Week 16 DVOA Ratings
by Aaron Schatz
The Dallas Cowboys stay on top of Football Outsiders' DVOA ratings this week with a big win over Detroit, and the New England Patriots stay right behind them with a big win of their own. Both teams are higher in weighted DVOA than in full-season DVOA, as they've played some of their best football in recent weeks. The Cowboys had 59.7% DVOA in their 42-21 win over Detroit, their best single game all season by DVOA. Three of the Cowboys' top four games of the year have come over the past five weeks, starting with the Thanksgiving win over Washington.
New England's gap between full-season DVOA and weighted DVOA is less about what the Patriots have done in December and more about what they didn't do in September -- namely, they didn't get to start Tom Brady at quarterback. A look at the Patriots' splits this season show the interesting way they've developed on both sides of the ball. There's no question that the New England offense has not been as powerful without a healthy Rob Gronkowski. However, the Patriots have continued to reign as the best team in the AFC because the defense has steadily improved over the course of the season, while the special teams are much better now that Cyrus Jones is not regularly returning kickoffs or punts, and Stephen Gostkowski has cured his apparent case of the yips. Here's a look at the Patriots' DVOA split into all three parts, along with rank out of all 32 teams during the given time period:
|New England DVOA by Week, 2016|
|Weeks||Off DVOA||Rank||Def DVOA||Rank||ST DVOA||Rank||Tot DVOA||Rank|
|Weeks 1-4: Brady suspended||2.8%||12||10.7%||28||3.4%||8||-4.5%||17|
|Weeks 5-10: Brady and Gronk healthy||32.0%||2||-2.7%||13||0.0%||10||34.7%||1|
|Weeks 11-16: Brady healthy, Gronk injured*||16.7%||7||-12.0%||6||5.1%||7||33.8%||3|
|*Gronkowski did play in Week 12, but had only two targets.|
Of course, another way to split the Patriots' season would be to look at the defense before and after the Jamie Collins trade. In that case, you end up with 1.2% DVOA in Weeks 1-8 (18th) and -6.6% DVOA in Weeks 9-16 (10th).
Obviously, the Patriots' easy schedule is a big reason why the defense has looked so good in the past few weeks. The Patriots have played the easiest schedule in the NFL this season, and during their current six-game winning streak, every offense they've faced has been ranked in the bottom 10 of offensive DVOA. However, the Patriots have improved on defense even after accounting for this easy schedule. If we used unadjusted VOA, their defense over the past six weeks would have a rating of -28.3%, by far the best in the league over that span.
Here's a look at the week-to-week graphs for Dallas and New England. The Cowboys have been more consistent than the Patriots, but neither team has had many games that come out below 0% DVOA, with the notable exception of the Week 4 Buffalo game started by an injured Jacoby Brissett.
Regular Football Outsiders know that I keep refering to 2016 as The Year of No Great Teams, but Dallas and New England do keep inching up in DVOA and are starting to get near other teams that finished past seasons at No. 1. Right now, the 1993 Dallas Cowboys have the lowest DVOA rating for a No. 1 team, at 24.9%. The Cowboys and/or Patriots could pass that with strong wins in Week 17. There's even less chance of the Cowboys and/or Patriots finishing the season with the lowest weighted DVOA for a No. 1 team. That currently belongs to the 2001 San Francisco 49ers, who ended the regular season with 25.0% weighted DVOA.
The Year of No Great Teams has stronger pull with defense than with offense. The top two defenses in last week's DVOA ratings both gave up over 30 points last week. Denver is still No. 1 on defense, and probably will not end the season as the worst defense to ever rank No. 1. (That's currently the 2007 Tennessee Titans at -14.4% DVOA.) Baltimore has fallen behind the New York Giants and ranks No. 3. The Ravens are still No. 1 against the run, but have really slowed their historic pace. They clearly won't finish as the best run defense in DVOA history, and may not even rank in the top ten. Sunday's results also mean that only three of the top ten defenses by DVOA will appear in the playoffs: the Giants (2), Seahawks (4), and Steelers (9).
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With 15 games in the books, there aren't going to be many big movements in the full-season DVOA ratings from week to week. Even with teams packed very close together, the only significant moves among playoff teams are Washington climbing from 11th to eighth and Miami going from 19th to 15th. Movement is stronger with weighted DVOA. Kansas City climbs from ninth to fifth this week, and Denver drops from 18th to 24th. Tennessee and Oakland also each fall three spots in weighted DVOA, and of course the Raiders fall even further in our playoff odds simulation due to the loss of Derek Carr. Out of curiosity, we ran a second simulation using Oakland's actual weighted DVOA rather than penalizing them for the loss of Carr. With a healthy Carr, the Raiders' odds of winning Super Bowl LI more than double, going from 3.5 percent to 7.5 percent.
