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

Week 14 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

A close loss to another really good team certainly isn't enough to knock Seattle out of the top spot in the Football Outsiders DVOA ratings, and Seattle's lead over No. 2 Denver isn't much smaller than it was a week ago. Below that we see Carolina and New Orleans move closer together, although the Panthers are still No. 3; Kansas City, New England, and Cincinnati also move closer together as the three real threats to the Broncos in the AFC, as the Patriots drop a bit while the Chiefs and Bengals move up.

The biggest story this week is a unit, not a whole team, and it's a bad story, not a good one. Washington's abysmal special teams day against Kansas City was worth an estimated minus-15.9 points below average, based entirely on horrible coverage on returns. They allowed 177 yards on seven Dexter McCluster punt returns, including a touchdown, and 123 yards on two Quintin Demps kickoff returns, including a touchdown.

As a result, Washington has now passed the 2010 San Diego Chargers and ranks as the worst special teams ever tracked by Football Outsiders through 13 games, going back to 1989.

Year Team DVOA
2013 WAS -14.3%
2010 SD -12.8%
2000 BUF -12.0%
1995 PHI -11.7%
2008 MIN -10.8%
1998 OAK -10.5%
1997 SEA -10.3%
2002 CIN -10.2%
2009 GB -10.1%
1997 STL -10.0%
1996 NYJ -9.7%
2007 IND -9.5%

This doesn't necessarily mean that Washington is "on pace" to be the worst special teams in DVOA history, because that 2000 Bills team finished the season with a flourish. Their special teams were worth more than minus-25 points worse than average in Weeks 16 and 17 of that year, and as a result the Bills finished with a worst-ever -15.4% special teams DVOA. That's the worst special teams DVOA ever, and it isn't even close. You'll notice from the table above that there were ten different teams below -10% through 13 games, but only three have ever finished an entire season below -10%: 2010 San Diego at -10.2% and 1997 Seattle at -11.1%. Washington would have to have three pretty good games to escape being the fourth team to pass the -10% special teams barrier, but it would take another awful game like this week to bust Buffalo's record.

I thought it would be interesting to look back and just what on earth was so bad about these worst special teams ever, compared to the current Washington team. Note that for all numbers listed below, kickoff stats remove onside kick attempts as well as end-half squibs.

2000 Buffalo (-15.4% DVOA): The Bills apparently decided they had no faith whatsoever in their kickoff coverage, and sometime around Week 7 they ordered Steve Christie to kick short constantly to avoid long returns. So Christie's average kickoff went only 56.6 gross yards, and only 54.5 gross yards from Week 7 onwards. The league average for that season was 63.7 yards. The short kicks didn't help, as returns against Buffalo were worth an estimated 20.5 points worth of field position. Even after Week 7, that was 1.15 points per game, worse than any other team in the league. (Amazingly, the Bills didn't have the worst kickoff unit we've ever measured; the 1992 Bucs and 2009 Steelers were even worse because they couldn't tackle anyone.)

But wait, there's more! The Bills were at the bottom of the league on kick return value as well, worth minus-12.7 points with a league-low 18.8 yards per kick return. And they were at the bottom of the league in punt return value, worth minus-12.4 points with a league-low 5.6 yards per punt return. Chris Mohr was one of the worst punters in the league, specializing in shanking kicks out of bounds that didn't go more than 30 yards or get inside the 20 (he had eight of those). Plus Christie had four field goals blocked, and the long-snapper blew an extra point with a bad snap.

2013 Washington (-14.3% DVOA so far): Washington's biggest problem is punting. We now have them as minus-32.5 points below average on net punting value, which would be the third worst figure ever. Sav Rocca below average, but not horrific. It's worse that Washington has allowed three punt return touchdowns, plus additional returns of 40 and 60 yards. On kickoffs, Kai Forbath is tied for the lowest figure in the league with an average kickoff of 63.0 gross yards. (In other words, the worst average kickoff guy in the league now is about where the league average was in 2000; kicking keeps getting better every season.) Washington is near the bottom of the league in the other three areas of special teams we track, although they aren't at the absolute bottom of the league in any of them. 

1997 Seattle (-11.1% DVOA): Todd Peterson wasn't so bad on field goals, but everything else was 29th or 30th in a 30-team league. The Seahawks used three different punters, and allowed two punt return touchdowns to Baltimore's Jermaine Lewis in Week 15. Kyle Richardson, the middle punter, had two blocked punts and one aborted in just two games. The Seahawks averaged 6.9 yards on punt returns (29th) with four fumbles. They averaged 20.8 yards on kick returns (26th) with three fumbles.

