Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Week 12 DVOA Ratings
Week 12 DVOA Ratings
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Aaron Schatz

Seattle's loss to Tampa Bay (covered here in Any Given Sunday) drops the Seahawks out of the top spot in DVOA and leaves us with one big smush on top of our ratings. Five teams are packed together within five percentage points, all far below any No. 1 team of years past. It all emphasizes the most important narrative of the 2016 season: there are no great teams.

Yes, there are teams with excellent win-loss records. Dallas is 10-1. New England and Oakland are 9-2. Yet there have been so many close games this year -- roughly 59 percent of games have been decided by a touchdown or less, which would be a new record -- that the difference between the league's top teams is smaller than in years past.

Our new No. 1 team is the Atlanta Falcons, thanks to a strong offensive performance against a very good Arizona defense. (That's the part of the Cardinals that hasn't imploded this season.) The Falcons are better than conventional wisdom says they are, in part because they have played the second-toughest schedule in the NFL this season. This is actually only the second week in the 27-year history of DVOA where the Falcons have ranked No. 1. In their great 1998 season, they peaked at No. 7 at the end of the regular season. The only other week since 1989 when they were on top was Week 3 of 2012. (And these may remain the only two weeks for Atlanta at No. 1, now that they've lost their best defensive player, Desmond Trufant, for the season.)

Dallas is right behind the Falcons, trailing by less than 0.5 percentage points. The two teams have very similar splits between offense, defense, and special teams. The teams switch places in weighted DVOA, with the Cowboys on top and the Falcons at No. 2. However, the Patriots would lead the league in both DVOA ratings if we removed games with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback. New England is the only AFC team in the top five, along with Dallas, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Seattle. However, given how close the top teams are, it's hard to say that the NFC is particularly dominant this season. AFC teams are ranked No. 6 through No. 9, meaning that the top 10 is half AFC and half NFC. Each conference also has a team you are probably surprised to find outside the top ten: the Giants (14th) and the Broncos (15th).

It's good that Atlanta and Dallas are on top of the NFL right now, but it's tough to overstate how unimpressive these teams are compared to the teams that led the league in years past. In the 27-year history of DVOA, there had never been a No. 1 team after Week 12 with DVOA below 30%. The 2010 Steelers were the lowest, at 30.9% DVOA. The Falcons are nine percentage points behind that. But wait, there's more. There's only one team that ever ranked No. 2 after Week 12 with a lower rating than the 2016 Falcons have at No. 1: the 1994 Steelers, at 21.3%. In 21 of the previous 27 seasons, the No. 3 team after Week 12 was rated better than the 2016 Falcons. And in 9 of the previous 27 seasons, at least five teams rated better than the 2016 Falcons.

Lest we upset the Cowboys fans, it's worth noting that Dallas is not anywhere near the lowest-rated 10-1 team in DVOA history. In fact, it was just four years ago that two different teams (Houston and Atlanta) were 10-1 after Week 12 with lower ratings than the 2016 Cowboys.

The Philadelphia Eagles are still hanging around at No. 3 even though they now have a losing record. They have played their worst two games of the season in the past two weeks, with their DVOA dropping from 30.2% to 20.3% over that time. I've written plenty in recent weeks about why our system has the Eagles rated so high, so you can read about that here and here. The Eagles do not have the best DVOA in history for a losing team through Week 12. That distinction belongs to the 2004 Bills, who were sixth at 24.6% DVOA with a 5-6 record. The 2006 Eagles (21.9%) and 1998 Raiders (21.8%) were also higher with 5-6 records. It's worth noting that these three teams went a combined 12-3 over the final five weeks of the season.

The 2004 Buffalo Bills ended the season with 31.3% DVOA, the highest rating ever for a team that missed the playoffs. The Eagles are unlikely to be good enough over the last five games to challenge that mark. However, the Eagles could challenge a couple of other records. If they go 3-2 over their last five games, they may challenge the 2002 Kansas City Chiefs (24.4% DVOA) for the best DVOA rating by an 8-8 team. If they go 2-3 over their last five games, they may challenge the 2004 Kansas City Chiefs (15.1% DVOA) for the best DVOA rating ever by a team with a losing record over a full season. Man, those Dick Vermeil Chiefs years were absurdly frustrating, weren't they?

Philadelphia's poor performance against Seattle also knocked the Eagles defense out of the No. 1 spot. The new No. 1 defense belongs to the Baltimore Ravens, followed by Denver and Philadelphia. The Ravens' ascent to No. 1 finally led me to notice something I had been missing in past weeks. I've written a number of times that the lack of great teams in 2016 extends to a lack of great units. But that's actually not true if we look at pass/run splits instead of just offense/defense splits.

