Week 11 DVOA Ratings

Derek Carr
Derek Carr
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

The New Orleans Saints open up an even wider lead over the rest of the NFL in this week's Football Outsiders DVOA ratings. The Saints' 24-9 win over Atlanta moves them up from fifth to third in defensive DVOA and -- here's the shocking part -- moves them up from sixth to fifth in offensive DVOA.

Yes, that's right. The Saints lost future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees and received a ton of criticism for the decision to start a 30-year-old gadget player (Taysom Hill) instead of their more experienced backup (Jameis Winston). And yet their offensive DVOA went up this week.

Last week, the Saints had offensive DVOA of 13.5%. This week, they have offensive DVOA of 15.0%. Some of that is changes in opponent adjustments, but the Saints also got 18.2% offensive DVOA for Sunday's game, slightly higher than their rating for the year. However, as you might expect, this wasn't because of passing (-1.8%) but instead because of rushing (36.0%) where the Saints had their best single-game rating of the season so far.

Meanwhile, the Saints defense is red hot, allowing ratings below -40% in each of the last three wins. For the season, the Saints don't have a single game with a negative DVOA, even their losses. After adjusting for opponent, they have only one below-average game on offense (Week 5 vs. the Chargers) and only one below-average game on defense (Week 7 vs. the Panthers).

The Saints are now in the top five in all three phases of the game: offense, defense, and special teams. Since 1999, only four teams have been in the top five of all three phases at this point of the season: the 1999 Rams, the 2001 Eagles, the 2007 Patriots, and now the 2020 Saints. Going all the way back to 1985, the only teams to finish a season in the top five of all three phases were the 1985 Bears, the 1991 Redskins, the 1992 Eagles, the 1996 Packers, the 2012 Seahawks, and the 2015 Seahawks.

The rest of the DVOA top 12 stays mostly the same. No. 2 Tampa Bay drops in DVOA after a loss to the Rams but stays ahead of the No. 3 Pittsburgh Steelers. The movement comes with Seattle and the Rams each moving up two spots to No. 6 and No. 7, respectively. They replace Baltimore and Green Bay who each drop two spots to No. 8 and No. 9. Tennessee also moves up three spots to No. 13, switching places with Minnesota, which is down three spots to No. 16.

One of the reasons that New Orleans and Tampa Bay are so high in DVOA is that they've played difficult schedules so far, starting with the two games they've played against each other. Based on average DVOA of opponent, New Orleans has played the No. 5 toughest schedule this year, while Tampa Bay's schedule ranks No. 4.

We're a little after midseason but this is still a good time to review schedule strength numbers and the effect that adjustments are having on DVOA. We're going to look at the teams with the biggest difference between DVOA and VOA. The VOA used here not only removes opponent adjustments but also the adjustment that makes all fumbles equal and the weather/altitude adjustments for special teams.

Top 5 Teams Adjusted Upward

1) Las Vegas, which goes from -4.4% VOA (19th) to 3.1% DVOA (14th). Las Vegas has played the third-toughest schedule in the league so far this year and things are about to get much easier. Their schedule ranks 30th the rest of the way. The Raiders have also had poor fumble recovery luck, particularly losing 7 of 11 fumbles on offense.

2) The New York Jets go from -41.2% VOA to -36.8% DVOA. Both are in last place, of course. The Jets are slightly less horrible than you think they are! What's interesting is that based on average DVOA of opponent, the Jets have played a slightly below-average schedule. However, they can't take advantage of the weaknesses in the schedule because they are terrible. For example, the Jets have played a few teams where the pass defense is much better than the run defense, including Kansas City, Miami, and Buffalo. This doesn't help when the Jets aren't able to run the ball because they fall behind and have to pass to catch up.

3) Detroit goes from -11.4% VOA (25th) to -7.3% DVOA (19th). Oh Lions, how you have become the bane of my existence. The Lions have played the No. 7 schedule and have recovered only 3 of 12 fumbles on defense. I hate having to say this but... they're better than they look. Although three of their four worst games of the year by DVOA have come in the last month.

4) Minnesota goes from -1.6% VOA (15th) to 2.4% DVOA (16th). Yes, it's a little odd: the Vikings improve with opponent adjustments yet they drop a spot in the rankings because Las Vegas improves even more. Minnesota has played the No. 9 schedule and has recovered just 2 of 11 fumbles on defense.

5) New Orleans goes from 35.0% VOA (2nd) to 39.0% DVOA (1st). We covered New Orleans in detail above.

Also: Chicago, Carolina, and Tampa Bay.

