Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Week 13 DVOA Ratings
Week 13 DVOA Ratings
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Aaron Schatz

So, how about those Seahawks? Last night's dominating 34-7 victory over New Orleans just emphasizes what our DVOA ratings already said before Week 13: the Seahawks are the best team in the NFL in 2013. In fact, the big win actually moves Seattle all the way up to tenth on the list of the best teams in DVOA history, although we'll wait until they're in the top ten for more than just one week before we start running that "best DVOA ever" table every Tuesday. The Seahawks are now pretty much guaranteed to get home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. We have their odds at 97.7 percent. (You can see those odds here, or read more commentary on the playoff odds in Danny Tuccitto's weekly ESPN Insider piece.)

Even with the huge opponent adjustments that come from beating the No. 4 overall team, Seattle's single-game rating of 67.4% DVOA doesn't stand as the top game of the week. It isn't even second. Detroit's demolition of Green Bay on Thanksgiving has 98.7% DVOA with current opponent adjustments, the second strongest game of the year behind Philadelphia's Week 9 pummeling of Oakland. Carolina's big win over Tampa Bay finishes second; at 83.4%, it currently rates as Carolina's best game of the year.

Of course, these single-game ratings work both ways, and the Packers were more awful than the Lions were amazing on Thanksgiving. Therefore, the Packers have a ridiculously awful single-game DVOA of -133.2%, the worst for any game this year. The Packers' overall DVOA dropped from 13th to 21st this week; given that our ratings include every game of the season, that's a huge drop this late in the year. It's hard to remember now that the Packers ranked ninth in DVOA after Aaron Rodgers' last full game in Week 8. Of course, the offense has completely fallen apart without Rodgers, who might be the most valuable player in the league, but the defense hasn't helped things either.

Green Bay DVOA, Weeks 1-8 vs. Weeks 9-13
Weeks OFF Rk DEF Rk ST Rk TOT Rk
Weeks 1-8 29.0% 2 10.4% 28 -3.5% 25 15.1% 10
Weeks 9-13 -14.5% 26 21.0% 29 0.3% 16 -35.2% 29

The ranks there represent the ranks among all teams in the time period listed. As long as we're looking at some splits around Week 9, here are three more. All three of these teams have both played only four games in the last five weeks, so the sample size is small -- particularly when it comes to the special teams ratings -- but the results are pretty interesting. First, here are the Philadelphia Eagles in the first eight games of the year compared to the last four, since Nick Foles returned from a concussion in Week 9.

Philadelphia DVOA, Weeks 1-8 vs. Weeks 9-13
Weeks OFF Rk DEF Rk ST Rk TOT Rk
Weeks 1-8 6.0% 12 12.7% 30 -5.7% 28 -12.3% 21
Weeks 9-13 45.5% 1 -1.4% 15 11.0% 3 57.8% 1

Here is New England, starting with the game against Pittsburgh where Tom Brady and his receivers finally found their rhythm. You can see how the Patriots have completely turned things around to become the same team they've been the last few years. The offense is awesome again, and the defense, now riddled with injuries, is once again below average. The special teams, as always, are excellent. (The Patriots have dropped from second to ninth even though their rating is roughly the same because special teams around the league have been a lot better in the last five weeks, partly because the Giants and Texans stopped being historically awful, and that affected the normalization that averages the entire season at zero.)

I could have cut this off to look at the Patriots before and after Rob Gronkowski returned in Week 7, but I'm being a little lazy. Still, this gives you the same feel for what's going on.

New England DVOA, Weeks 1-8 vs. Weeks 9-13
Weeks OFF Rk DEF Rk ST Rk TOT Rk
Weeks 1-8 -5.5% 18 -5.5% 11 6.6% 2 6.7% 13
Weeks 9-13 44.5% 2 8.0% 21 5.2% 9 41.8% 4

Finally, let's look at the Jacksonville Jaguars, starting with their first win of the season against Tennessee in Week 9. It's all about the incremental improvements, especially when you were the worst team in NFL history for half a season.

Jacksonville DVOA, Weeks 1-8 vs. Weeks 9-13
Weeks OFF Rk DEF Rk ST Rk TOT Rk
Weeks 1-8 -42.7% 32 19.7% 31 -0.3% 18 -62.8% 32
Weeks 9-13 -23.1% 29 2.4% 18 7.8% 7 -17.7% 24

WORST DVOA EVER WATCH

Given that Jacksonville improvement over the past four games, it would take some serious implosion for the Jaguars to challenge the 2005 49ers for the title of worst team in DVOA history. Their offense also has improved enough to put some space between the Jags and the nightmare that was the 1992 Seattle Seahawks. The team with the best chance to finish with an all-time worst rating is now San Diego, although the Chargers' defense did improve a little bit this week.

WORST TOTAL DVOA
THROUGH 12 GAMES
x WORST OFFENSIVE DVOA
THROUGH 12 GAMES
x WORST DEFENSIVE DVOA
THROUGH 12 GAMES
x WORST SPECIAL TEAMS DVOA
THROUGH 12 GAMES
Year Team DVOA x Year Team DVOA x Year Team DVOA x Year Team DVOA
2005 SF -59.6% x 1992 SEA -46.8% x 1996 ATL 24.3% x 2010 SD -14.8%
2008 STL -57.9% x 2005 SF -44.9% x 2001 ARI 24.0% x 1995 PHI -12.0%
2008 DET -53.5% x 1997 NO -44.2% x 2008 DET 24.0% x 2008 MIN -11.3%
2009 DET -48.3% x 2002 HOU -43.4% x 1999 CLE 23.7% x 1996 NYJ -11.2%
1999 CLE -48.0% x 2010 CAR -41.2% x 2013 SD 23.6% x 2013 WAS -11.2%
2013 JAC -47.7% x 2013 JAC -36.1% x 2005 HOU 23.0% x 1997 STL -11.1%
2004 SF -44.2% x 2007 SF -36.1% x 2004 STL 22.9% x 2000 BUF -11.1%
2000 CIN -42.7% x 2004 CHI -35.9% x 2004 NO 22.4% x 2009 GB -10.6%
1998 PHI -42.5% x 2010 ARI -35.7% x 1999 SF 22.4% x 1992 TB -10.6%
1989 DAL -41.8% x 2004 MIA -35.7% x 2000 ARI 22.1% x 1998 OAK -10.4%
1992 NE -41.8% x 2008 STL -35.3% x 2008 STL 21.8% x 2007 CAR -10.0%
1991 IND -41.7% x 2006 OAK -34.0% x 2000 SF 21.6% x 2008 MIA -9.2%

* * * * *

Normally when I look at "best ever" and "worst ever" in this column, I'm looking at DVOA ratings. After all, this is the "DVOA ratings column." However, it's time to bring attention to some absolutely awesome play this season from two front lines, the Lions and the Jets. These two teams are currently tied for the league lead with 2.91 Adjusted Line Yards allowed per carry. If the season ended right now, the Lions and Jets would be tied for the fourth-best ALY figure we've ever measured. (Currently, ALY figures go back to 1995.) Arizona and Denver would also be in the all-time top 20. Here's a look at the all-time top ten, plus this year's two big teams:

Best Defensive ALY Rates, 1995-2013
Year Team ALY RB Yd/Car
2006 MIN 2.75 2.99
1998 SD 2.78 2.52
2000 BAL 2.82 2.72
2013 DET 2.91 3.40
2013 NYJ 2.91 2.87
2012 TB 2.96 3.58
2001 PIT 3.07 3.44
1998 BAL 3.08 3.64
2000 TEN 3.08 3.15
1999 BAL 3.10 2.87
1997 PIT 3.12 3.01
2000 NYG 3.12 2.81

Unfortunately, the Lions and Jets can't stop the pass like they can stop the run. The Jets have the best run defense DVOA in the league, but rank 18th against the pass. The Lions are second against the run and 22nd against the pass.

* * * * *

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 13 are:

  • Russell Wilson, QB, SEA (Limited Edition): Second among Week 13 QB with 202 DYAR (310 passing yards, 48 rushing yards, 3 TD)
  • Alex Boone, LT, SF: Took over for an injured Joe Staley and didn't allow a hurry or sack to St. Louis pass rushers
  • Zach Ertz, TE, PHI: Second among Week 13 TE with 36 DYAR (5-of-6, 68 yards, 2 TD)
  • DeMarco Murray, RB, DAL: Led all Week 13 RB with 67 DYAR (63 rushing yards, 39 receiving yards, 3 TD)
  • Desmond Trufant, CB, ATL: Allowed only one catch for 33 yards against Buffalo

Some other players we considered (not including players we did in previous weeks or those included in Madden's Team of the Week) were Jon Beason, Andre Holmes, Chris Myers, Matt Shaughnessy, Andrew Whitworth, and pretty much the entire Detroit offensive line.

* * * * *

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.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through 13 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.)

