DVOA Analysis
Football Outsiders' revolutionary metrics that break down every single play of the NFL season

Week 14 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

For a wonderful 24 hours, the Seattle Seahawks were the No. 1 team in DVOA for the first time since Week 1 of 2010 -- and the first time ever in Week 5 or later. Alas, it was not to be, as the Patriots went and clobbered the Texans. New England's victory had a total DVOA of 86.8%, which doesn't even come close to what Seattle did on Sunday. (I wrote about Seattle and the best DVOA games ever yesterday.) However, it was the Patriots' best game of the year, and it propelled them past the Seahawks and into first place.

Some big gaps have opened up between teams in our ratings, with some clear stratification through Week 14. The Patriots and Seahawks have now pulled ahead with two of the best total DVOA ratings of the last 20 years. A little bit behind those teams you will find Denver and San Francisco. Then there's a huge gap. In total DVOA, the gap between San Francisco and No. 5 Green Bay is about 13 percentage points; in weighted DVOA, the gap is between the 49ers and the No. 5 Giants, about 12 percentage points.

If there's one thing right now that FO readers should be telling other football fans who don't read FO, it's this: don't sleep on the Seattle Seahawks.

Yes, yes, I know, they should be 7-6 because of the Fail Mary or Goldengate or what I prefer to call it, "REF-POCALYPSE." That's nice, but it has nothing to do with how they've been playing the last few weeks. Driving home from the Patriots win ast night, the hosts on 98.5 The Sports Hub were talking about which top teams scared them as the Patriots' biggest competition, and they were talking about the Broncos, 49ers, Packers, and Giants ("even though they're inconsistent"). The Seahawks never came up. That's a mistake. This is a very good team right now. The Seahawks have not lost a game by more than a touchdown all season. It's not because they have a particularly bad record in close games; they've just played a lot of them. Seattle is 4-5 in games decided by a touchdown or less (including their win against Green Bay).

The Seahawks are now in the top five for DVOA in all three phases of the game, although it is interesting to note that their defense seems to be regressing at the same time that the offense and special teams have massively improved:

Seattle DVOA, Weeks 1-7 vs. 8-14
Weeks OFF
Weeks 1-7 -4.1% 20 -27.8% 2 1.9% 12 25.6%
Weeks 8-14 38.1% 2 -3.5% 13 12.0% 2 53.7%

It's interesting to note another team with virtually identical stats since Week 8:

New England DVOA, Weeks 1-7 vs. 8-14
Weeks OFF
Weeks 1-7 32.1% 1 3.9% 18 2.8% 10 31.0%
Weeks 8-14 40.5% 1 -3.7% 12 10.8% 3 55.0%

Something else both New England and Seattle have in common: both teams lost close games to Arizona during the Cardinals' four-game winning streak to start the year. That's a distant memory, isn't it? I received numerous tweets on Sunday asking me where the Cardinals stood among the worst offenses we've ever tracked. The surprising answer is: They don't.

That embarassment on Sunday dropped the Cardinals' offensive DVOA from -26.7% to -31.2%. They are now comfortably in last place. But that rating wouldn't make a list of the worst ten offenses we've ever tracked through Week 14. The Cardinals would rank 16th. The same thing is true if we break offensive DVOA down to passing and rushing. I don't have a spreadsheet that puts together how these splits develop week-by-week, so we'll have to compare the Cardinals to other teams over a full season instead of just 13 games, but... Arizona's passing DVOA of -32.1% doesn't even make the list of the worst 20 passing games in DVOA history. In fact, their running game is comparitively worse; the Cardinals and Raiders are basically tied at -20.1%, which would rank them 16th and 17th in DVOA history.

Remember, we changed DVOA this offseason to normalize every season to 0%, so the Cardinals do not miss the bottom of our lists simply because the current offensive environment of the NFL means that the worst offense now will get a lot more yardage than the worst offense 20 years ago. I'm not sure people realize just how bad the worst offenses of the last 20 years really were.

Twenty years ago, that Seattle franchise that walloped Arizona on Sunday had a team that couldn't even average 10 points per game. That team finished the year with offensive DVOA of -41.3% and passing DVOA of -65.3%. That's beyond pathetic, and way worse than what the Cardinals are doing this year, even after including this week's game. Between them, Stan Gelbaugh, Kelly Stouffer, and Dan McGwire had a completion rate of 48.3 percent, 67 sacks, and 23 picks with only nine touchdowns.

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That's the worst passing offense we've tracked, but not the worst offense overall. That would be the 2002 expansion Texans, when David Carr took 76 sacks and the running game averaged 3.2 yards per carry. The Cardinals can't come close to the 2005 49ers, who had rookie Alex Smith and his 1-to-11 touchdown-to-interception ratio. That team started Ken Dorsey three times and Cody Pickett twice. They can't come close to the 2004 Bears team that was stuck starting Chad Hutchinson, Craig Krenzel, and Jonathan Quinn after Rex Grossman got hurt early. The Cardinals don't even have the worst offensive DVOA in franchise history. In fact, they don't even have the worst offensive DVOA in Ken Whisenhunt history. The 2010 Cardinals finished the year with -35.6% DVOA. That team's best quarterback was a UFL refugee named Richard Bartel. That was the season that inspired the Cardinals to go out and get Kevin Kolb. And I know people like to say horrible things about Kolb, and he certainly hasn't turned into a viable NFL starter, but can we be honest about the fact that a healthy Kevin Kolb (passing DVOA: -24.3%) would be better than the alternatives of John Skelton (-35.7%) and Ryan Lindley (-64.9%)?

