Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Week 12 DVOA Ratings
Week 12 DVOA Ratings
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Aaron Schatz

There's very little change this week on top of the Football Outsiders DVOA ratings. San Francisco is still number one, although the gap between the 49ers and Patriots is very small. The Patriots inch ahead into the top spot in weighted DVOA, which gives more strength to recent games. A couple of teams in our "big nine" change places, but the same nine teams have now been in the top nine spots for three weeks, each week with a reasonable gap between them and the 23 teams below them.

Of course, the slow pace of change is not a bug; it's a feature. Because DVOA looks at every play from the entire season, it isn't as subject to the influence of a single game as subjective power ratings. Even the weighted DVOA ratings give full (or almost full) weight to the last eight weeks before games begin to really decrease in importance.

When the ratings are fairly packed together, though, you'll see some movement, and that's what happens at the tenth spot and below this week. The Cincinnati Bengals are now tenth. Don't worry, they are still the average team they've been for the last three seasons, but they have been a little better lately, with 7.9% weighted DVOA compared to 4.6% regular DVOA.

A bigger surprise is Detroit, which climbs up to 11th this week on the strength of their almost-win against Houston. Just in case Lions fans needed more reason to be depressed about the loss, the Lions had the far superior DVOA for this game, 40.5% to just -10.3% for the Texans -- and that's despite the fact that I fully counted Justin Forsett's touchdown run that wasn't really a touchdown run. The Lions are getting hot just in time to pretty much be out of playoff contention. Even though Matthew Stafford has struggled at times this year, the Lions are now fourth in offensive DVOA. Their defense and special teams are lousy, and once again this team needs to seriously address the secondary in the offseason. But Detroit's high DVOA should give fans hope for a rebound back into contention in 2013.

One step below Detroit is 10-1 Atlanta, in a virtual tie with the rival Buccaneers for the 12th spot in DVOA, and now rank just 17th in weighted DVOA. The team now has weighted DVOA below zero despite having just one loss. The Falcons are thoroughly mediocre: 14th on offense, 16th on defense, and 17th on special teams. A closer look will show they are still much better on passes than on runs, on both sides of the ball, but it adds up to average.

Atlanta is the worst 10-1 team DVOA has ever tracked, and it isn't even remotely close. Atlanta right now has 2.9% DVOA. The next-lowest team at 10-1 is the 1998 Vikings. Despite the record-setting offense, DVOA doesn't rate the Vikings that well, partly because the defense wasn't very good and partly because -- well, we're not really sure all the reasons why. But still, that Vikings team was at 17.0% after 12 weeks, sixth in DVOA. That's way ahead of the current Falcons. Atlanta actually has negative DVOA in its last four games, and even more surprising, six out of 11 games all season. So the team that currently has pole position for the number-one seed in the NFC has played only five above-average games all year according to FO stats. That's good enough reason for the season debut of that old Football Outsiders favorite, the week-to-week DVOA graph. The green line here represents a rolling average of the last five games.

One other team with a huge move this week: Pittsburgh, which drops from 10th to 18th. That was certainly a lot of fumbling. Nonetheless, the playoff odds still have the AFC wild card race as three teams for two spots, and our ratings still have the Colts far behind the Steelers and Bengals in DVOA, which balances out their one-win lead.

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Year Team DVOA x Year Team DVOA x Year Team DVOA x Year Team DVOA
2007 NE 71.9% x 2007 NE 49.8% x 2002 TB -42.8% x 2007 CHI 12.1%
1991 WAS 59.7% x 1998 DEN 41.5% x 1991 PHI -35.5% x 2011 CHI 11.9%
1998 DEN 48.6% x 1993 SF 40.7% x 1991 NO -35.3% x 2012 BAL 11.8%
2004 PIT 43.4% x 2010 NE 40.4% x 2012 CHI -33.8% x 2004 BUF 11.6%
2003 KC 42.1% x 2004 IND 40.4% x 2008 BAL -28.9% x 1994 CLE1 11.4%
2002 TB 42.0% x 2002 KC 37.3% x 1997 SF -28.8% x 1997 DAL 10.5%
2004 NE 41.7% x 1999 WAS 37.3% x 2004 BAL -28.4% x 1996 CAR 10.3%
1994 DAL 40.2% x 1995 DAL 35.9% x 2005 CHI -27.0% x 2001 PHI 10.0%
1995 DAL 40.2% x 2012 NE 35.2% x 2004 PIT -26.3% x 1998 DAL 9.9%
1999 STL 40.1% x 2011 GB 33.4% x 2006 CHI -26.3% x 2003 KC 9.9%
2012 SF 40.1% x 2005 SD 33.2% x 1991 WAS -25.8% x 1993 GB 9.5%
2012 NE 40.0% x 2003 KC 32.2% x 1992 PHI -25.3% x 1995 KC 9.5%

Baltimore drops out of the "best ever" spot for special teams, but note the Ravens dropped a little more than you would otherwise expect this week because I re-worked the baselines to put the league-wide special teams DVOA closer to 0%. The 2007 Bears weren't even on our "best ever special teams" list last week; they just happened to have a big game in Week 12.

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These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through 12 weeks 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 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>

All stats pages should now be updated (or, at least, will be in the next few minutes) including snap counts and the FO Premium database.