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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>

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 40.7% 1 41.8% 1 11-1 13.3% 5 -20.7% 1 6.8% 2
2 DEN 32.1% 2 28.3% 3 10-2 32.6% 1 0.7% 18 0.1% 17
3 CAR 30.2% 3 32.1% 2 9-3 11.4% 8 -18.0% 2 0.8% 14
4 NO 20.1% 4 20.9% 5 9-3 16.5% 4 -4.9% 11 -1.3% 21
5 NE 19.1% 5 22.5% 4 9-3 11.8% 6 -1.2% 16 6.1% 4
6 SF 16.7% 6 17.6% 6 8-4 5.1% 14 -8.9% 6 2.7% 10
7 CIN 14.8% 7 16.6% 7 8-4 -5.1% 21 -15.5% 4 4.4% 7
8 KC 10.9% 9 7.8% 11 9-3 -0.3% 16 -4.1% 12 7.0% 1
9 PHI 10.5% 10 13.4% 8 7-5 18.2% 3 7.6% 25 -0.1% 19
10 CHI 10.5% 8 7.6% 12 6-6 11.0% 9 1.6% 19 1.1% 12
11 ARI 7.6% 11 9.7% 9 7-5 -7.2% 24 -17.2% 3 -2.5% 24
12 STL 4.4% 14 8.6% 10 5-7 -4.3% 20 -2.4% 13 6.3% 3
13 DET 3.5% 18 4.4% 13 7-5 5.4% 13 -1.7% 15 -3.6% 26
14 DAL 2.4% 12 1.7% 15 7-5 7.9% 10 9.4% 27 3.9% 9
15 IND 1.0% 17 -3.1% 19 8-4 3.8% 15 3.7% 20 0.9% 13
16 PIT 0.5% 15 3.4% 14 5-7 5.7% 12 5.4% 23 0.3% 15
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 MIA -1.1% 21 0.2% 17 6-6 -0.7% 17 -2.2% 14 -2.5% 25
18 SD -1.4% 19 0.3% 16 5-7 22.0% 2 23.6% 32 0.2% 16
19 TB -1.9% 16 -1.3% 18 3-9 -6.6% 22 -6.3% 10 -1.6% 22
20 BUF -4.6% 20 -7.1% 21 4-8 -8.2% 25 -9.0% 5 -5.4% 28
21 GB -5.6% 13 -9.1% 24 5-6-1 11.7% 7 15.3% 30 -1.9% 23
22 TEN -7.7% 22 -9.0% 23 5-7 -2.3% 18 -0.9% 17 -6.2% 29
23 BAL -8.6% 23 -6.6% 20 6-6 -20.7% 30 -7.5% 8 4.7% 5
24 ATL -10.3% 24 -13.3% 25 3-9 6.0% 11 15.5% 31 -0.8% 20
25 NYG -12.5% 26 -7.8% 22 5-7 -12.9% 27 -7.9% 7 -7.5% 31
26 MIN -13.4% 27 -13.5% 26 3-8-1 -7.1% 23 10.7% 28 4.5% 6
27 NYJ -15.6% 25 -18.5% 27 5-7 -27.2% 31 -7.4% 9 4.2% 8
28 WAS -22.3% 29 -21.7% 28 3-9 -3.0% 19 8.1% 26 -11.2% 32
29 CLE -22.8% 28 -23.9% 29 4-8 -17.7% 28 5.1% 22 0.0% 18
30 HOU -23.1% 30 -25.6% 30 2-10 -12.3% 26 4.1% 21 -6.7% 30
31 OAK -30.3% 31 -30.8% 31 4-8 -18.4% 29 6.8% 24 -5.0% 27
32 JAC -47.7% 32 -40.1% 32 3-9 -36.1% 32 14.0% 29 2.4% 11
  • 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 40.7% 11-1 43.1% 10.0 2 -2.0% 19 4.1% 11 13.0% 20
2 DEN 32.1% 10-2 40.0% 10.6 1 -5.7% 31 -15.6% 32 7.7% 9
3 CAR 30.2% 9-3 30.5% 8.6 3 3.6% 5 3.6% 13 9.5% 14
4 NO 20.1% 9-3 19.8% 7.6 8 4.4% 3 15.7% 2 13.6% 24
5 NE 19.1% 9-3 15.6% 8.2 4 2.1% 11 -9.3% 29 5.5% 3
6 SF 16.7% 8-4 11.4% 7.4 9 0.2% 16 9.0% 5 16.0% 26
7 CIN 14.8% 8-4 21.5% 7.7 6 -4.1% 26 -5.1% 22 12.1% 19
8 KC 10.9% 9-3 15.8% 7.1 11 -6.1% 32 -13.3% 31 4.7% 2
9 PHI 10.5% 7-5 12.4% 7.8 5 -4.6% 27 0.7% 15 28.7% 32
10 CHI 10.5% 6-6 8.6% 7.2 10 -2.4% 21 -3.9% 21 10.8% 16
11 ARI 7.6% 7-5 5.3% 7.7 7 3.7% 4 13.5% 3 5.6% 5
12 STL 4.4% 5-7 2.9% 5.8 16 3.1% 7 16.6% 1 22.5% 30
13 DET 3.5% 7-5 7.4% 6.2 14 -2.1% 20 -6.0% 24 13.4% 22
14 DAL 2.4% 7-5 4.6% 6.8 13 -0.9% 17 -1.7% 18 12.0% 18
15 IND 1.0% 8-4 1.5% 7.0 12 -1.5% 18 -11.3% 30 21.8% 28
16 PIT 0.5% 5-7 2.0% 5.9 15 -5.3% 30 -3.7% 20 7.3% 8
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
17 MIA -1.1% 6-6 -0.2% 5.5 18 1.7% 14 -0.1% 17 10.9% 17
18 SD -1.4% 5-7 1.3% 5.5 17 -5.1% 29 0.0% 16 4.0% 1
19 TB -1.9% 3-9 -10.2% 4.8 24 10.4% 1 9.1% 4 8.6% 12
20 BUF -4.6% 4-8 -4.1% 5.5 19 1.8% 13 -7.9% 27 16.1% 27
21 GB -5.6% 5-6-1 -1.2% 5.3 20 -2.8% 22 0.8% 14 22.3% 29
22 TEN -7.7% 5-7 -1.5% 4.5 25 -3.6% 24 -7.8% 26 6.4% 7
23 BAL -8.6% 6-6 -5.6% 5.0 23 -3.1% 23 6.0% 7 5.9% 6
24 ATL -10.3% 3-9 -19.2% 5.2 21 9.8% 2 4.8% 10 8.2% 10
25 NYG -12.5% 5-7 -18.2% 4.4 26 3.2% 6 5.1% 8 13.6% 23
26 MIN -13.4% 3-8-1 -13.6% 4.3 27 2.5% 9 5.1% 9 8.5% 11
27 NYJ -15.6% 5-7 -19.5% 5.0 22 2.9% 8 -6.0% 25 23.8% 31
28 WAS -22.3% 3-9 -25.4% 3.5 28 1.9% 12 -2.4% 19 5.6% 4
29 CLE -22.8% 4-8 -16.5% 3.3 29 -3.7% 25 3.6% 12 10.5% 15
30 HOU -23.1% 2-10 -20.2% 3.2 30 0.4% 15 -5.6% 23 14.1% 25
31 OAK -30.3% 4-8 -27.4% 2.2 31 -4.8% 28 6.5% 6 9.0% 13
32 JAC -47.7% 3-9 -45.8% 1.5 32 2.3% 10 -8.6% 28 13.3% 21

Comments

229 comments, Last at 08 Dec 2013, 5:26pm

#194 by jamie_k74 // Dec 04, 2013 - 11:52pm

Not meaning to sound all Peter Kingish, but something that may interest only me; over on the Playoff Odds page; look at the two tables "Playoff Scenarios" & "On The Clock". PS lists 21 teams, OTC shows 11, total 32. But NYJ appear on both; 0.1% chance of a Conference appearance, and 0.9% chance of a top-3 draft pick. So who misses out? The NYG are the ones in mediocrity limbo; assessed as having no chance of post-season sucess, nor of the consolation of a premium draft choice. They will, of course, be joined by more teams over the next month.

Points: 0

#196 by Hurt Bones // Dec 05, 2013 - 3:20am

Ladies and gentlemen, your Football Outsiders Message Board Preferred Poster Note of the Week (FOMBPPOTW). Me, I only noticed that Baltimore had the worst DVOA of any team that still had a mathematical chance at a No. 2 seed.

Points: 0

#193 by Dave B (not verified) // Dec 04, 2013 - 9:53pm

The Rams as the 12th best team this year looks like kind of a mirage to me.

They are running at a net -0.5 yards per play deficit. They are 26th in the league in net drive success rate with both sides of the ball being equally poor

Advanced nfl stats has them at 28th in their team efficiency model.

Special Teams and Turnovers likely explains why they are high in DVOA currently.

Points: 0

#132 by CBPodge // Dec 04, 2013 - 7:28am

I'd be really excited to see how the #1 pick odds might look next week if the Falcons, Redskins and Bucs all lose and the Texans beat the Jags - it'd look like you'd have 5 teams with roughly 15-25% chances of it.

This excites me because I'm a Rams fan and am desperately hoping the Redskins lose out and give us a #1 or #2 pick.

Points: 0

#150 by BigWoody (not verified) // Dec 04, 2013 - 11:04am

The question is...would you take a QB with that pick?

Points: 0

#154 by CBPodge // Dec 04, 2013 - 11:56am

I'd guess no, because Fisher and Les Snead both love Bradford. Assuming his knee will be ok in the long run, he didn't do anything to argue against that, and was having his best year as a pro despite playing half of it with no running game and receivers who didn't seem to know what they were doing!

