Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Week 9 DVOA Ratings
Week 9 DVOA Ratings
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Aaron Schatz

With the Los Angeles Rams losing their first game of the season, it probably is no surprise that the Kansas City Chiefs remain No. 1 in our DVOA ratings this week. It's how high the Chiefs' rating has gone that's a little surprising.

A 37-21 victory sounds like a healthy win, but not the kind of dominant performance that should dramatically lift any team's DVOA rating. But Kansas City's offense hit the DVOA sweet spot in this game with a combination of big plays and consistent performance against one of the better defenses in the league.

Kansas City's 8.75 yards per play was the fourth-highest average of any offense in any game so far this season. Forty-five percent of plays were first downs or touchdowns, which was third highest of any offense in any game so far this season. Kansas City's success rate was 57 percent, one of the dozen highest success rates in any single game so far this season.

As a result, the Chiefs get the highest single-game DVOA of the year. It's the highest offensive performance at 118.2% DVOA, which means even though Kansas City had below-average defense in this game, the Chiefs also have the highest single-game total DVOA of the year at 98.7%.

And adding those plays in to what the Chiefs had done so far moves the Chiefs' offensive DVOA up to 41.6%, which is now the third-highest ever tracked through nine games. Combined with the Chiefs' No. 1 special teams and bad (but not horrific) defense, this week's game moved the Chiefs up to 43.8% total DVOA, which puts the Chiefs on the list of all-time best teams ever tracked through nine games.

Here's a look at the Chiefs' performance this week along with the rest of the ten best single-game offensive performances so far this year. You'll notice the Chiefs have three of the top five games.

Top Offensive Games by DVOA, Weeks 1-9 2018
Team Week vs. Score TO DVOA VOA Suc Rate Yd/Play FD%
KC 9 CLE 37-21 1 (0) 118.2% 114.7% 57% 8.75 45%
LAR 4 MIN 38-31 1 95.3% 87.8% 61% 10.33 43%
KC 2 PIT 42-37 2 75.4% 75.6% 56% 8.67 41%
ATL 9 WAS 38-14 1 65.5% 68.0% 49% 7.67 37%
KC 7 CIN 45-10 1 52.8% 53.6% 54% 7.87 46%
CAR 8 BAL 36-21 0 50.2% 43.3% 48% 6.36 35%
OAK 8 IND 28-42 1 49.2% 55.3% 54% 7.57 41%
MIA 3 OAK 28-20 0 48.4% 73.9% 38% 9.84 33%
LAR 3 LAC 35-23 2 46.1% 45.6% 59% 7.47 44%
HOU 8 MIA 42-23 0 45.7% 53.0% 44% 7.93 31%

The turnover column here represents all interceptions or fumbles, including those recovered by the offense. Why does Kansas City's Week 9 game say "1 (0)" in that column? That's because we've coded Patrick Mahomes' interception on the final play of the first half as a "Hail Mary." That means that it was not penalized in DVOA any more than an incomplete pass would have been penalized in that situation. This may be a bit questionable, of course, because there was always a tiny possibility the Browns could return the interception for a touchdown on the final play before halftime.

Do you think that this throw does help indicate that Mahomes is more likely to throw interceptions in the future? OK, but if we included it in DVOA as an interception there wouldn't be much difference. After all, we're talking about chucking the ball downfield on third-and-11, the classic "arm punt." If we counted this as an interception, Kansas City's DVOA would only drop to 112.0% for the game. Their offensive DVOA for the season would drop from 41.6% to 40.9%, less than a full percentage point, and they would still rank as the No. 3 offense in DVOA history.

THROUGH 9 GAMES, 1986-2018
Year Team DVOA
2007 NE 47.0%
1999 WAS 42.6%
2018 KC 41.6%
1995 DAL 37.4%
1998 DEN 36.4%
1993 SF 36.1%
2013 DEN 35.4%
1993 DAL 35.1%
2004 IND 34.7%
2002 KC 33.6%
2011 GB 33.5%
2010 NE 33.0%

How good is Kansas City's offensive DVOA after their Week 9 win? There are only 12 single games this year where other teams had higher offensive DVOA than Kansas City has on the entire season so far. And remember, this is adjusted for era, so this accounts for the fact that offensive numbers around the league are so high this year. Here's a look at where the Chiefs rank among the top overall teams ever, despite their No. 27 defensive unit.

THROUGH 9 GAMES, 1986-2018
Year Team DVOA
2007 NE 73.8%
1991 WAS 59.0%
1996 GB 49.5%
2003 KC 49.4%
2001 PHI 48.8%
1990 CHI 46.5%
1994 DAL 46.5%
1992 DAL 44.0%
2018 KC 43.8%
2007 DAL 41.7%
2002 TB 41.4%
1995 DAL 40.9%

(You might notice the Dallas Cowboys appear on one or both of these tables for every year between 1992 and 1995. Damn, that team was good.)

