DVOA Analysis

Football Outsiders' revolutionary metrics that break down every single play of the NFL season

Week 4 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

Last week's No. 1 team in DVOA had a big lead over the rest of the league and a bye week. That means that the Philadelphia Eagles are this week's No. 1 team in DVOA as well. This is the week we start to introduce opponent adjustments, which begin at 40 percent of their usual strength and will gradually increase by 10 percent each week until we are at full strength after Week 10. However, the opponent adjustments don't do much to move the Eagles downward. Games against Chicago and Cleveland are mostly balanced by the big win against Pittsburgh. The difference between Philadelphia's VOA and DVOA listed in our tables below is entirely based on fumble recovery luck. The Eagles have recovered all three of their own fumbles on offense as well as four of six opponent fumbles on defense.

Last week it looked like the Eagles were going to take a big hit from opponent adjustments, because Pittsburgh was down at No. 22 after they lost big to Philadelphia. Well, one week sure changed things for the Steelers, who completely curb-stomped the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night. In three weeks, Pittsburgh's rank in DVOA has gone from fourth to 22nd and then back up to fifth. Meanwhile, Kansas City drops from No. 2 all the way down to No. 15 this week. I apologize that with the Jewish holiday and my deadline on the ESPN playoff odds article, I don't have the time to comb through 27 years of single-game DVOA to figure out if Pittsburgh or Kansas City are among the biggest week-to-week changes in single-game DVOA ever measured. It wouldn't be surprising if both teams are in the top ten. Based on current opponent adjustments, Pittsburgh had -60.7% DVOA for the Philadelphia loss but 87.6% DVOA for the win over Kansas City. Meanwhile, the Chiefs went from 69.4% DVOA in their Week 3 blowout of the Jets to a horrendous -99.5% DVOA for the loss to Pittsburgh.

Our undefeated teams are generally the class of the league so far according to DVOA. Philadelphia is first, Minnesota is third, and Denver is fourth. The one 3-1 team in our top four is, of course, DVOA's favorite binky, the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks are dominating the league on defense and in two weeks their offensive rating has moved from 27th to 17th. An additional reason why the Seahawks are higher than two undefeated teams in DVOA is fumble recovery luck, or lack of it. Seattle has fumbled four times on offense and recovered just one of them. The Seahawks have also recovered zero of the four fumbles they have forced on defense.

Overall, the DVOA ratings through four weeks are mostly agreeing with the early win-loss records. As you would expect given their ridiculously close losses and blown late leads, San Diego is the only 1-3 team with a positive DVOA. It is worth noting that for all the rending of garments and gnashing of teeth about the Arizona Cardinals, they are the second-highest 1-3 team.

Buffalo is our highest 2-2 team after a 16-0 win over New England that is destined to look completely screwy with opponent adjustments by the end of the year. As longtime readers know, we use one set of opponent adjustments for the entire season even if injuries cause major changes in a team's quality. There are a few reasons for this -- the complexity of programming constantly changing adjustments, the difficulty of deciding which injuries matter and which ones don't, etc. However, that Buffalo win is going to look nuts if, as expected, the New England Patriots offense plays much better with Tom Brady at quarterback for the final 12 games.

The Patriots are one of three 3-1 teams with negative DVOA. The Patriots' defense is down to 26th after this week's loss, and the special teams have had surprising struggles and dropped to 10th. The split for the New England special teams is telling: the Patriots have the best punting in the NFL and close to the best net kickoff value, but Stephen Gostkowski has slumped on field goals (missing two) and they are awful on kick and punt returns.

Nonetheless, the Patriots are far from the worst 3-1 team in the league so far. Same goes for the Los Angeles Rams, who are still ranked only 24th in DVOA despite their hot 3-1 start. It makes sense when you consider that we're talking about three very close wins and a horrific 28-0 loss to a bad San Francisco team. Seriously, what is it with the San Francisco 49ers and Week 1? The Rams still have an awful offense, ranked 31st in DVOA even after three wins. In fact, only one team has a worse offense, and that team also has three wins.

Oh, AFC South. You are so bad.

