Week 12 DVOA Ratings
by Aaron Schatz
For the first time since Week 4, a new team is on top of the Football Outsiders DVOA ratings. Denver's close loss to New England drops the Broncos down a spot after eight weeks at No. 1, and Seattle takes over the top position. The Denver defense improved significantly with the return of Von Miller in Week 7, but the offense has really fallen off from those early weeks of the season when they looked like one of the best offenses of all time, and the special teams have struggled as well. Check out this split of Denver stats before and after Miller's return in Week 7:
|2013 Denver Broncos by Week|
However, the biggest dramatic move this week isn't Seattle climbing back into the top spot in DVOA. The biggest dramatic move comes in the playoff odds report, specifically in the part that has nothing to do with the playoffs at all. Jacksonville still ranks as one of the worst teams in DVOA history despite their win over Houston this Sunday. However, that win may have cost them the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 draft. The Jaguars had a 60 percent or higher chance of getting that pick in every playoff odds report since Week 4. Now, the Jaguars aren't even the leading candidate in the Teddy Bridgewater Sweepstakes. Houston is. We now give Houston a 32.6 percent chance of winning the No. 1 overall pick, with Jacksonville second at 29.4 percent and Atlanta the other major possibility at 22.8 percent. Part of the problem for Jacksonville: They rank 30th in remaining strength of schedule. Their only remaining opponent with a winning record is Indianapolis, which may have nothing to play for by Week 17. That Thursday night game against Houston on December 5 may determine where Teddy Bridgewater is living for the next decade of his life or more, so he better be watching along with his real estate agent.
As an added bonus for you, the readers, I'm happy to report that Rivers McCown and myself will actually be attending that game in person to give you the full Teddy Bridgewater Sweepstakes Report.
Even if the Colts do have something to play for in Week 17, it may not be the toughest matchup for the Jaguars. With a couple of huge losses, the Colts have dropped all the way down to 17th in the DVOA ratings. Remember a couple of weeks ago, when every team with a winning record was ahead of every team with a losing record? Not anymore. We meant it when we said that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the best 0-8 team in NFL history, and now they're 3-8 and have clinbed all the way up to 16th in DVOA. That means the Bucs are ahead of both the 7-4 Colts and the 6-5 Lions, as well as most of those 5-6 teams competing for the sixth AFC wild card position.
Speaking of which, here's a table of those 5-6 teams along with DVOA, weighted DVOA, remaining schedule, and playoff odds. While the 4-7 teams (particularly Buffalo) do have a shot at the wild card spot, it's going to be tough for one of those squads to pass all six of the 5-6 teams in the standings, so we'll leave them out.
|5-6 AFC Playoff Contenders|
|Team||DVOA||Rk||WEI DVOA||Rk||SCHED||Rk||WC Odds||Playoff Odds|
With this table, you can start to see some gaps showing up between total season DVOA and weighted DVOA, which lowers the strength of earlier games. The team with the biggest gap right now is St. Louis, which ranks 14th in total DVOA (2.1%) but 12th in weighted DVOA (6.5%). The Rams' recent success means that all four teams from the NFC West now rank in the top dozen for weighted DVOA. Other teams that have improved in recent weeks include Philadelphia (8.9% DVOA but 12.7% weighted DVOA) and the New York Giants (-12.7% DVOA but -8.8% weighted DVOA).
WORST DVOA EVER WATCH
As noted above, the Denver Broncos are no nowhere near the list of the best teams in DVOA history. They aren't even one of the top dozen offenses anymore. But the Worst DVOA Ever Watch is still going strong. In fact it's going stronger, because we can now track teams threatening to rank as the worst ever in all four categories. By giving up 34 points to the mediocre Kansas City offense, the Chargers moved themselves into position as one of the worst defenses we've ever tracked. Teams from 2013 now rank among the five worst all-time in offense, defense, special teams, and total DVOA. And yes, these tables plus the table above combine to tell us that if Philip Rivers continues to play out of his gourd, we may a playoff team that also has the worst defense in DVOA history.
| WORST TOTAL DVOA
THROUGH 11 GAMES
|x|| WORST OFFENSIVE DVOA
THROUGH 11 GAMES
|x|| WORST DEFENSIVE DVOA
THROUGH 11 GAMES
|x|| WORST SPECIAL TEAMS DVOA
THROUGH 11 GAMES
With this week's tables, I've changed "DVOA through Week X" to "DVOA through X games" to make things simpler when dealing with 1993 (the two bye-week year) and 1989 (the last year without bye weeks).
