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

Week 16 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

With their huge 38-8 win over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, the Arizona Cardinals have climbed back into the No. 1 spot in the Football Outsiders DVOA ratings.

Comments

71 comments, Last at 04 Jan 2016, 6:37pm

4 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

What's the best head coaching job likely to open up next week? Outside of the Giants, most of the teams that might be looking for a new coach seem to have crappy ownership, which really drives home how high a percentage of NFL owners are crappy at it. If Caldwell gets axed, I really think Madam Ford might be the best person from that family to ever run things, and I don't think Stafford is at all out of time to become a top notch qb.

(edit)
Holy Sh*t, Captain Chip just got fired. Didn't see that coming until next week. I bet Lurie got wind that The Chipster's agent was really actively shopping him for college jobs, and decided to get him out of the building A.S.A.P.. Not a bad job at all, really, assuming Lurie hires a good GM.

22 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

No owner in his right mind* will ever again give Chipper a HC job in the NFL with personnel control. Chip will be coaching at USC or Texas next year.

* Irsay, uggh hmmm?

11 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

If Irsay gets rid of Grigson, and replaces him with somebody good, then coaching the Colts might be a good job. Otherwise, you have a problematic GM, a goof of an owner, and perhaps an unhappy very talented qb entering what should be bis peak years.

I don't know enough about the heirs of Bud Adams to have an opinion, but if they are like Bud, that's an issue.

38 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

Chip Kelley is too fancy-pants razzle-dazzle for us Hoosiers. Tom Coughlin would be a good fit. Kindly grandfather-type. Plus he's coached a Manning. That's gold.

24 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

Highly unlikely, as Kelly repeatedly has said he wants to be in the NFL.

People want him back in college. Kelly doesn't want to go there. And pretty unlikely he will if he wants to. Lots of owners will give him a shot in the NFL.

26 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

If I wanted to maximize my leverage back into the college game, that is exactly what I would be saying. He well could be sincere with that statement, but there is no real reason to think it is the case, as opposed to the opposite. Ask Nick Saban, among others.

27 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

I suppose. Saban wasn't in the NFL for 3 years. Saban won a championship in college and Kelly didn't. Kelly isn't the control freak that Saban is.

And Kelly hated parts of college. He hated the boosters. He hated recruiting. Refused to do them. I understand that the 'failed nfl goes back to college' thing is strong, but Kelly did a lot better in his first NFL stint than belichick or Carroll did.

And really, what leverage does he need in college? Any college would basically give what ever Kelly wants. He has all the leverage he needs. Lying isn't something Kelly typically does, and there's no good reason to do it now.

30 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

Neither you or I know Kelly well enough to have any opinion on his care with the facts. Like I said, you well may be right, but the pronouncements of football coaches, as they pertain to their career ambitions, should be given, as a general rule, as much weight as the assertions made by a U.S. Senator with 7 bourbons in him.

35 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

He's correct that Kelly hated dealing with boosters in college. Some of the boosters at U of O were happy when he left, because they'd get more access to the program.

54 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

I don't know for certain - but there is a lot of evidence against your position. It's certainly possible that Kelly has been attempting to maximize his ability to get a great job in college (though the great jobs have already been filled, so he blew that). It's possible that he wants to return to college despite having many opportunities to do so and not capitalizing on them + saying publicly that he doesn't want to + having multiple accounts of him hating certain parts of the college coaching system.

Those things are possible. They are not likely. What is more likely, IMO, is that he wants to be a NFL coach, is a fairly good NFL coach (took the 29th rated offense and turned it into the 4th rated offense with zero change in personnel, had a top ten offense with Foles and Sanchez and Vick as his QBs), and is going to be a NFL coach given that there are going to be like 14 head coaching openings in about 5 days.

64 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

Pretty much agree with this, but it has to be stated that Kelly also wants the control that Belichick gets in New England, and that Parcells got later on in New York and Dallas. Whatever team hires him will have to have a strong general manager who can work with him, because Kelly has shown he is not ready to be a successful general manager in the league. If a team hires him capitulates and gives him the personnel control he had in Philly, it will backfire and Kelly will be out of the league in a few years.

