Chiefs Hottest Team in the Final Four
NFL Divisional - With a big win over the Buffalo Bills, scoring 42 points on this season's best defense, the Kansas City Chiefs moved up to No. 2 in the Football Outsiders weighted DVOA ratings after this weekend's exciting divisional round games. They're the highest of the four remaining teams. What might surprise you is that the Los Angeles Rams are right behind them in third place, with just 1.0% separating the two teams that will host next Sunday's conference championships.
San Francisco drops a spot to No. 5, mainly because Kansas City passed them. Cincinnati is now 12th in weighted DVOA, although the Bengals would be 10th if we removed the Week 18 game where they sat starters.
It's interesting to note that none of the top four teams from regular-season DVOA made the final four in the postseason. This is only the second time this has happened; the other was in 2009, when the final four teams had ranked 6, 7, 8, and 9 in the regular season. There was a bit of explanation that year, since the Colts and Saints saw their ratings dive late from games where they sat their starters. Everybody in the NFL commentariat was saying all year that this was a season where anybody could make it through the playoffs and things seemed very up in the air. These results match that statement. Contrast this with 2016, 2018, and 2020, years where three of the top four teams in DVOA made it to the conference championships.
(There has never been a year where the top four teams in DVOA all made it to the conference championships. That's part of the fun of the NFL playoffs!)
A reminder on the rules for postseason DVOA:
- All 32 teams are ranked, whether they made the playoffs or not. (I only included the top 16 in the table below, but you can find all the teams in the FO+ database.)
- 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 6-13 are somewhat discounted.
- The ratings listed do not include the adjustments used in the ratings for our playoff odds report. At this point, those adjustments only matter for Cincinnati.
- Only weighted DVOA is listed for offense, defense, and special teams. Total DVOA is also listed, but adding 10 games to a 272-game sample won't change things very 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.
Usually I run the team table with weighted DVOA first and then the single-game DVOA for playoff games, but this week I'm going to switch it around because the single-game DVOA ratings are quite surprising. All four of the games ended up with very close scores, but DVOA only thinks that one of them was particularly close.
You may remember the Post-Game Win Expectancy metric I introduced back in Week 1, looking at how often we could expect a team to win a game given how well DVOA says it played in that game. Well, three teams had PGWE of 90% or more this weekend! We end up with Kansas City at 90%, Cincinnati at 92%, and the Los Angeles Rams at 98%. The only game that comes out very close in DVOA is San Francisco's win over Green Bay, which ends up with the Packers having a 52% PGWE.
The Bills and Chiefs is probably the biggest surprise, because the Bills had such an awesome offensive game. How does that translate to just 27% offensive DVOA for the game? First of all, there's very little adjustment for playing the Chiefs defense because while the Chiefs' defense was excellent over the last two-thirds of the season, it was very average for the season as a whole. Beyond that, the parts that make up the whole for Buffalo's offensive performance don't quite match the parts for Kansas City. The Chiefs had 7.6 yards per play with a 55% success rate. The Bills had 6.7 yards per play with a 48% success rate. That 75-yard touchdown throw did a lot of work for their final numbers. The team DVOA gap is similar to the gap between Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen from this morning's Quick Reads column. I certainly did not expect to see this much of a DVOA gap between the two teams, but that's some explanation.
For thoes curious, the final Kansas City offensive DVOA is not greatly impacted by the overtime drive. Without the overtime drive, Kansas City's offensive rating drops from 78% to 68%, which isn't really that much.
The gap between the Rams and Buccaneers is probably a bit more understandable than the gap between the Chiefs and Bills. The Rams suffered from terrible fumble recovery luck, losing all four of their fumbles on offense. They also suffered from fumble yardage luck. Not only is a blown snap usually recovered by the offense, it also usually doesn't lose 30 yards! The other big gap between the Rams and Buccaneers was on special teams. The Buccaneers had two kickoffs out of bounds and lousy kick returns of 4 and 14 yards. They also allowed punt returns of 21 and 33 yards. It was not the worst special teams game of the weekend, of course. We'll get to that in a second.
You may be wondering why the PGWE for Cincinnati is so high when the DVOA gap between the Bengals and Titans is much smaller than those other two games. The answer is pass/run splits. The Titans were particularly bad passing the ball, particularly due to the three interceptions, and PGWE gives more weight to pass offense than run offense.
Finally, the Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers. Let's talk about the special teams performance of the Green Bay Packers. You may remember that the Packers finished dead last in special teams DVOA during the regular season. There was some talk on Twitter after Saturday night's debacle that the Packers had "historically bad" special teams. Not even close. Green Bay's rating during the regular season was -5.2%. Compare that to five different teams in history with special teams DVOA below -10%: the 2010 Chargers, 1997 Seahawks, 2020 Chargers, 2013 Redskins, and the worst special teams ever, the 2000 Buffalo Bills. Green Bay had a terrible game this week, but their entire season was nothing like what the 2000 Buffalo Bills went through.
The 2000 Buffalo Bills had -15.4% special teams DVOA. They ranked dead last on kickoffs, kick returns, and punt returns. They were 30th on punts and 26th on kickoffs. Steve Christie's average kickoff went only 55.6 yards, 7.5 yards less than the NFL average. Once Christie's kick had come down, Buffalo allowed opponents kick returns worth an estimated 22 points more than the league average, twice the figure of any other team. The average opposing drive after a 2000 Buffalo Bills kickoff started at the 37-yard line. This year's Packers were not that bad.
