Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Week 1 DVOA Ratings
Week 1 DVOA Ratings
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Aaron Schatz

You love them when your team is high! You hate them when your team is low! Once again, the famous Football Outsiders DVOA and DAVE ratings return for 2012. Denver starts the year on top after a big win over Pittsburgh. So does that mean Pittsburgh is stuck as the worst team in the league all season? Not according to DAVE.

Some of you may be familiar with DVOA, but you have never met our good friend DAVE. Well, DAVE is our rating that combines the preseason projection with the results of early games to give us a better prediction of how each team will rank at the end of the year. For those who don't know the story, this metric is called DAVE as a reaction to criticism that our stats are too much alphabet soup. I mean, who can argue with a guy named Dave? (Technically, it stands for DVOA Adjusted for Variation Early.) In this week's DAVE ratings, the preseason projection counts for 90 percent, and the current VOA counts for 10 percent.

Football Outsiders always preaches caution after Week 1, and this year is no exception. There's a reason that we call this National Jump to Conclusions Week. I know there's some research that Chase Stuart did this week showing that Week 1 does have some importance for forecasting the rest of the season. And our own Vince Verhei writes today over on ESPN Insider about the very strong effect that a Week 1 loss had on the New York Giants' playoff chances. Nonetheless, the main reason why a team's playoff odds will change between Week 1 and Week 2 isn't that we know more about that team's true quality; it's that the team now has an actual win or loss instead of a projected partial win or loss.

In fact, it's not just a good idea to preach caution after Week 1. It's also a good idea to preach caution after Week 2. Once upon a time, the NFL had six preseason games and only 14 regular-season games, and in some ways the first two weeks of the year still show a bit of that "preseason" feel, with teams figuring out what works and doesn't work with their current personnel. I did some research last year which grouped every two-week period during the season, and figured out the correlation of DVOA in those two weeks to the team's total win-loss record for the entire season. The lowest correlation, as you might expect, was Weeks 16-17, when some teams are sitting starters. The second-lowest correlation was Weeks 1-2. (Of course, this research would be more valuable if I could find the damn thing on my computer, but I don't remember what I named the stupid file.)

The first week of 2012 actually featured a game where both teams came out below 0% and we were very close to a game where both teams came out above 0%. You often see games like this once the opponent adjustments have kicked in; when two good teams play a close game, they're both going to come out as above average. But you don't often see it with non-adjusted VOA. Any Given Sunday discusses the game where both teams were below average, Washington's win over New Orleans. The other game was San Francisco's win over Green Bay. The Packers end up with -0.3% VOA. It was a very close game, and you can't go blaming the Packers when David Akers boinks a 63-yarder off the uprights.

(Late note: Actually, there were two other games with both teams below 0%: ARI-SEA and SD-OAK. I was so busy thinking about the two games noted above that I didn't even notice the other ones until readers pointed it out. Whoops. -- Aaron)

These two games lead to a couple of DAVE ratings that might be controversial. Washington's DAVE rating is actually lower than its preseason projection, and San Francisco's DAVE rating is still just 18th in the league. Part of the issue here is that we're not including opponent adjustments yet. We think Green Bay and New Orleans are still two of the strongest teams in the league, which makes beating them look pretty impressive. If a couple more games show that we were right about the Packers and Saints despite their first-week stumbles, then the ratings that San Francisco and Washington get for beating them will increase. For now, however, the DVOA system sees San Francisco with a good-but-not-great win, and Washington with a game that they might have lost if they had recovered two of the game's fumbles instead of all four of them. You are allowed to look at those numbers and think "subjectively, San Francisco and Washington are probably a little better than this."

As long as we're talking DAVE asterisks, the Oakland Raiders will not be using a backup long snapper all season, so their rating is a little artificially low. Some readers were asking me on Twitter if this was the worst special teams game we've ever measured. No, it was not. It was not even close. Our metrics estimate special teams costing the Raiders -12.2 points in this game. This is nothing compared to the ridiculous game that Cincinnati had against Carolina in Week 14 of 2002, which was worth -18.6 points. Steve Smith returned two punts for touchdowns, and on another punt Travis Dorsch shanked it for just 10 yards. He also had an absurdly short 40-yard free kick after a safety.

All stats pages are now updated with 2012 data except for OFFENSIVE LINE and DEFENSIVE LINE, which will be updated after Week 2. The FO Premium splits database will also be updated for 2012 after Week 2, next Tuesday. Football Outsiders QB stats pages now also feature ESPN's Total QBR rating, so that you can compare that to DVOA and DYAR and enjoy even more arguments than before about who really is playing better than whom.

Make sure to also check out our brand new SNAP COUNTS page! The NFL is finally making snap counts publicly available, and we're counting them up for you and posting them free. Right now it's just one big table but we're looking at ways to produce fun tables that filter and sort and do all kinds of interesting things to make that data easier to read. Note that the positions listed on that page are the positions as listed by the NFL in the official gamebooks.

* * * * *

Wait, did I forget something? I said something about doing a mailbag in the first week's DVOA article, didn't I? Um... I ran out of time. Again. It takes a lot of time to set everything up for the first week of the year, and it was either put up the DVOA ratings in the afternoon or do a mailbag and not get them up until late night. I really will still try to do a mailbag soon rounding up some answers to questions posed in our e-mail and in the discussion threads of things like the introduction of the new normalized DVOA and the 1991 commentary.

