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

Week 5 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

There is only one undefeated team left in the NFL this season, and the Minnesota Vikings have reached that status with a series of impressive wins. Though the Vikings haven't played a particularly difficult schedule so far, four of their five wins have come by more than a touchdown. Their defense is getting the headlines, but the Vikings have been above-average in all three phases of the game. Right now, our DVOA ratings have then third in defense, 11th in offense, and sixth in special teams. Put that all together, and the Minnesota Vikings are the No. 1 team for the first time in the history of our DVOA ratings.

Yes, you read that correctly. Football Outsiders has existed since 2003, but we have DVOA ratings going back to 1989, and we know what they would have looked like on a week-to-week basis through each season. In the 27 years from 1989 to 2015, the Vikings did not spend a single week at No. 1 in our ratings. Now they have finally reached the pinnacle.

Until this year, the Vikings had not even spent many weeks ranked second or third. The two best Vikings teams of the last couple decades are actually ranked surprisingly low in DVOA. The 12-4 Vikings team that Brett Favre led to the NFC Championship Game in 2009 ranked only seventh in DVOA for the season, and the 15-1 Vikings team of 1998 finished the year ranked only fifth. Some possible reasons for that are listed in the original 1998 DVOA commentary that I wrote over a decade ago, although the ratings on that page are slightly different from what we now list with an updated version of the formula.

Two other Vikings teams ranked in the top eight of DVOA by the end of the year: the 1989 Vikings, who ranked fifth at 10-6, and the 1995 Vikings, who ranked seventh despite finishing just 8-8. Neither of those teams ever ranked No. 1, either. And the 2000 Vikings who went 11-5 and eventually made to the NFC Championship Game? They never even sniffed the top of the DVOA ratings, and actually finished 22nd for the year despite their strong win-loss record.

Before this week, the Vikings had only ranked second in five different weeks, and they had only ranked third in five other different weeks:

  • The 1989 Vikings and 2014 Vikings each ranked No. 2 after winning big in Week 1, and the 1992 Vikings were No. 3 after Week 1.
  • The 2009 Vikings peaked at No. 2 after Week 2.
  • The 1998 Vikings ranked No. 2 after both Week 5 and Week 7. They also ranked No. 3 after their Week 6 bye, after they won in Week 8 to go 7-0, and after their first loss in Week 9 made them 7-1.
  • This year's Vikings were No. 3 last week.

Now that the Vikings have reached the top spot, there are only three NFL franchises that have never ranked No. 1 in DVOA. Even though they've been to two Super Bowls and went 15-1 last season, the Carolina Panthers have never spent a week above No. 3 in DVOA. The same goes for Detroit, although that's less of a surprise. The third franchise that's never been to No. 1 has an asterisk, because it's the new Cleveland Browns. However, the original Browns were No. 1 in 10 different weeks before moving to Baltimore.

The one worry for the Vikings going forward is the running game. Although the Vikings are a good, well-rounded team if we look at just top-level offense and defense, their offense is currently seventh in pass offense but dead last in run offense.

Philadelphia drops to No. 2 in DVOA this week after three straight weeks in the top spot. With those three weeks, Philadelphia ties Denver as the teams that have spent the most time at No. 1 in DVOA: 45 weeks each. The other teams in the top five include New England at 40 weeks, Dallas at 33 weeks, and San Francisco at 33 weeks including Week 1 of this year because apparently the San Francisco 49ers have some weird Week 1 superpower.

Most of the other teams in the ratings are about what you would figure. If you've been reading Football Outsiders for a while, it shouldn't surprise you too much to see San Diego ranked at No. 11 despite a 1-4 record. Any team that keeps blowing games late in the fourth quarter has played a lot better than its record, and should win more games going forward. That won't matter for the postseason unless the Chargers can go on an 11-game winning streak like Kansas City did last year, but they are definitely an above-average team this season. However, they do not have the highest DVOA ever for a 1-4 team. Five teams in DVOA history actually had a DVOA over 10% despite a 1-4 record, led by the 2000 Patriots at 17.5%. The others were the 1992 Lions, the 2003 Jets, the 2004 Bills, and the 2011 Vikings.

