable spreads, that are in the same ballpark from year to year (which I think they do), and the total points doesn't vary hugely from year to year, then the averages will necessarily be close.
Do you happen to know if the average points scored and allowed by winning teams has been pretty consistent year to year?
#116 by Bobman // Oct 09, 2013 - 6:55pm
You're right of course. If 75% of the money is on Team A and they lose, then "Vegas" makes a ton of money, but if they win (or beat the spread), then "Vegas" loses lots of dough. Book makers would rather avoid that big loss entirely and have the betting relatively even and make their small cut on everybody--who cares about the game's result?!?! So their spreads reflect that goal of having money evenly divided to protect their downside.
That being said and getting back to my initial query (thanks everyone for your input), unless they change their line a lot during the week, this is indicative of the gambling public thinking it's right, that the Colts will probably only win by one or two points. If tons of money came in on the Colts, they would widen the spread, and if tons of money came in on the SD side, they'd compress it.
It just doesn't look that close to me. (scratches head, bites thumbnail) Maybe it's time to risk the kids' college funds.... and if they fail to cover, well, it was nice knowing you all.
#128 by ChrisS (not verified) // Oct 10, 2013 - 1:29pm
Doesn't being a 1.5 point favorite on the road imply about a 7.5 or so (assuming 3 pts for the home team) favorite at home. Which is closer to the range that DVOA sees it.
#61 by RickD // Oct 09, 2013 - 1:21am
It's really weird seeing the Pats with negative numbers in both the offense and defense columns, after years of seeing the oppposite (positive numbers in both columns).
The offense will certainly improve. But by how much? I cannot help but feel that they'll regret letting Welker go to Denver. And really, why not keep Woodhead?
#68 by theslothook // Oct 09, 2013 - 2:31am
Regret it because they really miss welker or because welker went to a direct rival? Also, I have this question for you and other pats fan, why in the world did they stop playing woodhead to begin with. In 2010, they had the number 1 rush dvoa in football. the next year they drafted vareen and ridley and woodhead became a third/4th stringer, behind law firm, ridley, and bolden. I actually thought woodhead was super dangerous and was always perplexed why they did this.
#76 by PatsFan // Oct 09, 2013 - 9:55am
Because Vereen either is or soon will be better than Woodhead.
#97 by RickD // Oct 09, 2013 - 1:15pm
Yes, exactly. Vereen is much faster than Woodhead. And the FO didn't want to pay Woodhead money to be a second-string RB.
Just seems wrong in retrospect.
#99 by RickD // Oct 09, 2013 - 1:28pm
What's going on in Denver is not the only reason that they'll regret losing Welker. Welker was well-established as the #1 slot receiver in the NFL and they treated him like he could be easily replaced. About the only thing that happened that wasn't completely predictable since they let Welker go is the Hernandez arrest, and based on the insider reports on what was going on with the Pats last season, Belichick had plenty of reason to see that Hernandez was on a bad path.
$4 mil/year is a cheap price for elite WR talent. Or even $6 mil/year, if you count incentives. OverTheCap has him listed as receiving the 24th most money in APY. http://overthecap.com/top-player-salaries.php?Position=WR
He's better than at least half of the WRs listed above him.
At this point, the fact that he's not on the Pats is far more important to the Pats than the fact that he's on the Broncos, as opposed to some other team. I could even argue that he gives less marginal benefit to the Broncos (who have so many other receivers) than he might to some other team: say the Bengals, Ravens, or Chiefs. But really, the problem is that the Pats have to manage a WR corps without him every week, and that's a bigger problem than a potential playoff matchup down the road.
#133 by commissionerleaf // Oct 10, 2013 - 7:42pm
Welker is an aging, drop-prone slot receiver who was very similar in skill set to a younger player already on the team (Edelman) and who was seeking real money. It should be no surprise they let him walk, given that they had Edelman, the opportunity to sign a younger player (Amendola), two very good short area receiving tight ends (until Hernandez happened) and rookies who needed roster spots (Dobson, Thompkins).
In hindsight, the storm of injury and off the field problems devastating the Patriots receivers seems to stem from the Welker decision. But it was not a bad decision at the time, even if I may not have made it. It was an arguably shrewd front-office move, which happened to not work out.