2010 San Diego (-10.2% DVOA): This is a recent year, so you may remember the Chargers blowing a game against the Raiders entirely based on blocked punts. For the year, the Chargers were worth minus-34.3 points worse than average on net punting, the worst figure ever. They were also dead last in value on kickoffs, allowing three touchdowns. All the negative value comes from just punts and kickoffs; they were average in the other areas of special teams we measure (field goals, punt returns, kick returns).

2002 Cincinnati (-9.4% DVOA): This team is very similar to the 2010 Chargers. They used a fourth-round pick on punter Travis Dorsch, then only used him for one game all year, which happened to be one of the worst special teams games any team has ever had in NFL history. For the season, the Bengals allowed a league-high 14.5 yards per punt return, which worked out to minus-34.3 points worth of field position by FO methods. Neil Rackers had a poor year on kickoffs, with a league-low 58.4 gross yards per kickoff. The Bengals also got lousy punt returns from T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Peter Warrick, who between them had four fumbles and only four returns of double digits with five returns that lost yardage. That cancelled out some pretty good kickoff returns from Houshmandzadeh, Brandon Bennett, and Rudi Johnson, where the Bengals actually were sixth in the NFL.

* * * * *

As long as we're talking about Worst DVOA Ever, I've taken off the tables for Worst Total DVOA Ever and Worst Offensive DVOA Ever because the Jaguars continue to improve each week and are close to climbing off those lists. But we can still look at the Worst Defensive DVOA Ever, although San Diego's defensive DVOA has dropped the past two weeks. I've had some people ask me if San Diego has the biggest gap between offensive and defensive DVOA ever, and the answer is no. That title belongs to a couple of Kansas City teams from the Dick Vermeil era. However, if the season ended right now, the Chargers would be near the top, along with a couple of recent Patriots teams and last year's New Orleans Saints.

(Because of the way DVOA is set up, of course, we're not really measuring "gap" between offensive and defensive DVOA, but rather the highest combination of the two without reversing the sign on defense to reflect that a lower-rated defense is actually a better defense that prevents more scoring.)

Year Team DVOA
2001 ARI 23.7%
1996 ATL 23.3%
1999 CLE 22.6%
2013 SD 21.9%
2008 DET 21.7%
2003 ARI 21.6%
2000 ARI 21.5%
2001 MIN 21.3%
2005 HOU 21.2%
2008 STL 21.2%
2004 MIN 20.9%
1992 ATL 20.5%
2002 KC 35.4% 1 14.0% 29 49.4%
2004 KC 31.6% 2 16.0% 30 47.6%
2011 NE 31.9% 3 13.2% 30 45.2%
2000 MIN 18.5% 5 26.0% 31 44.4%
2010 NE 42.2% 1 2.3% 21 44.4%
2013 SD 22.2% 2 21.9% 32 44.1%
2011 NO 33.0% 2 10.2% 28 43.2%
2003 KC 33.4% 1 9.4% 25 42.8%
2011 GB 33.8% 1 8.6% 25 42.4%
2000 STL 26.7% 1 14.9% 27 41.7%
1996 BAL 22.8% 1 17.5% 29 40.4%
2008 DEN 19.2% 1 20.7% 31 39.9%

* * * * *

Finally, one more Worst DVOA Ever. I mentioned this on Twitter on Sunday, but I can't believe I didn't check it out before then given how bad the Baltimore running backs have been this year. The Ravens currently are in the lead for the worst run offense in DVOA history. They were actually second-to-last, and then things go worse in Week 14 despite a win. The fact that a team with an offense so astonishingly one-dimensional might make the playoffs is a pretty strong indictment for the idea that running the ball is even necessary in today's NFL. Here's a look at the worst run offense DVOA ratings since 1989:

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2013 BAL -31.1% -21.6% R.Rice, B.Pierce
1991 IND -30.2% -32.8% E.Dickerson, K.Clark
2005 ARI -29.1% -9.5% M.Shipp, J.J.Arrington
2013 JAC -27.7% -33.9% M.Jones-Drew
2002 HOU -27.4% -43.3% J.Wells, J.Allen
1995 ARI -25.1% -22.9% G.Hearst, L.Centers
1991 PHI -23.0% -24.6% J.Joseph, H.Sherman, K.Byars
1998 NO -22.9% -23.3% L.Smith, R.Zellars, T.Davis
2006 DET -22.9% -13.4% K.Jones
2000 ATL -22.8% -29.6% Corpse of J.Anderson
2000 SD -22.5% -26.2% J.Fazande, T.Fletcher
2000 CAR -22.2% -17.6% T.Biakabatuka, B.Hoover

I'll leave the discussion of who we blame for this -- i.e. is this all the blocking, or did Rice get cooked even earlier than usual for a running back -- for another time. (Jacksonville's a bit easier to figure -- you know the line is awful and Jones-Drew is on the downside of his career.)

