Week 13 DVOA Ratings
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|
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|
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|
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|
WORST DVOA EVER WATCH
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.
| WORST TOTAL DVOA
THROUGH 12 GAMES
|x|| WORST OFFENSIVE DVOA
THROUGH 12 GAMES
|x|| WORST DEFENSIVE DVOA
THROUGH 12 GAMES
|x|| WORST SPECIAL TEAMS DVOA
THROUGH 12 GAMES
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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|
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>
- 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).
229 comments, Last at 08 Dec 2013, 5:26pm
#27 by RickD // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:13pm
The future schedule ratings for the Broncos and Patriots would seem to give little hope to any other team in the AFC that wants a bye week.
Denver has the second lightest past schedule and the lightest future schedule. That might be a cause for concern.
#83 by nat // Dec 03, 2013 - 7:59pm
DVOA takes opponent strength into account now, not so much a few weeks ago.
And they narrowly lost in OT at New England, and narrowly avoided overtime at KC. Home field is usually worth about 15% in DVOA, so I kinda trust this. If the Broncos manage to hold onto the first seed, they'll be favorites until they lose a game or get to the Super Bowl.
#127 by td (not verified) // Dec 04, 2013 - 3:32am
... and Seattle didn't look so hot a few weeks ago when they were struggling with Houston, Tampa Bay, and Indy. Team strength ebbs and flows through every season, largely through injuries, and it'd be ridiculous to try and project the Super Bowl this far out (though it is unusual that the preseason favorites are still favored this deep into the season)
#140 by Crunch (not verified) // Dec 04, 2013 - 9:47am
Denver and Seattle both lost at Indianapolis (In somewhat similar fashion Den lost 39-33, Sea lost 34-28. Denver put up 429 Total yards. Seattle put up 423. Seattle allowed 317 Yds. Denver allowed 334. 23 1st downs for Denver, 21 for Seattle. Seattle did better on turnover margin, but allowed a D/ST score). I'm not seeing that as hugely dominant. I think DVOA is probably correct that Seattle is a much better Defensive Team and Denver much better offensively and by roughly the same margin.
Is the perception that SEA is that much better based entirely on the OT loss at Foxborough versus a team Seattle has not played?
#159 by Rick & Roll (not verified) // Dec 04, 2013 - 1:13pm
Seattle extending their DVOA lead seems to be more about Seattle staying near the same level and Denver falling back a bit. Denver's offense is still great, just not all-time great like it was the first part of the season, and while their defense has improved, it's not enough to compensate and their special teams has gone from a top unit to average. Perhaps Denver's strength of schedule is pulling them down as well.
Much of the perception (non DVOA) regarding the two teams is based on their most recent prime time games against top teams.
Would Seattle be as dominant (if at all) if the game were in New Orleans ?
Does Denver choke away a 24 point lead to the Pats if the game is in Colorado? Essentially a likely tie was turned into a Pats win on a fluke special teams play, what if that didn't happen?
Denver and Seattle will be a great SuperBowl. If Seattle loses Browner and it's not windy (Peyton in cold is overblown. Peyton in wind is not), I can see Denver winning and think they probably should be favored.
#168 by cjfarls // Dec 04, 2013 - 2:43pm
Agree with all of this.
DEN has regressed a bit on offense as oline injuries, and injuries to Julius Thomas have made the offense only dominant rather than other-worldly.
Peyton's struggles in the cold and playoffs are overblown, but he doesn't have the biggest arm/throw the prettiest ball so windy weather could potentially hold him back (though I think that is true of pretty much any QB to some extent). If it is forced into a slogged run battle, I'd bet on Lynch and the seachickens but there is no guaruntee that is the case as a wet/slick day could just mean its easier for the WRs to get open.
#208 by formido // Dec 05, 2013 - 2:30pm
As always, context matters. When Seattle lost to Indy, they were missing their reigning Pro Bowl LT, their reigning All-Pro C, their RT and their 4th best pass blocker TE Zach Miller.