The Cardinals are very bad, but not historically bad, and the same goes for the Jets, Jaguars, and Chiefs.

One last note: Atlanta and Indianapolis are still teams that have won a bunch of close games with very easy schedules. I don't have anything new to add about their low DVOA ratings.

* * * * *


Year Team DVOA x Year Team DVOA x Year Team DVOA x Year Team DVOA
2007 NE 62.0% x 2007 NE 49.1% x 1991 PHI -40.0% x 2006 CHI 11.2%
1991 WAS 58.6% x 2010 NE 44.7% x 2002 TB -39.9% x 2011 CHI 10.8%
2004 PIT 45.1% x 1993 SF 39.4% x 2008 BAL -31.4% x 2001 PHI 10.7%
1998 DEN 43.4% x 1998 DEN 39.3% x 1995 SF -29.3% x 1994 CLE1 10.3%
1995 SF 41.9% x 2002 KC 38.2% x 2012 CHI -27.8% x 2012 BAL 10.3%
2012 NE 41.8% x 2004 IND 37.1% x 2008 PIT -27.0% x 2007 CHI 10.1%
2004 NE 40.9% x 1992 SF 35.7% x 2004 PIT -26.8% x 2000 MIA 9.9%
1999 STL 40.3% x 2012 NE 35.7% x 1991 NO -26.7% x 1998 DAL 9.8%
2002 TB 39.1% x 1995 DAL 33.7% x 1997 SF -26.6% x 1996 CAR 9.7%
2004 PHI 38.8% x 2004 KC 32.2% x 2004 BAL -24.8% x 2004 BUF 9.7%
2012 SEA 38.8% x 2003 KC 31.9% x 2006 CHI -24.7% x 1997 DAL 9.5%
1994 DAL 38.3% x 2011 NE 31.1% x 1998 MIA -24.4% x 2002 NO 9.2%

Yes, I know what you are saying to yourself at this point: "How the hell are the Chicago Bears still on this list?" Well, the Bears had a long way to drop. The Chicago defense "peaked" at -39.9% after Week 10. Their defensive rating has gotten worse each week since then, but they've still been above average. From Week 11 through Week 14, Chicago's defensive DVOA is -5.8%. There's a lot of opponent adjustment in that because the opponents have included two offenses in our top five, San Francisco and Seattle. Before the season, I definitely wasn't expecting to write things like "offenses in our top five include San Francisco and Seattle."

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through 14 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.)

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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.

Two general site notes: First, Any Given Sunday will appear tomorrow because of Rivers McCown's travel home. Second, please note that we're way behind on answering e-mails to the Football Outsiders general mailbag because both Rivers and I attended the game last night and were recovering/traveling home today. If you've e-mailed recently, have patience. Thanks!