* * * * *

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These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through one week of 2012, 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 VOA are adjusted to consider all fumbles, kept or lost, as equal value. SPECIAL TEAMS VOA is adjusted for type of stadium (warm, cold, dome, Denver) and week of season.

There are no opponent adjustments in VOA until the fourth week of the season, which is why it is listed as VOA right now rather than DVOA. As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE.

DAVE is a formula which combines our preseason projection with current VOA to get a more accurate forecast of how a team will play the rest of the season. Right now, the preseason projection makes up 90 percent of DAVE.

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 DEN 73.1% 12.5% 7 1-0 45.3% 4 -32.9% 3 -5.1% 23
2 BAL 70.8% 16.5% 5 1-0 57.4% 1 -15.3% 10 -1.8% 18
3 NE 69.6% 41.0% 1 1-0 50.4% 2 -20.7% 9 -1.5% 16
4 CHI 68.3% 20.0% 4 1-0 36.4% 5 -21.2% 8 10.7% 7
5 ATL 59.5% 25.4% 2 1-0 48.8% 3 3.2% 17 13.8% 5
6 NYJ 47.4% 13.1% 6 1-0 17.4% 10 -8.2% 13 21.9% 2
7 HOU 46.8% 8.8% 10 1-0 11.1% 12 -68.0% 2 -32.2% 31
8 MIN 41.9% -11.7% 25 1-0 22.5% 8 -0.9% 15 18.5% 3
9 DAL 33.1% 6.6% 12 1-0 27.3% 7 -7.8% 14 -2.0% 20
10 TB 31.6% -1.5% 15 1-0 10.1% 13 -22.4% 7 -0.8% 15
11 PHI 31.5% 7.5% 11 1-0 -29.6% 27 -76.0% 1 -15.0% 27
12 SF 31.0% -3.1% 18 1-0 35.6% 6 5.5% 18 0.9% 13
13 DET 19.8% -2.1% 16 1-0 0.2% 17 -13.1% 11 6.6% 11
14 GB -0.3% 21.4% 3 0-1 9.2% 14 27.6% 27 18.0% 4
15 SD -0.8% -3.5% 19 1-0 -6.6% 19 7.5% 20 13.3% 6
16 SEA -4.1% -14.0% 26 0-1 -39.6% 30 -28.3% 5 7.2% 10
17 NO -11.9% 12.5% 8 0-1 4.3% 15 25.7% 26 9.5% 9
18 STL -13.1% -43.6% 32 0-1 -15.0% 23 -0.1% 16 1.8% 12
19 OAK -15.6% -7.9% 23 0-1 12.6% 11 -10.7% 12 -38.9% 32
20 WAS -20.3% -5.9% 22 1-0 21.5% 9 11.8% 22 -30.0% 30
21 ARI -22.7% -20.1% 30 1-0 -33.2% 28 -24.9% 6 -14.4% 25
22 CAR -26.6% 4.4% 13 0-1 -18.8% 25 5.6% 19 -2.3% 21
23 CLE -36.7% -24.1% 31 0-1 -79.6% 32 -32.5% 4 10.4% 8
24 JAC -40.2% -15.2% 27 0-1 -7.0% 20 18.4% 24 -14.8% 26
25 IND -46.6% -16.8% 29 0-1 -11.4% 22 23.1% 25 -12.2% 24
26 NYG -47.2% 2.6% 14 0-1 0.1% 18 45.8% 31 -1.5% 17
27 TEN -47.3% -5.8% 21 0-1 -11.2% 21 36.0% 28 -0.1% 14
28 KC -57.3% -2.7% 17 0-1 0.9% 16 41.1% 30 -17.1% 28
29 MIA -59.9% -16.4% 28 0-1 -77.1% 31 11.7% 21 28.9% 1
30 BUF -60.6% -3.7% 20 0-1 -24.5% 26 18.3% 23 -17.9% 29
31 PIT -75.6% 10.9% 9 0-1 -35.7% 29 36.6% 29 -3.3% 22
32 CIN -80.9% -10.7% 24 0-1 -17.3% 24 61.8% 32 -1.8% 19


165 comments, Last at 16 Sep 2012, 9:13pm

1 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Raiders 19 even though 0-1. Fair. Of course would have won of LS not get injured.

No way Broincos desrvre top spot. J..Harrison oit. R. Clark out. Pitt lineman get injured during game
All that and still Broncs barely squeak out win.
Raiders going pt beat Denver twice this season

15 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

I don't expect VOA to recognize injuries, but I do agree that Denver being on top is a surprise. Since opponent adjustments aren't a factor at the moment, how can the spread be that wide between two teams that played a close game when neither team benefited from any fluke plays?

31 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

I may be wrong, but DVOA generally likes consistent success.

Pittsburgh's drives tended to be:
1-10: loss of 2.
2-12: loss of 2.
3-14: gain of 15.

So they "lost" two out of every three plays, even on their scoring drives. DVOA sees this as Denver smacking Pittsburgh around.

41 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Sounds reasonable, though still a bit more exaggerated than I would've expected.

Sounds like the NYJ 2011 offense in reverse.

