Week 15 DVOA Ratings

Week 15 DVOA Ratings
Week 15 DVOA Ratings
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Aaron Schatz

The New England Patriots have finally risen past the Denver Broncos and into the No. 1 spot in our weighted DVOA ratings. This is the first time since Cincinnati led the league way back in Week 4 that a team other than Denver is No. 1 in either DVOA or weighted DVOA. The Broncos are still No. 1 in overall DVOA because of New England's poor 2-2 start that included three games with negative single-game DVOA. But there's no question that the Patriots have been the better team since midseason. Denver and New England each have six games this year with a single-game DVOA above 40%. For Denver, four of those games came in Weeks 1-8. For New England, five of those games have come since Week 9.

It's also interesting to note the way the Broncos are now being led by their defense, not their offense. The Broncos had 32.3% offensive DVOA through Week 9, which led the league. Since Week 10, that has dropped to 12.0% offensive DVOA, which ranks just eighth. Meanwhile, the defense has improved slightly, from -13.1% through Week 9 (third) to -14.2% in Weeks 10-15 -- which, oddly enough, also ranks eighth. Yes, the Broncos have dropped from third to eighth in defense despite improvement, because of a number of teams that have been particularly hot on defense since midseason. Warning: arbitrary time-period measurement ahead:

Top 10 Defensive DVOA, Weeks 10-15 2014
Team Def DVOA
Wk 10-15
Rk Def DVOA
Wk 1-9
Rk
STL -29.1% 1 11.0% 29
NE -24.7% 2 5.2% 20
BUF -23.1% 3 -12.3% 4
ARI -19.0% 4 -6.6% 6
SF -17.9% 5 -6.5% 7
CLE -17.6% 6 8.2% 23
SEA -15.5% 7 -9.6% 5
DEN -14.2% 8 -13.1% 3
SD -14.2% 9 15.1% 31
PHI -11.7% 10 -0.8% 9

The Rams' turnaround on defense is massive, and a big reason why St. Louis actually crossed into the top dozen in weighted DVOA this week. The Chargers' turnaround on defense is almost as strong and has happened completely under the radar. Did you have any idea that the Chargers had improved significantly on defense over the last few weeks? I didn't until I ran these numbers.

Another way to see how Denver has been winning with defense more than offense is to look at the Broncos' DVOA for every game. On the table below, I colored the cell for whichever unit had the better game, offense or defense. These numbers are all opponent-adjusted, and I stuck on special teams too.

Denver Week-by-Week DVOA, 2014
UNIT IND 1 KC 2 SEA 3 BYE 4 ARI 5 NYJ 6 SF 7 SD 8 NE 9 OAK 10 STL 11 MIA 12 KC 13 BUF 14 SD 15
Offense 40.4% 58.2% -0.2% 51.3% 3.1% 81.9% 37.4% 2.7% -6.7% -9.7% 70.1% -1.6% 30.7% -8.0%
Defense -9.4% -10.7% -16.7% -30.0% -11.1% -5.6% -11.3% -13.1% -33.1% -9.1% 12.1% -46.6% 1.4% -23.4%
Spec Tms -11.4% 2.6% 4.0% -1.5% 3.9% -6.3% -5.9% -31.8% 8.9% -7.7% -11.1% -0.2% 6.7% -2.1%
Total DVOA 38.3% 71.5% 20.5% 79.8% 18.0% 81.2% 42.7% -16.0% 35.3% -8.3% 47.0% 44.8% 36.0% 13.3%

It's a short commentary today so I can go have the first night of Hanukkah with my daughter, but there's one other team I wanted to point out today. Mike Tanier argued today in his Bleacher Report column that the Pittsburgh Steelers are the best bet to break the Denver/New England hegemony atop the AFC. To me, what's most interesting about the 2014 Pittsburgh Steelers is how they are nothing like the team you imagine in your mind when you think of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Pittsburgh currently ranks third with 22.3% offensive DVOA, trailing only Green Bay and Denver. This is the best Pittsburgh offense DVOA has ever measured, whether by rating (the previous high was 16.3% in 2004) or by rank (the 2001 Steelers ranked fourth in offense). However, the Steelers have a terrible 13.1% defensive DVOA, which ranks 31st ahead of only Atlanta. And that is really a historical anomaly. The Steelers have ranked in the defensive top five 11 times in 25 years. Last year, they ranked 19th with a 4.0% defensive DVOA. That was the first time the Steelers had ever ranked worse than 15th, and the first time they ever had a defensive DVOA above 1.0%. To be next-to-last now is just mind boggling.