* * * * *

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 14 are:

  • Jordan Cameron, TE, CLE (Limited Edition): 70 DYAR, best single game by tight end in 2013 (9-for-9, 121 yards, TD).
  • Evan Mathis, LG, PHI: Helped lead LeSean McCoy to PHI-record 217 rushing yards.
  • Paul Posluszny, MLB, JAC: Led all NFL defenders with 13 combined tackles this week.
  • Da'Rick Rogers, WR, IND: 53 DYAR, second among wide receivers (6-for-9, 107 yards, 2 TD against one of NFL's better pass defenses).
  • Jeremy Ross, WR, DET (Special Punt Returner Edition): Scored both kickoff and punt return touchdowns, and not even against Washington!

Some other players we considered (not including players we did in previous weeks or those included in Madden's Team of the Week) were John Abraham, Keenan Allen (we've come close to including him numerous times this year, it will happen eventually), Charles Clay, Dexter McCluster, and Josh McCown.

* * * * *

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. For more on what these DVOA changes have meant to the playoff odds, check out Danny Tuccitto's playoff odds commentary on ESPN Insider.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through 14 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.

A reminder: The adjustments for weather are currently a general adjustment based on whether it is a cold-weather city or not, and whether a stadium is a dome or not. We do not have specific adjustments for specific weather conditions such as the snow on Sunday in Week 14. If you feel that stats should be adjusted for these conditions, use your common sense and best judgment. (Although Baltimore, Minnesota, and Philadelphia did a pretty good job of demonstrating that you can score plenty of points in the snow!)

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

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

1 SEA 39.1% 1 38.7% 1 11-2 13.1% 6 -20.2% 1 5.8% 5
2 DEN 32.8% 2 28.8% 2 11-2 32.3% 1 -0.8% 16 -0.4% 18
3 CAR 25.5% 3 28.3% 3 9-4 9.2% 9 -15.2% 3 1.1% 12
4 NO 23.3% 4 25.5% 4 10-3 17.8% 4 -6.7% 11 -1.3% 23
5 KC 18.3% 8 17.5% 8 10-3 1.7% 16 -6.8% 9 9.7% 1
6 NE 17.7% 5 20.9% 5 10-3 13.1% 7 1.9% 18 6.5% 3
7 CIN 17.0% 7 19.0% 7 9-4 -0.6% 17 -12.2% 4 5.5% 6
8 SF 15.9% 6 20.7% 6 9-4 4.4% 14 -8.6% 7 2.9% 10
9 CHI 11.9% 10 9.0% 11 7-6 15.6% 5 4.3% 19 0.6% 14
10 ARI 10.8% 11 13.8% 9 8-5 -4.8% 20 -19.1% 2 -3.6% 25
11 PHI 10.5% 9 12.4% 10 8-5 19.9% 3 5.6% 22 -3.8% 26
12 DET 3.5% 13 4.3% 12 7-6 1.7% 15 -1.3% 14 0.4% 16
13 TB 1.0% 19 1.4% 15 4-9 -9.8% 24 -11.4% 6 -0.6% 19
14 SD 0.8% 18 2.6% 14 6-7 22.2% 2 21.9% 32 0.5% 15
15 DAL 0.6% 14 -0.7% 17 7-6 9.6% 8 13.1% 30 4.1% 8
16 PIT 0.5% 16 2.9% 13 5-8 5.9% 12 5.3% 20 -0.1% 17
17 IND 0.0% 15 -4.1% 19 8-5 7.7% 11 7.1% 25 -0.6% 20
18 STL -1.2% 12 0.9% 16 5-8 -8.3% 23 -1.0% 15 6.1% 4
19 MIA -1.4% 17 -0.8% 18 7-6 -0.8% 18 -1.8% 13 -2.4% 24
20 GB -6.6% 21 -11.9% 23 6-6-1 7.9% 10 13.4% 31 -1.1% 21
21 BAL -6.6% 23 -4.2% 20 7-6 -21.6% 30 -8.5% 8 6.5% 2
22 BUF -6.9% 20 -12.3% 24 4-9 -13.3% 25 -11.8% 5 -5.4% 28
23 TEN -8.4% 22 -7.1% 21 5-8 -4.0% 19 0.1% 17 -4.4% 27
24 ATL -9.4% 24 -12.9% 25 3-10 4.7% 13 13.0% 29 -1.1% 22
25 MIN -13.9% 26 -13.3% 26 3-9-1 -8.2% 22 8.7% 27 3.0% 9
26 NYJ -14.2% 27 -15.9% 27 6-7 -24.9% 31 -5.8% 12 4.9% 7
27 NYG -15.1% 25 -10.7% 22 5-8 -15.3% 28 -6.8% 10 -6.6% 31
28 CLE -20.0% 29 -19.3% 28 4-9 -14.4% 27 6.3% 23 0.7% 13
29 HOU -25.5% 30 -28.2% 30 2-11 -13.7% 26 5.5% 21 -6.3% 29
30 WAS -27.6% 28 -25.4% 29 3-10 -4.9% 21 8.4% 26 -14.3% 32
31 OAK -30.3% 31 -30.8% 31 4-9 -17.2% 29 6.8% 24 -6.3% 30
32 JAC -43.2% 32 -35.6% 32 4-9 -33.9% 32 11.8% 28 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).