Now that Houston has guaranteed itself a playoff spot, many readers will wonder if the Texans have the worst DVOA rating ever for a playoff team. The answer is no. That record belongs to the 2004 St. Louis Rams, who ranked 31st out of 32 teams with -27.2% DVOA. However, the Texans will challenge the record for the lowest DVOA by a division champion, which belongs to the 2010 Seahawks team that was the first to ever win a division at 7-9. The Seahawks had -22.9% DVOA that year, and the Texans are currently at -23.1%. Next week, once we know the final DVOA ratings for Houston and Detroit, I'll run a full table of the worst teams to make the playoffs since 1989. However, it's worth noting that the three worst (2004 Rams, 2010 Seahawks, and 1998 Cardinals) each won their first playoff game. Have hope, Houston!
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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 16 are:
- RG David DeCastro, PIT (FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS HERO): No sacks allowed; Steelers RB had 11 carries for 52 yards up the middle with 82% success rate.
- TE Charles Clay, BUF: No. 2 among Week 16 TE with 41 DYAR (8-for-10, 85 yards, 2 TD).
- LG Senio Kelemete, NO: Saints RB had 9 carries, 57 yards, 2 TD up the middle with 100% success rate.
- MLB Sio Moore, ARI: 8 run tackles for a combined gain of 7 yards.
- CB Jamar Taylor, CLE: 4 defeats: interception, two run TFL, and 11-yard tackle on third-and-13. Also had 2 other PDs.
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All player/team DVOA stats pages are now updated through Week 16 of 2016. Playoff odds, snap counts, and the premium DVOA database are also fully updated. Drive stats and pace stats will be updated later this evening.
This week's playoff odds commentary on ESPN Insider will run on Wednesday.
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These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through 16 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>
- 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).
121 comments, Last at 01 Jan 2017, 11:58am
#1 by DezBailey // Dec 27, 2016 - 6:53pm
Week 16 BES Rankings released earlier today - http://besreport.com/week-16-bes-rankings-2016/
Still have the Pats No. 1 for a third week followed by the Steelers at No. 2. Packers jumped to No. 5 in the BES which seems in agreement with DVOA. Houston is puzzling indeed, they're 14th in the BES, the lowest of all teams that have cinched a playoff berth/division title.
#6 by Raiderjoe // Dec 27, 2016 - 7:46pm
rem,meber in offseason you wrote you would noty follow nfl anymore. CFL is nice but less popular and Canadian. COllege football very political. Ohio Srtate lost own confernce but are in national pl;ayodfs. Wrst Michian better record bs Big 1011121314 teams than Ohio State and are undefwated overall but western michiagn not in playoffs. if you get past politics, college football is okay.
other option is to not be Jets fan anymore . Come joine the Raiders bandwagon. The water is fine.,
#18 by mehllageman56 // Dec 27, 2016 - 10:59pm
I do root for random teams in the playoffs when the Jets don't make it, and I will be rooting for the Raiders this year. You are correct that I intended to not follow the NFL anymore, and I haven't been following as much this year. I also have some pretty bad marital stuff to deal with right now, so I haven't been commenting as often as in the past, and probably won't posting that much in the future until I get past all of it.
#20 by Raiderjoe // Dec 27, 2016 - 11:26pm
well that stinks you have personal problem (hope that ends decentlky) and also that you might nto post as much.
when Raiders don't make olayoffs, afc rooting order
iis lesser evil rankings usually.
as for NFC this year will root for Squirrels (if get in) leik J. Norman, Fat Rob, K Cousins and some others and Falcs the most. Loins would be 3rd if get in. If Squirrels play the Falcs, not sure who I would want to win.
buccaneers getting in not very likely so not including them in discussion./ tired of packers. would root for Giants over cowbos. cowboys very annoying bandwagon.
do not like Seahawks
#3 by Hareeb_alSaq // Dec 27, 2016 - 7:09pm
A warning to all who may have ever had any interest in the playoff odds published here. They have not been handling tiebreaks correctly- including giving a team with no path to the playoffs in their simulations a nonzero chance of the 6-seed. Proof/demonstration at http://pastebin.com/8rdShSdK
#41 by Aaron Schatz // Dec 28, 2016 - 11:51am
Mike Harris worked hard to create a thorough playoff odds simulator, but it does have some issues, in part because it was created to simulate odds throughout an entire season more than specifically for Week 16 when very intricate tiebreakers become hugely important.
We originally created the simulator back when the NFL had the older overtime rules and ties were very rare. Therefore, the simulator only predicted wins and losses, and included ties solely after the fact. With ties being more common now, we'll re-program the simulator next year to give every game a 0.3 percent chance of ending in a tie. This is why we originally had Tampa Bay listed with a 0.4 percent chance of making the playoffs after Saturday when it should have been closer to 0.0 percent.
In addition, I believe we've never gotten down to a strength of schedule tiebreaker, so we didn't realize there was a bug in that one. So it's possible there is an error here that mistakenly breaks a Detroit-Atlanta tiebreaker in Detroit's favor. We'll try to fix it this week, but obviously it won't matter after Sunday. We'll definitely make sure it gets fixed before next season.