1 SF 40.1% 1 40.1% 2 8-2-1 23.0% 2 -17.7% 2 -0.6% 19
2 NE 40.0% 2 41.7% 1 8-3 35.2% 1 2.7% 21 7.5% 2
3 DEN 35.0% 3 36.1% 3 8-3 17.7% 3 -15.6% 5 1.8% 11
4 SEA 30.7% 4 32.1% 4 6-5 9.2% 8 -15.7% 4 5.8% 4
5 CHI 24.9% 6 25.1% 5 8-3 -15.2% 26 -33.8% 1 6.3% 3
6 GB 23.7% 5 21.6% 6 7-4 15.0% 5 -7.5% 7 1.3% 12
7 NYG 18.2% 8 18.1% 7 7-4 11.9% 7 -5.6% 8 0.7% 13
8 HOU 14.9% 7 12.8% 8 10-1 8.1% 11 -14.8% 6 -8.0% 32
9 BAL 13.7% 9 12.6% 9 9-2 4.6% 13 2.7% 22 11.8% 1
10 CIN 4.6% 17 7.9% 10 6-5 7.3% 12 6.0% 24 3.3% 9
11 DET 4.0% 15 5.0% 11 4-7 15.3% 4 6.1% 25 -5.1% 28
12 ATL 2.9% 12 -0.4% 17 10-1 4.0% 14 1.1% 16 0.1% 17
13 TB 2.9% 13 4.1% 12 6-5 8.8% 10 1.0% 15 -4.9% 27
14 WAS 2.5% 18 3.3% 13 5-6 9.0% 9 1.4% 17 -5.1% 29
15 DAL 0.9% 11 1.1% 15 5-6 2.4% 15 1.9% 19 0.4% 14
16 NO 0.3% 14 1.8% 14 5-6 13.9% 6 17.2% 30 3.6% 8
17 MIN -0.8% 16 -3.2% 18 6-5 -3.7% 20 2.3% 20 5.2% 6
18 PIT -1.3% 10 0.2% 16 6-5 -3.6% 19 -2.9% 10 -0.6% 20
19 CAR -4.4% 19 -4.2% 19 3-8 0.0% 17 -3.6% 9 -8.0% 31
20 MIA -5.6% 23 -7.6% 21 5-6 -10.1% 23 -2.6% 12 1.8% 10
21 STL -6.1% 20 -6.6% 20 4-6-1 -5.6% 21 -2.7% 11 -3.1% 26
22 ARI -7.9% 21 -8.7% 22 4-7 -23.8% 31 -16.5% 3 -0.6% 21
23 BUF -9.8% 22 -8.9% 23 4-7 -2.0% 18 11.6% 27 3.8% 7
24 SD -10.9% 25 -9.7% 24 4-7 -9.3% 22 1.7% 18 0.1% 16
25 CLE -13.1% 26 -11.4% 25 3-8 -18.9% 30 -0.6% 14 5.3% 5
26 NYJ -14.0% 24 -13.1% 26 4-7 -16.7% 28 -2.6% 13 0.2% 15
27 PHI -22.0% 27 -24.5% 28 3-8 -15.3% 27 4.0% 23 -2.6% 25
28 IND -22.0% 28 -22.1% 27 7-4 0.6% 16 20.0% 32 -2.6% 24
29 TEN -28.9% 29 -28.8% 29 4-7 -12.9% 24 15.0% 29 -1.0% 23
30 JAC -33.0% 30 -33.0% 30 2-9 -18.7% 29 13.5% 28 -0.8% 22
31 OAK -37.7% 31 -38.3% 32 3-8 -13.7% 25 17.2% 31 -6.8% 30
32 KC -38.3% 32 -36.8% 31 1-10 -27.4% 32 10.7% 26 -0.1% 18
  • 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 SF 40.1% 8-2-1 35.8% 9.5 3 5.8% 8 10.2% 6 25.5% 31
2 NE 40.0% 8-3 43.9% 9.8 1 -3.0% 23 2.1% 13 10.0% 13
3 DEN 35.0% 8-3 33.8% 9.7 2 -3.7% 24 -14.5% 30 7.7% 8
4 SEA 30.7% 6-5 19.6% 8.7 4 6.4% 6 8.2% 8 5.8% 4
5 CHI 24.9% 8-3 22.4% 8.7 5 -1.0% 19 10.0% 7 13.9% 21
6 GB 23.7% 7-4 15.5% 7.9 6 5.8% 7 -0.3% 15 14.1% 22
7 NYG 18.2% 7-4 16.9% 6.7 8 3.2% 10 -0.5% 17 29.5% 32
8 HOU 14.9% 10-1 21.7% 6.4 9 -2.1% 20 -6.7% 26 11.0% 14
9 BAL 13.7% 9-2 20.1% 6.9 7 -6.9% 29 11.8% 5 18.1% 26
10 CIN 4.6% 6-5 13.5% 5.4 16 -6.6% 28 -3.9% 21 21.2% 29
11 DET 4.0% 4-7 -1.3% 5.7 14 3.9% 9 4.3% 10 5.5% 2
12 ATL 2.9% 10-1 12.1% 5.8 12 -7.2% 30 4.2% 11 12.6% 17
13 TB 2.9% 6-5 10.1% 6.1 10 -6.5% 27 2.0% 14 6.5% 6
14 WAS 2.5% 5-6 7.2% 5.3 18 -0.4% 15 -0.4% 16 12.5% 16
15 DAL 0.9% 5-6 -4.2% 5.7 13 6.8% 5 -3.2% 19 8.2% 9
16 NO 0.3% 5-6 3.4% 5.3 17 -0.6% 16 4.1% 12 9.6% 11
17 MIN -0.8% 6-5 -1.0% 5.8 11 1.6% 11 16.2% 2 5.6% 3
18 PIT -1.3% 6-5 3.7% 5.1 19 -7.3% 31 -0.9% 18 22.4% 30
19 CAR -4.4% 3-8 -8.5% 5.0 20 9.0% 3 -16.7% 31 12.9% 19
20 MIA -5.6% 5-6 -3.1% 5.7 15 -8.2% 32 15.4% 3 18.7% 27
21 STL -6.1% 4-6-1 -11.7% 5.0 21 11.9% 1 12.6% 4 8.3% 10
22 ARI -7.9% 4-7 -14.6% 3.8 26 7.9% 4 17.2% 1 5.2% 1
23 BUF -9.8% 4-7 -12.7% 4.6 22 0.5% 13 -5.6% 22 17.6% 24
24 SD -10.9% 4-7 -5.0% 3.9 25 -6.0% 26 -10.5% 29 6.6% 7
25 CLE -13.1% 3-8 -2.6% 4.3 23 -0.9% 17 -8.0% 27 14.4% 23
26 NYJ -14.0% 4-7 -15.9% 4.1 24 10.5% 2 -18.1% 32 19.4% 28
27 PHI -22.0% 3-8 -25.5% 3.5 28 1.4% 12 5.8% 9 11.2% 15
28 IND -22.0% 7-4 -13.6% 3.6 27 -4.5% 25 -6.7% 25 9.7% 12
29 TEN -28.9% 4-7 -25.1% 2.2 29 0.0% 14 -6.1% 23 17.6% 25
30 JAC -33.0% 2-9 -31.7% 1.9 30 -2.2% 21 -3.7% 20 6.0% 5
31 OAK -37.7% 3-8 -31.9% 1.7 31 -2.7% 22 -6.3% 24 13.5% 20
32 KC -38.3% 1-10 -42.3% 1.6 32 -1.0% 18 -8.4% 28 12.8% 18


121 comments, Last at 04 Dec 2012, 12:52pm

#1 by theslothook // Nov 27, 2012 - 6:00pm

Im a little surprised GB is ranked as highly as it is on defense. Maybe I'm simply putting too much weight on that giants game and they DID not have Clay Matthews for that game. Its still a bit of a surprise though.

Points: 0

#26 by Mike123456 (not verified) // Nov 27, 2012 - 11:19pm

They didn't have Matthews, Woodson or Sam Shields.

Other than that game (where the Giants had a lot of short fields) the Packer's defense has been fairly consistently good.

Points: 0

#31 by TacticalSledgehammer // Nov 28, 2012 - 1:30am

They only had one of the starting linebackers they started the season with (Matyhews, Bishop/Smith, Perry); arguably the least impressive one (Hawk).


“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.”

Points: 0

#101 by John30856 (not verified) // Nov 29, 2012 - 11:28am

Hawk is having his best year ever! Look at the present, stop dredging up the past. I suppose you still think james Jones drops th eball too much. Hmm, he one drop this year so far

Points: 0

#116 by TacticalSledgehammer // Nov 29, 2012 - 7:45pm

Hawk is indeed having his best year, but it's a pretty low bar. I still maintain that if you picked the least valuable of the 4 starting linebackers, it'd be him easily. He was also terrible just this past week against the Giants, so you should look at the present, stop dredging up the past.


“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.”