Nonetheless, the Packers do have two of the three worst special teams games of this season. This game against the 49ers comes out as the worst special teams game of the year. Then you have Minnesota against Carolina in Week 6, and then the Packers against Chicago in Week 14. That was the game where the Packers allowed a punt return touchdown, kicked the ball out of bounds once, shanked a punt for 22 yards, gave up kick returns of 40 and 42 yards, and let the Bears recover an onside kick. However, onside kicks are not included in special teams DVOA. When you add in that play, the Week 14 game was probably the worst special teams game of the year and this playoff game was second.
For fun, I went and looked up the worst special teams DVOA games in playoff history. Can it possibly get worse than it was for the Packers this week? It can! These are the nine games with special teams DVOA below -30%.
9) 1996 Patriots, Super Bowl vs. Packers: -30.5% DVOA
Desmond Howard won Super Bowl MVP thanks to a kick return touchdown and punt returns of 32 and 34 yards.
8) 1984 Steelers, Divisional vs. Broncos: -30.8% DVOA
Gary Anderson missed three out of four field goals including one from just 26 yards -- at altitude! (Denver's Rich Karlis also missed two field goals.) The Steelers also had a blocked punt and a muffed punt.
7) 2021 Packers, Divisional vs. 49ers: -31.4% DVOA
You know this one. Blocked punt for a touchdown, blocked field goal, and 30 yards allowed per kick return.
6) 2009 Cardinals, Divisional vs. Saints: -32.2% DVOA
Reggie Bush had an 83-yard punt return touchdown. Neil Rackers put a kickoff out of bounds and missed a 50-yard field goal indoors.
5) 2010 Packers, Divisional vs. Falcons, -32.8% DVOA
Not only was Saturday's Packers game not the worst special teams game in playoff history, it wasn't even the worst Packers special teams game in playoff history. This one wasn't either, by the way. Eric Weems had a kick return touchdown. Mason Crosby missed a 50-yard field goal indoors. Short kickoffs, with four that didn't make it past the Atlanta 10. James Starks muffed a punt return for 0 yards, though the Packers recovered.
4) 2002 Packers, Wild Card vs. Falcons: -33.5% DVOA
Both teams had terrible days on special teams. Green Bay's only punt of the game was blocked. Ryan Longwell missed two field goals. Robert Ferguson had a 2-yard kick return on a short kick. The Packers don't get credit for two missed Atlanta field goals or a muffed Atlanta punt return.
3) 2004 Rams, Divisional vs. Falcons: -38.1% DVOA
Allen Rossum had 152 yards on three punt returns, one a 68-yard touchdown. Zero-yard punt return by Brandon Manumaleuna, and Antoine Cason averaged just 20.3 yards per kick return.
2) 1998 Broncos, Super Bowl vs. Falcons: -38.6% DVOA
Yes, four of the five worst special teams games of the playoffs came against the Falcons for some odd reason. On this one, Denver missed two field goals and Tim Dwight had a kick return touchdown plus kick returns of 31 and 42 yards.
1) 2012 Ravens, Divisional vs. Broncos: -43.0% DVOA
The most shocking one of these games because the Ravens were one of the best special teams units of all time during the regular season! Trindon Holliday had both a punt return touchdown and a kick return touchdown. Jacoby Jones had a muffed kickoff that he only returned to the 6. The Ravens also had negative value on punt returns; Ed Reed had one return for 0 yards, for example. Even Justin Tucker couldn't keep the Ravens from having this terrible special teams game.
I will also point out that these games -- the Packers game from Saturday night, along with the rest of them -- fall short of the worst special teams DVOA games in regular-season history. The absolute worst game was the Rams against the Bears in Week 14 of 2006, the Monday Night contest where Mike Tirico got to scream "Devin Hester, YOU ARE RIDICULOUS." Hester had two kickoff returns for touchdowns. The Rams also had an aborted extra point and missed a 48-yard field goal indoors. Three of Willie Ponder's kick returns ended short of the 20, and one of those was fumbled (although the Rams recovered). Special teams DVOA: -61.9%. Estimated value of special teams in points: -19.4 points. Whoa.
* * * * *
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 18, 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.
Click here for a look at full-season DVOA with offensive and defensive splits, including the playoffs.
84 comments, Last at 26 Jan 2022, 12:46pm
#1 by pm // Jan 24, 2022 - 4:09pm
2000 was the year the Bills gave up the music city miracle. That's the worst special teams in history. That play happened with 16 seconds on the clock. Sad that the Bills fans had to endure 2 playoff heartbreaks with 13 and 16 seconds on the clock in games that were 99.9% won.
#23 by andeux // Jan 24, 2022 - 10:35pm
The Titans forward lateral came against a special teams unit that was not bad, still coached by Bruce DeHaven, who had presided over some excellent units going back to the Levy years.
After that play, Wade Phillips fired DeHaven and replaced him with his buddy Ronnie Jones, who presided over the historically bad unit the next year. Phillips was then fired by Ralph Wilson for standing by Jones.
#42 by Mike B. In Va // Jan 25, 2022 - 8:07am
Oh, I remember.
I wish Phillips had been fired for disobeying Wilson and starting Flutie in the game against TEN. I remember saying to my roommate at halftime "the team that wins this game will be playing the Rams in the Super Bowl". I still think that's true if the Bills win.