On the other side of the coin, you might be wondering if the Houston Texans are the worst 3-2 team in history. Not quite. Houston has the third-lowest DVOA ever for a 3-2 team, and is now ranked 31st in the league. The Jets climbed a bit this week, so according to DVOA the only team still playing worse than Houston is the winless Cleveland Browns. However, the worst 3-2 team of all-time was the 2010 Arizona Cardinals at a horrendous -48.6% DVOA. They went 2-9 the rest of the season. The 2007 Detroit Lions also had a lower DVOA than the Texans, and went 4-7 the rest of the season.

* * * * *

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 5 are:

  • RG Zack Martin, DAL (FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS HERO): No sacks or hurries allowed; helped Dallas RB gain 7.95 yards per carry with 57 percent success rate.
  • LOLB Lorenzo Alexander, BUF: 3 sacks, PD; leads NFL with 7 sacks.
  • RB Jordan Howard, CHI: Finished third among Week 5 RB with 43 DYAR (16 carries, 118 yards; 3 rec, 45 rec yards, TD).
  • MLB Eric Kendricks, MIN: Prevented three third-down conversions with two PDs and a tackle.
  • RT Austin Pasztor, CLE: No sacks or hurries allowed; teamed with Joe Thomas to prevent edge pressure all game.

* * * * *

All stats pages are now updated through Week 5 of 2016. Snap counts and playoff odds are also fully updated.

* * * * *

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These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through five 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. Because it is early in the season, opponent adjustments are only at 50 percent strength; they will increase 10 percent every week through Week 10. As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE.

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 30 percent of DAVE for teams with five games played, and 45 percent of DAVE for teams with four games played.

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>

TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
TOTAL
DAVE
RANK W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
1 MIN 36.0% 3 24.5% 2 5-0 5.9% 11 -24.8% 3 5.3% 6
2 PHI 33.5% 1 14.5% 4 3-1 8.9% 8 -25.1% 2 -0.5% 16
3 SEA 32.6% 2 28.9% 1 3-1 -1.5% 17 -29.5% 1 4.6% 7
4 PIT 20.8% 5 19.5% 3 4-1 17.8% 4 1.3% 20 4.2% 8
5 ATL 20.0% 8 12.1% 7 4-1 25.1% 1 12.4% 26 7.3% 4
6 GB 19.0% 6 14.3% 5 3-1 9.8% 7 -9.9% 8 -0.7% 17
7 DEN 16.9% 4 12.1% 6 4-1 -1.5% 18 -17.4% 4 1.1% 13
8 BUF 12.7% 10 8.3% 8 3-2 5.8% 12 -5.1% 11 1.8% 12
9 DAL 12.6% 9 8.3% 9 4-1 24.8% 2 11.1% 25 -1.1% 18
10 OAK 7.8% 7 4.6% 13 4-1 19.8% 3 15.3% 29 3.4% 11
11 SD 7.2% 13 4.6% 14 1-4 10.8% 5 -1.7% 15 -5.3% 27
12 WAS 4.1% 14 0.2% 16 3-2 1.5% 16 6.2% 23 8.8% 2
13 NE 2.1% 17 7.9% 10 4-1 8.4% 9 7.0% 24 0.7% 14
14 ARI 1.8% 16 6.7% 11 2-3 -9.8% 23 -15.0% 6 -3.4% 24
15 BAL 1.6% 11 3.3% 15 3-2 -12.8% 27 -16.9% 5 -2.5% 20
16 TEN 0.2% 25 -2.5% 19 2-3 2.9% 13 -10.0% 7 -12.8% 32
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
TOTAL
DAVE
RANK W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
17 KC 0.1% 15 6.6% 12 2-2 -10.8% 25 -6.8% 9 4.1% 10
18 NYG -1.8% 20 -2.1% 18 2-3 -1.7% 19 -1.5% 16 -1.6% 19
19 CIN -3.0% 12 -0.9% 17 2-3 2.3% 14 1.2% 19 -4.2% 25
20 CHI -4.5% 23 -6.0% 23 1-4 1.9% 15 0.8% 18 -5.6% 28
21 NO -6.2% 18 -4.3% 21 1-3 10.5% 6 13.8% 28 -2.9% 21
22 JAC -6.9% 19 -7.7% 25 1-3 -13.2% 28 -5.9% 10 0.4% 15
23 CAR -8.1% 21 -3.7% 20 1-4 -3.4% 20 -2.5% 14 -7.2% 29
24 DET -8.5% 26 -5.8% 22 2-3 6.4% 10 23.6% 32 8.7% 3
25 LARM -11.0% 24 -7.4% 24 3-2 -21.6% 31 -4.8% 12 5.9% 5
26 SF -14.0% 28 -15.2% 28 1-4 -9.7% 22 -0.7% 17 -5.0% 26
27 IND -14.7% 27 -10.9% 26 2-3 -3.4% 21 20.5% 31 9.3% 1
28 MIA -15.2% 22 -14.7% 27 1-4 -15.1% 30 4.3% 21 4.1% 9
29 TB -21.9% 30 -16.6% 29 2-3 -13.7% 29 5.2% 22 -2.9% 22
30 NYJ -29.8% 32 -21.5% 30 1-4 -10.2% 24 16.4% 30 -3.2% 23
31 HOU -29.9% 29 -23.3% 31 3-2 -25.7% 32 -4.0% 13 -8.2% 30
32 CLE -33.4% 31 -30.2% 32 0-5 -11.8% 26 13.4% 27 -8.3% 31
  • 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).



TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
1 MIN 36.0% 5-0 39.1% 5.0 1 -4.1% 25 2.1% 14 6.4% 8
2 PHI 33.5% 3-1 43.4% 4.0 3 -6.4% 27 11.3% 1 11.0% 18
3 SEA 32.6% 3-1 34.4% 4.0 2 -17.5% 32 2.5% 13 14.9% 26
4 PIT 20.8% 4-1 21.3% 3.7 5 1.0% 15 -6.4% 31 28.7% 31
5 ATL 20.0% 4-1 21.7% 3.9 4 -2.3% 21 3.0% 11 13.3% 24
6 GB 19.0% 3-1 17.7% 3.1 10 4.7% 9 6.4% 4 9.9% 16
7 DEN 16.9% 4-1 29.4% 3.5 6 -5.5% 26 -1.0% 18 12.5% 23
8 BUF 12.7% 3-2 19.3% 2.8 11 -7.0% 29 -4.9% 29 10.3% 17
9 DAL 12.6% 4-1 14.5% 3.4 8 -3.9% 23 7.5% 3 2.7% 7
10 OAK 7.8% 4-1 7.5% 2.5 14 4.6% 10 -2.5% 27 8.8% 13
11 SD 7.2% 1-4 10.3% 2.4 16 -4.0% 24 -4.2% 28 2.6% 4
12 WAS 4.1% 3-2 6.8% 3.1 9 0.0% 17 10.0% 2 6.7% 9
13 NE 2.1% 4-1 8.5% 2.2 21 -12.8% 31 -1.7% 21 16.0% 27
14 ARI 1.8% 2-3 9.9% 2.4 17 -6.4% 28 3.7% 9 11.0% 20
15 BAL 1.6% 3-2 8.9% 2.7 13 -3.1% 22 0.3% 16 2.4% 3
16 TEN 0.2% 2-3 2.0% 2.7 12 -1.9% 20 -6.2% 30 8.9% 14
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
17 KC 0.1% 2-2 -4.1% 3.5 7 -7.9% 30 1.6% 15 48.5% 32
18 NYG -1.8% 2-3 -11.9% 2.2 22 13.1% 1 4.1% 7 1.3% 1
19 CIN -3.0% 2-3 3.5% 2.2 20 1.1% 14 -2.0% 24 7.9% 11
20 CHI -4.5% 1-4 -3.2% 2.3 19 -1.4% 19 5.6% 5 7.5% 10
21 NO -6.2% 1-3 -2.8% 2.5 15 8.3% 3 -1.8% 23 2.6% 5
22 JAC -6.9% 1-3 -3.0% 2.0 23 3.3% 12 -1.1% 20 9.6% 15
23 CAR -8.1% 1-4 -9.8% 1.7 28 7.4% 4 2.6% 12 11.0% 19
24 DET -8.5% 2-3 -11.2% 1.9 24 6.7% 6 4.3% 6 11.7% 21
25 LARM -11.0% 3-2 -9.8% 2.4 18 2.2% 13 -2.5% 26 16.1% 28
26 SF -14.0% 1-4 -14.2% 1.3 31 5.6% 7 -1.8% 22 17.1% 29
27 IND -14.7% 2-3 -11.4% 1.6 29 0.8% 16 -1.1% 19 2.1% 2
28 MIA -15.2% 1-4 -20.4% 1.8 25 -0.3% 18 -2.3% 25 8.3% 12
29 TB -21.9% 2-3 -23.1% 1.7 26 3.9% 11 3.8% 8 20.9% 30
30 NYJ -29.8% 1-4 -30.4% 1.4 30 12.6% 2 -7.6% 32 12.2% 22
31 HOU -29.9% 3-2 -28.7% 1.7 27 6.8% 5 -0.3% 17 14.1% 25
32 CLE -33.4% 0-5 -31.9% 0.2 32 5.2% 8 3.5% 10 2.6% 6

