Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Week 13 DVOA Ratings
Week 13 DVOA Ratings
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Aaron Schatz

So, how about those Seahawks? Last night's dominating 34-7 victory over New Orleans just emphasizes what our DVOA ratings already said before Week 13: the Seahawks are the best team in the NFL in 2013. In fact, the big win actually moves Seattle all the way up to tenth on the list of the best teams in DVOA history, although we'll wait until they're in the top ten for more than just one week before we start running that "best DVOA ever" table every Tuesday. The Seahawks are now pretty much guaranteed to get home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. We have their odds at 97.7 percent. (You can see those odds here, or read more commentary on the playoff odds in Danny Tuccitto's weekly ESPN Insider piece.)

Even with the huge opponent adjustments that come from beating the No. 4 overall team, Seattle's single-game rating of 67.4% DVOA doesn't stand as the top game of the week. It isn't even second. Detroit's demolition of Green Bay on Thanksgiving has 98.7% DVOA with current opponent adjustments, the second strongest game of the year behind Philadelphia's Week 9 pummeling of Oakland. Carolina's big win over Tampa Bay finishes second; at 83.4%, it currently rates as Carolina's best game of the year.

Of course, these single-game ratings work both ways, and the Packers were more awful than the Lions were amazing on Thanksgiving. Therefore, the Packers have a ridiculously awful single-game DVOA of -133.2%, the worst for any game this year. The Packers' overall DVOA dropped from 13th to 21st this week; given that our ratings include every game of the season, that's a huge drop this late in the year. It's hard to remember now that the Packers ranked ninth in DVOA after Aaron Rodgers' last full game in Week 8. Of course, the offense has completely fallen apart without Rodgers, who might be the most valuable player in the league, but the defense hasn't helped things either.

Green Bay DVOA, Weeks 1-8 vs. Weeks 9-13
Weeks OFF Rk DEF Rk ST Rk TOT Rk
Weeks 1-8 29.0% 2 10.4% 28 -3.5% 25 15.1% 10
Weeks 9-13 -14.5% 26 21.0% 29 0.3% 16 -35.2% 29

The ranks there represent the ranks among all teams in the time period listed. As long as we're looking at some splits around Week 9, here are three more. All three of these teams have both played only four games in the last five weeks, so the sample size is small -- particularly when it comes to the special teams ratings -- but the results are pretty interesting. First, here are the Philadelphia Eagles in the first eight games of the year compared to the last four, since Nick Foles returned from a concussion in Week 9.

Philadelphia DVOA, Weeks 1-8 vs. Weeks 9-13
Weeks OFF Rk DEF Rk ST Rk TOT Rk
Weeks 1-8 6.0% 12 12.7% 30 -5.7% 28 -12.3% 21
Weeks 9-13 45.5% 1 -1.4% 15 11.0% 3 57.8% 1

Here is New England, starting with the game against Pittsburgh where Tom Brady and his receivers finally found their rhythm. You can see how the Patriots have completely turned things around to become the same team they've been the last few years. The offense is awesome again, and the defense, now riddled with injuries, is once again below average. The special teams, as always, are excellent. (The Patriots have dropped from second to ninth even though their rating is roughly the same because special teams around the league have been a lot better in the last five weeks, partly because the Giants and Texans stopped being historically awful, and that affected the normalization that averages the entire season at zero.)

I could have cut this off to look at the Patriots before and after Rob Gronkowski returned in Week 7, but I'm being a little lazy. Still, this gives you the same feel for what's going on.

New England DVOA, Weeks 1-8 vs. Weeks 9-13
Weeks OFF Rk DEF Rk ST Rk TOT Rk
Weeks 1-8 -5.5% 18 -5.5% 11 6.6% 2 6.7% 13
Weeks 9-13 44.5% 2 8.0% 21 5.2% 9 41.8% 4

Finally, let's look at the Jacksonville Jaguars, starting with their first win of the season against Tennessee in Week 9. It's all about the incremental improvements, especially when you were the worst team in NFL history for half a season.

Jacksonville DVOA, Weeks 1-8 vs. Weeks 9-13
Weeks OFF Rk DEF Rk ST Rk TOT Rk
Weeks 1-8 -42.7% 32 19.7% 31 -0.3% 18 -62.8% 32
Weeks 9-13 -23.1% 29 2.4% 18 7.8% 7 -17.7% 24


Given that Jacksonville improvement over the past four games, it would take some serious implosion for the Jaguars to challenge the 2005 49ers for the title of worst team in DVOA history. Their offense also has improved enough to put some space between the Jags and the nightmare that was the 1992 Seattle Seahawks. The team with the best chance to finish with an all-time worst rating is now San Diego, although the Chargers' defense did improve a little bit this week.

Year Team DVOA x Year Team DVOA x Year Team DVOA x Year Team DVOA
2005 SF -59.6% x 1992 SEA -46.8% x 1996 ATL 24.3% x 2010 SD -14.8%
2008 STL -57.9% x 2005 SF -44.9% x 2001 ARI 24.0% x 1995 PHI -12.0%
2008 DET -53.5% x 1997 NO -44.2% x 2008 DET 24.0% x 2008 MIN -11.3%
2009 DET -48.3% x 2002 HOU -43.4% x 1999 CLE 23.7% x 1996 NYJ -11.2%
1999 CLE -48.0% x 2010 CAR -41.2% x 2013 SD 23.6% x 2013 WAS -11.2%
2013 JAC -47.7% x 2013 JAC -36.1% x 2005 HOU 23.0% x 1997 STL -11.1%
2004 SF -44.2% x 2007 SF -36.1% x 2004 STL 22.9% x 2000 BUF -11.1%
2000 CIN -42.7% x 2004 CHI -35.9% x 2004 NO 22.4% x 2009 GB -10.6%
1998 PHI -42.5% x 2010 ARI -35.7% x 1999 SF 22.4% x 1992 TB -10.6%
1989 DAL -41.8% x 2004 MIA -35.7% x 2000 ARI 22.1% x 1998 OAK -10.4%
1992 NE -41.8% x 2008 STL -35.3% x 2008 STL 21.8% x 2007 CAR -10.0%
1991 IND -41.7% x 2006 OAK -34.0% x 2000 SF 21.6% x 2008 MIA -9.2%

* * * * *

Normally when I look at "best ever" and "worst ever" in this column, I'm looking at DVOA ratings. After all, this is the "DVOA ratings column." However, it's time to bring attention to some absolutely awesome play this season from two front lines, the Lions and the Jets. These two teams are currently tied for the league lead with 2.91 Adjusted Line Yards allowed per carry. If the season ended right now, the Lions and Jets would be tied for the fourth-best ALY figure we've ever measured. (Currently, ALY figures go back to 1995.) Arizona and Denver would also be in the all-time top 20. Here's a look at the all-time top ten, plus this year's two big teams:

Best Defensive ALY Rates, 1995-2013
Year Team ALY RB Yd/Car
2006 MIN 2.75 2.99
1998 SD 2.78 2.52
2000 BAL 2.82 2.72
2013 DET 2.91 3.40
2013 NYJ 2.91 2.87
2012 TB 2.96 3.58
2001 PIT 3.07 3.44
1998 BAL 3.08 3.64
2000 TEN 3.08 3.15
1999 BAL 3.10 2.87
1997 PIT 3.12 3.01
2000 NYG 3.12 2.81

Unfortunately, the Lions and Jets can't stop the pass like they can stop the run. The Jets have the best run defense DVOA in the league, but rank 18th against the pass. The Lions are second against the run and 22nd against the pass.

* * * * *

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 13 are:

  • Russell Wilson, QB, SEA (Limited Edition): Second among Week 13 QB with 202 DYAR (310 passing yards, 48 rushing yards, 3 TD)
  • Alex Boone, LT, SF: Took over for an injured Joe Staley and didn't allow a hurry or sack to St. Louis pass rushers
  • Zach Ertz, TE, PHI: Second among Week 13 TE with 36 DYAR (5-of-6, 68 yards, 2 TD)
  • DeMarco Murray, RB, DAL: Led all Week 13 RB with 67 DYAR (63 rushing yards, 39 receiving yards, 3 TD)
  • Desmond Trufant, CB, ATL: Allowed only one catch for 33 yards against Buffalo

Some other players we considered (not including players we did in previous weeks or those included in Madden's Team of the Week) were Jon Beason, Andre Holmes, Chris Myers, Matt Shaughnessy, Andrew Whitworth, and pretty much the entire Detroit offensive line.

* * * * *

All 2013 stat pages are now updated or will be updated in the next few minutes, including snap counts, playoff odds, and the FO Premium database.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through 13 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.)