Points: 0

#28 by DisplacedPackerFan // Nov 27, 2012 - 11:35pm

I don't think the D played quite as bad as the score made it look. The Packers O did have two turn overs, and they missed a 55 yard FG so New York had a few shorter fields, they only had 390 yards, GB gave up more than that to NO and Indy without as many points. The FG came after a 4 play 8 yard drive. The TD's were 23, 53, 55, 61, and 74 (with 59 of that on the missed tackles screen pass) yard drives. It wasn't good, but again I don't think it was as bad as the outcome made things look. If Bulaga was healthy Rodgers likely plays better, instead of being pressured on over 50% of his plays it might only have been 35%, they probably only have the one turnover, get close enough that the 55 yard FG is probably made, and they give up "only" 28 points, while likely scoring 13, maybe 17.

Looks like for the game the Packers offense was -24.8% DVOA and the D was 21.7 so both sides of the ball were about equally bad. So while they got dominated, there was still some good stuff.

I'm still way more worried about the offense after that game than the D. There aren't any other options for the o-line really, Lang is big a downgrade from Bulaga (who outside of the Seattle game had actually played pretty well) and EDS is downgrade from Lang at LG. So they went from a poor LT, average LG, poor C, solid RG, solid RT to poor LT, poor LG, poor C, solid RG, poor RT.

Points: 0

#32 by TacticalSledgehammer // Nov 28, 2012 - 1:31am

I would be more generous with both Newhouse and the guard version of Lang than you are, but that just further emphasizes the decline.


“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.”

Points: 0

#75 by socccer101 // Nov 28, 2012 - 2:48pm

The GB defense was every bit as badly outplayed by the Giants offense as the score indicates, if not more so. When a team scores on all but two drives in a half and scores touchdowns on more than half the drives it is VERY bad. Also, the field just wasn't that short - three touchdown drives of 55 yards or more in a half is impressive. The fact that twice the Giants started on the Packers side of the field and scored a TD and a FG hardly mitigates the destruction they inflicted. By midway through the second quarter it became clear the Giants could essentially score at will, and then stopped trying wiling TDs after punching in yet another TD on their second drive of the second half. To recap, prior to the game reaching complete blowout proportions - NYG: 9 drives, 5 TDs, 1 FG, 0 turnovers = complete and utter domination. If Coughlin acted like Belichick the score would've been 59-10, not the merciful 38-10.

Points: 0

#2 by merlinofchaos // Nov 27, 2012 - 6:03pm

I expected Denver's DVOA to fall; they beat the Chiefs but for long stretches of the game they looked pretty average.

Points: 0

#3 by Anonymous_ (not verified) // Nov 27, 2012 - 6:12pm

If the Colts make it into the playoffs, where would they rank on a "worst DVOA for a playoff team" list?

Points: 0

#4 by Joe C (not verified) // Nov 27, 2012 - 6:15pm

Probably close to the 1998 Cards, 2004 Rams and 2010 Seahawks...all of which actually won a playoff game.

Points: 0

#5 by Joe C (not verified) // Nov 27, 2012 - 6:18pm

Looks the 04 Rams were the worst (unless I missed a team back in the earl-mid 90's) with -27.2%, 2010 Seahawks were -22.9%

Points: 0

#50 by Danny Tuccitto // Nov 28, 2012 - 11:35am

IND would rank 3rd-worst: ahead of the aforementioned '04 STL and '10 SEA teams, and behind the aforementioned '98 ARI team (-17.1%). '96 MIN (-14.5%) and '06 SEA (-13.0%) round out the worst 5, with the Jim-Harbaugh-led '96 IND team sixth (-12.2%).

Points: 0

#6 by Gus (not verified) // Nov 27, 2012 - 6:24pm

Weird to see that both the AFC and NFC have some pretty over their heads team clinging to those first round byes at the moment. I cut Houston some slack, given the two games in five days on the road, and maybe Baltimore improves down the stretch, but both teams better hope they can hold off NE and Denver, because I really doubt they could win against either team on the road.

Atlanta...is who we thought they were. Same team as the previous couple years. Wins a lot of close games, pretty good players at some spots, completely overrated by the MSSM.

Points: 0

#7 by merlinofchaos // Nov 27, 2012 - 6:26pm

Should we go ahead and crown their asses? :)

Points: 0

#8 by John Fox (not verified) // Nov 27, 2012 - 6:39pm

But we let them off the hook.

Points: 0

#23 by TomC // Nov 27, 2012 - 10:24pm

Wait, the Falcons are overrated by the Minimal Supersymmetric Standard Model? My quantum field theory is a bit rusty, but I *think* that means the Falcons are a candidate for the Higgs field, which is wayyyyyyyyy cooler than getting a dumb old first-round bye.

Points: 0

#30 by johnnyxel // Nov 28, 2012 - 12:03am

Atlanta's recent winning percentage in close games (0.7297 since 2008) is a very good estimator for the Omega_Lambda parameter (0.728 +/- 0.015). Clearly, the Falcons are harnessing dark energy to win close games.

Points: 0

#34 by Paul R // Nov 28, 2012 - 3:33am

Well, the classic analogy used to describe the Higgs particle is that of a crowded cocktail party. When an extremely charismatic and interesting person (Higgs) arrives at the party, the other guests (particles) gravitate towards him, thus making him more massive and slowing his progress across the room.
"Charismatic and interesting" and "Atlanta Falcons" are terms which typically do not appear in the same sentence.

Points: 0

#51 by commissionerleaf // Nov 28, 2012 - 11:39am

Can I just say that it would be very, very funny if Houston was knocked out of the playoffs by a Peyton Manning led team, after being kept out of the playoffs so many years by the Colts?

Points: 0

#117 by In_Belichick_W… // Nov 30, 2012 - 8:24am

I'd prefer to see a Denver-Indy playoff game this year. Seeing Indy knock Denver out would be very funny.

Points: 0

#95 by Statz (not verified) // Nov 28, 2012 - 10:49pm

Houston DID beat Denver on the road, albeit in Week 3. They play NE on the road in Week 14. I imagine it will be telling, one way or another. This site gives them an 84% chance of snagging one of the byes, and they are two games ahead of the other two favorites. Like you, I also cut them some slack with the short week and short-term defensive injuries, but even still I hardly call this "clinging" to a spot.

Points: 0

#96 by Statz (not verified) // Nov 28, 2012 - 10:49pm

Houston DID beat Denver on the road, albeit in Week 3. They play NE on the road in Week 14. I imagine it will be telling, one way or another. This site gives them an 84% chance of snagging one of the byes, and they are two games ahead of the other two favorites. Like you, I also cut them some slack with the short week and short-term defensive injuries, but even still I hardly call this "clinging" to a spot.

Points: 0

#9 by RickD // Nov 27, 2012 - 6:42pm

The Cardinals seem a bit high, esp. in Weighted DVOA, given that they haven't won a game since September.

Points: 0

#10 by Jon Goldman (not verified) // Nov 27, 2012 - 7:08pm

Huh, the Bears dropped: thought they looked pretty good defensively.

Points: 0

#11 by Duke // Nov 27, 2012 - 8:07pm

Well, the Vikings are at -3.7% offensive DVOA, so looking "pretty good" was probably not enough to maintain their current defensive pace.

Points: 0

#17 by Will Allen // Nov 27, 2012 - 8:25pm

They gave up 10 points to a team which passes like Bobby Douglass was the qb. At Bobby's current age. That ain't too impressive.

Points: 0

#12 by Duke // Nov 27, 2012 - 8:11pm

No odds on the playoff odds page for the "Cutler Bowl" special (DEN-CHI)? Too remote?