Meanwhile, the Rams dropped from 33.3% to 30.1% after their loss to New Orleans, which means there's a hefty 13-point gap between the Chiefs and the Rams. Part of the issue here is that the Rams defense has not been as good as you probably think it is. The Rams are only 16th in defensive DVOA right now; they're above average against the pass, but I think most of us expected a team with that much defensive talent to be better than 12th against the pass at midseason.

The big DVOA gap between the Chiefs and Rams also produces a big gap in our playoff odds report. We now have the Chiefs as our prohibitive Super Bowl favorites, and they win the Super Bowl in 35 percent of our simulations compared to the Rams in just 21 percent of simulations.

Carolina moves up to No. 3 after beating Tampa Bay this week. It's a bit of a surprising result given that other indicators would suggest the Panthers aren't as good as their record. Their Pythagorean projection would only be 5-3, and they rank 29th in past schedule based on average DVOA of opponent. Nonetheless, they've been efficient on offense and improving on defense. Carolina is No. 3 in DVOA while New Orleans is still only No. 7, which leads to an interesting dichotomy in the playoff odds. With a one-game division lead, New Orleans is more likely than Carolina to win the NFC South, more likely to make the conference championship game, and more likely to make the Super Bowl. But the Panthers come out as slightly more likely to win the Super Bowl.

Other big risers this week include the Patriots (from 10 to 6), the Falcons (from 23 to 19), and the 49ers (from 30 to 26). This week's big fallers are primarily in the NFC East: Washington drops from 16 to 21, and Dallas from 19 to 24. Philadelphia's odds of making the playoffs went up 11.7 percent this week without even playing a game, and that's without even taking into account all the injuries that Washington has suffered through in the last couple weeks.

Finally, it wouldn't be the weekly DVOA commentary in 2018 without a check-in on the fascinating black hole that is the Buffalo Bills offense. Last week, the Bills were the worst offense we had ever tracked through eight games. Somehow, they got even worse, dropping from -51.8% to -53.9%. And this was the week for the Bills to get out of last place in our historical tracking, because the 2005 49ers had a horrendous Week 10 loss to the Chicago Bears. That dropped them to -53.0% offensive DVOA (based on how DVOA works now, not how it worked when Football Outsiders was around in 2005). Before the 2018 Bills, San Francisco's -53.0% offensive DVOA in Week 10 of 2005 was the only time since 1986 any offense was below -50% after Week 6.

THROUGH 9 GAMES, 1986-2018
Year Team DVOA
2018 BUF -53.9%
2005 SF -53.0%
2002 HOU -47.0%
2010 CAR -45.9%
2013 JAX -44.5%
1992 SEA -44.3%
2007 SF -43.8%
1996 STL -43.0%
2009 OAK -42.7%
1992 IND -39.9%
2006 OAK -39.7%
2004 MIA -38.6%

The next week, the 49ers played the Seattle Seahawks and kept the game close, losing 27-25. That game raised their offensive DVOA to -46.2%. So if the Bills don't get their act together against the New York Jets this week, there's going to be a big gap between the 2018 Bills and every other bad offense in the 33-year history of DVOA ratings.

Remember my little stat about the Chiefs' offensive DVOA compared to single games for other teams? Well, we can tell the same story about the Bills. There are only 10 single games this year where other teams have offensive DVOA worse than what the Bills have for the entire season so far. The Bills have the two worst single games on offense (Week 1, a 47-3 loss to Baltimore, and Week 4, Green Bay's 22-0 shutout) and five of the worst 11.

At least the Bills have one excuse for looking so bad: they've played a very difficult schedule. Buffalo has played the third-most difficult schedule of opposing defenses this year, trailing just Tennessee and Arizona. This sounds like a great excuse until you realize which team has played the fourth-hardest schedule of opposing defenses.

That would be the Kansas City Chiefs.

* * * * *

This week we introduce weighted DVOA, our rating that drops the strength of earlier games to get a better idea of how well teams are playing now. The last eight weeks worth of games are still at full strength or close to it, so right now the only game with less than 95 percent strength is Week 1, and the weighted DVOA ratings are very similar to the total DVOA ratings. In future weeks, they'll begin to diverge a little bit. We're also (mostly) retiring DAVE, our rating that combines in-season performance with preseason projection early in the season. Usually, DAVE is gone in Week 8, but this year we extended it a bit to give some weight to the preseason forecast for a couple more weeks. In fact, I'm still using DAVE this week in the playoff odds report, but you won't find it on the team stats pages. This last week of DAVE weights the preseason forecast at 5 percent for teams with nine games played and 10 percent for teams with eight games played. The plan is still to do more research in the offseason to figure out if there's a way to change the weights on both DAVE and weighted DVOA to make both more predictive.

* * * * *

Stats pages should now be updated through Week 9, including playoff odds, the FO Premium DVOA database and snap counts.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through nine weeks of 2018, 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. Opponent adjustments are currently at 90 percent strength, and will hit full strength next week. As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE.

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.