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OFFENSE and DEFENSE DVOA 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. WEIGHTED DVOA represents an attempt to figure out how a team is playing right now, as opposed to over the season as a whole, by making recent games more important than earlier games.

As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE.

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 SEA 40.7% 1 41.8% 1 11-1 13.3% 5 -20.7% 1 6.8% 2
2 DEN 32.1% 2 28.3% 3 10-2 32.6% 1 0.7% 18 0.1% 17
3 CAR 30.2% 3 32.1% 2 9-3 11.4% 8 -18.0% 2 0.8% 14
4 NO 20.1% 4 20.9% 5 9-3 16.5% 4 -4.9% 11 -1.3% 21
5 NE 19.1% 5 22.5% 4 9-3 11.8% 6 -1.2% 16 6.1% 4
6 SF 16.7% 6 17.6% 6 8-4 5.1% 14 -8.9% 6 2.7% 10
7 CIN 14.8% 7 16.6% 7 8-4 -5.1% 21 -15.5% 4 4.4% 7
8 KC 10.9% 9 7.8% 11 9-3 -0.3% 16 -4.1% 12 7.0% 1
9 PHI 10.5% 10 13.4% 8 7-5 18.2% 3 7.6% 25 -0.1% 19
10 CHI 10.5% 8 7.6% 12 6-6 11.0% 9 1.6% 19 1.1% 12
11 ARI 7.6% 11 9.7% 9 7-5 -7.2% 24 -17.2% 3 -2.5% 24
12 STL 4.4% 14 8.6% 10 5-7 -4.3% 20 -2.4% 13 6.3% 3
13 DET 3.5% 18 4.4% 13 7-5 5.4% 13 -1.7% 15 -3.6% 26
14 DAL 2.4% 12 1.7% 15 7-5 7.9% 10 9.4% 27 3.9% 9
15 IND 1.0% 17 -3.1% 19 8-4 3.8% 15 3.7% 20 0.9% 13
16 PIT 0.5% 15 3.4% 14 5-7 5.7% 12 5.4% 23 0.3% 15
17 MIA -1.1% 21 0.2% 17 6-6 -0.7% 17 -2.2% 14 -2.5% 25
18 SD -1.4% 19 0.3% 16 5-7 22.0% 2 23.6% 32 0.2% 16
19 TB -1.9% 16 -1.3% 18 3-9 -6.6% 22 -6.3% 10 -1.6% 22
20 BUF -4.6% 20 -7.1% 21 4-8 -8.2% 25 -9.0% 5 -5.4% 28
21 GB -5.6% 13 -9.1% 24 5-6-1 11.7% 7 15.3% 30 -1.9% 23
22 TEN -7.7% 22 -9.0% 23 5-7 -2.3% 18 -0.9% 17 -6.2% 29
23 BAL -8.6% 23 -6.6% 20 6-6 -20.7% 30 -7.5% 8 4.7% 5
24 ATL -10.3% 24 -13.3% 25 3-9 6.0% 11 15.5% 31 -0.8% 20
25 NYG -12.5% 26 -7.8% 22 5-7 -12.9% 27 -7.9% 7 -7.5% 31
26 MIN -13.4% 27 -13.5% 26 3-8-1 -7.1% 23 10.7% 28 4.5% 6
27 NYJ -15.6% 25 -18.5% 27 5-7 -27.2% 31 -7.4% 9 4.2% 8
28 WAS -22.3% 29 -21.7% 28 3-9 -3.0% 19 8.1% 26 -11.2% 32
29 CLE -22.8% 28 -23.9% 29 4-8 -17.7% 28 5.1% 22 0.0% 18
30 HOU -23.1% 30 -25.6% 30 2-10 -12.3% 26 4.1% 21 -6.7% 30
31 OAK -30.3% 31 -30.8% 31 4-8 -18.4% 29 6.8% 24 -5.0% 27
32 JAC -47.7% 32 -40.1% 32 3-9 -36.1% 32 14.0% 29 2.4% 11
  • 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).

1 SEA 40.7% 11-1 43.1% 10.0 2 -2.0% 19 4.1% 11 13.0% 20
2 DEN 32.1% 10-2 40.0% 10.6 1 -5.7% 31 -15.6% 32 7.7% 9
3 CAR 30.2% 9-3 30.5% 8.6 3 3.6% 5 3.6% 13 9.5% 14
4 NO 20.1% 9-3 19.8% 7.6 8 4.4% 3 15.7% 2 13.6% 24
5 NE 19.1% 9-3 15.6% 8.2 4 2.1% 11 -9.3% 29 5.5% 3
6 SF 16.7% 8-4 11.4% 7.4 9 0.2% 16 9.0% 5 16.0% 26
7 CIN 14.8% 8-4 21.5% 7.7 6 -4.1% 26 -5.1% 22 12.1% 19
8 KC 10.9% 9-3 15.8% 7.1 11 -6.1% 32 -13.3% 31 4.7% 2
9 PHI 10.5% 7-5 12.4% 7.8 5 -4.6% 27 0.7% 15 28.7% 32
10 CHI 10.5% 6-6 8.6% 7.2 10 -2.4% 21 -3.9% 21 10.8% 16
11 ARI 7.6% 7-5 5.3% 7.7 7 3.7% 4 13.5% 3 5.6% 5
12 STL 4.4% 5-7 2.9% 5.8 16 3.1% 7 16.6% 1 22.5% 30
13 DET 3.5% 7-5 7.4% 6.2 14 -2.1% 20 -6.0% 24 13.4% 22
14 DAL 2.4% 7-5 4.6% 6.8 13 -0.9% 17 -1.7% 18 12.0% 18
15 IND 1.0% 8-4 1.5% 7.0 12 -1.5% 18 -11.3% 30 21.8% 28
16 PIT 0.5% 5-7 2.0% 5.9 15 -5.3% 30 -3.7% 20 7.3% 8
17 MIA -1.1% 6-6 -0.2% 5.5 18 1.7% 14 -0.1% 17 10.9% 17
18 SD -1.4% 5-7 1.3% 5.5 17 -5.1% 29 0.0% 16 4.0% 1
19 TB -1.9% 3-9 -10.2% 4.8 24 10.4% 1 9.1% 4 8.6% 12
20 BUF -4.6% 4-8 -4.1% 5.5 19 1.8% 13 -7.9% 27 16.1% 27
21 GB -5.6% 5-6-1 -1.2% 5.3 20 -2.8% 22 0.8% 14 22.3% 29
22 TEN -7.7% 5-7 -1.5% 4.5 25 -3.6% 24 -7.8% 26 6.4% 7
23 BAL -8.6% 6-6 -5.6% 5.0 23 -3.1% 23 6.0% 7 5.9% 6
24 ATL -10.3% 3-9 -19.2% 5.2 21 9.8% 2 4.8% 10 8.2% 10
25 NYG -12.5% 5-7 -18.2% 4.4 26 3.2% 6 5.1% 8 13.6% 23
26 MIN -13.4% 3-8-1 -13.6% 4.3 27 2.5% 9 5.1% 9 8.5% 11
27 NYJ -15.6% 5-7 -19.5% 5.0 22 2.9% 8 -6.0% 25 23.8% 31
28 WAS -22.3% 3-9 -25.4% 3.5 28 1.9% 12 -2.4% 19 5.6% 4
29 CLE -22.8% 4-8 -16.5% 3.3 29 -3.7% 25 3.6% 12 10.5% 15
30 HOU -23.1% 2-10 -20.2% 3.2 30 0.4% 15 -5.6% 23 14.1% 25
31 OAK -30.3% 4-8 -27.4% 2.2 31 -4.8% 28 6.5% 6 9.0% 13
32 JAC -47.7% 3-9 -45.8% 1.5 32 2.3% 10 -8.6% 28 13.3% 21


229 comments, Last at 08 Dec 2013, 5:26pm

#3 by greybeard // Dec 03, 2013 - 5:40pm

Is the past schedule an average of opponents DVOAs? I think the median would be a better choice. Or at least removing the impact of the game played between the teams from the strength of schedule.

Points: 0

#185 by Kenneth (not verified) // Dec 04, 2013 - 4:48pm

The average they do really does suffer from outlier effects. For a while they had the Chiefs future schedule as one of the toughest in the league, only because of two games vs Denver (who doesn't count nearly so much now that Denvers DVOA has declined). What really counts is how many wins the average team would get with this schedule. For that they would have to simulate how a team with 0.0% DVOA would do if it went against the same schedule. Seeing as they already simulate playoffs that way, this would be a piece of cake.