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The Houston Texans are 29th in DVOA after this week, despite starting the season 3-1. In fact, they oddly have the lowest DVOA right now in their awful division despite having a two-game lead. They have the worst offense in the league to go with the No. 8 defense and No. 25 special teams. Only two teams in DVOA history have been worse than the Texans at 3-1: the 2010 Chicago Bears (finished 11-5, 14th in DVOA) and the 2007 Detroit Lions (finished 7-9, 29th in DVOA).

The other surprise this year is all the way at the bottom, where the Cleveland Browns are not the worst team in the league by DVOA. No, that title now belongs to Ryan Fitz-six-picks and the New York Jets, who now rank among the five worst teams in both offense and defense. At least things should get easier for the Jets. Based on average DVOA of opponent, they have the second-easiest remaining schedule. The only team that gets it easier the rest of the way is Pittsburgh, which also has faced the hardest schedule through the first four games.

Someone asked me on Twitter if the Browns might have the best DVOA ever for an 0-4 team. No, they aren't even close. In fact, the team with the best DVOA ever for an 0-4 team is probably a real surprise to most of you. Only one team has ever had positive DVOA at 0-4, but that team was very positive: 15.0% DVOA and ninth in the league through four weeks. You don't remember it because it was before Football Outsiders launched in 2003. However, it won't be a surprise that this team outplayed its poor record because the next year it won the Super Bowl. In fact, this franchise hasn't had a losing record since the season in question. Yes, the best 0-4 team in DVOA history was the 2000 New England Patriots, who started the year with four straight one-score losses against four teams that would all end the year with winning records.

A few other notes from the arrival of the opponent adjustments and the second weekly table that includes past and future schedule ratings:

  • Based on average current DVOA of opponent, the four hardest remaining schedules in the NFL belong to the four teams of the NFC East. In order, from hardest to easiest, they go Washington, Philadelphia, Dallas, and New York.
  • The schedule also gets tougher the rest of the way for Seattle, which has enjoyed the league's easiest schedule by far in the first four games. On the other hand, things will get easier for the Jets and Steelers (as noted above) as well as the Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49ers. This is one of the reasons it is tough to answer the question, "Whose start is a bigger problem, Carolina or Arizona?" Arizona has been the better team so far this year but Carolina has a much easier path to the playoffs, with an easier schedule and just one 3-1 team in its division.
  • Based on game-by-game variance of DVOA, two of the three most consistent teams in the NFL so far are Tennessee and Indianapolis. The AFC South: not just lousy but consistently lousy!
  • Don't forget that the Estimated Wins figure in the table below is computed as if every team had played the same number of games. That's how New England can be listed at 4.0. I probably should change this at some point to a winning percentage instead of just a raw win total.

* * * * *

Once again this season, we have teamed up with EA Sports to bring Football Outsiders-branded player content to Madden 17 Ultimate Team. Each week, we'll be picking out a handful of players who starred in that week's games. Some of them will be well-known players who stood out in DVOA and DYAR. Others will be under-the-radar players who only stood out with advanced stats. We'll announce the players each Tuesday in the DVOA commentary article, and the players will be available in Madden Ultimate Team packs the following weekend, beginning at 11am Eastern on Friday. We will also tweet out images of these players from the @fboutsiders Twitter account on most Fridays. The best player of each week, the Football Outsiders Hero, will require you to collect a set of the other four Football Outsiders players that week, plus a certain number of Football Outsiders collectibles available in Madden Ultimate Team packs.

The Football Outsiders stars for Week 4 are:

  • LE Cameron Heyward, PIT (FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS HERO): 3 sacks, PD that led to interception.
  • TE Martellus Bennett, NE: Finished second among tight ends in Week 4 with 34 DYAR (5-of-6, 109 yards).
  • RB Isaiah Crowell, CLE: Tied for first among running backs in Week 4 with 50 DYAR (15 carries, 122 yards, TD). Remarkably, Crowell leads all running backs in both DYAR and DVOA through four weeks.
  • LT Charles Leno Jr., CHI: No sacks or pressures allowed; Bears running backs gained 63 yards on 11 carries left side; only penalty came on a Hail Mary attempt to end the first half.
  • DT Clinton McDonald, TB: 1.5 sacks, team-high 8 combined tackles.

* * * * *

Stats pages are now updated through Week 4 of 2016, including playoff odds. Snap counts and Premium Charting Data will be updated later this evening.

