Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Week 4 DVOA Ratings
Week 4 DVOA Ratings
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Aaron Schatz

Houston returns to the top spot in the Football Outsiders DVOA ratings after its big, dominant win over Tennessee this week. Atlanta's close escape over Carolina drops the Falcons to fourth place, behind San Francisco and New England. The Patriots are one of a number of teams which rank highly in DVOA despite 2-2 records, thanks to big wins mixed with close losses. The Broncos are fifth, the Packers seventh, the Giants 10th, and the Seahawks 11th.

Four weeks in means it is time to start looking at opponent adjustments. We apply those for the first time this week. They are currently at 40 percent strength and will go up 10 percent each week through Week 10. Remember that the difference between DVOA and VOA isn't entirely based on schedule strength, however; that difference also accounts for fumble recovery luck and the difference between special teams with (DVOA) and without (VOA) weather and altitude adjustments. Washington, for example, has the biggest difference between VOA (2.8%) and DVOA (-13.3%) but that's not just because of the second-easiest schedule through four weeks. The Redskins have recovered 82 percent of fumbles in their four games. Poor Kansas City has recovered just eight percent of fumbles,including just one of nine fumbles on offense and zero out of three fumbles on defense.

After four weeks, we also introduce some of our additional stats to the tables, including schedule strength and variance. New Orleans has been the most consistent team in the league through four weeks. This is not necessarily a good thing, because the Saints are playing badly. However, they really aren't as bad as their 0-4 record indicates. The Saints rank 21st in DVOA, and their single-game DVOA in all four losses has been between -5% and -25%. The other winless team, Cleveland, also isn't really playing that poorly. The DVOA system believes the Browns played both the Bengals and Ravens even, and they actually have a positive DVOA for the Ravens loss thanks to opponent adjustments.

Since we're talking about winless teams, I might as well address the undefeated elephant in the room, Arizona. The Cardinals are 14th in DVOA despite being undefeated. Only two other teams in DVOA history had negative DVOA at 4-0, the 2000 Vikings and 2003 Panthers. I'm not trying to be a jerk here, they have a very good defense, but they've been absurdly lucky. In case you did not see, the Cardinals recovered all six of the fumbles in their overtime win over Miami. They are second in the league in "hidden" special teams value from things like missed opponent field goals and poor distance on opposing kickoffs. The Cardinals have a lower DVOA rating than their opponents in three of their four wins, with the big win over Philadelphia being the obvious exception. The only arguing point in their favor is that they've played a tough schedule, and they would be a little bit higher in the ratings if we had the opponent adjustments at full strength.

Speaking of which... schedule strength looks a lot different from what we expected before the season. Standard preseason calculation of schedule strength simply looks at last year's win-loss record for all 16 opponents. FO readers know this is a little silly, as it ignores the big changes that teams make from season to season. We have a lot more confidence in our schedule strength forecast, which is based on 2012 projections instead of 2011 realities. Usually in the past, our forecasts have been fairly accurate; for example, when we projected Kansas City to win the AFC West in 2010 in part because we forecast them to have the easiest schedule in the league, and they ended up 10-6 with the 29th-ranked schedule. However, this year's unexpected improvements and declines (or, in the case of San Francisco, unexpected lack of decline) have meant radical changes in 2012 schedule strength. Green Bay, which we expected to have an easy schedule this year, faced the toughest slate of opponents in September (Arizona was second). San Diego, which we expected to have a tough schedule, faced the easiest slate of opponents in September.

Before the season, we were projecting Denver with the toughest schedule in the league. The AFC West had a very difficult schedule that included the AFC North and NFC South, two divisions that (we thought) were deep, plus by finishing first last year the Broncos got Houston and New England on the schedule as well. Four weeks in, however, the AFC North and NFC South don't look quite as tough, with teams like Pittsburgh, New Orleans, and Carolina playing much worse than expected. Two division rivals, Oakland and Kansas City, are ranked 31st and 32nd in DVOA. In addition, the Broncos' schedule was heavily frontloaded, and they've already played two of the league's three 4-0 teams. As a result, we now list Denver's future schedule strength as the easiest in the NFL -- and it will be even easier after next week, once they get the Patriots off the schedule. After next week, Denver will have only one remaining opponent that currrently has a positive DVOA, Baltimore in Week 15.

We expected that the AFC East and NFC North teams would all have easy schedules this year because they played the AFC South and NFC West. But with the NFC West playing so much better than expected, and Houston number one in the league, those divisions now look like they play a much tougher schedule. Every team from those two divisions plays an above-average schedule the rest of the way except for Miami (20th).

One thing hasn't changed: the NFC West teams still have very tough schedules. Before the season, we thought this was because of the teams they would have to play in the AFC East and NFC North. Well, the AFC East doesn't look so tough right now, but instead, now the much-improved NFC West teams have to all play each other.

In case you didn't see the addition when we put up stats pages for the new version of DVOA in July, offense and defense pages now also include schedule strength specifically for each side of the ball. For example, Arizona has faced the toughest schedule on offense (average opposing defense: -14.1%) while Tennessee has faced the toughest schedule on defense (average opposing offense: 14.2%). Obviously, with only four games in the books, some of that has to do with the Arizona offense and Tennessee defense themselves.

* * * * *

All stats pages should now be updated. FO Premium stats will be updated later this evening.

We've made some changes this week to our new SNAP COUNTS page! The graphics we had before looked great, but it was becoming clear that those graphics were much more appropriate for a "leaderboards" setup, and FO readers want to be able to just get as much data as possible. Our new display is not as pretty but it is more functional, with all the data in one table and sortable columns. You can filter by team (including ALL), by position (including ALL), and by week (not yet including ALL but we're working on that too).