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 KC 43.8% 1 43.2% 1 8-1 41.6% 1 7.6% 27 9.8% 1
2 LAR 30.1% 2 29.7% 2 8-1 28.3% 2 -0.5% 16 1.3% 11
3 CAR 23.8% 4 24.5% 3 6-2 18.8% 5 -2.0% 14 3.1% 6
4 CHI 22.1% 5 22.4% 4 5-3 6.6% 10 -18.2% 1 -2.7% 26
5 LAC 20.8% 3 21.4% 5 6-2 27.5% 3 -1.5% 15 -8.2% 32
6 NE 16.5% 10 16.7% 6 7-2 14.4% 7 -2.1% 13 0.0% 16
7 NO 13.8% 8 15.4% 7 7-1 19.7% 4 8.1% 28 2.3% 10
8 DEN 12.8% 7 12.2% 9 3-6 5.9% 11 -9.8% 4 -2.9% 27
9 SEA 11.4% 6 12.6% 8 4-4 0.8% 16 -9.4% 5 1.2% 12
10 BAL 10.9% 9 9.5% 11 4-5 4.0% 13 -6.2% 10 0.7% 13
11 PIT 9.8% 13 10.4% 10 5-2-1 13.8% 8 1.8% 21 -2.3% 24
12 HOU 7.3% 12 7.5% 12 6-3 -6.7% 24 -10.4% 3 3.6% 4
13 GB 5.2% 11 4.5% 13 3-4-1 11.2% 9 3.5% 24 -2.5% 25
14 MIA 4.7% 14 4.3% 15 5-4 -0.3% 17 0.6% 19 5.6% 3
15 IND 3.4% 15 4.4% 14 3-5 3.1% 14 2.7% 22 3.0% 7
16 MIN 2.0% 18 1.7% 16 5-3-1 -2.7% 19 -6.9% 9 -2.3% 22
17 CIN 1.3% 17 0.4% 17 5-3 4.2% 12 2.8% 23 -0.1% 17
18 JAX -3.5% 20 -4.2% 19 3-5 -15.8% 28 -8.9% 6 3.4% 5
19 ATL -4.0% 23 -2.9% 18 4-4 15.2% 6 19.4% 30 0.3% 14
20 PHI -4.8% 21 -6.1% 21 4-4 -4.7% 21 -2.2% 12 -2.3% 23
21 WAS -5.9% 16 -5.8% 20 5-3 -3.6% 20 4.7% 25 2.5% 9
22 TEN -9.9% 25 -9.3% 22 4-4 -11.8% 26 0.7% 20 2.6% 8
23 NYJ -11.3% 22 -14.3% 25 3-6 -26.8% 30 -8.8% 7 6.7% 2
24 DAL -11.3% 19 -11.3% 23 3-5 -11.1% 25 -0.5% 17 -0.7% 19
25 NYG -13.1% 24 -13.3% 24 1-7 -5.9% 23 7.5% 26 0.2% 15
26 SF -18.7% 30 -18.0% 26 2-7 -14.6% 27 0.5% 18 -3.6% 29
27 TB -20.7% 29 -21.6% 28 3-5 2.9% 15 21.5% 32 -2.2% 21
28 CLE -22.1% 27 -22.1% 29 2-6-1 -22.4% 29 -5.7% 11 -5.4% 31
29 DET -23.4% 26 -19.3% 27 3-5 -2.6% 18 17.5% 29 -3.3% 28
30 OAK -29.3% 28 -30.0% 30 1-7 -4.9% 22 20.2% 31 -4.2% 30
31 ARI -32.6% 31 -32.5% 31 2-6 -38.3% 31 -7.1% 8 -1.3% 20
32 BUF -41.6% 32 -39.2% 32 2-7 -53.9% 32 -12.5% 2 -0.2% 18
  • 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 KC 43.8% 8-1 42.0% 8.7 1 3.3% 8 -2.6% 18 10.2% 14
2 LAR 30.1% 8-1 36.3% 7.5 2 -1.6% 18 -0.3% 12 8.8% 10
3 CAR 23.8% 6-2 28.6% 6.4 4 -6.0% 29 -2.7% 19 10.3% 15
4 CHI 22.1% 5-3 29.0% 6.4 3 -8.6% 31 -4.9% 26 13.8% 24
5 LAC 20.8% 6-2 29.0% 5.7 6 -4.5% 27 3.7% 9 4.5% 1
6 NE 16.5% 7-2 16.7% 5.5 7 2.0% 10 -8.2% 31 10.4% 16
7 NO 13.8% 7-1 14.7% 6.0 5 -2.8% 25 2.2% 10 5.3% 2
8 DEN 12.8% 3-6 12.0% 5.4 8 8.2% 3 -2.5% 17 15.4% 25
9 SEA 11.4% 4-4 16.8% 5.0 14 -1.3% 17 4.4% 7 9.1% 11
10 BAL 10.9% 4-5 8.5% 5.4 10 -0.2% 16 -1.5% 16 15.8% 27
11 PIT 9.8% 5-2-1 14.2% 5.1 13 -0.2% 15 7.0% 5 6.3% 3
12 HOU 7.3% 6-3 13.5% 5.2 11 -4.7% 28 -7.7% 30 8.0% 6
13 GB 5.2% 3-4-1 4.0% 5.4 9 -2.4% 23 -3.9% 22 10.7% 17
14 MIA 4.7% 5-4 4.2% 4.3 18 -4.2% 26 -8.5% 32 13.3% 22
15 IND 3.4% 3-5 8.6% 5.1 12 -8.5% 30 -4.9% 25 8.1% 7
16 MIN 2.0% 5-3-1 3.9% 4.9 15 -9.3% 32 8.4% 2 9.8% 12
17 CIN 1.3% 5-3 0.0% 4.6 17 9.0% 1 -0.7% 15 21.9% 29
18 JAX -3.5% 3-5 -5.3% 3.7 22 2.1% 9 -3.6% 21 13.4% 23
19 ATL -4.0% 4-4 2.3% 4.1 19 0.5% 12 -4.1% 23 8.8% 9
20 PHI -4.8% 4-4 0.2% 4.0 20 -2.7% 24 0.5% 11 8.6% 8
21 WAS -5.9% 5-3 -2.6% 4.7 16 -1.8% 21 -7.6% 29 10.0% 13
22 TEN -9.9% 4-4 -11.0% 3.9 21 -2.2% 22 -0.4% 13 10.8% 18
23 NYJ -11.3% 3-6 -10.4% 2.7 27 0.1% 13 -6.8% 28 23.8% 30
24 DAL -11.3% 3-5 -5.2% 3.1 25 -1.7% 19 -4.5% 24 7.3% 4
25 NYG -13.1% 1-7 -14.2% 3.3 23 1.9% 11 -5.7% 27 12.0% 20
26 SF -18.7% 2-7 -21.3% 2.9 26 -1.8% 20 7.7% 3 12.1% 21
27 TB -20.7% 3-5 -26.2% 2.6 28 5.0% 6 -0.5% 14 11.4% 19
28 CLE -22.1% 2-6-1 -13.9% 2.4 29 5.3% 5 7.6% 4 7.3% 5
29 DET -23.4% 3-5 -19.9% 3.1 24 -0.2% 14 3.9% 8 28.2% 32
30 OAK -29.3% 1-7 -31.2% 2.0 30 5.3% 4 13.8% 1 20.7% 28
31 ARI -32.6% 2-6 -37.2% 1.9 32 4.4% 7 6.8% 6 15.6% 26
32 BUF -41.6% 2-7 -52.1% 2.0 31 8.7% 2 -3.4% 20 24.1% 31