Points: 0

#19 by Aaron Schatz // Nov 27, 2012 - 9:12pm

Oop. Good one. I will add that for next week.

Points: 0

#20 by Marko // Nov 27, 2012 - 9:34pm

Not to be snarky, but people have been asking about this for at least a month. I remember at least two weeks in which there were multiple comments about this.

Points: 0

#24 by RickD // Nov 27, 2012 - 10:59pm

"snarky" isn't the adjective that comes to mind...

Points: 0

#78 by Jake (not verified) // Nov 28, 2012 - 3:37pm

You do realize you can figure this out for yourself by multiplying the odds of the Broncos reaching the Super Bowl by the odds of the Bears reaching the Super Bowl, right?

Points: 0

#80 by Marko // Nov 28, 2012 - 4:09pm

Sure. But that can be said for any of the matchups. So why list any of them at all? The purpose of listing these is to indicate which potential matchups are "special" in some way. The "Cutler Bowl" or "Cutler's Revenge" or the "Cutler and Marshall Reunion Special" or whatever you want to call it certainly would be more interesting from the revenge/reunion angle than "Matt Schaub's Revenge" (yes, he started with the Falcons, but there was absolutely no controversy or media hype surrounding his departure from the Falcons), the "Randy Moss Reunion Special" (Moss is far more associated with the Vikings than he is with the Patriots, and he is a not a major factor on the 49ers; a Patriots-Vikings Super Bowl a few years ago when Moss was on the Patriots really would have been special, but this . . . not so much), or the "Pete Carroll Reunion Special" (Carroll didn't coach the Patriots for very long, and it was a long time ago; let's be real . . . this is on the list only because Aaron is a Patriots fan).

Points: 0

#83 by BSR // Nov 28, 2012 - 4:49pm

Yes because the rest of the world really cares about a middle of the road, underachieving QB in Cutler's "revenge" game. Yawn.

Points: 0

#84 by Thomas_beardown // Nov 28, 2012 - 5:27pm

And they do care about a non-even-starting-over-hill receiver?

Points: 0

#111 by BSR // Nov 29, 2012 - 4:42pm

The point isn't that they should care about Moss, its that Aaron didn't commit some great galactic fraud by including Moss and forgetting Cutler.

Points: 0

#113 by Thomas_beardown // Nov 29, 2012 - 5:05pm

Well if you imagine that people claimed such a thing, I can see why you would think they were wrong. Fortunately, no one has.

Points: 0

#85 by theslothook // Nov 28, 2012 - 5:38pm

What makes cutler a middle of the road underachieving qb? Id like to see any qb throw behind that horrible offensive line with only one good receiving target. And btw, given how horrible jason campbell and caleb hanie looked with that same offense, I think its pretty obvious that its the scenario thats affected the qb, not the other way around.

Points: 0

#112 by BSR // Nov 29, 2012 - 4:52pm

You are right. Cutler's average DYAR rank over his career is 24th. Calling him middle of the road might be an overstatement.

Are Jason Campbell and Caleb Hanie renowned for their abilities to read defenses and make adjustments at the line? I'm not getting the logic.

Points: 0

#81 by jimbohead // Nov 28, 2012 - 4:13pm

That method gets you close, but it's not exact because events are not independent because of common opponents among other things. It becomes true when the playoffs start, and the odds approach it as the season draws to a close, but at this point it's not 100% accurate.

Points: 0

#100 by shoutingloudly // Nov 29, 2012 - 11:22am

As the original whiner to whine about this heinous, unforgivable oversight (all the way back in the Week 6 comments — but who's counting?), it's nice to be vindicated. "I am so smart. S M R T."

At the time, I was hoping Dumervil and Miller would stay healthy enough to eat Cutler alive in this scenario. Now I guess I also have to hope for Cutler staying healthy enough to be eaten alive.

Points: 0

#40 by Anonymous3737 (not verified) // Nov 28, 2012 - 7:21am

If we can have the highly unlikely "Shanahan's Revenge" game, can we also have the Apprentice-Master Duel (Kubiak vs. the Shanaclan)?

Points: 0

#63 by JohnD (not verified) // Nov 28, 2012 - 1:09pm

There's also the exceedingly unlikely (and I assume unprecedented) possibility that the #1 and #2 QB draft picks will meet in the Super Bowl. No idea what to call that, but "Supernova of Hype" comes to mind.

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#13 by The Hypno-Toad // Nov 27, 2012 - 8:13pm

Man, I had grown accustomed to the 32nd ranked future schedule next to Denver. I'll miss it.

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#36 by Podge (not verified) // Nov 28, 2012 - 5:33am

It's weird how much harder your schedule looks after playing the Chiefs isn't it?

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#43 by The Hypno-Toad // Nov 28, 2012 - 9:55am

Well.. there's always a possibility the 32 will come back after this week. Remaining games after this one against Tampa: Oakland, Baltimore, Cleveland and Kansas City.

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#14 by George (not verified) // Nov 27, 2012 - 8:14pm

Houston is clearly ranked too low because the would obviously be that it is failing to measure some key variable. I don't know what that variable is...maybe it's heart, maybe it's intensity...heck, maybe it's the undisclosed nature of the untraceable bank account that the NFL Ref's were given access to.

Also, because of the nature of DVOA, I don't think it necessarily accounts well for changes that are made during the season. For instance, the Texan's special teams has had some personnel changes and that has made a difference in their performance. Also, 10 quarters in about 5 days is bound to wear down any defense. Take into account injuries, expected returns, getting healthy, and some rest, and I would say the analysis misses quite a bit.

Sure, it's easy for any system to penalize a defense that has a ton of injuries, but then again, when those guys get back in the lineup, the DVOA has already been impacted.

For me, the subjective true test is whether the team can find a way to win regardless of the circumstances...even if it includes paying off the refs.

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#16 by George (not verified) // Nov 27, 2012 - 8:16pm

*Houston is clearly ranked too low because the reason unrelated to DVOA would obviously be that it is failing...

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#15 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Nov 27, 2012 - 8:15pm


I'm little more hopeful about a rebound for the Lions in 2013, but far more depressed about them blowing two games in a row after leading most of the way (against good opponents, no less).

I know fumble recovery is luck, not skill, but man, 0 for 6 the last three weeks is really discouraging.

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#18 by Thomas_beardown // Nov 27, 2012 - 8:49pm

Despite the record-setting offense, DVOA doesn't rate the Vikings that well, partly because the defense wasn't very good and partly because -- well, we're not really sure all the reasons why.

Clearly Will Allen hacked the database and added a qb-with-a-long-wind-up-throwing-motion variable.

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#21 by Will Allen // Nov 27, 2012 - 9:36pm

And rightly so! Damn those qbs who underthrow a wide open Randy Moss in ot during a conference championship game!

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#22 by Karl Cuba // Nov 27, 2012 - 9:45pm

As far as this season is concerned I'm pretty sure that Kaepernick can be relied upon to overthrow Randy Moss and if they go with Smith then he probably won't throw him the ball at all.

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#25 by Will Allen // Nov 27, 2012 - 10:59pm

All bitterness aside, from a fan of a team which has managed to follow up losses, in four straight Super Bowl appearances, with losses in five straight conference championship games, one of the things that I think is promising about Tall Kaepernick is that he dosn't seem to have a proclivity for the big wind up.