#61 by jheidelberg // Jan 25, 2022 - 11:35am
I never realized until Sunday's open discussion with many Bills fans on it, how the Music City Miracle play still sticks in their craw and its great significance in football history. It may have been you who made the comment or some other fan. It is why I wish we had a fan contributor from each team, yes it is only one opinion, but that is better than zero.
I would imagine that for many in Western NY, the pass still is remembered as a forward lateral. I had not considered it for years. For me the ruling on the field was TD and the replay is inconclusive.
I know that this will not change your opinion, but I will offer the following for viewing of the FO readers fan base (it claims to offer proof of a lateral):
This play will become less painful once the Bills win a Super Bowl. Bill Bucker was forgiven and celebrated in Boston well before his death, and Steve Bartman can come out of hiding and return to Chicago, he simply chooses not to do so.
I enjoyed Sunday's discussion immensely, and hope that we have as many contributors this Sunday with games that are worth commenting upon.
#73 by andeux // Jan 25, 2022 - 6:33pm
Oh, I have seen that "computer model" "proving" the pass went backward. It's great, provided you believe that Wycheck's arm is about 4 feet long, and he managed to release the ball with it fully extended straight out from his body.
#75 by jheidelberg // Jan 25, 2022 - 6:58pm
This is exactly why I hate the conclusive evidence part of a challenge. If you show footage to 12 people and one person disagrees with the other 11, then it is clearly not conclusive.
This is not a jury trial, its a football game, to overturn a call takes way too much.
Then after the fact, if I got a University of Tennessee professor to provide a "computer model" it would likely come to a different conclusion than that of the University of Buffalo model.
Your comment proves that people can view the same thing and come to different conclusions. I prefer a panel of judges in NY with a majority rules to get an overturn.
The ruling on the field is TD, and clearly there is not conclusive evidence to overturn it. Since I have no skin in the game, I have accepted this ruling for decades. Now I find myself on a site with many Buffalo fans discussing a play that I have not considered for years. I would love to see what the opinion of this play is by a majority rules basis without BUF or TEN fans having a vote. This is such a unique play, the odds of ever having to determine whether a pass that long is a lateral as opposed to a forward pass to decide a playoff game is microscopic.
I know for a fact that this pass was either a lateral or a forward pass and I know that by rule they would have stuck with the ruling on the field.
#5 by AFCNFCBowl // Jan 24, 2022 - 5:10pm
Week 18 2021 pass/run offense/defense is broken. Example:
IND has offensive DVOA of -65.8% while somehow having positive pass and rush DVOA. They have defensive DVOA of 25.4% while both pass and rush DVOA are better.
#6 by andrew // Jan 24, 2022 - 6:50pm
Not sure if I goes back that far but the 1976 Rams had both a FG and Punt blocked vs the Vikings in the NFC championship game. What's worse the Rams drove easily down to the 1 yard line, almost scored twice but came up just short, then on 4th and inches they opted to kick a FG....and somehow that chip shot (by Tom Dempsey) was blocked and bounced right to Bobby Bryant who picked it up in stride and returned for a touchdown. The punt block came on a play where the Vikings didn't even rush, but the punter dropped the ball, picked it up, and by that time Matt Blair had noticed this and came in to block it. The vikings failed to advance the ball, but still got a field goal from this. The Rams were down 10-0 in a game where the Vikings had done nothing on offense. They also missed an extra point (the old close kind) when they finally got around to scoring a touchdown as well. They ended up losing 24-13.
#11 by andrew // Jan 24, 2022 - 8:09pm
It was the second football game I ever saw on TV (I was 8, living overseas). Most of our games were on tape delay on the armed forces network.
I remember the Chuck Foreman big plays and the Christmas Tree in the Vikings locker room...
#18 by pm // Jan 24, 2022 - 10:07pm
It's going to be funny 50 years from now when one of the oldheads from this thread posts a comment about the crazy 2070 AFC championship game and say "well actually the best ever game was the Chiefs/ Bills game in 2022 that I saw." while some young kid rolls their eyes.
#38 by andrew // Jan 25, 2022 - 7:37am
I'm sure there are other regular season games, but without the same stakes. I'm trying to think back to the playoff games that were this close and this amount of sustained drama... most of them only have a drive or two.
If I had to pick one, it to stack it up against, it would probably be the 1981 San Diego-Miami 41-38 overtime shootout, the Kellen Winslow game....but even that didn't have the quick back and forth this one did.
#47 by Wifan6562 // Jan 25, 2022 - 9:22am
If it weren’t for the dud ending, I would have argued the Cardinals-Packers 51-45 OT game from 2009. Incredible offense, a 21 point comeback in the 2nd half, a successful surprise onside kick. It was magical until the cardinals missed a short field goal with a few seconds left to allow overtime, plus the game then ending on a no-call on an obvious personal foul.
#58 by dmstorm22 // Jan 25, 2022 - 11:19am
That's a good one.
On the whole, I don't know if this is greatest game ever. It probably is for me the best Divisional Game ever, at least from the time I've been watching (since 2000 or so).
I do think importance matters, so a great Conference Title Game or great Super Bowl would be higher up there for me, be it say the 2006 AFC Title Game, or the drama of the 2009 or 2013 NFC Title Games, or some of the great Super Bowls.
For a non Championship Game, I think we have a winner with this game though.
#69 by dmstorm22 // Jan 25, 2022 - 12:52pm
Yeah that one came to mind too. Basically the same as this game in many ways except the OT.
Or even the Minneapolis Miracle game.
