Week 7 DVOA Ratings

Week 7 DVOA Ratings
Week 7 DVOA Ratings
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Aaron Schatz

Philadelphia's big upset victory over Minnesota on Sunday has propelled the Eagles back into the top spot in the Football Outsiders DVOA ratings. The Eagles actually opened up a pretty big gap between themselves and the rest of the league with this win. Right now, the difference between the Eagles and No. 2 Seattle is larger than the difference between Seattle and No. 9 Buffalo. Minnesota takes a big hit, even with the opponent adjustments for losing to another top team, and falls all the way down to No. 4. We originally listed them third when Any Given Sunday first published on Monday evening, but Denver passed the Vikings with a big win on Monday night. The Broncos now have the top DVOA in the AFC, with a Jacoby Brissett-sized asterisk of course.

What's remarkable is that Philadelphia is currently the No. 1 team in DVOA despite ranking just 24th in offensive DVOA. Only one team in DVOA history led the league in overall DVOA for a full season despite having a below-average offense: the 2002 Buccaneers, who ranked 20th on offense but had one of the best defenses in NFL history. The Eagles defense isn't that good, but it is currently leading the league in DVOA, and so are the Eagles special teams. Of course, the Eagles also play the hardest schedule in the league from Week 8 onwards. Four of the Eagles' next five games come against teams ranked in the top eight in DVOA, and the other game is on the road against the No. 13 Giants.

The Eagles are just one example of this year's huge general trends. You've read about these in previous DVOA weekly commentaries, but they seem to just be getting stronger as the year moves along.

There aren't any teams that are historically great or historically terrible. The Eagles are not the lowest-rated team to ever rank first in DVOA after Week 7, but they are close. The 2000 Dolphins, 2010 Giants, and 2011 Packers all led the NFL with DVOA below 30% after Week 7. However, the Seattle Seahawks are the lowest-rated team ever to rank second in DVOA after Week 7, and Denver is the lowest-rated team ever to rank third in DVOA after Week 7. On the other side, Cleveland is back in the bottom spot after the Jets upset Baltimore on Sunday, but the Browns have the second-highest rating ever for a team in last place after Week 7. (The 2004 49ers were slightly higher than this year's Browns after Week 7, then completely imploded over the second half of the year and ended up as one of the 10 worst teams in DVOA history.)

We're seeing this same effect with individual units. The Cowboys are currently No. 1 on offense; in 27 years, the only lower-rated offense to rank No. 1 after Week 7 belonged to the 2001 Rams. (Yes, the Greatest Show on Turf, also known as The Greatest Strength of Schedule Adjustment on Turf.) Houston is currently in last place for offensive DVOA at -21.6%, and that is miles ahead of the previous record for the highest offense in last place after Week 7, which belonged to the 2001 Redskins at -27.4%. Defensive ratings aren't quite as condensed -- we'll get to that in a moment -- but nonetheless, Philadelphia is not close to the best defenses in DVOA history and Detroit is not close to the worst defenses.

Special teams is a bit of a different issue, because the kickoff changes over the last couple years have changed the amount of value teams can get above or below average out of kickoffs. The Titans are currently in last place in special teams, but they have a higher rating than any other team that was in last place after Week 7... except for last year's Houston Texans.

For the second straight year, the best and worst defenses are stronger than the best and worst offenses. In almost every year of the DVOA era, the strongest offense is stronger than any defense (i.e. further from 0%) and the weakest offense is weaker than any defense. Last year was the rare exception, and this year is even more of an exception. Right now there are three defenses that are stronger than the No. 1 Dallas offense, and two defenses that are weaker than the No. 32 Houston offense.

The defenses are the real story here. After this week, there are now five different defenses with DVOA below -20%: Philadelphia, Minnesota, Seattle, Arizona, and Denver. In 27 years of DVOA history, only 22 teams have ever finished a season with a defense this good. No season ever had more than three defenses below -20%. Now obviously, that's not the right comparison, because the best and worst teams are generally further from average early in the season when there's a smaller sample and the opponent adjustments aren't at full strength. But this year is almost as unique when we compare it to the history of DVOA through Week 7. There have been 55 different defenses since 1989 with DVOA below -20% after Week 7, or roughly two per season. Only one other time, in 1996, were there five defenses with DVOA below -20% after Week 7, and just barely: Green Bay, Dallas, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Denver. The last three of those defenses were less than one percentage point below -20%. In 2008, there were four defenses below -20% after Week 7. In 1992, there were three plus one defense right at -20%. In the last three seasons, there have only been four defenses that were this good after Week 7: the 2013 Seahawks, the 2014 Lions, and the 2015 Broncos and Jets.

Nobody is well-balanced this year. Right now, the top four teams in overall DVOA are also four of the top five defenses. However, every single one of these teams is below average in offensive DVOA, although Denver is almost at zero. The next three teams in the DVOA ratings are the top three offenses: Dallas, Atlanta, and New England. These three teams are all below average on defense. There are only two teams right now that are in the top ten for both offense and defense, Green Bay and San Diego, but those teams are ranked tenth and ninth on offense and both are also below average on special teams. The only team that is above average in all three phases of the game is Buffalo, by a tiny margin -- they rank seventh on offense, sixth on special teams, and 16th on defense with a defensive DVOA of -0.2%.

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This is one trend that does not apply to this year's bad teams as much as it applies to the good teams. The Jets and Browns are both 26th or lower in all three phases of the game. San Francisco also ranks in the bottom ten for all three phases. But Chicago is the only other team that ranks in the bottom half of the league on both offense and defense. The Bears are actually the most balanced team in the NFL: 21st on offense, 19th on defense, and 20th on special teams. They are extremely well-balanced in unexciting sub-mediocrity, and apparently also scheduled to be on prime-time television every week until the end of the universe.