58 comments, Last at 14 Nov 2018, 2:38pm

#1 by Will Allen // Nov 06, 2018 - 8:09pm

Halfway through the season, so it's time to start considering which teams will improve or decline significantly come December and January. I always remember 2007, because the Giants pass rush rotation got healthy and became dominant, and the Patriots offense, while dominant, came back to earth. 2012 had the Ravens o-line go from awful to good in what seemed like two weeks, when one starter was added, and two were moved. There are other examples, of course.

The Eagles are an obvious choice for a 2nd half improvement. I think the Texans have real potential, as Watson gets more back in the groove. I still don't know what to make of the NFC North. I still think Denver's DVOA is less representative of their quality than their w-l record, probably because I don't trust Keenum. K.C. is going to be great on offense all year, but I think come December things will become a little more challenging.
In the playoffs, I think the Rams defensive backs may be responsible for a playoff loss in the divisional round. I'll believe Brady is no longer a post season monster when somebody sneaks into his lair, known as Gillette Stadium, and drives a stake through his heart.

Points: 0

#4 by schmoker // Nov 06, 2018 - 8:43pm

Atlanta. Possibly Indy. But I really think Atlanta is so much better than their cumulative play so far would suggest. That defense might be too injured to really improve a lot, but they can be sort of a junior grade KC, where the awesome offense overwhelms the defensive deficiencies.

Points: 0

#9 by BJR // Nov 07, 2018 - 6:44am

The Texans offense is still wildly inconsistent, I really don't like their chances of hanging with the AFC's other offensive powerhouses.

Pittsburgh's offensive DVOA is on the way up and has the potential to go a lot higher, and their division now looks there for the taking. Not sure about the defense though.

Points: 0

#13 by Boots Day // Nov 07, 2018 - 9:42am

I always think of the 2006 Colts getting Bob Sanders back for the playoffs.

Points: 0

#19 by andrew // Nov 07, 2018 - 11:45am

One thing to look at is discrepency between past schedule toughness and future schedule toughness.

So, looking at schedule change from past to future this year, the team with the greatest lessening of their schedule (i.e, from difficult to easy) are in fact the Buffalo Bills.

They go from 8.7% past (2nd) to -3.4% future (20th), a decrease of 12.1%. Two other teams have a 10% decrease in difficulty, Denver 8.2% past (3rd) to -2.5% future (17th) is a drop of 10.7% and New England 2.0% past (10th) to -8.2% future (31st) drops 10.2%. It would be reasonable to expect some improvement from them based on this. The next few teams in order are Cincinnati (9.7% decrease), both New York team -- Giants (7.6%) and Jets (6.9%), KC (5.9%), Washington (5.8%), Tampa (5.7%) and Atlanta (5.5%).