Further back the Ravens Broncos 2012 game, the Marlon McCree fumble game.
#83 by coremill // Jan 26, 2022 - 11:05am
By my admittedly subjective criteria, the Buffalo-KC game lacked a crucial element for Best Game Every, which is some great/game-changing defensive plays. There were no turnovers, no 4th down stops, no 4th quarter drive-killing sacks, no late touchdown-saving tackles. Defense is a part of the game too! To be the best game ever you need great plays on both sides.
This is why I'd rank, e.g., Saints-Niners 2011 or 49ers-Seahawks 2013 over BUF-KC.
#84 by jheidelberg // Jan 26, 2022 - 12:33pm
I would like to see a game altering defensive play or two in a game also, but wonder if we are moving toward an offense skewed league in which defense hardly matters when a top offense is in full gear.
What did it matter that the Bills were number 1 in defensive DVOA? That excellent Patriots defense was worthless the prior week.
Would it have been the greatest game of all time if NE also scored a TD on every drive to match BUF? NE would have taken time to score so that BUF would not have scored 7 TD’s. Imagine a 42-42 regulation tie, a perfect 6 TD’s each and that not being the highest score ever. Of course no need for OT, BUF missed extra points decides the game at 42-41 or 42-40 for NE.
I have no skin in the game at this point so I am rooting for SF to win the SB.
#7 by Will Allen // Jan 24, 2022 - 6:59pm
I wonder where a Bengals win over K.C. would rank among weighted DVOA upsets in the playoffs, and in conference championships. Just looking at the numbers, and what I saw this weekend, the Chiefs will be having a mediocre to bad day if they don't hang 40 on them, and 50 would not be outrageous.
#8 by big10freak // Jan 24, 2022 - 7:49pm
I read in another thread that a poster didn’t think the special teams issues could just be bad coaching. I am here to say, yes , it’s bad coaching
GB has issues in every facet of special teams.
GB cannot even do the basics of special teams. For example, on FG line blocking there are predetermined sets and approaches taken used by every team for a long time because they work. GB cannot do that consistently. GB regularly has the unit out there for a ST play short a person. GB on returns regularly abandons lanes another standard for ST play.
that is the very embodiment of bad coaching. Frankly it is evidence of “no” coaching
I was mocked at APC (Packer Sb nation site) for saying Matt should handle as they would in corporate America. Senior mgt person assigned and owns making it better. Daily updates. Progress reports. Consultants hired. And if things don’t get better quickly someone is fired and a new person who has been heavily vetted takes charge. No he or she would not be a top coach as those all have jobs. You just need someone who can drill team in basics and generate repeated modest performance. Going from awful to mediocre is actually not difficult in most instances. Drayton has the job because by all accounts he is a nice guy and willing to work cheap. That is a terrible way to run what you claim is a championship focused organization.
GB lost the game for multiple reasons. But the foundation was the lack of urgency in addressing a very obvious problem in terms of horrendous special teams performance.
Shame on senior management.
#15 by oaktoon // Jan 24, 2022 - 9:30pm
Rodgers has his 4 MVPs, and his 1 SB-- country may think he's a fool, joke or dick-- he just might not care. His coach might not ever get out from under this, particularly if with Love-- or whomever-- at QB they revert to a .500-- or worse team....Shocking management failure inexcusable
#70 by Pat // Jan 25, 2022 - 1:31pm
I think I really, really accurately described Jay Cutler (who is, in fact, the Bears passing leader).
My favorite Jay Cutler comment (paraphrased):
To get Jay Cutler, the Bears effectively traded away Kyle Orton, Robert Ayers, Alphonso Smith, and Richard Quinn.
I'm still trying to figure out who won.
My favorite Jay Cutler fact: after the Bears/Broncos trade, Cutler accumulated 1181 DYAR for the remainder of his career.
Orton had 1749 DYAR.
#24 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 24, 2022 - 10:59pm
I was thinking of the Bears when I said that. While George Blanda had a cup of coffee there, Luckman was really good for a bunch of years in the 40s and is deservedly in the Hall.
The Lions have 1.5, aside from Layne (Dutch Clark). The Cardinals need a tailback (Charlie Trippi) to get a second passer in the Hall.
Buffalo only has one. Atlanta has none, although Ryan has a good chance. Carolina and Jacksonville have none. The Bengals have none, although both Anderson and Esiason are borderline.
Meanwhile, both GB and SF had HOFers riding the pine. San Diego, too, and they turned that into zero titles!
#48 by Pat // Jan 25, 2022 - 9:38am
Luckman was really good for a bunch of years in the 40s and is deservedly in the Hall.
The disaster for the Bears really starts after the dead-ball era - it's not fair to compare them to Atlanta, Carolina, Jacksonville, Houston, etc. The Bears have a 46-year advantage! Where Chicago really excels is that not only have they never had a really long term good passer, they basically never have good passing seasons, period. The last Chicago QB to be really good from a league-wide perspective was Erik Kramer in 1995, and that's like, the only Chicago season above 700 DYAR, I think.
Trubisky's 2018 was like a top 10 season for them.
I would still rate Tampa as a sadder-sack franchise in terms of QBs until these past two seasons, because while it's sad not to have Hall of Fame QBs, it's even sadder to have one and not realize it (Chicago's got to be the worst franchise in terms of drafting QBs).
