Week 16 DVOA Ratings

Week 16 DVOA Ratings
Week 16 DVOA Ratings
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Aaron Schatz

(Ed. Note: Due to an error, the original DVOA table posted on Monday afternoon had incorrect WEIGHTED DVOA numbers for many teams; the WEIGHTED DVOA stats appeared in order from 1-32 rather than being properly lined up with the teams listed on the left-hand side of the table. This is now fixed. My apologies.)

Seattle has finally moved into the top spot in the Football Outsiders DVOA ratings, propelled by another huge win -- this time over a very good opponent, San Francisco. Both Seattle and Denver pass New England after the Patriots' unimpressive almost-loss at Jacksonville. The 49ers are still fourth, but they almost fell behind the team that had the biggest win this week. Green Bay had 120.8% DVOA in its 55-7 win against Tennessee, which moves them up to 30.0% overall and turns our "big four" into a "big five."

Unless both San Francisco and Green Bay stumble in Week 17, 2012 will set a record for the number of teams that end the season with total DVOA over 30.0%. Only once has the season ended with more than two teams over 30%: 2004, when the top three were Pittsburgh, New England, and Buffalo. That's also the only season that finished with five teams over 25%; those three teams were joined by Indianapolis and the New York Jets. 2004 would have had more teams over 30% if not for the Colts and Eagles sitting starters at the end of the season, but it is the only season that even comes close to matching 2012 when it comes to strength at the top of the league

The hottest team, of course, is Seattle. The Seahawks have averaged 88.5% DVOA over their last three wins. Is this the best three-game stretch in the history of DVOA? Actually, I know of at least one stretch which was even better. In the first three weeks of 1996, the Packers beat Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, and San Diego by the combined score of 115-26, and averaged 93.4% DVOA with all three games coming in at 90% or higher.

Because of this amazing three-game stretch, the Seahawks are even stronger in weighted DVOA, which drops the strength of games earlier in the season to get a better picture of how well teams are playing right now. Going back 21 years, the only team with a higher weighted DVOA through Week 16 was the 1991 Redskins. This table shows you the differences between the teams with the highest total DVOA and the teams with the highest weighted DVOA:

BEST TOTAL DVOA
THROUGH WEEK 16
x BEST WEIGHTED DVOA
THROUGH WEEK 16
Year Team DVOA x Year Team DVOA
1991 WAS 57.9% x 1991 WAS 53.5%
2007 NE 55.7% x 2012 SEA 51.5%
1995 SF 42.4% x 2010 NE 48.0%
2010 NE 42.1% x 2007 NE 46.6%
2012 SEA 41.1% x 2004 PIT 46.3%
2004 PIT 40.7% x 1995 SF 42.4%
1996 GB 38.9% x 2004 BUF 39.5%
1999 STL 38.1% x 1997 PIT 38.5%
1994 DAL 36.4% x 1997 SF 38.2%
2004 NE 36.1% x 2007 JAC 37.8%
2012 DEN 35.3% x 2012 DEN 37.5%
2009 PHI 34.3% x 1994 SF 36.7%

Obviously, Seattle fans have every reason to be very excited about their team right now, but that table of "best weighted DVOA" demonstrates that even finishing the season super-hot doesn't guarantee playoff success. The 2004 Bills, of course, didn't even make the playoffs because they lost in Week 17, even though they were at home against a Pittsburgh team resting its starters. (Buffalo fans, I apologize for the fact that I seem to be writing about that game a lot this season.) The ten pre-2012 teams on the list of highest weighted DVOA through Week 16 have just two Super Bowl titles. If we want to extend our list a bit, we find that out of the top 30 teams in weighted DVOA from 1991 through 2011:

  • Six won the Super Bowl: 1991 WAS (2), 1992 DAL (6), 1994 SF (7), 1996 GB (18), 2004 NE (23), 1993 DAL (24)
  • Three made it to the Super Bowl but lost: 2007 NE (3), 2010 PIT (9), 1997 GB (11)
  • Two lost in the playoffs to a team with a higher weighted DVOA: 1992 SF (26) and 2007 JAC (27)
  • Two didn't make the playoffs at all: 2004 BUF (4) and 2005 KC (19)

The other 17 teams lost at some point before the Super Bowl to a team that finished the season with a lower weighted DVOA, including the team that has the best end-season weighted DVOA ever, the 2010 Patriots.