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During the 2013 season, we'll be partnering with EA Sports to bring special Football Outsiders-branded items to Madden 25 Ultimate Team. Each week, we'll be picking out a handful of players who starred in that week's games. Some of them will be well-known players who stood out in standard stats. Others will be under-the-radar players who only stood out with advanced stats, including DYAR, Defeats, and our game charting coverage stats for cornerbacks. We'll announce the players each Tuesday in the DVOA commentary article, and the players will be available in Madden Ultimate Team packs the following weekend, beginning Friday night.
The Football Outsiders stars for Week 12 are:
- Von Miller, OLB, DEN (Limited Edition): 2 sacks, 2 QB hits, 4 QB hurries, and a forced fumble
- David DeCastro, RG, PIT: Allowed no sacks, only one QB hurry
- Julian Edelman, WR, NE: 9 catches on 11 passes, 110 yards, 2 TD
- Jacoby Jones, WR, BAL (Special Boosted Punt Returner Edition): 66-yard TD reception, 108 punt return yards on five returns
- Philip Wheeler, OLB, MIA: 5 Defeats to prevent third-down conversions (3 PD, 2 tackles)
Unfortunately, a number of players we wanted to do this week either ended up on Madden's "Team of the Week" (William Gay, Philip Rivers) or were players we did earlier in the season (Josh Gordon, Troy Polamalu).
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All 2013 stat pages are now updated or will be updated in the next few minutes, including snap counts, playoff odds, and the FO Premium database. The playoff odds page has added two new "special Super Bowls," the John Fox Reunion Special (CAR-DEN) and the Carson Palmer Reunion Special (ARI-CIN).
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These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through 12 weeks of 2013, measured by our proprietary Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) system that breaks down every single play and compares a team's performance to the league average based on situation in order to determine value over average. (Explained further here.)
OFFENSE and DEFENSE DVOA are adjusted to consider all fumbles, kept or lost, as equal value. SPECIAL TEAMS DVOA is adjusted for type of stadium (warm, cold, dome, Denver) and week of season. WEIGHTED DVOA represents an attempt to figure out how a team is playing right now, as opposed to over the season as a whole, by making recent games more important than earlier games.
As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE.
To save people some time, please use the following format for all complaints:
<team> is clearly ranked <too high/too low> because <reason unrelated to DVOA>. <subjective ranking system> is way better than this. <unrelated team-supporting or -denigrating comment, preferably with poor spelling and/or chat-acceptable spelling>
- 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).
105 comments, Last at 01 Dec 2013, 6:49pm
#1 by Joe Saints Fan (not verified) // Nov 26, 2013 - 5:53pm
The Saints played Arizona in week 3 and blew them out, 31-7. At the time, Arizona was playing poorly, and their DVOA was -%17. Conversely, the Saints played and beat Miami in week 4, when Miami was undefeated and had a %17 DVOA.
I recognize that lots of those numbers change as the season goes on, but I wonder if it might make sense to assign more value to the performances of the teams in the two games immediately before and after the game in question, rather than adjusting using their entire season's DVOA. That way, you would be able to pick up things like a team folding towards the end of the year due to injuries, etc. and also the effects of massive injuries like Aaron Rodgers being lost.
#40 by Box // Nov 27, 2013 - 3:06am
I think this makes a lot of sense. Say your defense play GB w Rodgers early in the season and shut him down. Should they really get punished for GBs offense beeing inept with reserve QBs playing later in the season?
#48 by jebmak // Nov 27, 2013 - 9:01am
I could be wrong, but I think that he has tried this and how the system is now, is more accurate as a whole. Sure, Green Bay with the loss of Rodgers would be more accurate that way, but enough of the other teams would be less accurate to offset any benefits -- and then some. So, you just have to make subjective adjustments for injuries and the like.
#2 by jayman4 // Nov 26, 2013 - 5:55pm
[SD Defense] is clearly ranked [too high] because [while your method is very good], [my brain has a hard time imagining a worse, more frustrating defense, and, therefore] is way better than this. [Can you come up with a quantitative method to rank your ATS picks, aside from near useless rankings? Go Chargers!]