For the many people who are wondering, the KUBIAK midseason update will be available for download by Thursday evening.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through four 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.

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Because it is early in the season, opponent strength is at only 40 percent; it will increase 10 percent every week through Week 10. As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE.

DAVE is a formula which combines our preseason projection with current DVOA to get a more accurate forecast of how a team will play the rest of the season. Right now, the preseason projection makes up 40 percent of DAVE (55 percent for Pittsburgh and Indianapolis). Note that the projection portion of DAVE for the New York Jets has been adjusted to reflect the loss of Darrelle Revis.

To save people some time, please use the following format for all complaints:

<team> is clearly ranked <too high/too low> because <reason unrelated to DVOA>. <subjective ranking system> is way better than this. <unrelated team-supporting or -denigrating comment, preferably with poor spelling and/or chat-acceptable spelling>

1 HOU 35.1% 3 22.9% 4 4-0 20.8% 3 -24.4% 2 -10.0% 29
2 SF 34.6% 4 20.4% 6 3-1 16.5% 5 -19.3% 4 -1.3% 21
3 NE 31.6% 9 34.1% 1 2-2 33.2% 1 -1.7% 18 -3.3% 24
4 ATL 29.8% 1 26.5% 2 4-0 16.2% 6 -7.7% 10 5.9% 6
5 DEN 28.9% 11 19.7% 7 2-2 13.3% 10 -15.3% 7 0.4% 17
6 BAL 27.5% 2 20.7% 5 3-1 21.5% 2 -3.3% 16 2.7% 12
7 GB 24.8% 7 24.4% 3 2-2 15.8% 7 -4.0% 13 5.0% 9
8 CHI 22.5% 5 19.4% 8 3-1 -11.2% 21 -24.8% 1 9.0% 3
9 MIN 21.5% 6 5.9% 10 3-1 3.5% 15 -6.7% 11 11.3% 1
10 NYG 16.9% 10 13.4% 9 2-2 18.1% 4 7.1% 20 5.9% 7
11 SEA 15.0% 12 3.0% 11 2-2 -12.3% 23 -17.4% 5 9.8% 2
12 MIA 9.1% 13 0.9% 13 1-3 -7.5% 19 -14.9% 8 1.7% 15
13 PHI -0.8% 16 1.4% 12 3-1 -12.0% 22 -22.3% 3 -11.2% 30
14 ARI -1.2% 17 -8.7% 22 4-0 -20.8% 29 -17.2% 6 2.3% 14
15 SD -5.9% 22 -5.1% 17 3-1 -11.0% 20 -2.7% 17 2.4% 13
16 DET -7.7% 15 -6.4% 18 1-3 13.8% 9 7.4% 21 -14.1% 31
17 CAR -9.6% 23 -2.6% 16 1-3 4.0% 14 10.5% 22 -3.1% 23
18 STL -10.0% 26 -24.8% 31 2-2 -24.9% 32 -11.7% 9 3.2% 10
19 CIN -10.7% 27 -7.6% 20 3-1 6.1% 12 23.0% 32 6.1% 5
20 IND -11.4% 21 -12.6% 26 1-2 4.2% 13 12.1% 24 -3.5% 25
21 NO -11.9% 19 -1.1% 15 0-4 7.3% 11 20.2% 28 1.0% 16
22 WAS -13.3% 20 -9.7% 23 2-2 15.4% 8 12.9% 25 -15.8% 32
23 BUF -13.6% 8 -7.1% 19 2-2 -3.1% 18 13.6% 26 3.1% 11
24 CLE -13.9% 29 -17.4% 27 0-4 -17.4% 27 -3.9% 14 -0.4% 18
25 DAL -15.6% 18 -7.9% 21 2-2 -15.5% 26 -4.4% 12 -4.4% 26
26 TB -16.1% 24 -11.7% 25 1-3 -18.3% 28 -3.4% 15 -1.2% 20
27 NYJ -21.2% 14 -11.4% 24 2-2 -22.6% 31 3.7% 19 5.0% 8
28 PIT -24.7% 28 0.2% 14 1-2 -1.6% 17 21.9% 30 -1.2% 19
29 JAC -28.0% 31 -21.7% 29 1-3 -14.5% 24 10.8% 23 -2.7% 22
30 TEN -30.3% 30 -18.7% 28 1-3 -14.9% 25 22.4% 31 7.0% 4
31 OAK -31.6% 25 -21.8% 30 1-3 -0.9% 16 20.9% 29 -9.7% 28
32 KC -44.4% 32 -25.3% 32 1-3 -21.5% 30 17.1% 27 -5.8% 27
  • NON-ADJUSTED TOTAL DVOA does not include the adjustments for opponent strength or the adjustments for weather and altitude in special teams, and only penalizes offenses for lost fumbles rather than all fumbles.
  • ESTIMATED WINS uses a statistic known as "Forest Index" that emphasizes consistency as well as DVOA in the most important specific situations: red zone defense, first quarter offense, and performance in the second half when the score is close. It then projects a number of wins adjusted to a league-average schedule and a league-average rate of recovering fumbles. Teams that have had their bye week are projected as if they had played one game per week.
  • PAST SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents played this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative). It is not adjusted for which games are home or road.
  • FUTURE SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents still left to play this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative). It is not adjusted for which games are home or road.
  • VARIANCE measures the statistical variance of the team's weekly DVOA performance. Teams are ranked from most consistent (#1, lowest variance) to least consistent (#32, highest variance).

