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

Week 13 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

Now that the Arizona Cardinals have been nice enough to fall back to earth, the Football Outsiders DVOA ratings are looking a lot more like the actual NFL standings. Three of the five current 9-3 teams are our DVOA top three, and all three teams -- Denver, New England, and Green Bay -- see very little change from last week's ratings. The fourth 9-3 team, Philadelphia, is now seventh in total DVOA but fifth in weighted DVOA. And then the Cardinals... well, things haven't changed much in our numbers, which don't see their two losses as being worth much less than some of their early-season wins.

After the Packers beat the Patriots, I noted on Twitter that I expected both teams to come out of the game with positive DVOA ratings, and that's in fact what happened. The Patriots actually ended up with a higher DVOA for the game, despite the fact that the Packers gained more yards per play, 6.8 to 5.9. Slight differences add up. The Patriots had a slightly higher success rate on offense (44.4 percent vs. 42.6 percent). Mason Crosby loses more value for missing a 40-yard field goal than Stephen Gostkowski does for missing a 47-yard field goal. The Packers also get dinged for Aaron Rodgers' fumble on a sack (which he recovered himself) and Micah Hyde's muffed punt return. The numbers end up looking like this, with and without the opponent adjustments:

GB 28.9% 11.3% -9.6% 8.0%
NE 36.2% -0.6% -4.9% 31.9%
GB 27.0% 29.4% -9.6% -12.0%
NE 34.5% 21.7% -4.9% 7.9%

Both teams see their overall DVOA ratings drop by less than one percentage point this week; the Patriots fall despite having the slightly higher DVOA in this game because of changes in schedule adjustments for their previous opponents. But both teams also move up in weighted DVOA because Week 1 -- when the Packers and Patriots both lost -- has now dropped to only 20 percent strength in the formula. The gap between the Patriots and Broncos is nearly 10 percentage points of total DVOA, but is less than two percentage points in weighted DVOA. Meanwhile, the Packers lead over the rest of the NFC becomes bigger when we look at weighted DVOA, and the second-best team switches from Seattle in total DVOA to Philadelphia in weighted DVOA because we're discounting that wacky Week 1 Jacksonville game where the Eagles were competely outplayed for a half.

The Patriots have been the best team in the league since Week 7. This is, of course, completely arbitrary endpoint-setting, but at least it's arbitrary endpoint-setting that has nothing to do with the Patriots. It comes from something I put together for the ESPN playoff odds report today, looking at how the Saints have improved since their Week 6 bye. Anyway, as long as I ran these numbers, I figured folks would find them interesting. Here's a look at teams with an overall DVOA difference of at least 20% between Weeks 1-6 and Weeks 7-13:

Week 1-6 DVOA vs. Week 7-13 DVOA, Biggest Change
Weeks 1-6 Weeks 7-13
NE 4.0% 0.7% 2.9% 6.2% 15 32.8% -2.3% 8.8% 43.9% 1 37.6%
NO 15.6% 30.1% -0.6% -15.0% 25 18.1% 1.5% 2.5% 19.2% 7 34.2%
TB -24.8% 14.3% -5.6% -44.6% 32 -24.9% -13.5% -1.1% -12.5% 23 32.1%
PIT 9.6% 19.6% 0.6% -9.4% 21 25.1% 3.1% -1.4% 20.7% 6 30.1%
MIN -22.8% 4.1% 1.0% -26.0% 30 -3.6% -0.9% 5.9% 3.2% 16 29.1%
JAC -29.6% 9.3% -4.5% -43.5% 31 -25.8% -12.7% -2.6% -15.8% 25 27.7%
STL -3.3% 12.9% -4.3% -20.4% 26 -13.3% -11.3% 6.4% 4.4% 13 24.8%
x x x x x x x x x x x x
CHI 9.7% -2.7% -7.2% 5.1% 16 -7.1% 18.7% -0.9% -26.7% 28 -31.8%
CLE 18.2% 7.5% 0.4% 11.1% 8 -21.1% -5.8% -1.8% -17.1% 26 -28.2%
CAR 7.2% 14.9% -2.5% -10.2% 23 -26.4% -3.0% -10.2% -33.5% 32 -23.3%
WAS 3.8% 4.7% -9.3% -10.2% 22 -21.6% 11.1% -0.6% -33.4% 31 -23.2%
CIN 15.1% 0.3% 0.1% 14.9% 5 -15.1% 1.0% 7.8% -8.3% 22 -23.2%
NYG -1.2% -1.4% -3.4% -3.1% 19 -11.5% 16.0% 1.8% -25.6% 27 -22.5%
DAL 17.6% 1.1% -2.3% 14.2% 6 3.6% 12.1% 2.3% -6.2% 21 -20.5%

Yes, that's Carolina with the worst special teams of Weeks 7-13. And, of course, that's heavily just Week 13, where the Panthers somehow allowed two blocked punts to be returned for touchdowns. Carolina had -50.9% special teams DVOA for this game, and our system estimates that special teams cost the Panthers -15.9 points compared to an average performance. That's not quite enough to make me dig out the list of the worst special teams games ever, but I'm sure it would at least make the bottom 25. And that gets me to this question which came up in the comment thread for Quick Reads today:

Thunderbolt of ... : Once a punt is blocked, does DVOA reward/penalize special teams for recovering the ball and/or returning it for a TD? I'm not sure, but my guess is that DVOA treats a blocked punt like a fumble, where credit is given for the block but not for the recovery. But I'm not sure this is as accurate in the case of a blocked punt; a clean block will almost always be recovered by the defense, while a partial block isn't as good.