They all were back finally three games ago. Since then, Seattle's game play and DVOA have spiked.
 Even so, if you watched that game, Seattle was very close to blowing it wide open and failing to do so hinged on a series of bad breaks. Wasn't very similar to Denver/Indy.
#217 by Rick & Roll (not verified) // Dec 05, 2013 - 5:15pm
Yes, context does matter.
Denver played Indy without either of their starting OTs and moved their RG to RT or their MLB (Woodyard) who is their defensive captain. Their absence directly led to turnovers that accounted for a safety a touchdown and a FG... Additionally, to Indy, the Denver game was like a SuperBowl.
In Denver's two losses the scored over 30 points and committed 3 turnovers in each game.
#218 by Perfundle // Dec 06, 2013 - 1:45am
"Additionally, to Indy, the Denver game was like a SuperBowl."
I'm pretty sure every game Seattle faces is like a Super Bowl to the opponent as well.
"Much of the perception (non DVOA) regarding the two teams is based on their most recent prime time games against top teams."
Yes, and Denver had their chance to blow out a fellow top team at home, against Kansas City, and failed to do it.
#219 by theslothook // Dec 06, 2013 - 4:44am
I know I'm coming off as a seahawks hater, so I should preface by saying... I am a colts fan first. Now, Seattle I believe is the best football team in the nfl. They are balanced across the team and strong with talent at some important places.
That said, this latest blowout does not serve to prove SeA greatness anymore than close losses to the bucs and rams. Those games, seattle was decidedly poor in. To forgive those and just focus on the last game is just wrong and the ridiculous overhyping I'm seeing from other posters is slightly reminiscent of paulm's style hyperbole. Sea is great, but can lose like they did last year against atlanta. They can lose at home, they can lose on the road. They can be beaten. Even great teams get beat.
#224 by Perfundle // Dec 06, 2013 - 12:26pm
I think close losses to the Bucs and Rams would not result in Seattle being thought of as the best team, but I know what you mean. In any case, I'm only replying to how Seattle is perceived versus Denver, not about their supposed invincibility; that last game said more about New Orleans on the road than anything.
However, to be fair, the ridiculous overhyping is accompanied by an explosion of posts looking for reasons why Seattle won't win it all, more than if they had just won by 7 points, I feel; the same happened with Denver at the start of the season.
#96 by rrsquid // Dec 03, 2013 - 9:39pm
Well, pet peeve of mine. Lines are for betting. Casinos try to have 50% of all bets on either team. They make money by taking off the top of winning bets. They lose huge if a heavily betted team wins. They have nothing to do with anyone's perceived strength of a team or belief of actual results. This is why lines move as the % of bets start to favor one team or the other.
#101 by Cuenca Guy // Dec 03, 2013 - 10:07pm
They have very much to do with perceived team strength and belief of actual results. That's why the gamblers are betting their money. It may not necessarily be representative of "analysts" or "the population at large", but unless the line was set very poorly, it's a decent representation of what the money "believes".
#72 by bucko (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 7:14pm
I remain firm in the belief that Mike McCarthy has completely failed as a head coach over the past 5 games.
With that schedule and 3 games at home a team of any kind of ability should be able to gut out 1-2 wins
To have the team not just go winless but in multiple games be non-competitive is completely ridiculous.
I wasn't a McCarthy basher by any measure prior to this season. Thought the guy had some strengths and some frustrating weaknesses like any number of coaches.
But I have serious doubts now about what is happening in the GB offices. Your team at least needs to show some spunk. Not just roll over and play dead.
Nobody need respond with any type of rebuttal as I am not budging.
#105 by toolkien (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 10:56pm
You know, I'd really would have liked to "budge" you but then I remembered that the NFL is now a festering pile of crap. Is anybody else even dimly aware of the terrible shape this sport is in? It is pretty much unwatchable for anyone who used to enjoy the game - even well into the 90's. For the last 15 years it has turned into a ridiculous afterimage of its former self. It sort of looks like football if you don't pay too close attention. But it's a folding chair away from being a scripted show like the WWF.