1 HOU 35.1% 4-0 39.8% 3.1 6 -5.0% 23 0.4% 15 5.0% 7
2 SF 34.6% 3-1 39.4% 3.8 1 4.4% 9 5.2% 7 7.6% 13
3 NE 31.6% 2-2 38.7% 3.0 7 -4.4% 21 2.2% 11 16.3% 25
4 ATL 29.8% 4-0 39.5% 3.3 3 -7.7% 26 -9.9% 31 12.8% 19
5 DEN 28.9% 2-2 25.4% 3.6 2 2.2% 12 -11.3% 32 5.3% 10
6 BAL 27.5% 3-1 29.3% 2.7 10 1.5% 14 -8.7% 29 14.7% 22
7 GB 24.8% 2-2 17.1% 2.8 9 15.0% 1 1.8% 13 13.9% 21
8 CHI 22.5% 3-1 26.1% 3.1 5 -3.0% 19 5.7% 5 27.7% 30
9 MIN 21.5% 3-1 26.9% 3.2 4 -3.1% 20 5.5% 6 2.3% 3
10 NYG 16.9% 2-2 17.7% 2.8 8 -10.5% 28 1.0% 14 23.0% 29
11 SEA 15.0% 2-2 10.4% 2.7 11 -0.5% 18 7.6% 4 3.7% 6
12 MIA 9.1% 1-3 10.4% 2.6 12 -4.7% 22 -2.2% 20 11.1% 18
13 PHI -0.8% 3-1 -4.8% 2.0 13 7.3% 6 -7.6% 26 8.0% 14
14 ARI -1.2% 4-0 -3.3% 1.9 14 13.7% 2 10.0% 2 7.5% 12
15 SD -5.9% 3-1 8.1% 1.6 18 -19.1% 32 -8.2% 28 18.8% 26
16 DET -7.7% 1-3 -7.7% 1.7 17 3.9% 11 12.9% 1 5.0% 9
17 CAR -9.6% 1-3 -6.9% 1.8 16 4.7% 8 -3.6% 21 20.2% 28
18 STL -10.0% 2-2 -10.6% 1.3 23 4.1% 10 9.8% 3 2.2% 2
19 CIN -10.7% 3-1 -5.1% 1.9 15 -6.9% 25 -6.6% 24 20.0% 27
20 IND -11.4% 1-2 -15.9% 1.5 20 5.4% 7 -4.1% 22 7.2% 11
21 NO -11.9% 0-4 -7.6% 1.1 26 -10.6% 29 3.7% 8 0.6% 1
22 WAS -13.3% 2-2 2.8% 1.2 25 -12.2% 31 2.6% 10 2.8% 4
23 BUF -13.6% 2-2 -12.7% 1.3 22 -12.0% 30 2.7% 9 43.1% 32
24 CLE -13.9% 0-4 -10.1% 0.7 28 0.6% 16 -9.1% 30 15.8% 24
25 DAL -15.6% 2-2 -17.1% 1.4 21 9.6% 4 -2.1% 18 14.8% 23
26 TB -16.1% 1-3 -10.3% 1.3 24 -5.4% 24 -1.3% 16 8.1% 15
27 NYJ -21.2% 2-2 -20.3% 1.5 19 1.3% 15 1.8% 12 32.5% 31
28 PIT -24.7% 1-2 -14.6% 0.8 27 -7.9% 27 -6.7% 25 13.2% 20
29 JAC -28.0% 1-3 -29.8% 0.7 29 8.6% 5 -1.9% 17 5.0% 8
30 TEN -30.3% 1-3 -41.9% 0.4 32 13.3% 3 -2.1% 19 3.0% 5
31 OAK -31.6% 1-3 -26.5% 0.7 30 1.9% 13 -8.2% 27 8.3% 16
32 KC -44.4% 1-3 -50.3% 0.5 31 -0.4% 17 -5.8% 23 9.3% 17


144 comments, Last at 01 Jan 2013, 7:44pm

1 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

AZ's overtime win was Miami, not Houston. (wishful thinking) :D

2 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

The Cardinals didn't beat Houston, they beat Miami. If they'd beaten Houston, we'd be talking!

3 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

kinda surprised the saints offense is only ranked 11th in the league. I knew their defense was horrid(actually pretty shocked its not the worst in the league by a mile), but their offense felt like it had been playing pretty well still.

31 Re: Saints' offense

I'll tell you what it is: coming into the Packers' game, Brees completion percentage was 57.4%. That's EXTREMELY low for him. Since two out of the last three years he's been in the 70% range, the Saints offense is stalling out to the tune of 3 or 4 completions per game. It seems they have been on 3rd down also, as last year they were converting about (iirc) 57% of 3rd downs. When you have one or two drives per game that end on incomplete 3rd down passes instead of moving the chains, it shows. (This also gets the defense out on the field more, which wears them down more. And let's face it--this defense needs to be on the sideline as much as possible.)

4 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

DAVE changed his name to Weighted DVOA. It's better than Ochocinco, but it may confuse some folks.

6 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Whoops. I forgot to change the table title bar. I will do that. I also will fix the Houston/Miami error.

5 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

The worst team in the NFC North is Detroit, ranked 16th.

69 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Does depend how much you think of DAVE V DVOA though. Because St Louis is 31st in DAVE. I would guess that their actual qualitative position is somewhere between their DVOA and their DAVE. They aren't the 18th best team in the league, but I don't think they're 31st either. Whereas the Lions midpoint between their DVOA and DAVE leaves them just about where they are.

10 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

The bottom six teams are from the AFC, eight of the bottom ten and ten of the bottom fourteen.

There are only twelve teams with a positive DVOA, I'm not sure what to make of that.

7 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Houston should read Miami in ARI seciton, and why bother saying "I am not trying to be a jerk here", anyone who really thinks you are tryign to be a jerk should just go back to foxsports or wherever.

9 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Pretty strong showing by the NFC North so far.

The addition of a kicker not eligible for Social Security has improved the Vikings special teams quite a bit.

