Week 18 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

Once again, it is time for postseason DVOA ratings. As always, the following rules apply:

  • All 32 teams are ranked, whether they made the playoffs or not.
  • Teams are ranked in order of weighted DVOA, not total season DVOA. Since weighted DVOA is meant to lower the strength of older games, these ratings do not include Weeks 1-4, and Weeks 5-10 are somewhat discounted.
  • Teams which did not play in the wild-card round are treated as if they had a bye week. (That includes both the 20 non-playoff teams and the four teams with byes.)

We've been writing a lot the last week or two about the whole question of whether weighted DVOA is really any more accurate than total DVOA when it comes to predicting the postseason -- or perhaps, whether it might even be slightly less accurate. So you might be wondering why we are bothering running new weighted DVOA ratings. The answer is because a) it's probably even better to consider both ratings than either one or the other, and b) we run these tables every year, so why not keep running these tables since the answer to this question isn't exactly decided once and for all.

If you are wondering why there isn't an additional table here for full-season DVOA, the answer is that we already ran that last week. One new game in a sample of 17 wouldn't change things very much except for Carolina, which had a dominating win over Arizona. Adding in the wild-card game to Carolina's full-season DVOA would move them up from -8.9% (25th) to -4.5% (19th). The Panthers' weighted DVOA goes up even further than that, not only because we add the win over Arizona but also because their crushing 38-10 loss to Baltimore in Week 4 (and its -67.3% single-game DVOA) drops out of the formula altogether. By weighted DVOA, the Panthers aren't even the lowest team left in the playoffs; Indianapolis is.

The playoff odds report is updated through the wild-card games. Because Baltimore is part of this year's "DVOA big five," the Ravens' win meant a hit to New England's Super Bowl odds (which dropped below 20 percent) and a small boost for the Broncos (since they now get to play Indianapolis instead of Pittsburgh). You will also find DVOA matchup pages for the four Divisional games on the FO Premium page. Remember that the equation used to determine win probabilities for the playoff odds report is not as complex as the one used for FO Premium picks, so picks may differ.

The snap counts page is also updated with wild-card playing time data.

* * * * *

To save people some time, we remind everyone to put their angry troll hatred into the official zlionsfan angry troll hatred Mad Libs form:

<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>

If you are new to our website, you can read the explanation of how DVOA is figured here. As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE.

Teams in yellow are still alive in the playoffs. Teams in gray lost this past weekend.

1 SEA 36.3% 1 12-4 16.6% 4 -21.4% 1 -1.7% 19
2 NE 32.6% 2 12-4 19.5% 3 -7.6% 11 5.5% 5
3 GB 26.0% 3 12-4 26.5% 1 -1.9% 18 -2.3% 21
4 DEN 24.2% 4 12-4 15.1% 6 -12.8% 5 -3.7% 27
5 BAL 22.9% 5 11-6 3.0% 9 -12.1% 6 7.8% 2
6 PIT 15.8% 8 11-6 20.7% 2 6.3% 25 1.4% 12
7 BUF 15.7% 9 9-7 -11.2% 24 -20.7% 2 6.2% 4
8 DAL 15.7% 6 13-4 15.7% 5 1.3% 21 1.2% 13
9 PHI 14.6% 7 10-6 1.4% 13 -4.9% 14 8.3% 1
10 KC 7.9% 10 9-7 1.5% 12 0.3% 20 6.7% 3
11 CAR 6.3% 21 8-8-1 -6.6% 18 -18.2% 3 -5.3% 29
12 SF 6.1% 11 8-8 -1.8% 16 -10.9% 8 -3.0% 24
13 IND 3.4% 13 12-5 -8.2% 21 -8.5% 10 3.1% 8
14 HOU 1.5% 14 9-7 -8.9% 22 -14.3% 4 -3.9% 28
15 STL 0.3% 12 6-10 -14.5% 26 -11.3% 7 3.5% 7
16 CIN -0.8% 17 10-6-1 -9.1% 23 -4.0% 17 4.4% 6
17 SD -1.0% 20 9-7 1.9% 11 0.2% 19 -2.7% 23
18 MIN -1.9% 18 7-9 -1.1% 15 3.9% 24 3.0% 10
19 NO -2.0% 19 7-9 4.8% 8 8.4% 28 1.6% 11
20 MIA -2.1% 16 8-8 11.7% 7 7.6% 27 -6.2% 32
21 DET -3.2% 15 11-6 -6.9% 19 -9.5% 9 -5.8% 31
22 ATL -6.0% 24 6-10 2.3% 10 11.4% 30 3.0% 9
23 NYG -7.6% 22 6-10 -0.2% 14 6.8% 26 -0.6% 15
24 NYJ -10.5% 26 4-12 -6.3% 17 3.5% 22 -0.7% 16
25 ARI -11.6% 23 11-6 -13.7% 25 -4.6% 16 -2.5% 22
26 CLE -15.8% 25 7-9 -23.3% 30 -6.9% 13 0.6% 14
27 JAC -22.1% 27 3-13 -23.2% 29 -4.7% 15 -3.6% 26
28 TB -24.2% 28 2-14 -30.8% 32 -7.4% 12 -0.8% 17
29 OAK -26.3% 30 3-13 -20.8% 27 3.8% 23 -1.7% 18
30 CHI -26.6% 29 5-11 -7.3% 20 16.2% 32 -3.1% 25
31 TEN -35.4% 31 2-14 -24.1% 31 9.5% 29 -1.8% 20
32 WAS -41.1% 32 4-12 -22.6% 28 13.1% 31 -5.4% 30

