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

Week 14 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

Each week, the New England Patriots inch just a little closer to the Denver Broncos in our weighted DVOA ratings, but once again they have not quite caught up. A large part of the football commentariat seems to have written off the Broncos as one of this year's top Super Bowl contenders, apparently because the Broncos had the gall to lose two road games against quality opponents. (Yes, St. Louis counts as a quality opponent.) There's no doubt that Denver's best games came earlier in the year, but the Broncos have still been a top team all season long. They've lost games, but they don't really have a lot of close victories. Denver's wins are all substantial, with a single-game DVOA of at least 37.1% in each of their last six victories. That includes this week's win over Buffalo, which wasn't as close as the 24-17 final score seems to indicate.

And so, there's still a healthy gap between the Broncos and the rest of the league, nearly 10 percentage points. In weighted DVOA, that gap is between the Broncos/Patriots and the rest of the league, but it is still there. There's also a healthy gap between our top five and the rest of the league. Like everyone else, our top five includes New England, Green Bay, Seattle, and Denver. Our fifth team that is standing above the rest of the league is Baltimore. There was a thought a few weeks ago that perhaps the Ravens were ranked too high in DVOA because the opponent adjustments for beating up on the NFC South just weren't strong enough. However, the Ravens continue to play strong games. This week's win over Miami had a single-game DVOA of 67.9%, Baltimore's best game of the entire season. What's weird about the Ravens is that their worst games have all come against division rivals. The Ravens clobbered the Steelers back in Week 2, but otherwise their four division games are their only four games with negative DVOA ratings.

I've written a few times this year about how 2014 seems to be the year without extremes. For the most part, that's still true. Right now, no team ranks among the all-time 20 best or worst teams by offensive, defensive, or total DVOA. However, there are a couple of places where teams are starting to historically stand out.

First of all, the Philadelphia Eagles improved their special teams DVOA to 9.0% this week, moving them up to 14th place all-time in special teams DVOA through 13 games. It's not spectacular or anything -- the Eagles' special teams DVOA is not as high as last year's No. 1 team, Kansas City, or the No. 1 team from the year before, Baltimore -- but it's pretty good. The Eagles have excelled the most on returns, and they are on pace to become the fourth team since 1989 to rate as at least two touchdowns better than average on both kickoff and punt returns. The other three teams: the 2003 Chiefs, the 2010 Bears, and the 2013 Chiefs.

Teams are also standing out on the extremes when it comes to the running game. The Seattle Seahawks have actually slowed down a bit since a few weeks ago, when they appeared to be threatening the 2000 St. Louis Rams for the record for best run offense DVOA of all-time. The Seahawks are now at 27.3%, which is ninth among all teams we have measured. The gap between the Seahawks and the rest of the league is quite ridiculous, as no other team has a run offense DVOA above 10.0%. Kansas City is second at 9.7%.

An explanation digression here: Remember that for teams, we throw all the plays into one team DVOA rating and then see how teams do running compared to passing. Since passing is generally more efficient than running the ball, that means that the average run offense DVOA isn't actually zero. And since offensive DVOA includes some penalties, that means that the average of running and passing isn't zero either. Right now, the league average for pass offense DVOA is 12.2%, and the league average for run offense DVOA is -5.6%.

But of course, there's average, and then there is Oakland. Latavius Murray had 23 carries for 76 yards in this week's win over San Francisco. For the Raiders, that qualifies as a wonderful rushing performance. Darren McFadden is averaging 3.2 yards per carry this year. and the corpse of Maurice Jones-Drew had 90 yards on 41 carries. As a result, the Raiders have a league-worst rushing DVOA of -26.4% which would be the sixth worst ever measured if the season ended today.

If the Raiders had to play the Detroit Lions this year, that might create a black hole of rushing suckitude so dense, even Matthew McConaughey could not escape. The Lions may actually challenge the 2000 Baltimore Ravens for the title of greatest run defense in recent history. Right now, Detroit's run defense DVOA of -34.9% is tied with the 1991 Philadelphia Eagles as the second-best we've ever measured. The Lions are also allowing just 2.76 Adjusted Line Yards per carry; the record is 2.75 by the 2006 Minnesota Vikings, followed by 2.78 for the 1998 Chargers and 2.82 for the 2000 Ravens. In the last two games, Chicago and Tampa Bay running backs carried the ball a grand total of 17 times for just 18 total yards.