I imagine they'd be quite happy to try to get another RG3-like deal from a team needing a QB or Clowney. Our main needs don't really tie up that well to the guys I'm seeing at the top of the draft (given that those are mainly QBs and pass rushers, and assuming we're happy with Bradford we need neither). I doubt we'd get a similar deal to the RG3 one though, even if we were picking #1/#2. I suspect its irrelevant though - the Redskins will win a game or two between now and then, and we'll have their pick around 5 or 6. Which still makes the RG3 trade a great deal for us (and to be fair, a pretty great deal for Washington too IMO).

Points: 0

#163 by TomC // Dec 04, 2013 - 1:57pm

I think it's only still a good deal for Washington if they 1) can keep Griffin healthy and 2) come up with a new offensive gameplan now that NFL defenses have figured out the read option. I think both of those necessitate dumping the Shanahans.

Points: 0

#179 by dryheat // Dec 04, 2013 - 3:55pm

I don't even think you need an excuse to dump the Shanahans. The elder has been a fraud for a long time, and the younger has a job in this league solely because he has the same surname as the fraud. The Schottenheimers are much better than their Shanahan counterparts, and I think very little of Brian Schottenheimer.

Belichick hired his son as an assistant coach. There's a difference between helping one's son get started in the industry by breaking down film and assisting a positional coach and letting him co-ordinate one's offense.

Points: 0

#200 by RickD // Dec 05, 2013 - 11:33am

The Redskins' offensive scheme isn't the problem. RG3 isn't the same QB as he was last year, and that slight difference is noticeable. In any case, the problem isn't the running game. That's fine. They need better pass blocking, badly. Justin Tuck came into Sunday's game with 2.5 sacks all season. He got 4 against the Redskins. They also need considerable improvement on defense.

Given that Shanahan inherited an above-average defense and turned it into crap, I would not count on him fixing things. He's really on thin ice these days.

Things started going south with the weird dynamic going on between him and RG3. Shanahan doesn't do much to counter the impression that there are special rules for RG3. And RG3 seems to channel RG2 way too much.

Shanahan has been making too many excuses lately.

Points: 0

#131 by CBPodge // Dec 04, 2013 - 7:22am

How close is the NFC West to being the best division ever by combined total DVOA or average DVOA (or maybe not ever, maybe since the change to the current setup of 8 4-team divisions)?

I can't remember a division having 4 of the top 12 before.

Points: 0

#136 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Dec 04, 2013 - 9:01am

I know you already stated since the new division format, so my example doesn't apply, but the only one that comes to mind was the 1995 NFC Central: the Top 4 teams were in the top 10 by DVOA. Of course the fifth team, Tampa Bay, dragged the division down as a whole. Nothing else is really coming to mind in the 8 division era.

Points: 0

#142 by CBPodge // Dec 04, 2013 - 10:14am

What is the NFC East now was great in 1991 - the Redskins, Giants, Eagles and Cowboys combined for 90.8% DVOA. The Phoenix Cardinals dragged it down with a -24.3% DVOA.

The 2007 AFC North was pretty good - Colts (2nd), Jags (3rd), Titans (11th) and Texans (18th) combined for 58.7% DVOA. The NFC West currently has 69.4% combined though. The 1995 (current) NFC North, despite their 4 top 10 finishes, only combined for 45.8% DVOA.

I would be really interested to see which division in history had the best total DVOA.

Points: 0

#147 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Dec 04, 2013 - 10:45am

When DVOA gets through the 80's, the 1984 AFC West looks like a good candidate. The Broncos, Seahawks, and Raiders had 13, 12, and 11 wins. Even the bottom of the division was no slouch, with the Chiefs at 8-8 and Chargers at 7-9. However the Broncos and Raiders were one and done in the playoffs, calling into question how strong any of them were by DVOA (not that upsets don't happen to great DVOA teams).

Points: 0

#149 by Hurt Bones // Dec 04, 2013 - 10:57am

Obviously AFC North is a typo, but it got me looking and it looks like the AFC North's best year was 2004 53% DVOA

Points: 0

#153 by CBPodge // Dec 04, 2013 - 11:49am

Sorry, AFC South. I got confused by starting out from Indianapolis, which to my way of thinking (known as logic!) being most vaguely definable as north.

Points: 0

#157 by Perfundle // Dec 04, 2013 - 1:06pm

The current setup only encompasses 12 years, so tabulating the numbers was easy enough.

The best and worst division by DVOA occurred in the same year, and unsurprisingly, they played each other. The 2004 AFC East had three teams in the top 4, and the 2004 NFC West had three teams in the bottom 4. This year's NFC West is tied for 3rd place for the best division with the 2008 NFC East, behind the 2005 AFC West and the 2004 AFC East. And since I have the numbers, here are the average division DVOA ratings in those twelve years:

AFC East 5.88%
NFC East 4.59%
AFC North 4.38%
NFC South 0.51%
AFC West 0.11%
AFC South -1.71%
NFC North -3.80%
NFC West -10.72%

The NFC West averaged at most -7.15% for every year except the last two.

Points: 0

#184 by Danny Tuccitto // Dec 04, 2013 - 4:40pm

Looked into this. Perfundle's delivered the goods, but would just like to add the following:

1) 2004 AFC East is best & 2004 NFC West is worst even going back to 1989.
2) NFC West from 2004 to 2010 comprises 7 of worst 8 divisions since 1989.
3) Top 3 divisions per offense DVOA are all early naughts AFC West: 2002, 2005, 2004.
4) 2004 AFC East also best defensive division since 1989.
5) 2002 NFC South is best special teams division since 1989.
6) Early naughts AFC East has third- through fifth-best special teams divisions since 1989: 2004, 2002, 2005.

Of course, yeah, the extra teams per division before 2002 means less likelihood of extremes. Also, we're comparing the NFC West's DVOAs through 12 games with everyone else's end-of-season DVOAs. Maybe I can convince Aaron to add a blurb in next week's column looking at this with "DVOA through X games" instead.

Points: 0

#197 by CBPodge // Dec 05, 2013 - 6:17am

So the NFC West's sending a 7-9 division champion to the playoffs in 2010 was really the culmination of half a decade of collective incompetence.

Points: 0

#203 by EricL // Dec 05, 2013 - 12:09pm

Bill James did an article on this on baseball back in the early-mid-80s called "Competitive Mediocrity." When your primary rivals all suck, you don't have to do as much to make the same relative progress as when you're in a highly-competitive environment. Over time, this leads to what we saw in the NFC West for most of the Aughts.

Once SF broke out of it, suddenly the other teams had to do more to stay competitive. And, frankly, I'm surprised it turned around this fast. Usually there's more of a laggard.

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#204 by formido // Dec 05, 2013 - 1:40pm

Seattle was already well on its way to climbing out of it, SF was just in a coincidental position to temporarily jump past their rebuild.

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#215 by Will Allen // Dec 05, 2013 - 3:59pm

You really need to turn down the flow rate in the fan-boy intravenous drip. I think Seattle is going to win the NFC, and I'll probably favor them in last game of the year. However, absent a lucky break with a 3rd round draft pick in the spring of 2012, they'd very likely still be looking up at the Niners.

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#216 by SmoothLikeIce // Dec 05, 2013 - 4:17pm

Just wanted to raise an internet glass to your successful "find everything critiquing the Seattle Seahawks or their coach on this page and reply to it" campaign this afternoon! Good on you, my friend.

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#120 by BigWoody (not verified) // Dec 04, 2013 - 2:16am

Hey Aaron, here's a couple additions for your Special Super Bowl Matchups.

Who Dey? vs. Where Dat? (Cin-Sea)

Hearing impaired fans special. (KC-Sea)

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#135 by panthersnbraves // Dec 04, 2013 - 8:33am

I like your "hearing impaired" one, but since it would be a neutral field, would that apply? I thought that almost everyone at the game itself was there as part of a corporate dealio...

Also, what were the chances of them NOT setting the record by at least one decimal point after setting everything up? Conspiracy theorists want to know...

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#205 by formido // Dec 05, 2013 - 1:43pm

As a Seattle fan, I was hoping they would fail. It just paints a target on their back for the league and provides a ready-made story line to discount every victory in Seattle.

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#220 by Karl Cuba // Dec 06, 2013 - 9:20am

You're a Seattle fan? I never would have guessed. Maybe a name change? I suggest formidoM.

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#146 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 04, 2013 - 10:35am

In the spirit of the previous matchup, can we just call the KC-SEA game "What?"

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#102 by RickD // Dec 03, 2013 - 10:13pm

That was a seriously impressive win by the Seahawks last night. If they play at that level in the playoffs, they'll be a Super Bowl favorite.

The biggest problem with be maintaining that level of play. Can they keep it up for another 8 or so weeks?

I still find it hard to accept that a Pete Carroll-coached team is playing this well. The Patriots of the late '90s were never close to this good.

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#107 by Grant (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 11:10pm

I still find it hard to accept that a Pete Carroll-coached team is playing this well. The Patriots of the late '90s were never close to this good.
Coaching is a skill like any other. If a person is dedicated, willing to learn from mistakes and has opportunities he can become a better coach over time.

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#145 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 04, 2013 - 10:33am

There appears to be a very real chance that while at USC, Carroll learned how to use his assistant coaches.