Points: 0

#1 by Insancipitory // Dec 03, 2013 - 5:39pm

What Detroit did to the Packers was profane. I enjoy my Packers fans lightly salted, not basted in despair.

And there's no call to bring 1992 in to this. Why would you do that? That's not helping anyone.

Points: 0

#7 by Perfundle // Dec 03, 2013 - 5:47pm

The FOMBC has been insanely powerful so far. It started with Green Bay's defense, went to KC (where someone correctly predicted the three-game slide, but not the general defensive collapse, which came before the Houston injury), and finally Arizona.

Points: 0

#20 by Perfundle // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:07pm

Football Outsiders' Message Board Curse. Basically, something that strikes a team when one of their fans complains too much about their team's low DVOA ranking.

Points: 0

#21 by Insancipitory // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:08pm

Football Outsiders Message Board Curse. Does not apply to fans who use the zlions template.

Points: 0

#23 by nat // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:09pm

Football Outsiders Message Board Curse. Check out the glossary for more details.

Points: 0

#29 by Karl Cuba // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:15pm

The Curse! Arrrrr the curse, the blight of them that think they're too good for Aaron's almighty acorn electric. They hang a deadened albatross around their own blackened necks and beget their own doom. Arrrrrr!

Points: 0

#129 by Duff Soviet Union // Dec 04, 2013 - 4:14am

Where's that Packers fan who used to pollute these pages with rants about how puny numbers couldn't possibly quantify the greatness of Wisconsin's finest, that the Packers would be a dynasty along the lines of the Russell Celtics, that Ted Thompson was bringing roster construction into the 51st Century and that Green Bay's defense was totally awesome if you just ignore all the yards and points they give up? I hope he's ok because we haven't heard from him recently.

Points: 0

#141 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 04, 2013 - 10:07am

Maybe he's like the Spurs, and is just parlaying his "David Robinson gets injured year" into a Tim Duncan draft pick?

Points: 0

#190 by LionInAZ // Dec 04, 2013 - 6:38pm

He was around for an Audibles not long ago, complaining that a NO game that would decide the fate of the Packers playoff seeding wasn't covered, but he appears to have been inundated by a wave of negative comments and a 4 game Packers winless stretch.

Points: 0

#198 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Dec 05, 2013 - 9:47am

He's currently hiding underground, but once Aaron Rodgers heals up, and the Packers are good again in 2014, I have no doubt he'll resurface.

Points: 0

#199 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 05, 2013 - 11:02am

I have relatives who are cheeseheads. They all move underground for the winter -- it's warmer there, down in the curd mines.

Points: 0

#229 by DisplacedPackerFan // Dec 08, 2013 - 5:26pm

Ahhhhh curd mines .... mmmmmmmm

Points: 0

#2 by Will Allen // Dec 03, 2013 - 5:40pm

The Seahawk's home field advantage is such, and the make-up of their roster is such, that I will be very surprised to see them lose a playoff game in Seattle. As much as I like Wilson, they are not dependent on passing success in the manner of a team led by Manning, Rodgers, Brees, or Brady in recent years. The teams with the best chance of doing so, of course, are teams which manage to just whip their a$$e$ on the line of scrimmage, so I guess that means the Panthers or Niners. I can't envision anybody else having much of chance at all.

I don't have a ton of confidence of any particular team winning the AFC, but at a neutral site I could see any of the likely AFC winners beating the Seahawks in a not terribly large upset.

Points: 0

#9 by dmstorm22 // Dec 03, 2013 - 5:52pm

Detroit has some shot, I would think. They too can absolutely dominate a team's o-line, though their secondary isn't as good as Carolina's has been.

But let's not forget that similarly dominant home teams have lost playoff games before, and this very Seahawks team had to stage a comeback from 20-0 down to win a game against the 3-9 Buccaneers at home.

They definitely go up an extra gear for these primetime home games, but they almost assuredly won't get one in the divisional round. This is the AFC's year to get the 8PM Sat/1PM Sun games on Divisional weekend (which also pretty much ensures the Broncos, barring a collapse, get the 8PM game), and if there's a game they get knocked off in, I think it is far more likely to be the Divisional Round game than the NFC Title Game, as the Seahawks may rest up Weeks 16-17 (they could clinch the conference with wins the next two weeks).

The NFC Title Game would be a quasi-primetime game, starting at 3:35 PST.

Points: 0

#11 by Will Allen // Dec 03, 2013 - 5:56pm

The Lions are a team prone to playing quite stupidly. If they were to beat the Seahawks in a Seattle playoff game, it would shock me.

Points: 0

#15 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:01pm

The Lions beating any single team in the playoffs wouldn't shock me. The Lions putting together two or three games in a row (one or two would be required to make it to Seattle) where they play smart, disciplined, and up to their potential is what would shock me.

Points: 0

#99 by nottom // Dec 03, 2013 - 9:58pm

If we have learned anything the past few years watching the playoffs, it's that a flawed but talented team is very capable of stringing together 3-4 wins in the playoffs.

Points: 0

#16 by Thomas_beardown // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:02pm

At the same time they're just so talented at key positions that I could see them winning based off 5-10 amazing plays that seem almost super-human.

Points: 0

#78 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Dec 03, 2013 - 7:32pm

That would be like Steve Smith in the 2005 playoffs or Larry Fitzgerald in the 2008 playoffs. Calvin Johnson is certainly capable of that.

Points: 0

#84 by Insancipitory // Dec 03, 2013 - 8:00pm

Steve Smith in the 2005 playoffs is an interesting choice for comparison....

Points: 0

#90 by Will Allen // Dec 03, 2013 - 8:49pm

I always saw that game as a terrible coaching mistake, from a good coach.

Points: 0

#93 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Dec 03, 2013 - 9:12pm

I was referring specifically to the divisional game against Chicago, and his superhuman effort against the best defense in the league (by DVOA).

Points: 0

#18 by Perfundle // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:06pm

The games where Seattle has struggled in recently have almost always been when their run defense goes awry. Washington and Atlanta last year, Carolina, Houston, St. Louis and Tampa this year (Indy was somewhat due to this, but mainly due to Luck and his receivers playing crazy good). Whenever that happens, their secondary has to play a lot more zone coverage, and so the pass defense gets worse as well.

With that in mind, and given SF's sudden inability to run the ball, i would say that Philadelphia and Carolina are the biggest threats to Seattle.

Points: 0

#22 by Zach (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:08pm

Philly is an intriguing matchup. Theoretically, the no-huddle offense should have fewer problems with the crowd noise. Plus Philly obviously has some very talented skill players.

That said, the defense isn't very good, and it's hard for me to imagine Philly being able to control the ball even if they were to get a lead.

Points: 0

#25 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:11pm

Philly's defense has been much better lately.

Points: 0

#39 by Zach (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:27pm

Even in the (very generously selected) time frame that Aaron set out in the commentary, Philly is 15th. That's obviously an improvement, but it's hard for me to take that as a sign that they're ready to shut the Seahawks down.

Points: 0

#47 by Kal // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:34pm

You don't really need to shut the Seahawks down. You just need to challenge them enough. Their offense is good but not great, and has a hard time if they can't get those explosive plays. Get them behind in the count and you can have a good shot.

I thought Philly and Carolina would be the best bets to beat Seattle at Seattle as well. In particular Philly because they have such a good run offense and Seattle is for whatever reason not as great against the run.

Points: 0

#57 by Zach (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:46pm

I dunno, the #5 offense in DVOA seems to be verging on "great." They're not Broncos-level (obviously), but they're still quite good. They've also finally got all of their offensive linemen healthy, and even without Percy Harvin they've managed plenty of explosive plays (which they get at a higher rate than just about every team in the league).

Of course, in any given game anything can happen. I agree about Philly and Carolina, though Carolina is the much bigger threat in my eyes.

Points: 0

#87 by Kal // Dec 03, 2013 - 8:37pm

Nah. They're good. Don't mistake rankings for ratings. They're good, but the difference between their offense and the #1 is the same as the difference between their offense and the #22 team (Tampa, at -6%). Denver has a GREAT offense. Seattle's is 13% over average. That's good. But by value, it's close to Chicago's, Dallas', Carolina and GB.

Points: 0

#176 by Glen (not verified) // Dec 04, 2013 - 3:46pm

That has more to do with Denver being in an offensive league of their own compared to the rest of the league. The difference between #1 and #2 (10.6%) is the same as the difference between #2 and #11.

Points: 0

#210 by formido // Dec 05, 2013 - 2:38pm

Nah, you're wrong.

