Week 3 DVOA Ratings

Week 3 DVOA Ratings
Week 3 DVOA Ratings
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Aaron Schatz

Philadelphia pulls out to a comfortable lead in this week's DVOA ratings. There's a lot of shifting at the top, as most of last week's top teams lost this week. Pittsburgh plummets from fourth to 22nd after the Eagles blew them out. Carolina, Arizona, and Detroit were also ranked in the top six last week and now rank 14th, 15th, and 16th, respectively.

Next week, of course, we begin adding in opponent adjustments for the first time, and this will definitely affect Phildelphia's rating. Two of the Eagles wins come against the teams currently ranked 31st and 32nd, Chicago and Cleveland. However, I think it's fairly reasonable to assume that their third opponent, the Steelers, are not going to have a below-average DVOA all season, especially now that they are getting Le'Veon Bell back.

Opponent adjustments will also drop some of the top teams in offensive and defensive DVOA. The top two offenses, Oakland and Atlanta, have both played New Orleans this year, which is awful on defense again. Those two teams have also played each other, and each ranks in the bottom four for defense. Meanwhile, the top defense, Seattle, has played San Francisco (No. 28) and Los Angeles (No. 31). This makes the Vikings defense even more impressive with a closer look. The Vikings rank third on defense without opponent adjustments, but they haven't played an offense that ranked lower than 20th (Tennessee).

Taking our view from one specific team to the big picture, the overall trends in DVOA look remarkably similar to the overall trends for last year.

The league is much more condensed than usual. For most of last season, until Seattle went on its hot streak at the end of the year, whichever team ranked No. 1 was among the worst teams to ever rank No. 1 in DVOA. The worst team was usually among the best teams to ever rank last. The same thing is happening this year. The big win over Pittsburgh means that Philadelphia is no longer the lowest-rated No. 1 team ever through Week 3, but the rest of the top teams generally rate lower than the top teams usually rate after Week 3. At the bottom of the league, Cleveland has the highest DVOA ever for a team in last place after Week 3.

Defenses are more extreme than offenses. Last year was the rare year where the best defense was stronger than the best offense, and the worst defense was weaker than the worst offense. It's happening again so far this year. The top defense (Seattle) is farther from zero than the top offense (Oakland). The worst defense (Atlanta) is farther from zero than the worst offense (Houston).

The best teams generally feature the best defenses. If the best defenses are generally stronger than the best offenses, that means the top teams will mostly be powered by defense more than offense. Actually, last year the top teams were generally powered by both. Every team that finished in the top 10 in overall DVOA last year also had a top-12 defense. However, those teams also all had above-average offenses except for Denver. This year, a lot of the top teams so far are much stronger on defense than on offense. No. 1 Philadelphia ranks in the top five in both categories. However, four of the next five teams in overall DVOA this week have a defense in the top five and an offense with DVOA below zero: Kansas City (2), Seattle (3), Minnesota (4), and Baltimore (6). The only top teams that are balanced, other than Philadelphia, are Green Bay (5) and -- referring to this team as balanced is mind-blowing, but so far that's actually the case -- Denver (7).

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Then come the teams that are built more on offense than defense, plus the team that is built heavily on special teams: New England, now ranked 12th. The Patriots' huge win over Houston last Thursday night took care of our "undefeated teams with very low DVOA" problem. New England no longer has a really low DVOA, and Houston is no longer undefeated. The Patriots may seem too low at No. 12, but as noted in past weeks, their first two wins were built heavily on an unsustainable ability to convert third-and-long. Of course, in a week they will get Tom Brady back and won't have to worry so much about being stuck in third-and-long, so Patriots fans can probably feel good that their team is okay in the long run no matter what DVOA says.

As for the Texans, they now go from one of three 2-0 teams with negative DVOA to one of three 2-1 teams with negative DVOA. The Giants are still part of this group. Pittsburgh is now part of it too after that big loss to Philadelphia. But neither team is as low as Houston. The 2-1 Texans are way down at No. 30 in DVOA right now, ahead of only hapless Chicago and Cleveland.

And yet, the Houston Texans do not have the worst DVOA ever for a 2-1 team, and the Steelers and Giants don't even come close. It's kind of shocking how many teams have put up a really awful DVOA through three games by combining two close wins with one huge loss.