Top 5 Teams Adjusted Downward

1) Pittsburgh plummets from 42.6% VOA (1st) to 27.4% DVOA (2nd). By far the team most affected by our adjustments, as the raw play-by-play data has the undefeated Steelers as the top team of the year. Pittsburgh has played the easiest schedule in the league including six games against teams ranked 25th or lower. They've also had great fumble recovery luck, primarily by recovering 8 of 11 fumbles on offense.

2) Philadelphia drops from -12.7% VOA (26th) to -20.7% DVOA (28th). Philadelphia ranks 26th in past schedule by DVOA compared to third in upcoming schedule. Philadelphia has also recovered 70% of fumbles this year including 12 of 18 fumbles on offense, 7 of 10 fumbles on defense, plus a couple of fumbles of special teams. The Eagles are the lowest-rated of the four NFC East teams according to DVOA and because of that plus the difficult upcoming schedule, they've now been passed by the New York Giants as our NFC East favorites in the playoff odds simulation. Washington is the best of the four teams but also has a difficult future schedule.

3) Cleveland drops from -2.6% VOA (18th) to -9.9% DVOA (22nd). Even if we didn't have opponent adjustments, Cleveland would be the lowest rated of all the teams with winning records, but the No. 27-ranked schedule drops them even further.

4) Miami drops from 13.7% VOA (9th) to 7.6% DVOA (10th). Miami has played the No. 28 schedule and is another team with strong fumble luck this year, including 8 of 11 fumbles on defense. The latter may regress towards the mean but the former won't -- the Dolphins also have the No. 28 upcoming schedule.

5) Arizona drops from 13.5% VOA (10th) to 7.5% DVOA (11th). Arizona has played the No. 25 schedule.

Also: Indianapolis, Kansas City, and Washington.

Finally, since we just addressed both Pittsburgh and the NFC East, let's take a look at updated odds that we've been tracking for some extreme results. Click on the links to see the simulation odds for each of the remaining Steelers and Jets games.

  • Pittsburgh goes 16-0: 15.7% (up from 8.5%) -- click here for details
  • New York Jets go 0-16: 20.9% (up from 14.9%) -- click here for details
  • Entire NFC East has a losing record: 80.4% (down from 82.8%)
  • Entire NFC East is 6-9-1 or worse: 36.5% (down from 45.5%)
  • Entire NFC East is 5-10-1 or worse: 4.1% (down from 9.3%)

* * * * *

Football Outsiders playoff odds, snap counts, and the FO+ database are now all updated through Week 11.

You may have noticed a bit of a change on Football Outsiders over the last few days. All of our free stats pages, including DVOA and player position stats, now require registration to view. This is not a paywall! You only need to register (for free) and then log in to the site to view these pages. While you're at it, you can get a seven-day trial of FO+ and check out the FO+ features like a deeper DVOA database, weekly fantasy projections, and picks against the spread.

One of the advantages of this change is a better mobile experience. If you are viewing our stats pages on mobile, click on a team and you'll get a "mobile flyout" that lists all the stats for that team without having to scroll right across the whole big table. We're working on setting up player position pages to work like this on mobile as well.

As part of this change, we're going to ask readers to go to the team DVOA page to check out the full team table each week. I'll run the top half of the table here in the DVOA commentary, with the full table (including both weighted DVOA and DAVE, plus schedule strength, estimated wins, etc.) available in the DVOA database.

* * * * *

Here is the Football Outsiders Top 16 through 11 weeks of 2020, 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 for performance indoors and 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.

WEIGHTED DVOA gives recent games more strength than older games to get a better idea of how well teams are playing now.

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>

 