As for which team is the biggest threat to the Patriots and Broncos, the DVOA ratings certainly have the Baltimore Ravens higher than the Steelers. The Ravens keep putting up strong performances that look better to DVOA than to conventional wisdom. I'm as surprised as any of you to see Baltimore now ahead of both Seattle and Green Bay in weighted DVOA. But Pittsburgh might be the bigger threat because of their lack of consistency. They rank 27th in offensive variance, meaning a bigger chance that Big Ben could go out there and play like garbage against the Broncos or Patriots, but also a bigger chance he might hang 40 on one of them. Both Baltimore and Pittsburgh have an advantage because the most obvious defensive weakness for both teams is the deep pass, where the older, wiser, and weaker-armed-than-before Peyton Manning and Tom Brady tend to struggle a little bit.

* * * * *

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 15 are:

  • WR Dez Bryant, DAL (24-HOUR HERO): Led all Week 15 WR with 83 DYAR (6-of-7, 114 yards, 3 TD).
  • CB Stephon Gilmore, BUF: Held Aaron Rodgers to 1-of-9 passing for just 6 yards when he was in man coverage, with 2 PDs and a run tackle for zero yards.
  • DT Johnathan Hankins, NYG: 6 combined tackles with 2.5 sacks, FF, run TFL.
  • LOLB Gerald Hodges, MIN: 9 combined tackles (8 were Stops, preventing the offense from reaching our baseline for a successful play) plus 2 PDs.
  • LT Andrew Whitworth, CIN: Helped Bengals RB gain 119 yards on 26 carries to the left, with a 62 percent Success Rate.

* * * * *

All stats pages are now updated with Week 15 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. For this week's playoff odds simulation, I decided to give Arizona and Houston a penalty for being stuck with third-string quarterbacks the rest of the way. It was hard to decide how much to make that penalty, since the previous quarterbacks weren't exactly lighting it up; since replacement level is usually thought of as being about 13.3% DVOA below average, I penalized both teams 6.5% DVOA, roughly half that. I did not penalize Cleveland because they changed quarterbacks by choice; Johnny Manziel may have struggled in his first start, but he's still No. 1 on the depth chart.