#53 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 25, 2022 - 10:21am
Even being in Chicago is cursed. The Bears and Cardinals, combined, have drafted one HOF QB in 202 combined seasons of football. It's something like 14 seasons of having a HOF starter, combined.
It nearly cursed the Steelers, too, but they played in Pittsburgh in their combined season.
Card-Pitt passers had a 31% completion rate, and threw for just eight touchdowns; their total of 41 interceptions is still the third highest number in NFL history
This would be perceived as an above-average season by Chicago QBing standards.
#40 by andrew // Jan 25, 2022 - 7:45am
Warren Moon is also in the HOF, he was in the division briefly.
and.... if you want to get all technical, so was Steve Young, though his HOF credentials did not come from his time on the (NFC Central) Bucs.
I am not convinced Stafford gets in with a ring. He might, but kinda think he'd need two to be certain.
#45 by ImNewAroundThe… // Jan 25, 2022 - 8:38am
Revisionist history already working overtime
He STILL has only ONE pro bowl. And doesn't even have any all pro mentions.
A ring would put him into rich mans Trent Dilfer (also 1st rounder), Danny White and Dan Pastorini (3rd overall!) company.
#9 by big10freak // Jan 24, 2022 - 7:55pm
I am sure it has been discussed but I remain shocked and dumbfounded that the team went Turner at LT and Kelley at RT. Turner had not played there all season. Put him at RT and Yosh ar LT. And it wasn’t just that the team went with the wrong mix. They never changed. Team has benched guys during the season. Kelley was being eaten alive. Do what had to be done
The mix chosen and then the inability to make a change is just bizarre
FWIw it was way worse in person. Seeing Kelley get abused. He was in a pit of despair by his body language by mid second quarter.
As we say in the rural areas “that boy was whupped”
#12 by jheidelberg // Jan 24, 2022 - 8:54pm
I would love to see his entire postseason career. I don't know if this is easy access or a complete project. It certainly would make for a great article. We know that mathematically what he has accomplished is seemingly impossible.
I would expect his career win totals to be way above Post-Game Win Expectancy.
#14 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 24, 2022 - 9:29pm
It's probably pretty high, but there's a lot of Belichick in that data. He had a really good team around him for much of his career, too. Those first couple of titles were basically old-Elway or Manning titles.
#22 by DisplacedPackerFan // Jan 24, 2022 - 10:22pm
I don't have post game win expectancy but I can tell you that using full season DVOA to determine favorite or underdog for the playoffs that Brady is now 20-9 as the favorite and 15-3 as the underdog (assuming I didn't muck up somewhere).
The underdog losses are 2005 to DEN, 2013 to DEN and 2017 to PHI.
The favorite losses are 2006 to IND, 2007 to NYG, 2009 to BAL, 2010 to NYJ, 2011 to NYG, 2012 to BAL, 2015 to DEN, 2019 to TEN, 2021 to LAR.
Again that is using full season DVOA to determine favorite and underdog.
The only comparison data I have is Favre as a Packer was 9-3 as favorite and 3-7 as an underdog. Rodgers is 8-2 as favorite and 3-8 as an underdog, which does in fact include Saturday since SF was 19.5 DVOA and GB was 11.5 for the season.
I have not done any other QBs but I have a feeling the Favre/Rodgers are likely typical and Brady at 15-3 as the underdog is insane and I would imagine some of those wins were DVOA "losses" and yeah that pgwe would continue to point out that he wins way more than expected.
#26 by jheidelberg // Jan 24, 2022 - 11:50pm
But 35-12 is crazy, which is my point. There is no way that anyone can have a playoff DVOA against that kind of competition that would legitimize a record that is so fantastic.
Again, I would love to see the Brady analysis from FO, thanks for doing the research.
Now, if you want another research project... I was wondering if you could get a head count of all of the fan contributors that want a change to OT as indicated by their comments during the open discussion and the articles today. I would love to see a summary of ideas of rule changes.
I truly would like to have FO write a letter to the league office showing what a great following of avid, intelligent fans that we have here, and that we want a change.
There are constant disputes on this site. I have never seen such overwhelming agreement on a topic which is the change of the OT rules.
My own research showed today that there have been 11 post season games played under the new OT rules. Of those, 10 were won by the team that won the toss. It seems that once we get the garbage offenses out of the picture from the regular season, that winning the toss wins the game, the rules need to be changed. Eleven is a small sample size, however this is likely to be very statistically significant as compared with the 86-67-10 record compiled by teams that win the toss in the regular season.
#32 by DisplacedPackerFan // Jan 25, 2022 - 2:20am
Now, if you want another research project... I was wondering if you could get a head count of all of the fan contributors that want a change to OT as indicated by their comments during the open discussion and the articles today. I would love to see a summary of ideas of rule changes.
Fantastic idea. No great way to do it with the tools I currently have, but with the treatment schedule I have on Thursday I might actually have the time to do a the tedious manual tally of that and sometimes I like doing stuff like that with how I can feel.
#67 by LyleNM // Jan 25, 2022 - 11:53am
"There are constant disputes on this site. I have never seen such overwhelming agreement on a topic which is the change of the OT rules."
Don't forget about selection bias. There are, I expect, a large number of commenters on this site (like me) who see no need to change the OT rules and have thus remained otherwise silent.
#68 by jheidelberg // Jan 25, 2022 - 12:24pm
I acknowledge that their are people who agree with you, I should have used the phrase overwhelming majority. I do not think that there is necessarily a bias of the people that comment regularly to the overall FO reader, but feel that their is a huge bias as to the FO reader versus the non FO reader.