RK TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
WEI.
DVOA
RANK W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
1 NO 39.0% 1 41.5% 1 8-2 15.0% 5 -19.8% 3 4.2% 5
2 TB 29.9% 2 28.7% 3 7-4 9.6% 8 -21.7% 2 -1.4% 21
3 PIT 27.4% 3 28.8% 2 10-0 0.2% 17 -24.6% 1 2.6% 8
4 KC 24.1% 4 25.2% 4 9-1 26.0% 1 0.3% 14 -1.5% 23
5 IND 19.3% 5 19.5% 5 7-3 0.4% 16 -14.9% 5 4.0% 6
6 SEA 16.5% 8 17.2% 6 7-3 16.6% 4 7.0% 23 7.0% 3
7 LAR 15.6% 9 16.9% 7 7-3 13.5% 6 -9.3% 8 -7.1% 29
8 BAL 15.2% 6 12.8% 9 6-4 -6.3% 23 -11.6% 7 9.8% 2
9 GB 15.1% 7 13.2% 8 7-3 21.7% 2 4.0% 18 -2.6% 26
10 MIA 7.6% 10 11.6% 10 6-4 -1.9% 20 0.6% 15 10.1% 1
11 ARI 7.5% 11 9.3% 11 6-4 6.9% 11 -2.0% 12 -1.4% 22
12 BUF 5.7% 12 5.1% 12 7-3 6.7% 12 3.5% 17 2.4% 10
13 TEN 3.2% 16 4.0% 14 7-3 20.4% 3 8.7% 26 -8.5% 30
14 LV 3.1% 14 4.6% 13 6-4 10.6% 7 8.1% 24 0.5% 14
15 SF 3.0% 15 1.4% 18 4-6 0.0% 18 -3.3% 10 -0.2% 18
16 MIN 2.4% 13 2.2% 15 4-6 8.1% 9 -2.9% 11 -8.7% 31

For the full table, including DAVE, schedule strength, and non-adjusted VOA, visit the Football Outsiders DVOA database.

Comments

52 comments, Last at 28 Nov 2020, 5:57pm

1 Cyber Monday Banner

Not a comment on the article, but your Cyber Monday Banner ad says "50% the entire store." I'd imagine that's supposed to be "50% off the entire store."

5 50%...

Naah, that's the famous first line of a classic 1960s Beat poem about capitalism.  I think the two giant Allen's of the era collaborated on it, Ginsberg and Greenspan.

50% the entire store

Twice as much, more more more!

Mama says she gotta

go to the store;

Daddy stay home,

snore snore snore.

She come back, won't be no bore;

Didn't buy a thing, but the whole damn store.

14 +0.5

In reply to by Bobman

+0.5

2 Love this column, read it…

Love this column, read it every week. I think it's a strange decision to only show the top 16 in this column. But if you stick with it, the ability to sort just makes it stranger because of all the gaps.

4 Saints four year run of excellence

I love the column too, very educational.  I had no idea that the Saints were this good and balanced.  This is a great four year run by the Saints.  Barring a comeback, this will be the fourth straight year that the Saints are in the top two in DVOA.  Drew Brees has been among the best QB's in DVOA and DYAR each year over this timeframe.  However, clearly they are more than just Drew Brees (6-0 in games started by Bridgewater/Hill in past two years) along with very good/excellent defense and special teams.  The Minneapolis Miracle and two OT playoff losses have kept them out of the Super Bowl.

I figured I would have to go way back to find anyone in top two in DVOA for four straight years.  Seattle was DVOA champion for four straight years from 2012-2015.  As mentioned above, Seattle was in the top 5 in all three phases of the game for two of those years.

 

7 I have to keep reminding…

I have to keep reminding myself that the Bucs lead the league in variance, because they don't quite pass the eye test to me. If I had to break down the teams I'd put them in two somewhat discrete groups.

Tier 1: SB Favourites.

PIT, KC, NO

Tier 2: Serious Contenders.

TB, LAR, SEA, BAL, IND, GB

That's what the eye test tells me, with the Titans, Bill, and Cardinals possibly being in that group as well. 

I also think the Rams defense and offense should switch ratings.

29 I see it somewhat similarlly…

I see it somewhat similarlly. I think Kansas City is the slight favorite in tier 1 and Pittsburgh probably behind all of those teams in tier 1.

Pittsburgh's offense in the times that I've watched them has felt rickety. Like a better version of the Colts offense but one that makes you nervous if they start to fall behind.

Kansas City is the opposite. I think they're defense is okay and even though their offense hasn't been great all year, I still regarded it as easily the most frightening unit in all of football

38 When you factor in balance...

the rankings significantly change.

I don't consider teams with huge disparities between their offense and defense to be true contenders.

I would lump all those teams in one group:  NO, TB, LAR, AZ, MN.

If you're going to look at teams where one side of the ball dominates their ranking, then you'd look at: KC, PIT, SEA, BAL, LV etc...

The problem with stats is that we can quantify numbers, but numbers don't tell the whole story.  

I believe the NFC winner will be one of these three teams:  NO, AZ, LAR.

I believe the AFC winner will be one of these three teams:  KC, PIT, LV.

 

 

39 I believe Scott Kacsmar…

I believe Scott Kacsmar looked at the sb participants and winners to see if balance won out over imbalance. I'm not sure it ultimately mattered. 

 

After all, KC and the 2006 Colts won the sb with the 32nd ranked rush defense, suggesting if you are going to suck hard at something, its less damaging if it's your run defense. 