1 NE 41.8% 1 45.8% 1 10-3 35.7% 1 0.3% 14 6.5% 3
2 SEA 38.8% 4 43.9% 2 8-5 15.4% 5 -16.7% 2 6.6% 2
3 DEN 35.5% 2 37.9% 3 10-3 18.5% 3 -14.5% 5 2.4% 10
4 SF 34.8% 3 33.8% 4 9-3-1 20.1% 2 -15.9% 4 -1.2% 22
5 GB 21.9% 5 16.2% 7 9-4 15.5% 4 -5.3% 9 1.1% 11
6 CHI 20.6% 6 21.1% 6 8-5 -12.8% 26 -27.8% 1 5.7% 5
7 NYG 20.3% 8 21.8% 5 8-5 13.4% 6 -3.5% 10 3.4% 9
8 HOU 15.1% 7 13.6% 8 11-2 4.8% 12 -16.6% 3 -6.3% 31
9 BAL 12.0% 9 9.8% 10 9-4 3.7% 16 2.0% 19 10.3% 1
10 WAS 5.3% 11 9.2% 11 7-6 12.2% 8 3.3% 21 -3.5% 27
11 ATL 5.2% 10 0.6% 14 11-2 4.1% 13 -0.7% 13 0.5% 14
12 CIN 4.7% 12 13.2% 9 7-6 3.9% 14 2.7% 20 3.5% 8
13 DET 2.3% 14 2.4% 12 4-9 12.8% 7 5.9% 24 -4.5% 28
14 TB 1.1% 13 0.4% 15 6-7 7.4% 10 1.3% 18 -5.0% 29
15 PIT -0.5% 15 2.1% 13 7-6 -4.0% 20 -3.1% 11 0.5% 15
16 CAR -1.6% 18 -1.4% 16 4-9 5.5% 11 0.7% 16 -6.5% 32
17 DAL -2.1% 16 -3.3% 18 7-6 3.7% 15 4.2% 22 -1.6% 24
18 MIN -5.1% 19 -8.8% 24 7-6 -3.5% 18 5.1% 23 3.6% 7
19 STL -5.3% 20 -6.3% 19 6-6-1 -8.7% 23 -6.6% 7 -3.2% 26
20 MIA -5.9% 21 -8.3% 23 5-8 -9.8% 25 -2.9% 12 1.0% 12
21 BUF -6.5% 22 -2.0% 17 5-8 -2.8% 17 7.5% 26 3.9% 6
22 NO -8.1% 17 -7.0% 21 5-8 8.1% 9 15.7% 31 -0.4% 17
23 SD -8.2% 23 -7.2% 22 5-8 -8.4% 22 0.6% 15 0.9% 13
24 NYJ -8.9% 25 -10.8% 25 6-7 -15.4% 27 -6.5% 8 0.1% 16
25 CLE -10.3% 26 -6.5% 20 5-8 -15.5% 28 1.2% 17 6.3% 4
26 PHI -18.2% 27 -22.1% 27 4-9 -9.8% 24 7.2% 25 -1.2% 21
27 ARI -18.5% 24 -24.6% 28 4-9 -31.2% 32 -13.6% 6 -0.9% 18
28 IND -20.1% 28 -19.0% 26 9-4 -3.7% 19 15.4% 30 -1.0% 20
29 TEN -29.1% 29 -27.1% 29 4-9 -17.9% 29 9.7% 27 -1.4% 23
30 OAK -31.9% 31 -31.7% 30 3-10 -8.1% 21 18.0% 32 -5.8% 30
31 JAC -34.8% 30 -32.7% 31 2-11 -20.9% 30 13.1% 28 -0.9% 19
32 KC -39.7% 32 -35.6% 32 2-11 -23.0% 31 13.7% 29 -3.1% 25
  • 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 NE 41.8% 10-3 43.4% 11.8 1 -0.6% 18 -2.0% 18 10.6% 10
2 SEA 38.8% 8-5 29.3% 10.5 4 4.3% 6 7.7% 10 14.8% 22
3 DEN 35.5% 10-3 35.0% 11.7 2 -4.8% 27 -12.7% 27 7.1% 7
4 SF 34.8% 9-3-1 31.7% 10.6 3 3.1% 9 20.7% 1 22.8% 31
5 GB 21.9% 9-4 14.6% 9.6 5 3.3% 8 -4.5% 23 11.3% 12
6 CHI 20.6% 8-5 17.9% 9.1 6 0.7% 14 1.9% 13 13.1% 19
7 NYG 20.3% 8-5 19.1% 8.2 7 2.3% 11 -0.3% 15 25.9% 32
8 HOU 15.1% 11-2 21.2% 7.5 9 -1.1% 20 -15.1% 30 12.3% 17
9 BAL 12.0% 9-4 16.0% 7.7 8 -4.2% 25 20.2% 2 16.5% 26
10 WAS 5.3% 7-6 7.6% 7.2 10 1.8% 13 -10.2% 26 11.3% 13
11 ATL 5.2% 11-2 12.6% 7.1 11 -7.4% 32 7.9% 9 12.0% 14
12 CIN 4.7% 7-6 11.4% 6.6 13 -5.4% 29 -2.2% 19 17.5% 27
13 DET 2.3% 4-9 -0.6% 6.4 15 2.7% 10 2.4% 11 5.5% 4
14 TB 1.1% 6-7 7.3% 7.0 12 -3.9% 24 -2.7% 21 6.2% 5
15 PIT -0.5% 7-6 3.0% 6.2 18 -4.3% 26 -2.5% 20 19.2% 30
16 CAR -1.6% 4-9 -2.5% 6.3 17 5.0% 5 -16.1% 31 12.1% 16
17 DAL -2.1% 7-6 -5.3% 6.5 14 6.2% 3 -1.1% 17 7.2% 8
18 MIN -5.1% 7-6 -4.9% 6.1 19 3.5% 7 10.6% 6 5.1% 1
19 STL -5.3% 6-6-1 -10.3% 6.0 20 10.9% 1 11.6% 5 6.8% 6
20 MIA -5.9% 5-8 -7.6% 6.3 16 0.5% 15 0.2% 14 16.4% 25
21 BUF -6.5% 5-8 -8.1% 5.6 23 -3.0% 22 8.0% 8 15.6% 24
22 NO -8.1% 5-8 -7.3% 4.9 25 2.3% 12 -0.9% 16 10.8% 11
23 SD -8.2% 5-8 -3.9% 5.0 24 -5.0% 28 -14.1% 28 5.5% 3
24 NYJ -8.9% 6-7 -10.3% 5.8 21 5.7% 4 -14.6% 29 17.9% 29
25 CLE -10.3% 5-8 1.0% 5.7 22 -5.7% 30 13.4% 4 13.9% 21
26 PHI -18.2% 4-9 -20.7% 4.2 27 0.2% 16 10.1% 7 12.1% 15
27 ARI -18.5% 4-9 -26.8% 3.7 28 9.7% 2 19.3% 3 17.5% 28
28 IND -20.1% 9-4 -10.9% 4.6 26 -6.0% 31 -3.2% 22 8.3% 9
29 TEN -29.1% 4-9 -28.9% 2.3 30 -0.5% 17 -7.3% 25 15.4% 23
30 OAK -31.9% 3-10 -28.1% 2.5 29 -1.0% 19 -16.5% 32 13.9% 20
31 JAC -34.8% 2-11 -31.7% 1.6 32 -3.2% 23 2.3% 12 5.4% 2
32 KC -39.7% 2-11 -43.8% 1.8 31 -1.3% 21 -5.5% 24 12.7% 18


282 comments, Last at 18 Dec 2012, 8:19am

76 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Speaking of ref calls with a big impact, the Skins could easily miss the playoffs because a hack ref decided it was OK for Courtland Finnegan to knock Josh Morgan to the ground after the play, but a grievous assault for Morgan to respond by throwing the football at Finnegan. the Pats and Pack are still going to the playoffs. Unless they get real lucky, the Skins are not.