And guess who else has a historically great run defense? Now we've circled back to the reasons why people seem to be undervaluing the 2014 Denver Broncos. It's not as flashy as Peyton Manning throwing for six touchdowns, but the Broncos are allowing just 3.5 yards per carry this season.

BEST RUN DEFENSE DVOA 1989-2014 x BEST RUN OFFENSE DVOA 1989-2014 x WORST RUN OFFENSE DVOA 1989-2014
Year Team DVOA   Year Team DVOA   Year Team DVOA
2000 BAL -36.6% x 2000 STL 36.5% x 1991 IND -30.2%
1991 PHI -34.9% x 2011 CAR 32.1% x 2005 ARI -29.1%
2014 DET -34.9% x 1998 DEN 31.4% x 2002 HOU -27.4%
1998 SD -32.9% x 1993 SF 30.5% x 2013 BAL -27.2%
2006 MIN -30.5% x 2002 KC 29.3% x 2013 JAC -27.1%
1995 KC -30.5% x 1990 DET 29.2% x 2014 OAK -26.4%
2010 PIT -29.0% x 2003 KC 28.9% x 1995 ARI -25.1%
2008 BAL -28.6% x 1998 SF 27.8% x 1991 PHI -23.0%
2014 DEN -27.9% x 2014 SEA 27.3% x 1998 NO -22.9%
2000 TEN -27.4% x 2006 SD 27.2% x 2006 DET -22.9%
2007 BAL -27.3% x 2005 DEN 26.8% x 2000 ATL -22.8%
2000 SD -26.6% x 2000 PIT 26.4% x 2000 SD -22.5%
Note: 2014 teams Weeks 1-14 only, other teams full-season stats.

* * * * *

A quick note on the playoff odds report: we previously did not have the correct tiebreaker format set up for the listing of which team is likely to get the No. 1 overall pick. This week, as part of our reprogramming of the simulator code, we also made sure we had that tiebreaker working correctly. That's very important now that there are five teams with 2-11 records. Beating San Francisco dropped Oakland's chances of getting the No. 1 pick from 65 percent to 11 percent in one week, a colossal change. Instead, the teams most likely to get the No. 1 pick are now all teams that need quarterbacks: Tampa Bay, Tennessee, and the New York Jets.

* * * * *

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.

And this week's players may be coming to MUT a little early this week... but you'll have to wait and see what's up there.

The Football Outsiders stars for Week 14 are:

  • ROLB Melvin Ingram, SD (24-HOUR HERO): Sack, pass deflection, two run TFL plus a third run tackle for just zero yards.
  • CB T.J. Carrie, OAK: 4 Defeats, including two TFL and two tackles that prevented third-down conversions after receptions.
  • RG David DeCastro, PIT: Led Le'Veon Bell on a counter pull 11 times for 125 yards and 2 TD.
  • SS Roman Harper, CAR: 3 passes defensed plus 3 combined tackles.
  • LOLB Brandon Marshall, DEN: 9 combined tackles, 3 passes defensed, interception.

The stats here might not quite get across how good Melvin Ingram was against the Patriots; he was dominant, but he had a lot of plays that we don't have counted as a stat because Ingram's penetration forced the running back to change directions so he could be tackled by someone else, or opened up a space for another Chargers defender to get pass pressure. Also, we had a hard time deciding whether Ingram and Brandon Marshall should be listed on the left or the right since both players tend to switch back and forth a lot.

We had lots of good possible candidates this week, so sorry if your favorite player who had a big Week 14 game was not included. It's important to do a mix of big stars and under-the-radar players. And if you were really looking for a new Julio Jones and want to know why he's not here, feel free to blame all the complaints we get about doing too many wide receivers! 

* * * * *

All stats pages are now updated with Week 14 information -- or will be in the next few minutes -- including FO Premium, snap counts, and playoff odds. Those updated stats pages include the brand new "defense vs. receivers by direction" table we introduced with an ESPN Insider article this weekend. Make sure to check that out if you missed it. The new table gives defensive DVOA vs. passes by distance and direction: short/deep as well as left/middle/right. You will now find that table on the team defense stat page and are welcome to discuss in the comments below.