Year Team W-L DVOA Rank Final
Week 1-3 Results (loss in italics)
1991 PHX 2-1 -38.3% 26 4-12 -24.3% 25 24-14 at LARM, 26-10 at PHI, 24-0 at WAS
2007 DET 2-1 -29.8% 26 7-9 -29.0% 29 36-21 at OAK, 20-17 (OT) vs. MIN, 56-21 at PHI
1996 BUF 2-1 -29.1% 23 10-6 (WC) 2.4% 15 23-20 (OT) at NYG, 17-10 vs. NE, 24-6 at PIT
1992 DEN 2-1 -28.5% 21 8-8 -14.9% 22 17-13 vs. LARD, 21-13 vs. SD, 30-0 at PHI
1991 MIN 2-1 -27.1% 23 8-8 0.5% 16 10-6 at CHI, 20-19 at ATL, 17-14 vs. SF
1991 DET 2-1 -26.7% 22 12-4 (DIV) -1.2% 17 45-0 at WAS, 23-14 vs. GB, 17-13 vs. MIA
1989 PHX 2-1 -26.6% 23 5-11 -26.8% 27 16-13 at DET, 34-24 at SEA, 35-7 at NYG
2016 HOU 2-1 -26.5% 30 -- -- -- 23-14 vs. CHI, 19-12 vs. KC, 27-0 at NE
1998 PIT 2-1 -26.2% 25 7-9 -1.2% 16 20-13 at BAL, 17-12 vs. CHI, 21-0 at MIA
2010 ARI 2-1 -25.9% 27 5-11 -37.1% 32 17-13 at STL, 41-7 at ATL, 24-23 vs. OAK
2007 SF 2-1 -22.8% 23 5-11 -33.4% 31 20-17 vs. ARI, 17-16 at STL, 37-16 at PIT
2001 MIA 2-1 -22.8% 25 11-5 (WC) 9.0% 10 31-23 at TEN, 18-15 vs. OAK, 42-10 at STL
2012 CIN 2-1 -22.1% 27 10-6 (WC) 6.1% 12 44-13 at BAL, 34-27 vs. CLE, 38-31 at WAS

My, that's a lot of Arizona Cardinals teams, huh? Notice how the league used to keep them out of the desert early in the season, before they built the current retractable-roof stadium. You may also notice that the 1991 Redskins play a big role for two of these teams, so those are games that got moved significantly upwards with opponent adjustments. The 1991 Vikings are weird, the only team here that didn't have one big loss -- at least, not according to the score. They had three interceptions and two fumbles against Chicago in the 10-6 game in Week 1, but recovered both fumbles.

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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 3 are a special combination. It's both NFC North Week and Brotherly Love Week!

  • TE Travis Kelce, KC (FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS HERO): Led all NFL tight ends with 38 DYAR in Week 3 (6-for-7, 89 yards, TD).
  • C Jason Kelce, PHI: No sacks or hurries allowed; Eagles RB had 53 yards on 10 carries up the middle.
  • WR Marvin Jones, DET: Led all NFL receivers with 93 DYAR in Week 3 (6-for-8, 205 yards, 2 TD).
  • ROLB Nick Perry, GB: NFL-leading 5 defeats in Week 3. Three run TFL, 2 sacks, PD.
  • CB Xavier Rhodes, MIN: Shut down Kelvin Benjamin, whose only target of the day came when covered by Marcus Sherels. Rhodes had 75 percent success rate on four targets while covering other receivers.

It's too bad we did Jordan Berry last week, and doing punters in two straight weeks would be a bit silly. Otherwise, we would have Ryan Allen this week for his absolutely insane performance against Houston last Thursday night: 47.6 gross yards per punt with 0 punt return yards allowed and four punts inside the Houston 10.

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All stats pages are now updated through Week 3 of 2016. Snap counts and playoff odds are also fully updated. A quick note on playoff odds: performance of the Dallas offense after three weeks suggests that the drop in production from Tony Romo to Dak Prescott is not as large as originally projected. Therefore, the playoff odds now increase the Dallas rating by 5.5% when Tony Romo returns, rather than 11.5%. (The Dallas rating with Romo still ends up being close to what we expected it to be before the season, but the rating without Romo is now higher.)

Please note that next Tuesday's posting of DVOA and commentary may be delayed a bit due to the Jewish holidays.

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These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through three 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.

Please note that there are no opponent adjustments in DVOA until after Week 4. (It's still listed as DVOA instead of VOA because I don't feel like going through and changing all the tables manually.) In addition, our second weekly table which includes schedule strength, variation, and Estimated Wins will appear beginning after Week 4.