1 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

Odd that the Broncos' defense got worse despite holding the #3 offense by DVOA to 294 yards and 17 points (with an extra OT drive, to boot).

I'm guessing there was a pretty significant adjustment for McCarron playing?

7 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

I apologize if I'm wrong but I'm fairly certain dvoa doesn't adjust for who played quarterback in a game......I do think that they will run playoff simulations with different qb scenarios though.

12 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

The Bengals were quite efficient in the first half, converted a bunch of third downs, and did get those two touchdowns on three drives—Denver's defensive DVOA for the first half of that game was probably pretty poor. Despite dominating the second half and OT, it probably just got the defense back to average or just above-average for the game.

13 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

The Bengals only had 10 drives, which is slightly below the average number, and they missed a FG. Call it 19 points expected with average FG kicking; that would put them at 1.9 points per drive which would only be about the 13th or 14th best defense by drive stats.

Denver also had no interceptions and only 1 forced fumble (actually, I'm not sure if DVOA even gives the defense credit for a botched snap).

67 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

Bengals got away with a fumble on the play before. In fact, their O was totally ineffective after the half. So, having a defender deep in the backfield to cover a botched snap in favor of Denver didn't seem flukey at all.

39 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

The defensive performance was still pretty good and above average overall despite how well the Bengals played in the first half. It was not to Denver's usual standard, but all the same, I think that part of the reason that Denver's rating changed was because of how opponent adjustments affected other teams. For example, I imagine that Green Bay's rating dropped enough following their disaster to decrease Denver's rating as well. Sometimes that explains shifts more than the most recent game.

3 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

Taking a quick look at the playoff odds: how does Indianapolis have even a 0.1% odds of making the playoffs. (Yes, I know that they make it in if 9 games go their way. That's already a 1/512 chance if you assume the games are a coin flip, when something like 6 of those games are biased in the wrong way. Oh and Indy is literally picking QB's off the street.)

I realized I asked about Atlanta's miniscule playoff odds last week and wondered what that 0.0% meant, but honestly Atlanta was in better shape last week than Indianapolis is this week.

14 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

If I use the probabilities from 538, it comes to 0.000232

Three of the results needed are very likely (Colts over Titans, Steelers over Browns, and Broncos over Chargers). By which I mean ~80%.

Falcons over Saints is also a decent bet at 69%.

And even Buffalo has better than even odds of winning, at 54%.

The problem is the other four desired results (Jax over Hou, Mia over NE, Bal over Cin, and Oak over KC) are in the low 20% or in the teens.

If FO's modeling has game probabilities closer to the middle, the product would likely be higher.

52 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

Two notes on this. First, whoops, it's an error. Indianapolis makes it on 6 of 25,000 simulations, which is actually 0.02 percent. I had to manually make the change and I marked down 0.06 percent by accident, which then turned into 0.1 percent. Oops.

Second, the simulation still was programmed to give Andrew Luck a chance of coming back in Week 17, which we now know is not going to happen. Without that, I assume Indianapolis itself loses more often in Week 17.

Anyway, the general point still stands, which is that it is almost impossible.

56 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

Thanks for the reply. My comment isn't meant to be a complaint, but an idiot check for what computations are being done behind the scenes. For comparison, what did the simulations think of Atlanta's playoffs odds last week (obviously, they are 0% now)?

17 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

The Week 16 BES Rankings went out earlier today - http://besreport.com/week-16-bes-rankings/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/besreport/posts/918411314933717

The BES and DVOA agree on the Cardinals at #1 but have the Panthers at #2, Seahawks at #3, and Jets at #4 with the Chiefs rounding out the Top-5. The Redskins are a new member in the BES top-10 this week at #9 after clinching the AFC East.

BES and DVOA widely disagree on the Patriots. They've taken a significant fall in BES Overall and BES Offense over the last few weeks, ranking 15th and 16th in those categories respectively.

In fact, the BES had the Jets ranked higher than the Patriots headed into Week 16 - http://besreport.com/week-15-bes-rankings/

23 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

There's definitely some debatable slotting in the BES rankings but they were 11-5 the last two weeks so there's definitely some accuracy to acknowledge. I'd argue the BES measures momentum (or at least attempts to) more than anything else. The Pats at #15 is the big head-scratcher for me this week.