Here are the one-game DVOA ratings for the first round of the playoffs. The somewhat surprisingly large gap between Baltimore and Pittsburgh will be covered in a special playoffs edition of Any Given Sunday that will run tomorrow. We'll also be running Quick Reads tomorrow with the individual player DYAR ratings from this weekend.

DVOA (with opponent adjustments)
CAR 88% 13% -77% -2%
ARI -83% -75% 0% -8%
BAL 68% 13% -49% 5%
PIT -17% -21% 6% 10%
IND 30% 12% -18% 1%
CIN -12% -11% 8% 8%
DAL 6% -3% -2% 7%
DET 9% -17% -35% -8%
VOA (no opponent adjustments)
CAR 81% 3% -80% 2%
ARI -85% -80% -3% -8%
BAL 60% 28% -27% 5%
PIT -32% -27% 15% 10%
IND 31% 9% -22% 1%
CIN -20% -19% 9% 8%
DAL -4% -20% -10% 7%
DET -12% -17% -13% -8%

* * * * *

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 the wild-card round are:

  • CB Vontae Davis, IND (24-HOUR HERO): 4 Defeats, with two tackles and PD that prevented three different third-down conversions, plus TFL on a pass to Giovani Bernard.
  • LT Anthony Castonzo, IND: No sacks allowed, plus Colts had 10 carries for 72 yards running left.
  • TE Owen Daniels, BAL: Led all tight ends with 26 DYAR in wild-card round (4-for-5, 70 yards).
  • RB Jonathan Stewart, CAR: Led all running backs with 33 rushing DYAR in wild-card round (24 carries, 123 yards, TD).
  • RG Trai Turner, CAR: No sacks allowed, plus Panthers had 9 carries for 72 yards running right.

Sorry no Cowboys; most of the Dallas players who had strong games this week have been covered recently in MUT's "Team of the Week."


51 comments, Last at 08 Jan 2015, 5:36am

#1 by Bobman // Jan 05, 2015 - 6:46pm

How on earth is the Colts O #21? That low of a rank can't be ALL due to rushing. Are Luck's TOs that weighty in the calcs? I'd think they'd be counterbalanced by the TDs....

Points: 0

#6 by Hurt Bones // Jan 05, 2015 - 8:22pm

Luck leading the league in fumbles coupled with 16 interceptions keeps the passing offense from compensating for the poor rushing offense.

Points: 0

#10 by techvet // Jan 05, 2015 - 9:52pm

...only Tampa Bay and Philadelphia had more turnovers in the NFL than the Colts.