It's unfortunate that this fellow had to be such an asshole in attacking our simulator, both here and on Twitter. It is very possible to alert us to errors on our website without being obnoxious about it. ("Hey, it looks like you guys might have an error in such-and-such, thought I would let you know.") I know there are a lot of people who feel that they have a right to attack me whenever they want because I write on the Internet, but you're actually not being an asshole to me here. You are being an asshole to Mike Harris and he's done a lot of hard work for us and is a nice guy too.
#69 by Hoodie_Sleeves // Dec 28, 2016 - 5:39pm
You are taking this entirely too personally, and being entirely too defensive here.
One of your customers found a bug in your product - he then spent the time not only verifying the bug, but verified it in several different situations. He did all the work to determine exactly what the problem was. He did not insult you. He did not question your intelligence. He merely stated that your results were wrong.
Your response is to call him an asshole.
#71 by Hoodie_Sleeves // Dec 28, 2016 - 5:51pm
Threatening people's families isn't ok.
But if you're going to pitch vegas-type stats, you need to have basic quality control in place, and you need to be less defensive when people point out that there are serious issues in your methods.
This is not the first time I've seen people on this site point out that the tie-breakers aren't working correctly. This is the first time I've seen you guys reply in any sort of way that isn't just "well, it's monte carlo".
#111 by Tooms // Dec 30, 2016 - 7:06pm
You must not have read the guy's link where he says "It was interesting trying to figure out what in the actual fuck they were doing to come up with these nonsense numbers, and it appears to fit a very simple (and very, very stupid) explanation-". I'd say "asshole" was accurate.
#116 by TwitterOutsiders // Dec 31, 2016 - 1:50am
You must not have read the guy's link where he metnions that Aaron falsely accused him on Twitter of "bigotry," blocked him, and has yet to issue an retraction, because the guy criticized an author named Ryan Pollack.
#117 by TwitterOutsiders // Dec 31, 2016 - 2:00am
Do you know him personally? If not, how do you know who "his friends" are? He simply tweeted facts. YOU started with the ad hominem attacks with the false accusations of "bigotry" because he criticized an author named Ryan Pollack and equated that with attacking the entire country of Poland.
Mysteriously, you have never shown a single example of a tweet that "attacked your family." You tweeted that someone threatened to "rape a member of your family." In fact, the tweet from someone completely unrelated to Mr. Al Saq was in response to more unsubstantiated claims of yours that "people attack your family." It read "I stuck my pecker in his wife, but she made me. I also live in Vegas." You would need the terrible reading comprehension of someone who thinks criticizing an author named "Pollack" is an attack on the people of Poland to describe that tweet as "threatening rape." Also, that tweet has absolutely nothing to do with the original poster.
#75 by Dales // Dec 28, 2016 - 6:56pm
I don't blame you one bit for being pissed. f'em.
BTW- I am the one who was pointing out the (my?) ad problem on twitter. I sent more info to tech support. I also did more research and it's a bigger problem than FO (Reddit, IMDB, Facebook etc also serve it). I didn't see them there b/c I have adblock on at most places... but not here b/c I want to support the work you guys do.
#80 by Hareeb_alSaq // Dec 28, 2016 - 8:50pm
=====We originally created the simulator back when the NFL had the older overtime rules and ties were very rare. Therefore, the simulator only predicted wins and losses, and included ties solely after the fact. With ties being more common now, we'll re-program the simulator next year to give every game a 0.3 percent chance of ending in a tie. This is why we originally had Tampa Bay listed with a 0.4 percent chance of making the playoffs after Saturday when it should have been closer to 0.0 percent.=====
This is *still* incorrect. Tampa Bay's ONLY path to the playoff involved a tie game. Your simulator does not create tie games. Therefore your simulator should never have had TB in the playoffs at all, ever, period, full stop. I tweeted exactly that to you. However it did put TB in the playoffs sometimes because it handles tiebreaks incorrectly, and as I showed, it's likely because you simply don't do Strength of Schedule tiebreaks.
=====It's unfortunate that this fellow had to be such an asshole in attacking our simulator, both here and on Twitter. ====
It's more unfortunate that you published absolute nonsense for everybody to read. I told you you had a problem with TB odds, and instead of hunting down the bug, you just manually plugged in 0.0. Then I told you you had a problem with DET-ATL, and you a) said that I was wrong, b) said that you had checked, and c) repeatedly went on and on that I was a bigot- because you can't tell the difference between making fun of an article by Mr. Ryan Pollack and making fun of the entire population of Poland. (really guys, that actually happened)
It's kind of amazing that you can spend 4 tweets mistakenly slandering me as a bigot and then seamlessly transition into whiny tone policing of criticism of obviously broken computer code.
====In addition, I believe we've never gotten down to a strength of schedule tiebreaker, so we didn't realize ****there was a bug**** in that one. So ****it's possible there is an error here****====
You're still weaseling out of a clear admission that there was a bug and what it was. If you'd just looked when I tweeted you about TB odds and responded that you don't calculate tiebreaks beyond SoV, this would have been over much, much sooner. You tried to sweep the problem under the rug multiple times and instead it blew up in your face. Shocking.