Baltimore leads the league in defensive DVOA even though the Ravens are just eighth against the pass. That's because they have a mind-blowing -42.5% DVOA against the run this year. How good is that? It puts the Ravens on pace to have the greatest run defense in DVOA history, surpassing their Super Bowl-winning 2000 team.

Team Year Defense
Rk Pass D
Rk Run D
BAL 2016* -18.6% 1 -4.2% 8 -42.5% 1
BAL 2000 -23.8% 2 -14.8% 7 -36.6% 1
PHI 1991 -42.4% 1 -48.6% 1 -34.9% 1
SD 1998 -15.9% 2 -1.3% 11 -32.9% 1
DET 2014 -13.9% 3 -3.0% 8 -31.4% 1
MIN 2006 -9.3% 6 3.4% 18 -30.5% 1
KC 1995 -17.5% 2 -7.1% 7 -30.5% 1
PIT 2010 -20.7% 1 -15.7% 3 -29.0% 1
BAL 2008 -27.8% 2 -27.1% 2 -28.6% 1
TEN 2000 -25.0% 1 -23.0% 2 -27.4% 2
BAL 2007 -8.6% 5 9.0% 21 -27.3% 1
SD 2000 -9.5% 9 4.5% 17 -26.6% 3
*Weeks 1-12 only

[ad placeholder 3]

The raw stats for this year's Ravens (3.4 yards per carry, 75 yards per game) aren't quite as eye-popping as those for the 2000 Ravens (2.7 yards per carry, 61 yards per game), but the main reason for that is the schedule. The league was very imbalanced in 2000, the year after an expansion, and the Ravens played the league's easiest schedule of opposing offenses. This year's Ravens have stiffened more on third and fourth downs, allowing a 36 percent conversion rate on runs on third/fourth down compared to a 46 percent conversion rate allowed by the 2000 Ravens. And the averages for this year's Ravens would be a lot lower without a single outlier play, an 85-yard touchdown by Cleveland's Isaiah Crowell early in Week 2. That's the only run for more than 30 yards given up by the Ravens all season. In fact, they've given up only one other run by a running back for more than 20 yards, a 28-yarder by Oakland rookie DeAndre Washington in Week 4. The 2000 Ravens didn't give up a single run longer than 33 yards.

Baltimore's spectacular run defense makes for a really interesting matchup this week with the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins are No. 3 in run offense DVOA but just 21st in pass offense. Miami has been winning with a running-and-defense philosophy. Their defense will probably have a strong game against Baltimore's No. 30 offense, but it's really going to be on Ryan Tannehill to move the ball this week. He's not going to get much help from Jay Ajayi, especially if road-grading linemen such as Laremy Tunsil and Mike Pouncey miss another game with injuries.

(Quick note: the table above shows full-season run defense DVOA rather than rating through Week 12 for past years because the big spreadsheet I have with all the ratings through each specific week does not list run/pass splits.)

* * * * *

Once again this season, we have teamed up with EA Sports to bring Football Outsiders-branded player content to Madden 17 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, beginning at 11am Eastern on Friday. We will also tweet out images of these players from the @fboutsiders Twitter account on most Fridays. The best player of each week, the Football Outsiders Hero, will require you to collect a set of the other four Football Outsiders players that week, plus a certain number of Football Outsiders collectibles available in Madden Ultimate Team packs.

The Football Outsiders stars for Week 12 are:

  • LOLB Justin Houston, KC (FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS HERO): 3 sacks, 4 hurries, PD, FF, and 7 run tackles for a combined 3 yards.
  • WR Quincy Enunwa, NYJ: Ranked fourth among Week 12 WR with 60 DYAR (5-for-5, 109 yards, TD).
  • QB Colin Kaepernick, SF: Ranked fourth among Week 12 QB with 136 DYAR (297 passing yards, 3 TD vs. No. 6 DVOA pass defense; 113 rushing yards).
  • C Maurkice Pouncey, PIT: No sacks allowed; Steelers RB had 16 carries for 67 yards up the middle with 63 percent success rate.
  • LE Noah Spence, TB: 1.5 sacks, 2 hurries, FF, run TFL.