Points: 0

#13 by Bobman // Jan 05, 2015 - 10:35pm

@techvet, and yet as an offense they finished (trad stats) in the top 10 in terms of scoring, yardage, blah blah, as well as wins. So despite the miscues they are pretty damn productive. In fact give them merely average turnovers and they'd probably have led the league in most traditional offensive categories (excluding rushing, of course).

If you had a RB who racked up 1,400 yards, 4.5 YPA, and top 10 success/stuff rates, but lead the league in fumbles, would you put him in the bottom 1/3 of all RBs? I don't think so.

The Colts are 3rd in yards, 1st in pass yards, 22nd in rush yards (that high??), 6th in scoring, despite all those turnovers. 3rd in total first downs, but a middling 13th in 3rd down conversions. I have to assume their rate stats are much worse than basic counting stats. FO's drive stats (through week 17) peg them in the offensive top-10 for yds, pts, DSR, TDs, Punts, LOS/KO, TD/FG and average lead. The other drive stats are generally in the teens except for Fumbles and TOs. So I can't quite square a large pile of broad data that suggests "top 8," another broad swath that suggests "about #15," plus some specific and narrow-band horrid turnover data that says "bottom three" with an overall #21 ranking.

The Colts' success despite all the TOs suggests either (A) a high risk/high reward offense, or (B) a very good but sloppy offense. I think B is a little more accurate than A, but #21 just doesn't make much sense to me. I am picking this way to death and all that really matters is the outcome next week, but #21...? I just don't see it.

Sorry for running on--this is more of a question for Aaron & Co.

Points: 0

#18 by Vincent Verhei // Jan 05, 2015 - 11:40pm

1) Turnovers are very bad news. They are much worse than punts. They are not just "Drives that don't score." They are "Drives where we screwed our defense over and put them in poor field position." If you look at most offenses, there's actually not a ton of correlation between how often they turn the ball over and how many points they score, but there's a high correlation between how often they turn the ball over and how many points their defense allows.

2) Don't forget that weighted DVOA puts extra emphasis on late games and little or no emphasis on early games. Indianapolis has had eight games with negative DVOA; six of them came after the bye week in Week 10.

Points: 0

#27 by Bobman // Jan 06, 2015 - 1:26pm

Thanks for the insight.

So just out of curiosity, on the Drive Stats page, there are roughly 16 columns... I always figured some were considered more important than others (and I probably discounted TO-related stats as more of an interesting footnote), so which ones receive the most weight and which get the least?

One reason I find "measuring" TOs frustrating is assigning causation--on QB/C exchange problems, for example, or on Boom Herron's two fumbles last Sunday--one was an utterly awesome textbook strip by Dennard that I'd weight about 80% to the defense and 20% against Herron (implying that 80% of ball carriers would lose that one), and the other was a 100% Herron error that a teammate recovered (implying that 0% of ball carriers would normally lose that one). And the kickoff flub by Cribbs/Tipton gets no statistical notice at all since neither had possession, but it was just as bad as Herron's 2nd fumble (worse even, it cost them at least 10 yards in FP and started them at the 9 yard line). It just shows up as a crappy return in traditional stats and probably in advanced stats as well.... even though it hurt the team worse than one of the fumbles and could have been MUCH worse (a TO at their own ten yard line).

Points: 0

#29 by nat // Jan 06, 2015 - 2:03pm

You're probably looking for the "official" word, but here's my opinion.

Pts/Drive, TDs/Drive and FGs/Drive are the results of doing things well plus having good starting field position plus being fortunate (or not) in your timing. Using these stats is like judging teams by wins and losses: it's exactly right, but doesn't tell you what you want to know.

The big three drive stats are Yards/Drive, Turnovers/Drive, and Drive Success Rate. The first and last of these tell overlapping stories about the ability to move the ball. And turnovers/drive tells about protecting the ball and thus preserving the gains you get. Don't underestimate turnovers. They are equivalent in value to about fifty yards of lost field position.

The rest of the drive stats have limited usefulness in further characterizing the drives, or in explaining discrepancies between points/drive and the big three drive stats.