#82 by Aaron Schatz // Dec 28, 2016 - 9:29pm
I'm sorry that you are so angry. We are doing the best we can given that Mike Harris is allowed to have a day job and a family life. He is not at your beck and call 24 hours per day. We don't like to have things wrong, and we are trying to fix the issues. There's nothing we can do if you refuse to believe us. If you have further complaints, please send them to us via e-mail.
Since someone on Twitter is now taunting me about sexual intercourse with one of my family members because of this argument, I think we're done having this discussion.
#84 by Hareeb_alSaq // Dec 28, 2016 - 10:43pm
I appreciate you tweeting that the bug was legit (seriously, take this statement at face value). I won't bring it up again unless there's still a SoS or higher bug next year. If something is ever measurably borked because of the point-rank tiebreaks, so be it.
#121 by DezBailey // Jan 01, 2017 - 11:58am
You guys do a tremendous job, Aaron. There's bound to be error/bugs under the hood of such a machine. It's unavoidable considering human error and the need for adjustments. I do agree the gentlemen could've gone about this in a far less public and abrasive manner. It was an unfortunate exchange but glad you both appear to have squashed it.
#89 by Anon Ymous // Dec 29, 2016 - 11:45am
Please allow me to quote Rosey Colvin, "Calm. Down."
Or perhaps Aaron Rodgers will do, "R-E-L-A-X."
No one gives a shit about a trivial oversight of obscure tie-break scenarios that max out at well under half a percent change. The playoff odds tool is designed for more long range viewing, which it seems to do reasonably well.
That you are expecting the tool to do something it isn't designed to do is a problem with you, not with the simulator. The proper way to address this "issue" would have been to simply ask if there were a way to maintain the current approach while implementing more precise tie-break info for the final week or two.
#92 by Will Allen // Dec 29, 2016 - 1:29pm
I was going to write something along these lines, probably less well, but in a moment of uncharacteristic charitable impulse, I began to fear I had overlooked something, and perhaps the complainant was not,in fact, to use a clinical term, a loon.
#9 by CaffeineMan // Dec 27, 2016 - 8:50pm
I also think you should rename "43 states of hatred" to "40 states of hatred", as according to Twitter (via USA Today) and Facebook (via The Atlantic Monthly): New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Arkansas like the Cowboys.
#40 by Aaron Schatz // Dec 28, 2016 - 11:43am
Hey everyone. I deleted a big long thread about probability that was here, because it was based on a response by Vince that was a bit mistaken. The reason there's no listing for a HOU-DET Super Bowl in the "Special Super Bowls" is not that it does not appear in the 50,000 simulations. The reason is that I don't have it listed as one of the Special Super Bowls that the simulator looks to list. Even if the simulator did look for it, the HTML output doesn't list any result under 0.1% (rounded) which means any result that comes out fewer than 25 times won't be listed.
However, Vince was correct that based on raw probability, it is likely this result would happen 5 times in the 50,000 simulations.
If Detroit makes the playoffs, we will add this Super Bowl to the "Special Super Bowls" list for next week.
Thanks for understanding.
#43 by Tomlin_Is_Infallible // Dec 28, 2016 - 11:55am
Several people went to pretty decent amount of comment effort for you to simply delete it all.
However, I guess the lesson to be learned is maybe the code/page generator should be made more robust so issues of transparency aren't of concern?
The standard is the standard!
#44 by Aaron Schatz // Dec 28, 2016 - 12:00pm
Look, Tomlin may be infallible, but we are not. We do our best. Nonetheless, I don't think a page that listed the specifics of all 50,000 simulations would be a good user experience for the majority of our audience. There's no issue here where the simulator doesn't do random results properly (except for the tie issue, I suppose). Vince just made a mistake in his comment.
#46 by Tomlin_Is_Infallible // Dec 28, 2016 - 12:13pm
ahh, but it IS a good user experience for the audience when (correct) criticism of the methods or comments of the site's authors are deleted? I mean I guess we have to leave room on the page for the spammers' high priority messages?
I'll put it another way. It simply looks a lot more honest and transparent and convincing if Vince comes on and says "mea culpa", then when you whitewash the whole discussion. Some people were actually learning some things about probability and voicing gratitude about it.
The standard is the standard!
#48 by Aaron Schatz // Dec 28, 2016 - 12:19pm
It's not whitewashing. I just thought it was really confusing when it was all based on a mistake. Sorry, I can't get the comments back now. I'm not trying to quiet people. I just thought worrying about an incorrect comment was distracting people from talking about the football.
In addition, complaining that we would rather have spam comments in our discussion threads than good conversation between our readers is extremely obnoxious and betrays a real misunderstanding of the intelligent platform for football discussion that we've been trying to provide for 13 years.
If you would like to continue to complain about this, please do so via e-mail so we can leave this discussion thread for a discussion of football.