Comments

88 comments, Last at 15 Oct 2016, 9:28am

1 Re: Week 5 DVOA Ratings

So according to DVOA, the Cincinnati game was the worst defensive performance the Cowboys have had this year. That doesn't pass the sniff test to me.

I suspect that it's largely because they played almost exclusively in the Nickle in the second half and Cincinnati were satisfied to lead plodding drives full of runs and dink-and-dunk passes while down 4 touchdowns early in the 3rd quarter.

4 Re: Week 5 DVOA Ratings

FWIW, I think Marinelli has worked a miracle with the talent he's had to work with this year No doubt it's been aided by an offense which conceals the defense's weaknesses magnificiently, but I'm still very surprised at what that bunch has been able to accomplish. I've always thought highly of Marinelli, so I've enjoyed this.

6 Re: Week 5 DVOA Ratings

I wouldn't praise it too much, they're still pretty bad. But yea, there is zero pass rush talent on the team, and the secondary is overrated (I personally do not buy the Claiborne renaissance).

But yea, Marinelli is fine. We just need some talent infusion.

8 Re: Week 5 DVOA Ratings

Funny, I've always thought Rod Marinelli was among the worst coaches in football and that he's essentially lived off of the goodwill, or maybe more accurately pity, football fans felt for him when he coached the Lions to the first 0-16 season in NFL history. I remember a lot of hoopla about how he "kept the locker room together" or some such, a lot of fawning coverage for how "brave" and "steely" he was in the face of a disaster he was at least somewhat the cause of.

By DVOA his defenses have finished:

Detroit (as head coach): 28, 32, 32

Chicago (defensive minded head coach Lovie Smith): 4, 4, 1

Dallas (offensive minded head coach Jason Garrett): 22, 19, 25

Not saying which of us is right but it's striking how different two people's perception of a coach can be. I wonder if what makes you think high of him makes me kind of snicker at his continued employment.

11 Re: Week 5 DVOA Ratings

If you think there is a coach on the planet who can overcome A)crappy talent, and more importantly, B) crappy upper management/ownership, we'll have to agree to disagree. You get Millen hired in Detroit two years earlier, and he somehow convinces Darth Hoodie to go there, Hoodie has about as much success as any other Millen hire, which is none.

(Edit) Also, in the two years previous to Marinelli's arrival in Chicago, Smith's defenses were 10th and 7th by DVOA.

82 Simplify

I don't at all agree with your hypothetical. I think Belichick would do pretty well, whoever the GM. And that's the problem with hypotheticals like that: the conceiver often seems to think they confirm their point, when in fact there is no logical foundation for any conclusion derived from a fantasy scenario. It is fundamentally illogical.

I was not intending to entirely discredit Marinelli's work in Chicago, only point out that defensive-minded head coaches are typically credited for their team's defense, and not the defensive coordinator. I know this very well, and do in fact agree with it as a heuristic. Consider Gus Bradley in Seattle, for a recent example of a well-respected coach's inability to duplicate success he enjoyed under a like-minded head coach. Bradley, I would think most would agree, can no longer be considered a particularly effective defensive coach. If he has success independent of Carroll, we would reconsider that. But, as-is, the preponderance of evidence argues that Carroll is an all-time great, and Bradley was lucky to have coached under him.

The very value of DVOA is, to me anyway, that it is dispassionate, totally unaffected by sympathy or prejudice. Chicago was 21st in defensive DVOA in Marinelli's first season with the Bears, and 7th the previous season. Not knowing how much to credit a defensive line coach, I didn't include these data. But, and quite obviously, the Bears did not become good when Rod Marinelli joined their team. Chicago finished 9th, 1st, 2nd, 10th and 7th in defensive DVOA under Lovie Smith from 2004-2008.