You know how the Patriot's offense has suddenly looked elite with Gronk playing? Did you know that most of pass blocking has been missing most of the season and since they got back 3 games ago, Seattle's offense is blowing teams out of the water?

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#43 by Perfundle // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:32pm

Ehh, much of that was built against below-average offenses (though they played well against Dallas), and inflated due to beating Green Bay sans Rodgers. Their next game against Detroit will be a good test for them.

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#46 by EricL // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:33pm

The only three games this year where the Seahawks posted an overall DVOA under 27% are weeks 4 (@HOU), 5 (@INDY), and 8 (@STL).

In week 4, the passing offense and passing defense stunk, and they were missing three offensive linemen.

In week 5, the passing defense and special teams stunk, and they were missing three offensive linemen AND their starting tight end.

In week 8, the offense (all parts) and rushing defense stunk, and they were missing two offensive linemen.

Both the week 5 and week 8 games were the back half of back-to-back road games, which I'm beginning to believe is a bigger problem than 10am pacific starts.

That said, watch for the Seahawks to struggle when they visit the New York Giants in two weeks.

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#53 by Perfundle // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:40pm

Struggling in DVOA isn't the same as struggling in the actual game. Seattle comfortably outperforming Carolina and Tampa in DVOA still resulted in a very close game until the end.

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#195 by Jared (not verified) // Dec 05, 2013 - 12:07am

I think Carolina would have won that game if not for Williams' red zone fumble at the end of the game. I believe Carolina will be the biggest threat to Seattle in the playoffs. I also wonder if they're ripe for an upset due to their cockiness. As someone else mentioned, Tampa Bay almost beat them.

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#211 by formido // Dec 05, 2013 - 2:45pm

Why? Carolina couldn't stop Seattle from driving the length of the field after that fumble. Wilson had been tearing them up all game, >300 yards and a high passer rating; still the best QB game against Carolina all season, right? Given that Wilson has like 10 4th quarter comebacks in his career so far and they couldn't stop the close-out drive and Seattle would have been down only a score if Carolina had scored there, it seems quite likely Seattle would have won regardless.

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#222 by panthersnbraves // Dec 06, 2013 - 11:47am

Panthers Defense (Secondary) is better than they were back then. I am really impressed with Wilson, and I hope that the Panthers can get a few extra cycles together to find ways to turn "chasing Wilson, but he rolls to his right, and ends up throwing for a First Down" into sacks and throws out of bounds....

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#19 by Zach (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:07pm

Realistically, a team would need to be able to do a couple of things to beat the Seahawks in Seattle.

-Get an early lead. This might serve to take the crowd out of the game some, but it also allows the running game to remain a weapon. Seattle is ok against the run, but very, very good against the pass. When they take an early lead and make you one-dimensional? Good luck throwing the ball, with their combination of excellent secondary and talented pass rushers. Couple that with playing at home in front of a raucous crowd, giving those pass rushers the extra advantage of a silent snap count, and it's hard for me to envision anyone passing their way back into a game.

-Be able to stop the run without overloading the box. This is what Carolina was able to do. If you overload the box, Wilson can kill you, but if your front seven can win upfront, you can slow the offense. The Seattle o-line is better now that everyone is healthy, but it's not great, just solid.

-Be excellent on kick/punt coverage. Seattle is great at stealing 5-10 yards on punt returns (seriously, Golden Tate has been excellent), and if/when Percy Harvin is healthy, he can do the same on kickoff returns. Every inch will matter, which means coverage units have to play well.

Is it do-able? Of course. Seattle isn't unbeatable, but merely playing a good game is unlikely to be enough, at least at CenturyLink Field.

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#26 by theslothook // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:12pm

I think people are very quickly forgetting how much upsets happen in the playoffs. Think on similar teams of the past and how quickly things go awry in a playoff game when the home team doesn't play well / the other team just takes it to a new level.

A few recent points:

How about that 2011 packers team that went 15-1? Ok, so the d was flawed, but that offense was about as frightening as you can get and guess what? They were shut down(ok, part of it was drops, but that game ended in a blowout).

How about the 2010 NE pats? They lost to the same team they demolished 45-3 a few weeks earlier.

How about the 2007 Patriots? They basically were the epitome of unbeatable and were beat.

And finally, how about the 2005 colts(this loss still burns me to this day) - the colts lost one meaningful game all year(to the chargers) and had blown out the same steelers at home earlier. They were well rested and healthy and still got beat.

Seattle should feel very happy about where their team is position and while I do think they are the favorites, to act like a team can't win unless they put up more than a "good game" is totally ignoring the past.

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#30 by Will Allen // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:18pm

I risked money on the upsets in 2007 and 2011, and wasn't surprised by the 2010 outcome. The common thread was the underdog having clear superiority on the line of scrimmage, against teams highly dependent on passing success.

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#33 by theslothook // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:22pm

You were not surprised by the 2010 result even though their prior meeting at Foxborough ended in a 45-3 win? I find that exceedingly hard to believe, especially since mark sanchez had just come off a terrible performance against the colts.

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#42 by Thomas_beardown // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:30pm

The previous game between those two teams ended in a Jets victory.

Beware the ides of small samples sizes.

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#52 by Will Allen // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:38pm

I was mildly surprised, at best, that a team that had beaten the Patriots previously in the season did so again. I'm never really surprised much by upsets within a division.

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#76 by Nathan // Dec 03, 2013 - 7:21pm

This. I am way more prone to pick an upset in a divisional game.

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#89 by dbostedo // Dec 03, 2013 - 8:40pm


Overall, there are not more upsets in divisional games that in other games. But it seems to depend on how you look at it, and which teams you talk about.

Upset in this case being defined as team A beating team B, where team A has the worse record at the end of the year.

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#36 by theslothook // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:24pm

And to say those teams were highly dependent on passing success is a bit disingenuous. NE's 2010 team was number 1 in rushing and by weighted dvoa, was the better defensive team that year too. The 2007 squad was also good at rushing and had a better defense than its 2007 opponent. I think hindsight is coloring those teams as one dimensional passing teams, a la the colts of the past. Ne's always managed to round out the rest of their team in ways other similarly built passing teams have not( a testament to their coaching staff).

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#40 by Thomas_beardown // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:28pm

Those teams were productive at running. That is different than being good at running.

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#44 by theslothook // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:32pm

Their rush offense was 3x better than the currently 8th ranked seattle rush offense.

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#56 by Will Allen // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:45pm

Their rushing offense benefited from a historically great vertical passing attack that kept defensive backs on their heels. Context matters.

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#66 by theslothook // Dec 03, 2013 - 7:04pm

That doesn't mean its any easier to stop.

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#75 by Cythammer (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 7:19pm

I think the point is that the running game wasn't actually good, it was simply effective because of the passing offense. That means that if the passing game is slowed down or stopped, the offense won't be able to fall back on the running game.

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#55 by Will Allen // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:42pm

If you want to say it is disingenuous to claim that the 2007 Patriots were passing dependent, well, golly, you just go right ahead.

Anybody who saw the Giants defensive front just crush the Packers in Lambeau in the NFCCG should have known it was a completely different defense than what the Giants had shown in the regular season, and that they had a decent chance to make the Patriots passing attack ineffective in the Super Bowl.

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#67 by theslothook // Dec 03, 2013 - 7:05pm

To me, the disingenuous part is saying this team won every game solely on the back of its passing offense and if its passing offense didn't play well, they would lose. I think that case is true for a number of colt teams and say the packers of 2011 or even maybe the saints of 2011, but it wasn't true for the patriots of 07. That's all.

As for the giants, yes, their d line was absolutely the best d line I've ever seen in terms of depth and quality, but i still didn't trust eli or the secondary. NE was the better offensive and defensive team.

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#77 by Cythammer (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 7:24pm

The Patriots had been fading for a long time at that point. The juggernaut of the first half of the season was long gone. Meanwhile the Giants steadily improved. Remember that the Giants almost beat the Patriots in week 17. In the weeks after that game the Giants beat some really great teams (Cowboys, Packers), while the Patriots played relatively poorly against the only okay Jags and the ruined-by-injury Chargers. The line for the Super Bowl that year was a joke. I don't think the Patriots were the better team at that point, and they definitely didn't look it in the actual game.

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#95 by RickD // Dec 03, 2013 - 9:34pm

And still, they came within an uncalled holding/helmet catch insane play/dropped interception of winning that game.

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#151 by dryheat // Dec 04, 2013 - 11:30am

I think that was borne out by the Giants starting the next season 8-0 or something close to it.

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#110 by Bay Area Bengal (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 11:51pm

If you pay attention, you can actually read the part where theslothlook stops arguing with you and begins yelling at the empty chair on the stage:

> And to say those teams were highly dependent on passing success is a bit disingenuous.