A number of readers asked questions on Twitter about Seattle's famed home-field advantage. Any team is going to find it harder to win the Super Bowl when it has to go on the road for three straight games, but Seattle is known for having an even bigger home-field advantage than usual. What does DVOA say about Seattle's performance home and away this year? Well, it says about what you would expect. The Seahawks have been a much better team at home than on the road, particularly on defense, where they have the biggest gap between home and road performance in the league. (On offense, the biggest gap belongs to Baltimore.)

What makes Seattle's big home-field advantage special is that it actually seems to exist. Well, that's not quite right -- home-field advantage pretty much exists for every team. However, when you look closer at home-field advantage over a period of several years, almost every team generally has the same home-field advantage, which in DVOA works out to about 8.5% on offense and 8.5% on defense. Teams will see their home-field advantage bounce up and down if you only look at things in eight-game periods that coincide with specific seasons, but if you put together six or seven years of data you are going to end up close to 8.5% difference most of the time. The biggest exception seems to be the four NFC West teams, which over the last decade have enjoyed the four largest home-field advantages in the league. And of those four teams, the biggest exception by far is Seattle. You may remember an article that Bill Barnwell wrote in Football Outsiders Almanac 2011 which looked at point differential at home compared to on the road between 2002 and 2010. Seattle outscored its opponents by an average of 11.7 more points at home during those years. The other three NFC West teams were between 9.3 and 9.5, and the only other team above 8.5 was Baltimore at 9.2.

Here's a look at Seattle's DVOA at home vs. on the road over the past five years. I hope nobody minds if I am lazy and don't look up special teams.

Seattle DVOA, Home vs. Road, 2008-2012
Year Off/Def HOME Rank ROAD Rank Rank Dif
2012 O 28.9% 2 11.5% 10 8
2012 D -32.1% 1 -1.8% 10 9
2011 O 16.4% 11 -22.2% 29 18
2011 D -1.5% 13 -5.8% 5 -8
2010 O -15.9% 29 -18.5% 27 -2
2010 D 2.7% 24 22.2% 32 8
2009 O -13.7% 25 -25.6% 27 2
2009 D 1.8% 22 20.8% 31 9
2008 O -7.2% 24 -21.2% 29 5
2008 D 0.6% 19 22.8% 30 11

The ranks here represent Seattle's rank among all 32 teams looking only at home games or only at road games, so you can see that Seattle has had a stronger-than-average home-field advantage in each of the past five years. Each time a unit has a stronger-than-average home-field advantage, I colored the "rank differential" cell yellow so it would stick out.

I don't have the time to go through 21 years of home/road splits to see if Seattle's home-field advantage (47.6%, not counting special teams) is the highest in history, but if someone would like to look at that, all those home/road splits can be found in the FO Premium database (which is now working again).

To give another example from the NFC West, here are the last five years for San Francisco:

San Francisco DVOA, Home vs. Road, 2008-2012
Year Off/Def HOME Rank ROAD Rank Rank Dif
2012 O 27.4% 3 7.8% 11 8
2012 D -14.4% 4 -16.0% 4 0
2011 O 5.1% 21 -2.8% 19 -2
2011 D -19.3% 2 -1.9% 8 6
2010 O 5.1% 15 -26.9% 30 15
2010 D -12.7% 6 10.1% 24 18
2009 O -17.1% 27 -10.9% 22 -5
2009 D -16.2% 6 -12.0% 3 -3
2008 O -5.9% 23 -25.5% 31 8
2008 D 1.8% 22 5.5% 18 -4

Not every unit is going to have a larger-than-usual home-field advantage in every season, but in general, you can see here that the 49ers have a strong home-field advantage. Now, compare that to a team that is often talked about as having one of the league's strongest home-field advantages but absolutely does not: the New Orleans Saints:

New Orleans DVOA, Home vs. Road, 2008-2012
Year Off/Def HOME Rank ROAD Rank Rank Dif
2012 O 8.4% 11 13.5% 8 -3
2012 D 5.2% 24 23.1% 31 7
2011 O 52.7% 1 22.9% 4 3
2011 D 13.0% 30 17.3% 24 -6
2010 O 2.5% 16 10.9% 6 -10
2010 D 1.7% 23 -9.8% 6 -17
2009 O 29.9% 2 18.3% 4 2
2009 D -9.8% 10 9.1% 22 12
2008 O 27.0% 2 5.9% 6 4
2008 D 8.1% 23 7.4% 20 -3

2010 really stands out here, because the year after they won the Super Bowl, the Saints were a much better team on the road than they were at home. Does New Orleans really have a lower than usual home-field advantage? No, probably not. I'm sure if we looked at a decade or more, the Saints would end up averaging something close to zero in that "Rank Differential" column, the same as most other teams. Still, these numbers help show that the Superdome definitely doesn't give the Saints a superior home-field advantage.