I also don't agree that Marinelli deserves a pass because of poor upper management. A defensive-minded head coach and a defensive coordinator bear much of the credit or blame for the talent of their defense. Each is a central part of how that talent is identified and selected, and each is the most important person in determining how we perceive that talent. Pete Carroll, arguably the most successful defensive mastermind of the last five years, did not create an exotic or innovative scheme. He recognized the hidden talent of players like Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman, and put those players in a scheme in which they could thrive.

If Dallas lacks talent on defense, Marinelli surely deserves some of the blame. He may not be picking all of the ingredients, but he's surely contributing to the process. If he has "worked a miracle" which is the phrase that motivated me to respond, one must assume: the talent on his defense is markedly perhaps historically bad--how else could 25th be miraculous?--and that he bears no blame for that talent being historically bad.

Much simpler would be: Rod Marinelli is a very poor coach. The more control he has had over his teams or units, the worse they have performed.

83 Re: Simplify

In reply to by JohnxMorgan

There are so many things you write here that I disagree strongly about that I can scarcely list them all, so I'll pick just a few. Is there some empirical evidence with regard to Bill Belichik's team performance, when that team is in the midst of a crappy and unsettled ownership situation, with less than wonderful talent? Why, by Lombardi, there is!

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/cle/1995.htm

A team that had gone 11-5 the year previous (following 6-10, 7-9, and 7-9 under Belichik), when confronted with the sudden announcement of the team leaving for another city, the villification of the owner, and the owner lending no support for the coach, fell apart. Belichik is on record as saying he lost the team. He failed, in a very large and obvious way. I can't think of any proposition I differ with more than any coach, even a HOF coach, would do "pretty well", regardless of the quality of the GM and owner that manage him. Believe it or not, the quality of the football players, and how they are managed, from the top of the organization down, is really, really, really important. Really.

Next, if you assume that Rod Marinelli has significant input as to what players he is coaching, you are completely ignorant of the history of the Dallas Cowboys, under one Jerral Wayne Jones Sr., after Jimmy Johnson left.

84 Re: Simplify

In reply to by Will Allen

But the HOF Belichik did not exist in the mid 90s.

The coach that failed in your chosen scenario did not have much HC experience. You're choosing the management situation as the reason for the failure of that organisation that season, but you could just as easily choose inexperienced Head Coaching.

85 Re: Simplify

In reply to by bigpoppapump

The head coach that season had 4 full seasons under his belt, going into the season that resulted in his dismissal. It is not accurate to state that he was inexperienced. Did Belichik become a better head coach in his second stint? Undoubtedly, and perhaps the most important way in which he became better was the way he viewed coaching opportunities. Like deciding he was better off working for Bob Kraft than Woody Johnson.

I really find it remarkable that it is asserted that any coach can be expected to do "pretty well", regardless of the quality of the GM and owner the coach reports to.

87 Re: Simplify

In reply to by Will Allen

I root for them, but the colts are not a good organization. I strongly believe without Manning, they would be remembered as quite lousy even in their heyday. I hate using meathead terms to discuss football, but they are perpetually a soft team.

I know perrigrine lamented the falcons continued inability to field a good defense. I feel the same way about the colts: A decade and a half run has produced the same qb receiver led teams. On the other hand, a look over at other organizations means you can definitely do a lot worse.

15 Re: Week 5 DVOA Ratings

As a Lions fan, I have zero reason to be charitable to Marinelli,but I find it strange that you don't want to give any credit to him for coordinating an outstanding defense in Chicago when he had actual good players, yet you want to bury him for having below average defenses in Dallas with mostly crap players. I happen to think his defensive DVOA rankings in Dallas are damn miracle with the talent he was given.

As far as his head coaching tenure in Detroit, lambaste away. He was definitely out of his depth as a head coach, but there are plenty of highly regarded coordinators who have proven they don't make good head coaches (Wade Phillips, Norv Turner, Jim Schwartz , etc). And as Will pointed out, even Bill Grumblelord would have probably topped out at 7-9 with the talent Millen stocked that roster with.

10 Re: Week 5 DVOA Ratings

The year before he took over the Bears defense, they were 21st, and the year after he left they were 25th, so 4th, 4th, and 1st looks pretty damn good. Injuries and Lovie leaving had a lot to do with the 2012-2013 drop, but that doesn't explain 2009 to 2010-12.

