Updated DVOA with Big Night for Cowboys
NFL Wild Card - It was a big win for the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football last night. The Cowboys remain seventh in weighted DVOA but that rating moves from 13.4% to 17.5%, bringing the Cowboys closer to the rest of this year's "Big Six" teams. The Cowboys' rating for the entire season (including playoffs) goes from sixth to fifth, ahead of Cincinnati.
One thing you might be curious about: Dallas did not have a terrible special teams rating for last night despite the four missed extra points! They ended up with just -3% DVOA on special teams. Two reasons for this. First, extra points are worth one-third of field goals, so missed extra points are worth one-third of missed field goals. You don't lose too much value from them. Second, the Cowboys were very good on kickoffs. Brett Maher had three touchbacks and the three Tampa Bay kickoff returns ended at the 16, the 20 (with a forced fumble, which also gives the Cowboys value) and the 27. There's also a little bit of value for KaVontae Turpin's 35-yard kick return to start the fourth quarter.
As always, the following rules apply for postseason DVOA ratings:
- 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 1-4, and Weeks 5-12 are somewhat discounted.
- The ratings listed do not include the adjustments used in the ratings for our playoff odds report. For this year, that just means Philadelphia is adjusted for the two games with Gardner Minshew at quarterback.
- Only weighted DVOA is listed for offense, defense, and special teams. Total DVOA is also listed, but one game doesn't change much in an 18-game sample so these ratings will be similar to those from the end of the season.
- Teams which did not play in the wild-card round are treated as if they had a bye week. (That includes both the 18 non-playoff teams and the two teams with byes.)
I wrote more about the rest of wild-card weekend yesterday and you can read that article here.
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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.
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.
Here's a look at all the single-game ratings from wild-card weekend. Dallas ends up with the same single-game DVOA as Buffalo, separated by just .05%.
60 comments, Last at 19 Jan 2023, 12:11pm
#1 by Tutenkharnage // Jan 17, 2023 - 1:16pm
Worth pointing out one of DVOA’s limitations: the Bills defense is treated as if they played against Miami’s season-long offense rather than the Skylar Thompson version of it. So, a question for the FO staff: what would the Bills’ defensive DVOA have been for Sunday’s game if we only considered Dolphins games that weren’t started by Tua? I’m guessing it would have been a lot lower than their official rating.
#32 by KnotMe // Jan 17, 2023 - 7:18pm
I suspect it isn't THAT much lower. I've heard QB's account for about 40% of offence(which is alot for 1 player), So I'm guessing it's probably not THAT much different. Their full season is 12%, so Skylar Thomson version is maybe 9% at worst. I think they don't account for it bc there isn't enough sample size to evaluate Skylar. (Bridgewater started 2 games also). Not sure it would change the view of the Bills defense that much.
#34 by Tutenkharnage // Jan 17, 2023 - 8:33pm
I don't think that's right. I just split Miami's results by week for the regular season. Their offense was 14.3% in all games started by Tua and -1.7% in all games started by Bridgewater and Thompson. To put that in season-long perspective, that's the difference between Cincinnati (14.2%, 4th for the season) and the the Los Angeles Chargers (-1.9%, 19th).
#36 by BigRichie // Jan 17, 2023 - 10:05pm
It's also fluky. Split Miami's results according to 1st half/2nd half, those are much starker. Tua's 2nd half of the season games were much worse than his 1st half ones.
Seen in historical perspective, Tua's results scream "ONE LONELY HOT STREAK!!!'
#48 by Aaron Schatz // Jan 18, 2023 - 10:02am
It's true that this is one of DVOA's limitations and to look at the effect, I went in and replaced the Miami opponent adjustments on passes with the opponent adjustments for the New York Jets, who ranked 29th in offensive DVOA this year. That seems like a good equivalent for Skylar Thompson.
Buffalo's defensive DVOA for this game goes from -60% to -39% with this change. Their overall weighted defensive DVOA goes from -12.8% to -9.0%, which would rank sixth. It definitely has an effect, but the Bills are still a good amount ahead of the Chiefs and Bengals in weighted DVOA even if we try to adjust for Miami's QB3 situation.
#25 by dmstorm22 // Jan 17, 2023 - 4:33pm
This is basically the story of 2022 Tom Brady.
Ridiculously high volume with above average play-by-play results. I don't know what it was, but curious what Brady's DVOA was inside the red zone.
From watching the Bucs, their offense seemed to be either a 3-and-out, or a nickel-and-dime drive that stalled out in the red zone.
I will say, yesterday he was definitely part of the problem, as much as people (or say is DYAR) excused him a lot during hte season.
#30 by BigRichie // Jan 17, 2023 - 5:07pm
Thank you for that, Bryan.