51 The Colts' best defensive…

The Colts' best defensive player in 2006 was actually Robert Mathis who, in my personal opinion, is actually more worthy of being HoF player than Freeny. He just wasn't as flashy.  (Both being borderline contenders for the hall overall).  

46 Thing is, I'm not sure that…

Thing is, I'm not sure that balance has anything to do with it. The Seahawks are a unique example, because they don't have a generically good offense, they have the best deep passing game carrying a mediocre team with great special teams. If you can shut down their deep passing, they pretty much just lose.

With every other team they're pretty standard, regardless of quality. Sure, KC has a medium quality defense, but it's not horrible in any particular way, and that offense can score versus anyone. GB is much the same, elite offense, soft defense. I really don't think that's less threatening than a team like the Cardinals with a good/solid offense and a good/solid defense. I mean points are points.

49 i don’t think your seahawks reduction is necessarily true

When the Seahawks running game is injured, as has been the case for most of this year, you might be able to shut them down by only shutting the deep passing game down.  But when the starting running backs are healthy, and as they are now (cross fingers), they are much more dangerous.  (I also would say their defense should be coalescing to a.... normal defensive unit, as they showed in the last six quarters, with better pass rush and healthy defensive backfield, but that’s still could be a mirage, of course.)

8 Hey guys

Not sure what happened but there was a glitch and only half the table showed up 

9 I'll add to your NFC East update which I love

Here are the current passing DVOA's of the starting NFC East Quarterbacks with a runaway winner:

Daniel Jones   -23.2%  (He wakes up in a city that doesn't sleep and is king of the hill, top of the garbage heap)

Alex Smith       -35.3%

Andy Dalton    -37.4%

Carson Wentz -38.4%

Jones also leads all QB's in rushing DVOA, thanks in part to his 80 yard rumble and stumble, a play that epitomizes play in the NFC East.  I guess the only thing missing from the play was a lost fumble.

31 The irony is, three out of…

The irony is, three out of the four players it's kind of surprising that they're playing this badly, although I guess Alex Smith is understandable considering he came off a career threatening injury.

 

47 Smith has always been very…

Smith has always been very reliant on his supporting cast.  Put him on a good team, and he'll be good.  Put him on a bad team, and he'll suck.  So, I'm not surprised to see him struggle in Washington.

10 Am I seeing this right? We…

Am I seeing this right? We now have to be a paying member to view the full DVOA table? Well shit, I wish I had know this before spending 20 minutes on that survey they sent. 

13 The data is available…

The data is available without paying, as long as you're logged in.  Just click the link.

Out of curiousity, did you get a follow up email after completing the survey?  I got one claiming I was a quitter (nice, FO is throwing grade school insults at me now?) and asking me to go back and complete the survey, even though I did complete it and received acknowledgement through my browser that I had.  I didn't give my email for the gift card though (someone else can have it), so not sure if that caused the issue.  Wondering if anyone else got the follow up insult, too? 

37 also

In reply to by scraps

I've been bombarded with emails from FO in the last two weeks or so, and I keep unsubscribing, and it keeps not working.  And every time it smugly says:

MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK.

THE ONE WHO WILL REGRET PUSHING THAT BUTTON.

Last chance to change your mind and stay in the know.

You know, that's irritating. (Especially when it doesn't work.) I mean, who thinks that's going to meet with an abashed laugh? I really like Football Outsiders, but the marketing people are just awful. 

 

 

21 Problem I have, as someone…

In reply to by dbostedo

Problem I have, as someone who’s been a member and almost always logged in for ages, is that the database page is total nightmare in iPad. The page reloads all the time making it impossible to see the bottom half of the table. I think it is the Facebook etc link overlay thing, as every time I try to scroll down that flickers away and I can see the lower half of the table for a split second, then it reloads and over the side and I’m forced back to the top of the table. Sigh.

45 On my Android tablet using…

On my Android tablet using Chrome, I only get the left half of the DVOA tables in the Statistics section. The slider above the tables doesn't function, either.

11 Click on the link "Football Outsiders DVOA database"

Maybe the new format was to appease Lions fans who had their feelings hurt by Aaron earlier in the week.  When uncovering the rest of the pack, the Lions are the third best of the rest in DVOA.  So to get the Lions to number 3 in a DVOA set of teams, simply eliminate the top 16 teams, or put them on a Thanksgiving menu of games that include Houston, Dallas and Washington.