#56 by intel_chris // Dec 28, 2016 - 1:34pm
While I don't want to complain about your "whitewashing" the comments, as I've never seen any indication in your entire history of running FO of doing that and have no reason to believe you have started doing that now, I do want to mention that discussions of statistics (and why DVOA rates teams well even when they don't win on the scoreboard) have always proven interesting to a subset of your fans--some of whom I believe contribute to the "intelligent analysis of Football" that this site values.
In any case, I think such discussions are quite appropriate to this site. I would also be willing to discuss such items in email, if you are adamant that it pollutes the pure discussion of football.
#58 by Vincent Verhei // Dec 28, 2016 - 2:14pm
Hey everyone. Just wanted to say:
A) My bad for speaking out of turn on the simulation results. I don't work with those, and I'm not involved with the mechanics and calculations, and I made an assumption that was untrue and spoke out about it.
B) Apparently this mushroomed into quite a hullabaloo. I live on the west coast and do most of my work at night, which means I slept through pretty much the whole thing. But if my faulty assumption caused an entire comment tree to grow, then the roots of that comment tree were faulty and the whole thing deserved to be ripped out.
C) I will try to do a better job of not talking about things I don't know about in the future.
#68 by sjcellist // Dec 28, 2016 - 5:35pm
I feel I should chime in on this subject as it was my initial comment (#4 above) that appears to have started all of this. It was intended to be rather tongue-in-cheek as I have followed this site long enough to realize that there was no listing for a potential DET vs HOU Super Bowl as it would have easily fallen below any threshold for probability - hence my numerical designation of "Super Bowl √-LI". For those of you who are not math geeks - who are decidedly prevalent on this site - this would read as "the square root of negative 51", which is an imaginary number in mathematical terms. The intent was to be a bit of fun and not a critique of any aspect of the excellent analysis provided by FO. Nonetheless I was curious about how low the probability actually was. Since I have not done any serious statistical analysis since I took a class on the subject over 20 years ago and am too lazy to figure it out myself I figured I would simply go to the source. Personally I found the intensity, depth, and intelligence of the responses to be enlightening and engaging. This is perhaps what I appreciate most about this site and the general populace of its members and contributors.
#7 by MJK // Dec 27, 2016 - 8:16pm
"New England's gap between full-season DVOA and weighted DVOA is less about what the Patriots have done in December and more about what they didn't do in September -- namely, they didn't get to start Tom Brady at quarterback."
A good counterpoint to the argument that Brady shouldn't be MVP because the Pats went 3-1 without him.
I think Ryan deserves it, but if you aren't going to give it to him, it's Brady's without question, in my opinion.
#8 by RickD // Dec 27, 2016 - 8:45pm
I like pointing out that Brady has as many wins in 11 games as Ryan does in 15.
The weird thing is that the wider media seem to have no interest in Ryan at all. I've seen more talk about Stafford as MVP than Ryan, and that's positively weird. If you go by season-long individual stats, Ryan should be the front-runner.
#12 by RickD // Dec 27, 2016 - 9:43pm
Yep, that's weird all right. It's a 16-game season. Stafford isn't close to being at the top of the QB stats. The best way to have game-winning drives is to fall behind a lot. A handful of "game-winning drives" (read drives late in a game) somehow show he's "valuable".
#17 by Bjorn Nittmo // Dec 27, 2016 - 10:36pm
Think he's just arguing -- correctly, in my opinion -- that Ryan clearly has had the better statistical season than Stafford, and yet hasn't gotten anywhere near the MVP buzz Stafford has. Yes, that buzz is because of Stafford's late-game wins, but I think most FO writers would say those are overrated compared to plain old boring strong performance.
#74 by Alternator // Dec 28, 2016 - 6:55pm
Failing to offer proper obedience to Herr Roger is not a valid reason to deny somebody recognition or awards.
That Ryan has produced a comparably impressive passing offense with a weaker supporting cast (coaching, mainly), now that's a valid reason, and it's why I support Matt Ryan for MVP.
#57 by intel_chris // Dec 28, 2016 - 2:12pm
I think the fact that the Pats went 3-1 w/o Brady does speak well for the other players and perhaps particularly well for the coaches. While I'm an a reluctant Pats fan, it has been quite the dynasty since BB became coach. As to a NE-Dal SB, I am likely to be neutral, both teams seem to be worthy competitors for the title.
BTW, I checked, a Paris Hilton sized meteor (2m in diameter) will probably not reach the earth's surface, instead being evaporated in the atmosphere. It probably wouldn't even distract the half-time show. So, that rules out rooting for that....
#88 by Ivarsson.se // Dec 29, 2016 - 4:27am
You could root for a meteor being the size of Paris Hilton when striking the stadium (being sufficiently large wnetering the atmosphere, however big that would be). Accounting for the density difference in Paris Hilton and a meteorite it'd weigh somewhere in the vicinity of the heaviest man to throw an NFL touchdown pass.
So basically, Dontari Poe skydiving into the stadium (should reach terminal velocity on the way down) without a parachute. Now tell me that wouldn't spice things up?