77 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Morgan has no one to blame but himself. Finnegan did give a little push with his hands after the play, but didn't "knock him down". Morgan completely lost his cool made an idiotic mental error.

92 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Gotta agree with the Piano on this one. Morgan has to know better.

Finnegan specializes at instigating. Refs will let some pushing and shoving go, but they won't tolerate a player throwing the ball in anger.

175 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

I just don't understand how players are still letting Finnegan get to them. He pulls that stuff every week, they must know he's going to try to wind them up so why do they let him? And why do the refs let him get away with it?

80 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

The rankings seem about right. I was surprised to see Seattle ahead of Denver, but given that Denver is slow to put teams away and often lets teams back in the game, I see how its possible. Patriots look like it will take a let down or a heroic performance to not make the SB. Denver (because of PFM), is the only team with a chance of knocking them off.

More surprising than Seattle at #2 is Indy as the 28th ranked team but being 9-4...Seattle has a very good chance to win the NFC West... Whoever wins NFC West should represent NFC in SB.

88 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

"More surprising than Seattle at #2 is Indy as the 28th ranked team but being 9-4..."

For a while now I've been wondering if it's possible for a team to go 16-0 and finish dead last in DVOA.
Indy, the 5th worst team in the league, has the 6th best win/loss record. Pretty close.

149 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

And if they win-out in undistinguished fashion, barely scraping by the Texans and Chiefs in turnover filled messes, they'd win their division and maybe even get a bye with that horrid DVOA. As much as they're sitting home right now weeping in their gatorade over the low DVOA, I suspect they'd be just fine with that. It's unlikely, but then again their whole season has been--DVOA agrees with that!

83 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

I don't understand why the Seahawks are presented as some secret in paragraph three. The word is out. The cat is out of the bag. Even non-number people have figured it out.

I refuse to take one radio sampling as the tenor of the country. Even if you just go on the eye test and basic examination of the NFL, you've noticed how dangerous and talented the Seahawks are.

91 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

I think if you watch a lot of ESPN or NFL Network, or read online sources a lot, the Seahawks are still underrated. They are still thought of a team with a strong defense that can be feisty at home, but they are not considered to be at the same level as the Giants, 49ers, Falcons, and Packers.

99 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

This blew me away. ESPN just got finsished spending half their minutes for the week on what it might mean that the Jets beat the Cardinals by a single point, the Seahawks obliterate them, and they don't get a mention during the MNF halftime weekly recap, but they do get Kornheiser and Edwards complaining that they were "running up the score."

At least NFL Network tried to put it in a historical context and highlight a couple of performances.

141 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Regarding those four teams, the Giants and Packers just recently won Super Bowls after muddling through uninspiring regular seasons, so however they're playing, they have "championship pedigree," and indeed their offenses are extremely scary when they're "on." Atlanta and San Francisco happen to be the top 2 seeds, so of course they'll be talked up.

I think a more subtle issue is Seattle's schedule, specifically the back-loading of home games, division home games to boot. Before last week, people saw that 0-3 division record, and that's an ugly mark right there. If the two St. Louis games had been swapped and they'd won the first one, they'd be 9-4 right now, with a not-as-bad 2-4 record on the road, and a half-game out of the second seed. That'd be a lot more impressive.

151 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

My feel for the national opinion of Seattle
1. Well respected, but no stars. Wilson breaks in same year as Luck and RGIII. Lynch not a national star.
2. They are thought of as unbalanced in terms of success at home vs road.
3. Even though SF & SEA are near top of DVOA, NFC West still thought of as a weak division that has had champions winning with 7-9 wins.

152 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

My feel for the national opinion of Seattle
1. Well respected, but no stars. Wilson breaks in same year as Luck and RGIII. Lynch not a national star.
2. They are thought of as unbalanced in terms of success at home vs road.
3. Even though SF & SEA are near top of DVOA, NFC West still thought of as a weak division that has had champions winning with 7-9 wins.

168 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Seahawks 20/1 to win the superbowl, behind Giants, Packers, Falcons, 49ers, Broncos, Texans and Pats.

I like the 10/1 each way on that.

108 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

In reply to by lester bangs (not verified)

Yo would think so, but most sports related websites who conduct power polls based on 'professional' staff opinion (a process that can be summed up as: rank teams according to W-L record, apply east coast bias) have the Seahawks as the 10-12th best team in the league. Pick Nits about their high DVOA rating but by any metric 10-12 is WAY too low for a team as good as they are.

103 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Hilarious. We're supposed go discount the beginning of the season for the Seahawks and look at how they're playing right now, but you don't discount the beginning of the Patriots' season?

Anyone that thinks the current incarnation of the Patriots would lose or have a close game with Seattle is absolutely delusional.

That's ok though, in 2 weeks once the Pats have crushed the 49ers and the Texans have crushed the Colts and Vikings and the 49ers beat the Seahawks, you all won't have shit to say about what is one of the best teams in NFL history.

And I'm fucking rolling on the floor at the insinuation that the Pats overperformed yesterday. Sorry NFL, that was business as usual. Hell, if Welker could catch the damn ball it would have been 50 or 60 to nothing.