#102 by RickD // Dec 03, 2013 - 10:13pm
That was a seriously impressive win by the Seahawks last night. If they play at that level in the playoffs, they'll be a Super Bowl favorite.
The biggest problem with be maintaining that level of play. Can they keep it up for another 8 or so weeks?
I still find it hard to accept that a Pete Carroll-coached team is playing this well. The Patriots of the late '90s were never close to this good.
#107 by Grant (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 11:10pm
I still find it hard to accept that a Pete Carroll-coached team is playing this well. The Patriots of the late '90s were never close to this good.
Coaching is a skill like any other. If a person is dedicated, willing to learn from mistakes and has opportunities he can become a better coach over time.
#152 by EricL // Dec 04, 2013 - 11:49am
In an interview a few weeks ago (video is out there somewhere, but I can't remember where the interview was aired), he said that when he returned to the college game, he revamped his entire approach on how to run a program/organization.
So, I'm sure his approach to assistant coaches changed as well. He's certainly a different coach, with a very different approach, than the last time he was in the NFL.
#108 by 3Monkies (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 11:31pm
Things change and team adapt. Seattle looks great, but they could lose to the Saints in the playoffs. They have a great QB and coach so while Seattle should be a heavy favorite, anything is possible.
Last year Denver blew out the Ravens similar to Seattle over the Saints last night, and that game was in Baltimore on a relatively cold day. In the playoffs, it was a different story. Circumstances like weather (coldest Bronco playoff game ever), injuries (LT Clady & RG Kuper play injured while Balt is healthier), etc totally affect the game.
#126 by Hurt Bones // Dec 04, 2013 - 2:54am
Agreed except for one little thing. 53° and sunny in Baltimore on Dec 16 is 'relatively' warm not cold (about 8° above average). Weather wise it was a beautiful day. I was there. I had complaints about the result, no complaints about the weather.
#112 by RickD // Dec 04, 2013 - 12:46am
No, why would I?
I'm from New England. We don't do college football. (BC notwithstanding)
Also, I have a real problem with how the NCAA makes millions of dollars from athletes without paying them. And Pete Carroll's USC teams were among the most notorious of rules violators. In any case, success at college football largely comes down to recruiting.
There's no shortage of college coaches who have failed at the pro level. So if you have a coach who has previously failed at the pro level and who has had some success at the college level, it doesn't follow that his college success is a better predictor of how he'll do later as a pro coach than his earlier NFL gigs (esp. if there were multiple gigs).
#114 by dirge (not verified) // Dec 04, 2013 - 1:48am
Carroll's USC teams got in trouble for allowing some of their players to be paid... which you would seem to support.
Carroll's still a goof, but he does seem to have learned a lot since his time in NE. His teams are consistently energized and aggressive; his teams seem to enjoy playing for him and their games are exciting. As a fan, there's not much more you can ask for (besides wins, of course).
#201 by RickD // Dec 05, 2013 - 11:55am
Somehow, I don't take the rule about the location of a camera used to view the opponents' coaches on games nationally televised in front of 60,000 fans very seriously. Especially since the commissioner (a former Jets' employee) blatantly mis-interpreted it.
"A September 6, 2006 memo from Ray Anderson, the NFL head of game operations, adds to this. However, the rules don’t support this belief. Anderson’s memo reads, “Videotaping of any type, including but not limited to taping of an opponent’s offensive or defensive signals, is prohibited on the sidelines, in the coaches’ booth, in the locker room, or at any other locations accessible to club staff members during the game.”
Unfortunately, the memo misquotes the rules, and Anderson can’t change the rules. Rule changes must be proposed to and voted on by the teams. "
Even the name "Spygate" is misleading. It's not spying if you're just noticing what is being done in public.
The NFL under Goodell has become lawless. If Belichick and Kraft had fought the charges like Jonathan Vilma had, Goodell's abuse of power would have become more apparent.