On the flip side though you get your biggest extreme. The team with the worst increase is by far the Minnesota Vikings. Their past schedule is the easiest (-9.3%) in the entire league. Their future schedule is the 2nd toughest, 8.4% (trailing only the Raiders). This is a staggering 17.70% increase in dificulty, almost double the next closest team.

From there you have San Fransisco which goes from -1.8% (20th) past to 7.7% (3rd) future, for an increase of 9.5%. The others above 5% increase are: Oakland (-8.5%), but their schedule is difficult all around, their past schedule of 5.3% is 4th, it is only the extreme nature of their future schedule (13.8%, 1st) that makes for such a huge increase. After that you get the Chargers (8.2%), Steelers (7.2%), Seahawks (5.7%) and Saints (5.0%). It would be reasonable to expect drop offs from these teams.

The Vikings figure is such an outlier I wonder how that compares to the midway points for past seasons, and how such teams ended up fairing in the second half. Maybe an idea for an (offseason?) article? That their schedule was the easiest seemed a shock, prior to the start of the year I remember how brutal their early schedule seemed (games at the Rams, Eagles, Packers and also Saints) and was hoping they could survive into the supposed easier part of their schedule later on. The Bills seemed to be the only soft spot on their schedule.

Speaking of which - of the 6 easiest past schedules so far, 5 of them (Vikings, Bears, Colts, Texans, Chargers) played the Bills. The easiest future schedule (Miami) has the Bills twice, and the 2nd easiest (New England) also has them.

Points: 0

#20 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 07, 2018 - 11:48am

I buy the Vikings having the 2nd hardest future schedule.

It's Chicago (x2), GB, NE, Seattle, Miami, Detroit.
If you think Chicago and/or Miami are legit, that's murderer's row. It's easier if you think it isn't.

That said, I don't buy a past schedule which involves NO, LAR, GB, Philadelphia, and the Garoppolo 49ers as the easiest schedule.

Points: 0

#21 by andrew // Nov 07, 2018 - 12:00pm

The rankings don't take into account those things (like the playoff odds do). While Josh Allen was pretty bad, he was better than the other two QBs most Buffalo opponents have faced. and the Vikings were one of only two teams to get a full game of Grappolo (and the 49ers won the other game). Yeah they had the Rams (2nd), Saints (7th), and Packers (13th) their 9 games include: Philly (20th), Jets (23rd), 49ers (26th) ,Lions (29th) Cards (31st) and Bills (32nd). The rankings also don't include things (I think) like having the LA game be on the road on Thursday night... It might be possible to try to work that into it but I imagine it would be a lot of work...

Points: 0

#22 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Nov 07, 2018 - 12:02pm

Strength of Schedule is an averaging stat with only a few inputs, so outliers have a big impact. Having two games against the Bills doesn't make the rest of your schedule any easier than having, say, two games against the Raiders, but everything else being equal, it gives you a weaker Strength of Schedule.

Your expected Ws, though, may be the roughly same in both cases, since you're likely to win both of those games regardless (the Bills just predicted to be an even easier out than the Raiders).

Or viewed another way, you might rather have one game against KC and one against SF, rather than having a game against NE and a game against NO, but Strength of Schedule would say those two schedules are roughly equally difficult.

Points: 0

#24 by Will Allen // Nov 07, 2018 - 12:21pm

I think the disparity between playing a mid December game against the Dolphins in Minneapolis, as opposed to Miami, is quite large, verging on huge.

Points: 0

#32 by dryheat // Nov 07, 2018 - 1:51pm

Tom Brady wholeheartedly endorses this.

Points: 0

#23 by Will Allen // Nov 07, 2018 - 12:15pm

If the Eagles are actually the 20th best team in the league, and the Bears actually the 4th, then, yes, that disparity of sos, past and future, for the Vikings may be meaningful. I actually don't think there are 19 better teams than the Eagles, and I have no firm opinion on the
Bears, other than 41 points on less than 200 yards of offense isn't sustainable, and that their defense won't be the best any longer if Mack isn't healthy enough to do his Hulk Smash act. Much will be revealed in 12 days. Unless Rieff heals up and the rookie rt plays at an advanced rookie level, the Vikings are going to have a hard time scoring points, although a healthy and thus dynamic Cook will really help. I think they'll need to hold the Bears to no more than 13 points. I think it will be an interesting game, although I'd favor the Bears, since the Vikings don't win a lot at Soldier's Field.

That blowout loss to the Bills is really skewing the Vikings' metrics, much like the early blowout loss to a bad Niners team did in 2015. That's not to say that you can ignore it, but like the Niners loss, in a game that started at 10:30 P.M. by the Vikings circadian clocks, that Bills blowout loss had some odd stuff around it, like Petermen being on the bench, and thus not offering his generous gifts, and Everson Griffin's mental disintegration peaking that week, as part of multiweek phenomena. It isn't crazy to think the issue affected everybody's preparation that week. It's one thing to have a good player and leader get hurt, it's another to have him come to work each day more and more obviously mentally disturbed. Really an unusual situation.