25 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

Well, no. A chicken at a state fair booth, pecking at one of two team symbols placed in front of the might go 11-5 for two weeks, without us reasonably thinking that we have found the source of great wealth, via prognosticating fowl. After all, when your grandma hits on a 67-1 shot, when she watches the ponies gallop her one Sunday a year at the track, you don't tell your boss the next morning that he is a stupid oaf, and he can't fire you, because you quit. At least I hope you don't.

28 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

HA! Well that would depend on how much grandma raked in. Either way, your point is valid and I suppose you're right. Still, I'm curious how accurate the BES will be in Week 17 compared to last year in terms of the postseason - https://www.facebook.com/besreport/posts/744734118968105:0

You see the Pack and Ravens ranked above the Pats and Seahawks. Remember how problematic the Pack and Ravens were to overcome en route to the Super Bowl? Again the BES isn't perfect but it has some merit in terms of gauging team momentum/strength.

40 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

I like Desmond Bailey's rankings. I like that he challenges DVOA. We need more advanced stats. We should be cranking out new stats as fast as FanGraphs is for baseball. Then, we make them fight each other because only one thing can ever be right.

Next year, starting in week 10 (when everyone has at least 8 games in) we should pit DVOA vs Forest Index vs BES Rankings vs picking all home teams vs picking all teams favored by Vegas vs national media talking heads vs Will's state fair chicken (you know it's free range cause Will hates 'roid cheaters) vs Raiderjoe.

My money is on Vegas and Raiderjoe minus his Raider's picks mopping the floor with the lot of you with Bailey and Forest Index making a respectable showing. DVOA, "home teams win again!" and that tasty all natural chicken will be floating in the middle while the national media that would rather be watching Arena League but can't admit it is pulling up the far rear talking about dumb shit like passing.

Why do you people make fun of American Hero Mike Martz if you like passing so much, anyway? It kills you that he and Andy Reid had the courage to pass 70% of the time before it was trendy. Before ESPN told you all that matters is passing. That's why. Offense still sucks, though.

He has the Redskins over GB which is basically the future, Will, when GB gets fisted by your boys in purple and then limps into DC to get scalped by the Redskins. In the year 2016 no less. I guess history will have to wait another year to be on the right side!

I've been watching Des pimp his wares here all season and wanted to let him know he's got one guy looking at both DVOA and his stuff. Rams and Niners need to trade spots, though. I look forward to checking each week next season to see how it matches up with the stuff here week in week out.

42 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

I checked out his site when I saw his first post and read up on his metrics. My opinion is that he has just matched conventional wisdom of things that correlate well with victories such as winning the turnover battle without considering how well they predict future success.

As such, I don't have a reason to believe them to be particularly predictive. I'd be woo'd by some good thoughtful analysis as I was by Football Outsiders, Advanced NFL Stats, ANY/A, etc.

I do appreciate his enthusiasm and it'd be awesome if in a year or two he's developed an awesome new metric.

59 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

I'd ask you if I could have whatever drugs you're on, but my job is subject to random drug tests and it wouldn't surprise me if I had to "randomly" pee in a bottle when I return from my vacation next week.

69 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

Will, that Chicken at the state fair is one fire because it looks like a third consecutive week that the BES will go 11-5 at worse...12-4 if the Packers beat the Vikings on SNF.

19 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

"This also looks like it will be the first year where the top two teams come from the same division since Dallas and Philadelphia finished 1-2 in 1992. The NFC East also had the New York Giants and Philadelphia finishing 1-2 in 1990."

And in both those seasons, the Redskins were ranked fifth.

One, two, and five. Wow!

21 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

In 2004 the AFC East had the 2,3, and 4 spots, with Buffalo at 3 and the Jets at 4. Plus, the Pats defeated the no. 1 team en route to a championship. The Steelers did knock the Bills and Jets out of the playoffs, though.