DAVE is a formula which combines our preseason projection with current DVOA to get a more accurate forecast of how a team will play the rest of the season. Right now, the preseason projection makes up 65 percent of DAVE. (This is a slight change from previous years, when the preseason projection made up 60 percent of DAVE after Week 3.)

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 PHI 46.5% 1 10.7% 6 3-0 18.8% 5 -29.0% 2 -1.3% 20
2 KC 32.3% 11 20.8% 2 2-1 -4.5% 16 -28.0% 4 8.8% 3
3 SEA 30.6% 8 26.6% 1 2-1 -6.7% 23 -34.8% 1 2.4% 11
4 MIN 22.4% 12 6.2% 9 3-0 -11.0% 24 -28.6% 3 4.9% 7
5 GB 18.6% 15 12.0% 5 2-1 9.4% 9 -8.3% 10 0.9% 13
6 BAL 16.2% 5 10.3% 7 3-0 -16.3% 26 -25.8% 5 6.7% 4
7 DEN 15.1% 9 5.9% 10 3-0 8.9% 10 -6.7% 11 -0.6% 16
8 DAL 13.1% 14 3.2% 13 2-1 20.4% 4 8.1% 23 0.9% 14
9 ATL 11.1% 16 -0.3% 17 2-1 30.6% 2 29.4% 32 9.9% 1
10 SD 10.4% 7 2.7% 14 1-2 16.4% 7 -0.1% 16 -6.1% 27
11 OAK 9.3% 21 1.5% 15 2-1 33.1% 1 22.6% 29 -1.1% 19
12 NE 8.5% 23 14.5% 3 3-0 7.0% 11 8.4% 24 9.8% 2
13 CIN 4.6% 13 4.3% 12 1-2 11.2% 8 -0.1% 17 -6.7% 28
14 CAR 4.2% 3 5.8% 11 1-2 -4.5% 18 -16.5% 6 -7.7% 30
15 ARI 3.9% 2 13.2% 4 1-2 -6.0% 21 -16.0% 7 -6.0% 26
16 DET -1.3% 6 -0.1% 16 1-2 21.4% 3 27.6% 31 4.9% 8
17 BUF -3.3% 26 -2.7% 18 1-2 -6.4% 22 -3.6% 13 -0.4% 15
18 NYG -4.7% 20 -3.3% 19 2-1 3.0% 13 0.7% 18 -7.0% 29
19 MIA -5.4% 27 -10.8% 27 1-2 -2.9% 15 1.7% 19 -0.8% 17
20 TEN -9.2% 18 -8.8% 24 1-2 -5.3% 20 -2.1% 14 -6.0% 25
21 WAS -9.7% 24 -9.2% 25 1-2 -4.9% 19 10.8% 25 6.0% 5
22 PIT -9.8% 4 6.9% 8 2-1 1.3% 14 12.3% 26 1.2% 12
23 NO -11.6% 19 -5.3% 21 0-3 18.5% 6 25.4% 30 -4.7% 23
24 TB -12.9% 30 -7.3% 23 1-2 -4.5% 17 5.3% 21 -3.1% 21
25 IND -13.8% 22 -6.5% 22 1-2 3.6% 12 21.5% 28 4.1% 9
26 SF -15.4% 10 -15.7% 30 1-2 -19.5% 28 -10.1% 9 -6.0% 24
27 LARM -16.3% 28 -5.1% 20 2-1 -26.8% 31 -5.4% 12 5.2% 6
28 JAC -22.9% 31 -13.6% 29 0-3 -22.5% 30 -0.6% 15 -1.0% 18
29 NYJ -26.1% 17 -10.5% 26 1-2 -14.1% 25 8.0% 22 -4.0% 22
30 HOU -26.5% 25 -12.8% 28 2-1 -28.3% 32 -11.6% 8 -9.8% 31
31 CHI -30.3% 29 -16.7% 31 0-3 -20.2% 29 13.9% 27 3.8% 10
32 CLE -38.2% 32 -28.1% 32 0-3 -18.6% 27 4.2% 20 -15.4% 32


93 comments, Last at 01 Dec 2016, 2:16pm

5 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

I'm curious as to how much more it would have gone up had NE not fumbled themselves.