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#152 by EricL // Dec 04, 2013 - 11:49am

In an interview a few weeks ago (video is out there somewhere, but I can't remember where the interview was aired), he said that when he returned to the college game, he revamped his entire approach on how to run a program/organization.

So, I'm sure his approach to assistant coaches changed as well. He's certainly a different coach, with a very different approach, than the last time he was in the NFL.

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#156 by dryheat // Dec 04, 2013 - 12:37pm

He apparently stopped trying to win games by the power of positive thinking and enthusiasm and started strategizing a bit.

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#160 by 42Freddie (not verified) // Dec 04, 2013 - 1:15pm

He still gets jacked and pumped though :)

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#175 by In_Belichick_W… // Dec 04, 2013 - 3:28pm

Jacked and pumped enough that his players take meds to deal with him.....

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#108 by 3Monkies (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 11:31pm

Things change and team adapt. Seattle looks great, but they could lose to the Saints in the playoffs. They have a great QB and coach so while Seattle should be a heavy favorite, anything is possible.

Last year Denver blew out the Ravens similar to Seattle over the Saints last night, and that game was in Baltimore on a relatively cold day. In the playoffs, it was a different story. Circumstances like weather (coldest Bronco playoff game ever), injuries (LT Clady & RG Kuper play injured while Balt is healthier), etc totally affect the game.

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#126 by Hurt Bones // Dec 04, 2013 - 2:54am

Agreed except for one little thing. 53° and sunny in Baltimore on Dec 16 is 'relatively' warm not cold (about 8° above average). Weather wise it was a beautiful day. I was there. I had complaints about the result, no complaints about the weather.

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#109 by Max Kingsbury (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 11:51pm

Did you ever watch USC play?

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#112 by RickD // Dec 04, 2013 - 12:46am

No, why would I?

I'm from New England. We don't do college football. (BC notwithstanding)

Also, I have a real problem with how the NCAA makes millions of dollars from athletes without paying them. And Pete Carroll's USC teams were among the most notorious of rules violators. In any case, success at college football largely comes down to recruiting.

There's no shortage of college coaches who have failed at the pro level. So if you have a coach who has previously failed at the pro level and who has had some success at the college level, it doesn't follow that his college success is a better predictor of how he'll do later as a pro coach than his earlier NFL gigs (esp. if there were multiple gigs).

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#114 by dirge (not verified) // Dec 04, 2013 - 1:48am

Carroll's USC teams got in trouble for allowing some of their players to be paid... which you would seem to support.

Carroll's still a goof, but he does seem to have learned a lot since his time in NE. His teams are consistently energized and aggressive; his teams seem to enjoy playing for him and their games are exciting. As a fan, there's not much more you can ask for (besides wins, of course).

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#155 by RickD // Dec 04, 2013 - 12:27pm

I support allowing players to be paid. I don't support programs violating rules to gain an unfair advantage over their competitors.

That shouldn't be so hard to understand.

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#162 by Aaron Brooks G… // Dec 04, 2013 - 1:18pm

"I support allowing players to be paid. I don't support programs violating rules to gain an unfair advantage over their competitors."

Aren't you a Patriots' fan? =)

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#201 by RickD // Dec 05, 2013 - 11:55am

Somehow, I don't take the rule about the location of a camera used to view the opponents' coaches on games nationally televised in front of 60,000 fans very seriously. Especially since the commissioner (a former Jets' employee) blatantly mis-interpreted it.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/199345-the-truth-about-spygate-punishing-success-and-promoting-parity

"A September 6, 2006 memo from Ray Anderson, the NFL head of game operations, adds to this. However, the rules don’t support this belief. Anderson’s memo reads, “Videotaping of any type, including but not limited to taping of an opponent’s offensive or defensive signals, is prohibited on the sidelines, in the coaches’ booth, in the locker room, or at any other locations accessible to club staff members during the game.”

Unfortunately, the memo misquotes the rules, and Anderson can’t change the rules. Rule changes must be proposed to and voted on by the teams. "

Even the name "Spygate" is misleading. It's not spying if you're just noticing what is being done in public.

The NFL under Goodell has become lawless. If Belichick and Kraft had fought the charges like Jonathan Vilma had, Goodell's abuse of power would have become more apparent.

To make an analogy with our Federal justice system, Goodell's office took on the roles of legislature, prosecutor, and judge. He rewrote the rules, selectively applied them against his former employer's chief rival, and made up a punishment based on a whim. The Jets were caught doing exactly the same thing the previous season and didn't lose a draft pick.

According to the rules written at the time by the Rules Committee, not the memo put out by the league office, what the Patriots were doing was legal. A camera on the sidelines was not illegal.


"The rule mentions only three spots where teams can’t use video equipment during games—the coaches’ booth, the locker room, and the field. No rule bars teams from recording signals as long as they locate their cameras properly."

It's a source of unending annoyance that semi-educated fans have been railing against "spying" for 6 years based on nonsense charges.

I don't see this as remotely comparable to a university (or its boosters) paying an athlete under the table.

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#226 by RickD // Dec 06, 2013 - 11:20pm

Again?

Hey, Karl. You could read the link if you want some education.

Find out something about how a team can be punished for a rule that wasn't really a rule, and have doubt cast on Super Bowls won between 2001 and 2005 for a rule "clarification" published in 2006.

As we found out during the most recent Jets-Patriots game, sometimes rule clarifications published by the league are controlling, while sometimes they aren't.

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#206 by formido // Dec 05, 2013 - 2:08pm

Pot meet kettle, as they say. It's a source of unending annoyance that semi-educated fans still call Carroll Pete the Cheat based on a witch hunt and trumped up associations of impropriety to Carroll himself. You were perfectly comfortable talking about Carroll's "notorious" program even though Carroll's direct involvement was never proved and the penalized misconduct was not all that extensive.

In fact, there is very good reason to believe that the investigation of USC was not in good faith at all:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Southern_California_athletics_scandal

A USC RB coach, Todd McNair, sued the NCAA and won:

"On November 21, 2012, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Frederick Shaller ruled that the NCAA was "malicious" in its investigation of McNair. In his ruling, the Judge stated that e-mails between an investigative committee member, an NCAA worker, and a person who works in the agency's appeals division "tend to show ill will or hatred" toward McNair. In an e-mail, one staffer called McNair "a lying morally bankrupt criminal, in my view, and a hypocrite of the highest order." Judge Shaller said he would unseal the entire inquiry into McNair in December. "I understand [why] the NCAA wants to keep this quiet," the Judge said. "But I'm not going to seal the record... I know you guys are going to appeal it but from my part.. There's no reason to seal it.. I think the public has a right to know."[13][14]"

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#225 by RickD // Dec 06, 2013 - 11:18pm

I didn't say Carroll was personally involved.

And the link you provide doesn't say anything to contradict the charges against Reggie Bush and/or OJ Mayo.

I don't have an opinion about whether USC was unfairly targeted. As far as I'm concerned, most major programs have money going under the table to "amateur" athletes, and this isn't anything new.

My defense of the Patriots is based on a different point: that the commissioner didn't apply the rules as written.

My second point is that people accuse the Patriots of "cheating" to win Super Bowls when the only possible relevant "rule" was a "clarification" written in a memo in 2006.

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#161 by 42Freddie (not verified) // Dec 04, 2013 - 1:18pm

I don't think anyone was saying that his USC success was a predictor of NFL success, just that there's no reason coaches can't improve.

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#72 by bucko (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 7:14pm

I remain firm in the belief that Mike McCarthy has completely failed as a head coach over the past 5 games.

With that schedule and 3 games at home a team of any kind of ability should be able to gut out 1-2 wins

To have the team not just go winless but in multiple games be non-competitive is completely ridiculous.

I wasn't a McCarthy basher by any measure prior to this season. Thought the guy had some strengths and some frustrating weaknesses like any number of coaches.

But I have serious doubts now about what is happening in the GB offices. Your team at least needs to show some spunk. Not just roll over and play dead.

Nobody need respond with any type of rebuttal as I am not budging.

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#105 by toolkien (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 10:56pm

You know, I'd really would have liked to "budge" you but then I remembered that the NFL is now a festering pile of crap. Is anybody else even dimly aware of the terrible shape this sport is in? It is pretty much unwatchable for anyone who used to enjoy the game - even well into the 90's. For the last 15 years it has turned into a ridiculous afterimage of its former self. It sort of looks like football if you don't pay too close attention. But it's a folding chair away from being a scripted show like the WWF.

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#106 by Will Allen // Dec 03, 2013 - 11:06pm

You'll probably need to fertilize your lawn more, too, as stressed as it is.

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#31 by Andy (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:19pm

The entire NFC West is in the top 10 for Weighted DVOA?! Amazing that the whole division went from the very bottom to the very top in just a few years.

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#85 by Jake (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 8:01pm

I kind of feel bad for the Rams. I wonder if they'd send that Redskins draft pick to Minnesota for the opportunity to swap divisions.

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#116 by BigWoody (not verified) // Dec 04, 2013 - 1:55am

Nah, the Vikings don't want to follow the Lakers to LA.

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#118 by justanothersteve // Dec 04, 2013 - 1:58am

I think they'd prefer to send that pick to Houston. The Rams might dominate the current AFC South.