#101 by RickD // Nov 29, 2013 - 5:36pm
I think one could argue that the Patriots focused on stopping Peyton Manning above all else, and that led to the run defense being weaker than it ordinarily is. My understanding is that they had the "sub" package in even on running downs. That's a package with extra guys in the secondary and only two linebackers. (Of course part of the reason that they only had two linebackers is that Mayo is out for the season.)
That's a lot different than intentionally giving up a lead, or intentionally allowing the running game of Denver to get over 200 yards.
#27 by An Onymous (not verified) // Nov 26, 2013 - 11:28pm
Von Miller is a demon against the run. Possibly the best OLB in the league at run support.
In fact, I just checked PFF, and they already have Von Miller's run support graded out as highest among all OLBs, and 2nd among LBs of all stripes (behind only Brandon Spikes). Those grades are cumulative. Von Miller has played less than half the season. Von Miller might not actually be human.
#9 by Bobman // Nov 26, 2013 - 7:03pm
If I may channel the cop from Animal House who kept shouting "Don't panic! All is well!" before he got flattened into the pavement.... I say with my shrill and not-quite-believable voice: "You'll all be sorry when Trent Richardson starts breaking off 99 yard runs! Then, just to keep his skills sharp, he'll play some CB and return kicks past the 15 yard line. Then Indy will return to the top half of the rankings! Then you'll see! Yeah, you! Hey, stop throwing spitballs at me, I'm serious!"
I know Colts fans are spoiled, but... well I LIKED being spoiled and want to be spoiled again. Dammit!
#75 by mshray (not verified) // Nov 27, 2013 - 1:31pm
...and Bacon wasn't a cop, he a was a freshman wearing his Army ROTC uniform.
This brings up a bit of a stretch of a segue...but does't Niedermeyer screaming/spitting "a pledge pin!" in Dorfman's face sound exactly like the way Beck, in his song "Loser", enunciates the line "...choking on a splinter."?
#64 by Karl Cuba // Nov 27, 2013 - 11:33am
They were at 54% against the spread over the past five years and just over 55% over the last three including 58% last year. They aren't having a great season this year though but you'd expect some noise in the numbers.
#12 by MilkmanDanimal // Nov 26, 2013 - 7:27pm
Tampa's DVOA is actively hilarious in a "I don't care if we've won three games, Greg Schiano is still a douche" sense. 3-8, positive DVOA. Hey, we're above average, but 3-8. Woo!
General DVOA question--are fake punts considered fluky enough they don't factor into S.T. DVOA? Tampa's blocked punts two weeks in a row, and the ST DVOA really hasn't moved much.
#15 by intel_chris (not verified) // Nov 26, 2013 - 8:06pm
Thanks for making the charts be for teams playing n-games. It really does make things more easily comparable over time. Over the years you have done so many "little things" to make the stats and the way you present them more accessible and more informative. It's one of the reasons some of us will always come to this site first for good information.
#18 by Andrew Maples (not verified) // Nov 26, 2013 - 8:31pm
Whats up with AZ? The put up a 40-burger on Indy, allowwed only 96 yards total offense in the first half (239 total for the game) and was lights out against a playoff team.. yes they had a field goal blocked (ST went from -1.8 to -2.3) but what effect did that have in the 1st quarter of an eventual blowout?? Offense only jumps from -11.7 to -9.0 and defense jumps from 17.6 to 18.1 ?? Seattle, who was idle this week goes is now ahead of AZ in total D without even playing a game??
#20 by Andrew Maples (not verified) // Nov 26, 2013 - 8:43pm
What im getting at is AZ's D has given up on average only 130 yds total offense and a mere 7.45 points in the 2nd half of games this year (119 yds and 5.5 points during their 4 game win streak) speaking of the last 4 games AZ's D has allowed just over 260 yds ppg and given up just 15.5 ppg (14 of those points did come on spectacular TD catches from a top wide WR (A Johnson - would drop to 12 ppg allowed without) while the offense is producing over 370 yds a game and over 30 points a game... what gives??
#22 by Cuenca Guy // Nov 26, 2013 - 8:58pm
DVOA doesn't just analyze 2nd halves. It also doesn't care about what things look like without any particular wide receiver. If you look at the Weighted DVOA, Arizona is 10th. I'd say that's pretty good.
#33 by Andrew Maples (not verified) // Nov 27, 2013 - 12:16am
So 2nd half adjustments are irrelevant?? Thats unfortunate.... ultimately, these superb stats/rankings are going to show Philly as the clear favorite this week against AZ and I find that hard to phantom... rookie QB going against a top rated D, weak D going against an excelling D... by my numbers, that game is a blowout 8n the Cards favor..
