Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Week 12 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

The top teams remain the same in this week's Football Outsiders DVOA ratings, with Houston still leading the way despite their rash of quarterback injuries, followed by Green Bay and New England. Below that there were some larger moves, particularly because of two games. Baltimore and New Orleans move up, while San Francisco and the New York Giants move down.

Once again this week, we've done two versions of our playoff odds report. The second version attempts to estimate the drop in weighted DVOA we would expect when a team has to use a backup quarterback -- or now in Houston's case, a third-string quarterback. Despite these adjustments, you might think the odds we have listed for Green Bay to go undefeated are a bit low. Right now, we have this at just 11.9 percent on the "injury-adjusted" version of the playoff odds report. There are two issues here. One, of course, is that we have Green Bay listed as just another very good team, not the kind of dominant team we would usually be expecting to challenge for an undefeated season. Second, the formula we use to figure out games in our playoff odds report is based on the last few years of results, and the fact is that upsets are a lot more likely than many fans realize. Good teams beat very good teams all the time, and even average teams beat very good teams.

Here are the chances the formula gives to Green Bay in each game when figuring out whether to assign the Packers a win or loss in each simulation:

  • Week 13 at NYG: 51%
  • Week 14 vs. OAK: 73%
  • Week 15 at KC: 69%
  • Week 16 vs. CHI: 67%
  • Week 17 vs. DET: 68%

So the Packers are technically favored in every game, yet their chances of winning all five are very low. Even if you were to increase the odds of winning each game by ten percentage points, the probability of winning all five would still be only 24.0 percent. So even in the home stretch, going 16-0 looks very difficult.

Here are the same chances given for Indianapolis to win in each of its five remaining games:

  • Week 13 at NE: 5%
  • Week 14 at BAL: 5%
  • Week 15 vs. TEN: 46%
  • Week 16 vs. HOU: 38%
  • Week 17 at JAC: 18%

* * * * *

So, why have the Denver Broncos suddenly gone 5-1 over their last six games after beginning the season 1-4? Is it Tim Tebow, improvement in the running game, or improved defense? That last element is getting a lot of credit from smarter fans. What if I told you it wasn't quite true?

If we look at the Denver Broncos defensive numbers before and after Tim Tebow took over in Week 7, we see almost no difference:

DEN defense Total Rk Pass Rk Run Rk
Weeks 1-6 7.7% 19 19.1% 21 -5.0% 16
Weeks 7-12 4.6% 19 13.6% 22 -6.5% 12

Now, part of the reason why there's no difference is that the Broncos got clobbered by Detroit 45-10 back in Week 8. So what if we set the line after that game instead of after six weeks? Well, now we see a little bit of improvement, but still nowhere near as much as you might expect.

DEN defense Total Rk Pass Rk Run Rk
Weeks 1-8 8.3% 21 19.5% 25 -4.4% 14
Weeks 9-12 2.1% 15 10.4% 20 -8.1% 14

Now let's look at the offense. Look at the running game before and after Tebow took over as quarterback, and you'll see where the real improvement in Denver has been:

DEN offense Total Rk Pass Rk Run Rk
Weeks 1-6 -8.1% 27 -4.8% 28 -8.9% 26
Weeks 7-12 1.0% 18 -8.1% 23 11.6% 7

First of all, in case you are wondering, Denver's pass offense DVOA has gone down overall but up in ranking because the overall leaguewide passing DVOA has gone down since those first few ridiculous weeks that started the season. Still, the real change here is in the running game. We've written about this a couple times, including a few years ago in one of the first pieces we ever did for ESPN, but the threat of a running quarterback really does open things up for the rest of the running game. Clearly, that's what has happened in Denver. Some of the improvement is Tebow's own rushing ability, but a lot of it is an improvement from Willis McGahee because opponents have to constantly watch out for Tebow carrying the ball himself. When some commentators have said the option looks seem to be working in Denver, this is what they mean. Denver's offense has improved more than Denver's defense, and the biggest reason for the improvement really is Tim Tebow.

Of course, the other element in Denver's 5-1 record is pure, old-fashioned luck. Five of Denver's six wins this year have come by seven points or less, including two in overtime. If Nick Novak hits a 53-yard field goal -- or if Norv Turner doesn't go all conservative on that drive before the field-goal try -- this conversation seems a bit different.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through 12 weeks of 2011, 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 to 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. WEIGHTED DVOA represents an attempt to figure out how a team is playing right now, as opposed to over the season as a whole, by making recent games more important than earlier games.

As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE.

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>

1 HOU 35.1% 1 36.7% 1 8-3 23.8% 4 -8.9% 7 2.4% 9
2 GB 27.1% 2 25.8% 2 11-0 37.6% 1 12.3% 26 1.9% 10
3 NE 25.2% 3 25.2% 3 8-3 33.5% 2 10.9% 23 2.6% 8
4 NYJ 22.6% 5 22.6% 5 6-5 4.4% 18 -13.6% 3 4.6% 3
5 BAL 21.3% 9 21.1% 7 8-3 6.3% 15 -19.4% 1 -4.3% 29
6 PIT 20.7% 7 23.6% 4 8-3 17.4% 5 -2.0% 9 1.3% 13
7 NO 19.6% 11 18.5% 10 8-3 31.2% 3 11.2% 25 -0.4% 21
8 SF 19.4% 4 19.6% 8 9-2 1.2% 20 -9.7% 6 8.6% 2
9 CHI 19.3% 6 21.9% 6 7-4 -2.6% 22 -10.8% 5 11.1% 1
10 ATL 17.3% 10 18.6% 9 7-4 10.3% 10 -6.9% 8 0.0% 16
11 DET 9.6% 13 9.3% 11 7-4 5.1% 17 -10.8% 4 -6.4% 31
12 TEN 8.9% 15 6.2% 16 6-5 7.4% 13 2.7% 12 4.2% 4
13 DAL 8.4% 12 8.8% 12 7-4 10.6% 9 0.6% 11 -1.6% 25
14 NYG 7.1% 8 6.3% 15 6-5 13.3% 7 6.2% 18 0.0% 18
15 CIN 6.8% 16 7.1% 13 7-4 7.6% 12 3.6% 15 2.8% 7
16 PHI 5.3% 14 6.8% 14 4-7 11.0% 8 7.0% 19 1.3% 12
17 OAK 1.8% 18 0.7% 17 7-4 7.1% 14 5.3% 16 0.0% 17
18 MIA -2.7% 17 -1.1% 18 3-8 0.5% 21 2.8% 14 -0.4% 20
19 BUF -4.0% 20 -9.4% 22 5-6 10.0% 11 12.9% 28 -1.0% 22
20 DEN -5.6% 19 -3.8% 19 6-5 -2.8% 24 6.1% 17 3.2% 6
21 TB -6.7% 21 -9.3% 21 4-7 3.1% 19 11.0% 24 1.2% 14
22 SD -11.3% 23 -12.0% 24 4-7 6.1% 16 14.3% 30 -3.1% 27
23 JAC -11.7% 26 -9.1% 20 3-8 -22.2% 31 -14.1% 2 -3.5% 28
24 CAR -12.0% 28 -12.0% 23 3-8 15.4% 6 21.7% 32 -5.8% 30
25 WAS -14.0% 22 -16.1% 27 4-7 -12.2% 27 0.3% 10 -1.5% 23
26 CLE -14.1% 25 -13.4% 26 4-7 -7.0% 25 7.1% 20 0.0% 19
27 SEA -14.4% 24 -13.0% 25 4-7 -11.9% 26 2.7% 13 0.2% 15
28 MIN -16.7% 27 -18.5% 28 2-9 -2.7% 23 12.5% 27 -1.6% 24
29 KC -25.5% 30 -23.7% 29 4-7 -18.1% 30 8.8% 21 1.4% 11
30 ARI -26.4% 29 -27.1% 30 4-7 -16.9% 29 13.1% 29 3.6% 5
31 STL -36.1% 31 -34.7% 31 2-9 -25.4% 32 9.0% 22 -1.6% 26
32 IND -42.5% 32 -44.6% 32 0-11 -16.1% 28 19.5% 31 -7.0% 32
  • NON-ADJUSTED TOTAL DVOA does not include the adjustments for opponent strength or the adjustments for weather and altitude in special teams, and only penalizes offenses for lost fumbles rather than all fumbles.
  • ESTIMATED WINS uses a statistic known as "Forest Index" that emphasizes consistency as well as DVOA in the most important specific situations: red zone defense, first quarter offense, and performance in the second half when the score is close. It then projects a number of wins adjusted to a league-average schedule and a league-average rate of recovering fumbles. Teams that have had their bye week are projected as if they had played one game per week.
  • PAST SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents played this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative). It is not adjusted for which games are home or road.
  • FUTURE SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents still left to play this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative). It is not adjusted for which games are home or road.
  • VARIANCE measures the statistical variance of the team's weekly DVOA performance. Teams are ranked from most consistent (#1, lowest variance) to least consistent (#32, highest variance).