I'm just happy to see the guy back and it'll be inteteresting to see how things play out. They certainly have little room for error at this point.

Points: 0

#29 by TomC // Nov 07, 2018 - 1:36pm

the Vikings don't win a lot at Soldier's Field

You get a little "Honorary Chicagoan" hat for that one, Will. Do youse buy your groceries at the Jewel's, too?

Points: 0

#31 by Will Allen // Nov 07, 2018 - 1:48pm

Now, now, go easy on the sarcasm; I think I typically lose the possessive when describing the home venue of Chicago's professional football team.

Points: 0

#52 by TomC // Nov 08, 2018 - 6:44pm

It wasn't sarcasm! I just suddenly heard all of your posts in a heavy Bridgeport accent and needed to convey my amusement.

Points: 0

#38 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 07, 2018 - 4:00pm

"Soldier" is the name of the UFO that parked atop it in 2003.

Points: 0

#51 by andrew // Nov 08, 2018 - 11:48am

Soldier's Field is actually a park in Bioshock Infinite, "for pint-sized patriots" (like Braxton Berrios or Kenjon Barner).

I'd link it, but the spam filter won't let me. You can google it though, on the bioshock wiki.

To my knowledge, it is true the Vikings don't win a lot there.

Points: 0

#40 by BJR // Nov 07, 2018 - 5:00pm

There is surely autocorrelation(?) at work re. the Bills & Raiders schedules? I.e. their past opponents all look better because they’ve had the opportunity to beat up on the Bills & Raiders. Somebody more statistically trained than me (it’s been 15+ years) can probably explain this better.

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#25 by Ferguson1015 // Nov 07, 2018 - 12:29pm

I only mention them because I don't see them here, but the Chargers getting Joey Bosa back as well as the possibility of Hunter Henry at the very end of the season could be enough to catapult them into Rams-Chiefs teir. Especially if replacing their kicker improves the Special Teams enough to not be league worst.

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#27 by Will Allen // Nov 07, 2018 - 12:40pm

Oh, no doubt, adding a really good edge rusher, and a better kicker, can make an already good team very, very, good.

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#44 by Jackson87 // Nov 07, 2018 - 8:02pm

Despite their easy schedule in the second half, I think the Redskins are facing a big drop off in performance. Losing 4/5ths of your O line tends to do that.

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#47 by Raiderjoe // Nov 07, 2018 - 10:18pm

Raiders will definitlry imorove. Good chance will end season on win ing streak. Lile 1986 Colts Raiders might finish with 3straight wins. Possibly mignt even do better tnan that like maybe win last 4 or lasy 5 games. Jon Gruden still wotking out the kinks.

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#48 by Hextall_27 // Nov 07, 2018 - 11:27pm

I agree with your take on Philly and Houston.

They both should roll through their divisions as Houston gets all 3 remaining games at home and Philly's division is now trash after DC's O-line just melted.

It will be interesting to see how important their head-to-head matchup is for both teams in week 16.
Houston could have their division wrapped up and the Eagles division may depend on the week 17 game vs DC no matter what happens vs Houston.

I'd love to see a long playoff run by Houston, but it just feels like they will go 11-5, win a home playoff game, then get Brady'ed in Foxborough yet again.

If Golden Tate pans out as an extra weapon, Philly's offense may finally join the rest of the offenses in the 2018 season instead of looking good while only scoring in the low 20s in close losses.

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#49 by Mr Shush // Nov 08, 2018 - 6:33am

The Rams should have Talib back, and maybe a healthier Peters, come the playoffs. That could make a big difference.

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#50 by Will Allen // Nov 08, 2018 - 7:39am

Talib back would make a huge difference.

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#2 by arandom // Nov 06, 2018 - 8:34pm

Does the Chargers special teams DVOA make the bottom 10 all-time list? Interesting that that seems to be what knocked them out of the top 3.

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#6 by Drunken5yearold // Nov 06, 2018 - 10:08pm

Nah, that's probably just outside the bottom 20 all-time. Hopefully, Bagdley will stabilize the problem with XPs and field goals (although his kick-offs leave a lot to be desired).

The Chargers are surprisingly similar to the Rams in offense and defense DVOA. If Bosa comes back strong for their tough stretch run (last 5 games of the season are pretty rough except for perhaps Denver) and the special teams improve then they should absolutely be considered contenders. AFCCG could be a great Chiefs-Chargers game.

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#10 by BJR // Nov 07, 2018 - 6:48am

"AFCCG could be a great Chiefs-Chargers game."

That would almost certainly have to involve the Chargers winning in New England first. Hell freezing over, and all that.

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#11 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 07, 2018 - 8:35am

It would require Brady getting injured and the Chargers stealing another team's jerseys.

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#3 by schmoker // Nov 06, 2018 - 8:41pm

It will never not shock me that no Cleveland team from the past 20 years ever shows up on those worst offensive teams of all time rankings.