29 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

Green Bay has an even bigger differential between its total DVOA and weighted DVOA than Seattle (but obviously in the other direction). Any idea where that dropoff rates historically for what was a top 5 team at the halfway point?

36 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

Probably, but I can't think of many teams that were great (like top-5) through week 9 and subsequently lost their QB. In your Bears example, they were only 13th in week 9 and finished 15th (20th weighted, but only -2% differential).

Green Bay losing Rodgers in 2013 is closer, but even then the differential between total DVOA and weighted (-7.4%) is not as large as this year. Mostly because their total DVOA fell so far, where as this year it has stayed positive while weighted has sank like a rock.

41 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

So, it does not appear to be a significant outlier historically, but it is one of the highest differentials. Most of the past 15 seasons have had at least 1 team with a negative differential around -10%. There are a few larger negative differentials at the bottom of the DVOA tables, but a bad team becoming terrible isn't a very interesting development.

The biggest gap I found was 2011 Buffalo, with a -17% differential. Went from a top-3 5-2 team to a 6-10 dud ranked 28th in weighted DVOA. Another interesting team was 2001 Philly, which finished first in total DVOA but was just 10th in weighted with a -12% differential. Still made the NFC Championship beating teams that finished hot, so who knows if it means anything.

34 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

a supporter for making "schlonged" cromulent appears.
I wonder if that will be a quyzbuk for spell checkers

45 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

Aaron,

+1 for using the word "schlonged" correctly in a sentence

+1 for "Although the 'DVOA Championship Game' might be more exciting if either team knew that the 'DVOA Championship Game' was a thing that exists

43 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

I guess all the "Rob Ryan is the worst" critics here have lost some ammo.

And I continue to be amazed that a guy who has built up as much credibility as Chip Kelly is treated like an idiot. He did not dismantle a playoff team. In the first place, he made a mediocre roster that had gotten a very good and consistently winning coach fired into a playoff level club. To the extent he made mistakes as GM, which he did, he should be given the benefit of the doubt that he can correct them.

Let's examine his sins.

a) Desean Jackson: he judged the fragile wr not worth the fare and prioritized Maclin. A good decision. Would anyone have traded for him? Doubtful.
b) Maclin: he wanted to go with Reid. Kelly didn't jettison him. Tough break.
c) Foles: The guy couldn't even hold the Rams job. He had a very lucky streak on an offense with tremendous weapons and is a borderline starter over the long haul. You can argue that Kelly could have squeezed more out of him. But ultimately the talent evaluation was correct. I'd argue it's more likely Kelly learns how to bargain than that mediocre GMs learn to evaluate.
d) Bradford: the sticker shock was high, but so was the ceiling, and the commitment was nil. This was a challenge trade where two teams tried out their counterparts' discard. Turns out neither turned trash into treasure. Kelly gave up the 2nd rounder, but that was the going rate for Bradford according to the rumors.
e) McCoy: He was too expensive according to conventional wisdom of advanced football thinkers. McCoy for Matthews, Gore, and Alonso was a credible plan. Tough break it didn't work out.
f) Murray: This was the true blunder. When the plan fell through, the ad lib seemed utterly out of character.
g) The guards: Another blunder. Note however that Mathis was valued by the league below what the Eagles owed him.
h) The secondary: This was poor to start so can't be considered part of "dismantling a playoff team." And it's easy to overpay in a traditionally under stocked position group on the free agent market. Still the evaluations here were poor.

Add it all up and it's a mixed bag pushed negative by some bad luck. If Gore had signed as he promised we probably wouldn't be here. But I see no reason other than hazing the new guy to treat Kelly like an idiot GM.

Seems like the same broad brush that condemned Shanahan's personnel acumen. True, he was flawed. But nonetheless his mid to late round picks of Kirk Cousins, Jordan Reed, Alfred Morris, Tom Compton, Josh LeRibeus, and Chris Thompson and his (maligned at the time) signing of Pierre Garçon form the core (with his first rounder Trent Williams) of a a decent offense, and even his failed picks and pickups like David Amerson, Bacari Rambo, and EJ Biggers start or contribute elsewhere.

I guess it's just the simplistic bipolar thinking so common today which demands everything be seen as totally awesome or complete crap.