1 HOU 35.1% 8-3 40.8% 8.2 2 -2.4% 27 -4.3% 25 16.8% 24
2 GB 27.1% 11-0 29.3% 9.1 1 -2.1% 26 2.4% 15 3.0% 3
3 NE 25.2% 8-3 21.9% 8.1 3 2.0% 12 -13.8% 30 10.6% 15
4 NYJ 22.6% 6-5 18.5% 6.6 11 3.9% 7 -6.0% 26 14.8% 23
5 BAL 21.3% 8-3 18.9% 7.8 4 6.6% 3 -15.0% 31 24.2% 30
6 PIT 20.7% 8-3 21.4% 7.5 6 -1.0% 22 -7.6% 29 14.6% 22
7 NO 19.6% 8-3 19.3% 7.5 5 -2.5% 29 1.4% 16 13.5% 19
8 SF 19.4% 9-2 21.9% 7.2 8 -0.3% 21 -18.4% 32 5.3% 6
9 CHI 19.3% 7-4 16.0% 7.1 9 4.0% 6 -7.0% 28 9.1% 13
10 ATL 17.3% 7-4 14.0% 7.2 7 -0.2% 20 4.9% 10 2.6% 2
11 DET 9.6% 7-4 11.1% 6.5 12 2.4% 9 4.1% 11 7.7% 8
12 TEN 8.9% 6-5 12.9% 6.2 14 0.2% 19 -0.7% 21 17.9% 25
13 DAL 8.4% 7-4 11.0% 6.3 13 -1.1% 23 -2.7% 23 18.0% 26
14 NYG 7.1% 6-5 7.8% 6.2 15 -1.8% 24 10.5% 5 19.4% 27
15 CIN 6.8% 7-4 14.6% 6.6 10 0.6% 17 2.9% 13 1.0% 1
16 PHI 5.3% 4-7 4.2% 5.7 17 1.4% 15 0.0% 18 12.9% 17
17 OAK 1.8% 7-4 6.6% 5.9 16 2.8% 8 -0.6% 20 25.7% 31
18 MIA -2.7% 3-8 -3.0% 5.6 18 2.2% 11 10.2% 7 12.9% 16
19 BUF -4.0% 5-6 -4.3% 5.3 20 4.6% 4 2.9% 14 30.2% 32
20 DEN -5.6% 6-5 -3.7% 5.5 19 2.4% 10 -0.4% 19 7.5% 7
21 TB -6.7% 4-7 -15.4% 5.0 21 14.5% 1 -2.0% 22 20.7% 28
22 SD -11.3% 4-7 -6.3% 4.3 27 1.1% 16 3.4% 12 4.0% 4
23 JAC -11.7% 3-8 -14.9% 4.4 25 9.2% 2 -6.9% 27 8.6% 11
24 CAR -12.0% 3-8 -9.8% 4.5 24 -2.5% 28 11.7% 3 14.4% 21
25 WAS -14.0% 4-7 -14.4% 4.4 26 -6.0% 32 8.7% 8 13.8% 20
26 CLE -14.1% 4-7 -6.3% 4.5 23 -4.4% 30 11.5% 4 5.2% 5
27 SEA -14.4% 4-7 -11.1% 4.6 22 0.3% 18 -3.7% 24 9.6% 14
28 MIN -16.7% 2-9 -15.1% 4.1 28 4.2% 5 5.7% 9 13.5% 18
29 KC -25.5% 4-7 -23.2% 3.3 30 -1.8% 25 13.0% 2 22.5% 29
30 ARI -26.4% 4-7 -18.0% 3.4 29 -5.0% 31 1.2% 17 7.9% 9
31 STL -36.1% 2-9 -36.9% 2.5 31 1.8% 13 10.4% 6 8.1% 10
32 IND -42.5% 0-11 -46.5% 1.7 32 1.7% 14 15.8% 1 9.0% 12


347 comments, Last at 04 Dec 2011, 9:18am

57 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

It's a home game for the Chiefs.

The generic upset probability in the NFL is higher than most people imagine it to be. It really is over 30%. But that number is, of course, averaged over all games between all pairs of teams, and the Packers are far better than the typical favorite while the Chiefs are worse than the typical underdog.

Like I said regarding earlier comments: there's a big advantage to the home team in this model.

Let's keep in mind that the model hasn't seen Tyler Palko throw a pass into quintuple coverage. This is a limitation to the model: it is looking at average Chief team performance, not at the best estimator which includes factoring injuries into account. Presumably, if it could account for Palko at QB, the win percentage for the Chiefs would drop to .0001%. Or lower.

72 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Mind you, that's probably going to be Kyle Orton throwing the ball by then, and if getting the Spectre of Tebow off from over his shoulder (y'know, playing with a home crowd that actually wants to see him succeed instead of praying that he fails so Their Hero can take the field) brings back the 2009-10 version, the upset percentage might look a little more normal than if the game was played Thursday.

Or not. KC's still pretty awful.

22 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Mathematically the odds of GB finishing 16-0 don't seem that low. As a generic gauge, the odds of a team sitting at 50% in all its games winning 5 in a row is just over 3%. Green Bay has that figure almost quadrupled, not surprising since they're heavily favored in all but the NYG game (though my "common sense" says Oakland, Detroit, and maybe even Chicago have better odds than New York but maybe that's because I watched last night's game).

"When you absolutely don't know what to do any more, then it's time to panic." - Johann van der Wiel

25 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

I wonder what the odds are of GB having won 17 in a Row, at least 10 of which were against Playoff Teams with many being on the road

48 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

That's the easiest question I've seen all day: 100%.

If you already know the results, odds are pretty easy to calculate.

89 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

I'll assume then that you are a millionaire since you would have made tons of money betting on them to win all 4 Playoff Games with 100% Win Probability for GB in your mind

239 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

According to him he knew they were 100% at the time. For example, if you flipped a coin and it landed on Heads, if someone walked past and said "I wonder what the odds were of it landing on heads" the answer would be 50%. If you said 100% then that means at the time you had 100% certainty in the future result.

The poster stated he had 100% certainty that last year GB would win the Super Bowl, so logic suggests that he must have made a fortune betting on them

250 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

You say:

"According to him he knew they were 100% at the time."

He said:

"If you already know the results, odds are pretty easy to calculate."

Nobody else seems to be confused.

271 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

"You say:

"According to him he knew they were 100% at the time."

He said:

"If you already know the results, odds are pretty easy to calculate."

Nobody else seems to be confused."

He seems confused as well as you. The original post was wondering about the Odds of GB winning those 17 Games in a row. He said that the Odds were 100%. The only way that is true is if the Odds of winning each game was 100% which is impossible.

The answer that he says is also wrong. Even if we knew the results (imagine a coin is flipped and it lands on heads) just because it ended up on heads does not mean the odds of that happening was 100%.

280 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Okay, this conversation is silly, but...

Here's the original comment:

"I wonder what the odds are [present tense] of GB having won 17 in a Row [in other words: of something having happened in the past], at least 10 of which were against Playoff Teams with many being on the road".

The odds of "GB having won 17 in a row" are 100%, since GB did win 17 in a row. The second poster's statement was perfectly correct, based on the original wording.

And yes, the odds today of something having happened in the past that we have perfect knowledge about are either 0% or 100%. Now that we've completely finished explaining the joke and thereby killing all of its amusement value, perhaps everyone can move on.

126 Odds of a perfect season?

Mathematically the odds of GB finishing 16-0 don't seem that low.

By Pythagorean the best five teams of the last ten years averaged 84% winning strength. With that chance of winning each of the next five games on average, the Pack have a 41% chance of winning out. Consider that an upper bound.

Rembering the lesson of the 2007 Pats, they'd have a 25% chance of winning eight straight through the big game -- but that's wildly optimistic, because against playoff-level opposition they'd have a lot less than 84% chance of winning.

Even if they are clearly the best team in the league, the odds are strongly against them running the table. (If they aren't going to run the table, best to have the perfect season ruined during the regular season.)