#15 by t.d. // Dec 27, 2016 - 10:23pm
For the second time in three years, Rod Marinelli has done extraordinary work in turning a relatively talentless defense into a competent bunch. Garrett and Jones deserve credit, too- they're winning with depth. The Elliott pick was largely panned and it turned out to be a home run (the Prescott pick was lucky as hell, but so were Brady and Wilson in their day). Because their offense is built around the running game, they're more susceptible to getting killed by penalties than the other top offenses in the playoffs, but they're set up as well as they've been since Jimmy left
#25 by Will Allen // Dec 28, 2016 - 1:02am
Don't know which Jones you are saying deserves credit, but the on who had to be physically restrained from drafting Manziel, instead of one of their Pro Bowl o-linemen, is not the right one.
I've long been a fan of Marinelli, but don't overlook Linehan on the other side of the ball.
#28 by t.d. // Dec 28, 2016 - 2:27am
Yeah, I think Stephen is a hardworking, sensible, grounded guy, remarkable that he was raised by Jerry, and the closer he gets to having the keys, the better the franchise's fortune has gotten. I've always been skeptical that Jerry would get out of the way enough for any coaching staff short of Parcells would be able to hold the respect of the locker room, but Garrett's grown on me- even last season, when they were terribly snake-bitten, the team remained competitive, far past when it was obviously a lost season. When they first hired Linehan, I thought it was terrible idea, just because they already had an offensive coordinator (and I'm pretty sure Marinelli was hired while Monte Kiffin was still the coordinator- seems like a willfully trashy way of doing business, and I seem to remember Jerruh making Kiffin do humiliating busywork to run out the contract, which is just classless), but it seems to be well-organized and seamless now. JJ's biggest strength has always been a willingness to open his checkbook, and given the salary cap, that can only really manifest itself with the coaching staff (although soon they'll be the beneficiaries of the rookie pay scale at quarterback- given Romo's hefty price tag, they won't get the multi-year edge Seattle got, but they should at least get a year or two of relief, plus they'll get out from under the future burden of Romo's cap number)
#16 by Bjorn Nittmo // Dec 27, 2016 - 10:29pm
Need some tiebreaker help. According to NFL.com, Tampa needs Washington to tie in order to have a chance. I can't understand this. Tie would create a 3-way tie between TB, Wash, and GB at 9-7 (only relevant if GB loses to Detroit -- if Detroit loses, would still be a tie among 9-7 teams, but Det would get in.) Usually 3-way tie helps a team that would lose a higher tiebreaker (like H-to-H) in a 2-way race by bumping the tiebreakers down to something lower, like conference record. In this case, though, head-to-head doesn't apply between TB and GB, and TB and GB would have equal conference record (and WAS the worst of the 3); so a 3-way tiebreaker would come down to the same TB v. GB tiebreaker (strength of victory or even possibly schedule) that would happen if WAS lost and wasn't involved. What am I missing?
#23 by Raiderjoe // Dec 28, 2016 - 12:12am
if Squirrels, Packers, Bucsaneers tie Squirrels would be 6-5-1 in conference, Packers and Bucs would be 7-5. goodybye Squirrels due to lesser conference record. Bucs vbs Oacjers would cme down to strength of victory with packers most likely getting that. I thunk Bucs need 49ers to win.
#24 by Raiderjoe // Dec 28, 2016 - 12:15am
also just so there is no confusion
tie counts as half win, half loss
so if Squirrels finish 8-6-2 in end it is same thing as being 9-7.
so wash 8-6-2, gb amd tb 9-7: aall the same, so down the tiebreaker listings you go
#59 by Bjorn Nittmo // Dec 28, 2016 - 2:26pm
Thank you, RJ and RickD, for the replies, but still think my question and confusion are unresolved. A 3-way tiebreaker would only be necessary for TB's chances(as NFL.com claims it is) if TB would lose a 2-way tiebreaker to GB but sneak in first among a 3-team tie. That doesn't appear to be the case here. TB would indeed lose 2-way to GB (strength of victory) unless 4 games go their way Sunday (believe they'd need Indy, SF, Minn, and Tenn all to win, or something like that); involving Washington wouldn't help because Wash has the worst conference record of the 3 and would "fall off" first, leaving TB and GB to fight out the 2-way tiebreaker, same as if no 3-way tie. NFL usually pretty infallible about tiebreakers, so trying to figure out what I'm missing.
#79 by Bjorn Nittmo // Dec 28, 2016 - 7:34pm
Right -- I understand that. That's exactly why the whole "Washington needs to tie" for TB to have a chance is so confusing. Usually this fact (that a 3-way tie applies only if a team has beaten or lost to the others) is how a 3-way tie can help a team that has lost to another it's tied with, but has some advantage in a lower tiebreaker. That's not the case here -- TB and GB haven't played each other. Hence my confusion.
#86 by RickD // Dec 29, 2016 - 12:51am
But it wouldn't be a 3-way tie. Somebody's gotta win the NFC North.
Edit: oh, I see, he's brought the Bucs into it.