Except: the red zone stats should be ignored. Just look at which team is this year's leader on offense. Yup. Ignore the RZ stats.

Points: 0

#34 by Bobman // Jan 06, 2015 - 3:58pm

Thanks, nat. That implies that the turnover stats are very heavily weighted. If you take just the three top O Drive Stats you suggest above, the Colts average #15. If you average ALL their rankings it's a small improvement to #14.

Of the 18 different offensive drive stats, the Colts have only four (22%) ranked higher/worse than their #21 overall offensive DVOA ranking, with the remainder (78%) below #21 and fully 50% of all O Drive Stats in the top dozen spots--which includes two of the big three you note above (Yards and DSR).

Maybe my biggest confusion is just the disparity between Offensive drive stats and especially overall DSR (#9) and Offensive WEI DVOA (#21) behind SF (#16) and Carolina (#18), really? Comparable to Buffalo (#24)?
(At least Car is #12 in DSR, but SF is #20 and Buf is #29)

Does anybody really think the Car or SF offenses are better than Indy's? Chicago at #20 and NYJ at #17? That is plainly what WEI DVOA is saying. I guess if the Colts only had the Jets offense this year they'd be better.... Does anyone believe that?

Years ago when I was hired as a financial analyst one of the first things my boss told me was never to say "here's the value--that's what the numbers say" without having a good grasp of the logic and rationale supporting the numbers. I have zero grasp of this situation (unless fumbles are the single most important offensive stat), but it just doesn't quite pass the smell test for me.

Points: 0

#36 by Vincent Verhei // Jan 06, 2015 - 4:15pm

A lot of your questions can be answered by reading this page:


A few notes:

1) Remember that DVOA is measured by the outcome of each play, not each drive. Now, usually, teams that are good per-play are also good per-drive and vice versa. But sometimes you get weird things.

2) That said, the Colts' offense is 27th in turnovers per drive. They are not average at ball security, or even bad. They are terrible.

3) The Dallas loss is really skewing things downwards, especially in weighted DVOA where it counts more. But consider that in one five-game stretch over November and December (against Jacksonville, Washington, Houston, Cleveland, and Dallas), the Colts turned the ball over 15 times. That is more turnovers than the Patriots, Packers, or Seahawks had ALL SEASON. And yes, the Colts won four of those five games ... because they were playing Jacksonville, Washington, Houston, and Cleveland.

Points: 0

#39 by Bobman // Jan 06, 2015 - 4:40pm

Again, thanks. It's been many years since I "looked behind the curtains"... I'll dig into it later.

Points: 0

#46 by SFC B // Jan 07, 2015 - 3:08am

"...because they were playing Jacksonville, Washington, Houston, and Cleveland."

One of those four is not like the other. Houston finished right behind Indy in DVOA, was more than 10 spots higher than the next highest team you've listed, and beat the Texans by one score on a day when the starting QB broke his leg with the game tied early in the first half, and had the punter warming up to come in at QB after the rookie backup injured his knee.

Houston was not a good team throughout much of the season, but they are not a sucking pit of despair like the Browns, devoid of talent like the Jags, or the abysmal dysfunctionality of the RacistTeamName.

Points: 0

#37 by Perfundle // Jan 06, 2015 - 4:21pm

Even yards per drive can be misleading. An offense that gets gifted a lot of really short fields because of their defense and special teams will have a lower yards/drive upper limit than the average team. Something like yards per drive-starting-on-own-side-of-field is probably a better measure of offensive efficiency.

Points: 0

#49 by Eddo // Jan 07, 2015 - 10:31am

You're probably best off doing something like

Yds/Dr / (100 - LOS/Dr)

to figure out what percentage of available yards that an offense picks up.

Points: 0

#51 by Lebo // Jan 08, 2015 - 5:36am

In my untrained, non-expert opinion, I thought that Herron was carrying the ball far too loosely. While I agree that it was a textbook strip, I disagree that 80% of ball carriers would lose the ball in that situation. I think that if Herron had been carrying the ball higher and tighter then there would have been little to no opportunity for Dennard to make that strip.

But I could be wrong; I never actually played football.