* * * * *

All player/team DVOA stats pages are now updated through Week 12 of 2016. Playoff odds and the premium DVOA database are also fully updated. It looks like the "in-season trends" page of premium, which lists Weeks 1-9 vs. Weeks 10-17 splits, isn't populating yet. We'll try to get that fixed soon. Snap counts, drive stats, and pace stats will be updated later this evening.

If you've always wanted to try Football Outsiders' "Standard Premium" service, you now have a special discounted chance. A late-season subscription to Premium through Super Bowl LI costs ONLY $20. You'll get the DVOA database, the fantasy answering service to use during your league's playoffs, and the last few weeks of premium picks. Premium picks are 26-11-3 against the spread over the past three weeks (with four games too close to pick) and 30-13 straight up over that same time period (with one game too close to pick).

If you're looking for more of my thoughts on the Football Outsiders playoff odds and DVOA ratings, my playoff odds commentary at ESPN Insider will be running on Tuesday afternoons instead of Wednesday mornings for the remainder of the regular season.

We've added some more possible Super Bowls to the "Special Super Bowl Matchups" table on the playoff odds page, trying to rope in some of this year's most likely pairings with some fun nicknames. Please enjoy.

* * * * *

[ad placeholder 4]

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through 12 weeks of 2016, 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 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. As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE. As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE.

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.

To save people some time, please use the following format for all complaints:

<team> is clearly ranked <too high/too low> because <reason unrelated to DVOA>. <subjective ranking system> is way better than this. <unrelated team-supporting or -denigrating comment, preferably with poor spelling and/or chat-acceptable spelling>

1 ATL 21.9% 5 21.8% 2 7-4 26.5% 2 7.4% 24 2.8% 7
2 DAL 21.5% 4 23.1% 1 10-1 27.8% 1 8.5% 27 2.3% 10
3 PHI 20.3% 2 18.7% 4 5-6 -5.3% 20 -16.3% 3 9.3% 1
4 SEA 19.2% 1 18.5% 5 7-3-1 3.1% 11 -15.1% 4 1.0% 14
5 NE 18.3% 3 20.7% 3 9-2 21.0% 3 4.7% 21 1.9% 11
6 PIT 12.9% 10 13.4% 6 6-5 9.1% 9 -4.7% 11 -0.8% 18
7 OAK 12.1% 8 10.9% 9 9-2 17.1% 5 7.8% 26 2.8% 8
8 KC 10.1% 13 11.7% 8 8-3 -1.0% 15 -3.4% 13 7.7% 2
9 MIA 9.1% 6 12.3% 7 7-4 1.5% 13 -6.5% 8 1.1% 12
10 WAS 8.8% 7 9.7% 10 6-4-1 15.8% 6 7.8% 25 0.8% 15
11 NO 7.5% 14 9.0% 11 5-6 18.2% 4 6.5% 22 -4.2% 28
12 BUF 6.7% 9 6.1% 13 6-5 9.6% 8 3.3% 19 0.4% 16
13 BAL 5.1% 17 6.4% 12 6-5 -18.3% 30 -18.6% 1 4.8% 6
14 NYG 5.1% 15 5.1% 14 8-3 -2.6% 18 -10.4% 7 -2.6% 21
15 DEN 4.9% 11 2.4% 17 7-4 -9.1% 24 -16.9% 2 -2.9% 22
16 MIN 3.7% 12 1.2% 18 6-5 -11.0% 25 -11.9% 6 2.8% 9
17 SD 2.6% 16 2.6% 16 5-6 -1.7% 16 -5.7% 9 -1.4% 19
18 GB 2.2% 20 0.9% 19 5-6 6.9% 10 1.8% 17 -3.0% 24
19 TB -0.2% 23 2.6% 15 6-5 -1.8% 17 -3.9% 12 -2.3% 20
20 TEN -1.8% 21 0.2% 20 6-6 10.3% 7 9.2% 28 -2.9% 23
21 CIN -2.2% 18 -3.4% 22 3-7-1 3.0% 12 1.9% 18 -3.2% 25
22 CAR -2.6% 22 -2.2% 21 4-7 -2.9% 19 -5.1% 10 -4.9% 29
23 ARI -3.0% 19 -3.7% 23 4-6-1 -12.3% 26 -15.1% 5 -5.8% 30
24 CHI -9.3% 24 -9.0% 24 2-9 -7.0% 23 3.4% 20 1.1% 13
25 DET -12.3% 26 -10.6% 25 7-4 -0.2% 14 18.4% 31 6.4% 4
26 LARM -13.8% 25 -14.4% 26 4-7 -23.7% 32 -2.3% 15 7.6% 3
27 SF -17.1% 28 -17.2% 27 1-10 -6.2% 22 10.2% 29 -0.7% 17
28 IND -18.4% 27 -18.2% 28 5-6 -5.4% 21 18.6% 32 5.6% 5
29 JAC -19.6% 29 -20.3% 29 2-9 -15.7% 28 -0.1% 16 -3.9% 27
30 HOU -26.3% 30 -27.3% 31 6-5 -22.0% 31 -2.3% 14 -6.6% 31
31 NYJ -26.9% 31 -26.2% 30 3-8 -13.0% 27 6.6% 23 -7.4% 32
32 CLE -37.6% 32 -38.9% 32 0-12 -15.9% 29 17.8% 30 -3.8% 26
  • NON-ADJUSTED TOTAL DVOA does not include the adjustments for opponent strength or the adjustments for weather and altitude in special teams, and only penalizes offenses for lost fumbles rather than all fumbles.
  • ESTIMATED WINS uses a statistic known as "Forest Index" that emphasizes consistency as well as DVOA in the most important specific situations: red zone defense, first quarter offense, and performance in the second half when the score is close. It then projects a number of wins adjusted to a league-average schedule and a league-average rate of recovering fumbles. Teams that have had their bye week are projected as if they had played one game per week.
  • PAST SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents played this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative). It is not adjusted for which games are home or road.
  • FUTURE SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents still left to play this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative). It is not adjusted for which games are home or road.
  • VARIANCE measures the statistical variance of the team's weekly DVOA performance. Teams are ranked from most consistent (#1, lowest variance) to least consistent (#32, highest variance).