To make an analogy with our Federal justice system, Goodell's office took on the roles of legislature, prosecutor, and judge. He rewrote the rules, selectively applied them against his former employer's chief rival, and made up a punishment based on a whim. The Jets were caught doing exactly the same thing the previous season and didn't lose a draft pick.
According to the rules written at the time by the Rules Committee, not the memo put out by the league office, what the Patriots were doing was legal. A camera on the sidelines was not illegal.
"The rule mentions only three spots where teams can’t use video equipment during games—the coaches’ booth, the locker room, and the field. No rule bars teams from recording signals as long as they locate their cameras properly."
It's a source of unending annoyance that semi-educated fans have been railing against "spying" for 6 years based on nonsense charges.
I don't see this as remotely comparable to a university (or its boosters) paying an athlete under the table.
#226 by RickD // Dec 06, 2013 - 11:20pm
Hey, Karl. You could read the link if you want some education.
Find out something about how a team can be punished for a rule that wasn't really a rule, and have doubt cast on Super Bowls won between 2001 and 2005 for a rule "clarification" published in 2006.
As we found out during the most recent Jets-Patriots game, sometimes rule clarifications published by the league are controlling, while sometimes they aren't.
#206 by formido // Dec 05, 2013 - 2:08pm
Pot meet kettle, as they say. It's a source of unending annoyance that semi-educated fans still call Carroll Pete the Cheat based on a witch hunt and trumped up associations of impropriety to Carroll himself. You were perfectly comfortable talking about Carroll's "notorious" program even though Carroll's direct involvement was never proved and the penalized misconduct was not all that extensive.
In fact, there is very good reason to believe that the investigation of USC was not in good faith at all:
A USC RB coach, Todd McNair, sued the NCAA and won:
"On November 21, 2012, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Frederick Shaller ruled that the NCAA was "malicious" in its investigation of McNair. In his ruling, the Judge stated that e-mails between an investigative committee member, an NCAA worker, and a person who works in the agency's appeals division "tend to show ill will or hatred" toward McNair. In an e-mail, one staffer called McNair "a lying morally bankrupt criminal, in my view, and a hypocrite of the highest order." Judge Shaller said he would unseal the entire inquiry into McNair in December. "I understand [why] the NCAA wants to keep this quiet," the Judge said. "But I'm not going to seal the record... I know you guys are going to appeal it but from my part.. There's no reason to seal it.. I think the public has a right to know.""
#225 by RickD // Dec 06, 2013 - 11:18pm
I didn't say Carroll was personally involved.
And the link you provide doesn't say anything to contradict the charges against Reggie Bush and/or OJ Mayo.
I don't have an opinion about whether USC was unfairly targeted. As far as I'm concerned, most major programs have money going under the table to "amateur" athletes, and this isn't anything new.
My defense of the Patriots is based on a different point: that the commissioner didn't apply the rules as written.
My second point is that people accuse the Patriots of "cheating" to win Super Bowls when the only possible relevant "rule" was a "clarification" written in a memo in 2006.
#135 by panthersnbraves // Dec 04, 2013 - 8:33am
I like your "hearing impaired" one, but since it would be a neutral field, would that apply? I thought that almost everyone at the game itself was there as part of a corporate dealio...
Also, what were the chances of them NOT setting the record by at least one decimal point after setting everything up? Conspiracy theorists want to know...
#131 by CBPodge // Dec 04, 2013 - 7:22am
How close is the NFC West to being the best division ever by combined total DVOA or average DVOA (or maybe not ever, maybe since the change to the current setup of 8 4-team divisions)?
I can't remember a division having 4 of the top 12 before.
#136 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Dec 04, 2013 - 9:01am
I know you already stated since the new division format, so my example doesn't apply, but the only one that comes to mind was the 1995 NFC Central: the Top 4 teams were in the top 10 by DVOA. Of course the fifth team, Tampa Bay, dragged the division down as a whole. Nothing else is really coming to mind in the 8 division era.