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 14 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>

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 DEN 35.0% 1 32.6% 1 10-3 24.8% 2 -13.9% 3 -3.7% 26
2 NE 26.3% 2 31.0% 2 10-3 15.2% 4 -5.1% 10 6.0% 3
3 SEA 25.6% 5 24.7% 5 9-4 15.1% 5 -12.3% 4 -1.8% 19
4 GB 24.7% 3 24.9% 4 10-3 27.3% 1 1.9% 18 -0.6% 18
5 BAL 24.0% 4 25.9% 3 8-5 13.1% 7 -2.7% 12 8.2% 2
6 MIA 14.1% 6 15.4% 7 7-6 9.9% 10 -7.2% 8 -3.1% 23
7 PHI 13.7% 7 15.4% 8 9-4 -2.6% 16 -7.2% 7 9.0% 1
8 KC 12.4% 8 18.2% 6 7-6 8.6% 12 1.1% 16 4.8% 6
9 DET 9.8% 11 9.4% 12 9-4 -3.9% 18 -18.3% 1 -4.6% 30
10 BUF 9.4% 9 9.6% 11 7-6 -10.4% 25 -14.9% 2 4.9% 5
11 IND 8.3% 10 9.9% 10 9-4 3.1% 13 -0.5% 14 4.7% 7
12 PIT 7.2% 13 10.4% 9 8-5 20.2% 3 12.6% 30 -0.4% 16
13 DAL 3.6% 15 3.9% 14 9-4 13.3% 6 10.2% 28 0.6% 13
14 SF 2.0% 12 0.9% 15 7-6 -5.7% 19 -12.1% 5 -4.3% 28
15 SD 1.6% 16 0.6% 17 8-5 9.5% 11 6.0% 25 -1.8% 20
16 CIN 0.5% 17 -5.4% 20 8-4-1 -1.4% 15 3.0% 23 5.0% 4
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 STL -0.1% 20 8.7% 13 6-7 -9.1% 23 -5.6% 9 3.3% 9
18 NO -1.4% 14 0.7% 16 5-8 11.8% 8 14.5% 31 1.3% 11
19 ATL -1.6% 19 -1.5% 18 5-8 10.6% 9 16.2% 32 4.0% 8
20 ARI -2.6% 18 -3.4% 19 10-3 -9.5% 24 -10.4% 6 -3.5% 25
21 CLE -3.5% 21 -5.8% 21 7-6 -7.2% 20 -3.4% 11 0.4% 14
22 HOU -7.7% 22 -5.9% 22 7-6 -3.3% 17 0.4% 15 -3.9% 27
23 MIN -9.9% 24 -7.2% 23 6-7 -11.1% 26 1.4% 17 2.6% 10
24 NYG -10.6% 25 -9.2% 24 4-9 -8.0% 22 2.9% 22 0.3% 15
25 CHI -11.1% 23 -17.0% 25 5-8 3.0% 14 9.7% 27 -4.4% 29
26 CAR -16.9% 28 -21.6% 28 4-8-1 -7.8% 21 2.6% 19 -6.5% 31
27 NYJ -18.3% 26 -19.4% 26 2-11 -14.8% 28 2.9% 21 -0.6% 17
28 OAK -22.1% 30 -20.2% 27 2-11 -18.8% 29 4.2% 24 0.9% 12
29 WAS -27.8% 27 -36.4% 31 3-10 -12.3% 27 8.2% 26 -7.4% 32
30 JAC -30.1% 32 -24.1% 29 2-11 -27.7% 32 -0.7% 13 -3.1% 24
31 TB -30.8% 31 -28.8% 30 2-11 -25.1% 31 2.8% 20 -2.9% 21