* * * * *

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These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through 15 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 33.2% 1 30.0% 2 11-3 23.4% 2 -13.6% 3 -3.7% 26
2 NE 27.2% 2 35.1% 1 11-3 16.6% 4 -5.3% 9 5.3% 5
3 SEA 25.4% 3 23.1% 4 10-4 14.8% 6 -11.9% 4 -1.3% 18
4 BAL 25.1% 5 28.6% 3 9-5 14.6% 7 -3.0% 12 7.5% 2
5 GB 21.7% 4 22.2% 5 10-4 24.5% 1 0.7% 17 -2.1% 21
6 KC 13.2% 8 19.9% 6 8-6 8.2% 11 1.4% 18 6.3% 4
7 PHI 12.3% 7 14.9% 7 9-5 -2.2% 16 -5.4% 8 9.0% 1
8 BUF 11.5% 10 14.0% 8 8-6 -11.9% 26 -16.6% 1 6.8% 3
9 PIT 9.0% 12 10.4% 9 9-5 22.3% 3 13.1% 31 -0.2% 15
10 IND 9.0% 11 8.9% 11 10-4 2.7% 13 -2.1% 13 4.1% 7
11 MIA 8.3% 6 7.0% 13 7-7 7.0% 12 -4.9% 10 -3.6% 25
12 DET 6.9% 9 4.3% 14 10-4 -3.9% 17 -15.6% 2 -4.8% 30
13 DAL 6.7% 13 8.9% 10 10-4 14.9% 5 9.2% 26 1.0% 11
14 SD 3.9% 15 3.6% 16 8-6 10.0% 10 4.4% 23 -1.7% 19
15 CIN 3.7% 16 -1.9% 19 9-4-1 -1.7% 15 -0.2% 15 5.2% 6
16 SF 2.3% 14 1.1% 17 7-7 -5.2% 19 -11.6% 5 -4.1% 29
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 NO 2.2% 18 3.8% 15 6-8 14.3% 8 12.7% 30 0.6% 13
18 ARI -1.1% 20 -1.5% 18 11-3 -10.1% 23 -11.5% 6 -2.5% 23
19 STL -1.5% 17 7.2% 12 6-8 -10.6% 24 -6.2% 7 2.9% 9
20 ATL -2.6% 19 -6.7% 23 5-9 11.3% 9 17.4% 32 3.4% 8
21 HOU -7.3% 22 -3.7% 20 7-7 -4.3% 18 -0.8% 14 -3.8% 27
22 CLE -7.4% 21 -11.3% 24 7-7 -10.6% 25 -3.2% 11 0.0% 14
23 NYG -7.4% 24 -5.3% 21 5-9 -6.3% 20 1.9% 20 0.7% 12
24 MIN -9.3% 23 -5.7% 22 6-8 -8.8% 22 2.2% 21 1.7% 10
25 CHI -13.9% 25 -22.9% 27 5-9 1.1% 14 11.7% 29 -3.3% 24
26 CAR -14.5% 26 -16.7% 25 5-8-1 -7.1% 21 1.7% 19 -5.7% 31
27 NYJ -20.2% 27 -22.3% 26 3-11 -14.4% 28 4.7% 24 -1.2% 17
28 OAK -27.1% 28 -28.2% 30 2-12 -20.6% 30 5.4% 25 -1.0% 16
29 WAS -27.5% 29 -36.4% 32 3-11 -12.2% 27 9.3% 27 -6.0% 32
30 TEN -30.1% 32 -35.9% 31 2-12 -17.1% 29 11.0% 28 -2.0% 20
31 JAC -30.5% 30 -26.1% 29 2-12 -26.3% 32 0.1% 16 -4.0% 28
32 TB -31.1% 31 -24.6% 28 2-12 -25.0% 31 3.7% 22 -2.3% 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 33.2% 11-3 30.2% 12.3 1 4.9% 4 -11.7% 26 8.6% 6
2 NE 27.2% 11-3 22.9% 9.8 4 3.5% 6 -4.4% 20 17.7% 19
3 SEA 25.4% 10-4 21.4% 10.2 3 1.2% 13 -1.3% 17 13.7% 12
4 BAL 25.1% 9-5 28.8% 10.5 2 -4.8% 28 -7.3% 23 8.2% 5
5 GB 21.7% 10-4 22.4% 9.2 5 0.7% 14 -12.1% 28 12.5% 10
6 KC 13.2% 8-6 11.4% 8.5 7 2.7% 9 6.5% 10 21.8% 28
7 PHI 12.3% 9-5 10.1% 8.5 6 -3.4% 25 -17.5% 31 15.8% 16
8 BUF 11.5% 8-6 9.3% 8.4 8 3.2% 7 0.1% 15 5.2% 2
9 PIT 9.0% 9-5 9.8% 7.8 13 -6.1% 31 8.5% 8 15.0% 13
10 IND 9.0% 10-4 11.6% 8.2 11 -2.7% 21 -11.7% 27 10.3% 7
11 MIA 8.3% 7-7 9.1% 8.3 9 6.4% 2 -14.8% 29 18.4% 21
12 DET 6.9% 10-4 11.0% 8.0 12 -2.8% 22 3.9% 13 7.5% 4
13 DAL 6.7% 10-4 8.8% 8.2 10 -5.1% 30 -9.3% 24 18.6% 22
14 SD 3.9% 8-6 2.8% 7.6 14 5.0% 3 7.8% 9 16.1% 18
15 CIN 3.7% 9-4-1 5.4% 7.6 15 -2.4% 20 21.1% 2 23.9% 31
16 SF 2.3% 7-7 -1.6% 7.1 17 2.8% 8 1.4% 14 15.1% 15
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
17 NO 2.2% 6-8 0.4% 7.0 18 -1.3% 18 -16.8% 30 22.4% 29
18 ARI -1.1% 11-3 1.3% 7.3 16 2.6% 10 13.9% 4 6.7% 3
19 STL -1.5% 6-8 -1.4% 5.9 22 0.2% 16 9.0% 7 29.8% 32
20 ATL -2.6% 5-9 0.2% 6.4 19 -3.4% 24 -6.1% 22 12.4% 9
21 HOU -7.3% 7-7 2.4% 5.5 26 -7.1% 32 -2.7% 18 5.0% 1
22 CLE -7.4% 7-7 -2.3% 6.4 20 -3.9% 26 5.3% 12 21.2% 26
23 NYG -7.4% 5-9 -9.9% 5.8 25 -4.1% 27 5.4% 11 18.8% 23
24 MIN -9.3% 6-8 -7.7% 6.3 21 -0.9% 17 -2.8% 19 12.7% 11
25 CHI -13.9% 5-9 -17.4% 5.8 24 2.2% 11 -1.2% 16 10.5% 8
26 CAR -14.5% 5-8-1 -16.8% 5.9 23 1.5% 12 -5.0% 21 15.0% 14
27 NYJ -20.2% 3-11 -23.3% 4.6 27 4.7% 5 17.8% 3 15.8% 17
28 OAK -27.1% 2-12 -35.1% 4.0 28 6.7% 1 22.4% 1 19.1% 24
29 WAS -27.5% 3-11 -23.9% 3.5 30 -5.0% 29 9.5% 6 23.7% 30
30 TEN -30.1% 2-12 -25.8% 3.6 29 -2.0% 19 -10.7% 25 21.3% 27
31 JAC -30.5% 2-12 -28.7% 2.4 32 0.5% 15 -18.7% 32 18.4% 20
32 TB -31.1% 2-12 -24.9% 3.3 31 -3.3% 23 11.9% 5 20.0% 25