I'm now convinced. DVOA somehow or another overvalues the 'dink' passers who via dinking avoid interceptions and especially sacks. Yet very seldom helm real good offenses, and get themselves replaced pretty quickly.
#50 by Aaron Schatz // Jan 18, 2023 - 10:06am
We've written about this before but the thing about Brady in 2022 is that he had so few negative plays. Few sacks, few interceptions. That's why DVOA likes him.
If you look at DVOA compared to EPA, there are two reasons passing DVOA has Brady higher. The first reason is running plays, where Brady was very bad. The second reason seems to be related to second downs. Brady had a very high rate of second downs where he just reached the line of what we consider success (60% of needed yards). He comes out a few spots higher in a ranking of DVOA on second downs compared to EPA on second downs. Perhaps in order to draw closer to EPA values, we need to raise the line for success on second down to 65%. Something worth studying.
But overall, remember that Brady was constantly in bad down-and-distance situations compared to other quarterbacks because his running game sucked so bad. DVOA is trying to account for that.
#5 by JoelBarlow // Jan 17, 2023 - 1:53pm
it's interesting that the Vikings losing was seemingly a cathartic or even celebrated event for so many, whereas the flip side was another win for the nearly as fraudulent Giants
The Giants are 20th in DVOA and now "have to" give Jones a bigger contract, still have a limited roster, and are set to play a potentially tougher schedule next year (although given they were only a 3rd place team who knows). But Daboll is a fat guy who drives a truck so I guess next year's 7-10 record will be written off.
#11 by Joey-Harringto… // Jan 17, 2023 - 2:28pm
"nearly as fraudulent Giants"
Not really. According to DVOA, the Giants were qualitatively a 7 win team (looking at "estimated wins") that lucked their way into an extra 2.5 wins and snuck into the playoffs. That happens fairly frequently. That's garden variety "fraudulent".
DVOA sees the Vikings, on the other hand, as a 6 win team that had a magic rabbit's foot up their collective asses and somehow got 13 wins. That's unprecedented, historic levels of "fraudulence." There's never been a 13 win team with a negative point differential until this year.
If the Vikings had slightly worse luck and won the NFC North at 10-7, there would probably be significantly less chatter about them.
#15 by andrew // Jan 17, 2023 - 2:47pm
The schedule doesn't change based on playoff success. Draft position does, but not schedule. The Giants will play a third place schedule, we already know who their opponents are, even if they win the Superbowl:
- Home: Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Commanders, Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks
- Away: Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Commanders, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Las Vegas Raiders, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers
They may get more prime time games if they win the superbowl, but it will be from these opponents. Like all NFC teams, they will get 9 away games and only 8 home games in 2023.
#35 by mehllageman56 // Jan 17, 2023 - 9:41pm
Not only do the Giants have only 8 home games, one of them is against the Jets, so they don't really have home field advantage in that one. Meanwhile, the Jets have 9 home games and the game against the Giants.
#47 by RickD // Jan 18, 2023 - 9:51am
Well, their season ticket holders will have seats. The Jets' season ticket holders won't. Now there are ticket brokers who buy a lot of those tickets, and there are other aspects to home field advantage that matter (travel), so the Giants wouldn't have the full benefit. But there might be a slight edge.
Certainly more so than when a team has a "home" game in London.
#20 by Oncorhynchus // Jan 17, 2023 - 3:07pm
I mean it's not a bad thing to "have to" resign Jones. That gives them 3-4 years of certainty at the QB position. At this point it's probably only Kirk Cousins level of certainty or slightly lower. But he's shown he's good enough to not lose you games. That's nice. That's perfectly adequate. That's Geno Smith. That's Jared Goff. That's enough to raise your floor to top-18 team or so. That's 3-4 years to spend raffle ticket money (i.e. draft picks) on other positions of need.
At the same time, it's not like Jones has a ton of leverage. They don't have to give him the deal the Ravens are going to have to give Lamar Jackson (or maybe even the deal the Eagles are going to have to give Jalen Hurts). There's Jimmy G out there. There's Derek Carr. There's 46 year old Tom Brady. There's bridge-QB all-stars Jacoby Brissett and Teddy Bridgewater. There's Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold for the "I-can-fix-him" crowd. There's even Gardner Minshew, Drew Lock, and Taylor Hienicke. So it's not like he's the only maybe-good QB hitting free agency. I don't think teams are going to be clamoring to, say, give him a quarter billion dollars guaranteed and a coupon book for Discrete Massages 'R Us. What's Jones going to do, tell Schoen "Pay me or I'm going to play for the Dennis Allen!"?
Plus Jones has experienced terrible coaching. It's in his interests to stay in New Jersey almost more than it's in the Giants interests to keep him. If he signs something in the 35 million APY range for 3 years solid years with a nice non-guaranteed earn-it or lose it escalation in years 4-5 - that's pretty good for both sides.