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#48 by jimbohead // Nov 28, 2012 - 11:13am

Man, he sure used to. To me, noted QB mechanics non-expert, Kap's motion looks much more compact than it was, even in this last preseason, when it felt like 75% of the ball's travel time from beginning of the throw to completion was spent in a wind-up that reminded me of Tim Lincecum. Sunday, it didn't look like the ball dipped below waist level the whole game. That's hugely encouraging to this fan.

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#65 by Karl Cuba // Nov 28, 2012 - 1:19pm

Agreed, in college he was a hyper-mobile siege weapon. His delivery used to be very similar to a baseball pitcher but it does seem to be much tighter, which suggests two good things, firstly, that Harbaugh can coach up qb mechanics and secondly, that Kaepernick can carry coaching onto the field in a game situation.

My biggest worry about his mechanics right now is that he acts like a cathloic trying not to get his center pregnant and is pulling out from the snap early on pretty much every play. He needs to get a handle on it as he's tipping off the cadence.

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#74 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Nov 28, 2012 - 2:07pm

"he acts like a cathloic trying not to get his center pregnant and is pulling out from the snap early"

Ugh, thank you for that mental image.

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#118 by In_Belichick_W… // Nov 30, 2012 - 8:32am

chuckle worthy

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#27 by Independent George // Nov 27, 2012 - 11:30pm

What's the greatest variance recorded in DVOA history? I feel like the Giants' 29.5% is at least as impressive an accomplishment as the Bears defense.

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#42 by bravehoptoad // Nov 28, 2012 - 9:44am

And when the Giants play the 49ers, at 25.5%, any one could get slaughtered, or it could go seven quarters.

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#44 by Will Allen // Nov 28, 2012 - 10:18am

The consistent thing is that the Giants, if they reach the tourney, will have the same formula for success that has worked twice in the last 5 years; a very strong rotation of pass rushers, and a qb who is capable of playing remarkably well in stretches. In a lot of ways they are the blueprint for NFL success in the current environment.

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#55 by bravehoptoad // Nov 28, 2012 - 12:01pm

They seem custom-made to stop those 1-dimensional passing teams like NE or GB. You'd THINK they'd have a great deal more trouble with well-balanced teams like HOU or SF, but this year's SF-NYG result would not support that conclusion.

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#61 by nat // Nov 28, 2012 - 12:49pm

You consider the Patriots a one-dimensional passing team? They're second in rush DVOA, second in total attempts, first in TDs, first in first-downs, etc. You're a year out of date.

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#64 by Danish Denver-Fan // Nov 28, 2012 - 1:17pm

I seems to me, that the rushing is off of the passing game - anecdotally of course. If you stop the passing, I'd wager you also stop the running.

BTW he's not a year late. Here are New Englands rush and pass rank per DVOA as long as they've been an elite offense.
Year,rush rank,pass rank

Basically they've always had an insanely efficient running game. My hypothesis struggles with the Cassel year (2008) and i guess 2005. Whether it was Corey Dillon, BJGE or Steven Ridley (or whoever it is these days) running it's been a top unit for a decade. This smells like scheme to me - and I think we can all agree that this scheme - as opposed to, say, the late 90ies Broncos - revolves around passing.

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#76 by theslothook // Nov 28, 2012 - 2:57pm

If rushing really were that important to pass ranking- how the hell do you explain the giants last year and the colts and chargers over the last several years.

its actually something I want to look into the data more closely to see.

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#77 by Danish Denver-Fan // Nov 28, 2012 - 3:25pm

Point taken. What if it isn't a bi-implication. I mean what if th theorem goes more like "an elite passing game will cause an elite rushing game. (Not the other way around)" We'll need to figure out how we explain recent Packers teams, but then again outliers are everywhere. Maybe there's a threshold for how bad your O-line can be for the theorem to apply?

Regarding the Giants: They were 4th in passing last year and in 2010 the were 14th. Not the kind of sustained eliteness I'm looking for.

The assumptions are piling up, I know.

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#79 by Thomas_beardown // Nov 28, 2012 - 3:43pm

You're missing the most obvious explanation. An elite passing offense helps the run offense, but only to a certain point.

So the Patriots would likely have an average running offense if you replaced Tom Brady with John Skelton.

The Packers and Giants were just that bad at running that even an elite passing offense they were bad.

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#82 by theslothook // Nov 28, 2012 - 4:38pm

I'm not so sure this is obvious. I think more than likely, as Matt Cassel showed, the pats offense can run the ball regardless of the type of QB it has back there. Again, is Cassel really any better than Skelton?

One thing about NE that i didn't realize until I charted them last week and it was pretty evident. When the colts ran a play action pass and had 7 guys into block, their blockers didn't work well together, three people teamed one guy, two team another, one guy was left one on one and the whole thing was inefficient.

Ne ran the same 7 man blocking play action play, but all 7 worked harmoniously. There were quick double teams and then one of the linemen would peel off and help another double team or single block.

That to me screamed coaching. JAworksi mentioned this on monday. He asked Dick Vermille what hires he likes to make first when he signs on to a new franchise. The answer? O line coach because(according to him:) there are about 4 great ones and a ton of terrible ones. This narrative seems pretty accurate i think.

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#88 by Mr Shush // Nov 28, 2012 - 7:04pm

No joke. I reckon outside of head coaches and GMs, Scarnecchia and Dennison are the two most valuable non-playing employees in the league. Aaron Kromer too, maybe?

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#91 by nat // Nov 28, 2012 - 10:06pm

Looking at the last five years, I checked how many teams were in the top half for rush and pass DVOA. If they were uncorrelated, you'd expect just eight teams a year. What you see is 10, 10, 10, 9, and 11. There's apparently some shared skills or some advantage to the run or pass to being good at the other. But not a lot. You see the same pattern in the OL stats.

Basically, a team is good or bad at running the ball by being good or bad at running the ball. They can be good at specific types of plays. There are ways to take advantage of running to help your passing or vice versa: play action, draws, or Patriots style no-huddle. But you don't get great results in both without being at least very good at both.

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#92 by theslothook // Nov 28, 2012 - 10:31pm

one of the big things I noticed about the pats o line. They aren't particularly fast or anything, but they rarely get overwhelmed at the point of attack and really do a good job working well together in not making mistakes. Part of it is probably tom brady, but I suspect most of it is their coaching staff. The pats hardly ever chip either, with their tight ends and rbs just releasing out of the backfield and relying on their front 5 to do its job. Having charted the patriots, their whole offense has an amazing harmony to it. When they run routes in the middle of the field, the whole spacing is done so precisely where they're always in the spots they need to be at. Its quite an incredible offensive design.

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#93 by Mr Shush // Nov 28, 2012 - 10:33pm

I don't think that follows.

First, you're begging the question. What's being claimed is in no small part that run and pass DVOAs are importantly flawed proxies for running and passing ability.

Second, the relationship is almost certainly more complex than the kind you're looking for. Specific ways of being good at running or passing may help the other aspect more than others.