Rather than start another Patriot thread, please allow me to add that I suspect midseason DVOA will agree with my subjective impression that NE is a mid-to-late top 10 defense. I'm not saying NE will improve, I'm saying they are already there and it will take that long for DVOA to have enough data to see past the discrepancies between Bill's approach and formula valuation.

34 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

Problem is that the Pats have played roughly 9 quarters of good defense and 3 quarters of bad defense (1 vs. AZ, 2 vs. HOU), but the bad defense was so bad it really brings down the rating.

42 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

DVOA wasn't that thrilled with how NE's defense did against Arizona overall, it wasn't just limited to a single quarter. That's something that will likely come up as the "D" develops greater effect, but I was more impressed even disregarding that.

6 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

Presumably the superbowl scenarios on the playoff odds page are at least partly manual, as it incorrectly states:

Super Bowl III Rematch MIN vs KC 2.4%

and that would be a Superbowl IV Rematch, not III (Jets/Colts). (mentioned here as there is no commentary on that page).

I think this error cropped up some time last year and got fixed, but has recurred....

20 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

Also the Eagles/Oakland rematch should be SB XV.

What's Flacco's connection to Philly? The Flacco bowl is Eagles/Ravens. The only connection I know is that Harbaugh used to be the Special Teams coach in Philly.

25 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

Super Bowl XV is fixed and the proper Super Bowl V will also be in there next week.

It's too bad it's never going to happen, but ATL-JAC is also in the system as "Children of the Carroll." I'm kind of proud of that one.

90 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

As is Haddonfield.

Yes, the one from Halloween. Although the movie is nominally set in Illinois, the town is named Haddonfield because that's where Debra Hill was from. (It neighbors Voorhees, oddly enough)

39 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

I think I would like it if the NFL went to a seeded tournament, regardless of conference affiliation.

But I'm not sure if I would miss the tradition of conferences.

68 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

The problem with removing conferences is the odds of getting into the playoffs due to a weak schedule increases, since you're playing less than half of the teams in the league.

I'd only be ok with that if they changed the scheduling formula. With schedules being division based, there has to be a reward for winning your division.

81 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

I'd like to see them keep the divisions, and the division winners all made the playoffs, and then the 4 best non-winners were wildcards. Seed the teams 1 through 12 (regardless of whether a team won the division or a wildcard). The top 4 get a first round bye.

For regular season scheduling, you play your division twice, you play 2 other divisions twice (on rotating basis) and then 2 other games against "same finishing position" teams.

If you did that, how would it increase the odds of a weak schedule making the playoffs?

32 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

Top 2? No.

Top 10? Absolutely.

They have a lot of talent at the skill positions, arguably the most underrated QB in the league, and an offensive line that, while still not that great, looks much better than it has for the last few years.

77 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

High cap hit doesn't mean he's the highest paid. The Saints have horrible cap management and just keep pushing their players salaries down the line, so Brees has a huge cap hit. In terms of average compensation he's not being paid out of line with other top quarterbacks.

78 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

High cap hit doesn't mean he's the highest paid. The Saints have horrible cap management and just keep pushing their players salaries down the line, so Brees has a huge cap hit. In terms of average compensation he's not being paid out of line with other top quarterbacks.

80 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

I'd be more sad for Brees if he hadn't gotten a ring beforehand.

Romo and Rivers have been asked to similar stones up that mountain, without ever getting the vindicating championship. At least not yet.

46 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

Do we think Kyle Shanny is a bad O Coordinator? He had some successes in Houston and with the Skins. I have actually thought he might be pretty good.
Plus I respected the way he left Cleveland. :-)

47 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

As a Falcons fan, trying to win a Super Bowl with a decent offense and special teams and no defense to speak of is getting to be a very tired formula. It is completely mindboggling how Atlanta has avoided a run of consistently good defense for, oh, about 40 years now.

60 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

These Falcons remind me of the Manning era colts Those teams made the playoffs a bunch, but were often exposed for their one dimensional style come playoff time. Given that this team is similarly one dimension but dramatically weaker at that one dimension than those colts teams were, it seems even less likely they will get to, much less win, the superbowl.

8 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

This is the part where I keep looking at the part where Denver's offense is actually ranked slightly ahead of their defense and go "but, um, uh."

10 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

Even in conventional stats they rate highly, they have scored the 4th-most points, rank 10th in yards per play, 10th in yards per drive and 11th in points per drive.