A quick note about the Football Outsiders player pages: We've finally been able to add all 2015 stats to the player pages, both for offensive and defensive players. That includes hits, hurries, and coverage stats for defenders. If you have a subscription to FO Standard Premium, you will see every player's entire career. If you do not have a subscription, you will only see the last three seasons. We still need to finish up 2015 similarity scores and replace the 2014 scores listed on the player pages; sorry about the delay on that, and I'm going to try to get it finished up in between doing all the 2016 things I do.

* * * * *

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These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through four weeks of 2016, measured by our proprietary Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) system that breaks down every single play and compares a team's performance to the league average based on situation in order to determine value over average. (Explained further here.)

OFFENSE and DEFENSE DVOA are adjusted 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. As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE. Because it is early in the season, opponent adjustments are only at 40 percent strength; they will increase 10 percent every week through Week 10. As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE.

DAVE is a formula which combines our preseason projection with current DVOA to get a more accurate forecast of how a team will play the rest of the season. Right now, the preseason projection makes up 50 percent of DAVE for teams with four games played, and 60 percent of DAVE for teams with three games played.

To save people some time, please use the following format for all complaints:

<team> is clearly ranked <too high/too low> because <reason unrelated to DVOA>. <subjective ranking system> is way better than this. <unrelated team-supporting or -denigrating comment, preferably with poor spelling and/or chat-acceptable spelling>

TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
TOTAL
DAVE
RANK W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
1 PHI 46.4% 1 13.4% 3 3-0 17.8% 4 -30.2% 2 -1.6% 19
2 SEA 35.4% 3 29.9% 1 3-1 0.0% 17 -30.7% 1 4.6% 6
3 MIN 29.3% 4 13.3% 5 4-0 1.8% 15 -24.3% 3 3.2% 9
4 DEN 25.7% 7 13.4% 4 4-0 8.4% 9 -17.8% 5 -0.5% 16
5 PIT 19.3% 22 17.9% 2 3-1 17.6% 5 0.1% 18 1.8% 13
6 GB 17.4% 5 12.0% 6 2-1 10.1% 7 -6.5% 10 0.8% 14
7 OAK 16.1% 11 6.7% 11 3-1 26.9% 2 14.8% 29 4.1% 8
8 ATL 16.0% 9 4.8% 14 3-1 29.7% 1 21.9% 31 8.2% 2
9 DAL 12.4% 8 5.2% 13 3-1 20.9% 3 7.3% 23 -1.2% 18
10 BUF 10.0% 17 4.0% 15 2-2 4.5% 12 -3.8% 14 1.8% 12
11 BAL 8.3% 6 7.8% 9 3-1 -12.4% 27 -18.5% 4 2.2% 11
12 CIN 8.0% 13 6.1% 12 2-2 2.6% 14 -8.4% 7 -2.9% 22
13 SD 4.1% 10 1.4% 16 1-3 8.9% 8 0.7% 20 -4.0% 24
14 WAS 2.3% 21 -3.3% 18 2-2 5.3% 11 8.6% 24 5.7% 4
15 KC 0.9% 2 7.8% 8 2-2 -10.6% 24 -7.2% 9 4.3% 7
16 ARI -3.9% 15 7.1% 10 1-3 -11.2% 25 -14.3% 6 -7.0% 30
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
TOTAL
DAVE
RANK W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
17 NE -5.6% 12 7.9% 7 3-1 3.5% 13 12.3% 26 3.2% 10
18 NO -6.7% 23 -4.3% 19 1-3 10.3% 6 13.8% 27 -3.2% 23
19 JAC -6.9% 28 -7.7% 23 1-3 -13.5% 28 -6.3% 11 0.3% 15
20 NYG -7.2% 18 -4.9% 21 2-2 0.7% 16 2.9% 21 -5.0% 28
21 CAR -7.4% 14 -0.3% 17 1-3 -5.6% 20 -3.0% 15 -4.8% 27
22 MIA -8.8% 19 -11.2% 27 1-3 -9.7% 23 -1.4% 16 -0.5% 17
23 CHI -9.5% 31 -9.4% 25 1-3 -4.3% 19 -0.6% 17 -5.8% 29
24 LARM -10.0% 27 -4.5% 20 3-1 -21.9% 31 -5.7% 12 6.2% 3
25 TEN -12.7% 20 -10.6% 26 1-3 -8.1% 21 -4.2% 13 -8.7% 31
26 DET -12.9% 16 -6.2% 22 1-3 6.8% 10 30.0% 32 10.3% 1
27 IND -14.7% 25 -8.4% 24 1-3 -2.4% 18 17.3% 30 5.0% 5
28 SF -16.6% 26 -17.3% 31 1-3 -11.3% 26 0.7% 19 -4.7% 26
29 HOU -19.3% 30 -13.7% 29 3-1 -23.3% 32 -8.2% 8 -4.3% 25
30 TB -21.4% 24 -12.8% 28 1-3 -15.1% 30 4.4% 22 -1.9% 20
31 CLE -29.1% 32 -25.9% 32 0-4 -8.3% 22 10.3% 25 -10.6% 32
32 NYJ -31.1% 29 -16.6% 30 1-3 -14.2% 29 14.7% 28 -2.2% 21
  • 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).



TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
1 PHI 46.4% 3-0 52.0% 3.7 2 -6.4% 24 9.0% 2 7.7% 12
2 SEA 35.4% 3-1 34.7% 3.3 3 -16.6% 32 1.2% 15 15.8% 23
3 MIN 29.3% 4-0 33.9% 3.7 1 -2.5% 19 -0.9% 21 8.8% 14
4 DEN 25.7% 4-0 34.6% 3.0 5 -8.9% 31 0.6% 16 13.3% 20
5 PIT 19.3% 3-1 15.0% 2.9 6 14.4% 1 -6.6% 32 38.1% 31
6 GB 17.4% 2-1 15.6% 2.3 12 3.2% 12 4.3% 7 16.9% 26
7 OAK 16.1% 3-1 17.4% 2.4 11 1.2% 16 0.1% 20 5.9% 10
8 ATL 16.0% 3-1 21.0% 3.0 4 -4.8% 21 5.3% 6 15.7% 22
9 DAL 12.4% 3-1 14.8% 2.7 8 -7.8% 29 8.9% 3 2.9% 8
10 BUF 10.0% 2-2 16.7% 1.9 16 -8.1% 30 -3.2% 26 12.3% 18
11 BAL 8.3% 3-1 13.4% 2.5 9 -2.5% 20 2.8% 9 2.1% 4
12 CIN 8.0% 2-2 13.0% 2.2 13 1.3% 15 1.4% 14 3.3% 9
13 SD 4.1% 1-3 8.2% 1.9 17 -6.9% 28 0.2% 19 1.9% 2
14 WAS 2.3% 2-2 6.5% 2.4 10 -1.2% 17 10.6% 1 9.0% 15
15 KC 0.9% 2-2 -4.6% 2.8 7 -6.7% 26 2.8% 8 49.1% 32
16 ARI -3.9% 1-3 2.4% 1.6 22 -6.8% 27 1.8% 13 12.5% 19
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
17 NE -5.6% 3-1 -0.7% 1.7 19 -5.5% 23 -1.7% 23 16.2% 24
18 NO -6.7% 1-3 -2.5% 2.0 15 7.3% 7 -1.9% 24 2.5% 6
19 JAC -6.9% 1-3 -3.0% 1.6 20 3.8% 10 -1.6% 22 11.3% 17
20 NYG -7.2% 2-2 -13.6% 1.5 25 9.3% 5 8.3% 4 2.7% 7
21 CAR -7.4% 1-3 -6.9% 1.2 31 13.6% 2 0.4% 17 18.3% 27
22 MIA -8.8% 1-3 -13.9% 1.8 18 2.2% 14 -4.9% 29 9.9% 16
23 CHI -9.5% 1-3 -12.7% 1.5 23 6.6% 9 0.3% 18 8.5% 13
24 LARM -10.0% 3-1 -8.7% 2.0 14 -1.6% 18 -3.2% 27 19.8% 28
25 TEN -12.7% 1-3 -12.2% 1.5 24 3.3% 11 -5.2% 30 1.3% 1
26 DET -12.9% 1-3 -8.9% 1.2 28 -4.9% 22 6.4% 5 14.8% 21
27 IND -14.7% 1-3 -9.3% 1.2 27 2.5% 13 -2.4% 25 1.9% 3
28 SF -16.6% 1-3 -12.7% 1.2 30 7.6% 6 -3.3% 28 23.3% 29
29 HOU -19.3% 3-1 -13.0% 1.6 21 -6.7% 25 2.7% 11 7.4% 11
30 TB -21.4% 1-3 -25.3% 1.3 26 7.0% 8 2.5% 12 26.3% 30
31 CLE -29.1% 0-4 -30.7% 0.3 32 12.1% 4 2.7% 10 2.4% 5
32 NYJ -31.1% 1-3 -31.8% 1.2 29 13.6% 3 -5.5% 31 16.3% 25