I have no idea what to expect from Jay Cutler week to week. The Bears o-line looked much improved last night, especially being on the road. Maybe Tice is getting the results he was seeking.

I don't know what to make of the Packers defense.

What are the Lions now since their winning streak at the beginning of last season? 5-11? Somethin' ain't right in the Postmillenocalypse, I fear.

12 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Lions overachieved last year, seem to be underachieving this year. Since we were likely to regress our way out of the playoffs, I'd rather overdo it and end up a few spots higher in the draft.

13 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

It's crazy that the Bears annihilated the Cowboys and still managed to drop in the rankings. I get that the teams ahead of them generally played well last week too but wow.

22 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Maybe Aaron has already instituted my DARCI proposal (explained below). That Schaatz doesn't miss much!

58 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

I thought the same thing. And then I rememebered that their three wins came over the Colts, Rams and Cowboys.... so I'm just glad opponent adjustments aren't at fulls trength yet, or they'd be even lower...

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

33 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

This Texans fan is all in favour of exercising patience with apparently competent front office and coaching staffs in the face of bumps along the way from perennial ineptitude to competitiveness.

71 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

What Mr. Shush said. Yes, the Lions are 6-10 since the 9-0 run from the end of 2010 to the beginning of 2011, which is a bit discouraging, but I fully expected a regression year this year. It happened to Bill Parcells' Patriots in '95, to Tony Dungy's Buccaneers in '98, and Peyton Manning's Colts in '01. Unlike past Lion's regimes, I have the confidence that the current management can weather this temporary storm.

-I'm not Billy Bad-Ass.

11 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

I'm a bit surprised the gap between Houston and everyone else isn't bigger. They're the only team that appears (to my eye) to be playing dominantly. San Fran, in particular, has looked far less impressive to me, despite winning 34-0 Sunday.

A couple of interesting splits:

Philly #22 on offense, #3 on defense. World gone mad. At least the special teams ranking looks about right.

Seattle #23 on offense, #3 on defense, #2 on special teams. Someone needs to tell them how the "forget about the QB, let's win in the return game" worked out for the Bears.

24 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Houston's had a relatively easy schedule so far. They should look dominant! Texans fans should hope that they don't peak too early and/or don't get hit by a wave of injuries as they did last season.

The next three games should be interesting: at Jets, and then hosting the Packers and Ravens.

OK, at least two of them should be.

I will say that I don't expect the Jets to play as poorly against the Texans as they did against the 49ers. But I would still take the Texans to win comfortably.

Philly's offense numbers might improve if they continue to avoid the turnovers of the first weeks.

I'm interested in the bottom of the special teams numbers. What has a higher likelihood of turning things around, the Lions' coverage teams or Billy Cundiff's foot?

34 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

That would indeed be bad. Injuries to Andre Johnson, Duane Brown, JJ Watt, Arian Foster or (probably worst of all) Jonathan Joseph would also suck. I don't suppose any of those would hurt as badly as Peyton, Brady, Rodgers, Roethlisberger or Ryan going down, though.

59 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

I will say that I don't expect the Jets to play as poorly against the Texans as they did against the 49ers.


They have more injuries, face a better opponent and are probably even more checked out mentally than last week.

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

81 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

The simple answer is that it's extremely rare for an NFL team to play that badly two weeks in a row.

The Jets could still have the worst performance this week and not touch last week's crapfest.

28 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Well, the Bears strategy prior to Cutler worked in the sense of keeping the fan base fascinated. Returns always had some interest but not like the first few years of Hester brought. Glued. And there was also the morbid interest of watching each QB hopeful blow-up, some early, some after showing potential (Mr. Grossman who seems a stand-up guy probably didn't *mean* to be a tease). Just great theater.

Bears fans can now admit they actually enjoyed all those stupid "While Brett Favre has started in GB, the Bears have had 756 starting QBs." Pride.

60 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

No, no we can't, because the only sentiment associated with that stat is never-ending shame. Specially when, prior to Cutler, the crem of the crop of that list was Erick Kramer, Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton....

But what's even worse is that tey replaced Princess with arguably the best QB playing in the NFL today...

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

124 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

I had. But then you had to go ahead and remind me. Thanks for nothing!

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

41 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Philly's defense being way better than their offense is exactly what I expected before the season. Philly's been coasting on their drafting/free agency success on offense from for 3 years now. They drafted Watkins in 2011, but other than that, it's been all defense. And then a bunch of injuries hit the offensive line, and they're starting a guy who's spent his NFL career on the practice squad.

That being said, losing 2 left tackles, a center, and a starting wideout would hurt anyone's offense.

14 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

The good news: the Dolphins are better than fans thought coming of preseason, The bad news: their record is the same as they thought. Same old Dolphins:(

72 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

What surprises me is the 'Fins not being in the ST Cellar after 472 FG misses in the last fortnight. Coverage units must be very good.

If this level of overall competence continues (minus the creative losses), I'll consider this a decent season.

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

15 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

The Broncos are clearly ranked too low because Peyton Manning's is playing like Peyton Manning all over again, even though your "statistical model" only rates his Peyton-led offense 10th-best in the league. Even a list of Career QB Rating is way better than this, because it knows what Kevin Kolb is capable of. Also there's no way DAVE took into account the facct that Dennis Allen, now HC of the RAIDERS was the BRONCOS D-coordinator, like, last year! He probably knew the players' tendencies as well as anyone (and maybe some of the schemey things left over from last year), but Peyton still hit his team like a mack truck.

21 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Perhaps the Denver defenders knew his scheme inside and out and were able to give all kinds of tips to Manning and co.

"because it knows what Kevin Kolb is capable of"- very well done.