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#28 by panthersnbraves // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:13pm

I realize that Seattle is traveling to San Francisco, but even with the 3-point Home Field advantage, how is SF a 2.5 point favorite over Seattle?

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#34 by Will Allen // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:23pm

Because the perception is that the Seahawks aren't nearly as good on the road.

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#51 by Kal // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:38pm

And SF has been playing much better as of late, and has Crabtree back.

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#115 by BigWoody (not verified) // Dec 04, 2013 - 1:51am

But the Seahawks are 5-1 on the road this year. Bill Parcells would disagree with "the perception".

Though I do agree that the 49ers are playing well and should be favored at The Stick.

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#125 by BigWoody (not verified) // Dec 04, 2013 - 2:48am

Then again, both Iupati and Staley are "out with a knee". Maybe the 49ers should not be favored.

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#96 by rrsquid // Dec 03, 2013 - 9:39pm

Well, pet peeve of mine. Lines are for betting. Casinos try to have 50% of all bets on either team. They make money by taking off the top of winning bets. They lose huge if a heavily betted team wins. They have nothing to do with anyone's perceived strength of a team or belief of actual results. This is why lines move as the % of bets start to favor one team or the other.

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#101 by Cuenca Guy // Dec 03, 2013 - 10:07pm

They have very much to do with perceived team strength and belief of actual results. That's why the gamblers are betting their money. It may not necessarily be representative of "analysts" or "the population at large", but unless the line was set very poorly, it's a decent representation of what the money "believes".

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#207 by formido // Dec 05, 2013 - 2:16pm

The lines are generally biased against Seattle. Seattle is 8-4 against the spread this year and was 11-5 (best record against the spread) last year.

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#27 by RickD // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:13pm

The future schedule ratings for the Broncos and Patriots would seem to give little hope to any other team in the AFC that wants a bye week.

Denver has the second lightest past schedule and the lightest future schedule. That might be a cause for concern.

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#83 by nat // Dec 03, 2013 - 7:59pm

DVOA takes opponent strength into account now, not so much a few weeks ago.

And they narrowly lost in OT at New England, and narrowly avoided overtime at KC. Home field is usually worth about 15% in DVOA, so I kinda trust this. If the Broncos manage to hold onto the first seed, they'll be favorites until they lose a game or get to the Super Bowl.

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#98 by RickD // Dec 03, 2013 - 9:48pm

They should be favorites.

But they were also favorites last season. I don't see them quite as dominant as the Seahawks right now.

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#127 by td (not verified) // Dec 04, 2013 - 3:32am

... and Seattle didn't look so hot a few weeks ago when they were struggling with Houston, Tampa Bay, and Indy. Team strength ebbs and flows through every season, largely through injuries, and it'd be ridiculous to try and project the Super Bowl this far out (though it is unusual that the preseason favorites are still favored this deep into the season)

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#140 by Crunch (not verified) // Dec 04, 2013 - 9:47am

Denver and Seattle both lost at Indianapolis (In somewhat similar fashion Den lost 39-33, Sea lost 34-28. Denver put up 429 Total yards. Seattle put up 423. Seattle allowed 317 Yds. Denver allowed 334. 23 1st downs for Denver, 21 for Seattle. Seattle did better on turnover margin, but allowed a D/ST score). I'm not seeing that as hugely dominant. I think DVOA is probably correct that Seattle is a much better Defensive Team and Denver much better offensively and by roughly the same margin.

Is the perception that SEA is that much better based entirely on the OT loss at Foxborough versus a team Seattle has not played?

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#159 by Rick & Roll (not verified) // Dec 04, 2013 - 1:13pm

Seattle extending their DVOA lead seems to be more about Seattle staying near the same level and Denver falling back a bit. Denver's offense is still great, just not all-time great like it was the first part of the season, and while their defense has improved, it's not enough to compensate and their special teams has gone from a top unit to average. Perhaps Denver's strength of schedule is pulling them down as well.

Much of the perception (non DVOA) regarding the two teams is based on their most recent prime time games against top teams.

Would Seattle be as dominant (if at all) if the game were in New Orleans ?

Does Denver choke away a 24 point lead to the Pats if the game is in Colorado? Essentially a likely tie was turned into a Pats win on a fluke special teams play, what if that didn't happen?

Denver and Seattle will be a great SuperBowl. If Seattle loses Browner and it's not windy (Peyton in cold is overblown. Peyton in wind is not), I can see Denver winning and think they probably should be favored.

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#168 by cjfarls // Dec 04, 2013 - 2:43pm

Agree with all of this.

DEN has regressed a bit on offense as oline injuries, and injuries to Julius Thomas have made the offense only dominant rather than other-worldly.

Peyton's struggles in the cold and playoffs are overblown, but he doesn't have the biggest arm/throw the prettiest ball so windy weather could potentially hold him back (though I think that is true of pretty much any QB to some extent). If it is forced into a slogged run battle, I'd bet on Lynch and the seachickens but there is no guaruntee that is the case as a wet/slick day could just mean its easier for the WRs to get open.

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#209 by formido // Dec 05, 2013 - 2:33pm

Perception has nothing to do with it. Seattle got its pass blocking back three games ago. That's precisely as "coincidental" as the Pats suddenly playing better with Gronk back.

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#208 by formido // Dec 05, 2013 - 2:30pm

As always, context matters. When Seattle lost to Indy, they were missing their reigning Pro Bowl LT, their reigning All-Pro C, their RT and their 4th best pass blocker TE Zach Miller[1].

They all were back finally three games ago. Since then, Seattle's game play and DVOA have spiked.

[1] Even so, if you watched that game, Seattle was very close to blowing it wide open and failing to do so hinged on a series of bad breaks. Wasn't very similar to Denver/Indy.

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#217 by Rick & Roll (not verified) // Dec 05, 2013 - 5:15pm

Yes, context does matter.

Denver played Indy without either of their starting OTs and moved their RG to RT or their MLB (Woodyard) who is their defensive captain. Their absence directly led to turnovers that accounted for a safety a touchdown and a FG... Additionally, to Indy, the Denver game was like a SuperBowl.

In Denver's two losses the scored over 30 points and committed 3 turnovers in each game.

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#218 by Perfundle // Dec 06, 2013 - 1:45am

"Additionally, to Indy, the Denver game was like a SuperBowl."

I'm pretty sure every game Seattle faces is like a Super Bowl to the opponent as well.

"Much of the perception (non DVOA) regarding the two teams is based on their most recent prime time games against top teams."

Yes, and Denver had their chance to blow out a fellow top team at home, against Kansas City, and failed to do it.

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#219 by theslothook // Dec 06, 2013 - 4:44am

I know I'm coming off as a seahawks hater, so I should preface by saying... I am a colts fan first. Now, Seattle I believe is the best football team in the nfl. They are balanced across the team and strong with talent at some important places.

That said, this latest blowout does not serve to prove SeA greatness anymore than close losses to the bucs and rams. Those games, seattle was decidedly poor in. To forgive those and just focus on the last game is just wrong and the ridiculous overhyping I'm seeing from other posters is slightly reminiscent of paulm's style hyperbole. Sea is great, but can lose like they did last year against atlanta. They can lose at home, they can lose on the road. They can be beaten. Even great teams get beat.

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#224 by Perfundle // Dec 06, 2013 - 12:26pm

I think close losses to the Bucs and Rams would not result in Seattle being thought of as the best team, but I know what you mean. In any case, I'm only replying to how Seattle is perceived versus Denver, not about their supposed invincibility; that last game said more about New Orleans on the road than anything.

However, to be fair, the ridiculous overhyping is accompanied by an explosion of posts looking for reasons why Seattle won't win it all, more than if they had just won by 7 points, I feel; the same happened with Denver at the start of the season.

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#221 by Karl Cuba // Dec 06, 2013 - 9:40am

"I'm pretty sure every game Seattle faces is like a Super Bowl to the opponent as well."

Barf

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#223 by Perfundle // Dec 06, 2013 - 12:06pm

I'm just seeing if he would apply his logic to Seattle as well, that's all.

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#12 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Dec 03, 2013 - 5:56pm

The Lion's DVOA against the Packers is even more impressive when you consider they committed 4 turnovers, missed a 31yd field goal, and kicked off out of bounds twice.

That's how you win by 30 points and yet still leave your fans angry and frustrated for most of the game.

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#117 by justanothersteve // Dec 04, 2013 - 1:56am

The Packers have sucked so bad since AR went down that even when the Lions try to give them the game they still get blown out.

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#10 by theslothook // Dec 03, 2013 - 5:52pm

I am a bit surprised to see SD's offense still at number 2 in the league. They eat up yardage, but given how much Fo loves red zone production, they don't seem to be all that great in that category.

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#35 by Perfundle // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:23pm

Do they really love it, though? When Green Bay was the second-best offense, their red-zone offense was pretty mediocre as well. I would think that being able to consistently reach the red-zone is far more valuable than performance once inside. With that in mind, is it possible to get an extra column in the drive stats page regarding what fraction of drives end up in the red-zone? I'm sure San Diego is top 5 in that stat.

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#45 by theslothook // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:33pm

Well...they explained that predictively, the red zone performance counts for more in terms of dvoa than non red zone plays. But yes, if you're not getting into the red zone that often, its not going to be a big help.