144 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

In reply to by Aaron Brooks G…

Aack, not the "VOA likes consistency!" argument again. Especially in the first game, VOA doesn't give a crap if you score in 3 plays (incomplete, incomplete, 50-yard touchdown) or in 10 5-yard runs - in fact, if those are the only plays in the game, VOA would love it if you scored in 3 plays. That third play is great. You do that all the time, and you'll be VOA's darling.

I think the reason there's such a big spread is that the Denver/Pittsburgh game was close in score, but it was short - Pittsburgh had 9 real drives, and the Broncos had 7.

Let me state that again: the Broncos had 7 drives. They scored 24 points on offense on those drives. This is ~3.4 points/drive. Last year, this would have made them the best offense in the league. The only teams that did better last week were Atlanta (scored 40), Baltimore (scored 44), and the Jets (scored 48).

In contrast, Pittsburgh had 9 drives, and scored 19. If you want to be more balanced about it, the Broncos actually scored ~22 points (fumble is worth about -2 points since recovery is random), and Pittsburgh actually scored 15 points (interception is -4). So, by points/drive, the Broncos were 188% better (22/7 divided by 15/9).

Hey look! The VOA difference between them is ~150%.

34 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

I may be misreading the table, but doesn't OAK-SD also turn out to be a game where both teams had negative VOA? And ARI-SEA for that matter?

90 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Anybody else kind of get awe-struck thinking if Peyton Manning had gone to the 49ers instead of the Broncos? Putting PEYTON MANNING on a team that went 13-3 with a mediocre QB? Would that have made...like...the best team ever?

91 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

I really think that the decision was a lot about familiarity with the conference and the opponents in it, plus the offense is good for him (with a good o-line for once, probably better than the niners in pass protection). The AFC had a really good first week, but I think most people would say the NFC is far deeper right now, so he went to most likely the easier conference.

But yes, the 49ers would have been even more scary with Peyton Manning.

164 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Mister (*cue whiny voice*) Meanning (*stop whiny voice*) probably will win all his intraconference games this year minus the New England matchup with an ex-Denver coach as offensive coordinator who still has a fair amount of players he handpicked on his former team. You have to remember he had great success against the rest of the so called elite AFC teams in the last 5-6 years, even though he is facing a Chargers team twice that no longer has Darren Sproles on offense and was the major factor in losing those playoff games.

37 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

How was the GB vs. SF game close? They were up 23-7 before the punt return at home. Well with opponent quality added in a couple of weeks that DVOA is going to leap. But lets not pretend that the lucky 63 yarder had much to do with the outcome I don't think the 49ers lost control at any moment.

47 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

In reply to by DVOAsupporter (not verified)

You could say it was close because the Packers had possession late with a chance to drive down the field and tie things up. I don't think the performances of the two teams were close (Niners were way better), but I think it's true that any game where the losing team has possession with a chance to win or tie in the final minutes is objectively a "close game."

Of course, by the standard I just articulated the Steelers-Broncos game was close, but jeepers creepers DVOA doesn't see it that way at all.

51 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

"jeepers creepers DVOA doesn't see it that way at all."
And yet DAVE has the Steelers at 9 and the Broncos at 7.

64 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Well DAVE includes the preseason projections, which have a chance of being completely wrong. So for this particular game, the straight DVOA is more respresentative of how they played, and Denver is WAY ahead of the Steelers.

Actually, DVOA (or DAVE) doesn't say anything about whether or not it was a close game, since the score isn't directly part of the calculation.

66 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Actually, VOA(*) will be the best of FO's metrics in showing whether or not any single game was close.

DVOA and DAVE incorporate opponent adjustments (and preseason projections, in DAVE's case). Those have nothing to do with how competitive a given game was.

Think of a hypothetical game in which the two teams make all the exact same plays, in the same order, with the end result being a tie. That is literally the closest a game can be, and the VOAs for the two teams in question will be identical. The overall quality of the two teams is immaterial; it doesn't matter if they are both 8-8 teams or if one is the 2007 Patriots and the other is the 2008 Lions - the game itself was close. But DVOA will be affected by the way the two teams played in their other games.

(*) And, since DVOA is actually just VOA at this point in the season, DVOA works perfectly in this specific case.

117 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Not really... VOA still doesn't have anything directly to do with whether or not a game is close when you're purely using that term to refer to the score. Luck plays too big a role in that case. A team could be drastically outplayed, and still keep the score close, leading to what people would call a close game.

Your hypothetical works because the scenario you mentioned creates matched VOA AND a matched score. It doesn't have to be that way.

121 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Oh, you're absolutely right, which is why I said VOA would be the best of FO's metrics at matching the final score of a game.

Also, there's the alternative definition of a "close game", which doesn't have to do with the score, but moreso how well the two teams played against each other. You'll often hear, "this game was closer [or not as close] as the final score". In those cases, anecdotally, VOA has been a good measure of closeness.

94 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

How the hell the managers of this site haven't banned you yet is a mystery to me.

Oakland is trash. See you at the bottom of the division just like every other year. Sick pickup with Carson Palmer right? Really working out for you well.

99 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

There is a better chance of you being banned for asking for RJ to get banned than RJ getting banned himself.

Oh, and the last time the Raiders finished in last place was 2007, and that was tied for last. THe last time they were the sole last place team was 2006.