19 Re: Week 5 DVOA Ratings

You might be looking at the "last year" column in the 2009 DVOA rankings. The Bears defense was not very good in 2009, although it didn't help that Urlacher missed virtually the entire season.

Bears fans can correct me if I'm off here, but I do believe when Marinelli came into Chicago he shifted the Bears base defense out of Cover 2 into more of a Cover 3—I think its very fair to attribute a lot of their defense success in those years to him specifically.

70 Re: Week 5 DVOA Ratings

I think they had already moved away from a mostly Cover 2 set by that point. Babich really loved the "mug" look with linebackers threatening the A-gap which worked really well for about 3 games and then offenses figured it out.

I remember one thing he and Lovie did was have the safeties (Wright and Conte at the time) line up way far back. Like 25 yards downfield, and essentially just start sprinting forward until they read the play. It was interesting because they were fast enough to make it work and it helped them read the offense which they struggled with at times.

74 Re: Week 5 DVOA Ratings

Good info, thanks. Also realize that I had forgotten that Marinelli initially joined the Bears in 2009 and was promoted to DC the next season.

Was just inspired to look up what happened to Babich and, even though I was living in the orbit of Chicago at the time, I either had no idea or completely forgotten that Babich actually stayed on with the Bears through the end of Lovie's tenure. How unusual for a coach to accept a demotion and remain with the same team.

3 Re: Week 5 DVOA Ratings

Pretty interesting for a team that really has been bad at blocking to be ranked number 1. They really need to have good injury luck from here on out, or I fear they have peaked. They also signed Jake Long today, so I'll just optimistically assume that his refusal to sign a contract with an injury waiver with the Ravens is the only reason he's available, that since then he's just been biding his time to sign with an otherwise good team with a deseperate need for blocking. If he can attain average left ot performance, and they finally get some good injury luck, I'll like their chances against anyone, especially with 2 home playoff games. They actually have a good chance of getting better on defense, given how many contributors on defense are 26 or younger, and if Walsh gets out of his slump, they'll likely move into the top two or three on special teams.

It's also interesting to see how volatile the past and future schedule rankings are from week to week, at least this early in the season.

14 Re: Week 5 DVOA Ratings

Seattle has been #1 four straight years mostly with horrible blocking, but of course Wilson mitigates that a bit. I've only watched a bit of Vikings games this year, and Bradford didn't look particularly mobile, so how have the Vikings been so successful passing the ball? A lot of max protect? Getting the ball out quickly? The fact that they can't run the ball at all makes their great passing ranking even more surprising.

39 Re: Week 5 DVOA Ratings

how have the Vikings been so successful passing the ball?

"Getting the ball out quickly" is the correct answer.

From http://www.espn.com/blog/minnesota-vikings/post/_/id/20630/sam-bradfords-quick-release-helping-vikings-protect-sam-bradford

Bradford had the shortest time before pass in the NFL in Week 5, getting rid of the ball in an average of 2.0 seconds. He tied Tom Brady for the shortest time in the pocket (at 1.98 seconds), and even on the infrequent occasions he looked downfield, Bradford worked quickly: he posted a league-best average of just 2.33 seconds to throw his six passes of 10 yards or more, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

16 Re: Week 5 DVOA Ratings

Will, I remember how nihilistic you were about the 2016 Vikings season after the Bridgewater news broke. I can only imagine what a strange emotional experience the last 5 weeks have been.

21 Re: Week 5 DVOA Ratings

I thought they were going to try to win games with Shaun Hill pushing the ball within a box defined by the line of scrimmage, a line about 17 yards downfield, and the hash marks. With bad blocking. Obviously, Spielman and the coaching staff had better insight than I, regarding the quality of the rest of the roster, and acted on that belief, thank goodness.

5 Re: Week 5 DVOA Ratings

When I have more time to waste, I'd like to go look at previous years, to see if there is any commonality that can be noticed about teams which perform better in the playoffs than their DVOA rank would have suggested, beyond getting lucky in their playoff match-ups. The NFL isn't nearly as predictable, in terms of playoff success being consistent with regular season performance, as the NBA, but my sense is that it is more predictable than baseball. I might be wrong about that, however.

51 Re: Week 5 DVOA Ratings

I strongly suspect it's matchups.

Fencing is infamous for this. I've seen guys lose to fencers who are hundreds of ranks behind them. Bs lose to Ds and As lose to Cs (sort of like a AA baseball team beating the Dodgers). Some of it is one-off bad matches, but a lot of it is just one guy who does something weird that you can't cope with.