19 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

I think we underrated what Okung going from Seattle to Denver could mean for both offenses. That's a massive upgrade at LT for Denver, and addressed the biggest weakness outside of QB for that offense. Now they're a slightly worse version of Cincy's offense from last year. Elite skill positions. Decent o-line. QB that can throw simple passes when not pressured. It's a recipe that can work.

38 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

So far the only *real* deficiency I see from Siemian is reading the field quickly and accurately, and every game he seems to be a little bit better at that. He's a mostly accurate passer, he stays cool under pressure, and he directs the game well. He can run around in and out of the pocket; he's made a dozen (ish) pretty poor decisions, which for a young man who has just 3 NFL games under his belt is actually quite good.

It remains to be seen if he'll actually be a good NFL quarterback, but at the very least, he's proving himself capable of being an average NFL quarterback, and that honestly makes him one of the worst players on the Broncos' offense right now. That's encouraging for us fans.

40 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

My biggest concern with Denver's offense would actually be receiving depth. Cody Latimer has been a bust, and there's really no third receiver stepping up, and there hasn't been for like 3 years now. If they lose either one of their top receivers for any significant length of time, I'm not sure the offense would be able to sustain its success. However, given that the running game and offensive line both look better than last year, and Kubiak really is a great offensive mind, I wouldn't panic either.

66 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

Latimer is really 4th on the depth chart, but Bennie Fowler has been limited due to a preseason injury. Should give them a bit of a boost there as he works his way back onto the field. They've also been very thin at the TE position from a receiving standpoint; Heuerman could provide some help in the passing game as he gets back into football shape, and if they can get he and Virgil Green on the field at the same time it mitigates the need for WR depth.

88 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

I'm certainly no expert on WR play, and I absolutely see what you're saying. The dropoff between Sanders/Thomas and the rest of the WR corps is stunning. But I think that may have more to do with Thomas/Sanders than the rest of the WR corps. Latimer is maddening. He seems like he should be much better and more versatile than he has shown himself to be. The narrative in Denver (which should always be taken with a grain of salt) is that he somehow found himself on Manning's Naughty List and it wrecked his confidence. My general impression has been that he was overdrafted, but he certainly seemed to be more effective when Osweiler was in than when Manning was.
But even though there isn't greatness on the roster at the position after the top two, it seemed like all the receivers that came into training camp for the Broncos at least had a chance to be effective NFL receivers. I would argue that Bennie Fowler, Jordan Norwood and Cody Latimer (order up to you) probably are the best aggregate talent level that the Broncos have had in the 3-4-5 receiver positions that I can remember. Which isn't saying a whole lot given that this was a team that spent almost half a decade trying to convince people that Ashley Lelie was a legitimate #2 WR.
It's entirely possible that that evaluation is entirely attributable to my hometown gaze, and it's possible that my frustration with Andre/Bubba Caldwell causes me to undervalue units that he was a part of. But given what the Broncos have offered at WR for most of the post-Elway years, I will happily take this group.

84 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

"doesn't FEEL like it's that good"

If you've been following the Broncos, the 2013 team really messed up your expectations on offense.

Just think: Five years from now you'll be disappointed whenever the defense doesn't score 14 points in a playoff game.

59 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

I suspect that opponent adjustments will lift Denver's early-season defensive DVOA. Carolina and Cincy are good offensive units. I'm not sold on Indy, but I imagine its offensive DVOA will be no worse than league average.

72 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

Carolina and Cincy also have good defenses though so that should also lift their offensive DVOA. Of course the dumpster fire that is the Colt's defense may cancel that out.

13 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

Just a week ago the Bills looked like a total disaster and the Jets looked like an at least middling team who might be able to contend for the playoffs. All it took was one day of football for those two teams to basically trade places.

Cleveland is last in DVOA, but could very easily be 2-1 with a difference of just a play or two, which presumably wouldn't have changed their DVOA much. They still would have ranked just 5th on the worst 2-1 teams ever list, though.

I wonder if the Ravens' high rating will hold up. They're 3-0, but those last two very narrow wins over terrible teams didn't seem good at all to me.

50 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

I wonder if the Ravens' high rating will hold up. They're 3-0, but those last two very narrow wins over terrible teams didn't seem good at all to me.

The Ravens schedule is highly backloaded this year. Most of their toughest games are after the bye, and their closing month is absolutely brutal. But their first half is cupcake city. This is a huge contrast from last year, when their schedule was highly frontloaded, and by the time they got into the easier part of the schedule they were way out of contention. The Ravens could very plausibly go into the bye 6-1. They host the Steelers after the bye, which will be interesting.