35 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

In all seriousness, I think the Broncos are for real, ranked too low, extremely likely to make the playoffs and a serious threat to any team they face there. I don't like their chances in Houston, if it comes to that, but I'm very glad the Texans are unlikely to have to go back to Mile High with death on the line.

50 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

I'm sure I've seen people complain when their team was ranked #2 or #3 (cough*2011 Packers*cough).

The weird thing is the Broncos are 2-2. They've lost to the two teams they played that currently rank ahead of them, and beaten two teams way down the rankings (though by VOA, I think those were both stomps). They haven't really done anything to deserve that spot. I'm surprised they are ranked as highly as they are, though I admit the defense has generally been quite good apart from blown coverages in teh Texans game. Their run defense has been very good so far.

64 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

None of the games the Broncos lost were shellackings; they both were one 3rd down stop away from having a legitimate chance of coming back and winning the game. In the first loss, there were four first quarter turnovers and yet the team was still in the game. That means there was a lot of quality football in there.

In the loss against the Texans, you really would've expected Houston to put Denver away, but they didn't. That really tells you that the team is pretty good.

Moreover, and I don't really see the statistics able to take this into account, most of the failures of the team have been issues with new players (Manning, Porter) gelling with the team. In Porter's case, he gave up a huge touchdown because he hurt his knee and was playing on it anyway and that really cost them. And Manning has been having timing issues that are slowly disappearing. By midseason there is a legitimate hope that they will be entirely gone.

18 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Should there not be a new weighting adjustment, DARCI, for Dvoa Adjusted for Real Cowboy Idiots, until the team in Dallas passes to new ownership?

20 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Considering that the 2000 Vikings reached the NFC title game, and the 03 panthers came within minutes of winning a super bowl, i hardly think AZ fans will think youre being a jerk.

26 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Would have been better if those Vikings had stayed home.

Donuts haven't been as sweet these last 12 years.

I don't want to think about it.

54 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Given all the statistical analysis and success value assignments that goes into the DVOA, when all else fails (as in Cardinal predictions), the last executable is.., ELSE "go to luck".

Schatz, you are who we thought you were.

23 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

NYG Special teams: 5.9% (7th)

Who are you, and what the F*** have you done with my beloved Giants?

NYG Variance: 23% (29th)

Oh, there you are. I was worried for a sec.

32 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

NYG special teams improvement is likely due to David Wilson's kickoff returns, and the punt coverage unit suddenly being good.

89 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Oh, I'm sure of it. I'm just shocked, is all; I've become so accustomed to cheering when Aaron Ross fell down for no apparent reason, because it was an improvement on Aaron Ross losing the football.

The punt coverage unit was usually pretty good with David Tyree, but I do love Weatherford. Feagles was good at hanging it up in the air, but he never got great yardage out of it.

Matt Dodge is dead to me.

107 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Funny story about Dodge: a couple of weeks after the infamous DeSean Jackson incident, my brother and I got to roam around on the sidelines before the Giants/Skins game while the teams were warming up. For some reason Dodge looked our way and made eye contact with my brother as if he recognized him or something. Well, whatever the explanation for the eye contact, my brother's reaction was to shake his head at Dodge and avert his eyes. You know your career's not going well when you get snubbed by random fans.

112 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

I actually don't even blame Dodge all that much for that debacle; the coverage was awful, and they never even should have been in that position to begin with. Well before that game, though, Dodge was punting horribly; DeSean Jackson was just the final nail in the coffin.

27 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

I love that the Vikings have the lowest variance of the top half of the teams, and that New Orleans has the lowest variance of all and is 0-4.

29 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Strange to see two teams with top 5 offenses and defenses. Stranger that one of them is SF.

86 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Hey man, I'm just enjoying the ride. I think (but am not sure) that this is our first offensive ranking above #10 since I started following this site in '06.

37 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Their rushing offense is #1 too. I wouldn't have guessed their rushing attack would end up so successful if you had told me 3 years ago that Anthony Davis would be a big disappointment and Gore would still be the primary back at age 29 with the load he's carried throughout his career (especially with Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James waiting in the wings).

80 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

It is the most varied ground game in the league by a long way. Defenders have to think about alignments and gap responsibilities more against the Niners than any other team. Make defenders think and make decisions often enough and eventually they will make a poor one. I think more teams should play this way, every team has spread packages and the nickel and dime defenders to counter them, not a lot of use against offensive formations with seven linemen in them.

120 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Anthony Davis has benefited from no longer playing next to Chilo Rachal, a full preseason with Harbaugh to learn the system, and no longer playing next to Chilo Rachal.

134 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

This is the fist year since Kwame Harris was drafted that SF does not have Kwame Harris or Chilo Rachal in their starting line-up. That makes me optimistic.

30 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Green Bay has the 2nd best punting unit in the league behind only Arizona? You can find me saying that I thought Masthay was one of the better punters in the league (possibly top 5) in 2010 and 2011 discussions, and then he would have a horrible game or the coverage unit would stink it up even though he punted well. It's nice to feel validated but I'm still surprised.

Of course even with the week 1 officiating gift they aren't returning punts all that well (hold onto the ball Cobb!). That also is suppressing San Fran's punt rating but even without it, San Fran might only be average and that is weird for me too. Of course the officials have now taken away the gifts they gave the Packers in the playoffs last year, and in week one this year so I'm hoping that from now on they get lucky and screwed evenly per game. That may be less fun from a talking points stand point, but it's more bearable than being lucky one game then unlucky the next.

It's also comforting to see that they are still getting hit by the hidden aspects of special teams. That's been pretty consistently the case for the last 5 years or so, and I can only handle so much change.

96 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

It's fun that, after four games, their running backs have precisely 1 open-field yard as well. Like you say, too much change would be hard to handle.

61 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

It's terrible, but this actualy made me chuckle...