32 TEN -33.3% 29 -39.5% 32 2-11 -19.1% 30 11.1% 29 -3.0% 22
  • 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 DEN 35.0% 10-3 31.5% 11.7 1 5.3% 5 -6.7% 26 9.0% 5
2 NE 26.3% 10-3 22.7% 8.9 5 4.2% 6 1.7% 14 18.5% 22
3 SEA 25.6% 9-4 21.7% 9.2 3 1.0% 13 -0.3% 17 16.4% 17
4 GB 24.7% 10-3 26.2% 9.0 4 0.7% 14 -3.9% 22 13.5% 11
5 BAL 24.0% 8-5 27.9% 9.4 2 -3.7% 25 -13.8% 31 9.9% 7
6 MIA 14.1% 7-6 15.4% 8.3 6 5.5% 4 -0.6% 19 17.6% 19
7 PHI 13.7% 9-4 12.4% 8.1 7 -5.0% 27 -11.6% 27 15.4% 15
8 KC 12.4% 7-6 8.2% 7.7 9 5.6% 3 -4.4% 23 22.6% 29
9 DET 9.8% 9-4 12.9% 7.9 8 -2.2% 20 1.2% 15 7.8% 4
10 BUF 9.4% 7-6 8.4% 7.1 12 3.4% 9 9.6% 4 4.7% 1
11 IND 8.3% 9-4 12.1% 7.7 10 -2.8% 23 -12.5% 29 11.0% 8
12 PIT 7.2% 8-5 8.4% 6.9 14 -6.8% 30 3.8% 9 15.2% 14
13 DAL 3.6% 9-4 6.5% 7.2 11 -7.2% 31 -1.9% 20 17.7% 20
14 SF 2.0% 7-6 -0.4% 6.7 16 1.1% 12 8.2% 6 13.8% 12
15 SD 1.6% 8-5 2.6% 7.0 13 4.0% 7 16.5% 2 18.0% 21
16 CIN 0.5% 8-4-1 2.2% 6.8 15 -2.7% 22 12.9% 3 20.7% 26
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
17 STL -0.1% 6-7 1.1% 5.5 23 0.2% 15 4.1% 8 34.6% 32
18 NO -1.4% 5-8 -2.6% 6.2 18 -0.6% 16 -14.5% 32 23.4% 30
19 ATL -1.6% 5-8 1.3% 6.2 20 -4.5% 26 -3.7% 21 13.1% 9
20 ARI -2.6% 10-3 -1.0% 6.5 17 3.2% 10 9.2% 5 6.1% 3
21 CLE -3.5% 7-6 3.8% 6.2 19 -5.4% 28 2.5% 10 13.2% 10
22 HOU -7.7% 7-6 3.9% 5.0 25 -9.1% 32 0.7% 16 5.7% 2
23 MIN -9.9% 6-7 -8.3% 6.0 21 -1.0% 17 4.3% 7 14.7% 13
24 NYG -10.6% 4-9 -13.7% 4.7 26 -2.8% 24 -4.7% 24 19.5% 23
25 CHI -11.1% 5-8 -15.1% 5.6 22 2.9% 11 -0.5% 18 9.5% 6
26 CAR -16.9% 4-8-1 -20.8% 5.0 24 3.8% 8 -12.0% 28 15.8% 16
27 NYJ -18.3% 2-11 -24.0% 4.6 27 8.2% 1 2.4% 11 16.5% 18
28 OAK -22.1% 2-11 -30.4% 4.3 28 6.6% 2 18.9% 1 19.5% 24
29 WAS -27.8% 3-10 -24.6% 3.4 29 -5.5% 29 2.2% 12 25.1% 31
30 JAC -30.1% 2-11 -26.8% 2.4 32 -2.0% 19 -5.7% 25 19.8% 25
31 TB -30.8% 2-11 -24.7% 3.2 30 -2.5% 21 2.2% 13 21.4% 27
32 TEN -33.3% 2-11 -30.1% 2.8 31 -1.4% 18 -13.4% 30 22.3% 28