There are also fans such as yourself who will comment on occasion. I believe that this topic about changing the overtime rules got the most number of different commenters, now including you, of any topic over the last two years.
Regardless as to whether you are correct about the bias or not, I can safely say that this is a hot topic among FO readers.
#76 by LionInAZ // Jan 25, 2022 - 10:07pm
I've been reading those comments and "suggested changes", and they made me cringe. A lot of them are overly complicated schemes that supposedly make OT more "fair", but I doubt it.
Beyond that, this came up because someone argued that the result wasn't "fair" because Allen "didn't get a chance to respond". That's nonsense. Isn't football supposed to be a team game? Allen would have gotten his chance had his defense done their job: get a stop or hold KC to a field goal. They didn't. End of story. And the numbers tell the story: KC had higher yds/play and higher success rate. The better team won.
Of course if you really want the kind of fairness you think you want, we could go to soccer/NHL rules: a shootout at the end of one OT. Have each team attempt 40 yd FGs. First one to miss loses. I bet you would just love that!
One thread with a bunch of similar comments does not make a consensus of FO readers.
#77 by Tutenkharnage // Jan 25, 2022 - 11:32pm
Or all three units, although Packers fans have been very unhappy about that fact for a while.
The Chiefs' D wasn't required to do anything in overtime. Not a damn thing. They're part of Kansas City's team, and overall, they did just as much as Buffalo's defense did during regulation, because they gave up the same 36 points. But because of the coin flip, they got let off the hook. And I'd be arguing the same damn thing if the Bills had won the coin toss and Allen had led the team to an opening-drive touchdown, because I've always felt this was blatantly unfair. The 10-1 record of teams that have won the coin toss—a mark that would be 10-0 if Saints-Rams had been officiated correctly and not gone to overtime—makes the unfairness of the flip crystal clear.
#31 by DisplacedPackerFan // Jan 25, 2022 - 2:17am
I'm actually getting the data pulled together to try and make it semi easy to get those numbers. I'm not there but I have Brees now from doing a quick test (that failed but I manually calc'd his as well). Brees was 8-6 as a DVOA favorite and 1-3 as a DVOA underdog. But Eli was such a good suggestion I might do him by hand as well. I'm interested in Warner and Payton Manning as well.
Some other tidbits that jumped out at me while getting the data set-up
We all know that TEN was the weakest DVOA of any #1 (or #2) seed already. But GB was the 2nd worst NFC #1 seed ever at 11.5 only worse than 2000 NYG at 8.4.
Worst DVOA by Conference and Seed
1. AFC 2021 TEN -3.0%, NFC 2000 NYG 8.4%
2. AFC 1991 DEN 3.0%, NFC 2005 CHI -1.8%
3. AFC 1990 CIN -9.8%, NFC 1993 DET -2.3%
4. AFC 2016 HOU -19.5%, NFC 2010 SEA -24.3%
5. AFC 2012 IND -16.2%, NFC 2004 STL -23.7%
6. AFC 1996 DEN -12.9%, NFC 1998 ARI -17.8%
7. AFC 2021 PIT -10.4%, NFC 2020 CHI -0.6%
Best DVOA by Conference and Seed
1. AFC 2007 NE 53.4%, NFC 1991 WAS 56.5%
2. AFC 2004 NE 35.0%, NFC 1995 SF 40.0%
3. AFC 2019 NE 30.7%, NFC 2019 NO 32.7%
4. AFC 1997 DEN 29.9%, NFC 2017 NO 35.0%
5. AFC 2004 NYJ 27.2%, NFC 2012 SEA 38.5%
6. AFC 2009 BAL 28.2%, NFC 2015 SEA 38.6%
7. AFC 2020 IND 14.2%, NFC 2021 PHI 3.8%
The 2004 NFC field had an average DVOA of -1.0% (PHI 23.6, ATL -1.7, GB 2.1, SEA -2.4, STL -23.7, MIN -4.1). That unsurprisingly (since the average DVOA of the playoff teams was in line with expected) lines up with the strongest DVOA field ever on the AFC side with a 27.9% Average (PIT 37.6, NE 35.0, IND 26.7, SD 18.1, NYJ 27.2, DEN 22.8)
2016 had the weakest overall field at 8.8% DVOA average. 2009 at 20.8% was the strongest average field.
Average DVOA by Seed
1. 26.7% (AFC 25.2, NFC 28.2)
2. 20.2% (AFC 20.1, NFC 20.4)
3. 14.2% (AFC 13.6, NFC 14.8)
4. 9.9% (AFC 9.0, NFC 10.8)
5. 11.1% (AFC 9.3, NFC 12.9)
6. 9.7% (AFC 9.4, NFC 10.1)
7. 1.8% (AFC 1.9, NFC 1.6)
Averages over all years is a bit wonky since DVOA goes back to 1983 and in 83-89 there were only 5 teams the 3 division winners and 2 wildcards. 1990-2001 was the 3 division winners and 3 wildcards. So I should break those seedings down based on the playoff formats.
Some Non-DVOA stuff just for reference
While I'm working on that I was reminded of how much value there is in being the 1 or 2 seed as far as making the Super Bowl since the NFL started seeding in 1975 (46 seasons not counting this one). Always had at least one of the 1 or 2 seeds in there. I'll be interested to see if that trend dampens with the current format and changes to the bye week (which is really the huge factor there though the #1 and #2 seeds are generally pretty good teams too but 1 less game is of course massive). I should be able to generate this for the DVOA seedings when I've got stuff set-up too. I've got this handy in part because I want to have something to compare DVOA results too.