1 SEA 39.1% 11-2 41.3% 10.6 2 -0.7% 19 -1.8% 19 13.9% 22
2 DEN 32.8% 11-2 40.3% 11.7 1 -5.0% 29 -18.4% 31 7.2% 7
3 CAR 25.5% 9-4 23.3% 8.9 3 4.7% 4 -0.1% 15 11.1% 17
4 NO 23.3% 10-3 20.5% 8.6 8 6.3% 3 8.4% 7 13.2% 21
5 KC 18.3% 10-3 23.4% 8.4 9 -7.7% 32 -9.8% 28 10.5% 14
6 NE 17.7% 10-3 15.2% 8.6 5 0.7% 13 -4.9% 21 5.3% 2
7 CIN 17.0% 9-4 23.1% 8.7 4 -3.2% 24 -6.7% 24 11.4% 19
8 SF 15.9% 9-4 10.6% 8.0 10 1.9% 11 0.8% 14 14.0% 23
9 CHI 11.9% 7-6 10.6% 7.9 11 -2.8% 23 -5.4% 23 10.5% 15
10 ARI 10.8% 8-5 7.8% 8.6 6 3.0% 7 15.5% 3 6.4% 5
11 PHI 10.5% 8-5 11.7% 8.6 7 -4.2% 27 -0.5% 16 26.4% 32
12 DET 3.5% 7-6 4.4% 6.7 14 -0.8% 20 -11.8% 29 12.2% 20
13 TB 1.0% 4-9 -6.4% 5.7 21 8.8% 1 12.7% 5 9.6% 12
14 SD 0.8% 6-7 3.2% 6.2 16 -5.6% 31 6.9% 9 4.9% 1
15 DAL 0.6% 7-6 2.2% 7.2 12 -0.2% 17 -7.9% 25 10.9% 16
16 PIT 0.5% 5-8 1.5% 6.4 15 -4.5% 28 -3.2% 20 7.1% 6
17 IND 0.0% 8-5 -0.6% 7.2 13 -0.2% 16 -16.8% 30 21.1% 29
18 STL -1.2% 5-8 -2.3% 5.9 19 3.4% 5 21.1% 1 24.6% 31
19 MIA -1.4% 7-6 0.1% 6.0 18 2.2% 10 -1.1% 18 9.6% 11
20 GB -6.6% 6-6-1 -1.6% 6.0 17 -3.4% 25 4.3% 12 20.3% 28
21 BAL -6.6% 7-6 -3.8% 5.5 24 -3.5% 26 12.7% 4 5.5% 3
22 BUF -6.9% 4-9 -7.0% 5.7 20 2.9% 8 -8.9% 27 15.2% 27
23 TEN -8.4% 5-8 -6.0% 4.8 25 -0.5% 18 -19.3% 32 6.3% 4
24 ATL -9.4% 3-10 -17.2% 5.6 23 8.6% 2 4.6% 11 7.3% 8
25 MIN -13.9% 3-9-1 -11.7% 4.6 27 0.8% 12 10.3% 6 7.9% 9
26 NYJ -14.2% 6-7 -16.4% 5.6 22 0.6% 14 1.4% 13 23.1% 30
27 NYG -15.1% 5-8 -20.0% 4.6 26 2.5% 9 5.0% 10 14.1% 24
28 CLE -20.0% 4-9 -14.3% 4.0 28 -0.9% 21 -0.6% 17 11.1% 18
29 HOU -25.5% 2-11 -20.1% 3.1 30 -2.3% 22 8.1% 8 14.6% 25
30 WAS -27.6% 3-10 -32.0% 3.4 29 3.0% 6 -8.0% 26 9.8% 13
31 OAK -30.3% 4-9 -27.0% 2.2 32 -5.4% 30 17.3% 2 8.1% 10
32 JAC -43.2% 4-9 -40.5% 2.5 31 0.5% 15 -5.1% 22 14.8% 26