Comments

94 comments, Last at 19 Dec 2014, 3:29am

5 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

I hadn't really been following Atlanta for awhile, somewhat surprised to see their DVOA isn't too awful (-1.6%), though it obviously shouldn't be playoff-worthy, and they do have the ninth-ranked offense (10.6%). Still a red flag for the Packers defense, but I guess it wasn't that bad of a performance overall.

46 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

GB offense played very well, but Atlanta has the worst defense according to DVOA so that will be heavily discounted. The GB defense played poorly, but as you say Atlanta has a good offense so that will also be adjusted towards the mean. So net a positive DVOA game for GB but not as good as they had been playing.

64 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

That is essentially correct. Without giving out too much of the info that FO has in the Premium database the Atlanta game was Green Bays 8th best overall DVOA game this year. It rated as their 3rd best offensive game overall (6th pass / 4th rush) and it was their 12th best or 2nd worst, defensive game. The pass D was quite bad, not as bad as against NO, but it was bad. The run D was 7th, it was actually better than average. Somewhat surprisingly it was the 2nd best special teams game, I guess the blocked extra point didn't hurt that much.

18 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Makes sense because the Packers third game was against Detroit. Eddie Lacy first lost a fumble that the Lions returned for a TD and was then tackled for a safety. Rodgers was sacked twice, best remembered for a Detroit LB injuring himself celebrating one sack. The Packers defense played ok, intercepting Stafford twice. Detroit won, giving them the tiebreaker which will probably be settled in week 17.

44 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Well, DVOA measures everything on a per play basis, and offensively they had a great first half, and in the second half they didn't have nearly as many plays, even if some were finally unsuccessful.. But also had the long TD and the game clinching run. They also didn't have any turnovers or fumbles they recovered. Their defense also had a strong first half, although they did give up a lot of successful plays in the second half (although it won't factor into DVOA, each Falcons drive for a score other than the one with the 79 yarder took quite a bit of time off the clock, so even if everyone felt their defense was playing "horrible", with a 24 point lead the most important thing was to take time off the clock and make sure the clock would expire before ATL ever got the ball back with a chance to take the lead, which it did)

2 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

And ARI keeps moving down, down, down to 20...with a 10-3 record.
CIN defense #23 - how is that possible?
And, of course, the team nobody wants to play STL is at #17. I fail to understand what happened to their defense at the beginning of the season as it seems like they thought they were still playing exhibition games for the first month or Jim Haslet was secretly coaching them as well as WAS.

3 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Seeing that Buffalo has the #2 ranked defense in DVOA, I feel a lot better about the Bills-Broncos score -- getting 3 rushing TDs against a top ranked defense is really good.

I hope next week we see a bit more true balance, where the passing offense actually looks goo d AND the rush offense looks good and the defense is forced to pick their poison.

45 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

It's all about the Packers' line. If they can't protect Rodgers - and Buffalo's front four is as good as it gets - it's going to be a long day for him.

That said, I think he'll work the middle of the field, since I anticipate Spikes being in to counter Lacy, and Searcy will probably be out so Duke Williams will be exploitable, since they definitely need Graham on the outside against Cobb/Nelson. Maybe Quarless/Rodgers up the seam, with Kuhn in to block? How much 11 vs 21 personnel do they use?

I don't expect Buffalo to win this game, but if the offense can get ANYTHING going the D can usually keep them in it. Should be fun to watch.

54 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Green Bay can probably win a 17-13 with just defensive scores. Good God is Orton terrible. I watched the Buffalo/Denver replay and Buffalo probably wins that game 31-17 with good quarterbacking. Not great, just good.

75 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Why is it that these journeyman backup QBs (your Ortons and Hoyers), if pressed into starting service, tend to start out decently and crater midway through the season and not after a couple of games? Is 8 games worth of tape really that more useful than 2? Besides, even if the offensive game plan is different, their weaknesses should have been present in earlier tapes from previous years.

11 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Same reason people forgot about the Colts in '06, that they couldn't beat SD if it came to that. Well, that or the roughly 2,500 rushing yards they gave up.

Honestly, if I'm a Broncos fan, I'm liking how the rest of the AFC is playing out below you. Assuming NE wins out, if the Colts end at #3 it is probably the best possible outcome (other than maybe CIN ending at #3). I think out of all the teams #3 and below in the AFC, the one with the best shot in NE in Rd. 2 is Baltimore, which looks to be likely if they can win that divison.

13 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

I won't go so far as to think the opposite is true of Colts/Broncos, but it's close: The team with the #2 rush D against a team that cannot really run well? "Okay, big shot, take away my biggest weakness. I'll hardly notice it."