Personally I estimate GB as having an 82% winning percentage against average opposition, and that they are facing only average 48% level opposition over the last five games, giving them -- of all things -- an 84% chance of winning each game on average.

I don't have any secret magic formula, but I think these estimates are perfectly plausible and in the ball park of reality.

28 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

I have been tempted to ask this many, many times about the playoff odds simulator. Now that you've actually posted some game odds, I feel comfortable saying this:

I am almost certain that your playoff odds simulator has a conservative bias. Its predictions are constantly timid. The Packers are more than a pick'em on the road against the Giants. Vegas has them as a one-touchdown favorite right now. You could argue that Vegas is overrating them because of the undefeated season - and they might be - but I believe that DVOA also should have the Packers as more than a 51% chance to win.

The Packers' 20% advantage in weighted DVOA should be enough to make a team a road favorite. A 20% advantage in weighted DVOA has historically been more than enough to win on the road.

Here is how the teams between 17.5% and 22% DVOA have done on the road in the last few years:
2010 Eagles: 6-2
2010 Jets: 5-3
2009 Vikings: 4-4
2009 Colts: 7-1
2008 Chargers: 3-5
2008 Panthers: 4-4
2007 Packers: 6-2
2007 Chargers: 4-4
2007 Steelers: 3-5
2005 Bengals: 6-2
2005 Panthers: 6-2

In the aggregate, these teams had about a 20% DVOA advantage against their road opponents, and they went 56-32 (63.64%). I realize that this is very back-of-the-envelope and makes some bad statistical assumptions, but the main point I'm trying to make is still pretty valid.

How about this one? 69% chance vs the Chiefs? They're the 29th-ranked team! Usually the 29th-ranked team by DVOA goes about 5-11 (31%) total. Do we really expect them to win 31% of the time against the 2nd-best team in the league?

Your model is not aggressive enough in predicting games. It consistently errs towards calling games a tossup when they are not.

45 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Home field advantage has been stated several times in the past as being worth 17.0% in DVOA, so you're in the right ballpark. 20% - 17% = 3%, or a slight favorite.

59 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

as to Vegas "overvaluing" the Packers this year because of bettor bias, well gee, GB is 8-2-1 vs. the spread. So scratch that theory.

128 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

And I think they covered in all 6 of their victories ending the 2011 season-- so that would be 14-2-1 against the spread in this 17 game winning streak

30 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Over at Grantland Bill Barnwell has the Packers odds of going undefeated at 34.7%, much higher than the 11% here.


63 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

He also points out that KC and Chicago are missing their starting qbs, which DVOA is again unaware of. I guess that DVOA's odds are going to look a little odd following a rash of broken quarterbacks.

127 Odds of a perfect season.

By Pythagorean and Log5 the Pack have a 24% to 29% chance of winning out to 16-0, depending on what flavor of the Pythag formula one uses.

If "perfect season" means 19-0 it's much lower, well less than 10%, probably 5% to 8%. Ask the Pats.

34 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Here are some realistic odds for the remaining five games on the Packers' schedule-- DVOA has simply missed on them all year long-- it's bit of a 100 yr flood phenomenon a la the baseball playoff odds this year, where two teams made essentially 1 in a 1,000 comebacks the same year. obviously there were factors a foot that made the true odds a lot less than 1 in 1,000, just as there are factors concerning the Packers that make their true odds much better than DVOA is factoring.

but here goes:

Giants: 80% The Packers have won their last 9 road games. The opponents were the Eagles (better team than 2011 Giants); Falcons (ditto and #1 seed in the NFC), Bears (ditto again and an 11 win team), Panthers (a weak team), Bears (better than Giants), Falcons again (better than Giants), Chargers (a little worse), Lions (a little bit better than Giants) and Vikings (worse). 7 teams either playoff caliber, actual playoff teams and all better than the Giants.

Raiders: Home, Carson Palmer 85%

Chiefs: Road, whats his name at QB 90%

Bears: Home, probably Hanie 75%

Lions: Home, who knows what the Lions will be playing for 75% with a big question mark

run the math and you get just about 35%-- which I think is clearly a better projection than DVOA. As I said last week, DVOA is simply wrong about the Packers-- there isn't much point in trying to argue otherwise-- Aaron's odds for these games are borderline ridiculous. The better project from this site is to accept the fact that this team is within range of the greatest winning streak in the history of the sport, and start to figure out why DVOA is missing that so much. And clearly the defensive caliber of the team is being grossly undervalued. garbage time yards and scores, yards traded for turnovers, and historically great (compared to every other big streak team, that is) ability to stop offenses in the 4th Quarter with game on line. (As Cold Hard Facts has shown, packer defense has allowed 0 pts in these situations since the streak began-- every other big streak team has given up points, some several TDS) And of course the fact that they have never trailed in the 4th Quarter in any of the 17 wins-- also a feat never before duplicated.

Love the site-- but also love the Packers showing its frailties.

44 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Speaking as a Colts fan for the past decade or so, the Colts achieved any number of record-breaking feats in years past with very good teams and out of this world quarterbacking, but that didn't mean squat when it came to the next game. You can't say "Gee, they've won 10 in a row, they must be invincible" in the NFL.

"Any Given Sunday" is a cliché for a reason.

226 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Heck, I watched the PANTHERS have a great start against them. Yes, the Panthers self-destructed (2011 - wash, rinse, repeat), but for a while, they had the Packers on the ropes.

235 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Hard to say they had them on the ropes. The Panthers scored the first 13 points, the Packers then outscored them 30-3 to go head by 14 with a minute left. Newton then threw a last minute TD for the back door cover. The Panthers never had the ball in position to tie the game in the 4th quarter.

241 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Carolina actually did have a chance to tie in the 4th. GB stopped Newton on 4th Down inside the 10 yard line and then 2 plays later Rodgers hit Nelson for an 84 yard TD to go up by 14

60 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Are you muddling causation and correlation? Just because Green Bay have been on a 1 in a 1000 run doean't mean that they are a 1 in a 1000 team, they could have been lucky. For example, if Cutler doesn't get hurt in the championship game last year (and count me among those who think he got hurt quite early on that hit from Pickett) then the Bears could easily have beaten them and we're not looking at the same 1 in 1000 style run.

Green Bay aren't close to the largest points differential after 11 games, they're 17th by that score.

67 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

A strong argument could be made that GB was actually Unlucky that Cutler got Hurt and that they had to play Hanie. In a Total of 10 Quarters vs GB last year, Cutler and the Bears Offense scored 1 Total TD.

91 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Feel free to explain the missing Context. What from Cutler's 10 Quarters of Play against GB that year make you think Chicago would have done better than Hanie did?

133 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

The context can be acquired by watching the game tape. Firstly Cutler got injured on the first play of the second quarter, at that point he was something like 2-4 for 25 yards. One of the incompletions was the throw to Hester where Devin ran the wrong route (5 instead of 7 like Karl Cuba says), if Hester had run the 7 the Bears would have scored. I beleive the other incompletion was the jump pass Cutler got injured on trying to hit Forte. Cutler then missed Forte and Knox on drag routes that are money for a top NFL QB both of which would have lead to long gains due to there not being any defenders anywhere near them had they caught the ball and kept running. He missed Hester on a mirror of the route that Hester had run wrong earlier down the left side, this time down the right side when he overthrew him. Lastly if you go back and look at Shields' pick, Sammy boy got very lucky indeed. Knox had scorched him and had outside position with 8-10 yards of sideline for Cutler to put the ball into. At the end of last year Cutler was hitting all the throws I am describing like clockwork (go watch the Jets game where the Bears score four TDs on four straight possessions against one of the best defenses in football). The Bears WRs were too good for the Packers' CBs that day and got bailed out by an injury to the QB.

The tape shows a very athletic player struggling to step up in the pocket or into his throws. As he threw the drag to Forte which went incomplete he had to hop on his left leg to try to turn (it was his right leg not his left that got injured) and on several occasions his leg seems to be buckling under him as he tries to step up and throw down field.

On the other hand maybe you are right and the no name from Colarado State who had never started a game in the NFL is much the better QB.

161 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

At the end of last year Cutler was hitting all the throws I am describing like clockwork (go watch the Jets game where the Bears score four TDs on four straight possessions against one of the best defenses in football). The Bears WRs were too good for the Packers' CBs that day and got bailed out by an injury to the QB.


Like Clockwork. Like the last game of the year versus Green Bay when Cutler had no TD's, 2 INT's and a 43.5 Passer Rating? Pretty sure the last game of the season was during the "end of last year". Cutler has always stunk it up against the Pack, especially last year. You're delusional if you think he would have rallied them to victory.