Okay, he's still reasonable here. He couches his opinion by using the phrase "a bit."

> NE's 2010 team was number 1 in rushing and by weighted dvoa, ...

Supporting his argument with a relevant fact. That's good!

> ...was the better defensive team that year too.

Being better at defense than your opponent doesn't mean you don't rely heavily on a passing attack, but he's hanging in there.

> The 2007 squad was also good at rushing and had a better defense than its 2007 opponent.

Mayday! Mayday! Losing control fast!

> I think hindsight is coloring those teams as one dimensional passing teams, ...

I'm pretty sure you never called those teams "one dimensional," only asserting that they were "highly dependent" on their passing attack.

> ...a la the colts of the past.


Ah, now THIS is what it's about! It's about the Patriots being better than the Colts! We're having an argument here, and it's about the Patriots being better than the Colts!

And here I'll bet you thought you were discussing the unsurprising nature of a good defense's ability to counter a favored team's passing attack.

> Ne's always managed to round out the rest of their team in ways other similarly built passing teams have not( a testament to their coaching staff).

NE is TeH BEsTEst!!!!! tEH COachES BellyChECk is SMARTEREST tHAN OTher coAchess!

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#124 by theslothook // Dec 04, 2013 - 2:39am

Funny. Cut my paragraph into smaller excerpts and you can almost make it seem like I think all 3 of the pats sbs were the result of spygate!!!! "what's that? how many rings has tom brady won without the help of videotapes???"

> ...a la the colts of the past. KABOOM!" - I see what you did there, highlighting a particular sentence and then conveniently leaving out other sentences where I mentioned the packers and saints along with the colts. Not surprising, since doing so would've undermined your larger point.

Being as sensitive as I am, I will actually waste my time defending my larger points and even addressing the bottom assertions you've made.

First, I was responding to a retort that attempted to brush off the big upsets I listed above. Their main contention - those teams were pass heavy teams that basically were going to lose if you could shut down their offense. Ok, makes sense intuitively, but to conclude it like that completely ignores the ancillary evidence, like the fact that despite being better passing teams, some of those teams above also happened to be better on defense, running game, and special teams. Basically, dvoa suggests that even if the passing offense struggles, those teams are still superior at other facets that they should still be able to win. Somehow, all that gets tossed away because they were great at passing. Its almost like people believe that if you stop the vaunted pass offense, the rest of the team's parts will get exposed as a mirage. Sorry, I don't buy it.

Second - I used the patriots specifically for a few reasons, mainly because I find them interesting. They seem to buck many trends that affect so many familiar teams. The packers, saints, chargers and a few others have all followed a similar trajectory that the colts have. Namely, one that increasingly becomes dependent on the passing offense for success. Slowly, the defenses starts to become poor, the special teams starts to crack apart, and sooner or later, it becomes all about the quarterback and receivers.

I've had debates with Nat about this issue, but the stats seem to agree that pats have managed to avoid these kinds of pitfalls basically throughout their run. Outside of the disastrous 2011 season(even there, their scoring defense was quite respectable), they've managed to field at least average units and often great units with routinely great special teams. Their run games haven't fallen off a cliff the way the colts, chargers, packers, and saints at varying times have either. Most of all, this season showed that they could still win games while their offense was struggling to find its way. Can the same be said for any of the other teams I listed?

Notice, I didn't want to take this discussion in the direction of analyzing pats vs colts, but you decided to misconstrue my statement.

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#128 by Will Allen // Dec 04, 2013 - 3:46am

Uh, I never wrote that anyone was "basically going to lose" if their offense was shut down. I said they were teams whose success was heavily pass dependent, whose chnace of a loss rose greatly, if they were soundly whipped on the line of scrimmage.

The two statements are not remotely synonymous.

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#130 by theslothook // Dec 04, 2013 - 6:28am


Let me start by saying i like you and I think we mostly agree on how we view football.

That said, take this last statement. I gave you three examples of teams who were great, but led by passing attacks. While you agreed with me, you would note that they got soundly whipped at the LOS. Again, what if I said NE was rated highly at both lines, would that change your opinion. WHat if I told you that 2010 ne had a great o line(which they did according to pff) and that 2011 pack had a great pass blocking o line(again according to pff). In fact, sf last year had the best aly lines in the nfl combined(combining both offense and defense) and they still managed to lose. Would that change your mind?

My ultimate point which no doubt drew the ire of Sea fans is...the playoffs are weird. They are weird because not only do great mvps play poorly, but units that played well throughout the regular season play poorly as well. Simply put, for whatever reason, the playoffs are a diff animal and the results seem pretty random.

Hell, I think Pm is the greatest individual football player who ever set foot on a football field. But even he isn't infallible to the playoff gods. If he isn't, what makes us sure R. Sherman, R. WIlson, and M. Lynch are?

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#134 by Will Allen // Dec 04, 2013 - 8:25am

You keep arguing with things I didn't write. It's puzzling. I've already written that I'd give NFC teams, outside of the two who I think have the best chance of winning a playoff game in Seattle, a roughly 20% chance of doing so as well. All I've said is that Seattle has the best home field advantage matched to roster construction I've seen in a while, which makes a home field playoff upset less likely.

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#181 by theslothook // Dec 04, 2013 - 4:20pm


Let me start by saying, if it feels like I'm arguing with things you didn't write, then I apologize. I think what's happened here is in making a point, multiple people disagreed and I was trying to respond to all while responding to you. So, for that, I would just say its a misunderstanding.

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#158 by Bay Area Bengal (not verified) // Dec 04, 2013 - 1:09pm

Here is the EXACT QUOTE from Will Allen in which you have invested so much time in combating:

> I risked money on the upsets in 2007 and 2011, and wasn't surprised by the 2010 outcome. The common thread was the underdog having clear superiority on the line of scrimmage, against teams highly dependent on passing success.

You are literally, actually, for real going on rants against points Will Allen didn't make. He NEVER wrote that any of the teams you cited "basically were going to lose." He NEVER wrote that the Patriots "won every game solely on the back of its passing offense and if its passing offense didn't play well, they would lose."



Not at all.

He just said that he thought that the Giants "had a decent chance to make the Patriots passing attack ineffective in the Super Bowl." He said he put a little money on it and won. He said it wasn't that surprising.

And because his opinions from 5, 3 and 2 years ago (which turned out to be right enough to win him money) were different from yours, you called him "disingenuous" and decided to misquote him, mischaracterize him and pick a fight with numerous people in this thread.


As a bonus attack on your reading comprehension skills, here is the EXACT QUOTE from you which I chose to dissect/make fun of:

> And to say those teams were highly dependent on passing success is a bit disingenuous. NE's 2010 team was number 1 in rushing and by weighted dvoa, was the better defensive team that year too. The 2007 squad was also good at rushing and had a better defense than its 2007 opponent. I think hindsight is coloring those teams as one dimensional passing teams, a la the colts of the past. Ne's always managed to round out the rest of their team in ways other similarly built passing teams have not( a testament to their coaching staff).

I didn't leave out other sentences where you discussed the packers and saints because you NEVER DISCUSSED THOSE TEAMS IN THE POST THAT I QUOTED. (Do you know how quotes work?)

I quoted this post in its entirety, because that was the response where I thought you were starting to lose it. But now I realize that I was wrong ... you'd lost it long before that post.

Thanks for the continued entertainment!

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#182 by theslothook // Dec 04, 2013 - 4:22pm


Well, obviously I gave you the wrong impression. Here's the problem with writing multiple upon multiple quotes, you mention some things, then truncate them further. When you cited your belief that this was all a ploy to drag up NE vs the colts by citing that quote, I guess I should have taken that to mean you didn't read my other postings. For that, my mistake.

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#37 by Zach (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:25pm

I very much agree with your general point, yet it does fail to recognize two key points.

The first is that three of the teams you mentioned (Packers, both Patriots teams) had great offenses and decent-to-bad defenses. The 2005 Colts were good in both phases, but were bad on special teams. At the moment, the Seahawks are top 5 in all three areas.

The second is that no one is saying the Seahawks are guaranteed to win the Super Bowl. We're saying that it's hard to envision a team going to Seattle and winning. There's no obvious weakness with the Seahawks, at least not one that's as glaring as the weaknesses in the aforementioned teams. Of course it could happen. It might very well. It just seems unlikely on the face of things.

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#41 by theslothook // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:30pm

I just feel like this is all in hindsight. 2007 Ne was 1st in offense, 11th in defense, 7th in special teams. They were all better in ratings than the 2007 giants. I'm still not sure what people say in the giants that made them think they would beat the pats other than the any given sunday sentiments.