And that is if you think it did not work out; I am not convinced that Welker is actually making that big a difference for eith team.
#134 by Thomas_beardown // Oct 11, 2013 - 12:06am
I think you're going to have to define drop prone in this case when Welker is usually near the top of the list for catch rate.
#143 by Karl Cuba // Oct 11, 2013 - 12:58pm
Without having a dog in the fight, I'd just point out that catch rates are much higher the shorter the pass. For example Percy Harvin also had a high catch rate and a low average yards per catch.
#69 by Anonymous2013 (not verified) // Oct 09, 2013 - 4:06am
DEN-SEA SB matchup must be called the Smoke-a-Bowl.
#70 by pigskin.lover // Oct 09, 2013 - 8:08am
I know in the first few weeks of DVOA rankings, FO does not account for opponents faced. Is there a way to review those numbers and see how the early weeks' rankings would look with those adjustments we can now apply? If I go look at rankings for weeks 1 & 2 in the premium database, won't it just show the typical rankings?
For example, if we applied these and could have ranked the teams off of them in week 2, would this have been more predictive? Would the rankings have led us to believe in week 2 we would have seen team1 play as good against team2?
I am mainly curious to see if opponent adjustments in the past would have kept us from seeing teams like Houston jump from the top of the chart to the bottom or from watching SF plummet after week 2 before floating back to the top in week 5.
#80 by Hummingbird Cyborg // Oct 09, 2013 - 10:31am
As the season goes on, it increasingly calculates opponent adjustments. At week 5 they're at half strength, but it also retroactively applies these adjustments to the earlier weeks. So, the premium database is showing you whatever adjustments apply.
If a team's opponents' ratings improve, the adjustments for that team will improve as well.
#93 by pigskin.lover // Oct 09, 2013 - 12:49pm
Premium DB should then show the reduced percentage (50%) of opponent adjustments applied during week 5 to the week 1 numbers?
Is the premium DB showing DVOA with 100% opponent adjustments?
#109 by Hummingbird Cyborg // Oct 09, 2013 - 4:40pm
Just to be sure, I'm not an admin on the site or anything, but it's my understanding that all of the numbers are with 50% opponent adjustments at this time.
#74 by Charles Jake (not verified) // Oct 09, 2013 - 9:43am
Briggs should be disqualified from star of the week for jumping offsides on the hard count. Ugh.
#81 by Independent George // Oct 09, 2013 - 10:35am
It was a dumb, game-changing error, but it shouldn't overshadow the rest of his performance any more than Romo's interception did.
#119 by Steve in WI // Oct 09, 2013 - 8:48pm
I don't know that it should disqualify him from star of the week, but I would argue that it overshadows the rest of his performance much more than Romo's interception. The interception was a forgivable, if really important and undesirable, mistake in a high-pressure situation in which there weren't great options besides forcing the throw. Jumping offsides in a situation in which the Saints clearly were never going to snap the ball, especially when the mistake is made by a veteran player, seems much worse to me.
#104 by Kyle L. (not verified) // Oct 09, 2013 - 3:22pm
I'm trying to figure out how the SOS is determined. The Colts face DVOA #1, 2, 3, 8, and 9, but are said to have the 29th most difficult schedule out of 32 teams? Is SOS just an average of the opponent DVOA divided by 15? I don't think that that makes sense. An easy opponent gives one win but does not affect the remainder of games.
#105 by turbohappy // Oct 09, 2013 - 3:54pm
Yeah I honestly think Jacksonville is so bad that anyone who plays them has a low SOS.
#110 by EricL // Oct 09, 2013 - 4:45pm
It's the sum of their opponents' DVOA divided by the number of games played, then ranked 1-32.
Jacksonville is certainly skewing things. Look at the Seahawks, for example. If you take the Jax game off the list, they would be tied for the third-hardest schedule. As it is, they're 28th. (They go from a net +32.4 DVOA against to -43.6.)
You can't really sum the rankings of a team's opponents, either, as you get skewed results around the middle. Maybe counting the #1 and #32 teams as 0.1 away from #2 and #31? Keeps the outlier from tainting such small sample sizes.
Such is life with a bell curve...