102 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

RJ is an institution here. He is also possibly the most insightful and knowledgeable commenter, albeit in a form emphasizing brevity and wit at the expense of spelling and detail.

Also, Carson completed 32 of 46 passes, which is not bad, against what appears to be a very decent Chargers defense, with two of three of his top receivers sitting down with injuries. The jury is still very much out on that move.

106 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Carson wasn't worth what they gave up, but he's nowhere near a bad player.

He ranked pretty decently in DYAR in Week 1. Discounting the first two games last season where he looked lost, he actually had a good year in 2011. Again he worked with injured weapons (no McFadden also), and had a YPA over 8.

Even on MNF, he wasn't really the problem. There were drops, the big fumble, and of course the punting disaster. The Raiders offense and defense weren't all that bad.

115 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Well, my inner economist points out that no matter what Palmer goes on to accomplish, the Raiders still paid a price far, far, beyond market value.

If you go all in with 7-2, but win - it doesn't mean it was a good decision to do so.

2 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

is clearly ranked because . is way better than this.

4 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Love the rankings, but I tested your form complaint with limited success.

Your HTML skill is clearly ranked too high because you used tag characters in your form. RantSports is way better than this. Ur mothr wheres army boots.

120 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Pretty sure he meant "Ur-Mothra, where's army boots?" It was a request directed at the primal instance of the Japanese monster, asking it where to find decent military footwear.

122 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings


I never really got why "your mother wears army boots" was a go-to insult. I mean, sure, all things being equal, I'd rather my mom wear normal shoes, but there are so many more things you could say about her that would upset me.

123 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

According to Google-able authorities, the popular theory is that it originated in WWI, when poor women would trade sexual favors to soldiers for articles of clothing. But it may well be just some random stuff some kids on a schoolyard came up with that ended up sticking, partly because it's so nonsensical. The early 20th century timeframe seems about right, though. I feel like it's the kind of thing my grandparents would have been saying when they were kids.

126 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

That theory or origin makes sense. Smart move by the soldiers, too - have sex, AND reduce the chance of trench foot (although probably increasing the chance of frostbite, of course).

3 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Looks like the entries for SEA and ARI are mixed up somehow.

10 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

In reply to by Anonymous120 (not verified)

Special Teams. Two stout defensive performances, two abysmal offensive outputs, and two big Leon Washington returns separates the bottom line.

5 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Holy crap, Denver's defensive DVOA is really good given how long they were on the field and how many 3rd downs they were giving up. I guess there was the pick-six which helped but still, it didn't seem like they were playing that well.

On the plus side, we've got a full five plays out of Ty Warren before he got placed on IR. \o/

12 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

My theory is that the Broncos were stellar on 1st and 2nd down, then tended to get burnt on 3rd and long. Over and over and over. But they kept the Steelers out of the endzone a lot.

So they got lots of good points for their 1st, 2nd and goal line successes which completely outweighted the 3rd down failures, especially compared to other teams. The pick six certainly helps a lot, as well as generally better pressure on Roethlisberger than they were able to achieve last year.

All that said, I'm stunned to see them first.

22 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

In quick reads they said Roethlisberger's DYAR went from like 95 to almost zero on his last five plays, so I'd think Denver's defensive rating got a corresponding boost in that span. The last four of those plays, which included three of Denver's five sacks, were in garbage time, so you could argue DVOA is overrating Denver's overall defensive performance and underrating Roethlisberger's play. Although I do understand that efforts to give less weight to garbage time plays have failed to make DVOA more predictive.

39 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

That matches my subjective judgement of what I saw. I was expecting the defensive DVOA to look decent, but not stellar. I thought those third down failure would hurt them more.

40 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

That matches my subjective judgement of what I saw. I was expecting the defensive DVOA to look decent, but not stellar. I thought those third down failure would hurt them more.

44 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

I think VOA projects 3rd down performance will tend to match 1st and 2nd down performance whenever the 3rd down performance is much better/worse than 1st and 2nd down. That would increase Denver's defensive VOA and reduce Pitt's offensive VOA.

69 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

I don't think that is quite it, VOA doesn't project, it describes.

Imagine you have a game where you are awesome on your 20 first downs, awesome on your 15 second downs, and bad on your 10 third downs. VOA sees 35 awesome plays and 10 bad ones which means that you have a very good offense, even if those third down plays are swingier in the results of the game.

I hope that makes a little sense. It made sense in my head.

87 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Yes, I think you're correct. Where VOA/DVOA does regress third-down performance to first- and second-down performance is in the preseason projections.

18 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

The Denver/Pittsburgh game is a bit of evidence against the "DVOA hates big-play offenses and loves long drives" argument.

153 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

If I had to guess I'd say that you watched a game that was pretty close where the losing team had a shot at winning until just about the very end. But DVOA saw a game with a bunch of sacks and a pick 6. DVOA probably doesn't know that the pick six and a bunch of sacks were basically the result of recklessness demanded by the situation and then desperation. Other than that, what the other posters have said about 1st and 2nd down.

6 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

I knew the Bears-Colts game was a beatdown, but man, I didn't expect that big of one.

67 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

More disorienting yet, the Bears O outranks both the D and the 'teams.' I know its one freaking game, but still it looks odd. Fourth phase phailure is phunny. Bear fans have no clue about how to *be* fans of a successful offense. With the WRs addition and the slight improvement in the OL, they might actually have to learn!