1 ATL 21.9% 7-4 14.1% 8.8 2 5.7% 2 -3.2% 20 7.3% 8
2 DAL 21.5% 10-1 21.4% 9.6 1 -0.3% 18 3.3% 12 2.9% 2
3 PHI 20.3% 5-6 18.7% 8.2 4 3.3% 7 7.7% 6 15.1% 28
4 SEA 19.2% 7-3-1 18.2% 7.9 5 2.1% 11 -6.9% 28 14.3% 26
5 NE 18.3% 9-2 20.3% 8.3 3 -5.3% 31 -4.3% 22 12.4% 24
6 PIT 12.9% 6-5 16.3% 6.8 13 0.7% 13 -4.6% 23 27.7% 32
7 OAK 12.1% 9-2 10.5% 7.0 9 0.1% 17 1.2% 15 7.5% 10
8 KC 10.1% 8-3 11.6% 6.9 10 -4.9% 29 7.9% 4 19.1% 30
9 MIA 9.1% 7-4 12.4% 7.4 7 -3.6% 27 0.0% 16 16.8% 29
10 WAS 8.8% 6-4-1 7.7% 7.4 8 3.7% 5 2.1% 13 10.0% 17
11 NO 7.5% 5-6 10.4% 7.4 6 3.6% 6 1.2% 14 3.8% 3
12 BUF 6.7% 6-5 10.4% 6.6 15 -1.1% 21 -6.1% 27 11.5% 21
13 BAL 5.1% 6-5 11.0% 6.7 14 -5.2% 30 11.7% 1 8.3% 13
14 NYG 5.1% 8-3 2.4% 6.9 11 0.6% 15 10.3% 3 1.2% 1
15 DEN 4.9% 7-4 10.3% 6.3 16 0.6% 14 3.8% 11 12.3% 22
16 MIN 3.7% 6-5 6.4% 6.8 12 -2.8% 25 -4.7% 24 10.7% 18
17 SD 2.6% 5-6 2.3% 5.5 21 0.4% 16 -3.6% 21 4.7% 5
18 GB 2.2% 5-6 1.3% 5.9 18 1.8% 12 -5.0% 25 13.8% 25
19 TB -0.2% 6-5 -3.9% 5.5 20 4.0% 4 7.3% 7 21.5% 31
20 TEN -1.8% 6-6 8.8% 6.1 17 -9.3% 32 -7.7% 30 12.4% 23
21 CIN -2.2% 3-7-1 -2.9% 5.7 19 2.5% 9 -5.1% 26 7.4% 9
22 CAR -2.6% 4-7 -7.5% 5.2 22 3.0% 8 10.5% 2 5.0% 6
23 ARI -3.0% 4-6-1 1.1% 5.1 23 -0.7% 19 6.2% 8 9.2% 15
24 CHI -9.3% 2-9 -8.0% 4.3 26 -2.3% 23 -2.9% 19 14.9% 27
25 DET -12.3% 7-4 -6.5% 4.5 25 -4.6% 28 5.4% 9 8.3% 12
26 LARM -13.8% 4-7 -9.7% 5.1 24 -1.3% 22 7.9% 5 11.4% 20
27 SF -17.1% 1-10 -21.8% 3.9 27 5.4% 3 -1.8% 18 9.9% 16
28 IND -18.4% 5-6 -14.7% 3.8 28 -3.5% 26 -11.4% 32 8.7% 14
29 JAC -19.6% 2-9 -12.6% 3.0 31 -2.7% 24 -7.6% 29 3.9% 4
30 HOU -26.3% 6-5 -22.0% 3.2 30 -0.9% 20 -8.0% 31 7.5% 11
31 NYJ -26.9% 3-8 -28.5% 3.5 29 2.3% 10 -0.3% 17 11.0% 19
32 CLE -37.6% 0-12 -43.0% 0.0 32 6.3% 1 5.0% 10 5.2% 7


