Once again, it is time for postseason DVOA ratings. As always, the following rules apply:
- All 32 teams are ranked, whether they made the playoffs or not.
- Teams are ranked in order of weighted DVOA, not total season DVOA. Since weighted DVOA is meant to lower the strength of older games, these ratings do not include Weeks 1-5, and Weeks 6-11 are somewhat discounted.
- Only weighted DVOA is listed for offense, defense, and special teams. Total DVOA is also listed, but adding eight games to a 256-game sample doesn't change much.
- Teams are treated as having a bye week in any week where they did not play. Since most teams haven't played in two weeks, that means some of the ratings for non-playoff teams can start getting a little unreliable. Really, this is only to be used for playoff teams, the other teams are just there for ranking comparison purposes.
- DVOA, as always, takes a long-term view of an NFL team's performance. That means that the games of the last two weeks are just two games among many, so teams may be listed below other teams that they have beaten in the playoffs.
Three of the final four teams are grouped near the top of the current weighted DVOA ratings, ranked from third to fifth. That includes Tennessee, which is only eighth for the entire season (including playoffs) but moves up to fourth in weighted DVOA in part because only one Marcus Mariota game is still included in the formula. In fact, at this point Tennessee is slightly higher than Kansas City in both offense and defense. That's slightly artificial because of Houston playing backups against Tennessee in Week 17, but overall the weighted DVOA formula believes that Kansas City and Tennessee are roughly equivalent at this point. The difference between the two is that Kansas City has superior special teams and the home-field advantage in the AFC Championship Game.
The surprising team in DVOA is Green Bay. For the full season (with or without the playoffs), Green Bay is down at No. 10 in our ratings. In the weighted ratings, they're down to No. 15 this week, actually dropping three spots despite the victory over Seattle. The reason for the drop has to do with the nuances of the weighted DVOA formula. Essentially, their big Week 7 win over Oakland dropped significantly in weight this week and they weren't good enough in their 28-23 win over Seattle to make up for that drop. The Seattle-Green Bay game gives us another one of those games where the losing team ended up with the higher single-game DVOA, although the Packers were still positive for the game at +10%. Seattle outgained Green Bay 6.3 yards per play to 5.8 yards per play and there were no turnovers in the game. (The difference is smaller, 6.4 to 6.2, if we remove spikes and kneels, but Seattle still has the advantage.)
You may have seen a lot of mentions of Green Bay being the worst 13-3 team of all-time, which they were by Pythagorean projection based on points scored and allowed. They were the second-worst 13-3 team ever according to DVOA, ahead of only the 1999 Indianapolis Colts. Yet you might still be wondering how the Packers are as low as 15th in weighted DVOA, or for that matter tenth in total DVOA. A look at their week-to-week graph might help explain what's going on here.
What you have with Green Bay is a team that combined small victories with some huge defeats. Including this week, Green Bay had positive DVOA in 12 of 17 games. But only three of those games had DVOA over 30%. By comparison, including the playoffs, Tennessee has six such games while Kansas City and San Francisco each have nine.
On the flip side, Green Bay had three losses with single-game DVOA worse than -30%. Tennessee also had three such losses, but those all came with Marcus Mariota as quarterback early in the season. Neither Kansas City nor San Francisco had a game below -30% all season.
The Week 12 loss to San Francisco, 37-8, really drags down Green Bay's rating for the season. The 49ers outgained the Packers on average 7.5 yards to 2.8 yards in that game. Aaron Rodgers had less than two net yards per pass. Some fans might argue that we need to dull the strength of these kind of outlier games, but on the other hand this terrible performance happened to be against the team the Packers have to play again next Sunday. Not that the 49ers are necessarily beat the Packers by the same score again -- just ask the 2010 Patriots and Jets about that sort of thing -- but there probably is some useful information in the results of that game.
We should also note that for the season as a whole, the Packers were outgained by opponents 5.7 yards per play to 5.4 yards per play, although they did have a +12 turnover margin.
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To save people some time, we remind everyone to put their angry troll hatred into the official zlionsfan angry troll hatred Mad Libs form:
<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>
If you are new to our website, you can read the explanation of how DVOA is figured here. As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE.
There are no adjustments here for sitting starters in Week 17, although we do adjust the ratings that we use in the playoff odds report.
Teams in yellow are still alive in the playoffs. Teams in gray lost this past weekend.
Here are the single-game DVOA ratings for the divisional round. As you might expect, we had three blowouts and one close game; as noted above, Seattle ended up with a slightly higher rating despite losing the game. In case you're curious about the Houston and Kansas City special teams ratings: one of the quirks of the special teams system is that it makes blocked punts a negative for the team that had the punt blocked but not a positive for the team that does the blocking. I've noted this a few times in the past, but given that blocked punts aren't really predictive for either side, they probably should be removed from DVOA entirely or used in a separate rating that measures value in-game but not predictive value for future performance. This is one of those changes I keep wanting to make but never seem to have time for. The negative value of a blocked punt getting returned for a touchdown plus the muffed punt by Tyreek Hill outweighs the positive value of forcing the fumble on the DeAndre Carter kickoff return.
Late addendum: During the regular season, I posted weekly updates to a table showing how Baltimore was progressing each week compared to the best teams in DVOA history. Now that the Ravens' season is over, we might as well update that table one last time with a list of the top teams in DVOA history including the postseason. Baltimore comes out 12th in DVOA history once the playoffs are included. 1987 San Francisco 49ers listing does not include strike games.
|BEST TOTAL DVOA
INCLUDING PLAYOFFS, 1985-2019
|1991||WAS||17-2||61.7%||Won Super Bowl|
|1985||CHI||18-1||59.6%||Won Super Bowl|
|2007||NE||18-1||50.3%||Lost Super Bowl|
|1989||SF||17-2||48.1%||Won Super Bowl|
|1996||GB||16-3||45.8%||Won Super Bowl|
|2013||SEA||16-3||43.2%||Won Super Bowl|
|1992||DAL||16-3||42.4%||Won Super Bowl|
|1998||DEN||17-2||41.9%||Won Super Bowl|
|2002||TB||15-4||41.0%||Won Super Bowl|