133 comments, Last at 16 Dec 2013, 3:04pm

1 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Inquiring minds want to know: is Indianapolis's DVOA actually 0.0%, or do they slip to slightly positive/slightly negative as you add more digits.

(Scientific minds realize that adding extra digits is only for recreation enjoyment.)

36 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

After the season I want to see an article about the best rookie seasons of the DVOA era. Keenan should be one of the better rookie WR of the last 20 years. Boldin might be better...

50 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

I decided to have a look into this. Allen has 909 yards, with 312 DYAR through 13 games, which is 24 per game, coming out at 384 for a season. His DVOA is currently 33.4%. Since 1989 (the DVOA era), there have been 15 other rookie receivers with 900 or more yards. Here’s each of their DYAR and DVOA (sorted by DYAR):

DeSean Jackson, 2008 (912 yards) – 50 DYAR, -7.3% DVOA
Mike Williams, 2010 (964 yards) – 66 DYAR, -6.1% DVOA
Terry Glenn, 1996 (1132 yards in 15 games) – 80 DYAR, -6.7% DVOA
Eddie Kennison, 1996 (924 yards in 15 games) – 90 DYAR, -2.5% DVOA
Eddie Royal, 2008 (980 yards in 15 games) – 127 DYAR, -0.2% DVOA
DeAndre Hopkins, 2013 (707 yards in 13 games to date) – 129 DYAR, 4.4% DVOA
Joey Galloway, 1995 (1039 yards) – 156 DYAR, 2.8% DVOA
Andre Johnson, 2003 (976 yards) – 164 DYAR, 4.9% DVOA
Julio Jones, 2011 (959 yards in 13 games) – 165 DYAR, 9.9% DVOA
Dwayne Bowe, 2007 (995 yards) – 203 DYAR, 9.5% DVOA
Marques Colston, 2006 (1038 yards in 14 games) – 252 DYAR, 14.2% DVOA
Anquan Boldin, 2003 (1377 yards) – 253 DYAR, 6.6% DVOA
Kevin Johnson, 1999 (986 yards) – 281 DYAR, 11.7% DVOA
AJ Green, 2011 (1057 yards in 15 games) – 284 DYAR, 16.9% DVOA
Michael Clayton, 2004 (1193 yards) – 395 DYAR, 26.8% DVOA
Randy Moss, 1998 (1313 yards) – 425 DYAR, 29.8% DVOA

If Allen sat out the rest of the season, or plays the remaining three games at the same rate, he’d finish 3rd in DYAR and 1st in DVOA. With a slight uptick in raw usage he might push himself up to 2nd in DYAR, and likely remains first (or at worst second) in DVOA unless he has a very poor last few weeks.

I had no clue Allen was having this good a season. I knew he was doing well, but to be having a season that is either the second or third best rookie season by a WR in the last 25 years is pretty incredible. Despite higher DVOA its clearly not a better year than Moss', but I'd hear arguments that its better than Clayton's.

I wonder how predictive of future performance it is though? Of the 15 players in that list, you have four absolute stars (Moss, Andre Johnson, Jones, Green), six who are somewhere in the arguable range of good to very good to not-quite-stars (Galloway, Glenn, Boldin, Colston, Bowe, Jackson), then five who I’d rate as vaguely average or worse (Kennison, Kevin Johnson, Clayton, Royal and Williams). Allen’s game probably profiles closest to the likes of Boldin, Clayton, Williams and probably Colston - he’s a physical receiver, closer to a tight end in skill set than a deep threat (if that makes sense?).

He's offensive rookie of the year, right?

111 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Thanks for this. It's interesting to look at the list. A lot of WR aren't great in year 1 & as you can see there's a few great looking rookies who flame-out

Given that he didn't play in week 1 due to injury and didn't start until week 3 he is having a very impressive rookie season. The key for him going forward is to build on this.