Points: 0

#12 by Bobman // Jan 05, 2015 - 10:10pm

@ Hurt Bones Thanks. It doesn't quite settle it for me, since Luck is 10th ranked (by DYAR) despite all those miscues. (a QB ranked 15-20 might be enough to combine with the horrid rushing attack to result in the low O ranking, but 10th? I'd think he'd drag the overall O rating higher than that....) Actually, I wonder if catch rate and drops also factor in, which they should (so long as double-counting is avoided). Colts receivers led the league in drops, which is more evident today than ever.
Just via basic stats, Manning has 34 fewer yards and 39 TDs with 15 INTS, Luck has 40/16, and Manning (with 19 fewer passes and much better completion %) is about 6 slots ahead of Luck. Jeez, 10-15 years ago 40/16 would be an MVP year. Now it's worth a tenth place consolation prize and a kiss on the cheek from Mom. Amazing.

Points: 0

#22 by Temo // Jan 06, 2015 - 9:25am

This is Weighted DVOA though, and late season the Colts offense had some real stinkers. The Dallas game for one-- that kind of performance vs. a bottom third defense is going to weigh really badly.

Points: 0

#42 by Perfundle // Jan 06, 2015 - 7:56pm

First, DYAR is a counting stat, so someone with a lot of passes is going to rank higher even if he's less efficient. Second, several of those fumbles came when he was rushing and show up in his rushing DYAR/DVOA; he had two straight seasons of 40+% rushing DVOA before dropping to 4.6% this season.

Points: 0

#2 by WeaponX // Jan 05, 2015 - 6:52pm

Quite a jump for Carolina. They have been clearly improving in a few areas, unfortunately not yet on ST.

Sometimes I even trip myself out.

Points: 0

#3 by andrew // Jan 05, 2015 - 7:22pm

Their "jump" was more due to jumping over a team with no quarterback, but rated partly from a time it did have one.

I keep hearing about the Panthers 5 game winning streak like it should be impressive. 3 NFC South rivals plus Johnny Manziel and Ryan Lindley.

Points: 0

#7 by Otis Taylor89 // Jan 05, 2015 - 8:25pm

Sounds like SEAs recent schedule.
Key to a great defense? Play a team that has Ryan Lindley as a QB - I bet it works with, playing a team with John Skelton as a QB too!

Points: 0

#8 by Perfundle // Jan 05, 2015 - 8:55pm

Sounds like SEAs recent schedule.

You mean the schedule that had as opponents the #2, #8, #2, #5 teams in defensive DVOA, with 3 on the road, where Seattle didn't have any skill position players outside of Wilson and Lynch that were capable of stepping up? Amazing how quickly your tune has changed since then. What is your problem with Seattle?

Points: 0

#17 by RickD // Jan 05, 2015 - 11:39pm

One of you is talking about opponents' offenses, the other is talking about defenses.

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#26 by Perfundle // Jan 06, 2015 - 1:18pm

I'm talking about how his impression of Seattle's ending schedule went from a very difficult defensive slate when he needed to talk it up, to a horrible offensive slate when he needed to tear it down.

Points: 0

#4 by WeaponX // Jan 05, 2015 - 7:44pm

The jump is more due to ignoring or discounting (somewhat) a lot of the games when they had some dreadful performances. With their offensive line changes and 3/4 different secondary it's warranted. It's funny how it's only okay for some teams to benefit from poor opponents (or just bad QB play) but not others. Also, they crushed two of those NFC south opponents handing them both their largest margin of defeat for the season.

Sometimes I even trip myself out.

Points: 0

#5 by Cythammer // Jan 05, 2015 - 8:16pm

I don't really see the point in running weighted DVOA instead of the regular formula. It's been said many times that the weighted version isn't even better at predicting future results, so why use it instead of normal DVOA?
And doesn't Carolina's big move in regular DVOA indicate that one game can make a big difference? 16 games in not a big sample size. This isn't baseball, I don't see why the new games should just be discounted on the theory that nothing much is going to change anymore…

Points: 0

#15 by RickD // Jan 05, 2015 - 11:36pm

Regarding sample size: every play affects sample size. The game isn't the unit, the play is. So ten games provides plenty of sampling.