The only aspect of the team that might regress a bit is the defense. But that's unlikely since they have been improving every week since signing Talib. And they didn't force many turnovers last night, if they return to their average then any regression in pass defense will be offset by more turnovers.

Last night wasn't even the Pats best performance of the year, they're going to ll through the rest of the NFL if no one else shows up. Unfinished business from 2007.

142 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

End of 2010

W 39-26
W 31-28
W 45-24
W 45-3
W 36-7
W 31-27
W 34-3
W 38-7

Offense on a roll. And then...

L 21-28

Ryan eats roll. Delicious.

136 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

You do realize this article states the Pats are the best team in the league and one of the best of the past 20 years??

202 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

In reply to by Anon12547862 (not verified)

They recovered a fumble in the end zone, had another fumble slip through the opponent's hands, and got a bunch of homer calls. This blowout reminds me of one in 2010, that was not repeated come playoff time. By the way, you needed to save this rant for next week, because you've jinxed them against the Niners now. Next week the talk may be about how much better the NFC is.

104 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Along with the Fail Mary and Goldengate, you could also add The Immaculate Deception.

122 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

I've been thinking about Seattle and why these numbers don't mesh with my eyes. Yes, they are a respectable team who are rarely out of games and damn near impossible to beat at home, but they are not even close to being one of the best teams of the past 20 years.

I think some of the skew has to do with timely matchups against teams who weren't what DVOA thinks they are at that time.

Pack - Still developing an offensive identity.

Pats - Have pretty much taken off on both sides of the ball since that time. NE's offense was good back then, but not otherworldly, and the defensive back seven was a mess compared to how they are playing now.

Chicago - Not even close to the dominant defense that they'd been in the months leading up to this game.

AZ - DVOA still thinks these guys are the 6th best defense in the league, but they'd been trending down for weeks, and they clearly gave up midway through the 2nd quarter. Interestingly enough, Seattle might be getting a double NE bonus on this one, since it is likely that a good deal of AZ's DVOA figure is based on how easily they shut down NE.

So, Seattle gets credit for facing an all-time great team/offense, an all-time great defense, a top 4 offense and a top 6 defense - none of which were anywhere near that level at the time they actually faced.

129 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

In reply to by Anonymous1 (not verified)

This is the problem. It is all perception. What does the last 20 years have to do with this year's DVOA rankings?

131 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

In reply to by seattleguy (not verified)

Did you read my post past the first line? That "all-time" segment is inconsequential to the larger point.

132 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

"Pack - Still developing an offensive identity."

Given how their offense has performed recently (and I know about all the injuries), I think it's still under development.

"Pats - Have pretty much taken off on both sides of the ball since that time. NE's offense was good back then, but not otherworldly, and the defensive back seven was a mess compared to how they are playing now."

Week 5 DVOA
Offense: 32.4%
Defense: 1.6%

Week 14 DVOA
Offense: 35.7%
Defense: 0.3%

Hmm, not much difference, and in fact near-identical if you throw out their last game.

I'll give you Chicago, though it has to be said that they had clamped Seattle down to 10 points until the final two drives.

"AZ - DVOA still thinks these guys are the 6th best defense in the league, but they'd been trending down for weeks"

Arizona's defensive DVOA by week

8: -12.4%
9: -12.8%
10: -13.1% (Bye)
11: -17.7%
12: -16.5%
13: -17.2%
14: -13.6%

So, in fact, they'd been trending up since Smith murdered them in week 8. They held the Jets to 7, and it could've been 0 if McElroy hadn't come in. They held St. Louis' offense to 17 points and Atlanta's to 16, forcing 6 turnovers in the latter game. And while Rodgers did throw 4 TDs against them, they forced him into his most inaccurate game in two years.

133 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Even though the Pack aren't the offense they were in 2011, they are much more cohesive now than they were to start the season.

The Patriots data is interesting, though it doesn't change the fact that they are substantially better on both side of the ball right now than they were in week 6, DVOA be damned.

As for AZ, they may have been trending up, but thta still doesn't discount how much the NE game (as well as a couple other early season performances) impact the numbers, nor does it take into consideration that they clearly waived the white flag early on.

You make some compelling counter arguments, but I'm holding fast on this one. Seattle is getting a mega-bump and I believe those four games are a major reason why.

137 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Please prove in any way that the Patriots are substantially better on both sides of the ball than they were heading into that Seahawks game.

Coming into the Seahawks game, the Pats had just rushed for about 500 yards over the past two games. People thought they had some sort of untouchable ultra-speed hurry-up that was totally new for them. They were averaging more yards in those first five games than since.

217 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

I think a week-by-week graph of the Patriots DVOA might be useful at this point.

The Pats had a very high DVOA in Week 1 against the Titans that propped their score up for several weeks.

The offense has been consistently good for most of the season, with only a few hiccups (most notably against Arizona and Miami).

The defense looked good at the start of the season but nosedived when they lost both of their starting safeties. Their secondary play was much worse until all of the following adjustments gelled:

a) McCourty switched to safety
b) trade for Talib
c) emergence of Dennard as a starter
d) return of injured safeties Gregory and Chung (who has lost playing time)

I would say that the Pats' defense during the five-week stretch from Week 3 (at Baltimore) through Week 7 (hosting Jets) was below the level it's at now. Flacco, Manning, and Wilson all looked comfortable against the defense for long stretches of the game, and even Fitzpatrick and Sanchez were able to move the ball.