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#7 by herewegobrowni… // Nov 06, 2018 - 10:37pm

Kizer seemed worst-of-all-time bad at times last year, but the rushing offense allowed them to often not even be last overall on O for the year.

How come the run defense this week tumbled so much to 30th, dragging overall defensive DVOA from 3rd to 11th? Giving up 139 rushing yards, and Kareem Hunt at 5.4 per carry, isn't great, but hardly worse than every other D the Chiefs have run over this year. It was embarassing, also, to see Jamie Collins get posterized, but also it wasn't all that different from his previous games this year. (Meanwhile the pass D is 2nd despite the Mahomes-to-Cleveland-natives show...)

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#5 by RevBackjoy // Nov 06, 2018 - 9:04pm

Highest single game offensive DVOA of the year? More like highest of all-time! I remember you guys posting an all-time list a while back, and I don't believe there were any games of 118+%. Might this be the single highest ever?

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#8 by panthersnbraves // Nov 07, 2018 - 6:07am

I'm couple things over on the playoffs odds page. It's interesting how the NFCE odds are so much lower than the NFCN team with similar(ish) records. The DAVE percentage/DVOA explanation links fail...

Also, there is an odd thing in the percentages at the bottom where Carolina has lower percentage to reach the NFCCG/Win than NO, but has a higher chance of winning the Super Bowl? Better matchups against the AFC teams?

Team Conf App Conf Win SB Win
CAR 35.5% 17.3% 7.9%
NO 40.1% 18.6% 7.6%

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#16 by MikeNH // Nov 07, 2018 - 11:17am

Maybe that's because CAR is more likely to reach the NFCCG via the wild card, and if they reach the SB via that route, defeating the teams they'd face in those scenarios would give them a bump in their DVOA heading into the SB? Whereas, NO would not get as much of a bump out of their wins? I mean, NO already beat the Rams once, so a second win there for them might not impact their DVOA as much as if CAR beat the Rams.

Just guessing.

Although, to your point, it could be about CAR's defense facing the offense of KC or NE (etc) compared to the horrible NO defense.

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#17 by Aaron Schatz // Nov 07, 2018 - 11:18am

It's because Carolina has a higher DVOA and therefore is more likely than New Orleans to win a neutral-site game (i.e. the Super Bowl).

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#12 by MaineRaider // Nov 07, 2018 - 9:22am

If I could post a meme here, it would be Mark Davis surrounded by a flames and saying "This is fine." Seemingly lost amid the series of moves since Gruden's return: the Raiders, with the fewest sacks in the NFL, just released Bruce Irvin, who led the team in sacks. There are 9 players with more sacks than Oakland this season.

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#15 by Will Allen // Nov 07, 2018 - 10:30am

The first theory I've heard that makes sense (other than Jon Gruden is huffing spray paint) is that the play is for Alabama's qb in 2019. I mean that's a dumb thing to do, but it's a dumb thing which consists of a plan.

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#18 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Nov 07, 2018 - 11:34am

The most difficult part of that plan was figuring out how to lose to Cleveland, SF, and Arizona. They're batting 50% so far, with only the Arizona part still to be navigated.

If they can pull the Arizona game out (i.e. manage to lose), the remaining losses will look after themselves, and Gruden will not only have a king's ransom in first round picks to spend, but also the number one pick.

After which we can expect months of media coverage focused on the Raiders and Gruden and about how he'll be able to turn a sinking franchise around with a ton of new talent. Only crusty old websites like this one will bother to point out his part in sinking the franchise in the first place. And Davis gets way more brand recognition for a franchise on the move than an early playoff exit could have generated.

I can almost convince myself that making a good team this bad, this quickly, was actually a reasonable plan, when viewed from the perspective of Gruden and Davis' objectives.

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#26 by ChrisS // Nov 07, 2018 - 12:31pm

"I can almost convince myself that making a good team this bad, this quickly, was actually a reasonable plan". One huge advantage is that its a lot easier to accomplish, so if performance measurement is based on this objective success is almost guaranteed

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#28 by theslothook // Nov 07, 2018 - 1:23pm

I wonder if Mark Davis was in on the plan...namely make the environment so toxic that none of your good players will want to be there.

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#34 by Mountain Time … // Nov 07, 2018 - 2:00pm

Oh god, this is too bleak and cynical to not be true! It won't even matter when Gruden fails to turn it around, the narritive will be firmly in place and it will be someone else's fault. "The stress of moving to a new city" or some such nonsense.

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#43 by Richie // Nov 07, 2018 - 7:33pm

" Only crusty old websites like this one will bother to point out his part in sinking the franchise in the first place."

You say that in a criticizing manner. The 2017 Raiders went 6-10 and were led by David Carr, who seems to be a rose than average QB, a 31-year-old RB, a 30-year-old TE (Jared Cook), a 30-year-old WR (Crabtree), 30-year-old LB (Bruce Irvin), 34-year-old Reggie Nelson, 34-year-old Donald Penn (who is of course hurt, as 35-year-olds are won't to do), etc.

They had a few good pieces like Khalil Mack, Rodney Hudson and Osemele. But that didn't really look like a playoff roster.