From the perspective of Ravens fans, the defense is playing much better this year than last, on the basis of an improved front 7 and safety Eric Weddle adding some order to the secondary. The secondary may not be as MUCH improved from last year as it's looked so far against Tryhard Taylor & Josh McCown & Blake Bortles, but it probably is somewhat better. Some possible sources for continued overall improvement are the imminent return of Elvis Dumerville from injury, and rookies playing roles on D, who may get better as the season wears on: Tavon Young (slot corner), Matt Judon (pass rusher), Michael Pierce (nose), Kamalei Correa (utility LB).

The offense is, to put it charitably, a work in progress. The schedule may give the Ravens time to get this sorted out. They've been starting 2 rookies on the O-line, at LT and LG: those guys may get more solid as they continue to play. Many key contributors are guys coming back from injury, including Flacco and Steve Smith and Dennis Pitta and Justin Forsett and Breshad Perriman and center Jeremy Zuttah: those guys may get sharper as they get more distance from their injuries. Mike Wallace has been great, but he's still new, so presumably the proverbial QB-WR chemistry is still building. Rookie RB Kenneth Dixon hasn't played yet due to a sprained knee, but he's due back soon (maybe this week), and there were whispers that he was the best RB on the roster in training camp, a draft day steal. TE Darren Waller is due back from suspension after week 4, and he's a speed guy: made some exciting plays during preseason.

So: there are reasons for fans to think the Ravens aren't yet the team they will become this season. (Obviously it could all fall apart too, as it could for any football team.) Going by the eyeball test, the Ravens look faster overall. The spec teams are great. They seem more talented on offense than usual, but unpolished: a false start from a rookie O-lineman here, a miscommunication between Flacco and a receiver there, etc. Justin Forsett looks done, plodding and slow; but Terrance West has looked capable, and the rookie RB seemed exciting in preseason. It feels like it could go either way.

Ugly, unimpressive wins have been the core of Ravens football for ~15 years now. Tough to draw any real conclusions. The schedule is so lopsided that you can see them starting 8-1, but going 1-6 on the backend and missing the playoffs. On the other hand, that coaching staff commands respect, and there are a ton of young players. They could stack a bunch of ugly, unimpressive wins in the first half of the season while slowly becoming good on offense. That would make them a real problem, in the later part of the season.

I don't know what the hell is going to happen. :-)
First Steelers game is Sunday Nov 6.

57 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

I was struck by something Tanier wrote about the Ravens. Though they've been good for years, they've never been great. In fact, outside of 2012 and 2014, they've been the same team throughout

61 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

I don't know how one defines great, but the 2008 and 2009 Ravens had really good total DVOAs. The 2011 group was great on defense and was a very good overall team.

Yes, they've never had a truly transcendant team in their run, but they've come close to great by advanced stats a few times.

89 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

The 2009 team is is the top 50. (2006 and 2008 just outside). The 2009 Ravens along with the 2004 Bills and the 2008 Eagles are the only ones in the top 50 with just 9 wins.

15 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

The '91 Lions were missing a certain B. Sanders in the season opener against Washington, a scenario that led to the infamous "1,000 splinters" comment from the late and not-very-much-missed William Clay Ford Sr. So they won 11 of their next 14, beat a Buffalo team on autopilot in OT in the season finale, picked up their only playoff win in the Super Bowl era by thrashing Dallas, and turned things around almost completely by trailing Washington 17-10 at halftime of the NFC title game.

Unfortunately, there wasn't quite as much room as they suspected, and instead of turning the result around completely, in the second half, it got stuck, broke in half, and spilled all over the field. Let us not speak further of that.

Anyway, the '91 Lions were kind of a combination of two things: a team missing an important player in a way that DVOA can't really account for, but also a team that turned out to be not quite as good as their record might suggest. (Off the top of my head, I believe two of their other three regular-season losses were also by double figures, maybe to San Francisco and Tampa Bay? (looks it up) Ah, the Bucs loss was by 9, Chicago was by 10.) And also a team that had the misfortune to post one of their better seasons in franchise history in the same year another team in the same conference did the same thing. (See also: 1987-88 Red Wings, not that you can easily tell now, but back then all we knew was that Yzerman was good, Gretzky was better, and the Oilers - or perhaps the Wings - were in the wrong conference.)