I'd so much rather be the Giants than these teams: the Colts, the Commanders, the Saints, the Buccaneers, the Jets, the Texans, and the Panthers, the Raiders, the Bears, the Falcons (and the Dolphins?) who have QB uncertainty (but some have more resources to address it than others). I'd also rather be the Giants than these teams: the Cardinals, the Browns, the Broncos who have QB certainty, but that's not necessarily a good thing. I think I'd also rather be the Giants than the Titans, the Rams, the Packers and the Vikings who look like they have a QB for next year, but not much of a plan beyond that.
Honestly the closest comp to the Giants situation is the Seahawks who now "have to" pay Geno Smith. But I'd rather have to pay a modest price for 25 year old Daniel Jones than have to pay a modest price for 32 year old Geno Smith.
Still given what Brian Daboll did with Josh Allen and now Daniel Jones, some sick twisted part of my soul wants to see what would happen if we gave him Carson Wentz. Uncoachable Object versus Irresistible Coaching.
#27 by t.d. // Jan 17, 2023 - 4:56pm
yeah, Daniel Jones has more playoff wins than Kyler Murray (who went #1 in that draft), he's going to be cheaper, and he's well-coached; you could be in a lot of worse situations (although I wouldn't have included the Jets in a list of 'worse' situations, they have more surrounding talent and we know there will be a couple of perfectly cromulent qbs on the market; the path to genuine contention for them looks relatively simple though not necessarily easy)
#60 by Hoodie_Sleeves // Jan 18, 2023 - 1:57pm
Kirk Cousins the last 4 years has been +14%, +12%, +15%, +3%.
Jones was +1% this year, and roughly -15% prior to that.
We can assume that leap to roughly average is real - but it would require another leap just as large to reach "Kirk Cousins Level" performance. Almost everyone on that "quarterbacks out there" list is a significantly better QB than Jones might be.
Giving him 3 years at $35m/per seems really aggressive, and committing to longer seems insane. If they think he might get better, they'd be better off just tagging him and reassessing next year.
#61 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 18, 2023 - 2:09pm
Then you run the risk of getting on the Kirk Cousins Treadmill, where he does well enough to make not re-tagging him unpalatable, but a third time is madness, and then he's not available anywhere on FA for much less than the tag value.
Minnesota sort of regrets picking him up, but not as much as Washington misses his performance.
\it's sort of like hiring Josh McDaniels
\\The new team regrets it, but so does the old team
#65 by Hoodie_Sleeves // Jan 19, 2023 - 9:22am
Sure - but the performance Minnesota is meh about, and Washington misses is unlikely upside for Daniel Jones at this point. My issue is that you're assuming a level of performance that Jones has never displayed, and would require significant improvement - as a baseline.
It's not the idea of extending a good-not-great QB that's the problem - it's that Daniel Jones isn't a good-not-great QB. He's a not-so-young QB with 3 bad seasons and one average season who is at least as likely to be an outright bad QB going forward as he is to be an average QB. Cousins' upside and downside were significantly higher than Jones.
#28 by Red // Jan 17, 2023 - 5:03pm
I think it's because MIN got a lot more hype than NYG, especially in the second half of the season. And because of the way the Vikings won so many games in improbable, lucky fashion. That shit gets old if you aren't a fan of the team. As someone who is generally neutral toward Minny, I wanted them to lose just so their preposterous run of luck would finally end.
#8 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 17, 2023 - 2:05pm
It feels like Tampa's narrative is *way* different than Minnesota's, even though DVOA says they are basically the same team.
Also: Going 1/5 on XPs *and* losing an onside kick only nets you -3% DVOA?
#10 by RickD // Jan 17, 2023 - 2:17pm
The rest of the world looks at the W-L and that shapes their opinions about the Bucs and Vikings.
Tampa's narrative is "championship team that has fallen apart." And that's true both of their W-L and DVOA.
The Vikings' narrative is "team we suspect didn't deserve to win that many games." But, since they did win those games, and the expectations weren't quite as high, and the bad losses were few (even though they were very bad), the conventional wisdom isn't going too downrate them quite as much.
#44 by coltsandrew // Jan 18, 2023 - 8:23am
DVOA is basically an attempt to use data of past performances to predict future performance. I would guess that the reason why 2 pt conversions are ignored is because, for whatever reason, they have little or no predictive value. Most likely, this is due to game strategy being altered by the result of the attempt
#57 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Jan 18, 2023 - 1:27pm
2-point conversion plays likely should be included going forward, but not as special teams. They should be part of the team's offensive and defensive rating, I think. That's what 2-point conversion success rate reflects, the offense's ability to score from the one- or two-yard line (or the defense's ability to prevent the other team from scoring).