70 comments, Last at 06 Dec 2016, 1:47pm

1 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Two things:

The ninth paragraph says Seattle, where it should say Green Bay.

I suspect the past Raiders team with both a high DVOA and losing record is the 1999 Raiders, not the 1998 team.

2 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Flacons fine. Cowboys okay. Seahskw Pates Steelers eh
But No way Eags are better than Raiders. FO needs to put some oil in DvOA machine . if Eags played Raiders score would be Raiders 34, Eags 17 pr soemthknf like that

3 Crazy Lions

To put things in perspective, there are three teams separated by a half-game in the battle for the #2 seed in the NFC: the #4 team (Seattle), the #1 team (Atlanta) ... and the #25 team (Detroit). And this isn't an Eagles thing - DVOA is assessing the Lions correctly. They've just made the most of their plays to date.

I do not expect this to continue: either the defense has to improve (unlikely) or the offense and special teams will be less likely to pull off fourth-quarter comebacks (somewhat likely, although the 12/18 game at New York is the only one of their five remaining games where weather is likely to play a factor, so offense is more likely to be the culprit).

That would mean I'd start having to watch games before the 58th minute. sigh. It's been so much easier knowing that none of the rest of the game seems to matter that much.

6 Re: Crazy Lions

In reply to by zlionsfan

It's actually a pretty amazing accomplishment that the Lions are 7-4 despite being such a shitty team (aside from pass offense and special teams). I''m already mentally preparing for the Lions to finish 8-8 and miss the playoffs. The key to happiness is low expectations!

19 Re: Crazy Lions

In reply to by JoeyHarringtonsPiano

Lso would like Lions in playoffs but think Vikings even eith crappy offense still migjt turn oit as diviosn champs. Lions schedule in December is roigh. Vikjgs schedule easier after Dallas game. Don't like Packers for playoffs but math says they are s ill alive

20 Re: Crazy Lions

In reply to by Raiderjoe

Vikings have two tough games left, Dallas at home and Green Bay on the road. I still think they lose most tiebreakers if they finish 9-7, but 10-6 is still a possibility if they pull off an upset. I'm more worried about Green Bay. I was hoping Philly would end them, but alas, it was not to be. The only tough game the Packers have left is Seattle at home. I could easily see Packers being 8-7, and Lions being 8-7 (or 9-6 if they pull off a road upset) going into their week 17 game, with the Packers being able to win the division with a season sweep.

42 Re: Crazy Lions

In reply to by JoeyHarringtonsPiano

I'd feel better about their chances if DeAndre Levy came back to finish the season.

58 Re: Crazy Lions

In reply to by LionInAZ

Yea, they need a coverage linebacker in the worst way, but that still doesn't solve the problem at nickel. The DVOA splits of the Lions defense covering TE/RB/WR3 (bottom of the league) vs. WR1/WR2 (top of half of the league) are pretty striking.

I just worry Levy, whenever he comes back, will be super rusty and/or not the same player he was before.

64 Re: Crazy Lions

In reply to by JoeyHarringtonsPiano

I wasn't thinking so much of a coverage guy as a play call leader. Levy was certainly great in pass coverage, but the D has gotten confused on play calls too many times also. To me, it's like how the Bears D collapsed when Urbacher was injured.

65 Re: Crazy Lions

In reply to by LionInAZ

That's a good point, but there seems to be less of the on field confusion lately.