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

48 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

How are thr Lioons 16thm? Team is weak. Barely even got by the Ramms. Tema should be 27-32 range.

So what Raiders are 31? Team on the rise. Young head coach
.team only needs time to gel. Give it a few more days and Raiders will be ready to roll. Pwrsonnel just too good.

73 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Not that I like playing the "coulda shoulda woulda" game, but the Lions would be 3-1 if they had merely competent instead of terrible special teams. They're trying to play a (very) poor man's 2010 Chargers. But I guess if the Raiders had a backup longsnapper on their roster, they might be 2-2 now.

-I'm not Billy Bad-Ass.

49 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Fixed. Thanks..

Somehow phone changed to Lotions. Must have hit o key extra tome and autocorerct happened.

Also caught other error and fox to personnel.

Imagieb if was team name? lotion dispenser logo on helmet

62 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Well, it's Detroit, so not that much to worry about.

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

66 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

I laughed aloud. With mirth and merriment, even.

I'm sure I've made this observation here before (and almost as sure that many others have as well) but how much fun is it to be able to read the comments on a sports site and not only enjoy them but count them as a major attraction on a site that already provides such great content?
My brief forays into the comment sections of mainstream sports sites (or even some of the alternative sites) have generally done bad things to my faith in humanity. This site, though... Gold.

75 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

There are a couple of team-themed SBNation sites that have great discussions, like Detroit Bad Boys or Pounding the Rock. But that's basketball.

45 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Wow, Steelers now have 30th defense in the league with 21.9% DVOA. I know they started slow and came back last year, but I'm not sure they can make top 10 this year. Of course, they will get Polamalu and Harrison back, so we'll see.

55 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

They've earned a bad defensive rating. The defense looked amazing the second half of the Jets game (though the Jets didn't have many snaps), but they let the Broncos and Raiders put together many sustained TD drives.

I'm still a bit mystified that DAVE viewed the week 1 loss to the Broncos as such a blowout. I was actually encouraged by the Steelers' week 1 performance; I thought the (depleted) defense looked average, not bad. The Steelers should get the biggest boost, for the second year in a row, when the week 1 results start dropping out.

I would be pretty happy with a top 10 defense at the end of the year.

56 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

They've earned a bad defensive rating. The defense looked amazing the second half of the Jets game (though the Jets didn't have many snaps), but they let the Broncos and Raiders put together many sustained TD drives.

I'm still a bit mystified that DAVE viewed the week 1 loss to the Broncos as such a blowout. I was actually encouraged by the Steelers' week 1 performance; I thought the (depleted) defense looked average, not bad. The Steelers should get the biggest boost, for the second year in a row, when the week 1 results start dropping out.

I would be pretty happy with a top 10 defense at the end of the year.

47 Rams Special Teams - only 10th?

I wonder how good the special teams were for the week 4 game vs. the Seahawks. Recovered onside kick, two figgies (58 and 60 yards) and a fake figgie that turned into a TD.

68 Re: Rams Special Teams - only 10th?

That's discussed a bit more here. The gist is that they were better than the Seahawks, but not by as much as you'd think, in part because:
- the Seahawks had one very good return and the Rams one exceptionally poor one.
- the surprise onside kick isn't considered predictive (indicative of likely future success) so isn't counted in VOA for either team.
- the way the data is currently entered into the system means the fake FG counts as offense rather than special teams. Aaron's considering changing that.

67 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

10th most consistent team... Special teams that are only slightly bad (rather than eye-gougingly bad)... Underperforming compared to estimated wins... and as I noted in Quick Reads, success in short-yardage running situations. This Bronco team is going to take some getting used to after the last half-decade or so.
Please, oh please don't collapse until I have time to get used to this, Broncos. I want to appreciate it before it's gone.

70 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

I decided to do a ranking of teams by their average ranking between DVOA and DAVE. I know its not exact because you can have big gaps in DVOA and DAVE between two rankings which throw it off, but I just wanted to see if it was any more reflective of how we expect things to turn out. They are ranked below, with their current DVOA ranking in brackets.

Surprisingly, not many big movers. The most notable are probably the Cardinals, Saints, Steelers and Rams, probably indicating that their play in the first 4 games has been respectively better, worse, much worse and much better than had been expected before the season.

1. (3) Patriots - 2
2. (1) Texans - 2.5
3. (4) Falcons - 3
4. (2) 49ers - 4
5. (7) Packers - 5
6. (6) Ravens - 5.5
7. (5) Broncos - 6
8. (8) Bears - 8
9=. (9) Vikings - 9.5
9=. (10) Giants - 9.5
11. (11) Seahawks - 11
12=. (12) Dolphins - 12.5
12=. (13) Eagles - 12.5
14. (15) Chargers - 16
15. (17) Panthers - 16.5
16. (16) Lions - 17
17=. (14) Cardinals - 18
17=. (21) Saints - 18
19. (19) Bengals - 19.5
20=. (23) Bills - 21
20=. (28) Steelers - 21
22. (22) Redskins - 22.5
23=. (20) Colts - 23
23=. (25) Cowboys - 23
25. (18) Rams - 24.5
26=. (24) Browns - 25.5
26=. (26) Bucs - 25.5
26=. (27) Jets - 25.5
29=. (29) Jags - 29
29=. (30) Titans - 29
31. (31) Raiders - 30.5
32. (32) Chiefs - 32

The ratings are slightly more crowded towards the middle obviously, because the only way you can get 1 or 32 is to have very high or low preseason projection and then match it with your play. So well done Kansas.

74 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

So well done Kansas.

I had to think about this for a bit, and then realized it was referring to Kansas City. Which is in Missouri. Well there is a Kansas City, Kansas, which is counted in the Kansas City metro area population but the Chiefs are in Kansas City, Missouri, same as the Royals. It's just one of those stupid geography things. Kansas City seems like it should be in Kansas, but it's not, even though it is, just not the Kansas City most people are referring to when they discuss Kansas City.