Yes, the Skins would lose the 3-way tie but would win the head-to-head vs. GB. This entire line of logic is only relevant if the Skins tie the Giants, the Bucs win, and the Packers lose. Seems pretty unlikely to me.
I was considering the far-more-likely scenario where the Skins tie, the Bucs lose, and the Det/GB game ends in a non-tie.
#64 by Arkaein // Dec 28, 2016 - 3:46pm
This is wrong, because you can't mix division winner tiebreakers with Wild Card tiebreakers.
In the even of a 3-way tied record, GB wins the H2H tiebreakers with Detroit and wins the division. Then Detroit wins the H2H tiebreaker with Washington.
On other websites it's been pointed out that if Washington wins his weekend, GB and Detroit could in theory trade kneel downs for a 0-0 tie that would send both teams to the playoffs, leaving Washington out.
#65 by Tomlin_Is_Infallible // Dec 28, 2016 - 3:55pm
"On other websites it's been pointed out that if Washington wins his weekend, GB and Detroit could in theory trade kneel downs for a 0-0 tie that would send both teams to the playoffs, leaving Washington out."
In the event that one QB has a longer kneel down move than the other, this could result in a safety by the end of the game.
The standard is the standard!
#81 by Hareeb_alSaq // Dec 28, 2016 - 9:02pm
Tampa can't afford to give GB the extra half-win in Strength of Victory that it would get from a NYG win over WAS instead of a NYG tie (and obviously NYG can't just lose or WAS would have a better record at 9-6-1)
#83 by Bjorn Nittmo // Dec 28, 2016 - 10:37pm
AHA -- now that makes sense. (I believe that if TB doesn't outright win the strength-of-victory tiebreaker over GB, they'd lose on strength-of-schedule.) In that case, the 3-way tie resulting from the WAS-NYG tie would be a coincidence, and not the reason why TB would win the tiebreaker over GB. Thank you.
#87 by Andrew Potter // Dec 29, 2016 - 2:49am
No, it isn't. GB has beaten NYG but lost to WAS. TB has played neither. Assuming both GB and TB reach 9-7 and all other results go the way of TB:
* WAS win means WAS has better record than both GB and TB.
* NYG win means GB has same SOV as TB, wins on SOS.
* TIE means TB has better SOV than GB by half a game.
#91 by Bjorn Nittmo // Dec 29, 2016 - 12:49pm
Yes -- you're right. Thank you (and Hareeb AlSaq) -- never would have been able to sleep again had you guys not figured this out. That's the problem with obscure convoluted tiebreaker scenarios (well, only if you care about figuring them out) -- they never actually play out, so if you don't get an explanation before-the-fact you never will.
#110 by MJK // Dec 30, 2016 - 5:29pm
A points system, where every team gets one point for every win by a team they beat, and loses one point for every loss to a team they lose to.
I've tested this. It breaks almost every tie in the last 15 years (I found one case where teams were still tied even under this system), and generally picks the more intuitively better team.
#61 by Raiderjoe // Dec 28, 2016 - 3:16pm
found "Arrival" to be excellent, thought-provoking science fiction film. very well made. great instrumental music. high qualigyt directing. same director as "Sicario" and "prisoners" two other very good films. "Sicario" my fave film of 2015. as for 2016 top honors go to "Arrival" or "Hell of High Water:" very close. haven t decided which oen I liked more
#32 by Will Allen // Dec 28, 2016 - 8:50am
I'll swallow hard, and root for the Cowboys because A) I have high regard for Marinelli and Linehan, and would like to see them taste a championship, much like I did Wade last season B) I want to see a team rewarded for making a giant investment in offensive line play C)the fact that Jerel had to be prevented from drafting Manziel instead of one of his Pro Bowl offensive linemen means that anybody who knows anything won't credit that fartbag too much D)I've been bored with the Patriots for a while, which may be unfair, because I really think a large percentage of that boredom is due to the fact that their division competition has been so largely inept for the past 15 years.
#38 by MilkmanDanimal // Dec 28, 2016 - 11:13am
The Patriots easily, for two basic reasons. One, I really don't want to see Jerry Jones's terrifyingly plastic face smiling, and two, watching people freak out about the Patriots is just an incredible amount of fun.
I've actually vaguely become a tiny bit of a Patriots fan, just because of the level of irrational hatred that franchise gets. It's pretty much drooling insanity half the time the team is even mentioned.
#31 by Lance // Dec 28, 2016 - 8:32am
"Right now, the 1993 Dallas Cowboys have the lowest DVOA rating for a No. 1 team, at 24.9%."
I know that FO was making some corrections (or offering alternate numbers) for NE this year because of Brady's suspension. But perhaps the numbers now in the tables above consider the team as a whole regardless of QB-- I'm not sure. However, I wonder if that '93 Cowboys team's numbers have factored in that their first two games were played with ultimate '93 MVP Smith holding out for two games. They lost both-- games I'm sure they'd have won with Smith in-- and then Jones quickly signed a check to get Smith back on the field.