Not very Belichickean. Sort of the anti-BB situation, really.

Of course Den has some hellish pass rushers to deal with and unless Luck gets tutoring from Fred Biletnikoff, that spells trouble.

But for the Colts to face a team with a great run D? I'm okay with that.

The rest of it, I agree with. Let somebody else beat up the Pats and maybe take them out like the Pats beat SD for the Colts back in 2006.

79 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Thats the thing with the Denver run DEF though... because their run DEF is so good, they can tee-off the pass-rushers. They are the #3 defense for more than just a great run DEF.

Denver's biggest problem in pass DEF has been missing Danny Trevathan and (to a far lessor extent, except that Steven Johnson is terrible) Nate Irving in coverage in the middle of the field. Irving is gone, but Trevethan should be back in a week or 2 which should help alleviate that a lot, and Brandon Marshall's coverage work has vastly improved from early season (when it was pretty terrible). But Gates, Gronk, Kelce, Chandler and other good TEs have been kinda shredding them.

Both Bmarsh and Trevathan together should tighten up the middle a lot... and that weakness is probably overstated, as much of that might be schematic where DEN gives up a ton of garbage yards/points to let teams back in the game, so it may be they are sacrificing the middle of the field in exchange for rolling the clock (before many think they should).

15 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Another reason Denver could be under the radar is that they are winning games in a much different way than they have in the Peyton era. In recent weeks, Manning has been more of a complimentary player to a strong running game and stout defense. It's bad for fantasy, but it is a more proven way to win games in Dec/Jan/Feb. However, the primary reason has to be Peyton's history of both bad games and bad luck in Foxboro.

Hopefully this season plays out like 1997 where Denver started on fire, but then had some tough road losses where they were dismissed a non-contender. That year they went on a Revenge Tour where they defeated the teams that beat them late in the season (KC, PIT) as well as Jacksonville who upset them in the playoffs in 1996. This Bronco fan's dream scenario would be a Revenge Tour 2, where they beat Baltimore in the 1st round, Patriots in the AFC Championship game in Foxboro and then Seattle in the SuperBowl.

23 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Another reason Denver could be under the radar is that they are winning games in a much different way than they have in the Peyton era. In recent weeks, Manning has been more of a complimentary player to a strong running game and stout defense.

With apologies to Jesus and MLK, Jr., if the 2014 Broncos win a Super Bowl by running the ball and stopping the run, I may have to nominate John Fox for Greatest Human Being Ever.

26 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

R&R I admire a man with a keenly developed sense of vengeance. Good luck.

But remember, your Broncos beat my Colts in Week 1. And the Broncos' D strength matches up with the Colts' O weakness. Sadly (for me) the Colts' D is hot and cold, sometimes just fine vs rush or pass (yay!), and other times... uh, you guys didn't sign Jonas Grey, didja? Because sometimes I think a coat rack in a uniform could average 6 YPC against them. Jeez, what year was the Simpsons "inanimate carbon rod" joke bandied about here like it was going out of style? 2004? 2005? Probably didn't last as long as Catholic Match Girl jokes or Brady 12 (genuflect) jokes, but same principle seems to apply for Den RBs right now with the third stringer tearing it up.

31 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Denver has a tendency to build up big leads and then takes the gas off, allowing teams to make it close. Andrew Luck is the type of guy to exploit this with a win. Earlier this year he brought the Colts back to within a TD after it looked like a blow out.

52 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

He's not a All-World kind of guy, but the return of Arthur Jones to the line-up has made the Colts run D look at least functional. The numbers with him on the field vs off are pretty glaring (don't have them off the top of my head, but YPC and long runs go way down when he's healthy). If/when Colts go to DEN/NE, I'm hoping it won't be a "rush running back X 72 times" kind of game.

32 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

I agree but would still worry about facing Seattle. I think they are the best team in the league if they discipline themselves and not act like clowns. There's little fault in Russels game and I don't think any team can effectively contain him (I know a few have but every QB has their off days). THAT SAID, I don't see them beating GB at home again in the playoffs. Having GB vs Den for the championship game would be more like 1997 in any case.