For more trivia, Kansas City, MO was originally just Kansas, MO. Founded on the Kansas river in 1838 and incorporated as Kansas City, MO in 1850. Kansas became a state in 1861 and Kansas City, Kansas was founded on the other side of the river in 1868 and incorporated in 1872.

Of course Missouri has a bunch of cities that carry state or country names or foreign city names. There is a California, MO; a Lousianna, MO; a Georgia City, MO; a Nevada, MO; a Cuba, MO; a Mexico, MO; a Paris, MO; a Versailles, MO (which you pronounce Ver-sales in MO, if you pronounce it correctly no one knows what you are talking about) and many more. You can tour the world without leaving that utterly miserable state where 100F with 95% humidity in the summer is not uncommon, then you can have 2 inches of ice covering everything in the winter.

Part of my Displaced time, if you haven't guessed by now, comes from spending more time than I would have liked in Missouri....

82 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

So what you're saying is that it would have been better if I'd stuck with my original line, which I deemed to be a bit cumbersome. It was "Well done Kansas. Carry on my wayward son.

94 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Probably better for you that you changed the line; otherwise, people would think Chris (Rats, Lice and Other Associated) Berman was posting.

98 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

In reply to by Podge (not verified)

You're better off doing a surprise:disappointment index, which is the DVOA-DAVE Gap. Teams with a higher gap are bigger surprises, while teams with a lower (or negative) gap. As you can see, MIN and STL are at the top - they're playing better than anticipated. The 49ers and Texans are high because FootballOutsiders.com applied an arbitrary 'plexiglass principle' to the two teams, making the assumption that they would regress in 2012. The Chiefs and Steelers are extremely disappointing.

1 MIN 15.60%
2 STL 14.80%
3 SF 14.20%
4 HOU 12.20%
5 SEA 12.00%
6 DEN 9.20%
7 MIA 8.20%
8 ARI 7.50%
9 BAL 6.80%
10 NYG 3.50%
11 CLE 3.50%
12 ATL 3.30%
13 CHI 3.10%
14 IND 1.20%
15 GB 0.40%
16 SD -0.80%
17 DET -1.30%
18 PHI -2.20%
19 NE -2.50%
20 CIN -3.10%
21 WAS -3.60%
22 TB -4.40%
23 JAC -6.30%
24 BUF -6.50%
25 CAR -7.00%
26 DAL -7.70%
27 NYJ -9.80%
28 OAK -9.80%
29 NO -10.80%
30 TEN -11.60%
31 KC -19.10%
32 PIT -24.90%

140 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Does this mean we can scream at Green Bay: "The Packers are who we thought they were! And we let 'em off the hook!"

76 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

There is a great tradition of de-Euroing pronunciatons of American hamlets named after Euro towns. BERlin, WI. MADrid, NM, New PrAAAgue, MN. Etc.

Missouri ice storms really do suck.

79 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Yes, of course, although that is more of a de-Euroing of a person's name. Funny, my grandfather was a Missourian, and he was called LewEEE. Not so unusual for several hundred miles further south on the Mississippi, but not expected from where LEWis and Clark began their expedition.

90 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Jayne Cobb's song wouldn't sound nearly as good, either.

In Kentucky, Versaille is pronounced ver-SAY-els. I suppose that's no worse than Houston Street in NYC.

88 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

I honestly can't work out how any of those places are said pronounced in America. Mad-rid instead of Mah-drid? I can't even parse the other two.

I know you lot say Manchester as MANchester though.

But still, the best de-Euroing pronunciation that I've seen is for the Salt Lake City football (soccer) team. Named after Real Madrid (meaning Royal, pronounced Ray-al), they seem to become to everyone I've heard say it just Real Salt Lake. Like its saying that yes, the Salt Lake is real. It exists.

101 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Americans seem to need a long run at Leicester or Worcestershire.

(It's wuss-ter-sher, not wor-cess-ter-shire.)

108 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

I first encountered the name Leicester after moving to the UK as a 13-yr-old. I had a pretty open mind as to the pronunciation differences/quirks between the two versions of English but Leicester as "Lester" actually made me mad. I mean, "Lester" seems just flat incorrect. I'm presently discovering that it still bothers me.

139 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Try crossing the sea to Ireland. There you get such loveliness as Laoghaire ("Leery"), let alone such gems as Graiguenamanagh or Youghal.

141 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

I went to school in Wooster, Ohio, pronounced "wusster". People ask where did you go to school and you say the "College of Wooster" and they say in Massachusetts? We used to say Wooster where the cows go muh!

105 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

That's odd... I've never heard that the "Real" in Real Salt Lake is amercanized. Everyone I've ever heard say it, said " Ray-al' ".

The thing with some of the other ones is mostly about which syllable is stressed... so I'd write that in Wisconsin, the say " Ber'-lin " rather than " Ber-lin' ". Or if you do the caps thing, they say "BER-lin" rather than "ber-LIN".

For Madrid, I'd write that in New Mexico they say " Ma'-drid " (short "a") rather than " Mah-drid' ".

For the New Prague one I think they say it with a long "a" sound like "Prayg" as opposed to "Prahg".

So then I'm curious - when you say Manchester, you accent the first syllable, right? So the difference there is, I think, just the americanization of the short "a" sound. Right?

77 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Hello Aaron, when you say that they are weighted 40% at this point, does that mean for instance, to get Houstons 35.1 adjusted, you took 40% of their oppenents voa and 60% of their voa, so .398 times .4 + x times .6=.351, where the opponenets voa is x?