The answer to this question is that right now, I've got it in the system where the punting team gets penalized for the blocked punt based on where the ball ends up after a recovery and return, but the punt return team doesn't get any credit for what happens after the block. Honestly, that's pretty silly and is an example of one of those small things in our ratings that I probably set ten years ago and don't make sense given how we handle other things now. One of my goals for the offseason is to overhaul the special teams ratings to really segregate these special, "non-repeatable" but valuable plays like punt blocks, maybe even creating two different ratings for special teams -- one that is only for looking backwards at how well a team played that day, the other that only measures elements of special teams that are likely to tell us something about that team going forward. When I do this, I'll fix the punt blocks so they make more sense.

* * * * *

Once again in 2014, we have teamed up with EA Sports to bring Football Outsiders-branded player content to Madden 15 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. We will also tweet out images of these players from the @fboutsiders Twitter account on most Fridays. One player each week will only be available for 24 hours from the point these players enter packs on Friday.

The Football Outsiders stars for Week 13 are:

  • WR DeAndre Hopkins, HOU (24-HOUR HERO): 133 DYAR, the No. 5 best WR game since 1989 (9-for-9, 238 yards, 2 TD).
  • RT Lane Johnson, PHI: Allowed no sacks, one hurry; Eagles RB gained 118 yards on 10 carries to the right side.
  • DT Akeem Spence, TB: 4 TFL, 2 QB hits, sack.
  • CB Desmond Trufant, ATL: Allowed just three catches for 40 yards against Arizona.
  • LOLB Jason Worilds, PIT: 10 combined tackles, all of which were Stops, including a sack, run TFL, and pass reception TFL. Tackles allowed an average gain of just 1.2 yards.

* * * * *

All stats pages are now updated with Week 13 information -- or will be in the next few minutes -- including FO Premium, snap counts, and playoff odds. You can also read the new weekly playoff odds report on ESPN Insider to get more commentary on the current playoff odds.

* * * * *

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These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through 13 weeks of 2014, measured by our proprietary Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) system that breaks down every single play and compares a team's performance to the league average based on situation in order to determine value over average. (Explained further here.)

OFFENSE and DEFENSE DVOA are adjusted for strength of schedule and 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>