I don't know how much better it is now, nor do I know what the numbers would or should say. That's just my impression as a Pats' fan. I'm feeling like the pass defense should be able to handle anybody they might face in the playoffs not named Manning or Rodgers. (With the caveat that I don't think the Redskins have a chance in hell of making the Super Bowl - nobody has figured out yet what to do about RGIII.)

138 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

In reply to by Anonymous1 (not verified)

Uh, I think what you meant to say was

"The Patriots data is interesting, though it doesn't change MY PERCEPTION that they are substantially better on both side of the ball right now than they were in week 6, OBJECTIVE MEASUREMENTS be damned. "

171 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

In reply to by Bud Bundy (not verified)

Sorry guys, objective measurements can be just as wrong as my perception. NE is substantially better at this point than they were in week 6. Any attempt to prove otherwise is quite silly, self-indulgent techni-babble at its finest.

I do find it amusing how much people cling to the idea that there can be no truth outside DVOA, though. I'm not trolling, I've followed and enjoyed this site since the early days when Easterbrook came over and they had 3 scroll bars on every screen. I understand exactly how it works, as well as the fact that this information is meant to *supplement*, not replace what our eyes tell us.

172 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

My super insightful analysis is that the team which plays the best starting in January will be the happiest come February. I'd say the Patriots have a good chance to be that team. I also think that any team whose defensive front has a good day running at Mr. Bundchen with wild enthusiasm might end up happier than the Patriots.

In other words, the future is undetermined, which is why some of us don't talk to our spouses enough on Sunday.

173 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Yes, it was encouraging to see Tommy not flinching in the face of pretty good Texans pressure, but it is hard to forget him reacting to phantom pressure earier this year, and against the Giants.

FWIW, I don't dispute what DVOA is saying about NE *right now*, just that they were worse two months ago. Seattle's game winning drive came against a two safeties who see a combined 6-7 snaps a game now, for instance, and the starting CBs have been turned over as well.

177 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Yeah, when the personnel has changed, you really don't have a good baseline to make comparisons. Belichik understands and exploits match-ups as well as anyone, which is not to say that other guys don't do it pretty well, too. I think the rest of the AFC is fortunate that the most difficult part of the Broncos schedule came early, before Longneck got things fully up and running, because I think the talent around him now may be as good as it ever was, and the altitude of Denver provides a better advantage than a dome in Indiapolis, given Longneck's ability to keep a defense from substituting. A lot could happen before January (never underestimate the effect on the playoffs of, say, a guard getting injured) which will have a big effect come January.

Once you get to the last game, individual match-ups will rule the day, and it is way too far out to make confident predictions as to what those match-ups will be, to say nothing of how they might turn out.

179 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Frankly, the Patriots might be done in by what did them in last year -- a lack of WR speed to stretch a defense. With Stallworth going on IR and Branch's health a mystery, the Patriots are down to Lloyd, Welker, and primary ST player Slater. An injury to Lloyd, Welker, or Hernandez probably sinks them. If Branch is healthy, great. And then we'll see the likes of Jabbar Gaffney and PS on-and-off guys like Jeremy Ebert and Britt Davis.

I can easily envision a Super Bowl rematch with the game played out nearly identically.

180 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

People often write that they miss the days of clearly dominant teams like the 91 Redskins or 89 Niners. Not me. I think it is a lot more interesting to have a group of really good teams with signifcant flaws who try to minimize the effects of those significant flaws. The only thing I like less about today's game is the way the importance of o-line play has been reduced.

192 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

You are definitely too well informed to forget Gronk, but I do think you are overlooking how much his "loss" allowed NY to run their gameplan in the SB. Even if we ignore that and assume he never comes back, Lloyd and a fresher Branch are assets they didn't have, as well as a dramatically upgraded RB corps.

You are right that NE is still susceptible to a similar game plan, but they also appear more capable of combating it.

210 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Well, I guess I assumed that anyone discussing the NE receiver situation as precarious without mentioning Gronk must have forgotten that he is probably going to be back by the end of the regular season. If you are saying that you actually purposefully ignored that fact, I can't argue with that.

206 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Compared to week 6, were they substantially better in week 13, when they barely got 300 yards against Miami? Compared to now, were they substantially worse in week 5, when they went up 31-7 on Denver and had 250 yards rushing against one of the best rush defenses in the league? Note that I'm not relying on DVOA anymore.

Second, have you thought about how your arguments apply to Seattle itself? You don't think Seattle, at the start of the season, wasn't also developing an offensive identity, and how their offense has also taken off since then, by a far greater extent than New England?

I wouldn't rely on pure DVOA rankings either (and I understand those comments were directed toward someone else), but I'd also like some consistency in personal perception.

209 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Yes, NE is playing significantly better on both sides of the ball. I appreciate your willingness to use traditional stats, but you'll just have to trust me on this one. Even if you want to discount my belief that NE's offense is more cohesive, the defensive improvement is indisputable.

BTW, I've never said or implied that Seattle hasn't gotten better throughout the year. I just don't think they are historically good. If DVOA had them in the 15-20% range as the 6-8th best team in the league, I'd never have even brought it up.