177 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

You mean the game that meant nothing to the Bears because they had already wrapped up the number one seed but was a must win game for the Pack. The Bears offense that day was as vanilla as Mad Mike is ever going to get. Yes the Bears players played hard but the coaches deliberately mailed it in (I would guess the idea was to keep powder dry for the playoffs, and yes it seriously backfired).

Seriously do you disagree with any of the descriptions of the plays I am talking about? It is only 15 minutes of football (the second quarter that is) if you can, go watch it and then call me delusional (or more likely apologise for being rude). The greatly heralded Packers CBs were all at sea that day - you think Shields is supposed to play a fade by allowing the WR to get on his upfield shoulder with eight yards of space towards the sideline for the QB to throw into and then just get lucky with the throw? You think Tramon Williams is meant to let Hester leave him for dust as he runs towards the end zone? Do you disagree with my interpretation of when Cutler got hurt?

And no I don't think he would have rallied the Bears to victory. If Cutler hadn't got hurt I think the Bears would have taken a lead into the half. Not that it counts for anything, the Pack won the Superbowl and will have done forever. The implication you are making seems to be that Hanie is better than Cutler, dude that is delusional.

206 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Until my dying day I will be bitter about that game against the Packers last year. No disrespect to the Packers, who were clearly the better team in the NFC championship game and deserved their Super Bowl win, but I think the Bears' coaching staff made a huge tactical error by deciding that they'd be content to lose to the Packers and let them into the playoffs. There's no way of knowing if the Bears would have won that game had they approached it as a must-win, but clearly their chances would have been better had they played more of a standard offense. (And while no one could have known that the Packers were near the start of an epic winning streak at that point, I think there were plenty of signs that they were peaking at the right time and that they would be possibly the most dangerous team to meet in the playoffs later on.)

223 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Entirely agreed. It all falls into the woulda shoulda coulda that you always get when your team is close to a championship. My two personal bugbears are letting Tony Parrish go (because Mike Brown might not have gotten as banged up if he had remained at FS and Parrish was awesome in SF) and thinking Grossman was the QB of the future when Brees was available in free agency.

236 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

But remember the team that got screwed by that was NYG, who damn near knocked Cutler's head off in the first game. Chicago had had decent success against GB, and none at all against NYG. I can see throwing the game to keep NYG out.

308 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Good point, but even at the time I was less concerned about possibly having to play the Giants than having to play the Packers. The Giants game came at the point when the Bears offensive line was just about as bad as it ever was in the season, and by the end of the season they were looking at lot better, plus Cutler was playing better and making better decisions. Not to mention that the Bears got a lot of help from GB in the first game they played when the Packers had something like 18 penalties.

243 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

"The context can be acquired by watching the game tape. Firstly Cutler got injured on the first play of the second quarter, at that point he was something like 2-4 for 25 yards. One of the incompletions was the throw to Hester where Devin ran the wrong route (5 instead of 7 like Karl Cuba says), if Hester had run the 7 the Bears would have scored. I beleive the other incompletion was the jump pass Cutler got injured on trying to hit Forte. Cutler then missed Forte and Knox on drag routes that are money for a top NFL QB both of which would have lead to long gains due to there not being any defenders anywhere near them had they caught the ball and kept running. At the end of last year Cutler was hitting all the throws I am describing like clockwork (go watch the Jets game where the Bears score four TDs on four straight possessions against one of the best defenses in football). The Bears WRs were too good for the Packers' CBs that day and got bailed out by an injury to the QB."

This post is pretty amusing. So your context is that Cutler was completing 50% of his passes for 25 yards before the play that you THINK he got hurt on. Pretty interesting too that all the throws that he "hits like clockwork" he never hit in 3 different games against GB that year. In all 3 games Cutler and the Offense got completely dominated by GB's Defense and DBs. Thinking that GB's DB's got dominated is pretty hilarious considering it was more the other way around.

I see there is also a myth going around that Chicago was not trying to win. Usually when I see teams not trying to win at the end of the year, it involves teams resting their star QB, RB, etc instead of letting him get brutalized and sacked 6+ times by nonstop blitzes from Woodson (although maybe there was another injury in that game that you saw that we all missed)

301 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

I am glad I amuse you. Have you actually gone and watched the film or do you consider investigating facts to be irrelevant to discussion?

Why do I think he got hurt on the first play of the second quarter - to suffer an MCL injury you would typically need to be hit on the outside of the knee with force being applied transversely towards the midline of the body with the foot planted, trapping the leg. Cutler only suffered one hit like that and it was when Picket hit him in his own endzone as he tried to pass to Forte on the first play of the second quarter. His right knee doesn't get hit again so yeah I THINK (see I can try and shout over the internet too) that is when he got hurt. If you don't believe me go watch the tape, the hit Pickett delivers to Cutler's knee is a textbook example of how you get a torn MCL (although I suspect you don't beleive he got injured because you get your sports news from TMZ).

In all 3 games Cutler and the Offense got completely dominated by GB's Defense and DBs.

In the two regular season games the Bears passing DVOA against the Packers defense were 40.1 in week 3 and -40.2 in week 17. A wash, not exactly the kind of domination you are claiming. Yeah the Pack dominated Cutler by fighting him to a draw, nice logic.

So following that do I need to bother with this

Thinking that GB's DB's got dominated is pretty hilarious considering it was more the other way around.

You get back to me.

304 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Let’s look at conventional statistics.

I'm not saying that Hanie is the better QB. It is not about who is better, it's about who is effective on a given day. I am saying that Cutler was largely ineffective against Green Bay for the entire 2010 season. His 2011 season is much more effective

Cutler in 2+ games in 2010 43/80 469 yards 1TD 4int. Rating 54.64

Hanie in <1 game in 2010 13/20 153 yards 1TD 2int. Rating 65.21

Furthermore, Cutler in 2011 against Green Bay: 21/37 302 yards 2TD 2int Rating 78.89

If you factor in Todd Collins, Green Bay's "scorched" pass defense held the Chicago passers to 77/141 924 yards 4TD 8int Rating 60.71 for the four games over the 2010-2011 seasons to date.

305 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

"I'm not saying that Hanie is the better QB. It is not about who is better, it's about who is effective on a given day."

If you say so. Personally, I think that is reducing sample sizes so awfully small that they are near useless.

Cutler is better than Hanie, if he was healthy he would have given the Bears a better chance to win in my mind. Unless you have some compelling reason why Hanie is better suited to play against the Packers you aren't going to convince me otherwise.

307 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

I think Cutler is clearly the better quarterback. I also belive that he was laregely ineffective against the Packers in 2010. 2TDs and 6 interceptions are not exactly Hall of Fame numbers. (yes, small sample size.)

Side note: I largely disreagard sample size when discussing the NFL because it would make all discussions moot. Where's the fun in that?

Back on topic. I also think that Green Bay scouted and prepared for Cutler. They may have been surprised by Hanie's skillset. Is he more mobile in the pocket? I have no idea. However, scouting and defensive preparation are factors that are not considered in this discussion.

Perhaps we need to dig deeper and look into the playcalling with the two QBs. That may play into the fact that Chicago appeared to play better with Hanie. Even though we can agree that Cutler is the better quarterback.

Maybe the Bears just developed more grit as they rallied around the young guy. :-)

322 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

I'm a Bears fan, and I actually agree with you that Cutler was less effective than Hanie that day. However, I think that's because Cutler was hurt earlier than initially thought - likely on that end zone play early in the second quarter, that Jimmy has been citing.

Playing on a torn MCL would certainly cause a QB's effectiveness to drop. Once Cutler got hurt, there was no way the Bears would win the game.

324 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Well it is certainly the case that once Cutler got hurt the Bears would have been better off with Hanie as Cutler didn't play well on one knee. The Bears might have had a chance if they had gone to Hanie on the second play of the second quarter but they didn't (although my money would still have been on the Pack). Cutler tried to gut it out but couldn't produce and we were then all subjected to the crime against quarterbacking that was Todd Collins last year.