Comments

157 comments, Last at 28 Dec 2014, 12:06am

146 Re: Week 15 DVOA Ratings

Wagner got hurt against Dallas (week 6 - he took 54 of 75 defensive snaps), and didn't return until the Arizona game in week 12. Chancellor missed weeks 9 and 10 (the Raiders and Giants games), but had not really been healthy most of the season to that point. Maxwell got hurt against Dallas (taking 31 snaps) and didn't return until week 10 against the Giants.

The four worst games the Seahawks defense have played this year have been these:

Week 02: L @SD. Rivers had an amazing game, great game plan. They got beat in the heat.
Week 07: L @StL: Maxwell and Wagner out. Harvin traded on Friday. Special teams trickeration.
Week 10: W NYG: Wagner and Chancellor out, Maxwell not fully back (played only 27 snaps).
Week 11: L @KC: Wagner out, first game without Mebane.

Wagner then returned in week 12, the start of the defensive run.

Note about the Dallas game: with 5 minutes left, the Seahawks had an 88.5% win probability. Then Dallas converted that miracle 3rd and 20, and things went RAPIDLY downhill from there.

150 Holy Red Zone Efficiency, Batman!

I just noticed in Offensive Drive Stats...

The league leader in Points and TDs per Red Zone Trip is the OAKLAND RAIDERS.

That sound you hear is my brain exploding.

152 Re: Holy Red Zone Efficiency, Batman!

They average 1.6 Red Zone trips per game, which is about half the league average, and by far the worst in the league. They are 31st in points per drive overall.

So, yes, it's a small sample.

It still blows my mind. I think I've decided to ignore red zone stats from now on.

153 Re: Holy Red Zone Efficiency, Batman!

It's funny that FO determined redzone is no more predictive than other parts of the field years ago but gives it a bonus anyways to fit "what's happened" instead of "what's going to happen".

Still this might warrant some investigation. I know the knock on Carr this year is that he checks down too much and/or throws short all the time. Maybe that's an ideal redzone strategy.