#49 by jebmak // Nov 27, 2013 - 9:06am
"Half of the data set is composed of data from the 2nd half."
Re Phi and Ari: It is at Phi, and they are about even in dvoa, so Phi should be a 3 or 3.5 favorite. Which, incidentally, is what sportsbooks have the game at.
So, you can put some money down, if you like your odds.
#60 by Cuenca Guy // Nov 27, 2013 - 10:55am
Philly has a rookie QB (actually 2nd year) putting up historic numbers, but DVOA should downgrade the Eagles because Foles isn't as old and turnover prone as Palmer?
Is this really just incredible homerism or are you trolling?
#65 by MJK // Nov 27, 2013 - 11:39am
One of the fundamental issues with DVOA, or with any play-based rate stat, is that for defenses, it overweights bad play, and for offenses it overweights good play, at least from a per-drive standpoint (which is what matters for scoring).
What I mean is that, if your defense faces five drives per half, say, and in the first half gives up 6 yards per play every drive (i.e. plays pretty terrible defense on every play), you'll end up having ~65 or so terrible defensive plays in the first half. Then, in the second half, if you play lights out defense and give up zero yards per play, you'll end up having 18 or so awesome defensive plays. In the sum total of things, your defense looks terrible to a per-play stat, because you were bad on 78% of the defensive plays you ran. But in a per-drive stat, which is probably more relevant for scoring defense (since a TD is still 7 points no matter how many bad plays the defense gave up to surrender it), you've looked terrible just 50% of the time.
Same issue with offenses, just reversed.
So if you see a team with an awesome scoring defense, who has played a little streaky but gets a lot of 3-and-outs, DVOA probably isn't going to like them as much as you think it should. Where as a counting stat like DYAR, or a per-drive state like efficiency index, probably will like them more.
#103 by RickD // Nov 29, 2013 - 5:39pm
Better for predicting future performance, whether by play or by drive. The number of plays per game is far, far higher than the number of drives. That alone implies a much higher sample size, and more accuracy.
#96 by eggwasp (not verified) // Nov 27, 2013 - 5:03pm
That explains why having (as part of some punishment in a former life), having watched every game this year I think the Raiders D is underrated - I think at some point recently a stat flashed up that they have forced a most/among the most 3 & outs this year which is frankly amazing (especially considering they were giving away 3rd downs to Fitzpatrick this week). Considering the offense they are paired with, their doing one hell of a good (not great) job this year. The thing they've struggled on is getting off the field in 3rd & long - sure, they can stop the 3rd & 4, but you get 3rd & 17 against them and Tarver sends in "hole-in-zone" to play nickel or dime. Or they get called for a stupid roughing the passer penalty again.
Of course, they have no depth as usual - losing Jenkins was massive this weekend and Ross instead of Branch since wk 2 must be worth at least 7 points a game. But they've probably got their best LB corps since the 80s and the secondary overall is streets ahead of last year. A couple of good free agents now the Al Davis Silver & Black Friday credit card bill is paid, could easily result in a top 10 defense next year.
#99 by Cuenca Guy // Nov 27, 2013 - 6:56pm
Good on 3rd and short, terrible on 3rd and long? Sounds like the Seahawks' D from last year. I've watched every game this year too, but watching them in Condensed mode on Game Rewind makes it hard for me to draw these same conclusions.
#21 by Cuenca Guy // Nov 26, 2013 - 8:55pm
It must be opponent adjustments. Teams Seattle has played like St. Louis, San Francisco, Tampa Bay, and those Cards among others had good weeks on offense. That's an assumption based on the games...I didn't check the numbers from last week to confirm.
Plus, DVOA doesn't care if you're a playoff team. Indy might be 7-4, but they are a negative DVOA team.
#23 by Ben // Nov 26, 2013 - 9:14pm
Indy's defensive DVOA (as well as their actual defensive play) has gone in the toilet over the last 5 games, so lighting up the Colts doesn't impress DVOA. Over the last four games, on average, Indy's been outscored 23-2 in the first half. So the Cards being up 24-3 at halftime is literally an average performance against the Colts these days.