Rookie of the year - if he doesn't get it I'd really like to know why...

3 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

What is the record for fewest teams with a DVOA over 20 in a season?

I could go back and look, but just wanted to put that out there because four seems low. Certainly the teams in the 16-18% range have a shot to get there, but seeing just four teams over that mark seems odd this late in the year.

Anyway, other notes: I'm surprised Denver's DVOA didn't go up more after that win, it seemed more dominant than DVOA graded out, I guess. Their offense was ultra-DVOA friendly, with no turnovers and 39 first downs, and good play in the red zone apart from the drive where they had two TDs (correctly) overturned. Also, considering all the hatred he got, maybe you could give Peyton Manning a little 'actually played well in cold weather' boost? :)

I'm surprised Cincinnati didn't jump more, but garbage time may have aided that. To me, if they steal that #2 seed, I find it hard to see them not making the AFC Championship Game. Without Gronk, I don't know if the Pats can go into Cincinnati and beat them. I realize they didn't have Gronk the first time, but they did have Mayo/Vollmer/Kelly.

The NFC Playoffs honestly seem boring to me, because it feels like were set to have two teams blown out in Seattle and New Orleans in round 2 and then have New Orleans get blown out in Seattle in the NFC Championship Game. The last three NFC Championship Games in odd years have been amazing (NYG def GB in 2007, NO def MIN in 2009, NYG def SF in 2011) so here's hoping the statistically insignificant trend continues, but I can't see it. The teams that I see having a chance in Seattle and New Orleans are slated to play the opposite teams (Carolina, I feel like, has the better shot in Seattle while San Fran has the better shot in New Orleans).

Of course, I've never been able to predict the playoffs right before, so I probably should assume I won't be able to do it right this time either.

52 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

There were only 2 teams over 20% in 1993, with the Cowboys and 49ers both at 24.9%. Also 2 in 1991 (Redskins at 56.9%, 49ers at 26%) and 1989 (49ers at 36%, Browns at 24%). There were 3 in 2001, with the Eagles leading the league at 27.3%. Also 3 in 2001 (Rams, 34%)

Only 4 being over 20% is unusual, but not drastically so. The most common seems to be 5 or 6.

4 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

I'm still baffled SD rates as one of the 4 worst defenses of all time by DVOA measure. Sure they are bad. It just doesn't seem like they are historically bad.

11 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Exactly. Dallas' defense looks more like a historically bad one. Maybe its because they played very poorly on some nationally televised games (Denver, New Orleans, Chicago).

20 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

The SD defense has the best starting field position in the league. They've also had better success than the Dallas defense, but I'm guessing their opponent adjustments kick in. So Dallas must be facing harder offenses.


5 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

TAMPA IS 6TH IN DEFENCE! Ugh. I'm totally going to have to sit through another year of Schiano, aren't I.

14 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Tampa had the Jets and Seahawks pretty clearly beaten, and should have beaten the Saints in week 2, instead settling for a long FG that was missed in an effort to CAN'T DO ANALYSIS ANYMORE SCHIANO YOU SUCK sorry about that. Anyways, you flip those three games to the Ws they should have been, and it's 7-6.

Those three games were more or less won, and then pissed away at the end. DVOA can't measure stupid mistakes at the wrong time.

17 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

It's an artifact of their brutal schedule (hardest schedule in football to date, an honor that should hold up through season's end). They took the Seahawks to OT and also lost to the Pats, Saints, and Panthers (twice). Other than those five games against elite opponents, they're playing .500 ball. For all 13 games, they have 244 points for and 291 against — not bad, considering their slate. With their second Saints game & a tilt against the 49ers to come, they'll probably have to beat the Rams to reach five wins. And DVOA will probably still (rightly) put them somewhere in the middle.

In the interest of full disclosure, I've not actually *watched* any Bucs games. Living in NYC and not having RZ or NFLN, I think my chances were vs. the Jets and (maybe) Bills. I mean, I'm a nerdy football fan, not a masochist.

6 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

The 11-2 Seahawks have an estimated wins of 10.6 while the 11-2 Broncos have 11.7 estimated wins. Is that because Seattle has played a tougher past schedule?

23 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

I'm not so sure of that... per the explanatory text above :

"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."

Any of those could factor in. If Seattle has had unusually good fumble luck, or been more inconsistent in the "specific situations", that could affect it to. I tried to follow the glossary links explaining the methodology behind the Forest Index, but the link seems to be broken.