85 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

My understanding of it (and I'm sure I'll be corrected) is that basically VOA gets worked out, then an opponent adjustment gets put onto that*. So say VOA was 100%, and the opponent was 10% better than the opponent, 10% would be added to VOA, so DVOA would be 110% (roughly speaking). At this point however, the opponent adjustment is only added at 40% of its strength. So say a team was 10% better than average, only 40% of that 10% would be added (so 4%), so DVOA would be 104%.

Or something like that. I'm sure that's not exactly how it works, but that seems to be the general gist I've picked up.

95 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Houston DVOA vs #1 recievers: -49.1%, ranked 2nd
Houston DVOA vs #2 recievers: 27.7%, ranked 24th

That Johnathan Joseph fellow must be pretty good.

111 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Usually numbers like that are a schematic choice. The Patriots usually look like that, and they play their CBs on sides of the field instead of on the #1/#2.

Does Joseph play one side, or does he chase the #1?

127 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Joseph generally follows the #1, and he doesn't get a whole lot of safety help. Also, Kareem Jackon's ongoing improvement has so far taken him as far as "really not very good". Joseph is pretty damn high on the list of players I dread going down

106 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

I'm trying to figure out this, pseudo anomaly:

Tom Brady DVOA: 30.0 (rank 1 in the league)

His targets:

Welker, 37 targets, -1.6 DVOA
Lloyd, 40 targets, -7.0 DVOA
Gronkowski, 29 targets, 22.7 DVOA
Edelman, 15 targets, -2.6 DVOA
Hernandez, 8 targets, 4.2 DVOA
Ridley, 8 targets, 11.3 DVOA
Woodhead, 5 targets, 142.4 DVOA

I guess, what doesn't make sense to me is that, for the most part, Brady's receivers looks middling according to efficiency. Yeah, there have been some fumbles, some drops, but Gronkowski seems (from a viewer's perspective) to be the biggest culprit in that regard, and he's not getting punished. So, how can Brady be the most efficient QB in the league and none of his targets are either benefiting or contributing?

116 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

This has happened before, when Cutler had his 4000+ yard season for the Broncos, he was fourth in DVOA with a pretty healthy positive rating and all his targets were in negative DVOA.

117 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

My question is, how does it work? The receivers take turns having good games, helping the QB and then perform poorly in other ones? I don't really understand how the numbers add up in the system, essentially, how such a dichotomy is possible.

137 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Wild guess: the anomaly is turnovers. Receivers get dinged for fumbles, but not for interceptions, and QBs get dinged for interceptions and not fumbles. Brady has thrown 1 INT in 151 passes, Gronkowski and Welker have fumbled a combined twice in 67 targets. If the INT was in a particularly not bad place (somewhere around midfield?) and the fumbles were in particularly bad places (at either end of the pitch?) that could account for a large part of it.

Also, sacks? New England is 9th in ASR, so Brady would be likely to get a bit of a bump against the average (and DVOA is against the average) because he's likely to have been sacked less.

In Cutler's 4,000 yard season he was only sacked 11 times, so that might well be a part of it. Not a QB getting a benefit from avoiding sacks, but rather other QBs getting dinged for getting sacked gives a QB who doesn't get sacked a boost by proxy, as they drag the average down. Or something.

121 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. It's the Patriot Way.

[I'm kidding. I have no idea how this works, unless it has to do with Brady being compared to the goliaths of suck that are the quarterbacks of Arizona, Miami, Cleveland, the Jets, etc., who get sacked and throw interceptions all the time (things not counted against WR's for those teams, to whom Welker is compared).]

133 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

My guess is that the baseline for QB's is different than for receivers.

A reciever only gets points towards or against DVOA on passes where he is targeted. Let's say an average receiver catches 60% of balls thrown his way...a receiver that catches 65% will have a positive DVOA.

However, a QB gets DVOA points for all attempts. The average QB probably completes a lower percentage of pass attempts (counting sacks and penalties and passes where the intended receiver is unknown) than the average receiver catches. So an averag QB completion percentage might only be 55%. Hence, if the QB almost never takes a sack or commits a penalty, and all his receivers catch an average (for receivers) number of balls at 60%, the QB will have a higher DVOA than the average of his receivers.

113 Credibility

"Four weeks in means it is time to start looking at opponent adjustments. We apply those for the first time this week. They are currently at 40 percent strength and will go up 10 percent each week through Week 10."

If four games (and not everyone has had four games yet either) = 40% credibility, I'm surprised that they get 0% credibility for the first three weeks.

Credibility theory can be used in a manner that whatever you have gets some weighting.

119 Re: Credibility

In reply to by Mostly Anonymous (not verified)

It's because it's hard to have opponent adjustment after the first game. Consider Denver--they got to play PIT, ATL, then HOU. They are the two best teams and a perennial playoff contender. So, is DEN bad because they are 1-2, and played horrible first halves in those games? Or are they good because they beat a probably good team and lost close games to the best two teams this year? You have to see some games to know what a team's "real" rating "should" be, esp. to be able to apply opponent adjustments.

115 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Is there a projected future schedule rank based on DVOA for individual positions (QB, RB, etc) in the premium stats? Or does that even exist?

122 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings


"Seattle is clearly ranked too high because Russell Wilson is a shorter, less experienced version of Alex Smith. Just assuming that teams with decent quarterbacks and cover corners are good, and other teams are not, is way better than this. All Hail the Broncos."

131 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

"Before the season, we were projecting Denver with the toughest schedule in the league."

The preseason DVOA projections had the Saints with the toughest schedule. what gives?


135 Re: Week 4 DVOA Ratings

Maybe they meant to say the toughest schedule in the AFC? Dunno. Or maybe it was something discussed in the staff predictions article they mention in the page you linked to?

144 FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis

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