325 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

My main point is that in the championship game Knox and Hester both got side open deep quickly enough for Cutler to get them the ball for (what would have been) three TDs (if Cutler had been able to throw properly). Of course we all watched the game and we all know what the results were. For example Shields didn't defend Knox's route very well when he got his pick but did make a great play on the ball when it was thrown short and too far inside. A better throw and he is beaten for a TD. If you were scouting either team you wouldn't just look at the play by play but instead watch the film to try to understand what happened. Did the Bears WRs get open deep? Yes. Was Cutler able to get them the ball? No. Is there a good chance that Cutler was affected by a torn MCL? A good chance, yes but only Jay Cutler really knows how much and he doesn't appear to be telling. Could all this have affected the result? Maybe and that is as far as we can go but it doesn't mean we can't ask the question.

310 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

I see there is also a myth going around that Chicago was not trying to win. Usually when I see teams not trying to win at the end of the year, it involves teams resting their star QB, RB, etc instead of letting him get brutalized and sacked 6+ times by nonstop blitzes from Woodson

Actually...that's what I was the most angry at the Bears' coaching staff about after that game. Either go all-out to win or just raise the white flag. What the Bears did that game - keep all of the starters in and supposedly try to win, but run a plain-vanilla offense to try not to expose themselves for the playoffs - was the stupidest decision possible, IMHO.

68 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

well whatver he is at present, last January Caleb Hanie was the one chance the Bears had in that game. Cutler was clearly out of his element, Collins even worse, only the infusion on Hanie into the game gave the Bears much of a chance. I don't think that game was ever seriously in doubt-- Philly was with Vick with ball at end, and so was Super Bowl-- but not Atlants, of course, or Chicago.

84 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

"I don't think that game was ever seriously in doubt" - I think that is a bizzarely strong statement for a game where the winning score was an interception return by a nose tackle.

The reason that I said that I think Cutler was hurt early is that he could barely stand on his left leg. There were plays where he was half hopping, half shuffling with all his weight on his right foot and whenever he put weight on his left leg it shook uncontrollably, due to a torn MCL. Before that he missed one throw to Hester where Devin clearly ran a 5 route when he should have run a seven.

92 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

There is an Irony that many Chicago fans think that having their Less Effective QB get hurt so a more Effective QB could play actually hurt their chances

116 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

What?!?! Where the hell did you get that stat? Through eleven games, the Packers have outscored their opponents by 155 points. That is easily the biggest point differential in the league. Unless you have some other definition of point differential.

117 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

I was responding to post #60 by Karl Cuba re the Packers' point differential. I don't why it ended up where it did.

120 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

In fact, in a previous post, I said the Packers were outscoring their opponent by 11 points/game. That was inaccurate. They're actually outscoring their opponents by about 14 points/game. I'd be obliged if Karl could point out the 16 teams in the league that have a point differential of more than two touchdowns/game.

119 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

I think he meant all time, they have the 17th best point differential after 11 games, which is actually really great, but definitely not best ever. Recent 11-0 teams have had higher point differentials as well, such as the 2007 Pats, 2009 Saints and 2005 Colts.

124 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

He obviously meant all-time, not this season. The Packers are 17th since the merger:


62 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

I would say beating
Giants 70%
Raiders 80%
Chiefs 99+%
Bears 50%
Lions 60%

The odds for the last two weeks in particular are very difficult to forecast because there's a reasonably high likelihood that the Packers will have nothing to play for while the Bears and Lions will be playing for the last playoff spot.

65 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

As Belichick and Brady have already shown all of us, "nothing to play for" will hardly be the Packers' situation if they are 14-0 going into a Christmas game vs. the Bears. They probably won't have home field advantage to play for, but history-- well, let's just say I think it is a lot more than home field advantage to play for. And unlike other teams in this situation-- who faced the play them or not quandary-- they've already won the Super Bowl last year and the streak will be at 20 games with a chance to get to all-time territory. Plus it is two divison rivals and possible playoff opponents that I don't think they want to show any weakness to. You are simply misgauging the motivation of this team.

My 1 in a 1,000 point is more basic. Hundred year floods happen all the time these days-- obviously the models are flawed. The model would say that GB could not possibly have won these 17 games, with 10 on the road or neutral fields, against this quality of opposition once in probably a 1,000 times. But they have. I conclude the model is flawed, either concerning the difficulty of the task, or the Packers' true ability, or both.

As to the Colts, I wasn't there. They were a very good team for a decade, just like the Atlanta Braves were for 15 years-- and both teams won just one championship. The Packers will, IMHO, do better than that and reach dynasty level shown by NE, Dallas, SF, Pittsburgh, and GB once upon a time. I could be wrong. I'm going to enjoy finding out, though.

79 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

The model would say that GB could not possibly have won these 17 games, with 10 on the road or neutral fields

Since when is >0% chance equivalent to "no chance." Right now the model thinks Green Bay has a 10% of going 16-0. Which is only slightly worse than getting heads 3 times in a row flipping a quarter.

109 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

The occurrence of a single low probability event does not in any way invalidate a model, unless your model spat out a null event probability with a null error margin, in which case, yeah it's not valid. You have to look at long run performance to determine how well a model works. Take your example of a model that predicted a 1/1000 chance for GB to win their last 17 games. It may well be that if those 17 games were repeated 1000 times, GB wins them all only once (or just a handful of times), in which case the model looks pretty good to me. Even if GB wins all 17 games 50/1000 times, that might fall within the expected margin of error for the model in question and therefore would not invalidate it - and you would have come out well betting with the model against GB 95% of the time. Of course, we can't test FO models that way, but over enough games they can be evaluated against actual results and hopefully improved, though given the context and nature of the prediction problem, I doubt that highly accurate predictive models will ever be developed. That's fine by me anyway because football would be a lot less interesting if the models were good enough to be right about outcomes most of the time.

103 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Bottom line, DVOA doesn't seem to think that the Packers are a particularly good time in the first place. Weighted DVOA for the Packer (25.8%) isn't significantly better than the Patriots (25.2%), Pittsburgh (23.6%), the Jets (22.6%), or Chicago (21.9%).

If this is true, then a 52% chance of victory at the Giants seems reasonable.

More likely is that DVOA is severely underrating the Packers for some reason. My guess is that the Packers perform very poorly in situations that do not have much impact on winning, (e.g. up by 15+ points in the 4th quarter). And if the Packers have participated in a disproportionate number of plays in this situation (e.g. opponents playing a hurry-up offense), that will drag down their per-play statistics.

106 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Thank You. Thursday was yet another example.

I would wager that through 3 Quarters the Packers are head and shoulders above the rest of the league and in the "great" neighborhood compared to past champions. They are, after all, the only team in NFL history to never trail in the 4th quarter-- at any point of the 4th Quarter. As I argue below (and above) the DEFENSIVE piece of the 4th Quarter is flummoxing DVOA-- Packers give up a lot of garbage yards and scores, but when pressed the defense has come through better than any of the other dozen or so "streak" teams in the pas 40 years-- allowing ZERO pts with the opponent having the ball with a chance to lead or tie late in the game. And the OFFENSIVE piece is simply McCarthy letting the air out of the balloon-- obviously there is some interrelation here though I personally would rather see some Patriotesque passing and stomping (not the Suh variety) in the 4th Quarter-- unless and until Mccarthy sees his team cough up a league, he's going to keep playing it conservative late.

35 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

I don't think the analysis about the Denver defense is compelling. The defensive unit may not have significantly improved its DVOA, but the fact that it faced poor offenses would still correlate to more victories.

Yes, the running game has improved on a DVOA basis. Yes, this is probably attributable fairly to Tebow.

All that aside, the Broncos still would have probably been shellacked 45-13 in SD if they had faced last year's SD offense and if the Denver pass rush were not performing so much better in this recent stretch. All the running in the world wouldn't have helped.

Real world wins are not defense-adjusted. Facing poor offenses may be more important to victories than improving one's running game on a defense-adjusted basis.

The point of what has improved on a defense-adjusted basis is sound. It just may not be the most important factor in the whole Tebow debate.

66 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

I feel like DVOA is not watching the same DEN defense I have been watching. The past three games they have given up 36 pts in over 13 quarters. Obviously points are not the end all be all, but I have a hard time believing they are slightly below average.

203 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

I think Denver's defensive third-down percentage has been better than their defensive ranking in these last few weeks, right? Maybe disruptive defenses like this get undervalued by DVOA compared to all-around defenses.

The other thing is that Denver's offensive field position isn't really great... but Denver's defensive field position looks pretty good. I guess what that means is that both offense and defense tend to get (or give up) yards before punting (or forcing a punt).

36 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

I don't understand how HOU only loses .3 games in predicted wins (over 5 game stretch) moving from Schaub-Leinart-Yates. What I saw of Yates if far less than impressive. Their passing game seems like it should be treated as league average or below from here on out until proven otherwise. That would move their net OFF DVOA to around ~0%, not ~20%.