#29 by Andrew Maples (not verified) // Nov 26, 2013 - 11:52pm
AZs OVA, DVOA, and Weighted DVOA have gone up less than I would expect.. recent games shouldn't mean that much, especially considering Indy has wins over SF, SEA and DEN... Furthermore, yes they have been blown out by STL, and struggled to beat TEN the past few weeks but AZ rocked their world through 3 quarters... I was expecting a bigger rise in atleast one of the categories.
#26 by willybhu // Nov 26, 2013 - 10:42pm
Just based on the eye test, I never would have pegged Seattle and Carolina as top ten offenses, but I honestly can't think of more than ten teams with better offenses. Similarly, it seems like there's a lot more middling teams this year than in prior years. I only looked back last year, and it doesn't really bear that out (17 teams between 10.0% and -10.0% in 2013 vs 15 teams in 2012), but it just feels that way, you know?
#28 by Perfundle // Nov 26, 2013 - 11:46pm
Run-heavy teams tend to have worse-looking offenses than the stats indicate, perhaps because they play at such a slow pace (Seattle, San Francisco and Carolina are the three slowest teams on offense), so they generally don't have that many drives in which to score. Seattle and Carolina are both top 5 in points scored per drive.
#53 by panthersnbraves // Nov 27, 2013 - 9:37am
I'd have to go pull the stats, but Carolina seems to have a lot of long, drawn-out drives. Lots of third and fourth down conversions, so they don't seem to be doing much, as opposed to big passing teams that throw 20 yards every play.
#70 by Perfundle // Nov 27, 2013 - 12:54pm
Huh. I would've thoght they'd be similar to Seattle, but Carolina really does have an extremely low 4.93 yards per play, which is 26th in the NFL, while Seattle is 6th at 5.86 YPP; of course, Carolina has been playing significantly harder defenses. What they've in their favor is as you say, elite 3rd-down and 4th-down conversion rates, and elite red-zone production.
#79 by Cuenca Guy // Nov 27, 2013 - 2:02pm
The Panthers have played better defenses by DVOA, but the difference isn't that significant. The Seahawks have played 4 defenses in the top 10 in DVOA. I believe the Panthers have played 6th.
The Panthers' opponents average 13th in defensive DVOA; the Seahawks' opponents average 17th. Going forward, the Panthers' opponents average 14th in defensive DVOA while the Seahawks' opponents average 9th.
#36 by td (not verified) // Nov 27, 2013 - 12:46am
Seems like a bad time for Thurmond to drop his appeal on the suspension- wouldn't it make more sense to drop it after they play New Orleans? He'd still be back for the playoffs. Also, week seven wasn't just when Von Miller returned for Denver, it's when Peyton got the high ankle sprain. Not shocking that the offense has 'struggled' since then.
#38 by PaddyPat // Nov 27, 2013 - 1:14am
New England's defensive splits are kind of funny and seemingly odd. They are 4th against number 1 receivers, okay, that's Talib, 9th against TEs--a bit weird considering how terrible they were against Gonzalez, but I guess the NO game balances that out... and then 32nd against number 2 receivers. It seems to me that that must be scheme more than execution. Arrington is not good, but Dennard has had a decent season, or at least I thought so. He certainly passes the eye test. Is there a similarly insane split in CB success numbers? Is it true Arrington has had a decent season against the slot while Dennard has played putridly on the outside? What's going on here?
#47 by Lyford // Nov 27, 2013 - 8:43am
Belichick's fundamental defensive philosophy has always seemed to come down to two things:
1) Whatever it is that the offense is best at, the Patriots are going to make it hard for them to do, e.g., they were going to stop the passing game against Manning and the Broncos on Sunday night regardless of what that allowed Moreno to do.
2) The Patriots aren't going to gamble and give up big plays, but rather force an offense to be successful on many consecutive plays to score.
Obviously, it doesn't always work. But most of the time, when they give up a lot of points, it's because the opposition has had good success on third down, rather than hitting several big plays.
#41 by SDboltsfan (not verified) // Nov 27, 2013 - 3:35am
Why is it that the Chargers stayed steady at 16th last week even after a loss, then dropped three spots this week to 19th after beating a team ranked quite a bit higher? I know the defense sucks, but is it really enough to drop them that much after such a great offensive performance? It just seems weird to me.
#84 by Scott C // Nov 27, 2013 - 2:45pm
What did the DVOA percentages do? Rankings don't mean as much. Other teams moving around affect them. Teams with very close percentages are effectively tied.
DVOA is producing rankings as a side effect, it all starts with the percentages.