18 Top 5 OFF,DEF,ST Finishes

Interesting that none of the three previous teams that were in the top 5 in all three phases after week 11 finished the season as such, while conversely neither Seahawks teams that DID finish the season 3/3 were in that position through week 11.

Looks like '99 Rams ST, '01 Eagles OFF, '07 Patriots DEF+ST all dropped off.

22 It's one thing to stick a…

It's one thing to stick a bunch of stats behind registration wall, but I REALLY think the table here needs to be complete. As others have pointed out, sorting is basically broken (well, it *sorts*) and discussions are bound to be hampered by the lack of all teams being present.

Ultimately, I'd rather have the whole thing behind a registration wall if that's what it takes. This half-measure doesn't work.

23 Crazy Season

   I think Ive been reading FO since 2009 or so; just for Mike Tanier Walkthrough and DVOA.  Followed him to Sports on Earth; the toxic mess that is Bleacher Report and its fanboys; "DONT QUIT YOUR DAY JOB, LOSER" . From every fan base esp 3-7 teams.  The 2020 season DVOA is especially helpful; nobody has any clue what's going to happen each week but at least DVOA gives us an idea of how teams HAVE played up to now. 
   Its crazy to see the Saints so good, balanced.  So many years of top O and Bad d and every game 38-35.  
 

24 VOA awol

The opponent adjustment commentary is interesting, and one wonders how the Dolphins can enjoy such an easy schedule when the West divisions were supposed to be the strongest this year. The Jets are bad, and playing them twice is a nice gift, but they're not that bad!

Regarding the changes to FO, have we lost sack percentage? The raw sack numbers aren't all that useful. Anything else? For long-time readers who have gotten rather cozily accustomed to the way things were, it would be nice to see a list of what is now available (and no longer available) where.

33 Adjusted sack rate, Miami

In reply to by ammek

Adjusted sack rate is still available on the "Line Stats" pages, which are free with registration. Click here. The blue color is gone but it's on the to-do list to add the blue color back. Everything that was available last week is still available now, it just requires registration and the pages look different. (The new style allows us to make things much better on mobile -- click on a team on mobile to get a "flyout" of all that team's stats!)

As for Miami and why their schedule is easy despite the quality of the West divisions:

1) Jets and Patriots, especially Jets

2) Jaguars and Bengals where the rest of the division gets much better AFC North and South teams.

50 Adjusted sack Miami

Ah thanks, I missed the sack rate column somehow. I'll get used to the changes ... eventually!

1) It sure doesn't feel as though the Patriots are, as DVOA says they are, worse than half of the NFC East. Some of that is opponent adjustments; some is the fact that it's the defense which has been so bad in 2020 when everyone's curiosity was focused on what the offense would do. In any case, it's a topsy turvy world where Miami's numbers are brought down because it has played New England.

25 Not a Fan of Table Split

So I'm not a fan of splitting the table in half here -  having to go to another page to see the whole table is annoying, and it doesn't work with sorting here. 

 

Also, it's pretty wild that the zombie version of the 49ers is still around the top half of the league.

26 GB Special teams

are going to sabotage the season.  Sure the defense isn't great, but the ST is literally cratering as the season progresses.  Teams the last several weeks have exploited multiple aspects of special teams.  

 

It's legitimately alarming how bad things have become so quickly.

30 Been reading FO faithfully…

Been reading FO faithfully since 2006ish. Please consider removing the content wall. It's a strange and jarring change.

36 I'm sure it is difficult to…

I'm sure it is difficult to try to monetize a web page.  Signing up for a free account is a small price to pay.  I'm usually willing to pay a reasonable price for some content.  But it is frustrating when websites start damaging the user experience.  It would be nice if people who are logged in could get the full table on the original article.

 

I signed up for the "Stathead" service on Sports-Reference.  But when I go to the site I still get bombarded with ads (and I don't totally mind ads).  But the ads are slow loading, and you can be reading a stat section, and suddenly an ad loads and shifts your stat table 6 inches lower on the screen.

48 Not a big fan of this new…

Not a big fan of this new setup, especially since the new stat tables won't stay sorted.  You can sort them, but every time you change tabs, they re-sort themselves back to the default.  That seems completely unnecessary, and rather annoying.

52 I would like to raise an issue

The new format means that all the DVOA pages will link to the database page, right? So, 5 weeks from now, if I look at this article, I will see ratings for Week 16, not the ratings for Week 11?

That means that

A) the data won't match the article

B) there won't be a historical record, i.e. a way to see what DVOA thought was true in Week 11

Any chance the linked page can have separate destinations for each week, instead of only the current stats?