Not the same thing as a suspension, but also not the same as an injury.
#66 by big10freak // Dec 28, 2016 - 4:26pm
The Packers surge has been tied to all the old dudes making plays. Rodgers, Nelson, Matthews and Peppers have all made plays, especially the Rodgers/Nelson combo.
For having a pretty young overall roster it's a bit worrisome that it's all players 30 or older keying the team. But hey, worry about that down the road.
#90 by MJK // Dec 29, 2016 - 11:47am
So... DET-GB has been flexed to the evening game. Assuming the Redskins beat the Giants (who are locked into the 5 seed and have nothing to play for), the loser of the DET-GB game goes home, and DET and GB will know it.
HOWEVER, if they tie, they both get in and WAS goes home.
So what if the two teams just collude and kneel on every snap, thereby ensuring both of them a playoff birth and cheating WAS out of a playoff birth. I think Goodell's head, along the heads of half the NFL fans and the entire DC area, would explode.
(Mostly) kidding...not only could I not see many NFL coaches (outside of Belichick or Harbaugh) being enough of an ass to do this, but also this would favor whoever wins the division by quite a bit (GB I think, in the case of a tie?)...the 4 seed is probably quite preferable to the 6 seed (host the Giants vs visit probably the Seahawks).
But if the game does go to overtime, get ready for some of the most conservative football of all time!
#104 by Steve in WI // Dec 30, 2016 - 1:11pm
It does raise an interesting question about the point where conservative strategy becomes collusion. I mean, obviously if both teams came out at the beginning of the game (or even at the beginning of a hypothetical overtime) and traded kneeldowns and punts, it would be collusion. But given the importance of winning the division and having a home game, I don't think that would even cross either coach's mind even if they knew there would be no reprisal.
On the other hand, say the game goes into overtime and the receiving team doesn't score on its first possession so it's sudden death. If each team decided to be super conservative and only run the ball, and they traded a couple possessions each as time ran down, could anyone really say there's something wrong with that? If you know that a tie gets you into the playoffs and a loss doesn't, is it really unsportsmanlike to play for the tie and ensure that you don't lose?
#106 by Bright Blue Shorts // Dec 30, 2016 - 2:24pm
Of course it isn't.
When you come down to it, there's very little difference between this "tie" situation and playoff teams resting their starters on week 17.
It's just that all the people who turn up to spectate, or advertisers who pay to support the broadcasts, get really aggrieved that someone didn't go full out, risk injury to create the entertainment spectacle they were hoping for.
Seems completely smart to me that if you can play for a tie, and in doing so avoid the risk of injury then that's what you'd do. It's just the accountants who don't like it.
#108 by Richie // Dec 30, 2016 - 2:54pm
If they reach overtime, I think playing super-conservative and accepting a tie is an acceptable strategy.
But doing that in regulation is not, and is probably a bad idea. I would hate to be Detroit playing for a tie, and then late in the game Green Bay decides to just score and win the game.
Since a home playoff game is at stake, I can't imagine either team would want to settle for a tie (particularly during regulation).
#93 by TomC // Dec 29, 2016 - 1:43pm
Wow, there is some serious negative energy in this comment thread, worse than I've seen in a long time.
So I'm just going to say thanks to Aaron and all the staff for maintaining this site, and providing content and a forum for discussion that I pay nothing for and that brings me a great deal of enjoyment. Hope everyone has a safe and healthy New Year.
#103 by Athelas // Dec 30, 2016 - 9:00am
Agreed. Love the site and the comments almost all of the time. It certainly is the only sports site where I read the comments.
Happy New Year to Aaron, the whole FO staff/contributers, and the commenters!
#112 by Aaron Schatz // Dec 30, 2016 - 8:42pm
Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate it. The arguments above were exasperating, but I'm still very lucky to be able to do this for a living.
And I swear, 1986-1988 in February. I mean it this time.
#120 by intel_chris // Jan 01, 2017 - 6:57am
I would like to add myself to the "approval" bandwagon, especially since my previous comment could be construed as negative on this site.
This is the only site that I know of where one can consistently interact directly with knowledgeable football analysts and fans in a relatively civilized manner. The authors and commentors on this site have always been refreshingly focused on discussing the real issues, often with notable "style". Where else would you find the "zlions template", "the FO message curse", or "the irrational Brady/Manning" debate handled without devolving into simply purile postings that dominate so many football sites? Even some of the more contentious debates have gotten resolved within the context of one article's comment threads or moved into their own sections.
I also agree that it is particularly sad when topics from this site get moved to more contentious places, e.g. twitter, where the standards of decorum are not so high. I haven't been on twitter in over two years, so I have no idea what posting there is like anymore. I suspect there are still sub-communities there where talk is held in considerate fashion, but also huge wastelands where anger and childish behavior are the norm.
I hope that Aaron and company can realize that criticism expressed on this site is not a personal attack upon them. It is simply attempts to improve what is already one of the best sites to get analysis and opinions as more than a one-way street. The work done here is phenomenal.