If you don't like that example, how about some others? Dallas that year was 9th in offense, 4th in defense.

How about in 1997 when denver was 4th in offense, 3rd in defense and got upset by jacksonville who was 17 in dvoa.

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#50 by Zach (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:37pm

Two points. The first is that Super Bowl XLII was played on a neutral field. No one appears to be saying the Seahawks are sure to win the Super Bowl. The home field advantage (which is clearly more meaningful in Seattle than anywhere else) MATTERS.

Second, remember that the Giants had taken the Patriots to the brink in Week 17. Yes, that game was in New York (well, New Jersey), but still, it wasn't as if there was NO REASON to think that the Giants couldn't win.

Also, there was one clear area where the Giants had the advantage: their ability to rush Brady with their Four Aces package. It's not that it wasn't an upset (it was), but it was explicable.

That's what I was trying to in my first comment. If Carolina (for example) came to Seattle and won, it would make a certain kind of sense. They can control the line of scrimmage on defense (as they did for most of Week One), and they can run the ball on the Seahawks D. Of course, those things were both true in Week One, and they were at home, and the Seahawks still won, so...

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#58 by theslothook // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:46pm

I think my general premise is...this idea that only certain teams who matchup well should be expected to beat the other team is purely a hindsight thing. I can name so many teams that blew out their opponents in the regular season and they got beat in the playoffs by the same team.

The broncos last year destroyed the ravens but ultimately lost a close game.

The colts blew out the steelers but lost a close game.

The patriots blew out the jets, but lost a close game.

People will now point out that stylistically, all of those teams are passing dependent teams, but honestly, it doesn't take much to lose in the nfl. In many of the games this year, the seahawks have struggled offensively and needed a few things to break their way to ultimately win the game. They are a great team, but they aren't incapable of losing even to teams that they should in theory beat quite easily. The panthers game they really could've lost. The houston game they absolutely should have lost. The 49ers game they again could have lost. The rams game they very easily could have lost. Now people will point to these and say...see, those teams have formidable dlines. They lost to the colts who don't, but then that gets explained way by special teams gaffes, penalties, bad coverage, etc. That's the point. In the playoffs, anything can happen because anyone can play poorly that week.

One last example. By pff numbers, SF's entire secondary graded well last year. Both safeties, brown, rodgers, and culliver. In the playoffs, nearly all graded negatively in basically all of their postseason games. Ask a 49er fan prior to the playoffs what they might think if they were told that despite an entire year's worth of data that their secondary was good, that in the next 3 games they would play lousy, what might you have thought?

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#62 by Will Allen // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:58pm

When I saw the weather in Denver last January, my expectations of a Broncos loss jumped a lot, in that the weather really hurt the Broncos home field advantage, as dependent as that team is on Manning's passing.

No, the Seahwaks aren't invincible at home. Yes, they are very formidable at home, especially if the opponent doesn't dominate the line of scrimmage. I haven't see enough of Carolina to have confidence in them doing so, but that might change as I watch them for the balance of the month. Other than the Niners, I don't see any NFC teams with enough talent on the line of scrimmage to make an upset in a Seattle playoff game more than, I dunno, a 20% chance.

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#65 by theslothook // Dec 03, 2013 - 7:03pm

Will, how do you explain Sf's dbs playing very poorly throughout the post season? My point is, is it really so unreasonable to expect SEA's dbs to have a bad game once in the postseason or for wilson to have a meltdown? I don't think one or even a string of games should brand any one player, but bad games happen to everyone at any time.

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#73 by Perfundle // Dec 03, 2013 - 7:18pm

Well, I certainly don't expect the DBs to play at last night's level. That was the best secondary performance I have ever seen against an elite quarterback throwing accurate passes. I'll need to see the All-22 to see in detail how it was schemed out (and I missed Gruden's explanation of their "triangle defense"), but balls were getting batted out or jarred loose at the very last second with minimal interference (I've heard that there was possibly some on one of the 4th-down throws to Graham).

Also, quarterbacks seriously need to learn not to throw those floaty passes down the sideline against Sherman. He always seems to be in better position than the receiver to catch those, and probably would've again had he not been slightly interfered with.

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#144 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 04, 2013 - 10:25am

'and I missed Gruden's explanation of their "triangle defense"'

1. Seattle plays a 3-deep
2. Unlike other teams, they don't play off to do this; Seattle plays a press 3-deep
3. This is because their DBs are not only big, they are fast
4. And even when they aren't, Earl Thomas is very fast.

In part, their gargantuan DBs allow them to interchange who is playing coverage and who is coming up and playing as a hybrid-LB in the Troy Polamalu role.

The larger take-away is that Carroll actually structures his team a lot like Belichick used to -- it's a series of mostly-interchangeable parts that revolves around what his players can do well, instead of asking them to do things they cannot. Where NE started with a very good d-line, Seattle starts with a new concept for DBs and really solid draft luck.

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#148 by gomer (not verified) // Dec 04, 2013 - 10:50am

When you are doing something new. Like bigger DBs that might be slower, they are, it takes less draft luck because there is less competition for the new skill set. The guy the Seahawks had to hit on was Earl Thomas, but until more of the NFL adopts their philosophy they will be able to pick who they want of big physical 1/2 step slow DBs.

You see this more in College where somebody comes into a conference w/ a new philosophy, like Oklahoma and Texas Tech introducing the Air Raid to the BXII. In the beginning they did better than everyone else because nobody was competing for what they wanted talent wise. Also, something similar, I believe is happening with Oregon's depth, as Baylor is using almost the exact same style of athlete. And a couple of other schools as well.

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#79 by Hector Rex (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 7:35pm

Much of what you say is true, but just to pick a nit, it seems a stretch to say that they could have lost the 49er game. The final was 29-3.

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#82 by theslothook // Dec 03, 2013 - 7:43pm

See below. The 49ers turned the ball over 3 times and had a safety. One turnover led directly to a field goal. Another turnover led to the ball being placed at the SF 2 which led to a td. Another td drive was setup by 3 penalties, one that wiped out an obvious seahawks punting situation(their pass was incomplete at 3rd and 28). Essentially, 19 of their 29 pts came directly off turnovers or penalties. Of course, it's a mistake to say the seahawks deserve no credit, I'd rather just say the seahawks offense deserves no credit for those 19 pts.

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#91 by Perfundle // Dec 03, 2013 - 8:58pm

Just because only one unit "deserves credit" for a win doesn't mean they could've lost the game is what people are saying.

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#121 by theslothook // Dec 04, 2013 - 2:28am

That's true. If they rematched, I think the hawks would win, but I don't know if the 49ers offense would be quite as terrible as it was that game. Of course, the seahawks offense will likely be better, but I think it would be a close game.

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#165 by cjfarls // Dec 04, 2013 - 2:23pm

I agree with this.

I agree folks often try to "over fit" the data, and rationalize things post-hoc.

DEN wins that game last year Rahim Moore takes a decent angle on a floating deep ball... what does that have to do with a passing centered offense? They still scored 30-some odd points, so if you want to lay the blame somewhere why aren't folks looking at the collapse of a previously very strong pass defense? Similarly NE wins the 2007 SB if someone's helmet is for some reason covered in stick-um, etc. etc.

Upsets happen all the time in the NFL... its easy to look back in hindsight and say "it was because XYZ", but the reality is that a few bad bounces, a great catch or 2, an off day from a HOF-caliber player (they happen more often than folks like to admit), etc. and it really is "any given sunday". Even the most favored team is probably only maybe an 80% bet, and 20% odds succeed 1 in 5 times.

That said, bet on Seattle. While I won't be surprised at all if they lose to someone in playoffs, betting against them in any particular game (particularly at home) is surely against the odds.

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#167 by Will Allen // Dec 04, 2013 - 2:39pm

Denver scored two touchdowns on kick returns in that game. To say they "still scored 30 odd points" in that game, in this context, really misses the point. My guess is that the number of other playoff games lost by the home team, when scoring 2 tds on kicks, approximates zero. Yes, Denver's defense screwed up hideously, but it is also true that the Broncos passing game greatly underperformed, although, to be fair, that underperformance included a pick six in which the db blatantly fouled the receiver, and went uncalled.

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#227 by Shattenjager // Dec 08, 2013 - 12:57am

"My guess is that the number of other playoff games lost by the home team, when scoring 2 tds on kicks, approximates zero."

The number of other playoff games in which a home team scored two touchdowns on kicks is actually zero:


This is not meant to refute your point or to agree with it, or to make any other point. I just found it an interesting bit of information.