#88 by SDboltsfan (not verified) // Nov 27, 2013 - 3:23pm
You're right, the rankings don't mean as much. But the percentages went down also, even after the win:
Week 10 (after a loss): Total DVOA -3.4% (weighted -3.6%) 20.3 offense, 22.9 defense, -0.8 special teams
Week 11 (after a loss): Total DVOA -0.7% (weighted -0.8%) 21.0 offense, 22.0 defense, 0.2 special teams
Week 12 (after a win): Total DVOA -1.3% (weighted -1.7%) 23.8 offense, 25.1 defense, 0.0 special teams
Basically what this tells me is that the steady increase of the offense has not been enough to offset the horror that is the defense. Special teams has only fluctuated slightly. Such is the life of a Charger fan... it's always something! Historically bad special teams? We had that a few years ago. Now we're top 5 worst defenses EVER. Not a surprise... it's like Murphy's Law around here in San Diego.
#104 by LACharger (not verified) // Nov 30, 2013 - 11:50pm
Add to that that when everything does actually function well enough, you KNOW that at some point they are going to choke in some absolutely horrific way , but -- and this is some kind of evil cosmic victory lap over Chargers fans -- this foreknowledge does not AT ALL even remotely prepare you for the moment it happens. Because they can't just lose, or even choke, like a normal team, they have to find some record breaking or unique you-never-ever-thought-about-losing-that-way path to self-destruction.*
(And then add to that that it's always the same F'ing teams that put us out of our misery in good years. You know it's the last game of the season when it's Pit or NE, with a sprinkling of epic chokes with the Jets.)
* For non-Chargers fans - a random starter list of google searches to get your Schadenfreude on:
"4th and 29"
"FG Kicker Nate Kaeding Playoff Meltdowns" (note the plural. Yes, I'm serious.)
"Marlon McCree 4th down interception return fumble 2006 San Diego suicide rate spike"
"Lose fumble taking knee instead of game-winning ~30 yard FG."
#42 by TimK // Nov 27, 2013 - 3:35am
Denver's offense fell off a cliff (relatively speaking) when Manning got both ankles hurt. No idea if those injuries can actually heal up during the season, but if they don't 1 & done could happen again in the playoffs. Peyton is not the kind of QB who can generate power with raw arm strength, and this is making it easier for defenses to crowd the WRs.
Disappointing that 2 big WRs cannot play through bump coverage better, I mean Decker is the small one at 6'3" and 218lbs. Getting J Thomas back at TE wight open things up more, but Manning being able to trust his ankles and put his whole body into deep throws seems like the missing factor to me.
Impressive to see how much difference one player can apparently make to a defense though. Be interesting to see if Quanterus Smith stashed away on IR this year can make a real difference next year. Also make Von Miller's next contract negotiations interesting - especially as they will need to be an 'if you are stupid with recreational drugs again' clause.
#55 by willybhu // Nov 27, 2013 - 9:58am
Would these be the best 5 seeds ever? KC/Denver and NO/Carolina? That third seed is looking mighty important right now...and given the state of the 6-seed in both conferences right now, I wouldn't mind, as a Seahawks fan, tanking for that 2nd seed and playing the third seed (Lions/GB/Chicago/Philly/Dallas/NY Giants) instead of Carolina/NO again.
#59 by EricL // Nov 27, 2013 - 10:31am
There are two teams in the NFC that REALLY want that #1 seed: Seattle and New Orleans. Both teams have significantly better results at home, and want all of their playoff opponents coming to them.
Which brings up a question that's been going through my head given the home field advantages for both those teams: What is the primary component of the home field advantages for NO and SEA? Is it them playing better at home, their opponents playing worse on the road, or a combination of the two?
I have a feeling it's NO playing better at home, and SEA's opponents playing worse on the road, but that's not backed up by any evidence whatsoever.
#61 by Cuenca Guy // Nov 27, 2013 - 11:00am
If teams are generally better at home than on the road, how could Seattle's opponents playing worse on the road equate to arguably the best home field advantage in the NFL? If you are suggesting the environment causes those teams to play worse, that'd make more sense.
#67 by EricL // Nov 27, 2013 - 12:10pm
I know teams are generally better at home, so I expect there to be a difference.
What I'm wondering, since those two teams are recognized as having significant home-field advantages, is which side of the equation is better for them? Do Seattle's opponents play worse in Seattle vs. other road venues? Does New Orleans get a more-than-typical home bump in their performance? Vice versa? Are thereyear-over-year trends? Is there even enough data to tell?