89 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

What's ridiculous is that Bears fans are actually offended by Cutler asking them to stay quiet while the offense is in the red zone (the noise caused the Bears to burn a timeout).

110 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

The only Bears fans that are offended by this are the clueless ones. The knowledgeable ones are not offended at all because Cutler obviously is right.

111 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Sadly, in my experience as a Bears fan, most are clueless (at least regarding what actually helps teams win football games).

113 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

You can replace Bears with any team, and same thing will be true.

Except maybe the Colts, I think they all knew Peyton Manning was what it took to win.

7 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Obviously, Mr. DAVE is a drunken fool, whereas Ms. DVOA is a wise and perceptive lass, as evidenced by their differing opinions on the intrepid nature of a team led by one Christian Ponder!

127 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Ahh, Will. Good to see you back again for another season, cheering on our team. I'm forcing myself to smile this week with the win.

Despite the fact that it was over the craptastic assembly of talent known as the Jaguars. At home. In overtime.

129 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

I'd still rather the see the purple horned heads win, but I'll no longer go out of my way to watch them, due to the stadium extortion racket. I will say this; if they beat the Colts on Sunday (I don't think they will), they will be ahead of the pace I anticipated, which is good, because when I look at the schedule, I see a real possibility of ending the season with eight straight losses.

8 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

DVOA 8.0's adjustment for Injured Starting Longsnapper is going to be epic

35 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

I'm seriously wondering if that was the worst special teams performance in the DVOA era. Ironically, it's San Diego that benefits from it.

9 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

RE: SEA/ARI, the difference appears to be Leon Washington's monster Special Teams performance as both team's offenses were both putrid.

11 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Boy, when the replacement refs whiff on multiple illegal blocks on the same punt, it can really make the difference between two teams' DVOAs in one game appear to be closer than they actually were.

13 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

SF is clearly ranked too low because TWELFTH?. SERIOUSLY, TWELFTH? THEY BEAT THE SODDING PACKERS IN LAMBEAU! TWELFTH? is way better than this.

Sorry about that.

19 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Speaking of Detroit, I'm surprised they're that high. I mean, seriously, how many more interceptions does Stafford have to throw for them to look bad?

112 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Judging by the preseason DVOA projections, the offense performed about as expected. It was the Lions D and ST that exceeded expectations.

114 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Very true.

Type | Proj. | Week 1
Off. | -0.5% | + 0.2%
Def. | +4.0% | -13.1%
S.T. | +0.0% | + 6.6%

I guess it will be interesting to see how the numbers are adjusted for playing the Rams. If they are as bad as most everyone expects, FO's projection might not be as far off on defense, but might have overshot the offense.

30 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

I think a lot of SF fans, myself included, regarded FO's projection as a plausible worst-case scenario but not really a likely median outcome. Short of a batch of tainted jock straps giving the entire team lyme disease, I expect them to creep up the DVOA rankings.

42 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

VOA doesn't know the Packers are THE PACKERS yet. Also, there were quite a few serious blowouts week 1, and VOA is going to love blowouts (as it should!)

And who knows, maybe the 2012 Packers aren't actually all that after all.

17 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

A random, but perhaps interesting snippit, the last time the Bears were top 10 in all 3 categories of DVOA was week 9 2006.

26 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Ha, I actually wondered something along those lines but had nowhere near the energy to find out. Thanks for doing the legwork. (While you're at it, have the Bears *ever* been top 5 in offense in the DVOA era? Well shee-yit, they apparently were #3 for the entire 1995 season. Damn I'd forgotten how good the O-line & Kramer & Graham/Conway & Ultra-back & Op-Rashawn were that year.)

23 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

SAN FRANCISCO is clearly ranked TOO LOW because THEY WON IN GREEN BAY. RANKING TEAMS BASED ON WHETHER OR NOT THEY WIN ON "HALLOWED GROUND" is way better than this. Everybody knows the writers here are haters so these rankings don't matter anyways.

24 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Completely subjectively, I'm surprised by the Pats' rating. Their offense seemed good but far from great, maybe good enough for 10th or so. I thought Dallas' performance, for example, was far more impressive. On the other hand, the NE Special Teams seemed stellar. 3 punts inside the 20, Tennessee starting field position at the: 20, 18, 18, 10, 18, 18, 20, 10, 21, 20, 20. How can you be better than that? I guess they didn't have any big plays for scores... but were there really 15 teams that controlled field position better than the Patriots?

86 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

"On the other hand, the NE Special Teams seemed stellar. 3 punts inside the 20, Tennessee starting field position at the: 20, 18, 18, 10, 18, 18, 20, 10, 21, 20, 20."

The offense had a lot to do with that, no? In order...

Gained 28 yards, punted from Tenn 46.
Gained 25 yards, punted from NE 45
Gained 29 yards, punted from NE 49
Gained 40 yards, punted from 50

I don't see a lot of three-and-out, punting on 4th and 17's there.

27 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

So, it would appear that rumors of Green Bay's demise are highly exaggerated.

Also, the rhetoric of San Francisco being the team to beat in the NFL because they beat Green Bay is a bit premature.

But hey, that's why we have a National Jump to Conclusions Week!