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#6 by willybhu // Dec 03, 2013 - 5:46pm

Is the Eagles' ridiculous variance because because of Nick Foles entering mid-season? Or have they actually been that variable even with Nick Foles?

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#228 by frank kenney (not verified) // Dec 08, 2013 - 3:56am

I think that while the bad game Foles had against Dallas is definitely a factor, I think it's most likely due to the variation between early in the season and after Foles came in. On top of that the defense has been extremely inconsistent, playing downright awful early in the year and closer to average for the last month or so.

When you factor in those things plus the extreme highs and lows of Foles play (vs. Oakland as opposed to vs. Dallas) it makes sense that the Eagles have been more inconsistent than most/all teams in the league.

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#5 by someguy (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 5:43pm

Crap, the Seahawks took a huge leap this week.

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#13 by robbbbbb (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 5:58pm

They beat the bloody hell out of the number four team in the league. The offense moved the ball efficiently, and the defense completely stifled Drew Brees' ability to throw any farther than five yards downfield.

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#80 by Perfundle // Dec 03, 2013 - 7:40pm

What surprised me was that DVOA considered the Panthers to be more dominant. I'd've guessed the third-ranked defense going up against the 20th-ranked offense would yield something similar to what actually transpired, but the Panthers' defensive DVOA made a sizable jump of 2.8%, even higher than Seattle's 2.5%.

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#4 by Bobman // Dec 03, 2013 - 5:41pm

Wait wait wait, Indy cannot possibly be that low. (pauses to look at each individual team above, ponder for a few moments, nod). Okay, never mind.

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#2 by Will Allen // Dec 03, 2013 - 5:40pm

The Seahawk's home field advantage is such, and the make-up of their roster is such, that I will be very surprised to see them lose a playoff game in Seattle. As much as I like Wilson, they are not dependent on passing success in the manner of a team led by Manning, Rodgers, Brees, or Brady in recent years. The teams with the best chance of doing so, of course, are teams which manage to just whip their a$$e$ on the line of scrimmage, so I guess that means the Panthers or Niners. I can't envision anybody else having much of chance at all.

I don't have a ton of confidence of any particular team winning the AFC, but at a neutral site I could see any of the likely AFC winners beating the Seahawks in a not terribly large upset.

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#9 by dmstorm22 // Dec 03, 2013 - 5:52pm

Detroit has some shot, I would think. They too can absolutely dominate a team's o-line, though their secondary isn't as good as Carolina's has been.

But let's not forget that similarly dominant home teams have lost playoff games before, and this very Seahawks team had to stage a comeback from 20-0 down to win a game against the 3-9 Buccaneers at home.

They definitely go up an extra gear for these primetime home games, but they almost assuredly won't get one in the divisional round. This is the AFC's year to get the 8PM Sat/1PM Sun games on Divisional weekend (which also pretty much ensures the Broncos, barring a collapse, get the 8PM game), and if there's a game they get knocked off in, I think it is far more likely to be the Divisional Round game than the NFC Title Game, as the Seahawks may rest up Weeks 16-17 (they could clinch the conference with wins the next two weeks).

The NFC Title Game would be a quasi-primetime game, starting at 3:35 PST.

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#11 by Will Allen // Dec 03, 2013 - 5:56pm

The Lions are a team prone to playing quite stupidly. If they were to beat the Seahawks in a Seattle playoff game, it would shock me.

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#15 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:01pm

The Lions beating any single team in the playoffs wouldn't shock me. The Lions putting together two or three games in a row (one or two would be required to make it to Seattle) where they play smart, disciplined, and up to their potential is what would shock me.

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#99 by nottom // Dec 03, 2013 - 9:58pm

If we have learned anything the past few years watching the playoffs, it's that a flawed but talented team is very capable of stringing together 3-4 wins in the playoffs.

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#16 by Thomas_beardown // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:02pm

At the same time they're just so talented at key positions that I could see them winning based off 5-10 amazing plays that seem almost super-human.

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#78 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Dec 03, 2013 - 7:32pm

That would be like Steve Smith in the 2005 playoffs or Larry Fitzgerald in the 2008 playoffs. Calvin Johnson is certainly capable of that.

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#84 by Insancipitory // Dec 03, 2013 - 8:00pm

Steve Smith in the 2005 playoffs is an interesting choice for comparison....

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#90 by Will Allen // Dec 03, 2013 - 8:49pm

I always saw that game as a terrible coaching mistake, from a good coach.

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#93 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Dec 03, 2013 - 9:12pm

I was referring specifically to the divisional game against Chicago, and his superhuman effort against the best defense in the league (by DVOA).

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#18 by Perfundle // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:06pm

The games where Seattle has struggled in recently have almost always been when their run defense goes awry. Washington and Atlanta last year, Carolina, Houston, St. Louis and Tampa this year (Indy was somewhat due to this, but mainly due to Luck and his receivers playing crazy good). Whenever that happens, their secondary has to play a lot more zone coverage, and so the pass defense gets worse as well.

With that in mind, and given SF's sudden inability to run the ball, i would say that Philadelphia and Carolina are the biggest threats to Seattle.

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#22 by Zach (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:08pm

Philly is an intriguing matchup. Theoretically, the no-huddle offense should have fewer problems with the crowd noise. Plus Philly obviously has some very talented skill players.

That said, the defense isn't very good, and it's hard for me to imagine Philly being able to control the ball even if they were to get a lead.

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#25 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:11pm

Philly's defense has been much better lately.

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#39 by Zach (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:27pm

Even in the (very generously selected) time frame that Aaron set out in the commentary, Philly is 15th. That's obviously an improvement, but it's hard for me to take that as a sign that they're ready to shut the Seahawks down.

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#47 by Kal // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:34pm

You don't really need to shut the Seahawks down. You just need to challenge them enough. Their offense is good but not great, and has a hard time if they can't get those explosive plays. Get them behind in the count and you can have a good shot.

I thought Philly and Carolina would be the best bets to beat Seattle at Seattle as well. In particular Philly because they have such a good run offense and Seattle is for whatever reason not as great against the run.

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#57 by Zach (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:46pm

I dunno, the #5 offense in DVOA seems to be verging on "great." They're not Broncos-level (obviously), but they're still quite good. They've also finally got all of their offensive linemen healthy, and even without Percy Harvin they've managed plenty of explosive plays (which they get at a higher rate than just about every team in the league).

Of course, in any given game anything can happen. I agree about Philly and Carolina, though Carolina is the much bigger threat in my eyes.

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#87 by Kal // Dec 03, 2013 - 8:37pm

Nah. They're good. Don't mistake rankings for ratings. They're good, but the difference between their offense and the #1 is the same as the difference between their offense and the #22 team (Tampa, at -6%). Denver has a GREAT offense. Seattle's is 13% over average. That's good. But by value, it's close to Chicago's, Dallas', Carolina and GB.

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#176 by Glen (not verified) // Dec 04, 2013 - 3:46pm

That has more to do with Denver being in an offensive league of their own compared to the rest of the league. The difference between #1 and #2 (10.6%) is the same as the difference between #2 and #11.

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#210 by formido // Dec 05, 2013 - 2:38pm

Nah, you're wrong.

You know how the Patriot's offense has suddenly looked elite with Gronk playing? Did you know that most of pass blocking has been missing most of the season and since they got back 3 games ago, Seattle's offense is blowing teams out of the water?

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#43 by Perfundle // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:32pm

Ehh, much of that was built against below-average offenses (though they played well against Dallas), and inflated due to beating Green Bay sans Rodgers. Their next game against Detroit will be a good test for them.

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#46 by EricL // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:33pm

The only three games this year where the Seahawks posted an overall DVOA under 27% are weeks 4 (@HOU), 5 (@INDY), and 8 (@STL).

In week 4, the passing offense and passing defense stunk, and they were missing three offensive linemen.

In week 5, the passing defense and special teams stunk, and they were missing three offensive linemen AND their starting tight end.

In week 8, the offense (all parts) and rushing defense stunk, and they were missing two offensive linemen.

Both the week 5 and week 8 games were the back half of back-to-back road games, which I'm beginning to believe is a bigger problem than 10am pacific starts.

That said, watch for the Seahawks to struggle when they visit the New York Giants in two weeks.

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#53 by Perfundle // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:40pm

Struggling in DVOA isn't the same as struggling in the actual game. Seattle comfortably outperforming Carolina and Tampa in DVOA still resulted in a very close game until the end.

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#195 by Jared (not verified) // Dec 05, 2013 - 12:07am

I think Carolina would have won that game if not for Williams' red zone fumble at the end of the game. I believe Carolina will be the biggest threat to Seattle in the playoffs. I also wonder if they're ripe for an upset due to their cockiness. As someone else mentioned, Tampa Bay almost beat them.

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#211 by formido // Dec 05, 2013 - 2:45pm

Why? Carolina couldn't stop Seattle from driving the length of the field after that fumble. Wilson had been tearing them up all game, >300 yards and a high passer rating; still the best QB game against Carolina all season, right? Given that Wilson has like 10 4th quarter comebacks in his career so far and they couldn't stop the close-out drive and Seattle would have been down only a score if Carolina had scored there, it seems quite likely Seattle would have won regardless.

