Week 17 DVOA Preview: Lions-Packers-Seahawks to the Wire
The Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks will battle for the seventh and final NFC playoff spot in Week 18. According to the pre-Monday Night Football DVOA rankings, the three teams are essentially neck-neck-and-neck.
The Lions rank 9th in DVOA but seventh in weighted DVOA, which counts recent performance as more important than early-season performance, making it a better measure of how teams are trending down the stretch. The Packers rank 12th overall but eighth in weighted DVOA. The Seahawks rank 10th overall but 11th in weighted DVOA. It's unsurprising that the Lions and Packers leap ahead of the Seahawks in weighted metrics: the Packers are on a four-game winning streak and the Lions have won four of their last five, while the Seahawks just snapped a three-game losing streak with their 23-6 victory over the New York Jets.
The Lions have a four percentage point edge in weighted DVOA over the Packers, despite ranking just 28th in the NFL in defense. Whether four percentage points will be enough to overcome the Lambeau tundra and Aaron Rodgers with a fully-armed-and-operational offensive line and receiver corps is yet to be determined.
The Seahawks boast the NFL's best special teams, with Michael Dickson netting 44.6 yards per punt and Jason Myers 30-of-32 on field goal attempts. It's worth noting that the typically-dreadful Packers special teams have improved drastically over the last two months thanks in large part to Keisean Nixon, who is averaging an NFL-high 30.0 yards per kickoff return.