64 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

That playoff loss was one of my more painful Lions memories. They finally win a playoff game the week before and I think "these are not the same Lions, Barry was out week 1 they can win the rematch". It's like they won that first playoff game just to make the loss that much more painful. WCF was a dope and a terrible owner, but I hear he was nice to his kids and grandkids.

73 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

When you consider that they turned the ball over on their first two possessions and gave the Redskins 10 free points right off the bat, it's actually amazing that they only trailed by 7 at halftime. When Murray missed that FG in the 3rd quarter that would have maded it 20-13, the wheels kind of fell off. It was very similar to the loss to the Saints in the 2011, in that they were very much in the game for 3 quarters, but then got blown out in the 4th.

Whatever you want to say about WCF, at least he didn't try to gouge the city of Detroit to build his new stadium for him. I'm also liking the way his widow is running the team so far (i.e. quit doing what hasn't worked for so long, and hired a bunch of outside people to try something new).

85 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

True. Ford Field is light years better than the Silvedome. WCF was also a good guy to work for, it was nearly impossible to get fired (ask Millen).

16 "By, that's a lot of Arizona Cardinals teams, huh?"

"By, that's a lot of Arizona Cardinals teams, huh?" That sentence confuses me in more ways than one.

1. Did you mean "My,..."?

2. The Cardinals aren't listed that often in the referenced chart, so I am confused (or am I missing something?).

Keep up the great work! Last year, in our office pool, I didn't win any individual weeks using DAVE but came in 2nd in the overall year pool and might have won first place if the Rams didn't lose in OT...

24 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

If Rhodes (their best corner) and the rest of the defense can stay healthy, the Vikings have the depth, front to back, to really lock just about anybody down.

27 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

To me - their d line is manned by a lot of B+/A- players. A great thing and I'm just nit picking, but it does lack the headliner that a Von Miller or a healthy Dware can be. namely, the kind that can challenge good left tackles and roast bad one's and completely turn a game.

28 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

Keep an eye on Danielle Hunter. He doesn't turn 22 for another month, and he is already abusing tackles. It wouldn't be suprising if he makes the strides in the 2nd half of the season that he made in the 2nd half last season, and if that happens, there won't be many that he has to look up to.He really is a monster in the making.

(Edit) I'd also be hesitant to take a healthy DWare over Griffen.

33 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

Another guy to pay attention to is Linval Joseph. He was among the best d-tackles in the league last year when he suffered a turf toe injury, which slowed him a little. He's pretty healthy again, and has worked on his pass rush. With him collapsing the pocket from the middle, and the edge rusher rotation they can throw at an offensive line, there are some qbs who are going to dislike playing Minnesota.

44 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

this group is fast becoming my favourite Viking team ever. While it's hard to replace the Purple People Eaters - given that the sports heroes of a 12 year old can never be surpassed, but I like great defensive teams the best.

The 98 team was wonderful to behold, but it made the sports more like basketball in some respects to me. Who gets the last shot sort of thing. I so much more enjoy the kind of win they had last week in Carolina than the 48-38 type of wins they had with the 98 team.

51 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

Randy Moss highlights, and a few more years of good o-line play aside, I didn't much like the Dennis Green teams after Dungy was hired to coach the Bucs,and took Kiffin with him. They were way too soft on defense, epspecially after '98. I can't imgaine disliking a division champ any more than I disliked the 2000 team; I didn't even watch the Conference Championship, so sure I was that they would get crushed by the Giants in the Meadowlands. There were more than a few Vikings teams with losing records that I liked more than the '00 team.

I really liked the '08 team, because they were so good on both lines. There is no comparison, of course, between the quality of coaching staff now, to the mess that The Chiller oversaw. This is easily the best staff since Green had Dungy, Kiffin, Billick, and Tice with him, and I might like this staff better, because Zimmer is much, much, better in the game than Green.

Going back to the Grant era, well, the '69-'71 Vikings have an argument for being the best defense ever, so it is hard to put any subsequent Vikings defense on that level. This group can make that a goal, however, given how young they are, and even that is saying quite a bit.

53 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

I really liked the 87-89 teams as well. Doleman, Millard, Browner, Carl Lee. Those guys could play defence. They had a 4 game stretch in 88 where they gave up 9 pts total. Browner was probably the physically strongest secondary player I ever saw.