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#133 by panthersnbraves // Dec 04, 2013 - 8:23am

Yes, they did. I am hopeful that the Panthers swagger index will overcome that next time.

OK - I hope that their improved Oline and Secondary play are enough....

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#177 by KD (not verified) // Dec 04, 2013 - 3:47pm

I stick to the elite matchups trump general team quality.

IE: I picked Baltimore to beat NE because NE was notoriously bad at deep ball defense (and had a single good, oft injured DB saving their pass defense), and Flacco (that year) had only a deep ball passing attack. When elite aspect of one team runs into poor aspect of opposing team - upsets usually happen.

Also, with Brady I've noticed, if he's against an elite pass rush, trouble happens. I think PFF pointed this out, but Brady's basically a mediocre to bad QB compared to all other QBs when he is being pressured.

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#178 by dryheat // Dec 04, 2013 - 3:51pm

I'm pretty sure I remember an analysis from this site that said the opposite. All QBs hate pressure, and all with a decent sample size perform worse against pressure than without. I think the research said Brady performed closer to his normal than most.

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#180 by Thomas_beardown // Dec 04, 2013 - 4:06pm

"All QBs hate pressure"

Except Roethlisberger who was immune.

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#186 by bravehoptoad // Dec 04, 2013 - 5:10pm

Cutler. DVOA actually improves when he's pressured.

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#187 by Will Allen // Dec 04, 2013 - 5:23pm

Clearly, the Bears made a mistake in improving their offensive line.

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#188 by Thomas_beardown // Dec 04, 2013 - 5:33pm

And you thought Mike Martz didn't know what he was doing with 7 step drops behind Jamarcus Webb.

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#191 by LionInAZ // Dec 04, 2013 - 7:13pm

Well, it seems the Bears can't get better no matter what they do.

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#189 by KD (not verified) // Dec 04, 2013 - 5:34pm


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#192 by Otis Taylor89 // Dec 04, 2013 - 7:27pm

Well Brady was also missing the best TE in the NFL in the AFC Championship game - think the outcome would have been the same if Gronk were able to play?

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#97 by RickD // Dec 03, 2013 - 9:43pm

I think there are some blurred memories regarding the 2007 Patriots. They were not the Patriots of more recent years, with mediocre pass defenses. They still had a good defense (-5.8% DVOA) in addition to the historically great offense. It was hardly a "glaring weakness". And, FWIW, it wasn't the unit that failed in the Super Bowl (that would be the offensive line). Overall they had a 52.9% DVOA, still well ahead of the Seahawks' current 41.8%.

The Seahawks currently have a great defense, though not historically great like the Patriots' offense (-20.7% vs. 43.5%). The Seahawks have a good offense, but certainly stoppable.

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#103 by Perfundle // Dec 03, 2013 - 10:13pm

As others have pointed out, that 52.9% DVOA was mainly built up at the start of the season, like Denver this year. Their weighted DVOA was only 42.5%, essentially the same as Seattle's 41.8% right now.

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#212 by formido // Dec 05, 2013 - 2:57pm

Seattle's offense is top 5 while missing most of its pass blocking for most of the year. We'll see if your "stoppable" claim bears out the rest of the year. :)

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#32 by Karl Cuba // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:22pm

I'd say that a team would have to play very well and then get a bit lucky. All that damn noise makes it so hard against a team that's damn good to begin with and after that comeback against Tampa I doubt the crowd would shut up even if you took the lead.

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#38 by theslothook // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:25pm

The 49es could've won in Seattle this year were in not for a colossal meltdown by Kaep and a bunch of ridiculous penalties. That came was close almost throughout till the said penalties and turnovers made the score lopsided.

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#48 by formido // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:36pm

Seattle was up by more than a score and SF had shown no ability whatsoever to move the ball. Even when the score was close, the game seemed firmly in Seattle's hand.

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#49 by Perfundle // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:36pm

I think Bevell called an extremely conservative game that night, considering SF's utter inability to move the ball. He probably would've opened up the offense a bit more if the Niners had shown any kind of fight on offense.

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#54 by Zach (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:41pm

Really? The 49ers have come to Seattle twice in the last calender year and lost by a combined 71-16 (and that's with an utter garbage time TD at the very end of the first game, when they were down 42-6). Kaepernick melted down in both games, so saying "if he hadn't have melted down" is somewhat akin to saying "the 49ers would have won the game if they'd only outscored the Seahawks." The Seahawks utterly dominated that game, as they did in the game last year.

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#59 by theslothook // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:52pm


I never said the two years ago matchup was close. But to say Seattle dominated the 49ers in their first matchup only describes one side of the ball. At halftime, the seahawks were up 5-0, with 2 pts coming off a safety and another 3 coming off a kaep pick that set them up in Sf territory. One of sea's tds was setup by a chain of 15 yard penalties.(deservedly so, but it's not something seattle exactly drew up in their offensive game plan).

Russel wilson completed less than 50 percent of his passes for under 200 yards with 1 td and one int. He also had 3.3 yards per carry so he wasn't even effective running the ball. He was also sacked 5 times.

The game was a blowout in a very defensive centric kind of way, but to say Seattle thoroughly dominated the 49ers is solely looking at the final score and not the progression of the game.

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#60 by Zach (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:56pm

Domination can happen when one defense utterly strangles the opposing offense, which is what happened in that game. At no point did the 49ers look even remotely close to scoring a touchdown on anything other than a fluke play.

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#64 by theslothook // Dec 03, 2013 - 7:01pm

I agree they didn't, which is why I didn't say the seahawks didn't win that game.

Look, I'm not trying to bash the seahawks at all. They are clearly the best team and clearly the most balanced of any team in the nfl. I also think that it's much better to be well rounded than a top heavy team like Denver. I think my larger point was, anyone and any unit can play poorly at any time so no one should be shocked if the seahawks get upset, even by teams like philly or detroit, let alone teams like SF or CAR. I still think Sea will win it, and in fact, I think they will win it all this year, but just reminding people not to forget the past. As this colts fan can tell you, even when you're team looks like it has things worked out pretty well, it can go up in smoke right before your eyes.

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#92 by Jerry // Dec 03, 2013 - 8:59pm

Without contemplating the Seahawks at all, I agree with your general point. Enough random things happen during the playoffs that there are no guarantees.

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#69 by Karl Cuba // Dec 03, 2013 - 7:08pm

The Seahawks got a pick in their own end zone, surely that is 'remotely close'?

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#81 by theslothook // Dec 03, 2013 - 7:41pm

I'm sorry. SF "fumbled" the ball which setup the seahawks at the SF 29. They later threw a pick that set up the seahawks at sf 2. Basically, 1 td started at the 2, another came off a drive set up by 3 penalties, including 2 unnecessary roughness(one that wiped out a seahawks 3rd and 28.)

See, no one ever remembers these details.

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#86 by Karl Cuba // Dec 03, 2013 - 8:10pm

Hooky, I was replying to the bloke that suggested the niners never had a sniff of scoring even though they drive most of the length of the field before throwing a pick in the end zone on their second drive (I think it was that drive).

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#100 by Cuenca Guy // Dec 03, 2013 - 10:06pm

Yes, they had a sniff of scoring, but the drive was set up by a botched punt because half of the Seahawks thought they heard a whistle.

You're right that they were close to scoring, but it doesn't change the fact that SF's offense had very little success which I think was the main point.

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#137 by Crunch (not verified) // Dec 04, 2013 - 9:28am

I just now realized his name wasn't "the sloth ook".

That said I think that, as good as Seattle is, people are underselling the NFC field. San Fran, Carolina, New Orleans are all very good teams. Detroit, Philly and Dallas are all unstable enough that trying to figure out how good they are on any given weekend is an excercise in frustration.

Seattle is no doubt the best team in the NFC, but if I had to choose between them and the field I'd choose field.

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#183 by theslothook // Dec 04, 2013 - 4:28pm

Exactly what you said.

Btw, just for people who care, my name is a truncated form of this play you could run in madden called, "slot hook N Out" which was one of those money plays that got a receiver wide open via a pick crossing route.

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#63 by EricL // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:59pm

Another side of this is that Kaepernick has never beaten the Seahawks. When SF won the meeting at Candlestick last year, Alex Smith was still the quarterback.

I'm very interested in how Kaep's going to perform against the Seahawks outside of the Clink.

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#68 by Karl Cuba // Dec 03, 2013 - 7:06pm

Well nobody else has beaten the Seahawks at home for three years, it seems a bit harsh to hang that criticism on Kap.