45 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Though they did handily beat Green Bay.

And their performance should look more impressive after opponent adjustments.

59 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

I agree that jumping to conclusions after week 1 is wrong. Though I could not figure out how you come up with the conclusion you came up with. Is it based on the DVOA? Isn't that still also jumping to conclusion after one week?

28 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Just looking at the top defenses, it seems like those scores would be more accurate if you threw in a temporary opponents adjustment based off of last year's performance.

I don't know if that helps accuracy in the long run, however.

33 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Yeah that Philly defensive DVOA is probably going to come down and I'd expect the 49ers' defensive number for this game to improve as the year progresses.

That Denver offensive figure is going to look rather impressive though.

48 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Well, if you assume that Peyton 2012 is basically Peyton 2008-10, then look at the rest of the Denver offense...

O-line: Denver's offensive line could pick up Indy's from 2008-2012 by the jockstraps, sling them over a shoulder, and carry them from Indianapolis to Denver.

WR1: Late-career Reggie Wayne is a good possession receiver and midrange route-runner. DeMaryius Thomas is a legit #1 with good speed and strength.

WR2: Eric Decker is smaller than Garcon, but doesn't dip his hands in 10w30 before the game.

WR3: Okay, fine, Austin Collie is better than 2012 Brandon Stokley, at least when he's on the field.

TE: Jacob Tamme IS Jacob Tamme.

RB: Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno are better than any running back tandem in Indianapolis since Edge left.

So the question is, how many years do you have to go back until Indianapolis' supporting cast was as good as what Denver has?

And isn't the answer "When was Edgerrin James there and when did Marvin Harrison's knee go kaput?"

50 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Also note that Peyton Manning had been dealing with the neck and nerve issues since at least before the 2010 season, if not further back than that. He had the later procedures in 2011 because his earlier surgeries did not solve his problems. We shouldn't be looking for a difference in arm strength between 2010 and 2012. We should be looking for a difference between 2007 and 2010.

60 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

The point I was trying to make was that I would expect Pittsburgh to have a decent defense this year, so Denvers' DVOA will oly improve for this game and it's already quite high.

To find a comparable Indy support personnel you would have to find a year with Saturday, Clarke and Wayne. I am not willing to put up with a situation where folks start pitying Manning's days with the Colts. He didn't have as much to work with the past few years but for most of his tenure he had a pretty good supporting cast.

68 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

I think the Denver cast is definitely better than the 2010 and 2007 Colts.

The 2006 Colts were definitely more loaded. That was one of the more underrated great offenses in the last 10 years. That was the last good o-line Manning had, and Addai and Rhodes were probably better than McGahee and Knowshon.

2008 had Wayne and Clark in their primes, and a breakout year for Gonzalez, but also had a truly gimpy Marv and the first signs of total decline from the o-line. 2009 Still had Wayne and Clark, but now replace Gonzo with Collie (a wash, probably) and Marv with Garcon (no idea, since Marv was nowhere near what he once was in 2008).

I would say the overall non-QB offense is better than 2009 and 2008 because of the o-line. The weapons at the skill positions are more debatable, but probably as good now.

101 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

"WR2: Eric Decker is smaller than Garcon..."

*Decker is 3" taller and about 10 lbs heavier, actually. That and the butterfingers bit you mentioned make it an even more clear win for the Bronco receivers.

Just had to stand up for my boy Decker.

29 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

I read that one game shook out with both teams under 0% (Redskins vs Saints). But then I see ARI vs SEA, and SD vs OAK have total DVOA's that are negative. So were we not talking about total DVOA?

36 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

It's nice to see San Diego in the black for Special Teams. Though it is a bit curious that they have a negative DVOA for FG/Extra Point; but I suppose that is because all 5 of their Field Goals came within 42 yards in clear weather (despite the Oakland A's infield making it more difficult).

I do have a question about something though. I can understand Oakland having a better defensive DVOA because of San Diego's Red Zone woes on Monday night, but it didn't seem like Oakland's Offense was that effective. They were 5 of 15 for the night on 3rd down, and there was a reason they were punting so much while in their own territory.

Especially considering the fact that Streater (Raider's WR) was considered the "Least Valuable WR or TE" in quick reads. It seemed to me that Darren Mcfadden accounted for most of the offensive output (in terms of catches since he only had 32 yards on 15 attempts running the ball).

And that Oakland got the majority of their points, and much of their yards in garbage time at the end of the 4th quarter.

43 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Colts special teams not ranked below #25? "What the hell's going on out there?" Must be a new team and new system.

46 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

The Broncos are clearly ranked too high because I said so. My own interpretations are way better than this. Peyton Manning? Yuck Fou.

49 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

How does this account for referee ineptitude?

It does not.

GB should not have had that punt return for TD count.

105 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

In reply to by Anonymous49 (not verified)

If you cancel out that play, cancel out 2/3 or 3/4 of the PI calls on GB's defense (whichever number you want to go with). There were some awful calls for both teams. The fact that San Francisco let Green Bay stick around for as long as they did says enough about the game -- the 49ers never put it away/Green Bay almost climbed back. Towards the middle and end of the fourth quarter, when the calls stopped being favorable for the 49ers and the calls started being favorable for the Packers, the score shifted closer.

Either way, that was quite possibly the sloppiest game all weekend.