1 DEN 34.6% 1 33.0% 1 9-3 23.8% 2 -15.3% 4 -4.5% 27
2 NE 25.3% 2 31.1% 2 9-3 18.7% 3 -0.8% 12 5.8% 3
3 GB 23.9% 3 25.2% 3 9-3 25.4% 1 0.5% 16 -1.0% 19
4 BAL 21.6% 4 24.4% 4 7-5 10.7% 9 -2.2% 9 8.6% 2
5 SEA 21.4% 6 16.4% 7 8-4 12.6% 7 -9.7% 6 -0.9% 18
6 MIA 16.4% 5 16.2% 8 7-5 10.6% 10 -9.6% 7 -3.8% 25
7 PHI 16.0% 8 20.0% 5 9-3 -1.4% 15 -8.6% 8 8.8% 1
8 KC 13.8% 7 18.0% 6 7-5 8.3% 11 0.1% 14 5.6% 6
9 BUF 9.4% 9 10.6% 9 7-5 -12.4% 27 -16.0% 3 5.8% 4
10 IND 9.1% 12 9.1% 11 8-4 4.6% 13 1.2% 19 5.7% 5
11 DET 7.2% 14 5.8% 13 8-4 -6.0% 20 -18.9% 1 -5.7% 31
12 SF 6.8% 11 4.9% 15 7-5 -4.7% 18 -16.5% 2 -5.0% 30
13 PIT 5.6% 13 5.6% 14 7-5 17.6% 4 11.5% 29 -0.4% 14
14 NO 5.3% 18 9.8% 10 5-7 17.1% 5 12.9% 31 1.2% 11
15 DAL 4.0% 10 5.9% 12 8-4 11.1% 8 7.1% 24 0.0% 13
16 SD 1.8% 16 2.2% 16 8-4 12.8% 6 10.2% 28 -0.8% 16
17 CIN 1.4% 15 -3.0% 19 8-3-1 -2.5% 16 0.7% 17 4.6% 7
18 ARI -1.8% 17 -1.9% 18 9-3 -9.9% 24 -10.9% 5 -2.8% 22
19 ATL -3.1% 20 -6.9% 22 5-7 7.7% 12 15.2% 32 4.4% 8
20 STL -4.9% 24 1.8% 17 5-7 -8.5% 22 -1.7% 10 1.9% 10
21 CLE -5.6% 19 -6.3% 21 7-5 -4.9% 19 -0.2% 13 -0.9% 17
22 HOU -8.2% 21 -6.2% 20 6-6 -3.1% 17 0.3% 15 -4.8% 28
23 CHI -10.7% 22 -14.5% 24 5-7 1.9% 14 8.6% 27 -4.1% 26
24 MIN -11.7% 23 -13.2% 23 5-7 -13.7% 28 1.5% 20 3.4% 9
25 NYG -14.6% 25 -15.3% 25 3-9 -6.3% 21 7.5% 25 -0.8% 15
26 NYJ -18.4% 28 -18.0% 26 2-10 -15.4% 29 1.7% 21 -1.3% 20
27 WAS -21.4% 27 -22.9% 27 3-9 -8.7% 23 7.8% 26 -4.9% 29
28 CAR -22.4% 29 -25.8% 28 3-8-1 -10.0% 25 6.1% 23 -6.3% 32
29 TEN -26.2% 30 -31.0% 32 2-10 -12.1% 26 11.8% 30 -2.2% 21
30 OAK -28.5% 26 -28.5% 30 1-11 -24.6% 30 4.5% 22 0.5% 12
31 TB -29.4% 32 -26.5% 29 2-10 -24.8% 31 1.2% 18 -3.3% 23
32 JAC -29.9% 31 -29.2% 31 2-10 -27.7% 32 -1.3% 11 -3.6% 24
  • 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 DEN 34.6% 9-3 31.1% 10.5 1 4.6% 4 -4.0% 21 11.1% 7
2 NE 25.3% 9-3 22.6% 7.8 7 3.9% 6 2.3% 12 18.8% 25
3 GB 23.9% 9-3 24.9% 8.2 3 0.5% 13 -4.0% 20 14.4% 12
4 BAL 21.6% 7-5 26.5% 8.3 2 -4.7% 25 -6.8% 25 8.5% 5
5 SEA 21.4% 8-4 19.3% 7.9 6 -0.7% 21 4.0% 7 16.9% 19
6 MIA 16.4% 7-5 19.0% 8.0 5 3.1% 7 4.2% 6 18.4% 24
7 PHI 16.0% 9-3 17.0% 8.0 4 -7.1% 30 -2.6% 19 14.8% 15
8 KC 13.8% 7-5 10.7% 7.4 8 6.0% 3 -5.7% 24 23.1% 29
9 BUF 9.4% 7-5 9.9% 6.6 12 0.7% 12 13.8% 3 5.4% 1
10 IND 9.1% 8-4 13.8% 7.3 9 -2.1% 22 -9.0% 29 12.5% 9
11 DET 7.2% 8-4 9.2% 6.9 10 -0.2% 19 -7.0% 26 8.0% 4
12 SF 6.8% 7-5 2.3% 6.8 11 3.1% 8 -1.8% 18 11.5% 8
13 PIT 5.6% 7-5 6.8% 6.0 18 -7.3% 31 3.4% 9 15.0% 17
14 NO 5.3% 5-7 4.7% 6.3 16 -0.1% 17 -16.4% 32 18.8% 26
15 DAL 4.0% 8-4 5.5% 6.6 14 -6.0% 27 -1.7% 17 18.2% 22
16 SD 1.8% 8-4 5.0% 6.6 15 0.4% 14 20.1% 1 18.3% 23
17 CIN 1.4% 8-3-1 4.6% 6.6 13 -3.5% 23 10.1% 4 23.2% 30
18 ARI -1.8% 9-3 -1.1% 6.0 17 1.6% 11 9.3% 5 6.1% 2
19 ATL -3.1% 5-7 3.4% 5.6 20 -7.5% 32 3.1% 10 14.7% 13
20 STL -4.9% 5-7 -5.0% 4.8 23 2.8% 9 -4.1% 22 29.2% 32
21 CLE -5.6% 7-5 3.0% 5.6 19 -6.4% 28 2.4% 11 13.6% 10
22 HOU -8.2% 6-6 0.7% 4.4 25 -6.4% 29 -7.3% 27 6.3% 3
23 CHI -10.7% 5-7 -14.0% 5.4 21 2.3% 10 1.2% 13 11.0% 6
24 MIN -11.7% 5-7 -11.5% 5.3 22 0.3% 16 -1.4% 16 14.9% 16
25 NYG -14.6% 3-9 -21.1% 4.0 27 0.4% 15 -9.1% 30 16.3% 18
26 NYJ -18.4% 2-10 -24.0% 4.4 24 9.0% 1 0.9% 14 18.2% 21
27 WAS -21.4% 3-9 -17.7% 3.6 28 -5.4% 26 0.1% 15 20.3% 27
28 CAR -22.4% 3-8-1 -27.6% 4.1 26 4.0% 5 -8.2% 28 14.1% 11
29 TEN -26.2% 2-10 -24.6% 3.1 30 -0.1% 18 -13.5% 31 17.9% 20
30 OAK -28.5% 1-11 -36.6% 3.0 31 6.4% 2 16.2% 2 14.8% 14
31 TB -29.4% 2-10 -21.3% 3.2 29 -4.1% 24 3.5% 8 23.9% 31
32 JAC -29.9% 2-10 -26.5% 2.4 32 -0.4% 20 -5.2% 23 21.1% 28


182 comments, Last at 06 Dec 2014, 6:37pm

1 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

I'm surprised the DVOA difference was so large for NE vs GB.