#117 by Bobman // Oct 09, 2013 - 7:04pm
If that's correct, then it seems a flaw in the system. Each opponent's weight needs to be counted equally because each game = 1 win/lose event. If Jax has a -1000% DVOA, it exaggerates the effects that has on the schedule when everybody else is between -20 and +20. No?
If I understand correctly, it's like playing a game of chance where you are likely to win $10, then lose $1 ten times, or break even financially at the end of the 11-game season. Looks "average." But your record (which is how football teams qualify for the postseason) is 1-9, which sucks, even if your money (stats) say you're average. And if you lose that one game by random chance, you're out $20! Or if you lose that and split the rest, you're record is a decent 5.5-5.5 but you are out $10.
I vote for no blending of DVOA and dividing by the number of games. As if I had a vote.
#118 by Thomas_beardown // Oct 09, 2013 - 8:04pm
There was discussion about how Aaron should present sos. The options, iirc, were mean (like it is now), median, and something like chance that a 40% dvoa team would go undefeated. I think I voted that he show all 3, but he said that wasn't an option :(
#120 by RickD // Oct 09, 2013 - 9:55pm
" Each opponent's weight needs to be counted equally because each game = 1 win/lose event. If Jax has a -1000% DVOA, it exaggerates the effects that has on the schedule when everybody else is between -20 and +20. No?"
Well, yes. So the "needs to be counted equally" isn't exactly right.
Since FO is already running season simulations to determine playoff odds, this is what they could do to determine SOS: for each team, run simulations for a median team against that team's schedule. That would give an expectation for the number of wins a typical team would get. And it would provide an objective way to compare schedules.
It makes more sense than averaging DVOA ratings.
#129 by ChrisS (not verified) // Oct 10, 2013 - 1:35pm
This is way better than the current method. You should send this to Aaron in an email and get his reaction. It may be too much work for a result that may not be draamtically different for most teams.
#111 by Ben // Oct 09, 2013 - 4:45pm
The 29th rank is the past schedule. The Colts have faced 2,8,25,29, and 32 so far. The Colts future schedule is ranked 24th. I think the awesomeness of the Broncos is more than canceled out by the vortex of suck which is Jacksonville. Also, the Colts still have 2 games against Houston, of whom DVOA is not much of a fan, as well as Arizona and the Rams. After the Broncos game, I won't be surprised if DVOA thinks the Colts have the easiest schedule left, with only KC and Cincy being solid opponents in the last 9 games.
#112 by Buck B (not verified) // Oct 09, 2013 - 5:01pm
Hey Dave, You had KC defense dead last before the season, but there's this football stat site that analyzes what actually happens and they have KC D at #1. What is up with that?
#124 by Hummingbird Cyborg // Oct 10, 2013 - 1:49am
I knew that the Chief's would be improved on defense, but they were such a shitstorm last year that you can't fault DAVE too much.
#125 by Buck B (not verified) // Oct 10, 2013 - 10:14am
1) a hallmark of a good statistician is avoidance of predictions when the supporting data is insignificant, or at least advising that the forecast is insignificant
2) the KC defensive roster is by and large the same as last year. The effects of a corrosive culture (Pioli), poor coaching (Crennel), and horrendous QB play (Cassel, Quinn, etc) are HUGE. That is what changed and that is why the data from 2012 is misleading to naive prognosticators.
3). Maybe I missed it, but I haven't heard FO say "we really screwed that up". I have heard them say the results are "strange" and weasel words like that. Maybe FO thinks the KC D will fall to the bottom half by week 16. I don't know. You'd have to ask Dave.
4). Last? With that roster? C'mon man.
#126 by bravehoptoad // Oct 10, 2013 - 10:50am
1) a hallmark of a good statistician is avoidance of predictions when the supporting data is insignificant, or at least advising that the forecast is insignificant....
So...what? You're suggesting they run the predictions their systems give them, unless they deem otherwise? So you'd have predictions for, say, 26 teams on the year, and just apologies for the other six?
I like your thinking.
The effects of a corrosive culture (Pioli), poor coaching (Crennel), and horrendous QB play (Cassel, Quinn, etc) are HUGE.
Quantify "corrosive culture," please.
Coaching is really a black hole for advanced stats at this point. The best they can do is question 4th down calls, seems like. This has and will result in bad predictions (see 49ers last year).