NFC #1 Seed 17 SB Wins, 9 Losses
NFC #2 Seed 4 SB Wins, 7 Losses
NFC #3 Seed 1-2
NFC #4 Seed 1-2
NFC #5 Seed 2-0
NFC #6 Seed 1-0
So that 1-2 seed combo is 21-16 and 80% of all NFC SB appearances.
AFC #1 Seed 9-16
AFC #2 Seed 6-6
AFC #3 Seed 1-0
AFC #4 Seed 4-2
AFC #5 Seed 0-1
AFC #6 Seed 1-0
So that 1-2 seed combo is 15-22 and 80% of all AFC SB appearances.
#33 by DisplacedPackerFan // Jan 25, 2022 - 2:36am
It looks like Eli never played a playoff game as a DVOA favorite. He was 8-4 as an underdog.
2005 CAR 17.6% @ NYG 17.2%.
2016 NYG 9.4% @ GB 11.0%.
2008 PHI 30.6% @ NYG 27.8%
everything else was 10% or more.
Again so far I'm just doing straight up DVOA. Things would change for everyone I've listed if I worked in a HFA value.
#49 by Bob Smith // Jan 25, 2022 - 9:41am
That underdog stat for Eli is understandable. He has 5 road wins in the playoffs including 2 road wins in 2 Conference Championship Games. That is very impressive.
Those 5 road wins are right up there with Brady and Flacco who had 7 road wins each. Very impressive.
#57 by Aaron Schatz // Jan 25, 2022 - 11:14am
At some point I did a table, it's in the DVOA commentary after one of the Super Bowls. The Brady Super Bowls almost all have "reverse DVOA." If I remember correctly, the Patriots had the LOWER DVOA in the Super Bowl after the 2001, 2003, 2014, and 2016 seasons, yet had the HIGHER DVOA in the Super Bowl after the 2007, 2011, and 2017 seasons. The only Brady Super Bowls where he won and had the higher DVOA were 2004, 2018, and 2020.
#71 by dmstorm22 // Jan 25, 2022 - 2:05pm
Seems surprising that by DVOA the 2007 Patriots had a higher DVOA in the Super Bowl than the Giants.
Figured at the very least the Patriots significantly higher DVOA entering the game would have ensure the Giants single-game DVOA was bumped up a lot.
#13 by oaktoon // Jan 24, 2022 - 9:28pm
We all saw Bills-Chiefs with our own eyes. To have any metric-- hell, any four year old who doesn't know any better-- conclude that KC was a DOMINANT BETTER TEAM-- well, it's just not sustainable. nice to see that the Gb defense did get the DVOA credit it deserved, and the GB offense the shame it deserved.. but i don't care about sample size and differences evening out over time... The Bills played the Chiefs to a coin flip standstill-- there is NO WAY they were outplayed by as much as DVOA has somehow concluded. that is a huge flaw in the metric-- pure and simple...
#21 by JS // Jan 24, 2022 - 10:21pm
Those miserable offensive sequences when Buf insisted on running the ball ineffectively count too. You can argue if they had run their normal pass-happy offense they would have done better, and I'd agree with you, but they wasted a few possessions, and those count too.
#25 by ChrisS // Jan 24, 2022 - 11:36pm
Devin Singeltary alone could be the difference, 10 rushes for 26 yards with a long of 7. That's a lot of bad plays. Also the Chiefs had 30% more yards than Buffalo. The pre defense adjusted numbers for offense has the Chiefs at 55% and Bill's at 29%, does not seem unbelievable to me.
#39 by Tutenkharnage // Jan 25, 2022 - 7:45am
I agree that the Chiefs played better, and I think Buffalo was a hit lucky to be in position to pull off the win thanks to a few breaks (missed PAT, missed 50-yard FG, two Chiefs collide on one Davis touchdown, dumb Bell option call). I also agree that the gap wasn’t nearly as bad as DVOA suggests, although you have to remember that this includes the Bills’ defense, which got shredded on a per play basis. Functionally, I think the defense came up with the necessary stops, last 2 minutes aside.
DVOA has limitations. Unless I’m failing to remember something that magically never gets mentioned on this site, one of them is that it doesn’t account for home-field advantage. It’s self-evident that the Chiefs would have had a harder time that Highmark than they did at Arrowhead and that the Bills would have had an easier time, but DVOA thinks every game is played on a neutral field, so it doesn’t adjust for degree of difficulty. Given that we as viewers understand HFA, we’re inclined to be more impressed by a great outing by the road team.
Anyway, the Chiefs were definitely more effective on more plays, which is really what DVOA is monitoring. The idea that the Chiefs were so dominant that they had a 90% chance of winning a game in which they couldn’t find a way to stop Josh Allen or corral Gabe Davis seems ridiculous, though.
#43 by Mike B. In Va // Jan 25, 2022 - 8:20am
It also includes opponent adjustments, and the Bills' defense was rated substantially higher than current reality based on the full season. This is why analytics can only tell part of the story - the Bills hadn't really been "that defense" since Tre White got hurt, and KC exploited what Tampa had exposed.
#50 by Tutenkharnage // Jan 25, 2022 - 10:03am
But even the VOA points to a huge gap between each team's performance. Also, when Allen hits Davis on a 75-yard bomb, DVOA caps the value at 40 yards even though the pass meant that the Bills didn't even have to get those last 35 that DVOA ignored.