Since Gruden has the security of a 10-year contract, why not tear down the roster? Why not trade the few useful pieces he had to acquire draft capital? Time will tell if the strategy works, but being stuck in roster purgatory is useless. I know, I am a Dolphins fan who has been there for about 15 years.

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#45 by theslothook // Nov 07, 2018 - 8:06pm

They were also a playoff team the year before last, so I don't think it's known that this was a mediocre roster. There draft picks are unlikely to be anywhere near as good as Mack and may not even be better than Cooper. Odd as it is to say, even a first round QB may end up a lot worse than Carr.

Even if you think a teardown makes sense, Gruden has gone about it in the most toxic way possible. Extolling every single player while shipping him out a day later. If destroying one's credibility was the game plan, Gruden's done a hell of a job.

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#46 by Will Allen // Nov 07, 2018 - 8:42pm

This isn't the NBA, where if you don't have at least 60% of your starters as HOFers, you have no chance of competing for a title. Football is about depth, depth, depth, and there is no such thing as roster purgatory, unless you are terrible at talent evaluation, and more importantly talent development.

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#53 by Richie // Nov 08, 2018 - 8:20pm

Sure, but if a coach/GM doesn't think a roster is good enough, isn't the team going to be better off to get rid of any assets that it thinks can get a good return on draft picks and/or cap space? Then, use those picks and cap space to rebuild the roster.

Of course, the key is making good decisions with those picks and cap space. But then, they were going to need to make good decisions anyway to build the roster up.

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#54 by Mountain Time … // Nov 08, 2018 - 8:47pm

So trading Tyrod Taylor & Cordy Glenn was a part of a reasonable strategy too?

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#55 by Will Allen // Nov 08, 2018 - 9:58pm

The odds of drafting a player better than Mack are pretty slim, and he isn't old. Might be the most idiotic trade I've ever seen.

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#56 by theslothook // Nov 08, 2018 - 11:44pm

I thought the chiefs trading Jared Allen was pretty Terrible. And they only got 1 first rounder for an eventual hall of famer.

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#57 by Will Allen // Nov 09, 2018 - 5:20am

If the Chiefs weren't convinced he'd gotten sober (two DUIs in the span of a few months), then it made some sense. As far as Mack, I'm not aware of anything along those lines. As far.as I can tell, Gruden just decided that since the Raiders' pass defense wasn't very good with Mack, they should trade him, along with a 2nd round pick (!), and a conditional 5th , to get two firsts, a third, and a sixth. Of course, the Bears are now better, so their firsts may now be much lower, while the Raiders 2nd looks to be quite high, so one Bears first might be not much more valuable for one Raiders 2nd. So you are left with hoping that you'll get lucky enough to draft a player, may be in the lower first round, who can be dominant in the way a 27 year old Mack already is. Huh?

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#58 by Richie // Nov 14, 2018 - 2:38pm

If Gruden felt the Raiders were 3 years away from being a playoff team, does it make sense to pay Mack while the team muddles along? By the time the team is ready for the playoffs, Mack might be on the downside of his career. Trading Mack helps to speed that rebuild along.

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#30 by Travis // Nov 07, 2018 - 1:45pm

I really hope that this is the plan, especially since Tua won't be draft-eligible until 2020.

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#36 by Will Allen // Nov 07, 2018 - 2:58pm

Yeah, typo on my part. The theory I heard is to completely strip the team of veterans with talent, go 0-16 in 2019, and draft Tua in the spring of 2020. It's a really stupid plan, but it's a plan.

Although I think it would be entertaining as hell if Gruden traded all his 2019 draft value for more picks in 2020!

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#37 by Will Allen // Nov 07, 2018 - 3:15pm

Man, now that I think about the entertainment value, I really want it to be true! Imagine Gruden trading every veteran whose contract was such that other teams may want him, in return for nothing but draft picks starting in 2020! Then, in order to meet the salary floor, he starts signing the worst free agents who can credibly call themselves an NFL player, to large 1 year deals, at multiples of their actual value! Nathan Peterman gets cut by the Bills, and Gruden signs him for 20 million guaranteed! The worst long-snapper in the league gets 5 million! The bottom 300 NFL players call up their agents, and demand they be signed by the Raiders!

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#41 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Nov 07, 2018 - 6:14pm

Gruden's already told us his phone is always ringing!

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#39 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 07, 2018 - 4:02pm

Well one of Alabama's QBs will be draft-eligible next year.

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#35 by theslothook // Nov 07, 2018 - 2:21pm

I wish Aaron would also mention - the Bills pass offense is a preposterous -73 percent - nearly twice as bad as the 31st ranked team.

Idk why, i find this result more fascinating than the Chiefs historically great offense.

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#42 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Nov 07, 2018 - 6:19pm

Watching Mahomes play is a treat, but I assume I'll get to see it many times in the years to come.

Watching the Bills live through the McDermott treatment is a spectacle that I expect to be fleeting.

I just hope the Bills fire him early enough for the Browns to hire him on the rebound in the offseason.

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