7 Re: Week 5 DVOA Ratings

New England's 24th-ranked defensive DVOA is really surprising to me. I can't think of any major injuries that could explain it. I'll have to keep an eye on that.

And is Tennessee the class of the AFC South? Looks like a decent offense and a decent defense. The special teams have been bad but that's the least predictive of the three, right? Plus a super-easy schedule the rest of the way, as one would expect. I'll take them to get to 9-7 and grab the AFC 4 seed.

Got to like San Diego at home over Denver as an upset pick this Thursday, especially if Siemian is limited.

40 Re: Week 5 DVOA Ratings

New England's 24th-ranked defensive DVOA is really surprising to me. I can't think of any major injuries that could explain it. I'll have to keep an eye on that.

Gronkowski was injured to start the season and has come back slowly.

Also they missed a few games with a quarterback or two.

44 Re: Week 5 DVOA Ratings

This is standard behaviour for DVOA.

NE DEF has two particular traits that dont sit well with DVOA.

1. The relatively often surrender big leads, to a point where the game gets close again, but the parts rarely lose these games in the end. SO DVOA thinks this is bad defense while you think this was garbage time.

2. In the last 2 years they seem to found there mixture with bend but don't break again, as they had in the early oughts. But DVOA sees a lot of unsuccessful plays followed by 1 turnover or a stand at the 30 yard line.

This trend has been there for a long time, and NE has been able to outperform def DVOA relatively consistently, So I just discount DVOA here a bit. I Assume there is a similar bias, making there OFF DVOA too high, because I fing thir overall DVOA to be pretty ok most of the time.

46 Re: Week 5 DVOA Ratings

Dont'a Hightower has a knee injury. When he was playing he barely looked like 60% of himself. He started to look much better against the Browns, but was subbed out after the Pats had a big lead.

Dude's a difference maker, much like Gronk on offense, probably even more important. Certainly the most important and hardest to replace player the Pats have on D (I am not saying he is the best defensive player they have, just the most important).

66 Re: Week 5 DVOA Ratings

I would NOT bet on the Chargers this year in any game, no matter the spread.

They've gone 1-4 and only played one decent team (Oakland) and four bad teams (KC, Jac, Indy, NO).

They're comically inept in the second half of games.

The head coach is ultra-conservative and highly suspect as the source of many of their problems.

Basically all of their really good, recognizable players are on IR (Keenan Allen, Verrett, Woodhead, Teo (he sucks though)).

The o-line is already getting banged up, and that was one of the main reasons for the team's tailspin last year.

On the other hand, I do like Jatavis Brown a lot and he is almost certainly an improvement on Teo (who's lack of coverage ability essentially lost the KC game).

Bosa also had a very impressive debut.

It's very easy to imagine an alternate universe where the Chargers are 5-0 if Allen and Bosa had played in every game.

9 Re: Week 5 DVOA Ratings

The Week 5 BES Rankings are out - http://besreport.com/week-5-bes-rankings-2016/

Looks like the BES and DVOA are in virtual agreement on the occupants of the top-10 this week with the exception of Seattle. The BES instead spots the Patriots among its top-10 at No. 6. Meanwhile, Seattle isn't far behind, landing on the outskirts at No. 12.

The BES and DVOA also agree on the Panthers at 23rd. It's been tremendously bizarre to watch their fall and not to hear them mentioned amongst the league's current top teams.

Staying in the NFC South, the BES and DVOA both have ATL at No. 5. I really love the Falcons offense...so many ways they attack you. You can take Julio Jones out of the game and still get blown by30 points at halftime.

12 Re: Week 5 DVOA Ratings

The Jags are the second best team in the AFC South… Wow, what an incredibly bad division. Unfortunate that one of those teams is going to be hosting a playoff game.

It's remarkable how far Buffalo and the Jets have gone in opposite directions since NY won that Thursday night game a few weeks ago. While there's reason to believe that some of the teams behind them (i.e., NE) might actually be better, the Bills being third best in the whole AFC after that poor start is pretty amazing.

17 Re: Week 5 DVOA Ratings

The 1998 Vikings team that went 15-1 didn't finish that season in the top-8 in DVOA? I'm afraid that says alot more about the DVOA metric than it does about that team.