It's still a great system, but like any system, it has limitations. EPA declared Allen and Mahomes equal at +0.51 EPA/play but Mahomes ahead on total EPA by virtue of having run more plays; like any system, EPA also has limitations.
I also think there's something about the today's best offenses that renders a top defense obsolete, or at least ineffective. Unfortunately, KC's O-line got shredded last year, so we didn't get to test that in the Super Bowl. DVOA also doesn't take injuries into account, as you noted. None of this is to say that KC played any worse than Buffalo, but the idea that KC played well enough to have a 90% chance of winning that game is flat-out ludicrous. Buffalo got some breaks, but they didn't luckbox their way into a seemingly insurmountable lead with 13 seconds left; they earned it.
#56 by jheidelberg // Jan 25, 2022 - 11:10am
Its a theory I have that your point really hit. Look at the prior week, it sure did not matter much that NE had a good defense. When a top offense in this league is on a roll, your top defense will be shredded.
Now in this game we had Buffalo’s top defense and KC’s “improved from early in season” defense.
I did not see any defense get played at all as the game progressed to its final stages.
How on earth did Buffalo lose to JAX 9-6? The NFL always has counterpoints to any point that we can make.
#64 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 25, 2022 - 11:40am
Hell, last year's SB.
Styles make fights. The 2011 Pats cakewalked everyone but the Giants. (This happened to the 1990 Bills, too) Marino torched the '85 Bears.
Some defenses are confusing. Some defenses play vanilla behind an overwhelming front 4 (or 5). Some offenses are vulnerable to confusion. Some are vulnerable to brutality. You can be good both ways, but still vulnerable in a particular matchup.
9-6 was just a high-variance team rolling a 1 on both sides of the ball, despite their THAC0.
#66 by Tutenkharnage // Jan 25, 2022 - 11:46am
And I think this advantage for the offense is more pronounced at home. This isn’t to say that a great offense can’t overwhelm a top-tier defense at home—the Bills didn’t punt in the Foxboro game either—but it should be easier to do at home.
As for the Jacksonville game, a lot of it come down to Buffalo’s injuries along the offensive line combined with Jacksonville’s very talented front four.
#20 by JS // Jan 24, 2022 - 10:19pm
Nice to see the huge DVOA gap between the Rams and Bucs. Maybe along with Off, Def, and ST there should be a Brady Juju DVOA to account for the gap.
Four close games by score line, but in reality, not so much.
The KC-Buf game made me think of Belichick and how he won some games by the other team doing stupid things and him simply not doing stupid things. The Buffalo coaching staff made some stupid decisions (insisting on trying to run the ball in spite of injuries and their natural strengths, hideous defensive tactics at the end of regulation) and KC didn't. Sometimes that's how you win a championship.
#36 by Tutenkharnage // Jan 25, 2022 - 7:29am
But since they won the coin flip and scored a walk-off TD, no one is harping on them for the three-run sequence that ended with the Bell option play and a field goal instead of a game-sealing touchdown. Nor is anyone giving them grief for surrendering 200 yards and four touchdowns to Gabe Davis. And because Butker hit the GTFG at the end of regulation, no one is talking about his missed PAT and missed FG at the end of the first half. That last part doesn’t fall under the category of “stupid things,” but it does fall under the category of “mistakes the other team makes to provide Belichick and Brady an opening.” If Buffalo had won the game, those first two points would still be coming under intense scrutiny—especially the first one, which is typical Chiefs cuteness.
#81 by Mike B. In Va // Jan 26, 2022 - 8:41am
Winning erases a lot of mistake. If Allen hadn't taken over and bailed out the stupid second-down run decisions and very iffy punt decision, this would be a very different conversation. These were not winning moves, either - in both cases the coaching staff got bailed out for bad decisions by the fact they have aliens at the QB position.
#44 by ammek // Jan 25, 2022 - 8:31am
Yes, he had more than a whiff of Jamal Reynolds / Justin Harrell about him when he was drafted, but he was consistently productive rushing the passer during the second half of the 2021 season, and seems to have improved in run defense also. Gutekunst made a good pick there.
#59 by dank067 // Jan 25, 2022 - 11:31am
I re-watched the Atlanta/Green Bay 2002 playoff game recently, I think last offseason. It's funny because I was expecting to remember it as "the Mike Vick game," but while he played well he actually didn't do much - he only threw for 117 yards and a touchdown and ran for 64 on 10 carries. The first four times the Packers touched the ball went: interception, blocked punt returned for touchdown, missed FG, and then they muffed a punt deep in their own territory. The Falcons were up 21-0 at the beginning of the 2nd quarter even though they had only picked up about ~120 yards of offense and had punted on 2 of their 4 possessions. From there they just kind of ran the ball the rest of the game.
So yeah, that was a bad special teams game where a lot of the bad plays were stacked in the first 17 minutes and basically ended the game before it started. The Packers had plenty of time to come back but every single one of their subsequent drives ended either in a missed FG, turnover on downs, or a turnover (plus they scored once). The Falcons never had a lead by less than 17 points.
#78 by Red // Jan 26, 2022 - 12:20am
Does the VOA you show here count all four Rams fumbles at full penalty for being lost? I know DVOA adjusts for fumble luck and unadjusted VOA in your season tables doesn't, but not sure about single game VOA.