I know if you asked the average Seahawks fan why the 'Hawks perform so well at home, the answer would be "12th Man!". But what effect does the 12th Man have? Help the offense? Hurt the opposing offense? Cause a greater-than-normal number of visiting-offense penalties? Or is it something more subtle like forcing the opposing offense into some subset of their normal game plan in order to deal with the noise, thus making defensive reads slightly easier for the Seahawks, enabling them to perform better? Is it ley lines? Native American burial grounds?
Somebody's probably done a similar study, or at least looked at the data enough to shrug their shoulders or something.
#69 by Scott Crowder (not verified) // Nov 27, 2013 - 12:30pm
The 12th Man is the significant difference because they make so much noise when the opposing offense has the ball that the oline can't hear the snap count and the defense gets a better jump. They don't help their own offense at all, other than remaining quiet when the Hawks have the ball, which is an upgrade over road games. Because of the noise, it also makes audibles more difficult, if not impossible, on critical downs. This also helps the defense and causes confusion within the opposing offense. The defense generally has about a half step advantage. Then there's the NFL leading false starts advantage as well.
Add all that to the normal homefield advantage and it becomes a place opposing teams have gone to lose since 2011.
#71 by Ian Chapman (not verified) // Nov 27, 2013 - 1:03pm
I would be interested in seeing a DVOA comparison as well for Sea and NO's home-field advantages. My eye test tells me that Seattle really does play better at the Clink but not excessively so. Mainly other teams play a lot worse than normal. A lot of that has to do with the 12th man true, but it also should be remembered that Clink is an outside stadium on the Ocean (well Puget Sound) with a lot of cold clammy air (hard on kickers and hard to play in late in the season). Also Seattle is one of the longest trips most NFL clubs have to make and often over multiple time zones. Combine all these things together along with a healthy reputation (and thus psychological factor) and you have a witches brew.
Of these components, however, I agree that the 12th man is far and away the most important not just because of the snap counts and such, but the sheer psychological impact as well.
#76 by Karl Cuba // Nov 27, 2013 - 1:47pm
There is also a tendency for the home side to get the better of officiating decisions at home that exists across several sports. The exact cause for this is hard to pin down but it's likely to be related to subconscious intimidation due to crowd noise and it's stupidly loud at the Clink. I've seen teams barely able to hear the qb in the huddle, let alone hear the snapcount at the line.
#82 by willybhu // Nov 27, 2013 - 2:39pm
Don't forget about Arrowhead Stadium. You've got the noise factor, but it's in the same timezone as NO. If you believe the crowd/noise factor in KC is similar to that of Seattle's, then the resulting difference should be strictly due to the time zone change, right?
Unfortunately, there's no one that's played at both stadiums this year.
Another interesting tidbit I found:
In the regular season, since 2000, Seahawks were 117-102-0 (53.42%) overall during this stretch, and 73-37-0 (66.36%) at home (i.e. 44-65-0 on the road). Against opponents with winning records, they're 17/37 (45.9%) at home vs 7/43 (16.3%) on the road. Against opponents that made the playoffs, they're 14/31 (45.2%) at home vs 4/34 (11.76%) on the road.
In the same time frame, Saints are 123-92-0 (57.2%) overall, and 61-49-0 (55.45%) at home (i.e. 62-43-0 on the road). Against opponents with winning records, they're 22/52 (42.3%) at home vs 13/39 (33.3%) on the road. Against opponents that made the playoffs, they're 19/46 (41.3%) at home vs 11/32 (34.4%) on the road.
#89 by Nathan // Nov 27, 2013 - 3:27pm
Seattle and KC are the two teams I heavily factor home-field advantage into when making my picks. Most of the time I tend to pretty much ignore home-field advantage. I'll use it as a tiebreaker but that's pretty much it.
#91 by EricL // Nov 27, 2013 - 4:05pm
The Seahawks have beaten only 4 playoff-bound teams on the road in 13 years? Seriously?
Also, while the gist of your numbers is likely right, the details might be a bit off. You list the Seahawks with 219 games since 2000, and the Saints with 215. The numbers should be equal.
#93 by Thomas_beardown // Nov 27, 2013 - 4:39pm
They lost a home game because of Katrina (well really a whole bunch, since they moved their home games to another city) when their game against the Giants was moved till Monday and played in New York. I'm pretty sure they didn't not play any games though.