207 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

However, I'd just like to go back to those four games that you think has helped Seattle's ranking so much. Here are the changes to Seattle's DVOA rating after those four games:
Green Bay: -0.9%
New England: 1.8%
Chicago: 1.2%
Arizona: 6.9%

The Arizona game, obviously, is going to shift the needle a lot, but since Seattle were already in fourth place, it only bumped them up two spots. The other three games barely changed anything! Meanwhile:

Dallas: 16.5% - large jumps in all three phases (nobody beat Dallas by more)
Carolina: 6.7% - large jump in defense (nobody else held them to 13 first downs)
Minnesota: 9.0% - large jump in offense (nobody else got 28 first downs on them)
NY: 3.8%

Yes, DVOA is affected by more than the actual game, and if New England, for example, did better than expected, that would carry over as well. But it's much fainter than the effects of the actual game. The numbers say that games other than the ones you pointed out (other than Arizona) had much larger effects on Seattle's DVOA ranking.

211 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Great post. I'll rebut it mildly by pointing out that the first two games you mentioned happened early in the season when we tend to see more dramatic swings coming out of performances (though you could just as easily look at GB/NE as a counter argument - they came early on, too).

I point at NE specifically not because of how much it affected them in the immediate aftermath, but I wonder how much extra credit Seattle gradually receives as NE's DVOA steadily climbs.

167 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Even though the Pack aren't the offense they were in 2011, they are much more cohesive now than they were to start the season.

The Packer offense has a lower DVOA now than it did when they were 2-3 after week 5 (and week 5's DVOA would have been higher still with full opponent adjustments). If the offense looks more cohesive, it's probably because recent opponents like the Lions and Jaguars are more accommodating than were the early-season defenses they faced (Niners, Seahawks, Bears, etc).

232 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

If you're just going to ignore DVOA data, then why on earth would you care what it has to say about the Seahawks?

140 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

John Skelton 2011 was better than this year's model. The mess of the Cardinals is largely tied to that offensive line. I think it's a mistake to think Kolb will make a significant difference.

158 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

It's a long tradition in Arizona to have an unproductive o-line. Over the years they've had a number of "flops" at RB who did quite nicely after they escaped to run behind more effective blocking.

164 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

I love that the Chiefs are so bad that they more than cancel having to play the Texans twice and give the Colts a below average schedule for the rest of the year.

165 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

How well does DVOA see the different Arizona QB's at a team level? I feel like it's turning some of the difference between Kolb and Skelton/Lindley into opponents ratings. Looking at DVOA/VOA by position, the gap between Kolb and Skelton/Lindley in VOA gets much smaller in DVOA.

184 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Seems like the 49ers should be expected to win fewer than 11.1 games.

They are DVOA underdogs @NE and @SEA. With 9 wins already, even if you give them a 100% chance to win at home vs. ARZ, that should be fewer than 2 wins - they are 9-3-1 currently. By my math, they should win about 10.6 - so maybe you're counting the tie as half a win? Doesn't help you win tiebreakers though - so seems like GB should have higher odd of getting a bye - more likely

200 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

I was wondering the exact thing yesterday, but yes, it has to be that the tie counts as half a win, so if you assume Arizona is an automatic win, they are averaging a 30% chance of winning at NE and Seattle.

The fact that they are projected to have 10.6 wins does mean that they have a better chance at the bye than Green Bay, because they win the head-to-head tiebreaker.

220 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

I'm guessing the tie is counted as half a win. If that's the way this machine is coded, then the simulation is only expecting an average of 1.6 wins out of their last three games. That sounds reasonable.

edit: and I don't think we have to worry about the 49ers being tied in the standings with anybody. Even if their average number of wins is close to GB's average, their average distance in the standings from Green Bay (i.e. |Wins(SF) - Wins(GB)|) is surely at least half a game, since with very high probability exactly one of those two numbers will be an integer.

193 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

A word about Tampa Bay's run defense: astounding. In Adjusted Line Yards, they're one hundredth of a percentage point behind the best ever* (the 2006 Vikings) and look sure to join those Vikings, the '98 Chargers and '00 Ravens as the only teams with ALY below 3.00. What's most impressive is that they were 26th in ALY last year. Quite a turnaround.

The Bucs have also stuffed 35% of opponents' runs — I can't find any other team over 32%.

*since 1996, obviously

205 Patriots Offense



2012: 35.7 (1st)
2011: 31.9 (3rd)
2010: 42.2 (1st)
2009: 26.4 (1st)
2008: 12.5 (7th) (BRADY INJURED)
2007: 43.5 (1st)
2006: 14.1 (4th)
2005: 17.5 (7th)
2004: 23.3 (3rd)
2003: 1.2 (14th)
2002: 7.2 (9th)
2001: 3.4 (11th) (BRADY ENTERS)
2000: -4.4 (22nd)


2012: 61.5 (1st)
2011: 55.3 (2nd)
2010: 67.5 (1st)
2009: 53.5 (2nd)
2008: 14.4 (15th)
2007: 72.7 (1st)
2006: 30.1 (5th)
2005: 46.6 (2nd)
2004: 47.4 (2nd)
2003: 18 (12th)
2002: 17.2 (10th)
2001: 14.3 (10th)
2000: 9.0 (15th)

So in Belichick's first year, with Bledsoe, the Pats have a slightly below average offense and a slightly above average passing offense. They improve in both counts next year and following two with Brady, but remain only above average. From 2004-2006, they become a very good offense with a passing attack that is elite, but not the best (Peyton's Colts are the gold standard). However, from 2007-now, the Patriots are clearly the best offensive in football and the best passing attack in football. They one exception is during the Cassell year when the Pats were merely a good offensive and passing team (they did improve as the year went on).