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#222 by panthersnbraves // Dec 06, 2013 - 11:47am

Panthers Defense (Secondary) is better than they were back then. I am really impressed with Wilson, and I hope that the Panthers can get a few extra cycles together to find ways to turn "chasing Wilson, but he rolls to his right, and ends up throwing for a First Down" into sacks and throws out of bounds....

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#19 by Zach (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:07pm

Realistically, a team would need to be able to do a couple of things to beat the Seahawks in Seattle.

-Get an early lead. This might serve to take the crowd out of the game some, but it also allows the running game to remain a weapon. Seattle is ok against the run, but very, very good against the pass. When they take an early lead and make you one-dimensional? Good luck throwing the ball, with their combination of excellent secondary and talented pass rushers. Couple that with playing at home in front of a raucous crowd, giving those pass rushers the extra advantage of a silent snap count, and it's hard for me to envision anyone passing their way back into a game.

-Be able to stop the run without overloading the box. This is what Carolina was able to do. If you overload the box, Wilson can kill you, but if your front seven can win upfront, you can slow the offense. The Seattle o-line is better now that everyone is healthy, but it's not great, just solid.

-Be excellent on kick/punt coverage. Seattle is great at stealing 5-10 yards on punt returns (seriously, Golden Tate has been excellent), and if/when Percy Harvin is healthy, he can do the same on kickoff returns. Every inch will matter, which means coverage units have to play well.

Is it do-able? Of course. Seattle isn't unbeatable, but merely playing a good game is unlikely to be enough, at least at CenturyLink Field.

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#26 by theslothook // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:12pm

I think people are very quickly forgetting how much upsets happen in the playoffs. Think on similar teams of the past and how quickly things go awry in a playoff game when the home team doesn't play well / the other team just takes it to a new level.

A few recent points:

How about that 2011 packers team that went 15-1? Ok, so the d was flawed, but that offense was about as frightening as you can get and guess what? They were shut down(ok, part of it was drops, but that game ended in a blowout).

How about the 2010 NE pats? They lost to the same team they demolished 45-3 a few weeks earlier.

How about the 2007 Patriots? They basically were the epitome of unbeatable and were beat.

And finally, how about the 2005 colts(this loss still burns me to this day) - the colts lost one meaningful game all year(to the chargers) and had blown out the same steelers at home earlier. They were well rested and healthy and still got beat.

Seattle should feel very happy about where their team is position and while I do think they are the favorites, to act like a team can't win unless they put up more than a "good game" is totally ignoring the past.

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#30 by Will Allen // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:18pm

I risked money on the upsets in 2007 and 2011, and wasn't surprised by the 2010 outcome. The common thread was the underdog having clear superiority on the line of scrimmage, against teams highly dependent on passing success.

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#33 by theslothook // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:22pm

You were not surprised by the 2010 result even though their prior meeting at Foxborough ended in a 45-3 win? I find that exceedingly hard to believe, especially since mark sanchez had just come off a terrible performance against the colts.

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#42 by Thomas_beardown // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:30pm

The previous game between those two teams ended in a Jets victory.

Beware the ides of small samples sizes.

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#52 by Will Allen // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:38pm

I was mildly surprised, at best, that a team that had beaten the Patriots previously in the season did so again. I'm never really surprised much by upsets within a division.

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#76 by Nathan // Dec 03, 2013 - 7:21pm

This. I am way more prone to pick an upset in a divisional game.

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#89 by dbostedo // Dec 03, 2013 - 8:40pm

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3572409

Overall, there are not more upsets in divisional games that in other games. But it seems to depend on how you look at it, and which teams you talk about.

Upset in this case being defined as team A beating team B, where team A has the worse record at the end of the year.

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#36 by theslothook // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:24pm

And to say those teams were highly dependent on passing success is a bit disingenuous. NE's 2010 team was number 1 in rushing and by weighted dvoa, was the better defensive team that year too. The 2007 squad was also good at rushing and had a better defense than its 2007 opponent. I think hindsight is coloring those teams as one dimensional passing teams, a la the colts of the past. Ne's always managed to round out the rest of their team in ways other similarly built passing teams have not( a testament to their coaching staff).

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#40 by Thomas_beardown // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:28pm

Those teams were productive at running. That is different than being good at running.

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#44 by theslothook // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:32pm

Their rush offense was 3x better than the currently 8th ranked seattle rush offense.

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#56 by Will Allen // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:45pm

Their rushing offense benefited from a historically great vertical passing attack that kept defensive backs on their heels. Context matters.

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#66 by theslothook // Dec 03, 2013 - 7:04pm

That doesn't mean its any easier to stop.

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#75 by Cythammer (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 7:19pm

I think the point is that the running game wasn't actually good, it was simply effective because of the passing offense. That means that if the passing game is slowed down or stopped, the offense won't be able to fall back on the running game.

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#55 by Will Allen // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:42pm

If you want to say it is disingenuous to claim that the 2007 Patriots were passing dependent, well, golly, you just go right ahead.

Anybody who saw the Giants defensive front just crush the Packers in Lambeau in the NFCCG should have known it was a completely different defense than what the Giants had shown in the regular season, and that they had a decent chance to make the Patriots passing attack ineffective in the Super Bowl.

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#67 by theslothook // Dec 03, 2013 - 7:05pm

To me, the disingenuous part is saying this team won every game solely on the back of its passing offense and if its passing offense didn't play well, they would lose. I think that case is true for a number of colt teams and say the packers of 2011 or even maybe the saints of 2011, but it wasn't true for the patriots of 07. That's all.

As for the giants, yes, their d line was absolutely the best d line I've ever seen in terms of depth and quality, but i still didn't trust eli or the secondary. NE was the better offensive and defensive team.

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#77 by Cythammer (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 7:24pm

The Patriots had been fading for a long time at that point. The juggernaut of the first half of the season was long gone. Meanwhile the Giants steadily improved. Remember that the Giants almost beat the Patriots in week 17. In the weeks after that game the Giants beat some really great teams (Cowboys, Packers), while the Patriots played relatively poorly against the only okay Jags and the ruined-by-injury Chargers. The line for the Super Bowl that year was a joke. I don't think the Patriots were the better team at that point, and they definitely didn't look it in the actual game.

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#95 by RickD // Dec 03, 2013 - 9:34pm

And still, they came within an uncalled holding/helmet catch insane play/dropped interception of winning that game.

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#151 by dryheat // Dec 04, 2013 - 11:30am

I think that was borne out by the Giants starting the next season 8-0 or something close to it.

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#110 by Bay Area Bengal (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 11:51pm

If you pay attention, you can actually read the part where theslothlook stops arguing with you and begins yelling at the empty chair on the stage:

> And to say those teams were highly dependent on passing success is a bit disingenuous.

Okay, he's still reasonable here. He couches his opinion by using the phrase "a bit."

> NE's 2010 team was number 1 in rushing and by weighted dvoa, ...

Supporting his argument with a relevant fact. That's good!

> ...was the better defensive team that year too.

Being better at defense than your opponent doesn't mean you don't rely heavily on a passing attack, but he's hanging in there.

> The 2007 squad was also good at rushing and had a better defense than its 2007 opponent.

Mayday! Mayday! Losing control fast!

> I think hindsight is coloring those teams as one dimensional passing teams, ...

I'm pretty sure you never called those teams "one dimensional," only asserting that they were "highly dependent" on their passing attack.

> ...a la the colts of the past.

KABOOM!

Ah, now THIS is what it's about! It's about the Patriots being better than the Colts! We're having an argument here, and it's about the Patriots being better than the Colts!

And here I'll bet you thought you were discussing the unsurprising nature of a good defense's ability to counter a favored team's passing attack.

> Ne's always managed to round out the rest of their team in ways other similarly built passing teams have not( a testament to their coaching staff).

NE is TeH BEsTEst!!!!! tEH COachES BellyChECk is SMARTEREST tHAN OTher coAchess!

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#124 by theslothook // Dec 04, 2013 - 2:39am

Funny. Cut my paragraph into smaller excerpts and you can almost make it seem like I think all 3 of the pats sbs were the result of spygate!!!! "what's that? how many rings has tom brady won without the help of videotapes???"

> ...a la the colts of the past. KABOOM!" - I see what you did there, highlighting a particular sentence and then conveniently leaving out other sentences where I mentioned the packers and saints along with the colts. Not surprising, since doing so would've undermined your larger point.

Being as sensitive as I am, I will actually waste my time defending my larger points and even addressing the bottom assertions you've made.

First, I was responding to a retort that attempted to brush off the big upsets I listed above. Their main contention - those teams were pass heavy teams that basically were going to lose if you could shut down their offense. Ok, makes sense intuitively, but to conclude it like that completely ignores the ancillary evidence, like the fact that despite being better passing teams, some of those teams above also happened to be better on defense, running game, and special teams. Basically, dvoa suggests that even if the passing offense struggles, those teams are still superior at other facets that they should still be able to win. Somehow, all that gets tossed away because they were great at passing. Its almost like people believe that if you stop the vaunted pass offense, the rest of the team's parts will get exposed as a mirage. Sorry, I don't buy it.

Second - I used the patriots specifically for a few reasons, mainly because I find them interesting. They seem to buck many trends that affect so many familiar teams. The packers, saints, chargers and a few others have all followed a similar trajectory that the colts have. Namely, one that increasingly becomes dependent on the passing offense for success. Slowly, the defenses starts to become poor, the special teams starts to crack apart, and sooner or later, it becomes all about the quarterback and receivers.