Comments

88 comments, Last at 11 Oct 2016, 12:49am

1 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Wow! The Eagles are better than I thought! They have more estimated wins than games played!

3 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

The Jets schedule is bound to get harder as New England improves. Right now it is counting a mediocre New England team per DVOA.

20 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

uyes,. tema alrerady craptastic at 1-3 and have still to play ariozna, balti, pitt, pates twice and browns. yes, brown,. jets always good for loss vs turd team.

no playoff for you, Jets fans.
4-12

26 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Their schedule will look harder but losing to Pitt/NE twice will still rack up the poor DVOA performances, staying in the bottom 5 teams is very likely for awhile.

4 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Wow, Dallas has the #3 offense? I wouldn't have guessed that.

If Dak keeps playing well, does Romo get his job back?

13 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

It's stupid on two levels (1) Romo is getting old and the Cowboys need to move on at some point. Dak looks like a solution, get him the reps. (2) When you break your back and can still walk, that's god telling you, "I'm going to give you a second chance but don't do that again."
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

32 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

I'll never blame a guy for wanting to keep the dream alive as long as possible.

But from a team standpoint, it's cold, but obviously Belichick made the right call when he booted Bledsoe in 2001. Dak seems to have shown enough that he's able to take that job when Romo is gone. So why not just give him the job now? If you put Romo in, you risk having him ruin a game by committing turnovers if he isn't really 100%.

44 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Yeah, I'm a big Romo fan, but I think he still has some trade value, which means I'd trade him. The Cowboys desperately need defensive talent, and they should have some urgency to get it, while the o-line is still fairly young.

The team remains poorly coached, however, and the owner is a real impediment to it being well coached, no matter who is hired to do the coaching. It really is similar to late stage Al Davis, except that Jerrel, unlike Al, has always sucked.

56 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Considering what the Rams or Jets SHOULD be willing to give up in draft value, yeah eat that contract baby!!
_______

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

70 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

The Jets would be foolish to trade for him; they're in line to get a top ten pick, possibly top three, and a shot at a rookie qb, and are a rebuilding project. Doubt their cap would fit Romo either. The Rams would make more sense if they hadn't traded up for Goff.

62 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Indeed. If I could trust the decision to reinstate Romo to be based on observation of his rehab and play on the practice field by competent coaches, I could get behind it. But the coaching competency is debatable, and it's hard not to believe it is simply Jones pulling all the strings anyway.

Like you I've always been a Romo fan; as much as anything he's an entertaining player to watch. But it's going to be tough watching him now, knowing any hit he takes could easily be his last, and put his future health in jeopardy.

67 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

I think reading between the lines of that "yes" you get, we don't want to start a QB controversy before it is necessary, we think/hope Romo may not play this year, Jerry Jones says so.

5 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Given the ranks of future schedules, I really like the chances of the Vikings to win the division over the Packers again, absent further injury disaster. If the Vikings o-line put forth, last night, what will be their typical performance for the balance of the season, they will have a very good chance of getting HFA for the first time in nearly two decades.

Well, if that statement doesn't summon The Curse of Drew Pearson/Darrin Nelson/Gary Anderson/Tracy Porter, nothing will!

23 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

A very good pass catching running back, but not on this play (40 second mark)......

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihXAHi0WM9U

Ugh. He could have won a Super Bowl with the team that drafted him (instead of Marcus Allen, of course), had he caught that pass. The Vikings had much more talent than the Broncos, outside of the QB position, of course. That's why they played the Redskins in two very, very, close games, but the Redskins blew out the Broncos.