As an example, I don't think anyone seriously believes either that the Texans have the league's 11th best rushing attack or that the effectiveness of their rushing attack is not a hugely important driver of their passing success. I'm pretty certain their play action DVOA would make the point quite amply. Defenses scheme to stop Foster. This makes life easier for Schaub et al, but harder for Foster, so DVOA thinks the passing attack is better than it is, and the rushing attack worse.

To consider other specific cases mentioned above, count me firmly among those who believe that Green Bay's passing attack is effective thanks to an astonishing quarterback and very good receivers in spite of a very poor offensive line, and that the run game would be even worse without it, while the Patriots' pretty good offensive line and useful but unremarkable backs are made wildly efficient by opponents' focus on the passing threat.

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#94 by theslothook // Nov 28, 2012 - 10:47pm

I have to disagree- having a good pass offense doesn't imply having a good run offense in the same way having a good run offense implies you'll have a good pass offense.

Take a great example- The saints. In 2009, they were the league's number 1 run offense and had the league's 5 ranked pass offense. The next year, with all their runningbacks injured, the saints finished 12 in pass offense, 21st in run offense. The next year, their run offense bounced back and so did their pass offense. In that situation, we might conclude that its the run offense that leads to better pass offense. But honestly, i suspect hte relationship is more complicated as some offenses by design are more dependent on the run than others. Again, the giants, chargers, and colts have had elite passing offenses with some of the worst statistically speaking running games in football. I doubt its entirely obvious they would be much better with a different qb back there. Sometimes, your run offense is bad because its just bad, not because of anything your passing game is doing.

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#98 by Mr Shush // Nov 29, 2012 - 7:38am

If my comment gives the impression I disagree with a single word you've said, I phrased it poorly.

Perhaps one caveat: I guess I'd say that in almost every case where a pass offense is very good and a run offense very bad, the run offense is still benefiting from the pass offense - it's just that it would be even less productive without it.

Another possible complication: good pass offenses lead to winning, winning leads to running out the clock, and running out the clock often means running into the teeth of stacked defenses, which DVOA hates, even though it is in reality often valuable. So that could be a confounding factor at work.

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#99 by nat // Nov 29, 2012 - 10:49am

You guys have a very weird idea of what a balanced offense is or does.

SF does not have a balanced offense for 2012. They run more often than any team but one (Seattle). They rank first in % of first downs coming from rushing, and in % of yards coming from rushing. They are extremely unbalanced by 2012 standards towards rushing in both attempts and production.

Houston is not so extreme. They rank fifth in % of plays rushing. They rank eighth in the % of 1st downs and yards from rushing. They are unbalanced towards rushing by about 1 standard deviation from league averages.

New England is even less extreme. They rank ninth in the % of plays rushing. They are sixth in % first downs from rushing, and 14 in % yards from rushing. They're still a rush-heavy team, but closer to balanced in attempts and yards.

Green Bay is pretty much league average in attempts (17th), but rank pass-heavy in results (25, 22). You could call them pass-heavy, but really they are balanced but just don't run very well.

A good example of an overall balanced attack by 2012 standards is the Bengals. They rank 15th in attempts, 13th in first downs, and 17th in yards.

Denver is an example of a mildly pass-heavy attack, ranking 21, 22, and 27. They are living proof that being a good pass offense doesn't necessarily cause you to run more often or more effectively.

New Orleans and Dallas are the pass-heavy extremes (30/32/29 and 32/30/32). You could consider them 1-dimensional on the pass side.

League average is 43.5% of plays being rushes, 32.7% of first downs coming on rushes, and 32.5% of yards coming from rushes. That's a 2012 balanced offense.

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#102 by Thomas_beardown // Nov 29, 2012 - 11:49am

We're not the ones who think balanced is synonymous with league average.

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#103 by nat // Nov 29, 2012 - 12:06pm

Now you're just being moronic. You think balanced is synonymous with most extremely rush-heavy in the league. War is peace, uh? What's freedom, slavery? How 'bout Tebow? A good passing QB?

If we go by your concept of balanced, every defense should be constructed to go against 1-dimensional pass-heavy offenses, because almost every offense is a 1-dimensional pass-heavy one. Why optimize your defense to face an offense that doesn't exist?

Which makes the whole concept pretty pointless.

Or you can look at league averages. In which case saying a defense is tuned to face teams that are extremely pass-heavy by modern standards makes sense, whether or not it's correct in this case.

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#104 by Thomas_beardown // Nov 29, 2012 - 12:24pm

I didn't actually define balanced, or say it was some ideal that should try to be achieved. I still don't think think it's synonymous with league average.

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#105 by nat // Nov 29, 2012 - 1:17pm

Well gosh, I didn't define balanced either. Just "2012 balanced", which is a useful definition, and objective, too, in keeping with the spirit of Football Outsiders' focus on stats over hot air.

Well, you're up: give us your wisdom on the definition of a balanced offense in 2012. Try to stick with stats, if you can. If not, give us something useful like:

Balanced: can and does effectively punish defenses that overplay the pass or overplay the run. Can and does use both types of plays effectively against defenses that don't overplay one or the other.

Me, I prefer the statistical definitions since they are objective. But this definition fits the spirit of what "Balance" is purported to achieve.

It also describes the Patriots. Perhaps more than any offense in the league.

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#106 by Thomas_beardown // Nov 29, 2012 - 1:52pm

I like your definition here, but it does restrict it to good offenses.

Is there any reason a bad offense can't be balanced?

There is also another problem. A team could have balanced production, without being balanced in skill. They could use the run to set up the pass or vice versa, and intentionally make one aspect of their offense produce worse to make another aspect produce better. That is the problem with using only statistical measures.

Personally, I think the Patriots offense will only work if they have a QB who is elite at the short timing passing game. Yet their per play production is balanced.

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#110 by nat // Nov 29, 2012 - 3:00pm

Yes, you're right that my informal definition requires plays to be "effective" and to "punish" - which restricts it to good offenses. I really should have added "relative to their average play" for the "punish" part - although you'd have to consider situations like DVOA does to get this part exactly right.

I guess in the part about defenses that don't overplay one or the other, we'd have to fall back to just counting attempts. That is, a bad team is balanced if it is trying to be balanced - relative to the league, I guess, although I know you don't like that.

As for your "productive but not skilled" concept, I just don't agree. The only way a team could do this is by really great play-calling. That falls under the "punish defenses that overplay the pass" case. It implies that the running game is good enough to punish teams that don't respect it. In other words, it demands respect.

That's balanced enough for me.

Wouldn't you agree that defenses that fail to respect the Patriots' running game pay a high price? Or maybe that they are respecting the running game, and yet still paying a high price? Either way, the high price is certainly being paid, in 1st downs, TDs and yards (or DVOA and attempts, if you prefer).

As for your ideas about what would happen to the running game if the Patriots didn't have a good QB, you're really asking whether the Patriots running game would still be as effective if the passing game didn't demand respect. You're asking about how it would fare in a 1-dimensional run-heavy offense. Obviously, it wouldn't be as effective, as would be true for almost every team in the league, because defenses could load up against the run at little risk.

If there is a team that has a good passing game and a productive running game but is NOT getting some additional running advantage out of that passing game, they should fire their OC.