#94 by EricL // Nov 27, 2013 - 4:46pm
No. No team has ever had a different number of games in a season, at least since the merger. While they didn't play in New Orleans (split between San Antonio and Baton Rouge), they didn't miss any games.
It's probably just a simple math error somewhere. It doesn't change the point of the post, just me being pedantic.
#72 by mehllageman56 (not verified) // Nov 27, 2013 - 1:04pm
It's not just that. They designed the stadium in such a way as to increase the crowd noise; 70% of the seats are covered, which means that noise from those seats is going onto the field, not upward and out of the stadium. It's also a bad weather site, and that also effects the opponents. I still think playing in Denver is harder, just because of the altitude.
#77 by Cuenca Guy // Nov 27, 2013 - 1:49pm
I haven't seen recent data, but the "bad weather site" concept doesn't really hold. It rarely snows in Seattle (I don't think a game ever has had snow on the field), and it was several years in the stadium before it rained during a game.
Whatever the reason, it is one of if not the loudest stadiums in the NFL. That, the potentially long flight, and possibly a psychological effect are likely the main factors. I think the long flight works in the opposite direction meaning that the Seahawks struggle more on the road than most other teams, making their HFA look even stronger.
#86 by SeahawkJohn (not verified) // Nov 27, 2013 - 2:54pm
I agree with your overall point that the weather at Qwest Field isn't generally as bad as people think. There have been at least two games where it snowed however: 2006 vs. the Packers on Monday Night and 2008 vs. the Jets.
#90 by Cuenca Guy // Nov 27, 2013 - 3:45pm
Thanks. I didn't remember those games.
Regardless, the weather isn't as much of a factor as many think. Seattle is close to the ocean which makes the climate much more temperate than would otherwise be the case at that latitude. That said, I hear the forecast for Monday could include snow.
#98 by Anthony May (not verified) // Nov 27, 2013 - 5:53pm
To my knowledge there have been two snow games, I went to one of them in 2008 vs the Jets. It was Holmgren's last home game and it snowed around a foot. You are correct though that snow is rare.
#73 by Perfundle // Nov 27, 2013 - 1:06pm
Well, one immediate boost they get is simply being a West Coast team that always plays home games at either 7PM or 11PM EST; All the West Coast teams get this advantage.
The noise aspect seems to affect the lesser opponents more than the good opponents. Beyond that, I don't know. A placebo/nocebo effect, maybe?
#74 by EricL // Nov 27, 2013 - 1:15pm
You're adding the time zone difference twice. Seattle home games are at either 4PM or 8(:30)PM Eastern time.
A post on another thread a few weeks ago mentioned that peak time for athletic performance is late afternoon. Also it's easier to go East to West than West to East. So, I would expect time-of-day is a non-factor here. (Though I will lend credence to possible after effects of sitting on a plane for five hours, regardless of time zone differences)
#81 by Adam W (not verified) // Nov 27, 2013 - 2:18pm
I agree that the Seahawks have a distinct home-field advantage due to the construction of their stadium.
That said, it's possible that their home-field advantage is being overstated due to an "away-field disadvantage" effect when they have to fly east. You can't look at home/road splits and assume that one or the other represents "true talent". The truth is somewhere in the middle (i.e. regression to the mean).
#85 by Perfundle // Nov 27, 2013 - 2:53pm
Argh, you're right; I knew it didn't look right somehow.
As for late afternoon, by the end of the 4PM games (sometimes 4:25), perhaps it's moved past the peak time for the Eastern teams, and certainly so for the night games.
#100 by Ajas (not verified) // Nov 29, 2013 - 2:27am
"Somebody's probably done a similar study, or at least looked at the data enough to shrug their shoulders or something."
Vegas has. And so you should remember that while going 8-0 at home last year, the Seahawks also went 4-0 as home-underdogs (Dallas, NE, GB, SF) which I don't think had ever happened in the NFL.
So as an extreme edge case, it's probably not useful to try to encompass Seattle's current home field advantage in stats filtering, even though it obviously exists.
#105 by Sid // Dec 01, 2013 - 6:49pm
San Diego's defense has been ranked 32nd basically all season but they've actually had some successful games. Miami, Indy, Jacksonville, even today against Cincinnati (only 14 allowed so far, and we're in the 4th quarter).