Maybe this is my Green Bay homerism, but if that game were played again, and each team were to play as well as they did before, I would take the Packers every time. They left a LOT of points on the board. Yes, yes, NE had good red zone defense, but you really can't *plan* to let the number 2 offense into the red zone on every drive and then hope to suddenly play better and stop them.

I'm also surprised specifically that holding the #3 offense in the league to 21 points is considered well below average (11.3%).

With the 23.9% DVOA advantage, are we to believe that the Patriots will win that game most times, playing the way the did on Sunday?

3 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

(Still biting my tongue) I'm happy with the final score.. I hope Belichick comes to the same conclusion as DVOA, but I suspect his metrics will come to a slightly different conclusion and lead to a very different game plan if there's a rematch.

11 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Yes, yes, NE had good red zone defense, but you really can't *plan* to let the number 2 offense into the red zone on every drive and then hope to suddenly play better and stop them.

But equally, you also shouldn't plan on drives continually getting the chance to stall in the red zone. Green Bay faced an unusually large number of third downs in the game, and converted a higher-than-expected percentage: 10-16 for 62.5%, compared to 46.8% for the first 11 games; since they failed all four times inside the red zone, that meant they were an incredible 10-12 outside of it. Facing a lot of third downs is generally not a sustainable model going forward, and Green Bay had been very good at avoiding them previously, having the fifth-lowest third down play percentage.

44 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

I think this is right. Because GB was so good on third down, on both sides of the ball, I think it masked from viewers (and I include myself) what DVOA was saying. I think, just remembering, and not looking it up, that NE tended to be successful on first down, and then the GB defense came up with big plays on second and third to stop them, whereas GB often started a series by running for two yards on first down. That seemed to happen over and over, but Rodgers and Co were able to overcome it, especially in the first half, so it ended up not mattering. But it would matter to DVOA.

49 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Yeah, after the initial jolt, the DVOA ratings are starting to make more sense. I'm not sure I agree with them, but I can understand them. ;-)

I do lean in the direction of DVOA in that I think I might favor NE in a rematch. Aside from the fact that it wouldn't be in Lambeau, I feel like we saw a closer approximation to GB's best game than we did NE's. It is completely anecdotal, and I'm sure someone is going to scold me for not having 12 spreadsheets of data to support this, but it seems like the spread usually narrows or even reverses the second time around.

51 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Really? GB's special teams had a ton of easily avoidable gaffes. In close games, special teams play ends up being a big factor. But I agree with you insofar as "has any team ever gone up against NE multiple times in a season and won all the match-ups?" I think coaching becomes the biggest factor in any rematch. However, I don't think a rematch is happening. If Seattle blows out Philadelphia this weekend, I thinks it's a Superbowl rematch all the way...

54 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

NYJ, Baltimore, and NYG are recent examples of teams beating NE more than once. Even in those examples, the defense generally plays a good deal better the second time around.

I understand GB wasn't perfect, which is why I said it was closer to and not their actual best. Has any team ever played their absolute best?

79 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

My list wasn't meant to be all inclusive, that's why I said "recent". Your latter list is more tangential because the OP was looking for teams that beat NE multiple times, not those that faced them twice and won the second time around.

58 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

I really did mean sweeping, not beating two out of three times. NYG I had forgotten about. Didn't realize Baltimore had beaten them either of those seasons before the playoffs. If GB beats them again, it will add them to the list of Superbowl winner who went through them twice, so that's fitting I guess!

As far as teams playing their absolute best, that not what I meant even - there was room for improvement in simple ways for GB. Not sending kickoffs short and out of bounds is a simple thing to do, so while I could've suggested "well, Aaron Rodgers could have scrambled such and such situation or completed an open pass he didn't see," I didn't suggest that they could have improved where they were indeed excellent. Their running game has definitely looked better at other point than it did on Sunday, but I didn't mention that either - I saw one area where they almost certainly would be improved in a rematch.

They COULD be better in other ways in a rematch, but they almost definitely WOULD be better on kickoffs. Also, their obvious redzone stumbles are an area where the would vs. could is debatable, but would be surprising to be repeated - either by failing to get into the redzone as frequently or their failure to capitalize on the end of drives where they moving the ball well. So, saying that's as good as GB could have been seems dubious to me.

I agree that New England seemed to have more options overall for improvement than GB, so maybe that's all you meant. I certainly think NE wouldn't be as poorly coached next time out - they employed many puzzling strategies and underutilized effective ones. That's why I brought up teams rarely sweeping Belichick in a season - relying on him being out-coached twice seems more unlikely than for a second time Aaron Rodgers playing like the MVP and their pass defense being ok but not excellent (which at 14th in DVOA, seems about right.) I'm not sure that any team in the league but Seattle is capable of shutting down Rodgers/Nelson/Cobb, let alone a defense like NE's that the team's fans are really excited for but DVOA (and my own eyes) think is a very pedestrian unit. I think they were lucky to hold GB to under 30 and most of that was from redzone excellence.