54 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

I propose a new stat:

Value-Above Replacement Referee.

That aside, this is the Vikings high water mark I suppose. I expect Luck to have a field day against that secondary. But I'll enjoy this week while it lasts.

55 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

I didn't know that a defensive score for the defense could be negative.

I say this because I've only looked at the defense number for the Patriots for the past three years.

(Seriously, it's refreshing to see the defense rated in the top 30, much less the top 10).

56 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Interesting read, as usual. But since you have DAVE,
I keep waiting for you to introduce a stat called HAL.
Words cannot express my disappointment that this has yet
to happen.

71 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Akers didn't boink it off the uprights, he boinked it over the crossbar.

Although it only ties the NFL record, I think in reality, he "owns" it - normal foot, not in Denver.

76 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Jankikowski did hit his in the rain.

He also had a 61-yarder against Cleveland, and bounced a 64-yarder off the upright against Houston.

78 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

You think it was easier for Dempsey to kick for distance with a stump? I'm not seeing why that would be the case. Seems like it would be a lot harder to control the direction of the kick.

84 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

He had a special wedge-shaped shoe. Nobody has ever proven anything, but there has always been speculation that the shoe and/or the deformity helped. Nobodys saying he put a shank in there or anything - just that it somehow helped. I'm no kinesiologist - I have no idea - but it's a theory anyway.

118 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Didn't ESPN Sport Science do a segment on FG kicking and the Dempsey toe? That popped into my mind reading this statement. And I vaguely recall that they surmised that the Dempsey-toe was a tougher kick for some reason. (maybe a partial foot is less mass for your m * v^2 calculation?)

135 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

In reply to by TheInfrequentC… (not verified)

I bet if Dempsey was kicking now, golf club makers would have him in a super accurate boot that'd let him kick it 75 yards. Of course, it'd look like an ostridge egg or a bowling ball.

142 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

I'm half serious in speculating that some guy with one leg amputated (I think a a natural plant leg will still work best) is going to get a carbon fiber "leg" with a "foot" of special mass and shape, specifically designed for place kicking, and will be able to boot 75 yard field goals consistently. Lawsuits will ensue.

147 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

It's less mass, but putting more shoe surface on the ball will increase the odds of the kick going straight, and kicking with the foot in its natural orientation as opposed to rotating it outward to get an instep on the ball most likely results in a more powerful kick.

149 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

According to ESPN Sports Science, his contact area was smaller. They say this would have resulted in a lower margin of error.


72 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

I think this is the first time the Broncos are on top since i started following them in 2006. Is that correct?

73 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Maybe at the start of 2008? I know they were 6-0 to start the season (ended up 8-8) so they might have been up there that year at the beginning of the year.

77 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

It was '09 - the first McDaniels year.

And that team must've been the worst 6-0 team in a long time. I think DVOA will have spotted that. I also think the Colts were 6-0 - probably more legitemately.

82 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

They were ranked sixth with a 33.1% DVOA after week 6 in 2009, not even the lowest-ranked 6-0 team that week (the Vikings were right behind them at 29.7%). DVOA LOVED the defense early that season. The Colts were 5-0 at that point, ranked third at 41.2% (they would reach 6-0 at a second-ranked 42.4% the next week). The Saints were also 5-0 at that point, ranked first at 54.4% (they would reach 6-0 at a top-ranked 43.1% the next week).

I'm pretty sure this is the first time the Broncos have been first since I've been coming to FO, which was just before the '07 season started.

93 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

exactly what I was thinking. i decided obnoxiously skip over any of the comments questioning the validity of this ranking and bathe in the glow of being the #1 team on the internets.

My teams and the bronco's and the cornhuskers... i have lived with middle-of-the-pack in rankings for too long because of those two teams. Last Saturday sucked, but Sunday made it all better...

living the dream baby.

74 Incase you want to clean it up a little....

"These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through one week of 2011"


"For now, however, the DVOA system seems San Francisco with a good-but-not-great win,"


79 Game Sampling!

"I did some research last year which grouped every two-week period during the season, and figured out the correlation of DVOA in those two weeks to the team's total win-loss record for the entire season."

Okay, now I want to know about game sampling. You did two week blocks, but now I'm curious about the rest of the sample sizes. Obviously, the best correlation should be the block of all 16 weeks. (Or, maybe it's only 1-15) But how about four week blocks? Eight week blocks? What's the shape of the graph? Does our prediction just get better linearly with more information? Might we find that the exact middle 7 games predict better than the first 9?

This could all be expressed pretty easily on a single graph, y = correlation coefficient, x = n of the block, with stacked data points at each n representing the blocks (n=1 has 16 options, n=15 has only two options, i.e. 1-15 or 2-16) and a line connecting the average coefficient for each n. I'm not going to have the time for this, but I'd be thrilled if someone did it.

88 Re: Game Sampling!

In reply to by Dr. Mooch

I am more then willing to do something like this, but where do you get the corresponding dataset in easily excel readable form?

80 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Juan Castillo must be running around the Novacare Center in his underwear singing "Old Time Rock n' Roll" after seeing his D ranked #1.

83 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

I'm not an expert at these ratings so I don't want to sound stupid, but shouldn't the table columns be labeled "Total VOA" instead of "Total DVOA?" Defense adjustments don't kick in yet, right?