29 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

That was my 2nd or 3rd year as a Vikings fan, and so I may not remember it as recently as the disappointments of '98, '03, and '09 (and others I've possibly blocked out), but I never thought that Vikings team was as strong as the '98 or '09 teams. I seem to recall them being huge underdogs to the Saints and 49ers that year, and I was surprised how easily they won the first 2 playoff rounds. SF was #1 in offense and defense that year (by yards), and the Vikings were only 15th and 10th, respectively, so it was a huge upset.

In '98, the Vikings were #2 in offense and #18 in defense, and in '09, they were #5 and #27. Obviously, yards is a terrible overall measure of a team, but the presence of a league-wide top 5 unit on offense in '98 and '09 made it seem those teams were capable of going all the way, and '87 never really felt that way until they won their first playoff games. Looking back now, that's the year that, if they had won the NFC championship, they would most likely have won the Super Bowl.

Anyway, I guess what I meant to say is that I don't have the disdain for Darrin Nelson as I do for some of the other players/teams that potentially cost the Vikings a championship.

34 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

The '09 team was 15th in defense by DVOA, and a year removed from being #4. It was a quality defense. That loss in the Super Dome will always be the worst for me, because they dominated both lines of scrimmage, on the road, and their qb clearly outplayed the opponents' qb, and they still lost the game, in a year when they woud have had a big talent edge over the AFC Champion.

The '03 team was soft, soft, soft, on defense. I couldn't really get bothered that it resulted in missing the playoffs by giving up a season ending td. The '98 defense really wasn't in the same league as the '09 defense, I thought, and I was not hugely surprised to see them give up a game-tying td drive, although I was shoocked to see Anderson miss the field goal.

The '87-89 teams are greatly underappreciated. They had two hall of famers on the offensive line, and the other three guys were really good. The defensive line was great, Doleman a HOFer, Millard on a HOF track until blowing out his knee in '90. Henry Thomas was a really, really good defensive tackle. Anthony Carter was really good at receiver. Joey Browner was a terrific safety. The '87 team kind of went under the radar because their replacementslost all three of their games in that strike year. The real players lost an overtime game to the Redkins in the regular season, a game that Wade Wilson ovethrew wide open deep receivers, and then were a dropped pass from having another ot against them in the Conference Championship, with the Redskins then going on to blow out the Broncos in the Super Bowl. Like a lot of good to great Vikings teams, erratic qb play was a problem.

75 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

I am a huge nfl fan, from mexico, so, obviously, here we dont receive so much analysis and development of the critical points as you do, so, i love to get in here and read all your comments¡ i was very little dating back to 1988 so i dont remember that loss but i clearly remember the 98 dissapointment and i still find it as one of the biggest knockouts i d ever seen. For me, that 98 Vikings team was clearly unstoppable, one of the best offenses ever, they destroyed everyteam they faced even the falcons, and i still dont know how thet blow that 10 point lead in 4th quarter, randall was playing like a superb version of Cam, randy moss and cris carter were the best wr duo ever, roberth smith was a very underrated but great running back, jake reed, a above-avergae defense...a really great team. That was for me the year for the vikings. 09 version was great but that year saints and colts stole the show althougt they outplayed new orleans in the nfc championship, they never had a big lead in that game

78 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Dan Reeves's team in '98 was disciplined and spent weeks developing secret tactics specifically to beat the '98 Vikings. They held together tightly under pressure and restrained the gimmicks and talents of that Vikings team that had faced very little adversity on the way to the NFC Championship. They were prepared to cover Moss tightly like no one before.

The Vikings had been abusing home field to put up loudspeakers behind the opponent's sideline in an already loud stadium. Reeves had even invented a new set of foot and hand signals to communicate.

And still the Vikings almost won. But they ran into a very cagy and experienced coach who knew all the tricks and the Vikings had not learned to adapt to challenges because they had encountered so few on the way. Eventually, like the 16-0 NE team, they were going to suffer for excessive easy success.

80 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Eh, they were a bit overrated. It took no caginess to take advatage of the Vikings qb greatest weakness, whch was his long wind-up. It just took a good pass rush, and to me the biggest play of the game was the strip sack of Cunningham, just before the half, which produced a Falcons' td, and changed the entire tenor of the game. As for covering Moss they did a good job, but Moss was still 40 yards downfield, 3 steps clear of any defender, in overtime, and Cunningham badly underthrew him.