So, no, I don't agree with the idea that GB had topped off. I don't think NE topped off by any stretch of the imagination either, though.

78 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

I'm right there with you. Simply by virtue of settling for a single FG, let alone four, it can be assumed GB didn't hit their apex. I just think NE was further away than GB was, a purely subjective opinion, I realize.

Regarding special teams, NE was pretty poor in that aspect themselves. Beyond the missed FG, every KO was returnable, the coverage units were only OK and Allen had a couple below average punts. It was the worst that group has looked all year, by a healthy margin. I'm not familiar enough with GB to know how much their performance diverged from the norm (or how mch they might have had to do with NE's struggles in coverage), but it should be noted that NE offset GB's issues somewhat.

63 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Racking over 100 yards of penalties is a sign that they didn't play their best, and Lynch didn't play well in that game either. I would say that they were closer to their best against New Orleans than against Denver.

64 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Yeah, the New Orleans game is the one where I felt like "wow. there is no way to beat this team." The Denver game was just one of those things where some fluke-ish stuff went their way early and then shit got out of hand quick.

66 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

I'm assuming you are both talking about the regular season game against the Saints? If so, yes, that was a frightening performance.

In the playoff game, hard to say they were close to their best when Wilson goes 9-18 and misses routine slants.

75 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Yeah, the regular season one.

I just realized that Lynch didn't play well in that one either, but I think that was more because they were stacking the box and sold out to stop Beastquake from happening again, whereas against the Broncos it was more about Knighton owning Unger again and again. Also, Wilson and the defense probably had their best games since 2012 as far as technique is concerned against the Saints. The defense shut down Peyton too, but that was more because he really wasn't that accurate and, after a careful review of their play, they probably did figure out several of Manning's signals considering their uncanny knowledge of some of the routes. Brees was actually pretty accurate throwing the ball and they managed to temporarily shake off the coverage with some well-designed routes several times, but the anticipation, recovery and pass disruption by the secondary was amazing that day.

77 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

GB also had, I think, 3 pass deflections by the front 7, and NE had the good fortune that all three deflected passes happened to land out of reach of the GB defenders. A little worse luck for NE (or better luck for GB) and one or two of those is intercepted. Although DVOA doesn't reflect it, I think that turnover "luck" balances (if not outweighs) the non-muffed punt and Rodgers "fumble."

86 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

NYMike: Eddie Lacy carried the ball 21 times for 98 yards with a long gain of 12, so I'm not sure when all those two yard runs you're referring to happened. Both teams ran the ball effectively, but Green Bay averaged two more yards per pass, which is a pretty significant advantage with neither team turning the ball over. Plus, New England's defense is rated higher than Green Bay's, so shouldn't that help the Packers' offensive DVOA, relative to the Pats'? The DVOA percentages don't make sense to me, even after reading the explanation, but I'm probably not going to lose any sleep over it.

102 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Well, you made me look it up. Here's GB on first down in the first half:

Lacy 13
Lacy 24
Lacy 2
Cobb 2
Pass Inc
Lacy 2
Lacy 1
Starks 2
Lacy 3
Pass Boykin 6
Lacy -2
Lacy 2
Pass Inc
Pass Nelson 45

I think I remembered pretty accurately. Add to the fact that I didn't see the first two plays on this list because the Ravens/Chargers game hadn't ended yet ...

Anyway, in a half where GB scored 5 times in 5 possessions, they had 4 successful first down plays in 14 tries. I think we've discovered why DVOA didn't like the Packers as much as we fans did.

108 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

don't disagree with your point, but you missed some stuff.

The first play of the game was a 12 yard pass to Lacy. You omitted it.

There was another 12 yard pass on 1st down you missed-- to Cobb, I believe.

The 32 yard TD pass to Rodgers was on 1st down.

And the Nelson TD pass was a 3rd and 2, actually.... preceded by a 8 yd 1st and 10 pass to Nelson that you also missed

Overall (I chart GB 1st down performance regularly) they had 18 1st down plays for 121 yards-- nearly 7 yds per play-- which is way better than average for a NFL team... But I agree there were too many 2 yard runs-- McCarthy has a different philosophy than a lot of us-- it can be frustrating to watch at times-- they believe in "explosive" plays and, while they don't say this explicitly, they use bland 1st and 10 running plays to setup the defenses for those big plays. And again, despite playing at Lambeau, McCarthy-Rodgers has outscored every other NFL coach-QB pairing in history, save Peyton-Brees, so they must be doing something right.

151 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

NYMike: The original stat line I saw on Lacy was wrong (or maybe I misread it). His long run was 24, as you said, not 12, which of course means that he had a number of shorter runs. So, I stand corrected on that. That said, I still don't think the Packers' third down conversion rate was all that unusual, and I still contend that, all other things being equal, which they pretty much were on Sunday, if Green Bay has a positive two yards per pass differential and no picks, it wins this game almost every time.