96 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Baltimore has the #1 offense??

I'm going to faint.

124 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

I am not a fan of DAVE. I don't see the point of bringing so much subjectivity to a stat that only works when it's being objective. I'd much rather see VOA until week 4 or so when you can start bringing in the adjustments. As it is, the "DVOA" here is worse than meaningless until week 8. I say worse than meaningless because reading them may influence your opinion, when all you're reading is a preseason projection slightly influenced by real life.

133 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

In reply to by Mountain Time …

Um - you do realize that the "Total DVOA" column up at the top is, in fact, just VOA, right? And that's actually what the table is sorted by?

Aaron has the table headers wrong, but the article actually says "There are no opponent adjustments in VOA until the fourth week of the season, which is why it is listed as VOA right now rather than DVOA." The table says "DVOA", but that's an oops.

I say worse than meaningless because reading them may influence your opinion, when all you're reading is a preseason projection slightly influenced by real life.

I actually agree that DAVE could be done better, since right now it's just a linear combination of preseason projection plus Week 1 VOA. But it's not meaningless - it's the same thing as doing a gradual introduction of the opponent adjustments. The preseason projections are mostly objective: there's some subjectivity in it, but there's subjectivity in just about every football statistic. The question is how predictive it is, and, well, DAVE is more predictive than VOA is right now.

As to how DAVE could be done better, it'd probably be better to combine the regular-season data plus the preseason projections piece-by-piece instead of just combining the two. Several of the preseason projections aren't that predictive, and they just end up regressing most teams to the mean: in those cases, the regular-season data should take over from the preseason data faster.

In other cases, though, like offense, the preseason projections are very, very good - and so it makes sense to be skeptical of regular season data for a while.

137 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

In reply to by Pat (filler) (not verified)

It would be nice to see DAVE included in the historical DVOA by week database so that we could observe if its predictive value is better.

130 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

If the Bears don't come out with playoff intensity tonight, they don't understand the opportunity they have. Making the Pack start 0-2 at home, both losses in conference, one loss to a division rival, would be gigantic.

This Vikings fan has normally slightly favored the Packers to the Bears, but the commentary at the end of last year by some cheeseheads in these forums, with an attitude that implied that Ted Thompson had scientifically advanced roster construction into the 31st century, has reversed that this year. I'm a full blown Cutler fan tonight.

139 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

I can't get my post past the spam filters, so, I'll try to reword. The old Bears GM was a source of irritation to me, due to that one mega successful Bear season a few years back where the Bears got lucky week after week, and the old GM thought it was due to his brilliance. Like Childress getting Stubbleface.

132 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Glad to have you on board, Will.

I'm not quite sure what to expect tonight. The Bears generally play the Packers close, as like the 49ers, their defense is tailored to containing the Packers (but not shutting them down), and this is the most talented Bears offense in a long, long time.

But I could also see a total meltdown. I'm not completely sold on this Bears team yet, though I'm getting there. I'm very optimistic, and I could easily see them being a true contender this year, but I'd really like to see them beat the Packers, or at least come close.

Windy City Gridiron (http://www.windycitygridiron.com/2012/9/12/3316702/is-the-bears-offense-playing-mind-games-with-dom-capers) and Mike Tanier (http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/38315838) have both written good articles on some offensive scheming related to this game. WCG's focuses on how the 49ers ran the ball against the Packers, and how the Bears should be able to do the same, and Tanier's focuses on how the Bears protected Cutler against a 3-4 defense. Both do raise my optimism, as I feel that the Bears should be able to move the ball well against the Packers; the key will be finishing off drives with touchdowns and avoiding turnovers.

150 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Good article by Tanier, but there were a few very sloppy mistakes. For example, talking about the Bears' pass protection issues under Mike Martz, he says, "That’s why Bears quarterbacks suffered 49 sacks last season, and Jay Cutler spent the second half of the year on the sideline."

That last part is entirely wrong. First, Cutler wasn't on the sideline the second half of the year; it was just the last 6 games. Second, and much more importantly, it is utterly false. Cutler's didn't get knocked out for those last 6 games because of an injury resulting from poor pass protection. He broke his thumb making a tackle on an interception return. I note that the interception occurred only because the receiver (Johnny Knox) slippped and fell on the shoddy Soldier Field turf, so that was just plain bad luck as the on-target pass went right to the CB.

Also, at the end he talks about Cutler hurting his ankle against the Packers in the 2011 NFC Championship Game. Of course, it was his knee, not his ankle, and it was the 2010 NFC Championship Game (which was played in January 2011).

134 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

I forget what week it was, but there was one week when Packers's fans just came out of the woodwork in the DVOA column.

One particularly expressive fan tried to tell us how this Packers team is unlike anything we have ever seen before. They were so perfect they would redefine what a dynasty was, that the Packers would win 6 Super Bowls. That Rodgers would redefine the position. I might be slightly exaggerating, but the crux of his argument was essentially this.

Man, how the mighty seem to have fallen.

I can't see the Packers losing two straight to start at home, but if they do...

138 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

I forgot the exact phrase that one of the curd-for-brains used, but it was something along the lines of "Yes, the water really does run colder and faster in Green Bay these days....". I decided then that I wanted the Packers to lose every game for the next five years.

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