20 Re: Week 5 DVOA Ratings

I think Seattle has a good chance to go #1 again in DVOA. They've got a renewed pass rush, which has been lacking the last two years, and their schedule isn't exactly brutal. The offense has had some early season clunkers, but that's to be expected. They always finish stronger under Carroll and usually don't start fast. Fascinating matchup against Atlanta on Sunday.

24 Re: Week 5 DVOA Ratings

OK...any moment now we are going to be treated to a RaiderJoe literary and spelling onslaught. The Raiders slipped from 7th to 10th in DVOA after defeating the Chargers who rose from 13th to 11th!

86 Re: Week 5 DVOA Ratings

I get why a statistical view of the SD game would do that. Raiders came back and won b/c of an unconventional 4th down call, a fumble, a bad punt, a bad spot and a botched FG. Rivers was in contol of the game before that, scorching the Raiders' secondary. Yet, the eye-ball test says that the Raiders left a lot of points, early, on the field. The Raiders' run D was stout most of the game. And several of SD's big plays benefited from pretty obvious holds--calls SD got last night against Denver. PFF pushed the Raiders' ranking up to #7 after the victory. BSPN dropped the Raiders to #12. Jury's clearly still out.

25 Re: Week 5 DVOA Ratings

I know they don't go back that far, but I think it clear the 1969 Vikings would have ranked #1 in DVOA in the NFL. That team had mostly unimpressive offense but lead the league in scoring due to the defense giving it the ball repeatedly. They gave up less than ten points per game (something that has only been exceeded by the gritz blitz falcons who had an even worse offense), and the stomped their toughest opponents that season 52-14, 27-0 and 54-3. Not sure where they would have ranked with the AFL thrown in though.

1975 would be the other season that the consensus had them as the best team in the NFL, with their 10-0 start, but the Rams and Steelers may have been more impressive statistically, dunno.

26 Re: Week 5 DVOA Ratings

With the benefit of hindsight, it's obvious that the SBIV Vikings should not have been heavy favorites over the Chiefs. KC's defense was loaded with HOFers,too, their o-line had HOFers, too, and most importantly, they had a HOF QB and kicker. In some ways I think Stnerud's long first half field goals were decisive.

29 Re: Week 5 DVOA Ratings

Not sure about that - I think they probably were a much better team and just laid and egg in the Super Bowl - as they tended to do.

My reasoning:

1) The two teams played the first game of the season the very next year in Minnesota - The Vikings won 27-10. It was the first year of inter-league regular season play.

2) In 1969 the Vikings had a point differential adjust for opponent of 17.6 vs KC's 11.9. But the AFL was almost assuredly a weaker league as evidenced by the fact that in 1970 where there was inter-league games the best AFL team in adjusted point differential was KC again at 1.5. While Minnesota in 1970 once again led that stat league wide at 13.7.

There's not much doubt in my mind the the Vikings were the best team in football for 1969 and 1970, they just played some bad games in the playoffs. That's sports in North America - we like to crown champions based on small sample sizes vs large ones.

33 Re: Week 5 DVOA Ratings

When you are mediocre to bad at qb, and the other guy is good to great at qb, and his roster is stocked with HOFers and other great players, too (Culp,Buchanon,Brown,Lanier,Bell, Robinson, Thomas, Taylor, Budde, Tyrer, Dawson), including a much better kicker and punter, Stenerud and Wilson, it's hard to argue you should be double digit favorites on a neutral field championship game.

56 Re: Week 5 DVOA Ratings

I seem to remember when I first watched/read about football in the 80s, that the explanation given for SBIV was that the Vikings couldn't cope with the moving pocket of the Chiefs thereby protecting Dawson. I don't know how true that is, or whether it's too simplistic an explanation.

That and "75 toss power trap" as the Chiefs metriculated the ball down the field

61 Re: Week 5 DVOA Ratings

Eh, the story of that game was that Eller, and to a lesser extent Page, kept biting on misdirection, and thus the Vikings gave up some easy running yards that they had not all year. The Chiefs had much better punting and kicking, and then the Vikings got caught in the wrong defense, followed by the corner missing a pretty easy tackle, thus giving up a cheap long touchdown. The Vikings offense was poorly equipped to play from behind, because Kapp was not a good passer, and the Chiefs had some terrific defensive players themselves. The Vikings wouldn't get good qb until 1972, and by then the defense was still good, but not crazy good.