152 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

The Packers' number of third down attempts was definitely unusual. In the first 11 games, they had 121 offensive drives with 126 non-kneeldown third down attempts, which is about one third down per drive. Against the Patriots they had 9 drives and 16 third down attempts, which is almost twice as many third downs per drive, and it's that relative inefficiency on the first two downs that's depressing Green Bay's DVOA, not their conversion rate on third down.

153 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Well that makes sense, but I guess what I'm saying is that I don't think that SHOULD depress the Packers' offensive DVOA to the point where it's lower than New England's, when Green Bay threw the ball with significantly greater efficiency. Rodgers averaged 9.7 yards per throw (not including sacks), which tends to make up for those unsuccessful early down plays. In other words, at least in this case, I think DVOA is wrong.

155 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

DVOA will always be wrong for a variety of reasons, one of them being
not separating home and away performance. The entire argument about who is
better, Brady or Rodgers, is a waste of time imo. Rodgers was 10% better than
Brady at GB, Brady would have been 10% better than Rodgers at Gillette.


16 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

I have to agree. I thought it was remarkable that NE even had a chance to win at the end, as it seemed to me that this was a 34-17 blowout cloaked in a one score contest.

GB's defensive rating is probably the reverse of the Jets offense from a few years ago. Their poor drives were so short that they had a disproportionately low impact on DVOA as a per play metric. Perfectly reasonable, but the fact that NE left the field so quickly was a big factor in the final result of this game.

I was disappointed in NE's approach to this game. I don't buy the absurd argument that NE held things back for the eventual rematch, but I thought NE's coaching was less than impressive. On two separate occasions, I could tell immediately from the formation that they were iso-ing Ninkovich. If I could, surely NE could and both times Nink was burned for big gains. I can't help but wonder if NE would adjust - or simply call a TO - if that situation comes up again.

NE's time management at the end was also questionable. There was no reason whatsoever to think GB would struggle to score given three minutes and several time outs, so it seemed appropriate to play for the final score. NE supported this idea by going for on 4th down at midfield with plenty of time left. But targeting Gronk in the EZ, albeit with a favorable match up, went against this.

And why kick the FG? Sure, 4th and 18 is very unlikely, but how much more likely was stopping GB from getting a single first down? And then going down and scoring with less than two minutes and no TOs? Going for it also puts you in position to win on that drive instead of so many different things having to fall right. Even if you fail in your attempt, the only difference between that and a made FG is you'll need a TD on your subsequent drive instead of another figgie. Once you realize that even a 4th and 18 attempt was probably the better option, why not play for both downs on 3rd and 9 instead of taking such a deep drop when you haven't protected the QB well all game?

These are the types of questions I find myself asking after watching other games, not a Belichick coached team. Add in that this was one of McDaniels' semi-annual Vizzini (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_eZmEiyTo0 Anyone willing to tell me how to link this url to "Vizzini"?) game, and I couldn't help feeling like this was a C- effort.

To this Pats fan, GB looked like a substantially better team (for 60 minutes, at least) and were certainly better at creating mismatches.

22 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

I think DVOA looks at Green Bay's 2 fumbles and feels that the Patriots were unlucky in the game. I'm not sure how true that is. The Patriots' red zone offense was generally incredible in the game, and the Packers' offense was unsustainably successful on 3d down. Whatever one thinks about it, and I'm not saying that I intuitively agree, DVOA is indicating that if this exact game were to be replayed, Green Bay would regress on 3d down conversions, meaning shorter drives, the Patriots would probably recover a fumble, and it would be Green Bay playing catch-up at the end.

23 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

I might note that this general statistical suggestion fails to take into account game plan and personnel realities, such as the specific nature of the New England pass rush in this game, which seemed far more intent on containment than pressure.

88 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Re: The field goal

The argument is that they'd have to stop GB to get the ball back. The Packers still had all three time outs and a conversion would have put them within the 10. Their best case scenario would be to score with over two minutes left, and they'd have to stop Rodgers from just getting into field goal range, which they hadn't been successful in all night. I'd argue their best bet was kicking the field goal and on side kicking it, to about the 50, so that if they could get a stop the Packers would be outside field goal range and kick it away, and they'd only need a field goal to win.

98 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

I have to admit that I hadn't considered the onside kick, which is a serious oversight on my part. That may tilt the scales a bit in the FG direction, though I still wish they played for the final drive. Instead of targeting Gronk, for instance, Vereen was wide open for a 6-7 yard gain on 2nd and 9. Keep the clock and sticks moving, score with little time and/or burn Green Bay's timeouts.

2 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

I apologized for getting out of hand earlier so I am biting my tongue about DVOA's judgment that the Patriots were the "better" team... But 31.9% to 8.0% is a pretty wide gap, no?

So a few entirely substantive questions:

1) How can making 4 of 5 FGs but missing a 40 yarder ding the Packers more than making 0 of 1 FG but missing a 47 yarder? And if the failure to convert red zone opportunities is already counted against the Packers, isn't this double-counting?