Seattle, however, needs that 12th man more than any other team. The Seahawks are going into the playoffs as the best team in football, but they're going to have to win without him to make it to Super Bowl XLVII. That's why they're only the third-highest team in our Super Bowl odds despite their recent run of dominating play.

* * * * *

BEST DVOA EVER (OR AT LEAST SINCE 1991) WATCH

BEST TOTAL DVOA
THROUGH WEEK 16
x BEST OFFENSIVE DVOA
THROUGH WEEK 16
x BEST DEFENSIVE DVOA
THROUGH WEEK 16
x BEST ST DVOA
THROUGH WEEK 16
Year Team DVOA x Year Team DVOA x Year Team DVOA x Year Team DVOA
1991 WAS 57.9% x 2007 NE 42.7% x 1991 PHI -41.1% x 2002 NO 12.1%
2007 NE 55.7% x 2010 NE 41.3% x 2002 TB -32.1% x 2004 BUF 10.2%
1995 SF 42.4% x 2002 KC 37.5% x 2012 CHI -27.7% x 1994 CLE1 10.0%
2010 NE 42.1% x 1993 SF 34.5% x 2004 BUF -27.2% x 2009 CLE 10.0%
2012 SEA 41.1% x 2004 IND 33.6% x 1995 SF -26.9% x 2007 CHI 10.0%
2004 PIT 40.7% x 2011 NE 32.4% x 2008 BAL -26.3% x 2012 BAL 9.8%
1996 GB 38.9% x 2004 KC 32.3% x 1997 SF -26.1% x 2005 BUF 9.7%
1999 STL 38.1% x 2003 KC 32.1% x 2008 PIT -26.0% x 2001 PHI 9.5%
1994 DAL 36.4% x 2011 GB 31.9% x 1998 MIA -25.7% x 2006 CHI 9.5%
2004 NE 36.1% x 1998 DEN 31.9% x 2000 BAL -24.8% x 1996 CAR 9.4%
2012 DEN 35.3% x 2011 NO 31.8% x 2005 CHI -24.3% x 2000 MIA 9.3%
2009 PHI 34.3% x 1992 SF 31.5% x 1991 NO -22.7% x 1998 DAL 9.2%

Coming into Week 16, New England had put up at least 10% offensive DVOA in every game. This week against the Jaguars, they were at -14.2%, and that drops them off our list of the "best offensive DVOA ever" top 12. My guess is that the Patriots will take care of business in Week 17 and get back on this list. Chicago had their best defensive game since Week 10, which helped their place in history, although they are still far behind the 1991 Eagles and 2002 Buccaneers.

And yes, that "best total DVOA" table is the same one from earlier in this article.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through 16 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.

The Detroit rating is really interesting; I'll try to find time to look into that and write about it sometime in the next week.

Also, many people have asked if Indianapolis has the worst DVOA of any team to ever make the playoffs. Unless they get destroyed by Houston, the answer will be no. The worst playoff team by DVOA was the 2004 Rams, who ranked 31st at -27.2% but snuck into a wild card at 8-8 because the NFC was ridiculously weak that season.

TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
WEIGHTED
DVOA
RANK W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
1 SEA 41.1% 2 51.5% 1 10-5 19.5% 4 -16.3% 2 5.4% 3
2 DEN 35.3% 3 37.5% 2 12-3 21.4% 2 -13.4% 6 0.5% 14
3 NE 33.7% 1 35.9% 3 11-4 31.1% 1 2.7% 17 5.3% 5
4 SF 30.8% 4 26.8% 5 10-4-1 16.5% 5 -15.3% 3 -1.1% 21
5 GB 30.0% 5 27.0% 4 11-4 20.4% 3 -9.7% 7 -0.1% 15
6 CHI 23.0% 6 21.4% 6 9-6 -10.2% 24 -27.7% 1 5.4% 4
7 ATL 11.6% 9 7.3% 11 13-2 7.7% 10 -3.0% 11 0.8% 13
8 BAL 11.1% 10 9.5% 10 10-5 4.7% 13 3.4% 19 9.8% 1
9 NYG 9.8% 7 5.4% 12 8-7 9.7% 9 1.7% 16 1.9% 10
10 HOU 9.7% 8 2.5% 13 12-3 1.5% 14 -14.8% 4 -6.7% 32
11 WAS 7.5% 11 13.1% 8 9-6 14.3% 6 3.9% 21 -2.9% 25
12 CAR 4.8% 13 9.6% 9 6-9 6.6% 12 -4.2% 10 -6.0% 31
13 CIN 4.4% 12 14.2% 7 9-6 -0.9% 16 -2.0% 13 3.2% 7
14 DAL 0.3% 16 1.1% 15 8-7 7.1% 11 6.1% 23 -0.7% 19
15 DET 0.0% 14 1.4% 14 4-11 12.7% 7 7.5% 25 -5.2% 30
16 MIN -0.8% 20 -4.4% 19 9-6 -2.0% 17 3.3% 18 4.5% 6
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
WEIGHTED
DVOA
RANK W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
17 STL -1.6% 19 -0.1% 16 7-7-1 -6.4% 22 -8.3% 8 -3.5% 27
18 PIT -3.2% 17 -1.5% 17 7-8 -5.3% 19 -2.6% 12 -0.5% 17
19 MIA -4.2% 18 -6.6% 20 7-8 -6.3% 21 -1.1% 14 0.9% 12
20 NO -4.4% 15 -2.5% 18 7-8 11.2% 8 14.3% 31 -1.3% 22
21 TB -8.3% 21 -10.6% 23 6-9 1.0% 15 4.5% 22 -4.8% 29
22 SD -8.9% 23 -6.8% 21 6-9 -9.3% 23 1.6% 15 2.0% 9
23 CLE -12.8% 25 -8.2% 22 5-10 -15.5% 27 3.7% 20 6.4% 2
24 BUF -14.4% 22 -11.4% 24 5-10 -5.5% 20 11.6% 27 2.7% 8
25 NYJ -15.9% 24 -15.6% 25 6-9 -20.1% 30 -4.9% 9 -0.8% 20
26 ARI -16.5% 26 -23.8% 28 5-10 -31.3% 32 -13.8% 5 1.0% 11
27 PHI -19.5% 27 -23.5% 27 4-11 -10.7% 26 6.4% 24 -2.4% 24
28 IND -20.8% 28 -19.3% 26 10-5 -4.1% 18 16.1% 32 -0.7% 18
29 OAK -27.7% 30 -26.7% 30 4-11 -10.2% 25 12.9% 30 -4.6% 28
30 JAC -29.1% 31 -26.2% 29 2-13 -16.6% 28 12.2% 29 -0.2% 16
31 TEN -32.5% 29 -32.0% 31 5-10 -20.0% 29 9.5% 26 -3.0% 26
32 KC -38.4% 32 -34.9% 32 2-13 -24.5% 31 11.6% 28 -2.3% 23
  • 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).

TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
1 SEA 41.1% 10-5 32.3% 12.4 3 5.6% 4 -1.6% 17 14.7% 20
2 DEN 35.3% 12-3 36.1% 13.7 1 -4.3% 25 -38.4% 32 6.7% 2
3 NE 33.7% 11-4 36.3% 12.4 2 -2.5% 21 -4.2% 19 12.0% 11
4 SF 30.8% 10-4-1 23.0% 11.7 4 8.0% 3 -16.5% 26 23.6% 31
5 GB 30.0% 11-4 21.8% 11.7 5 2.1% 10 -0.8% 16 16.7% 28
6 CHI 23.0% 9-6 19.2% 10.6 6 3.0% 9 0.0% 15 12.7% 12
7 ATL 11.6% 13-2 16.9% 9.0 7 -4.4% 26 -8.3% 21 13.4% 15
8 BAL 11.1% 10-5 13.1% 8.8 9 -1.7% 17 4.4% 13 15.8% 23
9 NYG 9.8% 8-7 7.6% 8.5 10 4.0% 5 -19.5% 27 32.5% 32
10 HOU 9.7% 12-3 17.4% 8.2 11 -3.1% 23 -20.8% 28 13.0% 13
11 WAS 7.5% 9-6 12.3% 8.9 8 -1.2% 16 0.3% 14 8.6% 7
12 CAR 4.8% 6-9 4.0% 8.0 12 1.7% 12 -4.4% 20 14.7% 19
13 CIN 4.4% 9-6 10.9% 7.8 13 -6.4% 31 11.1% 8 14.3% 18
14 DAL 0.3% 8-7 -3.1% 7.7 14 3.7% 7 7.5% 11 6.9% 3
15 DET 0.0% 4-11 -4.5% 7.1 18 3.6% 8 23.0% 6 6.2% 1
16 MIN -0.8% 9-6 -1.7% 7.7 15 3.8% 6 30.0% 5 7.8% 4
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
17 STL -1.6% 7-7-1 -6.5% 7.4 17 8.0% 2 41.1% 1 9.3% 8
18 PIT -3.2% 7-8 1.4% 6.7 20 -4.8% 29 -12.8% 23 15.8% 24
19 MIA -4.2% 7-8 0.3% 7.5 16 -4.6% 27 33.7% 3 16.4% 26
20 NO -4.4% 7-8 -2.4% 6.3 21 2.0% 11 4.8% 12 14.7% 21
21 TB -8.3% 6-9 -4.5% 7.1 19 -2.1% 20 11.6% 7 14.2% 17
22 SD -8.9% 6-9 -5.1% 6.2 22 -5.3% 30 -27.7% 29 9.8% 9
23 CLE -12.8% 5-10 -6.0% 6.0 23 -3.3% 24 -3.2% 18 13.1% 14
24 BUF -14.4% 5-10 -17.7% 5.7 24 -1.8% 19 -15.9% 25 16.5% 27
25 NYJ -15.9% 6-9 -14.6% 5.6 25 0.9% 13 -14.4% 24 17.7% 29
26 ARI -16.5% 5-10 -26.4% 4.5 27 10.2% 1 30.8% 4 16.4% 25
27 PHI -19.5% 4-11 -22.8% 4.5 28 0.8% 14 9.8% 9 11.5% 10
28 IND -20.8% 10-5 -11.9% 5.2 26 -7.6% 32 9.7% 10 8.6% 6
29 OAK -27.7% 4-11 -23.8% 3.5 29 -3.0% 22 -8.9% 22 15.6% 22
30 JAC -29.1% 2-13 -26.3% 3.0 30 -1.8% 18 -32.5% 31 7.9% 5
31 TEN -32.5% 5-10 -32.3% 2.6 31 -0.8% 15 -29.1% 30 20.7% 30
32 KC -38.4% 2-13 -40.3% 2.3 32 -4.6% 28 35.3% 2 13.7% 16

Comments

159 comments, Last at 05 Jan 2013, 3:05pm

148 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

I am having trouble seeing a scenario where SEA or SF is not the 5 seed - SF already has 10.5 wins, and SEA already has 10 wins and beat the only other 2 teams that can get to 10 as a wild card entry (MN and CHI). How do MN and CHI both have a non-zero 5 seed % in your playoff odds report?

150 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings (NOTE: CORRECTED)

On the NFC West teams having outsized HFA, I think there is another way to look at it. Those teams routinely travel more miles than any other division for their road games and of course the West to East travel is more difficult for the body to adjust to than East to West. So rather than having a bigger HFA, it may be that they have a bigger Away Field Disadvantage. Not sure how to tease that out of the numbers but I'm guessing that would be the biggest factor in the delta of home/road discrepancy vs. other teams' discrepancy.

152 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings (NOTE: CORRECTED)

Sorry I don't have the link, but a study was made on cold hard football facts - which was later presented to Goodell - which shows that west coast teams playing on the east coast at 10am pacific time only won something around .222% of those games.

So I believe that it is more a away field disadvantage showing up, rather than a homefield advantage.

153 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings (NOTE: CORRECTED)

Ratings even look way off from last few weeks.
Was this error done previous weeks Aaron?
I've been wondering why the recent games don't
change to WGHT DVOA very much for a while now.
If due to the error, makes sense...if not seems
too many games earlier in the season are used still.

154 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings (NOTE: CORRECTED)

Maybe Seattle's slightly possible 6th seed position takes ties into account? Some sort of unlikely but bizarre situation if anyone vying for the playoffs ties this week.

I'm pretty sure Vegas gave San Diego slight edge to winning the division prior to the season.

155 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

i wonder if it's possible to get home and away dvo ????????????thnx dave

159 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

"The biggest exception seems to be the four NFC West teams, which over the last decade have enjoyed the four largest home-field advantages in the league. "

I've been saying this for years, that NFC West teams have a disproportionate HFA. Good to see the numbers back it up.