47 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

To be fair, they did not gameplan for Yates. Give it at least 1 more game from a scout's perspective -- obviously even longer from a statistical perspective.

56 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Out of curiosity, is it possible to calculate DVOA for the first three quarters only? I ask because the Packer defense has a habit of giving up (sometimes meaningless) yards and points in the fourth quarter while sitting back in a two- or three-deep shell that concedes yards in return for a running clock. I wonder what their rank would look like if some of the garbage yards are factored out, ala the 1998 Denver Broncos. Thanks.

74 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

I think DVOA accounts for situations like this and weights them accordingly. In a tight game, the 4th quarter would remain weighted the same (if not higher) but in a blowout, 4th quarter action will be weighted lower.

110 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

You can argue that the weightings are not correct; for example, there's a 25% weight increase, as I recall, for plays in the red zone, but it's a binary switch over the 20 yard line. I don't think you can argue there's a huge difference between running a play on 1st and 10 from the 21 yard line and running the same play on 1st and 10 from the 20.

78 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

DVOA has a blindspot for the Packers. The probability to beat them isn't some special sauce combination of O, D and ST DVOA, it's their probability of stopping Aaron Rodgers. It is that simple.

182 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Well thank god it's that simple! I'd hate to be the team that had to stop the other 10 guys on offense, too.

86 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

The Raiders are so very mediocre. 17th overall. 14th in offense. 16th in defense, 18th in special teams. That probably bodes well when the only real competition is from a team that has a tough schedule coming up, and is a game behind.

It is likely that there will be three (and possibly four) teams in the playoffs this year that haven't been there since 2002 with the Raiders, 49ers and Texans leading their division. The Lions have a good shot too. It will be odd to see playoff games in Houston, San Francisco (well, odd if you are under 20 years old) and Oakland.

194 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Part of the reason why the Raiders have a good record (including beating multiple good teams) but a mediocre DVOA is that the damage 4 quarters of Boller and 2 quarters of Carson Palmer fresh off the street was bad enough to murder their offensive DVOA. I don't have premium, but I'm expecting those 6 quarters were near a -100% DVOA -- which is fine, but it doesn't paint an overall accurate picture of their offense; particularly with Campbell almost ready to come back and be the 2nd string. Ignore those 6 quarters and their "mediocre" offense is suddenly a quality offense (a picture that is far more useful for future prediction).

217 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

I totally agree. I think thy are a better team than their DVOA. They were 9th after beating Cleveland (the game Campbell got hurt in) to go to 4-2. They fell to 18th after the Chiefs loss, and then to 21st after the loss to the Broncos. I would've guessed they would rise higher in their three game winning streak, but their overall DVOA has jumped about 10% in three weeks.

I like them going forward, and if they get the #3 seed (which is a possibility since I don't think TJ Yates is really going to have a good record for Houston, no matter what their schedule entails, and the Raiders have the h2h tiebreak), they can bypass the Steelers. I like their chances against the Bengals (or Jets), and even think they can give the Pats or Ravens (or Steelers) a good run.

87 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

So my predictions about Green Bay in the Week 12 open discussion thread (post 66) were right and wrong.

I thought they would get a small boost in their passing offense. They fell from 75.2% to 73.3%. So I was clearly wrong. I thought the 2nd half performance would make up for the first half performance which I can understand (0-5 on 3rd down passes I believe) wouldn't be good and Detroit had a decent pass defense of -17.6 going into the game. I guess I'm not as clear about DVOA as I thought since Dets pass defense did decline to -14.8. I'm not sure how the GB pass offense gets worse and the Det pass defense gets worse after they play each other. The change in the Det def is about what I was expecting for the GB offense.

I was correct in that I expected the GB pass D to get better and their run D to get worse. Well the pass D went from 19.1% to 15.8% (and the Det passing O dropped from 15.7 to 11.6 so I'm even more curious why the GB pass O got worse). Their run defense went from 2.0% to 6.5%, again what I was expecting.

I made not predictions about what DVOA would say about the Packers run offense but it bumped up slightly from 9.8 to 10.1.

My overall prediction about them going up a small bit in DVOA was wrong as they actually declined by a bit. Some of that was special teams dropping a bit.

As for the defense against receiver types.

Before 4.0% vs #1 WR, 7.8% vs #2 WR, -44.3% vs other WR, 38.6% vs TE, 27.0% vs RB.
After 1.0% vs #1 WR, 9.3% vs #2 WR, -40.8% vs other WR, 10.0% vs TE, 30.9% vs RB

Not really what I thought. I expected the performance vs Megatron would help the rating vs #1 and it did, but I also thought holding Burleson to 5 catches for 39 yards on 7 targets would help vs #2 as well and I didn't think other WR's got a catch in the game for Det so I didn't think that would change. Perhaps were seeing the effects of past opponent adjustments here. The defense vs TE getting better surprised me but it shouldn't because I thought Scheffler and Pettigrew were making 3rd down catches for firsts all game but they weren't. I expected the D vs running backs to look much worse as well only going to 30.9% was less of a jump than I thought.

So I guess I don't correlate what I to DVOA as well as I thought. I still don't think DVOA is all that off. Like I've said before. Stellar passing game, decent run game, OK special teams, a declining (though perhaps spiraling) run defense, and below average, though not terrible, pass defense. That is exactly were DVOA puts them.

But think the key is that they all year they have been at worst average against wide receivers. The numbers have shifted around but I've seen negative values in all the WR categories at times this year and right now that 9.8% vs #2s might be the worst they have been at any point vs a wide receiver. I bet the scoring potential per pass outside the redzone is much higher on plays to WR than it is to TE and RB. So being tied for 13th in scoring defense starts to make sense. If DVOA is valuing them wrong or not matching up to what people think this could be some of it.

They seem to take away the bigger weapons for most teams (the WR) and you have to beat them with the RB and TE, which generally means shorter gains and more time off the clock. With an offense that expects to hold the lead this makes sense. It's not the same thing as a Tampa-2 keep it all in front of you, they'll make a mistake eventually. But it's not a bad way to go if you have a weakness. I'd have to think about it more.

So really my only real question is, how did the Det pass defense and the GB pass offense both get worse? What am I not seeing here that I should?

94 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

One guess about the declines in GB Pass O and Dets Pass D, would be that opponent adjustments for previous opponents went down based on the results of other games.

Another possibility is that DVOA is including some things that are predictive for one side but not the other, at least in the DVOA model. For example, in special teams missed FGs count against the kicking unit but not the blocking unit. What these specific non-zero-sum factors might be for the passing game, I'm not sure.

101 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Well, i predicted they would decline in DVOA because DVOA really doesn't know what to do with a team that is leading 24-0 after 3 Quarters on the road in what was widely viewed as their toughest test all season. And don't think I didn't enjoy typing that sentence-- not a whole lot really needs to be added, does it??

As to the specifics of what the Packers did, as opposed to what a formula thought they did, watch the film and read the accounts coming from the winners locker room since. Tramon Williams was basically assigned Megatron-- and essentially shut him down, with some help over the top from Burnett. Capers said that Williams 1-on-1 coverage of Johnson was the key to the rest of the defense-- presumably they knew how to bottle up Stafford, cause him to go to checkdowns, and of course ultimately use their opportunistic nature to produce three interceptions. That strategy yielded no points in 45 mins, 3 huge turnovers, and one missed FG attempt (after an end zone attempt to 6ft 6 Johnson that Williams broke up)

The first Lion TD was semi-garbage time-- nobody in their right mind would assume that Rodgers and Co. would blow a 3 score lead in the last 13 mins of the 4th quarter but you can't aboslutely rule it out. The final TD was total garbage time-- a meaningless score in the last minute of a 19 pt game. 130 mostly meaningless yards, but not to DVOA.

The other consideration Aaron and Co. (schatz, that is, not Rodgers) should be spending some time on is McCarthy's 4th Quarter playcalling. Bayless has already been trumpeting in his warped, publicity-sick mind that "Tebow is a better 4th Quarter QB than Rodgers". Well, clearly the Packers turn off the gas in the 4th Quarter-- sometimes it doesn't matter, but sometimes it means the other team still gets the ball with a chance to win-- McCarthy keeps trading minutes for yards with a very conservative approach. It has worked the last roughly ten times they have done it-- but it sure does bring down their offensive stats. I personally think they are too conservative and one day this strategy will bite them, but it hasn't yet. I suspect that the Packers are a "great" team through 3 Quarters-- by even the Schatz standards-- and that a combination of garbage time and McCarthy's philosophy make them a little less so by game's end, according to DVOA, that is.