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#107 by Mr Shush // Nov 29, 2012 - 2:34pm

I'm not sure I've used the word "balanced" at any point in this discussion. I'm not very interested in the definition of "balanced". My point is that pass offense skill and rush offense skill both affect rushing production, rush offense skill and pass offense skill both affect passing production, and the ways in which they do so vary substantially based on factors such as scheme, personnel and the choices made by opposing defenses, which makes passing production a substantially unreliable proxy for passing skill, and rushing production for rushing skill.

Again, to use production as a proxy for skill is in this case to beg the question.

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#108 by theslothook // Nov 29, 2012 - 2:54pm

That sums it up quite nicely Mr. Shush.

At no time, btw, did any us bring up the concept of balance or what it means or how it relates to league average or anything of the sort. Im not sure why Nat drifted into this weird tangent in the first place.

I also want to add, is there a reason you're calling someone moronic? Did Tuluse really say something moronic??? I suspect most of the time you think someone is being stupid, its either a misunderstanding or a half cynical comment. Seriously, can't we all be respectful?

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#109 by theslothook // Nov 29, 2012 - 2:56pm

that 2nd paragraph was addressed to Nat, just in case you got confused.

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#52 by Danny Tuccitto // Nov 28, 2012 - 11:45am

Largest variance was '05 SF (36.7%), which also happens to be worst team since '91. To boot, '03 SF shows up as third-largest (34.6%), which means (sarcasm)this SF fan really appreciates you prompting this stroll down memory lane(/sarcasm).

As far as '12 NYG, they'd rank 15th.

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#29 by TomTerrific // Nov 27, 2012 - 11:45pm

Atlanta is the worst 10-1 team DVOA has ever tracked...The next-lowest team at 10-1 is the 1998 Vikings...[who were] at 17.0% after 12 weeks, sixth in DVOA

Actually, aren't the 2012 Houston Texans, currently sporting a reasonable-but-less-than-remarkable 14.9% DVOA, the next-lowest team ever at 10-1?

“ ‘We want players who are big, strong, smart, fast, tough and disciplined,’ Pioli said, finally bringing an end to the era of Chiefs executives who searched desperately for players who are small, weak, stupid, slow, fragile and unruly.” -- Joe Posnanski

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#71 by Olbermann For … (not verified) // Nov 28, 2012 - 1:51pm

You're correct! I'd bet the 1986 Jets were the worst 10-1 team ever. Paul Maguire was making fun of that team the whole year. They lost the last 5 games of the season to slide in as a wild card.

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#73 by PatsFan // Nov 28, 2012 - 1:59pm

Finally -- someone who remembers that!

Costas and Axthelm would make fun of Maguire on NFL'86 for his ragging on the Jets. And then the Jets began to lose...and lose...and lose.

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#33 by Gabe (not verified) // Nov 28, 2012 - 3:21am

I have trouble wrapping my mind around Seattle having the 8th best offense.

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#46 by Trevor (not verified) // Nov 28, 2012 - 10:50am

I'm having trouble wrapping my head around the Hawks being 4th in DVOA overall, and #4 on defense. I'm guessing this doesn't take into account late-game defensive meltdowns, which have become fairly commonplace this season.

Full disclosure: I'm a Seahawks fan.

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#47 by tballgame (not verified) // Nov 28, 2012 - 11:11am


They are bottom 10 in points, yards, first downs, and 3rd down conversion percentage. I do not see indications of top ten achievement. I'm not surprised by the overall ranking. They've only lost one game by as many as 7 points (in SF) and they have played one of the hardest schedules in the NFL. I have no problem with the top ten overall ranking, but how they manage to achieve the high offensive ranking eludes me.

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#57 by Danny Tuccitto // Nov 28, 2012 - 12:11pm

Think it's just a perfect example of aggregate stats versus efficiency stats, especially in terms of their pass offense:

1) They're 31st in total passing yards, but 14th in net yards per passing attempt.
2) They're 13th in total rushing yards, and 9th in run success rate.
3) They've had the fewest drives and run the 6th-fewest plays in the league.
4) They're 1st in run/pass ratio.

So basically, what they're really good at (running) takes up the majority of a relatively small number of plays, and they're better at what they're not really good (passing) than aggregate stats otherwise suggest. Add in the seventh-toughest offensive strength of schedule in the league, and voila.

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#35 by rfh1001 // Nov 28, 2012 - 3:37am

(Because I wanted to know what the Bears ST had done wk 12, 2007.)

That was game vs Denver where Hester returned a punt and a kickoff after Todd Sauerbrun said "We're going after it. We're not going to kick away from him. Hey, we respect him and he's the best, but we have guys on our coverage teams that are paid to make big tackles."

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#37 by Podge (not verified) // Nov 28, 2012 - 5:36am

Minor query: on the all-time DVOA table, would it be possible to get the end-of-season DVOA of the all-time leader added to them?

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#38 by Podge (not verified) // Nov 28, 2012 - 5:41am

"But Detroit's high DVOA should give fans hope for a rebound back into contention in 2013."

But its not that high, is it? I mean, its above average, and definitely says they are better than their record would indicate, but it doesn't seem to me that its saying they are up to be a contender next year. Especially in a division with two teams with DVOA around 20% better than them. They are basically, by definition, a little bit better than average. Probably a 9-7 team in a 7-9/6-10 team's body. That doesn't scream "2013 contender" to me, especially in that division.

I'm curious if there is any correlation between above average DVOA and a losing record, and then improved DVOA the next season? I get that teams with DVOA better than their record would indicate tend to do better the next season in wins, but better next season for the Lions is 9-7, which doesn't paint them as a contender IMO.

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#39 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Nov 28, 2012 - 6:17am

I think the definition of "contention" is playoff contention, not superbowl contention. Around 9-7 or 10-6 next year would likely put them in the discussion for another wildcard spot.

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#62 by Paddy Pat // Nov 28, 2012 - 12:52pm

I would also like to add that given the volatility of defensive performance and the general trend for recent Chicago teams, it seems highly probable that the Bears will regress considerably next year, meaning that Detroit will mostly just have to get over the hump of Green Bay. Granted, that seems unlikely, but they should certainly have an easier time in the division than they did this year.

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#66 by Thomas_beardown // Nov 28, 2012 - 1:21pm

If Cutler is healthy, the Bears are a playoff team the past 3 years.

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#119 by In_Belichick_W… // Nov 30, 2012 - 8:47am

"Detroit contention" not "New England contention."

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#41 by CeeBee (not verified) // Nov 28, 2012 - 9:33am

NYG with the highest variance? Ahhh, it's good to be home again...

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#45 by Anonymousse (not verified) // Nov 28, 2012 - 10:32am


NE's defense causes 1 million fumbles, some Ints, etc, and gets worse.

The jets offense has to be some serious opponent adjustment.

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#49 by Peregrine // Nov 28, 2012 - 11:13am

I'll chime in for the Falcons. We're on a two-part mission:

1) Win the Lombardi on the home field of the New Orleans Saints
2) Break DVOA

I admit accomplishing both parts is unlikely, but I'm having fun this season. It looks like turnovers (we're -7 in the last two games) and missed field goals (4 in the last four games) are primary culprits in pushing down the DVOA. Oh, and the zombie that is Michael Turner.

Some of the turnovers are just flukes (like three deflected picks against the Cardinals), but it's concerning that we aren't forcing takeaways either. The coaches are paying attention to the rush game though, and Rodgers got more snaps than Turner in Tampa. Also looks like we're trying different kinds of running plays too. If we can even get to league average in rush DVOA (and RB passes while we're at it), we'll have a puncher's chance against anyone. Provided, of course, the relatively weak OL can keep Ryan upright.