As for why: teams change a lot between September and January. (If that weren't the case, there wouldn't be much of a difference between DVOA and weighted DVOA. And when there isn't a big difference, nobody cares, do they?)

Points: 0

#9 by Biebs // Jan 05, 2015 - 9:38pm

The Seahawks are a great team. But they beat 3 backup qbs (Sanchez, Lindley, Austin Davis) and a SF team that completely imploded at the end of the season. That really isn't that different.

Points: 0

#11 by techvet // Jan 05, 2015 - 9:59pm

they lost (KC). I don't think their defense has been tested since that game. If you look at their record against teams with top 10 OPR, they are 2-2. I think their first real test comes in the NFC title game. That said, I certainly consider them the favorite to win it all.

Points: 0

#14 by Will Allen // Jan 05, 2015 - 11:26pm

Very impressive comeback for the Cowboys defense after the 1st quarter (I'd be curious about the split), but those first two possessions by the Lions were nightmares of seemingly inebriated pursuit angles and tackling. They better not try to have a sober up quarter against the Packers, because I don't think that offense will be so charitable in affording the opposition a chance to get back into the contest.

Points: 0

#16 by RickD // Jan 05, 2015 - 11:38pm

Glad to see the DVOA splits reflected my impression that only the last of the four wasn't one-sided. Also glad to see that the game I skipped was the least competitive. (Sorry, but I couldn't get excited to see Ryan Lindley in a playoff game.)

Points: 0

#19 by Paul R // Jan 06, 2015 - 12:44am

On NFL.com's page about next week's matchups, under the category "Offense," Indy is ranked 3rd, Denver 4th, I think Green Bay is 5th and New England 6th. The rest of the teams trail behind.
The first and second-ranked "offenses" are no longer playing.

How does NFL.com come up with their rankings?

Points: 0

#35 by Bobman // Jan 06, 2015 - 4:02pm

Yes, NFL standard ranking is purely yardage, so in their world, racking up 150 garbage time yards once you're down by 30 is proof of how "good" you are.

Then again, WEI DVOA ranks the Jets, Panthers, Niners, and Bears offenses all ahead of Indy at #21, so I am not terribly sure I have much faith in DVOA this year either. Somewhere in the 10-15 range makes sense to me, but not #3 and not #21.

Points: 0

#43 by beargoggles // Jan 06, 2015 - 8:30pm

Maybe it would help to just think of it like this:
"Indy had a sloppy year offensively, so sloppy that their offense performed at the level of SF, despite superior talent"
Then you can just try to explain why it happened--easy schedule where they were never quite threatened in their division so they got lulled to sleep, outlier game vs. Dallas, statistical fluke--remember even FO places caveats re: the limited sample size of a FULL season.
Then you have the prerogative of deciding that going forward they are going to perform better than they have so far because Luck will clean up his act and the other stuff will even out, and I think they are going to perform like the 8th best offense going forward. Plus, clutch!

I'm not actually being facetious. Even the analysts here frequently try to explain away results that don't make sense to them. It's a little dangerous but sometimes we are correct to disbelieve the results.

I'm just as surprised by Indy's high defensive ranking. I would have guessed the reverse. Of course my perception of their defense was colored because one of the few games I watched them play was vs. NE. Another game I watched was vs. Cleveland, and despite their victory no way anybody would say their offense performed well in that game, which I suspect was one of the negative DVOA games of the second half, and probably emblematic of all their flaws, although I wouldn't necessarily predict them to play that way vs. Denver.

Points: 0

#21 by Chappy // Jan 06, 2015 - 9:12am

How did Detroit's defense have a good to excellent game against a solid Dallas offense as shown by the game numbers, but overall their defense went from being ranked about 2 or 3 last week to 9 this week? Did the Cardinals terrible performance drop their weighted performance *that* much? They (and the Panthers) were the only regular season opponents that could affect the weighting in the post-season in any way.