44 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

Boy is Green Bay staggering at the end of the season when the history of McCarthy teams has been to finish fairly strong.

I know Ted and Mike made changes after the championship game ugliness. One has to wonder what will happen once this season ends which by all signs is going to happen sooner rather than later.

It's telling that fans are doing a lot of wishcasting on how things can change quickly if "a" were to happen.

46 Re: Playoff odds

As a bandwagon fan of AZ and still fan of DEN, I'd be curious about the odds of a "Plummer memorial bowl" between AZ and DEN.

47 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

In wide receiver DVOA (minimum 50 passes), Seattle has the top 2 receivers and 3 of the top 6! Wow.

Doug Baldwin #1 @ 41.6% DVOA
Tyler Locket #2 @ 37.4% DVOA
Jermaine Kearse #6 @ 28.3% DVOA

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/wr

Any theories to explain why?

50 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

Russel Wilson is quite good. He also takes sacks instead of throwing up prayers, this makes his receivers look better (for the opposite effect see Ryan Fitzpatrick force feeding Brandon Marshall the ball).

The receivers are good themselves.

The Seahawks throw fewer passes than most teams. It's well established in basketball that there is a negative correlation between usage and efficiency.

48 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

That 2009 Colts team was awful. It was the closest I've seen a quarterback get to dragging a terrible team to a championship. Man, Arians has had a case to be coach of the year four years running. I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it, and 14-2 in /this/ NFC West (and against the AFC's best division in interconference play) would be a hell of an accomplishment (though the gm deserves a ton of credit, too)

53 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

The Bears offense ranked 10th in DVOA surprises me, as they have seemed to be pretty mediocre at best. Of course the injuries have hurt, but they don't get a DVOA bonus for having to put terrible receivers out there.

55 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

10th isn't *that* good, but you're probably mostly suffering from confirmation bias and expectations that can't really be met.

One thing is that the Bears are very good at avoiding turnovers. They're only 17th in yards per drive, but 9th in TOS/drive. Another thing is that they've faced a *very* difficult schedule. Offensive VOA is 3% while DVOA is 7.3%. A quick look through the table, and it looks like only Seattle and Tampa Bay have bigger adjustments. So looking mediocre against a very good defense, is well, about 10th.

57 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

So...is there a strong case for throwing the Sunday night game? Minnesota will face Seattle in the playoffs with a win, regardless of Seattle's outcome. Green Bay could also face Seattle with a win depending on the outcome of Seattle's game. It would never realistically happen, and there are future implications that come with dropping down 2 or 3 seeds, but I thought it was an interesting dilemma.

61 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

If you are a Viking, you are a professional athlete, competing at the most elite of levels. If you are on the field, you have to be maximizing your chance to win on Sunday, and if you are managing the athletes, you simply can't sell the idea, to the athletes, that this a game where winning isn't the primary goal, like a team that has wrapped up it's seeding.

62 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

And a home playoff game is a prestigious (not to mention profitable) event. The Vikings haven't had one since 2009. I can't imagine the fan-base or the owners reacting happily to that opportunity being tossed away.

63 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

I think both teams will be playing for the win, but will be a bit more conservative than usual in both usage of injured players and game planning.

Although both teams know each other quite well at this point, they both surely have a few surprises saved up to exploit each other's weaknesses, and would not want to give them away with a possible rematch the next week.

And regardless of matchup, I think both teams would prefer to host a playoff game. Home field advantage is real, and Washington has been quite good at home themselves, so at least for the Packers, throwing away a home game for a 50-50 shot at travelling to Washington instead of hosting Seattle looks pretty dubious.

58 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

Congrats to Cam Newton! Now we know why he was off in the Falcons game. Probably hadn't slept in three days.

65 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

You may want to correct the html on this page. On line 447 there is a mistaken closing body and html tag.

66 Re: Week 16 DVOA Ratings

In regards to wieghted DVOA or the entire season DVOA, FO did this research years ago and found DVOA over the entire season was a better predictor of playoff games.

Chances are you can google it and find the research.

Not sure why they have not re-done the research or maybe they have but aren't saying.