I was pretty sure Terrell Davis would gash them badly in the Super Bowl, so I wasn't gigantically disappointed when they lost to the Falcons. To have have Anderson make that his first miss of the year was pretty aggravating, however.

83 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

The biggest play of that '98 NFC title game was the Moss end zone drop in the 2nd quarter with the Vikings up 17-7. He catches that TD, it's 24-7 Vikings and the game is over.

The Falcons gave up over 200 first half yards to the Vikings offense (71 yards receiving plus a 30 yard DPI to Moss), so their caginess and experience did nothing.

84 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

"Excessive easy success" is more of an excessively easy explanation than an accurate reflection of either game.

I found this video of the 1998 NFCCG, complete with commentary by Vikings players. It is well worth watching.

http://www.nfl.com/videos/minnesota-vikings/0ap2000000303838/Metrodome-Memories-98-NFC-Championship

33 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

I guess I never really thought about it before, but I just assumed that Marcus Allen was the first RB taken. I may have even guessed he was the first overall pick. I started following the NFL in about 1983-1984 (I was still only 11-12 years old at the time), but Marcus Allen already seemed super famous by then.

I just looked and saw that Nelson and Gerald Riggs went before him. I searched around online a bit looking for any stories about the draft prospects of those guys at the time, but didn't find anything.

What I did find is a story about how the Bucs drafted the wrong guy (Sean Farrell) in that draft.
http://www.si.com/longform/nfl-draft-82/

35 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Jerry Burns', who was Grant's offensive coordinator from '68-'85, and was with Lombardi prior to that, really liked his running backs catching passes, so it wasn't crazy to draft Nelson, and Nelson was a good player. Allen was a great player, of course, despite not having stopwatch speed which blew people away.

41 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Remarkably accurate, as ever.

What a draft for the Dolphins. Over at footballperspective there was a recent thread about Don Shula being underrated; drafts like that one would help explain his success.

Also regarding the 1982 draft, I didn't realise it was possible to have negative AV. But kicker Eddie Garcia, drafted by the Packers in a late round, managed to end up with a career AV of -1.

On drafting kickers: is Morten Andersen in the 4th round a defensible pick? More so than Rohn Stark in the 2nd! Baltimore: the Cleveland of the 1980s.

48 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

In hindsight, I think it's probably worth it. Even Janikowski in the first round was probably worth it, considering the Raiders have had a good kicker for 17+ years.

There seems to be about 1 kicker drafted in the first 4 rounds every year. That's 34 kickers since the merger. It looks like about 16 of them have gone on to play at least 100 career games. That's a little less than 50% success rate.

Chase Stuart did an analysis awhile back just on first round picks (he didn't look at K or P). Roughly 70% of first round picks end up being "average" or better. We can guess that rate would drop if we include 2nd, 3rd and 4th rounders. So for kickers to hit at 47% seems reasonable. Though I do wonder if, due to their draft status, some of those guys keep their jobs longer than they would otherwise.

But then if you figure opportunity cost of drafting a non-kicker, and the ease of finding replacement level kickers, spending a 4th rounder on a kicker seems like it might not be the best use of resources.

54 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

How many extra playoff games did the Raidettes play because of Janikowski?
I suspect none. Placekickers don't make the difference between playoff teams or sit-at-homes, and never have.

58 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

How many extra playoff games did the Raidettes play because of Janikowski?
I suspect none. Placekickers don't make the difference

Tell that to Marty Schottenheimer 1995, who had Lin Elliot miss 3 FGs in a home playoff game he wound up losing by 3 points.

63 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

And Kaeding was selected in the 3rd round of the draft, and was an otherwise excellent kicker - he still ranks 6th in all time FG%. Which I guess goes to show the random nature of these things.

64 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

If Vinatieri wasn't on NE, RaiderJoe has an extra title.

Do the Lions beat the 49ers in 1983 if Murray wasn't kicking with both hands wrapped around his neck?

79 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Gary Danielson threw 5 INTs in that game, and the offense failed to score on a 1st and goal from the one in the 2nd quarter. Do you really want to blame Murray for that loss?