102 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Very good post. Both Last Year and this year, McCarthy has been pretty Notorious about the taking the foot off the gas in the 4th Quarter and makes their games far closer than they need to be. 2 obvious examples off the top of my head are the Wildcard Game against Philly and Week 1 vs NO.

If I recall last year, their 4th Quarter Offense was pretty bad as well. GB is like the Anti Patriots. Instead of trying to run up the score they shut down the Offense and try to hold on.

105 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

This topic is getting old. I completely agree with that first sentence. Yeah, the Packers gave up some yards again. However, the defense forced four turnovers and prevented a team that was averaging 30 points/game from scoring until the outcome was decided. There is absolutely no way to make a rational argument that the Packers' defense played a bad game last week, unless you're going to try to make the case that winning the game isn't the primary objective. As I pointed out last week, the Packers have had a double digit lead in the second half of EVERY GAME this year, and have trailed after the first quarter in only two games. They're outscoring their opponents by more than 11 points/game. They haven't played a brutal schedule, but they have beaten Atlanta, Chicago, and Detroit on the road by double digits. The fact that DVOA doesn't recognize Green Bay as a "dominant" team is DVOA's problem, not the Packers'.

95 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

You create your own luck by
putting pressure on the other team.

And who has Houston beaten to make them
#1? Pittsburgh is the only decent team
they have beaten.

100 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Close wins against good teams, while dramatic, are not the most powerful measure of a team's greatness. A bad call or unlucky bounce can decide such games. More indicative of a team's ability is crushing weak teams. Houston crushed the Colts at home, and the Titans and Bucs on the road (who are actually decent teams) by a combined score of 112-23. Those three games probably account for a lot of value in terms of DVOA, and their 17-10 victory over the Steelers, while positive, is probably contributing less to their rating. They lost on the road to the Saints by 7 and to the Raiders (when they were playing well) by 5. Their biggest loss was on the road in Baltimore where they still managed to stay within 2 scores (15 points). Even taking out their 3 hugely lopsided victories, their points scored vs. points against is 181 & 156, a respectable score. So they would be a solidly above-average team even without those blowouts, but the blowouts did happen, 2 of them happened against decent teams, and all of their losses have been close contests, tough matchups, and on the road.

136 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Are you serious? Blowout wins against weak
opposition mean something? The best teams
get up for the best opposition, then tend
to slack off against weak competition. In
the case of a team like Houston, which has
routinely failed in the big games it has
needed to win for years, you need to subtract
10 points automatically until they prove
that they can win a big one.

You know what happens to your rating in
chess if you beat a player well below you
in rating? Nothing. That's right, nothing,
because you are *supposed* to beat the bad
players. You only go up if the player is
close to you in rating or better.

138 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

The best teams get up for the best opposition, then tend to slack off against weak competition.

So what you're saying is the best team in the NFL is really Baltimore?

139 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

A good chess player should crush a player ranked well below him just like a good football team should crush a bad team. Great teams don't play down to the level of their competition. Meanwhile, winning a close game against another good team is good in the sense that you won, but doesn't automatically mean that you would beat that team again in a rematch. That is why many feel the blow out wins are more meaningful and more indicative of great teams.

142 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

I used to play chess competitively. This is a terrible analogy. USCF ratings do not take into consideration anything other than you won, lost, or drew your opponent and your respective ratings. It does not care if you checkmated someone with an overwhelming positional advantage, you trapped your opponent into a mistake, or you eked out a win. Ratings are adjusted after every game, but ratings do not adjust your score dependent on whether each move was positive or negative.

145 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

He wasn't saying that the "quality" of the chess win mattered in the ranks. He said that great chess players will handily defeat poor chess players.

193 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

And that's wrong. Better chess players will consistently beat poorer players. Chess ratings will not take into account how handily the poorer players were beaten. Just that they were beaten. The only time you know how handily is in championship matches where two players play several games against each other. Even then, the higher ranked player may win the match yet lose points, like Bobby Fischer did against Boris Spassky.

198 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

How so? I'm arguing the chess analogy is bad because ratings, like scores, are solely based on wins, loses, and draws. DVOA is a different type of metric where blowouts matter.

200 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Your main point is well summarized in this quote:

Chess ratings will not take into account how handily the poorer players were beaten. Just that they were beaten.

Nobody, anywhere in this thread, has said that chess ratings take into account how handily the poorer players were beaten. It has been stated that good chess players will beat bad ones handily, as good NFL teams will beat bad ones handily, but nobody claims that has any impact on the rating system.

The Elo rating system (and its derivatives) is not being compared to DVOA. You are arguing against something that is not being said.

253 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

I think justanothersteve, Big-Hairy Andy, and BSR are all making the same point :

Chess is a bad analogy to DVOA or other football rnakings, because the chess rankings don't take "margin of victory" into account.

It was Julio that made the original analogy.

255 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Yes you did. Your quote in comment #139: A good chess player should crush a player ranked well below him just like a good football team should crush a bad team. Not just win. Crush.

Edit: Oops. Hadn't realized it had already been pointed out. Been in-and-out of meetings all day.

281 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

I think you need to reread from Julio's post in #136. He was the one that made the analogy. I was arguing against it. Just because you see the word "ranked" in my post does not mean I was saying football rankings=chess rankings. To make my point clearer, imagine that I wrote "Despite it's lack of effect on their chess rankings,...".

342 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

I've played chess competitively too, and chess
is an excellent analogy. The point I was making
was that the chess rating system is better: it
only takes into account the result. The reason
is is that good chess players win in a variety
of ways, all of them distinguished by the fact
that they take care of the details, so they can
take advantage of any type of mistake by the
opponent. Some of their games end with a blazing
king side checkmate and some with an 80 move
rook and pawn endgame, but the reason they win
is the same: they have mastered all facets of
the game. The fact that a weaker player sometimes
wins with a fantastic combination has no bearing
on his overall rating. The fact that he can't beat
the better players on a regular basis is the most
important thing. Why this has to be pointed out
is a mystery to me.

181 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings


The original guts vs. stomps article that articulates the postion that blowout wins against bad teams are more predictive than close wins against good teams.

141 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Crushing weak teams is more important than beating all the good teams. I can't figure out if this post is serious or sarcasm. For the most part, it's been an unlucky bounce or bad call that made some of the Packers close wins close. That DVOA can't figure out how to deal with the Packers end-of-game defense is something Aaron S and company have to decide is worth adjusting the formula for.

197 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

No. Just that in some games that have been close, it has been that way. In other games, the Packers have had lucky bounces or calls that turned close games into blowouts. Thanksgiving is a good example of that. The Packers were winning, but Detroit was being competitive until Suh got his personal foul. After that, the Packers went on a roll and essentially blew out the Lions. Only some garbage time points made the score look less bad.

202 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

If that was the case then why would there be a need for an adjustment for the Packers? I guess I am just not following the logic of why you think DVOA is not properly reflecting GB's performance.

245 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Here is the flaw in DVOA's rating of GB:

Imagine 2 teams of Identical Strength

Team A always Leads by 20 after 3 Quarters and continues to try to blow out its opponents throughout the 4th Quarter

Team B always Leads by 20 after 3 Quarters and generally stops trying to score and just focuses on running out the clock

Team A will be rated as the far stronger team even though they are identical when in reality it is just that their Philosophies Differ.

DVOA assumes that GB is still trying to play the same game when they are up by double digits than they really are. It can be argued that GB is not pursuing the correct strategy is such situations but it does not make a team less good simply because they basically stop trying to do what they did through 3 Quarters

282 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

What makes you think that GB's strategy is so different that it would cause such a statistical anomoly? Afterall, the example you give is fairly rare. How many times has GB been up by three scores after 3 quarters? How much more does GB run then any other team in that position? I don't see enough GB to know. I know most other teams run plenty in those situations, even the Pats.

336 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

GB shuts down their Offense when up by a lot fewer than 3 Scores. Heck just watch the 4th Quarter of the Saints Game in week 1 to see the Conservative Offense or the entire 2nd Half vs the Rams

337 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

GB shuts down their Offense when up by a lot fewer than 3 Scores or before the 4th Quarter. Heck just watch the 4th Quarter of the Saints Game in week 1 to see the Conservative Offense or the entire 2nd Half vs the Rams

340 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

First of all, they were up by three touchdowns for the entire second half vs. the Rams. Even so, they started the second half in the no-huddle and were throwing on early downs and throwing down the field until there were 7 minutes left in the game (and Rodgers threw an INT after that). They didn't go very conservative in that game before the 4th quarter.