Horrendous QB play was something they could in fact account for.
Those factors are particularly HUGE when you spell it in all caps like that.
#141 by Buck B (not verified) // Oct 11, 2013 - 10:04am
Yes. Don't make predictions that are based on inappropriate assumptions (guesses). You can get those from your friends, or FOX. To say, that it is not possible to predict something with any confidence can be a more informative and intelligent statement than to provide a prediction with no accompanying description of the certainty of the prediction. If you have to make a prediction in the face of high uncertainty, describe the uncertainty.
KC D will be #32 +0/-31 (haha).
There is no need to quantify corrosive culture, only to recognize that a change in culture increases uncertainty, likewise with coaching. If you want to quantify it, you can ask people, on a scale of 1-5, how's the locker room? Or any other of a number of ways. People do know.
I doubt FO algorithms account for the effect horrendous QB play produces on the emotions, thus performance, of the defense.
I'm glad you understand that all caps denotes emphasis when underlining is not possible. Good job!
#130 by wadingshorebird // Oct 10, 2013 - 2:46pm
I am both impressed and saddened that someone went to the trouble to get a spam account registered (whether by hand or by clever circumvention of anti-spambot registration controls) and has it programmed to copy and paste other authentic comments while pasting in the spam links afterward.
#131 by mitch (not verified) // Oct 10, 2013 - 2:46pm
Both Denver and Seattle had regressions as I thought they would with both teams failing to cover the spread last week.
With Seattle having a huge regression falling from around 70 to under 40.
This week is set for 2 more regressions, Colts and Saints.
This is partly why you see a very small line on the Colts game that may not make sense to the masses of gambling public.
Right now it's something like 94% on the Colts, the book knows the sharps are waiting to pound SD in this game because of regression, something the ave public gambler has no clue about.
And since the sharps will bring far more big money bets to the table the book drops a low line on the game.
#135 by Jon74 (not verified) // Oct 11, 2013 - 12:09am
I don't know the sausage making of DVOA, but if you think that the bears thoroughly outplayed the Saints and lost because of bad luck, then you didn't watch the game (and, judging from the copious comments on the game in audibles, I'd have to conclude that nobody in FO watched the game.)
The three things that jump out are 1) the Saints converted twice on fourth down. Once was a good decision on 4th and 1 from the Bears 25, and the other was the bonehead play by Briggs. I assume that DVOA looks at a failure to convert on 3rd down leaving a team with a 4th and 1 as a loss, and doesn't really have a mechanism for taking into account Payton's willingness to go for it on 4th.
2) As Aaron points out in the article, the saints YPP was 5.3 and the Bears' was 8.0. However, when Bennet dropped the 4th and 2 pass down 13 points with 8:40 to go in the game, the saints had run 50 plays and netted 300 yds, and the bears had run 49 plays for 330 yds. I don't know how VOA is calculated, but, I suspect that, at that point in the game, the Saints probably had a VOA advantage. Then, the saints go on a very non-agressive 12 play 44 yd drive where their goal is clearly not to attack, but to eat clock, and kick a field goal with 3 minutes left to go up 16, and then give up a super quick drive to the bears to get them within 18, then run 3 kill-the-clock plays and punt back to the bears with 20 seconds left, and the bears run one play and time runs out. I know that DVOA doesn't care about the game circumstances, but in this case, the Saints practically put the game away before the DVOA gets all out of whack. I think that more effort needs to go into making VOA reflect normal football strategy.
3) one of the major points in DVOA to distinguish between the 8 yd pass on 3rd and 7 that results in a 1st down, and the 8 yd. pass on 3rd and 10 that results in a punt.
It seems like a hole in DVOA that it doesn't account for the garbage time yards that the Bears put up. I am not referring to the second to last drive in the game where they went the length of the field in 40 seconds to score a touchdown setting up a desperation onsides kick - I understand that the FO staff believe that garbage time offense has predictive value. Rather, I am referring to the last two plays before the half, and the last play of the game.