Points: 0

#31 by Chappy // Jan 06, 2015 - 2:15pm

Thanks. I still think this shows there is too much volatility in the weighted DVOA then. Detroit played a good to excellent defensive game in the playoffs yet their ranking went down. Basically the only thing I can see happening is that the Ravens and Panthers games were so outstanding that they moved up past Detroit. This still sends a poor signal because I don't think anyone thinks the Panthers defense is fundamentally better than Detroit's after beating up on Ryan Lindley.

Points: 0

#33 by Thomas_beardown // Jan 06, 2015 - 3:48pm

Weighting also means games earlier in the year count for less (or not at all). Say a game like holding the Packers to 7 points in week 3.

Points: 0

#24 by MJK // Jan 06, 2015 - 11:44am

As a NE fan, I'm mildly annoyed that DVOA confirms what I believed from my eyes--despite getting the #1 seed in their conference, NE now has to play the best non-bye-receiving team in the entire playoff field.

Anyone think it would be more fun to let the top seeds choose their opponents, draft-style, in a special televised Sunday Night Special Meeting? So the #1 seed gets up there and announces which remaining team they want to host? (Then of course the highest remaining seed hosts the fourth team). It would make for great drama, some interesting gamesmanship, and would give fans and players a lot of fun bulletin board material.

Points: 0

#25 by PatsFan // Jan 06, 2015 - 12:28pm

Heh. I was thinking something similar the other day, though at both the WC and divisional rounds, not just the divisional.

Points: 0

#28 by Bobman // Jan 06, 2015 - 1:34pm

That would be awesome but utterly unworkable.

As a special feature, however, the selection should be televised with the GM/HC wearing team sweats in a local elementary school playground on a blustery Monday after the season ends. A crappy low-tech seeding board with moveable team names/logos would show us the results. And in a sweet reverse of all their childhoods (where these great athletes were surely picked at or near the top) the teams that are picked are picked because of their perceived low threat level, so rather than cheer, the 8 year old kid representing them would scuff his toes in the gravel and look glum having to face the top seed.

Great concept, but might work better in a sci-fi novel.

BTW, as a Colts fan, I feel the opposite about the Pats/Ravens and just hope my team can survive the Broncos. We've benefitted from an upset and fortuitous seeding before--more or less their only hope this season.

Points: 0

#30 by PatsFan // Jan 06, 2015 - 2:07pm

Why would it be unworkable? At the WC round the #3 would get to pick whether to play #5 or #6 and at the divisional round #1 would get to pick anyone other than #2.

No team would be deprived of a home game they'd have under the current system (which is why #2 would be off-limits in the divisional round and #4 would be off-limits in the WC round).

Points: 0

#38 by Bobman // Jan 06, 2015 - 4:33pm

I think it's unworkable because of the noise it introduces to the predictable system--nobody loves the current system (or at least everyone finds SOMETHING to complain about) but it's established and predictable--TV schedules are laid out, teams know what they have to do in order to achieve X, tie-breakers are specified out to a dozen unlikely criteria before a coin is flipped. I suppose teams could have their choices made ahead of time and it would delay things n omore than a few minutes after the final game. But add in another playoff team like they plan in 2015, and it's even weirder. I agree that it seems fair and adds a level of intrigue--I really do love the idea. But in most cases, (2015 and on) the #2 seed will pick #7, #3 will pick #6, and #4 will get stuck with #5.

What if the #1 seed, who has a Saturday morning game next week, picks the team that just won a Sunday late game purely because of the timing or a key player who got hurt during the game? Seems like a smart but crappy way to game the system. Almost like allowing the regular season schedule to be picked by the teams based on last year's records--"Okay, I'll play the Titans, the Jags, Raiders and the Bucs next year, plus my divisional games and whatever else...." Why is it okay in the playoffs and not the reg season? It's a straw man argument but I think it brings up a good question of perceived fairness--we have a system that everyone understands and it gives two advantages to the best teams--HFA and a bye week. Why give them more of an advantage, especially when you are broadening the playoff pool to another weaker team?