36 Re: Crazy Lions

In reply to by Raiderjoe

The Vikings defense will have to the best in the league to win 3 of their last 5, because as bad as the o-line has been, it'll likely get worse still, the rest of the way. The defense is good, but not that good.

5 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Week 12 BES Rankings were published earlier today - http://besreport.com/week-12-bes-rankings-2016/

DVOA is an odd but beautiful beast. Falcons atop DVOA could mean a strong push toward the playoffs. The BES has the Falcons at No. 10 and trending up but not yet ready to crown them the top dog. Dallas still holds that honor in the BES but BARELY with the Patriots closing fast at No. 2.

Surprised not to see the Buccaneers higher in DVOA after knocking off Seattle and dominating them defensively. The Bucs are 11th in the BES while the Seahawks slid from No. 4 to No. 7. Looks like the Hawks suffered a similar fall in DVOA...three spots from #1 to #4.

I like PIT at No. 6 in DVOA...they obliterated the Browns and Colts. I've no doubt that sent waves through DVOA's number crunching machine like it did the BES. They tend to get hot around this time of year every season so the Ravens better be on alert. PIT also has a favorable schedule the rest of way...wouldn't be a shock to see them take the North....again.

Looks like DVOA and BES concur on the Chiefs at No. 8 Overall as well as their offense...14h in BES...15th in DVOA. However, BES has their defense 9th. Their defense is on the field ALOT as of late due to the ineptitude of the offense. Perhaps that'll change when Maclin returns at receiver and Dee Ford comes back to bookend Houston. It'd certainly make their Week 13 match up with the Falcons more intriguing.

4 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Wow. Pats have played the bottom 3 teams in DVOA and 5 out of the bottom 10.

[edit] Oops, that last part's only true when they play the Rams this weekend.

7 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Woohoo, the Lions have moved up to #31 defense! Eat it Colts! Cleveland at #30, we're coming for you!

8 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

I'm probably not the only Atlanta fan scratching his or her head. I feel like we've got a puncher's chance against anyone, but the team has too much inconsistency on defense and injuries are starting to mount. I'd love a division title but I think it's going down to the wire.

12 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings


I actually pondered aloud on Sunday how DVOA would treat such a good offensive showing against a top-5 defense in Arizona, and it appears we were rewarded quite handsomely.

While we were able to execute this week given the opportunity there was certainly more than one scoring drive that was kept alive by self-inflicted ARI penalties, and two weeks ago we really struggled against that Philly defense. Hoping for the best against that fierce Kansas front next week...

14 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

I'm hopeful we've learned from that Philly game, as KC seems to be a similar type D. Agree that we can compete with pretty much anyone, but we just don't have enough D to make a deep run in the playoffs. We really need to win these next 3 so that the last 2 division games are maybe moot (dream on...).

16 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

The Vikings defense remains a steady upper tier unit, despite an offense which is reaching terminal velocity in its plummet to the bottom. It'll be interesting to see how well Zimmer can rally his defense to fight to the last, as the outpost is overrun.

34 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Yeah, I dunno. There are just too many holes in the hull of the boat. Absent one of the young guys, of no record of accomplishment, suddenly getting mediocre out of the blue, it's just hopeless, it appears to me.

10 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Woo for the Noah Spence love.

Tampa's 6-5 having played the 4th hardest schedule, with the 7th hardest remaining. The postseason would look a lot better if we got to face last year's easy schedule as opposed to this year.

17 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Look at the rest of their division!

Titans will have no excuse for missing playoffs. But two losses to Colts? Wasted opportunity.

With games remaining vs. KC + Denver, I don't see how their future schedule can be so weak.

15 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

FO project question here: Has tracking past teams stopped at 1989? I recall reading in the past that there were problems when it came to getting the play-by-play information from these older years. But I also seem to recall that FO hasn't gone much past 1989 in a few years. I was sort of looking forward to seeing the 80's teams that I grew up with-- 49ers, Bears, Dolphins, etc.-- and how they compared. But perhaps the FO people haven't deemed the effort worthy? Or perhaps I am missing something.

25 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

24th is bad, but not catastrophically bad, and a lot of that is from Schum's early season punt struggles. He's been doing great lately.

Kick coverage, though, will definitely be an issue as the weather turns bad and touchbacks are harder to come by.

26 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

As a Pack fan, I have to hang on to the belief that the Lions will become the Lions and that Green Bay has a more favourable schedule down the stretch.

27 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

So Atlanta with the #2 hardest schedule is ranked at #1. What about the team with the hardest schedule? That would be Cleveland, at #32.