77 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Well, Janikowski kicked a 45 and 38 yard field goal in the same Tuck Rule game that turned Adam Vinatieri into a legend. The game went to overtime, so Janikowski did his part.

But, I don't think any single player in football can really be the difference between wins and losses on a regular basis, except QB's.

57 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Rohn Stark in the 2nd! Baltimore: the Cleveland of the 1980s.

I'm not going to defend the pick; or, certainly, Baltimore's performance as a franchise in the 1980s. But, Rohn Stark the player should not become a joke. A 4-time Pro Bowler and once a first-team All-Pro; for many years Rohn Stark was the best athlete on the team. That's sad, but true. He was the emergency QB. On his retirement he was the NFL's all-time leader in total punting yards. The residue, no doubt, of having a long career for truly shitty teams that had to punt a lot: but he was also in the top ten for yards-per-punt.

Obviously he shouldn't have been a second round pick. But he was a quality player.

http://www.colts.com/news/article-1/Catching-up-With---Rohn-Stark/0eac1d99-6917-4b35-aaef-929e10df3fc6

(Um, can you tell I was a Baltimore Colts fan?)

59 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

I agree with all that. Of course, the idea of drafting a punter early is still an open wound for us Packer fans. There was at least a track record of doing so in the 1970s and early 1980s, and as you say Stark was one of the best – far more productive than Russell Erxleben, taken with the 11th pick overall by New Orleans three years previously.

However, by the year 2004, there was enough evidence to show it was not a good idea to trade up to draft a punter in the third round. A punter who turned out to be a bust. At least, I guess, it put paid to the Mike-Sherman-as-GM experiment.

6 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

The Week 4 BES Rankings are out - http://besreport.com/week-4-bes-rankings-2016/

Seems the BES and DVOA are in agreement on which teams occupy the top-10 except for Green Bay, Seattle and Buffalo who the BES has 12th, 13th and 14th respectively. Instead, the BES has the Patriots 5th, Texans 7th and Ravens 10th.

Like DVOA, however, the BES has the Chiefs at 15th where they fell from an 8th-place ranking a week ago. Pittsburgh was 6th in the BES heading into Week 4 but rose to 4th place behind Denver at No. 3.

Also, the BES isn't ready to bury the Jets just yet as they are 20th this week. Cleveland still owns the cellar in the BES at 32nd.

10 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

I'm curious what would happen at the end of the season to DVOA if you threw out each team's best and worst DVOA. I don't think Pittsburgh is likely to play as badly as they did against Philly again but Philly will always benefit from their collapse.

11 The name game

Regarding "Ryan Fitz-six-picks", hasn't he been called " Ryan Fitz-pick-six" in the past? I guess he lived up to both names in this game.

12 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Why does DVOA dislike the New England defense so much? They're allowing 16 points per game, which is fourth-best in the league. Granted, they haven't played super offenses, but to the eyeball test they've looked like a top-ten defense for the entire season except for the second half of week 2. Is it because DVOA cares more about yards allowed than points allowed?

15 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

The defense wasn't good in the first half on Sunday. It allowed Buffalo to score on it's first three possessions, after long drives, in spite of the Bills committing several penalties (shock). Taylor completed 16/19 first half passes.

18 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Patriots' opponents are beginning their average drive between the 22 and 23 yard lines – fully five yards deeper than the average, and 10 yards further away than opponents of the Ravens. This is mostly due to kickoff distance and coverage.

For instance, in Week 1, kickoffs forced the Cardinals to start three of their nine drives inside their own 20. All three of these drives gained more than 40 yards (147 in total) and crossed midfield, but because of where they began, they led to 0 points (two punts and a missed field goal). It's not unrealistic to imagine that if the Cards had needed 10 fewer yards on each drive, they would have scored at least the three extra points they needed to win the game, and probably more. (The three drives that Arizona started from beyond their own 25 produced 14 points. And Arizona ranks just 25th in offense at the mo.)

So, yes, when calculating defense, DVOA does prefer yards over points, because what your eyeball sees as a defensive stop can in fact be as much the result of great special teams. But that is incorporated into overall DVOA. So if your eyeballs think DVOA is underestimating New England's defense, they should be prepared to accept that it is overestimating New England's special teams to the same degree.