The last 5 Brady-Pats seasons (07, 09-12), they have averaged an offensive DVOA of 36% and a passing DVOA of 62%. The second best stretch over that period (2008-2012), is Green Bay at 18% OFF and 38% PASSOFF and New Orleans at 18% OFF and 33% PASSOFF. The Manning Colts and Broncos past 5 seasons are at 17% and 39%.

Long-story short, this "new normal" Pats offense is a step above everyone else. It would be interesting to compare it to some other previous dominant offenses over a multi-season stretch.

218 Re: Patriots Offense

In reply to by NicholasWarino

"It would be interesting to compare it to some other previous dominant offenses over a multi-season stretch."

Steve Young's 49ers.

1991: 24.0 (2nd) (YOUNG STARTS 10 GAMES, MONTANA 6)
1993: 31.4 (1st) (BEGINNING OF FREE AGENCY)
1994: 18.9 (1st)
1995: 18.6 (5th) (YOUNG MISSES 5 GAMES)
1996: 10.0 (6th) (YOUNG MISSES 4 GAMES)
1997: 5.5 (10th)
1998: 28.8 (2nd)

1991: 43.1 (2nd)
1992: 51.8 (1st)
1993: 44.2 (1st)
1994: 51.2 (1st)
1995: 34.9 (4th)
1996: 22.7 (5th)
1997: 20.8 (7th)
1998: 44.3 (4th)
1999: -6.5(24th)

219 Re: Patriots Offense

In reply to by NicholasWarino

Warner-Rams (1999-2001)

2001: 20.5% (2nd) (Also surprising)
2000: 26.7% (1st) (Warner only started 10 games)
1999: 17.7% (4th) (This still surprises me. They scored 526 points; 83 more points than Washington)

2001: 35.7% (1st)
2000: 32.6% (3rd)
1999: 40.5% (1st)

Surprisingly, according to DVOA, the 1999-2001 Rams were very good but not historically great offenses. I wonder why DVOA doesn't like them very much when they seemed like such a dominant offense at the time (only the 2007 Patriots seemed more dominant, and that was just the first half of the season).

224 Re: Patriots Offense

They also had a ridiculously easy schedule of opposing defenses (The NFC West was train wreck in that era), so they lose a lot of points for opponent adjustments.

229 Re: Patriots Offense

In reply to by NicholasWarino

2006... The year of stone hands, I can still see his eyes as he drops that ball in the AFc championship game

233 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

What's Seattle's offensive DVOA and VOA on the road so far? Best I can tell, the average defensive rank they've faced on the road to date is 10th. (Chi, SF, Ari, StL, Mia, Car, Det in descending order. Right now, they're averaging facing a 13.67 ranked defense at home - their remaining schedule will nearly equalize the home/road opposing quality.)

Given the likelihood of Seattle becoming a Wild Card, road performance is going to be key.

253 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

The entire Seattle assessment is of course hugely influnced by a historic blowout of the Cardinals. Yet really good teams are generally the ones who win by really big margins. It would be curious to go back over the past 22 years and look at the historical performance of teams with high DVOAs from Week 10 on, perhaps discounting Week 17 for obvious reasons. Right now the Seahawks are cherry-picked into seeming greatness, but will they be back in a more ordinary "very good to great" pool after this weekend?

But I think what this tells me is that they might be a very smart pick to win the SB NEXT YEAR.

255 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Matt Moore - You'd love Minnesota. We've got fishing and hunting and good city life, too.

I'll shovel your driveway.


256 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Matt Moore might also look outside his window this offseason and see Larry Johnson holding a boombox over his head, John Cusak-style.

263 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Larry Johnson's old team needs someone like Moore too.

Epiphany: how 'bout Moore AND Fitz come to Minnesota? It just makes too much sense.

I'll shovel BOTH their driveways.

270 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Vince Young put on offer on Twitter to be the saviour of the Cardinals, so by comparison Matt Moore is a step towards sanity.

275 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Why isn't this updated the next morning? I know you gotta wait for Monday Night to end buts its not like the Jets are to N'Oleans?

281 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

NYG 21 Weighted DVOA(WDVOA) lost to Atl .6 WDVOA
NYJ -10 Weighted DVOA(WDVOA) lost to Tenn -28.9 WDVOA
CHI 21.8 Weighted DVOA(WDVOA) lost to GB 16.8 WDVOA
DET 2.4 Weighted DVOA(WDVOA) lost to Arizona -24.6 WDVOA
TB .4 Weighted DVOA(WDVOA) lost to NO -7 WDVOA
Pitt 2.1 Weighted DVOA(WDVOA) lost to Dallas -3.3 WDVOA
STL -6.3 Weighted DVOA(WDVOA) lost to Minn -8.8 WDVOA

That's 9-7...not a very impressive SU predictor. Home field advantage cannot account for 19+ difference in DVOA (NYG, NYJ,Det,losses) Chicago and STL at home. The only acceptable losses are the TB and Pitt losses.

How does one reconcile this?

282 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

I don't get it either. I am fairly new to this stuff, but I looked at some of the previous rankings and if I saw right, it doesn't exactly do a great job at predicting winners such as the Superbowl winner.