This year happened to be a year where the #6 team was more dangerous than #5 (maybe or maybe not actually "better"--after all Cincy beat Balt twice and just beat Den in week 15) and the Colts benefitted while the Steelers were hurt by it. I don't think anybody feared Cincy in the playoffs, but based on their work on the field this year, the Cin/Bal seedings were fair and therefore their opponents were fair. The Colts also beat Bal convincingly earlier so they may have advanced anyway.

In the NFC, would anything have changed? Yes because of Carolina's horrid record (a lot of people disagree with a losing team being in and hosting the playoffs, but that won't change), under your proposed system Dallas would have beaten up AZ and Det and Carolina would have had a competitive game, maybe changing one of four winners.

The net results this year would probably have been one or two different teams advancing (maybe no change), and if the goal is to put the best teams forward, that would have been ideal. As I said, I do like the idea (it has kind of a fun XFL feel to it), but just can't imagine the league or NFLPA or many fan-bases going for it. There might be a jealous perception that the top seeds have all the advantages anyway (which they, of course, earned! but when do you stop giving them breaks?) and this would reinforce that. Of course I remember a lot of push-back a few decades ago against instant replay (mid-80s) and the 2 pt conversion (mid 90s) which seemed like no-brainers to me, but they finally won the day. Maybe this will, too.

Points: 0

#41 by Will Allen // Jan 06, 2015 - 6:46pm

Yeah the injury aspect would be problematic. Next thing you know, Peyton's doing a standup for ESPN, to give his opinion on why Darth Belichik picked Peyton's team, and then a short fat guy leaps into camera view, and gives Brady's nemesis a whack on the knee with a tire iron. My bet is that Peyton would have enough situational awareness to not roll on the ground, in tears, wailing "WHY!!!!?, WHHHYYYYY!!!!!!!????"

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#50 by ZDNeal // Jan 07, 2015 - 2:48pm

That is not how the playoff games are scheduled. They don't pick who plays when until after all the matchups are known. You don't know you'll have the early Saturday game until after you know who you are playing. If after the last game the #1 seed had 10 minutes to announce who they would play there would be plenty of time to make the necessary arrangements.

The only things known going into WC weekend were that the #6 seeds couldn't play the #2 seeds and the #1 seed couldn't play the #3 seed. Everything else was up in the air.

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#32 by Grendel13G // Jan 06, 2015 - 3:40pm

This would be great!

It might unintentionally disadvantage the top-seeded team, because the team they picked would spend all week being pissed off that the other team perceived them to be the weakest option. In response, maybe the top-seeded teams would just show up to the TV broadcast and flip a coin, in a show of strength to indicate that they don't care who they play.

...while secretly using a coin with double-sided heads (or tails) so they end up playing the team they wanted to play all along.

Gamesmanship! I love it!


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#48 by PatsFan // Jan 07, 2015 - 9:55am

From a discussion about this same thing elsewhere...

Here in England, Rugby League's top league, the Super League does this for the playoffs - the highest ranked remaining team picks their opponent for the semi final...it works pretty well.

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#44 by LionInAZ // Jan 06, 2015 - 11:48pm

I don't understand why you think it would be more fun to make playoff games less competitive.

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#40 by shaeto // Jan 06, 2015 - 5:53pm

So many people complaining about Seattle's schedule!

First of all, I didn't hear people complaining about their schedule when they were 3-3 having played GB, DEN, SD, DAL....

Second of all, isn't the whole point of DVOA is that it accounts for schedules? Yeah, their defense was really good against some pretty mediocre offenses, but it's not like they were struggling against the good ones. Has their defense ever been rated lower than 7th? They get their breaks in their schedule just like every other team. And these teams they were playing have their own good defenses, and their offenses performed well enough to jump up the rankings too.

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#45 by spujr // Jan 07, 2015 - 1:15am

Can we just skip all this and move onto the ever-important Brady vs Flacco As The Best QB Ever Bowl that comes before the Brady vs Manning/Luck Bowl?! I'll join Harbaugh's team and say Flacco is better than Brady because he doesn't waste his time mooning over all the celebrity-fan club members. Also, Flacco's hair sparkles in the sun light.


Points: 0

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