32 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Sure, but the 2004 Bills totally blew it by losing to the Steelers (who were resting their starers) in week 17. The 1991 49ers are pretty clearly the best team to miss the playoffs (my one bit of skepticism with the '91 Redskins as the all time DVOA champs is that they ducked the Cowboys, 49ers, and Eagles in the playoffs-,probably the 2-4 best teams that year). I think the Pats are having a down year, even ignoring the Brissett games, and that defense looks tissue paper thin. If they have to play Oakland or Pittsburgh in the playoffs, those games will be tossups, even at Gilette. The Cowboys are beatable, too, given their defensive profile (though the NFL has got to be salivating at either a Dallas-Oakland or New England Super Bowl)

35 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Sure, the '91 49ers may have been the best team to miss the playoffs, but only when at full strength. Their team quality is probably not reflected in DVOA because they were beset by injuries (Steve Bono started multiple games), which depressed their on-field performance.

If they had better luck with tiebreakers (or if they were not unlucky enough to lose in Atlanta on a last-minute hail mary), they may have had a similar story to the 2010 Packers (who made the playoffs by the thinnest of margins). However, there was no team anywhere near as good as the '91 Redskins who stood in the Packers way in 2010.

37 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

They actually went 5-1 in the games Bono started, and Bono finished 4th in QB DVOA (Young was second). So Bono didn't really drag them down too much. They just had a terrible record in close games -- they were 2-6 in games decided by 7 points or less, and their six losses came by a combined 26 points.

Re matching up with Washington, SF beat Washington 26-13 and 28-10 in the 1990 regular season and playoffs (with Montana at QB) and 20-13 in the 1992 playoffs (with Young at QB), with all of those games at Candlestick. A 1991 game would obviously have been at RFK, and 91 Wash was much better than 90 or 92. But the Walsh-Seifert SF teams always seemed to match up well with Gibbs' teams -- Gibbs during his first tenure was only 2-7 against SF (although one of those wins was the 1983 NFC Championship Game). Parcell's Giants generally gave the Niners more trouble.

38 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Damn, the 'ole memory fails me again! I had the distinct memory of them losing to a bunch of teams they had no business losing to, and I guess I just constructed an explanation inside my brain that it was due to poor QB play.

40 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Even the '83 NFC championship was tilted towards the Niners- a 10-6 team pushed the hell out of a 14-2 juggernaut that, I think, just set the all time record for points scored (of course, they got trucked by the Raiders in the Super Bowl, but they were the defending champs, and heavy favorites over San Francisco). Still think the '91 Skins were awesome, but, unlike, say, the '07 Pats (who played just about every other great team that year and beat them), the '91 Skins did get a little lucky in their draw

43 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

The 1991 Redskins were much better than the 1990 and 1992 versions.

In 1990 and 1992, they played the Lions (combined record of 11-21) twice and won both by 3.
In 1991 they played the Lions twice (13-5) and beat them by 45 and 31.

It's not like they played cupcakes, either. They beat 5 of the 7 division round teams.

48 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Probably the most underrated of the truly great teams of the post merger/pre full salary cap effect era. I can't wait until the DVOA work goes back to '78 (the post merger deadball era really needs to be evaluated differently), so we can compare the following......

'78 Steelers
'84 Niners
'85 Bears
'86 Giants (another underrated squad)
'89 Niners
'91 Skins
'92 Cowboys

I really don't know how I would rank them at this time, and would like to see DVOA, and weighted DVOA through the playoffs, to compare.

49 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

I expect that the Steelers aren't even the best team of '78, and it wouldn't surprise me if the Giants rank behind the Bears in '86. I'd be shocked if either is the best DVOA team by 10+ points like SF '89 and WAS '91 are.

I agree that I can't wait to see it!

57 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Good point, we shouldn't be limiting ourselves to teams that went on the win the Super Bowl. Some great teams had rotten luck/freak events happen in the playoffs to knock them out. I forget which, but either the '95 49ers were actually better than the '95 Cowboys, or vice versa in '94.

On that same subject, I'm very curious to see how DVOA likes '87 Vikings vs the '87 49ers in the non-strike games. I suspect that divisional round game was not as big an upset as it appear to be on paper.

59 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

I can't think about that '87-'89 Vikings era without thinking about that otherwise truly magnificent roster being qb'd by Wade Effin' Wilson. Ugh and double ugh.

61 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

I was thinking of the Cowboys. They matched the Steelers in Pyth wins, and although they played in the weaker conference they played, I think, a tougher overall schedule. SRS likes the Cowboys comfortably, and I expect DVOA to agree.

