Week 10 DVOA Preview: Buffalo Bills Back to No. 1

Bills QB Josh Allen
Bills QB Josh Allen
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

The Buffalo Bills may have lost back-to-back games, including Sunday's 33-30 overtime instant classic to the Minnesota Vikings, but DVOA stands behind them.

The Bills overtook the Philadelphia Eagles to reclaim the top spot in the DVOA rankings, though the Eagles could return to the top spot with a strong performance against the Washington Commanders on Monday night. For their part, the 8-1 Vikings (DVOA's redheaded stepchildren) finally climbed into the top half of the league. Hey, 16th is the top half of the league!

The Bills averaged 6.8 yards per net play to 6.1 yards for the Vikings. They produced 29 first downs to the Vikings' 24. They also committed four turnovers, but the Vikings benefitted from recovering a pair of their own fumbles, one of them in overtime. The Bills had 41.8% DVOA in this game. The Vikings had -13.0% DVOA.

So DVOA saw what most of us saw: the Bills took a 27-10 lead and appeared to win the game with a fourth-down stop at the goal line in the waning seconds, but lost due to several high-leverage, low-likelihood plays like Josh Allen's fumble when kneeling out the clock and Justin Jefferson's miraculous 4th-and-13 catch. In fact, the Bills had a Post-Game Win Expectancy of 98.6%, making the Vikings victory the third-most surprising result since 2010!

Overall, DVOA appears to be cautioning us about overreacting to a pair of dramatic late-game collapses: the Bills still have the statistical profile of a dominant team. Meanwhile, DVOA remains somewhat skeptical of the Vikings, whose offense ranks 16th in the NFL with 5.43 net yards per play and whose defense ranks 28th with 5.86 yards per play allowed.