#142 by CBPodge // Dec 04, 2013 - 10:14am
What is the NFC East now was great in 1991 - the Redskins, Giants, Eagles and Cowboys combined for 90.8% DVOA. The Phoenix Cardinals dragged it down with a -24.3% DVOA.
The 2007 AFC North was pretty good - Colts (2nd), Jags (3rd), Titans (11th) and Texans (18th) combined for 58.7% DVOA. The NFC West currently has 69.4% combined though. The 1995 (current) NFC North, despite their 4 top 10 finishes, only combined for 45.8% DVOA.
I would be really interested to see which division in history had the best total DVOA.
#147 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Dec 04, 2013 - 10:45am
When DVOA gets through the 80's, the 1984 AFC West looks like a good candidate. The Broncos, Seahawks, and Raiders had 13, 12, and 11 wins. Even the bottom of the division was no slouch, with the Chiefs at 8-8 and Chargers at 7-9. However the Broncos and Raiders were one and done in the playoffs, calling into question how strong any of them were by DVOA (not that upsets don't happen to great DVOA teams).
#157 by Perfundle // Dec 04, 2013 - 1:06pm
The current setup only encompasses 12 years, so tabulating the numbers was easy enough.
The best and worst division by DVOA occurred in the same year, and unsurprisingly, they played each other. The 2004 AFC East had three teams in the top 4, and the 2004 NFC West had three teams in the bottom 4. This year's NFC West is tied for 3rd place for the best division with the 2008 NFC East, behind the 2005 AFC West and the 2004 AFC East. And since I have the numbers, here are the average division DVOA ratings in those twelve years:
AFC East 5.88%
NFC East 4.59%
AFC North 4.38%
NFC South 0.51%
AFC West 0.11%
AFC South -1.71%
NFC North -3.80%
NFC West -10.72%
The NFC West averaged at most -7.15% for every year except the last two.
#184 by Danny Tuccitto // Dec 04, 2013 - 4:40pm
Looked into this. Perfundle's delivered the goods, but would just like to add the following:
1) 2004 AFC East is best & 2004 NFC West is worst even going back to 1989.
2) NFC West from 2004 to 2010 comprises 7 of worst 8 divisions since 1989.
3) Top 3 divisions per offense DVOA are all early naughts AFC West: 2002, 2005, 2004.
4) 2004 AFC East also best defensive division since 1989.
5) 2002 NFC South is best special teams division since 1989.
6) Early naughts AFC East has third- through fifth-best special teams divisions since 1989: 2004, 2002, 2005.
Of course, yeah, the extra teams per division before 2002 means less likelihood of extremes. Also, we're comparing the NFC West's DVOAs through 12 games with everyone else's end-of-season DVOAs. Maybe I can convince Aaron to add a blurb in next week's column looking at this with "DVOA through X games" instead.
#203 by EricL // Dec 05, 2013 - 12:09pm
Bill James did an article on this on baseball back in the early-mid-80s called "Competitive Mediocrity." When your primary rivals all suck, you don't have to do as much to make the same relative progress as when you're in a highly-competitive environment. Over time, this leads to what we saw in the NFC West for most of the Aughts.
Once SF broke out of it, suddenly the other teams had to do more to stay competitive. And, frankly, I'm surprised it turned around this fast. Usually there's more of a laggard.
#215 by Will Allen // Dec 05, 2013 - 3:59pm
You really need to turn down the flow rate in the fan-boy intravenous drip. I think Seattle is going to win the NFC, and I'll probably favor them in last game of the year. However, absent a lucky break with a 3rd round draft pick in the spring of 2012, they'd very likely still be looking up at the Niners.
#216 by SmoothLikeIce // Dec 05, 2013 - 4:17pm
Just wanted to raise an internet glass to your successful "find everything critiquing the Seattle Seahawks or their coach on this page and reply to it" campaign this afternoon! Good on you, my friend.