2) Nobody turned the ball over. Rodgers "fumble" traveled about 6 inches. I could argue that a couple of Brady's tipped passes came a lot closer to disaster-- an INT-- than Rodgers dropping a ball at his feet. Hyde's muff was, according to the announcers, a ball that had already been touched by New England so his only risk was possessing the ball, then fumbling it. The "muff" was a non-play...

3) GB's defense-- which allowed 21 pts and 350 yards-- is rated much lower than NE's defense-- which allowed 26 pts and 470 yards. OK..... I'm listening. Home field effect? That I can buy, but both teams were rated 1-2 in offense going into this game....

Let's do it again in Phoenix!!

6 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

All legit points... I thought I had wrote the result was surprising, but I guess somewhere in my fiddling with sentence structure, the word "surprising" came out. I certainly agree that my eyes told me the Packers played slightly better, and the DVOA result surprised me. And in Glendale, I think it's a very even pick 'em.

60 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

I suspect that the 3rd down arguments are right. I felt like the Patriots played better on 1st and 2nd down than the Packers, and worse on 3rd down. Even if 3rd down is weighted more heavily by DVOA (I don't think it is???), you still have more than twice as many 1st and 2nd downs than you do 3rd downs. So a team that consistently gains 4 yards, then 3 yards, then fails to convert on 3rd and 2 will look better to DVOA than a team that consistently runs for 2 yards, then takes 3 yard sack, then converts a 3rd and 11 with a 15 yard pass to their #3 WR.

76 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Aaron, is this a case of VOA giving the trailing team easier baselines?

But here is another idea.

Total DVOA gives equal weight to offense and defense. But this game didn't happen that way. New England's defense was on the field for 25% more plays than it's offense. And the defense was not doing very well, allowing the Packers to move the chains 80% of the time. Your eyes give weight to O and D based on the play counts they saw. Total DVOA imagines an average future game.

VOA's idea of a 8-12% win for the Patriots is equivalent to a real squeaker, maybe a field goal advantage or less. Re-weight it for the actual play counts, and it will agree with your eyeballs. Or imagine the Packers magically deprived of 14 plays. The result might agree with VOA then.

89 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

OK, Bear with me folks-- this is done in the belief that a) something is haywire in DVOA and b) maybe this will help Aaron fix it when he has time in the off-season.

I think any fair reading of the second half of the NE-GB game would say the teams were very even, with a slight edge going to the Pats because They scored a TD and the Packers didn't (thank you, Devante Adams).

NE gained 141 yds; GB 129 (before the final kneel downs)

Both teams had two non-scoring drives to opn the half (Crosby missed a FG in one), but GB's were better. Pats went three and out, gaining 7 yards; then got one first down and had to punt, gaining 13 yds. Packers gained 32 yards and missed a FG, converting one 3rd and 3 and another 2nd and 10; then gained 25 yards and had to punt, making a 1st down on a 1st and 10, converting a 3rd and 7, and, yes, seeing Rodgers get sacked where he dropped the ball at his feet.

If the "fumble" is enough to shift the scales in NE's direction, OK-- but should it? I'd argue that the Packers making 4 FDs to NE's 1 and actually having a makeable FG gives them a slight nod.

Then Brady went 78 yards for a score-- very efficient, converted a 3rd and 1, and another 2nd and 6-- the TD was a 2nd and 10 pass from the red zone. Rodgers then drove 65 yards, just as efficiently-- converted one 3rd and 6, one 2nd and 5, the TD was a 2nd and 5 pass from the red zone (OOPS--- Devante Adams dropped it!!)

OK-- obvious NE advantage-- but basically it was the drop. Other than that it was as even as one could get.

Brady then goes 43 yards in a less efficient drive-- had to convert a 4th and 3 and a 3rd and 7, before the missed hook-up with Gronk, the 3rd down sack (which was a huge play in that it forced Belichick to give up on a TD) and the missed FG.

Packers then went to 4 minute offense-- run, run 3rd down conversion to Cobb. Game Over

SO because of the Adams drop I'd give the Patriots a slight edge in points (7-3), yards (141-129), and overall production. BUT-- basically in the context of the game and the outcome, consider that both teams had two productive possessions and two non-productive possessions since Rodgers did what he needed to do to salt the game away and we'll never know what would have happened had Gronkowski caught that ball or Belichick had gone for it and converted on 4th and 18. I think the final GB possession ought to carry a lot more weight (or any team in a similar end-of-game situation) than I am guessing DVOA gives it.

Stay tuned for the first half, because I think it is absolutely definitive

91 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

The first half, by any fair reading of the facts, was not close.

The Packers had an extra possession-- and we all know what they did with it.

GB's first possession-- 58 yards. Opened with 3 consecutive plays that got first downs, then a 3rd and 8 Def. Holding conversion, and a 3 and out with a FG.

NE's first possession-- one 1st down, and a failed 3rd and 2. 58 yards to 20.