Against the Saints, they had two 4th-quarter drives after their last TD drive (which spanned quarters). They got two first downs running on the first one before punting, so I doubt that hurt their DVOA much. Then they had one 3-and-out. At most, we're talking about 6 plays where they were playing conservative and were ineffective, out of 63 total offensive plays in the game.

Oh, and DVOA has those games as two of their best three offensive performances of the season.

176 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

There is some predictive value to blowout wins.

Aaron Schatz wrote about this in the before time of long-long-ago


Basically, while beating good teams is hard, stomping any NFL team is also hard, so the measure of stomps is a valid one for determining the quality of a team.

205 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

There's pretty much no statistical validity to that article, which is pointed out time and time again in the comments below it.

They don't control at all for opportunity.

254 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Without commenting about the statistical validity of the article, I will say that you are badly misrepresenting the comment section.

I did a global search for the word "opportunity" and didn't find it mentioned once. I see a lot of comments including words like "excellent" and phrases like "great article" but I don't see a single person challenge the statistical validity of the article. Was this a repost of an article that had such challenges?

I do not see why, off the top of my head, one should need to "control for opportunity." After all, the NFL is hardly structured to be a fair competition. If the question is: which team has more STOMPS, Team X and Team Y, and Team X has an easier schedule, then certainly it's possible that the teams are inherently equal, but that Team X will have a higher expected number of STOMPS.

But - so what? Perhaps having an easier schedule is part of the formula for finding a Super Bowl winner. If that's the case, then "controlling for opportunity" seems like a silly thing to do. It would be like filtering out red light in your search for red light sources.

218 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

The 2011 Packers aren't the first team that have had this problem. In 2009, both the Colts and Chargers gave up a lot of garbage-time points and yards, and their DVOA's suffered as well.

230 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Happens to me in Madden all the freakin time, playing against the computer. I would get ahead by a bunch, and they would get pass-happy. I wound have huge wins, but 32nd in passing defense.

(I started kicking off at the beginning of the game, to keep it closer for longer.)

196 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Raiders have played well all season except for 6 horrible quarters and then 4 mediocre quarters following the injury. The Raiders beat the Texans on the road; not so sure why they are written off for dead vs the Packers; particularly when they look BETTER with Palmer than they did with Campbell (and Campbell 6th in the league in DVOA--Palmer is up there too following his 6 quarter pre-season)

219 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

It is in GB. If it was in Oakland, I think the Raiders would have a much better chance (close to 60-40), but being in GB really hurts. The Raiders can run the ball, and they can also hit big plays on offense. I just don't know if they can slow down Rodgers. They can rush the passer really well, and usually without blitzing, so they have that going for them (3rd in adjusted sack rate on defense).

98 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

The Denver Broncos of the last few weeks remind me of the start of 2009 Broncos. Similar storylines (seemingly improved defense, better than expected QB play after a controversial change in starters, and some amount of flukiness in their wins.)

Given the 2009 Broncos proceeded to fall flat on their faces after starting 6-0 and continued being bad in 2010, I'm not expecting much from Denver in the near future.

99 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

I can't say for sure about the other teams, but it looks like some of the changes in the Playoff Odds report are calculated based on last week's injury-adjusted report, whether or not the report itself is adjusted for injury.

Example: Detroit's chances as listed as 52.4%, down 17.4%, but that would mean they were 69.8% (or thereabouts, due to rounding) as of last week. That was their injury-adjusted percentage; the normal one was 67.0%.

122 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

How big a bump did Oakland's ST get by largely shutting down Chicago's ST and putting together 6/6 field goals and an 80 yard punt? I'm assuming DVOA for ST makes opponent adjustments as well (hence the "D").

129 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

One more pile-on. Go to the Playoff Odds Report-- compare the current records with the projected mean wins for each team at the end of the year-- Packers are 14.2, meaning DVOA projects that they will win 3.2 games of the remaining 5. There are, i believe, 6 teams with better records projectedfor those 5 games : SF, Chicago, Houston, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and New England. Of course there is no way for DVOA to account for the QB issues in Chicago or Houston, but really?? I'd love to get some action on the Packers having the 7th best record in the league for these 5 remaining games.

131 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

I really enjoyed the opening blurb this week. Good stuff.

135 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

So basically what's happening in Denver today is what happened in Atlanta in 2006, which wasn't sustainable in the long run then...

Sports talk radio and sports message boards are the killing fields of intellectual discourse.

147 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Considering the shelf-life of the average NFL player, I'm not sure how important the "long run" is.

The 2007 NYG couldn't have continued to beat the Patriots in the long-run. I'm sure they'll keep their SB trophy anyway.

146 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Speaking as a long suffering Houston football fan now stationed in Wisconsin I'm greatly amused by the Packer fans losing their freaking minds because some football statistic metrics think it's probable that the Packers will only go 14-2 and are the favorites to win the Super Bowl when everyone KNOWS that the Packers will go 19-0.

Seriously, some of you Packer fans should look through this thread, find your comments, and replace "Packers" with "Patriots". Hopefully you'll realize that you sound exactly like Tawmy from Quinzee but with an upper mid-west accent.

212 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Lived in the Boston area for 6 years after spending most of my life in the Texas. Without question I had the misfortune of running into more racist people in Boston than I ever did in decades in Texas. And not just the sort of casual "Well, I prefer the company of white people" racist, I mean they were blatant, almost proud of their opinion of the inferiority of minorities. It would not shock me in the least if the next lynching that happens in this country happens in Southie after some black kid is caught sleeping with some Irish guy's daughter.

That a large swathe of Boston's population are close-minded, racist morons isn't a "schtick" it is a truth that gets whitewashed.

215 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Huh...I grew up in the Boston suburbs, and worked for five years in Texas in my late 20s, and my reality is 100% the opposite of yours...not that there aren't racists everywhere -- Boston included, but I found the blantant prejudice against blacks and Mexicans in Texas shocking, and nothing remotely close to anything I experienced growing up.

232 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Maybe this is saying more about where you and I chose to go within the areas than it does about the people in those areas.

The only occasions I've heard someone actually use the N-bomb in casual conversation were in Boston, and don't even get me started about the opinions they had about the busing issue.

I hated my time in New England so that is probably coloring my memory as well.

154 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Exactly what I was thinking. Although the Falcons fans that came on here an inspired the FOMBC was my first thought. Then the Patriots fans. Although it seems the Patriots fans just overwhelm with volume-measure of quantity whereas the Packers/Falcons overwhelm with volume-measure of loudness.

208 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Success just seems to bring out the braggers.

When the Packers were average, the fans on here were no more obnoxious than any other team's. When the team returns to being average, I'm sure the louder ones will move on.

Personally I don't think it's likely that Green Bay goes 16-0, and I would be genuinely amazed if it wins all 19. It has too many flaws. I'm a bit surprised the odds are 'only' 30% to finish 15-1, although I agree there's only one gimme in the final five games of the season (vs Chiefs).

The stuff about the Packers having 'playmakers' on defense is crap too. The secondary has dropped fewer interceptions this year than in years past (perhaps because Nick Collins, the dropper in chief, is hurt) but in the past two weeks there have been a couple. The defense has been poor at forcing fumbles, and the sack rate and run-stuffing % are well below average.

I've not seen a 14-win season in my 30 years following the Pack, so I'm not going to complain however they finish (barring total collapse). Also, this is the most enjoyable team I've ever watched: Rodgers and the receivers are spectacular, and the once-numerous OL penalties have been reduced. Even the special teams are fun. By and large, I'm avoiding internet comments as I don't want this enjoyment spoiled by breast-beating imbeciles.

248 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

"The stuff about the Packers having 'playmakers' on defense is crap too. "

Let's examine their Defense:

-Clay Matthews finished 2nd in DPOY last year and is having a very good this season as well (at least according to Cold Hard Football Facts)

-Charles Woodson won the DPOY in 2009 and currently leads the NFL in INTs

-Tramon Williams is a Borderline Pro Bowl Player who was GB's Best Defensive Player in the Playoffs last year and has been turning it on as his injury this year has recovered

I think the VAST majority would all Consider Matthews, Woodson, and Williams to be PlayMakers. (An argument could be made for Raji considering that he is 1 of the Best DTs in the League but I left him out due to fewer Splash plays this year.)