At the end of the half, the Bears had the ball on their own 44 with 9 seconds left and one timeout. The only play that makes sense is to throw a pass to get you to into field goal range, allowing you to call a timeout. So in that situation, the defense is just trying to make a tackle short of their own 35, or so. Cutler throws a 14 yd pass to Bennet, to the Saint 42 with 2 seconds left. By any definition, that is a victory for the defense, which now has prevented a score, unless a hail mary ensues. Now, with 2 seconds left from the 42, the only play that makes sense is a hail mary into the end zone, instead, cutler just stat-pads with a 25 yd. pass to Jeffries, who is tackled easily, ending the half.
At the end of the game, the Bears get the ball with 21 seconds left, at their own 20, down 8. The only reasonable course for the offense is to throw a couple quick sideline patterns, try to get to about midfield, and go for a hail mary pass to tie the game. Instead, cutler scrambles around, decides not to throw it away or scramble out of bounds, either of which would have given them two more plays, then he throws it over the middle to Jeffries, who runs towards the middle of the field, then suddenly realizes that if he gets tackled in the middle of the field the game is over, so he tries to get out of bounds, but doesn't even get close, and is tackled with 9 seconds left. The bears can't snap it again before time runs out.
VOA measures all three of those plays (first downs on first down!) as wins for the offense. But, in this game, they were clearly wins for the defense. I suspect that these 3 plays go a long way to explaining the failure for the VOA of the game to match up with what actually happened on the field.
Just for emphasis, those 3 plays raised the Bears' YPP from 7.3 to 8.0! The only benefit to the Bears' from those 3 plays was stat-padding, yet, they probably boosted the Bears' VOA significantly. VOA doesn't count interceptions on fourth down at the end of a game, why not have a fix for stat-padders, too.
#146 by TomC // Oct 12, 2013 - 1:36pm
You make plenty of reasonable points here and in your previous comments, but the "you didn't watch the game" cavil (made earlier against tuluse and here against everyone else) is childish and insulting and makes me not want to pay attention to anything else you say.
#140 by foxlies (not verified) // Oct 11, 2013 - 4:54am
regarding the math I don't understand the 'voodoo that you do''Drawing conclusions from such math seems like working backwards.The packers i. e. are a totally different team with Clay Matthews hurt.However you have somehow hit on something which seems to have escaped others in noticing the poor coaching of the Panthers. But your numbers re texans [huge downward spiral] seem to ignore the temporary [they hope] absence of Brian Cushing,which is so obvious that it was featured on espns 'Turning Point.Are the numbers meant to express a teams current potency ,how they have played so far, or predict how they will do in the future.Or a little of each.Or by posting this question have i failed to recognize something in the space/time continuum or some other mathematical concept way beyond my capacity for reason?
#144 by hrudey (not verified) // Oct 11, 2013 - 1:44pm
Jacksonville is clearly ranked too high because MJD was averaging his height per rushing attempt before replacing the prior semi-ept starting tackles with Cameron Bradfield and something charitably referred to as a Pasztor. Hannah Montana's TWERKranks is way better than this. Open date has been installed as a 17 1/2 point favorite vs. the Jaguars in week 9, and at this point Catholic Match Girl could cover that spread with both hands tied behind her back.
#147 by dbostedo // Oct 12, 2013 - 6:42pm
#145 by mitch (not verified) // Oct 11, 2013 - 5:31pm
According to my meterics the Bears out-played the Saints and should of won the game.
When a team wins the game but gets out-played that does not bode well for the team in the near future and plus the Saints are coming off playing over their heads in the 2 previous games.
Add it all up and I'd fade the Saints this week and look for a regression from the Saints.
#148 by foxlies (not verified) // Oct 13, 2013 - 7:08am
well i tried [diligently as a digital illiterate can] 2 list my homepage[nflalternative.com] 2 no avail.Anyway would like some insight as to purpose[not nature the math is beyond me] of dvoa;stating current value?predictive value; or statement of performance till now value?Also the rules are kind of unfair in scheduling suspensions[in this case von miller] to end before divisional games start.In this case k.c. suffers cause no shot at broncos w/o von miller.I would love 2 see alex smith so unfairly vilified in s.f. win Super Bowl;if over niners even sweeter.
#149 by foxlies (not verified) // Oct 13, 2013 - 7:16am
also Cassel not horrible; victimized by injury to self one year + to chiefs in general injuries the other year after leading k.c. 2 playoffs. nflalternative.com