54 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

I really liked them as well, but there was little too much self-centeredness in that group for my liking. There were guys who'd be too happy to learn they been selected for the Pro Bowl, in the locker room after a costly loss, or be genuinely mad that they weren't credited with a sack, in a winning locker room.

Millard is one of the great what-might-have-beens, with how he destroyed his knee in a non-contact injury. 53 sacks in 63 starts, for a defensive tackle, is a good start on what might have been another HOF career for a Vikings defensive lineman. He could have been still in his prime, playing next to a young John Randle, which is kind of a scary thought.

43 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

Hunter appears to have gain a great deal of strength over the off season. 2 of his sacks this year involved him tossing aside a lineman like rag dolls.

Vikes have great pass rushing depth, but the most overlooked to me is Johnson. He's averaged 6 sacks a year for the Vikings in limited playing time.

49 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

Depth is the most overlooked aspect to pass rushing, because pass rushing is exhausting, and because, as Bill Walsh once noted, the 4th quarter pass rush is the most critical element ot winning close NFL contests. This bunch has about 8 very credible pass rushers, maybe 9, when Floyd is healthy. Pair that with a pretty deep group of cornerbacks, and if they can achieve mediocrity on offense, they'll be extremely formidable, and will remain pretty dangerous if they just stay the same on offense. It helps that Zimmer calls a great game on defense.

52 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

That is something that comes through in Denver too, even without Ware they have 3 good outside rushers with Ray & Barrett having played plenty in relief of Ware & Miller last year, along with some other guys who at least looked good in preseason behind them.

It looks as though (rather like cornerback) pass rusher is something it is hard to have too many good ones these days. Ideally you have one or even two players who can do more than just rush the passer, and then some sepcialist rushers (either young guys you hope will round out their game with more playing time or veterans who might be on limited snap counts) to throw on to keep the stars fresh.

91 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

Yeah - both defenses are stocked with lots of depth to go with their stars. Its why I think Denver at full strength might be a shade better - their corners are more proven and von miller is transcendent.

I'll give the Vikes this - they have a clear edge at safety with harrison smith.

58 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

It's a shame for them that the AFC West is looking like a buzz-saw this year. Will be interesting to see how that no.1 offence holds up after four games against the Broncos and Chiefs defences.

Poor San Diego. Two agonizing losses and a succession of players on IR. Could be being viewed as real contenders right now.

83 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

I think the Raiders are already pretty good (they're gonna be in the mix annually) but look like the worst team in the division. It's tough between them and San Diego(who are a whole lot better than I imagined) No offense R-Joe, they could make a wild card even, my point being more about how good the AFCW is.

It's a shame to see Sean Smith used so poorly by Ken Norton. In KC he had a very defined role and delivered really good to great CB play. You can put Smith on any prototypical #1 WR and he's usually golden. His one weakness is elite speed from shifty guys. Putting Sean on Brandon Cooks with no S help is asking for trouble. Of all the Chiefs turned over on the roster since Reid came in, Sean Smith and Rodney Hudson were the two I hated to see go the most. They're both worth more $ to Oakland than they were here but it sucks to see them in Silver&Black.

75 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

The week by week DVOA in premium seems a bit wrong for SF, I think it needs to be inverted as the niners didn't look like a team with a DVOA over 70% last week.

79 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

(New England) is clearly ranked (just right) because (a game and a half of each backup QB averages out to solid). (How much money the QB's wives make) is way better than this. (Bring on the J-E-S-T JEST JEST JEST!)

82 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

The Week 3 BES Rankings are out - http://besreport.com/week-3-bes-rankings-2016/

The BES and DVOA agree on the Eagles at No. 1 but the BES has the Vikings a close No. 2 wih the Patriots, Broncos and Ravens rounding out the top 5. Like DVOA, the BES also has the Falcons at No. 9. Also the BES has the Packers and Cowboys on the outskirts of the top-10 at No. 11 and 12 respectively...not to far off from DVOA that has them in the top-10. Good stuff

92 Re: Week 3 DVOA Ratings

First down of the game for the Browns.
2x3 wide, 3 linemen, QB, HB. This is something you see rarely. This will surprise them!
But look! It's a shift! Browns go to a normal lineup, defense relaxes into a normal defense... tick... tack...tick...tack... delay of game.

I did not see that original lineup back in the game. So one wonders. What was this for?

Oh Browns.
Oh Browns.