GB's second possession-- 66 yards. OK-- here may be where DVOA rears its head-- only once did the Packers have a productive 1st down play--it got a 1st down; but they converted a 2nd and 8 with a 33 yd pass, Rodgers scrambled for 17 on a 2nd and 18 and they then converted-- and then they went 3 and out in the red zone. FG

NE's second possession-- was a 3 and out that got them 9 yards.

we're at 124 yds to 29. Two productive possessions, and two failed possessions.

GB's third possession-- was an 85 yard scoring drive in a heartbeat. 2 yd run, 6 yd pass, 3rd and 2 conversion with a 45 yd pass (adams), 32 yard TD pass (Rodgers said he wanted to throw to Nelson-- pulled ball down at last instant and then found the other Rodgers). I think DVOA-- or any of us-- really likes that drive.

NE's third possession-- ditto. 3 yd run 29 yd pass, 23 yd pass, 12 run, 6 run-- 73 yds TD.

OK we're at 13-7. 209 yds to 102. 3 straight productive possessions vs. 2 failed/1 productive.

GB's 4th possession-- 57 yards and a failure in red zone. OK-- Aaron Rodgers, who we all know is pretty darn good at this QB thing but DVOA can't recognize from the man in the moon, converted 3 straight 3rd down plays. a 3rd and 5 pass for 33 yds, a 3rd and 2 pass for 8 yards, a 3rd and 12 pass to Cobb for... 12 yards. And then they stalled and kicked a FG.

NE's 4th possession. 80 yards and another TD-- Brady converted 2nd and 10, 2nd and 10 again, 2nd and 5, then 3rd and 3, and finally they ran it in on a 3rd and goal from the 2.

it's now 16-14. Slight edge for GB in score. In yards it's 266 to 182. In productive possessions it's 4 to 2. Brady failed to convert 2 3rd downs, and succeeded twice. Rodgers failed to convert 2 3rd downs and succeeded five times. I don't think NE was the better team at this point-- I could listen to an argument that said it was close-- but one team had basically pushed the other all over the field, while the other had failed twice, but then recovered with two very successful possessions. If you are telling me that Micah Hyde's "muff"-- which occurred after NE's first possession and was basically a free play-- was sufficient to tip the scales hugely in NE's favor, something is wrong. If you are telling me that Rodgers going 5-7 on 3rd down while Brady was 2-4 was sufficient to tip the scales hugely in NE's favor, then something is wrong.

Because the close game to this point became a little less than that when Rodgers went 81 yards in 5 plays to make the score 23-14, the yards 347-182, and the possession count 5 productive for GB to 2 for NE.

The 2nd half was close, and maybe pipped by the Patriots due mainly to Adams' drop. He's a Packer-- his fault-- should count against his team. The first half wasn't close.

I see nothing in this data to ever conclude that when the #2 DVOA team played the #3 DVOA team-- the #2 team was better to the tune of 32 to 8. It simply defies logic-- UNLESS-- there was a home-field blowout quotient built in, and the mere fact that the Pats played the Packers close in Lambeau whereas nobody else had since the 1st half vs the Jets tipped the scales this strongly.

92 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

I see nothing in this data to ever conclude that when the #2 DVOA team played the #3 DVOA team-- the #2 team was better to the tune of 32 to 8.

That's because you're looking at the game with opponent adjustments. "Your eyes" or "the facts" don't see opponent adjustments (since you're not looking at the other games) - so your eyes see VOA. Without opponent adjustments, the game was NE 34.5%, GB 27.0%: or converted to rough points, NE +1.5 points.

Why the opponent adjustments make such a big effect for GB versus NE, I'm not sure. But that could be Green Bay targeting a weakness in New England much more than vice versa.

94 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

I'm smiling now... NE has been the highest-rated team by DVOA for most of the season... SO by what "opponent adjustment" did they benefit by scoring fewer pts and gaining fewer yards than the weaker team they just played?

It can only be a Lambeau effect-- DVOA punished the Packers (and rewarded the Patriots) for blowing out the Eagles and Bears.

And as for the non-opponent adjustment conclusion-- again-- read the pretty precise summary of the game I just made and tell me with a straight face the Patriots were the better team....

100 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

NE hasn't been the highest rated team by DVOA a single week this year, not sure where you are getting that from. If anything, their rating was suppressed until their dominant performances accumulated enough to dwarf their terrible start.

The odd gap in DVOA for the Green Bay game has been explained several times on this page. I may not agree with it - hell, even Aaron admited he expected a different result - but it is perfectly understandable, so why are you still going on about this?

101 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

OK-- I stand corrected-- Aaron said NE has been the clear best team over the past 6-7 weeks.... Point still stands-- they were higher-rated than the Packers coming into this game.

As to the "oddness" I am trying to shed some further light on it, because the explanations simply don't add up. And hoping it will help Aaron when he tweaks the machinery-- a Micah Hyde "muff" or Aaron Rodgers dropping the ball at his feet or being more proficient on 3rd down should not, can not, should never produce a wide margin for the Patriots given the actual story of this game.

So I told the story as a way to help. I think it's illuminating. It was, after all, to this point, the biggest game of the year. One team outplayed the other-- and DVOA got it wrong.