I don't know much stock we put in the old "Historical DVOA Estimates" (http://www.footballoutsiders.com/dvoa-ratings/2014/historical-dvoa-estimates) but they had "America's Team" 13.5% clear of the second place Steelers (who wind up in a tight grouping with Miami, Denver, and the LA Rams).

I actually think the Steelers have a better chance of being third to Miami or LA than first over Dallas.

66 The Bears played a laughably easy schedule in 1986

The '86 NFC Central was one of the worst divisions of all time. Outside of the Bears, it had the 9-7 Vikings, the 5-11 Packers, the 4-12 Lions, and the unspeakably awful 2-14 Bucs, whose point differential was almost as bad as the 0-16 Lions (-249 for the Lions, -234 for the Bucs). Their defense might have edged out the also-awesome '86 Giants D, but their offense was awful. Turned the ball over 47 times on the season.

67 Re: The Bears played a laughably easy schedule in 1986

The NFC Central was just garbage for almost the entirety of the 80's, until the Vikings became good in the latter part of the decade. During the Bears' heyday, it was like today's version of the AFC East, with one great team beating up on the other teams, except the Bears got 4 division-mates to get fat on, not just 3.

"Their defense might have edged out the also-awesome '86 Giants D, but their offense was awful. Turned the ball over 47 times on the season."

The '93 Oilers were another great defense that was sabotaged in the playoffs by an offense that couldn't stop turning the ball over. At least Buddy Ryan had moved on to Philly in '86, otherwise he might have punched out Ed Huges on the sideline.

68 Re: The Bears played a laughably easy schedule in 1986

You are right about the 1980s NFC Central, but very wrong about the AFC East in its current form.

If you look at non-divisional records since 2002, Miami and the Jets are usually at least 5-5, and often better. Buffalo is usually 4-6 or better, too. This compares favorably to other divisions. We think of the AFC East as weak because the Patriots have dominated for 15 years. But it turns out the weaker teams there still consistently beat or break even against the rest of the league. Only the weakest team (the Bills) can be thought of as consistently below par. Even they are usually within a game of .500 against the rest of the league.

62 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

It's either the 91 Skins or the 84 Niners. The 84 Niners team gets overlooked historically in favor of the 89 and 94 squads. But they went 18-1, with a +248 regular season point differential (the 85 Bears were +258 and 91 Wash +261), and won their 3 playoff games all comfortably, thumping the Giants and Bears (who would win the next two titles) in the NFC and crushing a record-setting Miami team in the Super Bowl.

63 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

My favorite part of that 49ers team is that it came the year before they drafted Jerry Rice.

That '84 squad was incredible, the height of the WCO under Walsh, with a defense full of secondary folks in their prime and great vets.

33 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Arizona being 26th in offence is truly shocking. That has to be the single worst performing unit in the league compared to pre-season expectation. Carson Palmer again demonstrating how quickly QB play can fall off a cliff at age 35+.

41 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Yeah, I love Romo, and I'd like to see him get to one of those 'a quarterback away' near-contenders (Arizona, Denver, Minnesota, KC), but I'm worried he's near the age cliff, too (if not having already hit it)

45 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Right, but Denver can draft a lot of help for the O-line if they're committed to it (Minnesota, otoh, thought they had their guys in-house, they've just been devastated with injuries for the second straight season, at least- Kalil has been limited for probably the last four years, for example, to the point that it'd be foolish to count on him for anything in the future). Denver's the perfect fit, but why would the Cowboys trade him to a team that might be favored over them with him (I'd ask for Ware + picks)? Sounds extreme to worry about, but, for example, bet the raiders really regretted letting Gruden out of his contract, despite the compensation

47 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Well, I think that the Raiders regret having trading for a chance to rejuvenate an old team and blowing it. i think Al Davis's horrible series of desperate, failing moves to rejuvenate the team that followed is a direct result of the high draft picks in the ensuing years doing the Raiders no good in the long term. I think that a team that would not have dropped out of contention for more than a decade was not a result of Super Bowl loss, but the failure to solve the problem of major retirements.

46 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

How about Zona if they decided to move on from Palmer?

OTOH, not sure about the feasibility of moving on from Palmer, but I would like Arizona to just always be the place that takes aging veteran QBs and has afew nice years with all of them (Warner, Palmer).

69 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Philly very likely to finish with a losing record (and last place in the division).

Will they manage a top 5 DVOA anyway?