#132 by CBPodge // Dec 04, 2013 - 7:28am
I'd be really excited to see how the #1 pick odds might look next week if the Falcons, Redskins and Bucs all lose and the Texans beat the Jags - it'd look like you'd have 5 teams with roughly 15-25% chances of it.
This excites me because I'm a Rams fan and am desperately hoping the Redskins lose out and give us a #1 or #2 pick.
#154 by CBPodge // Dec 04, 2013 - 11:56am
I'd guess no, because Fisher and Les Snead both love Bradford. Assuming his knee will be ok in the long run, he didn't do anything to argue against that, and was having his best year as a pro despite playing half of it with no running game and receivers who didn't seem to know what they were doing!
I imagine they'd be quite happy to try to get another RG3-like deal from a team needing a QB or Clowney. Our main needs don't really tie up that well to the guys I'm seeing at the top of the draft (given that those are mainly QBs and pass rushers, and assuming we're happy with Bradford we need neither). I doubt we'd get a similar deal to the RG3 one though, even if we were picking #1/#2. I suspect its irrelevant though - the Redskins will win a game or two between now and then, and we'll have their pick around 5 or 6. Which still makes the RG3 trade a great deal for us (and to be fair, a pretty great deal for Washington too IMO).
#163 by TomC // Dec 04, 2013 - 1:57pm
I think it's only still a good deal for Washington if they 1) can keep Griffin healthy and 2) come up with a new offensive gameplan now that NFL defenses have figured out the read option. I think both of those necessitate dumping the Shanahans.
#179 by dryheat // Dec 04, 2013 - 3:55pm
I don't even think you need an excuse to dump the Shanahans. The elder has been a fraud for a long time, and the younger has a job in this league solely because he has the same surname as the fraud. The Schottenheimers are much better than their Shanahan counterparts, and I think very little of Brian Schottenheimer.
Belichick hired his son as an assistant coach. There's a difference between helping one's son get started in the industry by breaking down film and assisting a positional coach and letting him co-ordinate one's offense.
#200 by RickD // Dec 05, 2013 - 11:33am
The Redskins' offensive scheme isn't the problem. RG3 isn't the same QB as he was last year, and that slight difference is noticeable. In any case, the problem isn't the running game. That's fine. They need better pass blocking, badly. Justin Tuck came into Sunday's game with 2.5 sacks all season. He got 4 against the Redskins. They also need considerable improvement on defense.
Given that Shanahan inherited an above-average defense and turned it into crap, I would not count on him fixing things. He's really on thin ice these days.
Things started going south with the weird dynamic going on between him and RG3. Shanahan doesn't do much to counter the impression that there are special rules for RG3. And RG3 seems to channel RG2 way too much.
Shanahan has been making too many excuses lately.
#193 by Dave B (not verified) // Dec 04, 2013 - 9:53pm
The Rams as the 12th best team this year looks like kind of a mirage to me.
They are running at a net -0.5 yards per play deficit. They are 26th in the league in net drive success rate with both sides of the ball being equally poor
Advanced nfl stats has them at 28th in their team efficiency model.
Special Teams and Turnovers likely explains why they are high in DVOA currently.
#194 by jamie_k74 // Dec 04, 2013 - 11:52pm
Not meaning to sound all Peter Kingish, but something that may interest only me; over on the Playoff Odds page; look at the two tables "Playoff Scenarios" & "On The Clock". PS lists 21 teams, OTC shows 11, total 32. But NYJ appear on both; 0.1% chance of a Conference appearance, and 0.9% chance of a top-3 draft pick. So who misses out? The NYG are the ones in mediocrity limbo; assessed as having no chance of post-season sucess, nor of the consolation of a premium draft choice. They will, of course, be joined by more teams over the next month.
#196 by Hurt Bones // Dec 05, 2013 - 3:20am
Ladies and gentlemen, your Football Outsiders Message Board Preferred Poster Note of the Week (FOMBPPOTW). Me, I only noticed that Baltimore had the worst DVOA of any team that still had a mathematical chance at a No. 2 seed.