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#71 by EricL // Dec 03, 2013 - 7:12pm

Oh, it wasn't meant to be criticism. I'm just curious to see how he's going to perform after having been pretty well shut down by the Seahawks twice in a row. SF isn't known for having a huge home-field advantage, but just not being in Seattle should provide a boost.

I'm curious if his performance against the Seattle defense is the norm, or is just the in-Seattle norm.

I'm personally expecting something of the 17-14 variety, and at this point I'm not really sure which way to lean.

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#88 by greybeard // Dec 03, 2013 - 8:38pm

They lost multiple games in 2011, the last one being against the 49ers.

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#61 by Perfundle // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:56pm

I would add that being able to draw penalties has been the opponent's best play recently. Three straight offensive drives against Minnesota were stopped because of penalties, and Seattle had another 8 last night. Holding penalties, in particular, have been the bane of the offense, and the special teams uncharacteristically added two more against the Saints. You'd think they would've learned by now that Wilson and Tate are generally more than capable of operating without them; it's the same with holding calls against Peyton Manning's tackles.

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#94 by 3Monkies (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 9:24pm

According to the Las Vegas Hilton Super-Book @JayKornegay, a Denver vs. Seattle Super Bowl would be a "pick em"....

Unless there is an abundance "root for Manning" or Bronco fan wagers, I would think the public money and the wise guy money would be on Seattle, so the early pick em line is a bit confusing. Obviously a point spread is about evening out the wagers and not who's better, but considering that LV makes its money on setting lines, this is interesting.

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#104 by Perfundle // Dec 03, 2013 - 10:17pm

I guess you could argue that while Denver as they are now are probably an underdog against Seattle in cold NY, a Denver that makes the Superbowl, exorcising Manning's cold-weather issues along the way, would be a battle-tested team and more likely to win it all.

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#111 by RickD // Dec 04, 2013 - 12:41am

Why would you think the public money would be on Seattle? Denver is the team with the marquee QB. They have far more public cache' than the Seahawks do.

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#119 by 3Monkies (not verified) // Dec 04, 2013 - 2:14am

True and perhaps there is a contingent that would want to root for Peyton, but:

1. Game will be in NY in Feb.
2. Seattle is pulling away on every statistical metrics based site as well as every "Power Poll" as the best team.
3. Manning hasn't been consistent in big games

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#122 by BigWoody (not verified) // Dec 04, 2013 - 2:29am

>1. Game will be in NY in Feb.

It snows in Denver. It doesn't snow in Seattle. This SB could very well be played in snow. What WAS the NFL thinking?

>2. Seattle is pulling away on every statistical metrics based site as well as every "Power Poll" as the best team.

"Public Money" rarely cares about stats. "Power Polls" maybe a little.

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#123 by theslothook // Dec 04, 2013 - 2:32am

YOu know how big games are defined? The one's said player didn't win. Manning won a sb and 9 playoff games. None of those were big games. Manning has lost 11 playoff games, every single one of those was a "big game."

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#166 by cjfarls // Dec 04, 2013 - 2:31pm

Exactly. PM has a QB rating of above 100 in playoff games... its not like he sucks in the playoffs, even when he throws a pick in the SB or a pick to basically end a game in overtime. Picks happen. His penchant for failure in the playoffs is a myth, and powered completely by upsets, randomness, and a public/media need for a narrative to explain why such a great player loses occassionally.

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#169 by Perfundle // Dec 04, 2013 - 2:48pm

"PM has a QB rating of above 100 in playoff games"

If this was true, you think he would have the reputation of a playoff choker?


He has a passer rating of 88.4, slightly above Brady's, although with far less wins.

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#172 by cjfarls // Dec 04, 2013 - 3:15pm

My mistake and thanks for the correction. I could have sworn I'd read that somewhere in one of the numerous articles debunking that myth... maybe it was for a subset of games like the SB loss where folks were especially harsh on him.

Anyway, thanks for the better info.

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#173 by Hurt Bones // Dec 04, 2013 - 3:15pm

Yikes! Craig Morton 12 career playoff games 40% completion rate 42.9 rating

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#170 by Hurt Bones // Dec 04, 2013 - 2:54pm

Except that he doesn't have a QB rating of 100 in playoff games. In 20 career playoff games his QB rating is 88.4, but I do agree with you about the myth.

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#174 by Hurt Bones // Dec 04, 2013 - 3:17pm

In contrast the opponent QB rating in those 20 games - 83.5.

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#113 by PaddyPat // Dec 04, 2013 - 1:41am

Must also be influenced by many fan memories of the early season Broncos of this year, which appeared to be virtually unstoppable. That would be counterbalanced by more up-to-date observations of the 2 teams...

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#139 by Crunch (not verified) // Dec 04, 2013 - 9:34am

Up to date would seem to indicate that the Broncos are still pretty unstoppable on O. They scored 64 in their two losses. It's not like either NE or Indy could stop them from scoring.

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#143 by nat // Dec 04, 2013 - 10:15am

64 is wrong. The Denver O scored 24 in New England. There was a defensive TD, too.

In New England, the Denver O scored at a rate of 1.71 points/drive. That's not a shutout. But it would put them 21st in the league. That's not unstoppable. That's more stopped than almost two-thirds of the league.

It would be more accurate to say that the Denver O is the best or nearly so, hard to stop, but still stoppable in a big game.

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#138 by killwer // Dec 04, 2013 - 9:32am

I think Seattle away from home field is the big thing. If Seattle was at home they would be 4 points favorites (Im pretty sure I have seen that Seattle has +4 for home field over the normal +3)

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#213 by formido // Dec 05, 2013 - 3:06pm

Vegas consistently underrates Seattle. Seattle led the NFL in record against the spread last year, and they are 8-4 this year. Russell Wilson's record against the spread, including play-offs and preseason is ridiculous, something like 27-9.

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#214 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Dec 05, 2013 - 3:27pm

I basically agree with everything you're saying, but adding in preseason to Wilson's W-L record. undermines your point. Preseason wins/losses more to do with guys who are currently waiting tables at Outback or assistant coaching in high school than it does with your starting quarterback.

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#4 by Bobman // Dec 03, 2013 - 5:41pm

Wait wait wait, Indy cannot possibly be that low. (pauses to look at each individual team above, ponder for a few moments, nod). Okay, never mind.

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#5 by someguy (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 5:43pm

Crap, the Seahawks took a huge leap this week.

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#13 by robbbbbb (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 5:58pm

They beat the bloody hell out of the number four team in the league. The offense moved the ball efficiently, and the defense completely stifled Drew Brees' ability to throw any farther than five yards downfield.

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#80 by Perfundle // Dec 03, 2013 - 7:40pm

What surprised me was that DVOA considered the Panthers to be more dominant. I'd've guessed the third-ranked defense going up against the 20th-ranked offense would yield something similar to what actually transpired, but the Panthers' defensive DVOA made a sizable jump of 2.8%, even higher than Seattle's 2.5%.

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#6 by willybhu // Dec 03, 2013 - 5:46pm

Is the Eagles' ridiculous variance because because of Nick Foles entering mid-season? Or have they actually been that variable even with Nick Foles?

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#228 by frank kenney (not verified) // Dec 08, 2013 - 3:56am

I think that while the bad game Foles had against Dallas is definitely a factor, I think it's most likely due to the variation between early in the season and after Foles came in. On top of that the defense has been extremely inconsistent, playing downright awful early in the year and closer to average for the last month or so.

When you factor in those things plus the extreme highs and lows of Foles play (vs. Oakland as opposed to vs. Dallas) it makes sense that the Eagles have been more inconsistent than most/all teams in the league.

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#10 by theslothook // Dec 03, 2013 - 5:52pm

I am a bit surprised to see SD's offense still at number 2 in the league. They eat up yardage, but given how much Fo loves red zone production, they don't seem to be all that great in that category.

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#35 by Perfundle // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:23pm

Do they really love it, though? When Green Bay was the second-best offense, their red-zone offense was pretty mediocre as well. I would think that being able to consistently reach the red-zone is far more valuable than performance once inside. With that in mind, is it possible to get an extra column in the drive stats page regarding what fraction of drives end up in the red-zone? I'm sure San Diego is top 5 in that stat.

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#45 by theslothook // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:33pm

Well...they explained that predictively, the red zone performance counts for more in terms of dvoa than non red zone plays. But yes, if you're not getting into the red zone that often, its not going to be a big help.

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#12 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Dec 03, 2013 - 5:56pm

The Lion's DVOA against the Packers is even more impressive when you consider they committed 4 turnovers, missed a 31yd field goal, and kicked off out of bounds twice.

That's how you win by 30 points and yet still leave your fans angry and frustrated for most of the game.

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