And actually, since things are adjusted to a league average schedule, and DVOA is already adjusted for defense, the relative schedule strengths of Denver and Seattle are cancelled out I think. (I.e. a team with higher DVOA will always look better against a league average schedule than a team with a lower DVOA, all else equal.) So those other factors would be more likely to account for the difference. Unless I'M missing something - which is very possible.

25 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

I'm going to hit the brakes on my previous comment now. What I should have said is that it seems to me that the Broncos have had very bad fumble luck. I don't know the numbers, and even if I knew the numbers, I wouldn't know how they compare to other teams.

27 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Well, if memory serves, through about 8 weeks they were among the league leaders in lost turnovers despite Manning not throwing a pick for the first five games or so. That seems like the very definition of bad fumble luck. Lots of them, and a low percentage of recoveries. Not sure how that affects est wins, tho.

29 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Yes, they have. Here are the numbers:


That stat counts both self fumbles and opponent fumbles, and it looks they were even worse last year. But there's not that big of a difference between them and Seattle, who is around league average.

45 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

I'll bet you anything it is variance in the first quarter. Seattle at times has looked like a team that doesn't always game plan and play a 'base offense' for the first quarter. And when they were down 3 O Linemen at the same time the 'base offense' had a large number of play action where Russell Wilson was getting killed.

So against the Texans, Tampa, SF, Carolina, and a couple of other games they had no offense before the 2nd half.

76 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Which is surprising, because they were great at scoring quickly last year. Here is how their drives until the first punt or TO looked like:

Arizona: Missed FG, FG
Dallas: FG
Green Bay: Punt
St. Louis: TD
Carolina: FG
New England: FG, TD
SF: FG, FG, missed FG
Detroit: FG, TD, TD
Minnesota: Punt
Miami: Punt
Chicago: Fumble
Arizona: FG, TD, TD
Buffalo: TD, TD, FG, TD, TD
St. Louis: Punt

Only five times did they not have a chance to kick at least a field goal on their opening drive.

8 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

”I'll leave the discussion of who we blame for this -- i.e. is this all the blocking, or did Rice get cooked even earlier than usual for a running back -- for another time.”

For most of the year, I’d have said it was an equal measure of both, but I thought I saw a change in Rice this past week. I don’t think there were bigger holes, but I though he was hitting what small holes there were more decisively. It was probably his best game. Throw away the 40yd run in Chicago and the rest of that game was pretty bad.

The running game has been pretty bad whether facing a good rushing defense or bad. I’m looking forward to opponent adjustments in this week’s game helping us out of the No. 1 all time spot. It’s been so bad that at games everyone cheers when they get 3 yards on a carry. Pretty pathetic.

15 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

It can't be that Rice is cooked, look at B. Pierce's numbers:

2012: 4.1%
2013: -32.5%

Pierce was also improving during last year and excellent in the playoffs. Rice was certainly playing injured for most the year, it appears that he's regained some burst in the past couple weeks. I'll give an analysis of the O-line:

C: Gino Gradkowski: Played terribly for most of the season, although he has improved somewhat in recent weeks. Could be he was just learning the game, as he played vs. bad competition at Delaware.

LG: Kelichi Osemele, AQ Shipley: Osemele was horrible, and it turned out he was playing with a bad back and was IR-ed about half-way through the season. Shipley is very limited but tries hard.

LT: Bryant McKinnie, Eugene Monroe: McKinnie didn't care to run block and was inconsistent in pass protection. Monroe is pretty good, at least he's reliable.

RG: Yanda has been well below his usual standard. No idea why. Maybe having Birk next to him really helped.

RT: Oher has been a good RT in the past (a so-so LT), but this year he hasn't been good. Strange because he's in his walk year.

Other factors: Juan Castillo was brought in to implement a zone blocking scheme, but the O-lineman just couldn't pick it up and constantly blocked the wrong guy/area. The TE play has been lousy, as Dallas Clark can't block anyone and Ed Dickson isn't a terrible blocker but has stone hands so defense don't respect his ability to be a receiver. Vonta Leach was cut in the offseason and resigned in August, I'm not sure he was keeping in as good shape as in the past and is aging.

So, there is slight room for optimism. Gradkowski is not embarrassing himself anymore, and the line is getting more continuity with Shipley at LG and Monroe at LT. Castillo and Harbaugh seem to be working to develop blocking schemes that suit the players better instead of using a system that makes them look clueless. Rice is healthier. Pitta is real-live NFL TE (although not a great blocker, he takes Dickson out of a role he couldn't handle).