#9 by imaginability // Jan 17, 2023 - 2:16pm
"The ratings listed do not include the adjustments used in the ratings for our playoff odds report. For this year, that just means Philadelphia is adjusted for the two games with Gardner Minshew at quarterback."
Should this say, "Philadelphia is not adjusted for the two games with...Minshew..."? Which includes the adjustment for backup quarterback, the playoff odds or the postseason DVOA ratings?
#19 by Sixknots // Jan 17, 2023 - 2:58pm
now the Bears have the first overall pick and the 49ers...
...first round pick goes to Denver.
And their 2nd, 3rd and 4th round picks go to Carolina.
But the 49ers should be SB favorites (assuming Purdy doesn't turn into a pumpkin).
#29 by t.d. // Jan 17, 2023 - 5:06pm
their best win is either against the Dolphins or Chargers; they've crushed a bunch of tomato cans for two months and everybody is ready to crown them, but Jarett Stidham lit them up two weeks ago (I know, I know, stomps are better than guts, but Dallas and then Philly and then any of the AFC teams remaning except Jax are all significantly sterner tests than what they've been facing the last 2 months); Purdy's been great, but he's going to have to be even better to get them there from here
#21 by AFCNFCBowl // Jan 17, 2023 - 3:15pm
And the Bears were ahead of them in the standings (since they won H2H)!
What happened down the stretch to CHI was no surprise at all - that Week 1 win over SF happened in large part because of a fluke play to Pettis for a TD, they won in Week 3 over HOU, and the NE game was their only really good game this season. Take away the best defensive player from a lousy team against a brutal schedule and it's no surprise they lost out. SF, meanwhile, was much better than a 3-4 team even at the time and added CMC against a very easy remaining schedule.
#16 by edholiday // Jan 17, 2023 - 2:54pm
Cowboys had 2 penalties for 15 yards
No turnovers. No blown coverages leading to easy points. Most big plays were met with muted celebrations by the players involved.
I’ve been critical of McCarthy. And frankly most of Jerry’s HC choices. This was the game I wanted to see. Focused and well played, except for the extra points.
Really pleased with the performance but we’ll need to play this way every week for any chance at success.
#54 by Kaepernicus // Jan 18, 2023 - 12:32pm
SF -3 is probably the best bet in the divisional round. Chiefs -8.5 also looks pretty good. If that Eagles line made it to -6.5 that would be a great bet. I am still probably going to bet on the Eagles. The SF-Dallas spread is wild though. This Cowboys team is worse than last year's team and SF is better than the 2021 team.
Last year the Cowboys were +10% on net weighted DVOA at home and they still lost by 6 after trailing by 2 scores most of the game. It took a terrible Jimmy G interception to even make it a game at the end. That SF team had 169 yards rushing even though Jimmy put up 172 yards passing with no TDs and an interception. Dallas was loading the box and could not stop the SF running game. Since then the 49ers have added CMC at RB and the Cowboys run defense has become a lot better moving from 16th to 5th. The Dallas pass defense is still great but it is much worse than it was last year.
The Dallas offense is worse than it was last year and the SF defense is better. How is this only a 4 point spread? Is this everyone overrating the beat down they put on TB? SF was up 35-0 with 29 minutes left to play when they faced TB a few weeks ago. I honestly think this might be the dumbest playoff line I have seen since the 2013 Broncos-Seahawks SB. This spread should be -6.5 at least.
#56 by BlueStarDude // Jan 18, 2023 - 1:12pm
"Is this everyone overrating the beat down they put on TB?"
Surely. Everyone and everything overreacts to a Dallas win (or loss). They beat up a sorry-sack Tampa team with a one-dimensional offense, which is much better than playing down to the competition, but still, San Fran is a frickin' beast right now.
#59 by Kaepernicus // Jan 18, 2023 - 1:44pm
One thing is certain for Purdy and Prescott, this week will be a lot tougher than last week. Going from the 23rd and 28th ranked defenses to the 7th and 5th ranked defenses is going to make life a lot tougher. It will be funny to watch the narratives shift when the stat lines come back down from the stratosphere for both of them. I just think all of the advanced numbers indicate this line is off. The only good counter argument I can come up with at the moment is the differences in strength of schedule are more important that even DVOA can account for. If Purdy stinks it up I still have faith in Kyle working around that fact. I have literally watched him win 4 playoff games with terrible QB play and see no reason why he couldn't do it again.
#63 by BlueStarDude // Jan 18, 2023 - 3:27pm
"If Purdy stinks it up I still have faith in Kyle working around that fact."
Also, he's pretty stacked with talent around him—that helps! They could easily go into "just don't screw it up" mode and still win, especially if Dallas goes all Plaxico and shoots themselves in their figurative leg as they are wont to do.
I expect the game will look a lot like the 1st Philly game, where the Dallas D is totally off balance and dizzy.