I'm actually less concerned about the rush defense, which might be famous last words with the Saints in town tomorrow night. #24 is our highest ranking this season, and we shut down the Muscle Hamster pretty well. It helped that we got back Corey Peters, arguably our best DT, starting in game #7. He'd been on the PUP for the first six games.

So if the turnovers can swing in our favor, stop missing field goals, and we banish Michael Turner to the inactive list, maybe things aren't completely hopeless.

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#54 by Sophandros // Nov 28, 2012 - 11:56am

You say this as your two starting corners may not play tomorrow night in your road home game.

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

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#56 by Peregrine // Nov 28, 2012 - 12:08pm

You coming? I know a good tailgate crew that wouldn't lock you in a port-a-potty (for too long). And I don't think, in terms of numbers, that the Cowboy contingent from a few weeks ago could be surpassed. There must have been 10,000 Cowboy fans at that game. And then the Cardinals came to town, and I saw about 25 Cards fans, six of which were Jeff King's family.

I'm pretty sure Robinson will play, but I guess we'll know more after the injury report. He went to the locker room for concussion tests, I guess, but came back. Samuel, who knows.

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#115 by LionInAZ // Nov 29, 2012 - 5:56pm

The Falcons' super-soft schedule argues that they'll likely slide into oblivion come January.

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#53 by jonj01 // Nov 28, 2012 - 11:53am

Jon Jackson

"So the team that currently has pole position for the number-one seed in the NFC has played only five games all year according to FO stats"

What does this sentence mean? Atlanta's record says they played 11 games...I've seen 7 of those games...so I guess I just hallucinated 2 of those games?

"The green line here represents a rolling average of the last five games."

The green line covers eight weeks including a bye week.

If you guys are this careless with you writing...I can only guess how careless you are with your black box calculations.

Try to be more careful. I didn't even have to read the whole article to find these errors.

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#58 by E // Nov 28, 2012 - 12:15pm

The green line is a trend line that represents a rolling average of [DVOA for] the last five games. Each data point is the average for the prior 5 weeks (inclusive), which is why the line begins at week 5. This seems fairly obvious. Also, reading comprehension is a more important skill than writing ability or football analysis.

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#59 by Danny Tuccitto // Nov 28, 2012 - 12:21pm

The first sentence is just missing "above-average" between "five" and "games," which is pretty obvious when you consider the sentence immediately preceding it reads, "Atlanta actually has negative DVOA in its last four games, and even more surprising, six out of 11 games all season." I've gone ahead and added in "above-average" for anyone else who might skim the article.

The second sentence is not an error. A "rolling average of the past five weeks" means there is no rolling average for the first four weeks, the rolling average after Week 5 is the average from Week 1 to Week 5, the rolling average after Week 6 is the average from Week 2 to Week 6, etc. After 12 weeks, there will be eight rolling averages beginning in Week 5, which is exactly what the graph shows.

And just to be thorough, here's one you missed: "Their defense and special teams are lousy, and once again this team needs to seriously address the secondary in the playoffs," should read, "Their defense and special teams are lousy, and once again this team needs to seriously address the secondary in the offseason." I've fixed that as well.


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#60 by Anonymous3737 (not verified) // Nov 28, 2012 - 12:45pm

Danny takes a trollin' and keeps on goin'! Seriously, thanks for the replies, insights, corrections, and humor.

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#67 by commissionerleaf // Nov 28, 2012 - 1:29pm

I liked the "playoffs"; it assumes that Atlanta won't be around for most of the playoffs, which is probably a pretty safe bet given that they are looking at a game with Chicago, NYG or Green Bay in the divisional round.

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#69 by Raiderjoe // Nov 28, 2012 - 1:35pm

To ocmmishioberleaf,

Glacobs going to win at least one playoff game this season. Will beat GB Packers and/or Giants. Tough game if play Bears or 49erz

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#72 by Jimmy // Nov 28, 2012 - 1:51pm

The Altanta Glacobs! Best joeism ever.

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#87 by DRohan // Nov 28, 2012 - 6:25pm

ocmmishioberleaf isn't half-bad either

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#70 by Some Guy on a … (not verified) // Nov 28, 2012 - 1:41pm

He also didn't even bother to point out that the poster actually says, "if you guys are this careless with you writing," not "if you guys are this careless with your writing."

If you're going to complain about small errors like an obvious missing word in a sentence, it's not a good idea to make a similar error yourself.

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#120 by In_Belichick_W… // Nov 30, 2012 - 8:55am

There are a few more errors, all of the same type though:
Shouldn't "Falcons" be "Glacobs?"

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#68 by Raiderjoe // Nov 28, 2012 - 1:32pm

Brobcos and Pates going to fall off perch. Super Bowl going to be Falcs or Bears vs Texans. Raiders goignt o finish strog and be major force 2013. So if Pates or Broncos want to do something good gotta do it this season. Somilar to how BIG teans gotta do it noe when OSU on prbauob. Becssusde when U. Meyer get team off probation going to be all over for other BIG teams.

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#86 by commissionerleaf // Nov 28, 2012 - 6:13pm

I don't believe in the Glacobs. I just don't. They have an injury-plagued secondary depending on noted gambler Asante Samuel as a CB1, a quarterback with a noodleish arm, and are basically floating on having the nation's best receivers and very little else.

I do think the Bears could be a tough out in the playoffs; that defense is very good, even if they didn't show up for the 49er games, and if in any given game the opposing pass rushers don't show up to play, Jay Cutler could go from game manager to 75% passer virtually instantly.

That said, I think the Patriots and Broncos are going to face each other in the playoffs, and the winner should be favored to win the Super Bowl.

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#114 by LionInAZ // Nov 29, 2012 - 5:49pm

I'd say that the Glacobs' weak schedule this year provides ample reason for not expecting much from them come playoff time. If there's any justice in the world they'd lose that high seed they're clinging onto now.

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#89 by jonj01 // Nov 28, 2012 - 7:30pm

You state
"The next-lowest team at 10-1 is the 1998 Vikings. Despite the record-setting offense, DVOA doesn't rate the Vikings that well, partly because the defense wasn't very good and partly because -- well, we're not really sure all the reasons why. But still, that Vikings team was at 17.0% after 12 weeks"

Your own metric has the 2012 Houston Texans at 14.9%. So who is the "next-lowest team at 10-1"? I guess this is my problem with reading comprehension. Did I miss something obviously implied in previous paragraphs, maybe in another post?

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#90 by dbostedo // Nov 28, 2012 - 9:05pm

No, but you might have missed the previous post above that already - helpfully and without undue criticism - pointed out the Texans.

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#97 by JMM* (not verified) // Nov 29, 2012 - 6:46am

The Steelers are ranked way too high. Alphabetical is better than this. When the coaching staff instructs the offense to hold the ball and not the opponent they wil rool.

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#121 by vsizzle (not verified) // Dec 04, 2012 - 12:52pm

Could the DVOA chart be changed so we can sort by column (like the ones on wikipedia, for instance)? It would be really convenient when looking at offensive/defensive ranks and I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to change the HTML to do this.

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