19 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

I agree with everything but the Juan Castillo comments. The whole Castillo effect has been way over blown. He wasn't brought in to implement a zone blocking scheme, because the Ravens were already using a zone blocking scheme. He was brought to improve the zone blocking scheme.

In the words of Bobbie Williams who played for Castillo in Philly and played for the Ravens last year "“With Juan, it’s close to the same fit. It’s the zone, You stretch it and you let your back find the hole, which is similar to what Ray [Rice] has been used to. Juan is about producing physical guys up front, guys that are nasty.”

I think there may be something physically wrong with both Yanda and Oher. Just like Osemele, he sucks then all of sudden we hear he's had this back problem all along and then bingo he's on IR for back surgery.

22 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Hmmm..., I'm open to being wrong about this. But I've seen some video analysis of run plays in the earlier part of the season where 3 O-lineman were triple-teaming a NT and DE's were just let free to wreck the RB. Something was definitely very wrong with the scheme, whether it was due to Castillo or not is up in the air. At this point in the season it seems like the O-lineman are now generally blocking the right guy, it's just that they aren't that good at blocking.

58 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Their roles are a bit murky, but the original O-line coach Moeller (who was there since 2011) is now an assistant O-line coach, and Juan Castillo's title is O-line coach and "run game coordinator", whatever that means.

66 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Yanda had off-season rotator cuff surgery. It severely limited his off-season conditioning, and he is still not back to full health, essentially playing with one arm. Oher has been inexplicably awful and it was clear from Harbaugh's reaction after this week's holding penalty that his time in Baltimore is over. I am very high on both Osemele and Yanda if/when healthy and hope they can keep Monroe and draft a legit NFL center, which Gradkowski is not.

72 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

At least the Ravens got their championship before Birk left. I still think that the Vikings get home field advantage, and easily beat the Saints in the NFCCG, in 2009, if Birk had not left, leaving the Vikings with a John Sullivan who just wasn't ready yet.

As effective as Birk still was at an advanced age, you shoulda' seen him prior to his hernia and hip problems, in 2004 and 2005. He could pull and lead an outside running play, while being stout enough to handle a decent nose tackle without a lot of help. One of the best I've seen.

91 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

I wonder if birk makes the hall. In a vacuum, I would think he deserves to. Longevity, pretty strong peak, durability at a position that is notoriously hard to be durable. In the world we have, I suppose a lot of it will depend on whos he competing with. But, I think he will get in. That super bowl ring will go a long way.

94 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

I agree, although he might have to wait a year or two - Ray Lewis will likely be the representative of that Ravens Super Bowl win, and then Ed Reed will only be a year or two behind (by all appearances, Reed should have tried to get into Lewis' HoF class).

It might come down to who the voters decide has the better case out of Birk and Jeff Saturday? Both retired in the same year and were great players. Birk was probably the better player, but Saturday probably achieved more (by virtue of having Peyton Manning line up with his hands on his butt). I imagine both get in eventually, but both might have to wait a little while.

106 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

I loved Ray Donaldson and think he was a better player than Saturday. Unfortunately, most of his career was playing for really crappy teams. I couldn't help feeling good for Donaldson after Super Bowl XXX.

102 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

There's also Olin Kreutz who was highly respected and made 2 more all-pros than Birk, but never played for a good offense (well he was on the Saints his last year, but was jettisoned).

Plus it's super difficult for an interior lineman to get in the hall. No stats, no generally accepted rankings, and a sea of ignorant sports writers.

Edit: There's also Tom Nalen who will almost certainly not get in because he's considered dirty, but he was a very good center for a long time.

103 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Story will be the difference here. Matt birk has a story plus I think he's involved with the media. Those two will go a long way towards helping birk. Normally, I would hate that aspect of it, but I think birk is very deserving.

Olin will absolutely not get in for the reasons you stated. Sad. I would say center is the most ignored position in football personally.

105 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

A couple of things about centers:

-There was a stretch where the centers on lines from great teams (which may or may not have been great lines) were the offensive linemen who were elected to the Hall. Now, that's probably left tackles.

-If Dermontti Dawson had to wait a few years to get into the Hall, none of the guys in this discussion will go in on the first ballot. Generally speaking, the lack of quantitative standards for offensive linemen makes it easier to postpone their election for guys with gaudy statistics.

107 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Watching Birk on the Ravens it never would have occurred to me that he could be a HOFer. He was always solid. But watching the line fall apart this year makes me wonder about all the intangibles he brings. And I don't mean "clutchness" or "leadership" but actually making calls and organizing the group so everyone blocks the right guy.