I've had debates with Nat about this issue, but the stats seem to agree that pats have managed to avoid these kinds of pitfalls basically throughout their run. Outside of the disastrous 2011 season(even there, their scoring defense was quite respectable), they've managed to field at least average units and often great units with routinely great special teams. Their run games haven't fallen off a cliff the way the colts, chargers, packers, and saints at varying times have either. Most of all, this season showed that they could still win games while their offense was struggling to find its way. Can the same be said for any of the other teams I listed?

Notice, I didn't want to take this discussion in the direction of analyzing pats vs colts, but you decided to misconstrue my statement.

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#128 by Will Allen // Dec 04, 2013 - 3:46am

Uh, I never wrote that anyone was "basically going to lose" if their offense was shut down. I said they were teams whose success was heavily pass dependent, whose chnace of a loss rose greatly, if they were soundly whipped on the line of scrimmage.

The two statements are not remotely synonymous.

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#130 by theslothook // Dec 04, 2013 - 6:28am

Will,

Let me start by saying i like you and I think we mostly agree on how we view football.

That said, take this last statement. I gave you three examples of teams who were great, but led by passing attacks. While you agreed with me, you would note that they got soundly whipped at the LOS. Again, what if I said NE was rated highly at both lines, would that change your opinion. WHat if I told you that 2010 ne had a great o line(which they did according to pff) and that 2011 pack had a great pass blocking o line(again according to pff). In fact, sf last year had the best aly lines in the nfl combined(combining both offense and defense) and they still managed to lose. Would that change your mind?

My ultimate point which no doubt drew the ire of Sea fans is...the playoffs are weird. They are weird because not only do great mvps play poorly, but units that played well throughout the regular season play poorly as well. Simply put, for whatever reason, the playoffs are a diff animal and the results seem pretty random.

Hell, I think Pm is the greatest individual football player who ever set foot on a football field. But even he isn't infallible to the playoff gods. If he isn't, what makes us sure R. Sherman, R. WIlson, and M. Lynch are?

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#134 by Will Allen // Dec 04, 2013 - 8:25am

You keep arguing with things I didn't write. It's puzzling. I've already written that I'd give NFC teams, outside of the two who I think have the best chance of winning a playoff game in Seattle, a roughly 20% chance of doing so as well. All I've said is that Seattle has the best home field advantage matched to roster construction I've seen in a while, which makes a home field playoff upset less likely.

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#181 by theslothook // Dec 04, 2013 - 4:20pm

Ok,

Let me start by saying, if it feels like I'm arguing with things you didn't write, then I apologize. I think what's happened here is in making a point, multiple people disagreed and I was trying to respond to all while responding to you. So, for that, I would just say its a misunderstanding.

Points: 0

#158 by Bay Area Bengal (not verified) // Dec 04, 2013 - 1:09pm

Here is the EXACT QUOTE from Will Allen in which you have invested so much time in combating:

> I risked money on the upsets in 2007 and 2011, and wasn't surprised by the 2010 outcome. The common thread was the underdog having clear superiority on the line of scrimmage, against teams highly dependent on passing success.

You are literally, actually, for real going on rants against points Will Allen didn't make. He NEVER wrote that any of the teams you cited "basically were going to lose." He NEVER wrote that the Patriots "won every game solely on the back of its passing offense and if its passing offense didn't play well, they would lose."

Nope.

Nuh-uh.

Not at all.

He just said that he thought that the Giants "had a decent chance to make the Patriots passing attack ineffective in the Super Bowl." He said he put a little money on it and won. He said it wasn't that surprising.

And because his opinions from 5, 3 and 2 years ago (which turned out to be right enough to win him money) were different from yours, you called him "disingenuous" and decided to misquote him, mischaracterize him and pick a fight with numerous people in this thread.

***

As a bonus attack on your reading comprehension skills, here is the EXACT QUOTE from you which I chose to dissect/make fun of:

> And to say those teams were highly dependent on passing success is a bit disingenuous. NE's 2010 team was number 1 in rushing and by weighted dvoa, was the better defensive team that year too. The 2007 squad was also good at rushing and had a better defense than its 2007 opponent. I think hindsight is coloring those teams as one dimensional passing teams, a la the colts of the past. Ne's always managed to round out the rest of their team in ways other similarly built passing teams have not( a testament to their coaching staff).

I didn't leave out other sentences where you discussed the packers and saints because you NEVER DISCUSSED THOSE TEAMS IN THE POST THAT I QUOTED. (Do you know how quotes work?)

I quoted this post in its entirety, because that was the response where I thought you were starting to lose it. But now I realize that I was wrong ... you'd lost it long before that post.

Thanks for the continued entertainment!

Points: 0

#182 by theslothook // Dec 04, 2013 - 4:22pm

Wow,

Well, obviously I gave you the wrong impression. Here's the problem with writing multiple upon multiple quotes, you mention some things, then truncate them further. When you cited your belief that this was all a ploy to drag up NE vs the colts by citing that quote, I guess I should have taken that to mean you didn't read my other postings. For that, my mistake.

Points: 0

#37 by Zach (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:25pm

I very much agree with your general point, yet it does fail to recognize two key points.

The first is that three of the teams you mentioned (Packers, both Patriots teams) had great offenses and decent-to-bad defenses. The 2005 Colts were good in both phases, but were bad on special teams. At the moment, the Seahawks are top 5 in all three areas.

The second is that no one is saying the Seahawks are guaranteed to win the Super Bowl. We're saying that it's hard to envision a team going to Seattle and winning. There's no obvious weakness with the Seahawks, at least not one that's as glaring as the weaknesses in the aforementioned teams. Of course it could happen. It might very well. It just seems unlikely on the face of things.

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#41 by theslothook // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:30pm

I just feel like this is all in hindsight. 2007 Ne was 1st in offense, 11th in defense, 7th in special teams. They were all better in ratings than the 2007 giants. I'm still not sure what people say in the giants that made them think they would beat the pats other than the any given sunday sentiments.

If you don't like that example, how about some others? Dallas that year was 9th in offense, 4th in defense.

How about in 1997 when denver was 4th in offense, 3rd in defense and got upset by jacksonville who was 17 in dvoa.

Points: 0

#50 by Zach (not verified) // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:37pm

Two points. The first is that Super Bowl XLII was played on a neutral field. No one appears to be saying the Seahawks are sure to win the Super Bowl. The home field advantage (which is clearly more meaningful in Seattle than anywhere else) MATTERS.

Second, remember that the Giants had taken the Patriots to the brink in Week 17. Yes, that game was in New York (well, New Jersey), but still, it wasn't as if there was NO REASON to think that the Giants couldn't win.

Also, there was one clear area where the Giants had the advantage: their ability to rush Brady with their Four Aces package. It's not that it wasn't an upset (it was), but it was explicable.

That's what I was trying to in my first comment. If Carolina (for example) came to Seattle and won, it would make a certain kind of sense. They can control the line of scrimmage on defense (as they did for most of Week One), and they can run the ball on the Seahawks D. Of course, those things were both true in Week One, and they were at home, and the Seahawks still won, so...

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#58 by theslothook // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:46pm

I think my general premise is...this idea that only certain teams who matchup well should be expected to beat the other team is purely a hindsight thing. I can name so many teams that blew out their opponents in the regular season and they got beat in the playoffs by the same team.

The broncos last year destroyed the ravens but ultimately lost a close game.

The colts blew out the steelers but lost a close game.

The patriots blew out the jets, but lost a close game.

People will now point out that stylistically, all of those teams are passing dependent teams, but honestly, it doesn't take much to lose in the nfl. In many of the games this year, the seahawks have struggled offensively and needed a few things to break their way to ultimately win the game. They are a great team, but they aren't incapable of losing even to teams that they should in theory beat quite easily. The panthers game they really could've lost. The houston game they absolutely should have lost. The 49ers game they again could have lost. The rams game they very easily could have lost. Now people will point to these and say...see, those teams have formidable dlines. They lost to the colts who don't, but then that gets explained way by special teams gaffes, penalties, bad coverage, etc. That's the point. In the playoffs, anything can happen because anyone can play poorly that week.

One last example. By pff numbers, SF's entire secondary graded well last year. Both safeties, brown, rodgers, and culliver. In the playoffs, nearly all graded negatively in basically all of their postseason games. Ask a 49er fan prior to the playoffs what they might think if they were told that despite an entire year's worth of data that their secondary was good, that in the next 3 games they would play lousy, what might you have thought?

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#62 by Will Allen // Dec 03, 2013 - 6:58pm

When I saw the weather in Denver last January, my expectations of a Broncos loss jumped a lot, in that the weather really hurt the Broncos home field advantage, as dependent as that team is on Manning's passing.

No, the Seahwaks aren't invincible at home. Yes, they are very formidable at home, especially if the opponent doesn't dominate the line of scrimmage. I haven't see enough of Carolina to have confidence in them doing so, but that might change as I watch them for the balance of the month. Other than the Niners, I don't see any NFC teams with enough talent on the line of scrimmage to make an upset in a Seattle playoff game more than, I dunno, a 20% chance.

Points: 0

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