Week 3 DVOA Ratings
by Aaron Schatz
The third week of the season actually didn't bring that many changes from the first two weeks of the season. The DVOA system certainly felt the New York Jets outplayed the Buffalo Bills by much more than the score indicated, as the Jets move up to 12th overall and the Bills move down from eighth to 19th. The Eagles and Rams dropped a good bit, and we've also got the Panthers jumping up into the top ten after dismantling the Giants, which puts their in-season rating much more in-line with our surprising preseason projection that had them as the top team in their division.
However, the big story of 2013 continues to be the big gap between Denver and Seattle and everyone else, along with the big gap on the other side between Jacksonville and everyone else. Obviously, these things are tied together, since the Seahawks clobbered the Jaguars this weekend. This will be our last week without opponent adjustments, and beginning next week we should have enough data to get a better idea of how much strength of schedule has impacted the stellar play of the Broncos and Seahawks as well as the horrible play of the Jaguars.
In the meantime, these teams rank among the best and worst teams we've ever seen through three games. Jacksonville stands out more than Seattle and Denver here. Through three games, they have a VOA rating of -91.0%, which is the lowest of any team in a dozen years and has only been surpassed by one team in the 25 years for which we have DVOA data: Washington in 2001. That team actually started the year with five straight losses, but the first three were really dismal. They lost to San Diego 30-3, got shut out 37-0 by Green Bay on Monday Night Football, and then lost their home opener 45-13 to Kansas City. Of course, that Washington team had one of the strangest, streakiest years in NFL history. They won five straight after starting 0-5, and eventually finished 8-8. I don't think the Jaguars will be finishing 8-8.
|Worst Total VOA for 0-3 Teams, 1989-2013|
The Jaguars are also near the bottom if we look at just their offensive VOA of -68.2%. The only team with a lower offensive rating through three games was the expansion 2002 Houston Texans at 75.7%.
Flipping things around, the Seahawks and Broncos both appear on the list of the best dozen teams through three games. What's interesting is how few of these teams actually ended up dominating the league for the entire season. The top three teams are three of the greatest teams in NFL history, and yes, I'm including the 2007 Patriots in that statement despite the fact that they fell a couple minutes short of the perfect season. However, none of the other teams in the top ten finished better than 11-5. The 2001 and 2002 Chargers were basically the mirror image of Washington in 2001, starting the season off like gangbusters and then completely falling apart. And the ironic thing there, of course, is that the same head coach was in charge of the 2001 Washington team that started 0-5 but finished 8-8 and the 2002 San Diego team that started 6-1 but finished 8-8: Marty Schottenheimer. (For those who don't remember, the man who lost control of the 2001 Chargers and got fired to make way for Marty-ball was current Oregon State head coach Mike Riley.)
|Best Total VOA for 3-0 Teams, 1989-2013|
|*2005 Steelers were actually 2-1, not 3-0.|
The playoff odds report reflects just how far ahead the Seahawks and Broncos are compared to the rest of the league, especially since the Kansas City Chiefs (currently No. 3) had a lower preseason projection and thus a lower DAVE rating. The Seahawks have a 99.8 percent chance to make the playoffs and a 28.9 percent chance to win the Super Bowl. The Broncos have a 97.9 percent chance to make the playoffs and a 27.0 percent chance to win the Super Bowl. No other team is above 80 percent to make the playoffs or 8.0 percent to win the Super Bowl. Right now, either the Seahawks or the Broncos finish with a 16-0 regular season in over 5.0 percent of our simulations.
Strangely, the Jaguars are not currently the favorites to get the No. 1 overall selection in next year's draft. We currently have the New York Giants leading that race, thanks to a more difficult future schedule. Remember how the league keeps giving the Giants tougher opponents in the second half of the season, year after year? That's going to be a problem again this year, especially if the Washington defense can get its act together as Robert Griffin gets healthier.
(Ed. Note: Whoops. It turns out there was an error in the playoff odds equations which overestimated Jacksonville's chances of getting wins because their DAVE rating is so low. We've re-run the odds and Jacksonville is now the clear leader for the No. 1 overall pick, at 49.0 percent. Our apologies to Giants fans who were hoping to get Jadeveon Clowney to solve their pass rush problems.)
That does it for commentary this week; cutting it short so that I can get started on the KUBIAK midseason fantasy update. That should be available for download Thursday night or Friday morning.
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Each week 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 DVOA and DYAR. Others will be under-the-radar players who only stood out with advanced stats. 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.
The Football Outsiders stars for Week 3 are:
- WR Eric Decker, DEN: Caught all eight targets for 133 yards, six first downs, and a touchdown
- DE Charles Johnson, CAR: Sack, two QB hits, four QB hurries, and two run tackles for a yard or less
- CB Leon Hall, CIN: Only allowed one completion covering Randall Cobb, a screen pass that gained 11 yards on third-and-12
- RG Kyle Long and RT Jordan Mills, CHI: Key pieces of the improved Bears line that played very well against Pittsburgh and has allowed only three sacks on the season so far
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These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through three 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 VOA 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.
There are no opponent adjustments in VOA until the fourth week of the season, which is why offense and defense are listed as VOA right now rather than DVOA. As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE.
DAVE is a formula which combines our preseason projection with current VOA to get a more accurate forecast of how a team will play the rest of the season. Right now, the preseason projection makes up 55 percent of DAVE.
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>