10 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Getting a bit uneasy on the Packers offensive ranking climbing as the defense and special teams continue to slowly slip back. Giving me flashbacks to 2011.

25 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Special teams I'll grant you, but I am very tempted to think that GB's regression on defense has a lot to do with regularly being up 5 TDs in the 2nd half. I know this goes against Aaron's findings that DVOA in garbage time has some predictive value for non-garbage time, but it's one of those intuitive beliefs I find very hard to let go of.

33 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Those generally aren't the games that are dragging down Green Bay's score. Apart from last night, they allowed a lot of positive plays against Miami and Chicago (first time), and let a pretty bad offense in Minnesota hang around for too long.

42 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

I would expect in those situations to see some sack totals. Instead the pass rush seems to have regressed so much to the point that in the review of the game against Atlanta the lead Packers beat writer termed the Packers pass rush as 'standing around'.

14 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

If I had to bet on a champion, I guess I'd go with Seattle, even though I don't like their chances nearly as much if they don't catch the Packers for HFA. Offenses just aren't constructed, with a heavy emphasis on very physical offensive line play, very often anymore, to best attack what the Seahawks like to do on defense.

17 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

I think a physical running team would have the best shot against Seattle because it exploits the weakest link of their D (the d-line). With Mebane out it's basically down to Bennett, Avril, and a bunch of average guys. They can get by with this rotation when the offense dominates time of possession, but the longer a game goes on the more vulnerable they'll become.

29 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Well, the best three rushing teams after Seattle are Kansas City, Dallas and Miami, and the smart money is on all three missing the playoffs. You still need to be able to pass on Seattle to beat them.

One thing that has been quite successful against them this year has been to get a receiver matched on a linebacker or Chancellor and run a corner or wheel route, draw the outside corner on that side away on an intermediate route, and run a post or seam route opposite the side of the first route to draw away Thomas. Green Bay got a long pass interference against Wagner, San Diego got a few long passes, and even Sanchez got a TD with it against Wright.

Currently I'm wary of Detroit. I haven't watched them much, but Stafford and Calvin are always capable of dominating a game, and now they have Tate who should know a few tricks in dealing with Seattle's defense. Their defense looks capable of stopping Lynch without having to load the box, and if it turns into a defensive slog one jump ball to Calvin in the endzone can easily turn the tide. They're better than their DVOA too, not only because Calvin is healthy now, but also because Henery and Freese are no longer on the team, which should add at least 3% to their special teams DVOA.

47 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Seattle's a great team, don't get me wrong, but I fear the Packers more than the Seahawks, because of matchups. Nobody runs on the Lions, but their weakness on defense is DB depth. The great quarterbacks with a deep receiving/TE corps are set up to take advantage of that (which is why the game in Foxboro was a blowout). I could see Rodgers doing the same thing in Lambeau.

Either way, I think the Lions are a few players away from being able to compete with either team on the road in the playoffs.

51 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Even the non-depth DB's have not been very good vs NE or last week against TB. Allowing over 300 yards (including 2 PI) to Josh McCown is not good. Getting the two ints is very good for the DB's. But the DL and LB's getting 6 sacks and many more hits and hurries is what made the pass defense effective.

21 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Compared to last year Seattle has gained 5.7% on offense, lost 13.6% on defense, and lost 6.5% on special teams. Too bad special teams has been such a disappointment (I'm actually a little surprised they only lost .9% after the clown show in Philly)--if they had been able to maintain last year's performance they would be in striking distance of a threepeat atop the DVOA rankings.

As it is it looks like they would need an end-of-2012-esque run to close the gap on Denver. Oh well. At least there's still a reasonable chance to climb into the top seed in the NFC even if they can't manage the best DVOA.

49 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

The special teams step back is almost certainly tied to injury and guys typically on special teams having to move into starting roles.

Seattle has had to work through a fair amount of injuries especially to the defense

56 Re: Week 14 DVOA Ratings

I would say the main reasons are actually mainly due to Tate leaving, Richardson not being smart about taking kickoff returns out (although this was their weak area last year too), and Ryan inexplicably not being able to field snaps consistently. The coverage teams have been pretty good save for a trick-play punt return TD by the Rams.