The NFC is much better than the AFC, although the AFC West is excellent. The DVOA top ten stayed the same as last week, just with a lot of scrambling in the order. That means that once again only three AFC teams are in the top ten: Denver, New England, and Buffalo (which drops from third to ninth after losing to Miami). At the bottom of the league, the AFC has the three worst teams and five of the bottom seven.

The imbalance between the divisions is even more stunning than usual this season. Every team in the AFC South is now 20th or lower in DVOA. In our latest playoff odds simulation, the AFC South is won by a team with a losing record 9.1 percent of the time and a team with an 8-8 record 30.8 percent of the time. On the other hand, the NFC East and AFC West are stacked. Right now, every team in the NFC East has a winning record and a DVOA over average. Every team in the division ends up with a winning record in 12.2 percent of simulations. Every AFC West team also has a DVOA above average, and three AFC West teams rank in the top dozen. Thanks to easier schedules, there's an even greater chance of every team in the AFC West ending up with a winning record, currently 14.7 percent of simulations.

One other trend this year is the struggles of field goal kickers. I noted in my Twitter feed that I would write about that in today's commentary, but I've run out of writing time, so I'll do that with a separate post later in the week. But if you want to see something fascinating, take a look at the special teams DVOA page and compare Indianapolis and Baltimore to the rest of the NFL in FG/XP value.

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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 7 are:

  • RB Jay Ajayi, MIA (FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS HERO): Led all NFL RB with 70 rush DYAR in Week 7; second straight week with 200 rushing yards (28 runs, 214 yards, TD).
  • MLB Jordan Hicks, PHI: Led NFL defenders with 5 defeats in Week 7: run TFL, run stuff on third-and-1, sack, and two tackles to prevent third-and-long conversions. Also had 2 PDs.
  • RB Jeremy Hill, CIN: Led all NFL RB with 82 total DYAR in Week 7 (9 runs, 168 yards, TD, plus 2 catches for 24 yards).
  • FS Daniel Sorensen, KC: 4 defeats in Week 7: sack, interception, and two tackles to prevent third-down conversions.
  • DT Brandon Williams, BAL: Sack and seven run tackles for a combined gain of only 10 yards.

An explanation for those who may be new to Football Outsiders: our "defeats" stat measures the biggest defensive plays, combining tackles for loss, forced fumbles, interceptions (and tipped passes leading to interceptions), and tackles or passes defensed that prevent a conversion on third or fouth down. J.J. Watt usually leads the league in this stat, but of course he's done for the year. Instead, two Buffalo Bills players are our leaders: Lorenzo Alexander with 18 and Zach Brown with 15. Luke Kuechly of Carolina and Markus Golden of Arizona are tied for third at 14 defeats each. And tied with 13 defeats are Lamarcus Joyner of the Rams, Zach Orr of the Ravens, Nick Perry of the Packers, and K.J. Wright of the Seahawks. Lavonte David, who is usually up at the top with Watt, has only 10 so far.

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All stats pages are now updated through Week 7 of 2016. Snap counts, playoff odds, and the premium DVOA database are also fully updated.

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These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through seven 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 70 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 9 percent of DAVE for teams with seven games played, and 19 percent of DAVE for teams with six 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 PHI 30.3% 4 22.6% 1 4-2 -5.9% 24 -26.6% 1 9.5% 1
2 SEA 21.9% 2 22.4% 2 4-1-1 -2.2% 20 -23.6% 3 0.5% 15
3 DEN 20.5% 9 19.0% 3 5-2 -0.8% 17 -20.1% 5 1.2% 12
4 MIN 20.2% 1 15.7% 7 5-1 -5.6% 23 -23.9% 2 1.8% 11
5 DAL 19.3% 5 15.4% 8 5-1 22.7% 1 2.5% 20 -0.9% 21
6 NE 18.3% 7 18.7% 4 6-1 19.2% 3 1.4% 18 0.5% 16
7 ATL 18.2% 6 16.2% 5 4-3 20.3% 2 8.1% 26 6.0% 3
8 GB 17.8% 8 16.0% 6 4-2 4.7% 10 -13.3% 7 -0.2% 19
9 BUF 14.1% 3 12.9% 9 4-3 10.2% 7 -0.2% 16 3.6% 6
10 ARI 7.7% 10 8.6% 10 3-3-1 -7.2% 25 -21.5% 4 -6.6% 30
11 SD 7.3% 13 6.6% 11 3-4 4.7% 9 -5.9% 8 -3.3% 24
12 KC 4.1% 14 5.6% 12 4-2 -1.2% 18 -2.4% 13 3.0% 8
13 NYG 4.0% 17 3.4% 14 4-3 -2.1% 19 -5.5% 9 0.7% 14
14 PIT 3.4% 12 4.8% 13 4-3 9.5% 8 8.0% 25 1.9% 10
15 WAS 2.9% 11 1.9% 15 4-3 4.2% 12 3.8% 22 2.4% 9
16 MIA 1.7% 20 0.5% 17 3-4 -0.5% 16 -2.2% 14 -0.1% 18
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 OAK 0.6% 18 0.0% 18 5-2 12.4% 5 14.9% 28 3.0% 7
18 CIN 0.2% 25 0.5% 16 3-4 12.0% 6 5.6% 23 -6.2% 28
19 BAL -3.1% 15 -2.3% 19 3-4 -18.0% 30 -14.1% 6 0.8% 13
20 TEN -4.3% 16 -4.7% 21 3-4 4.2% 11 0.7% 17 -7.8% 32
21 NO -4.8% 21 -4.1% 20 2-4 13.8% 4 17.2% 29 -1.4% 22
22 CHI -6.6% 19 -6.6% 23 1-6 -3.5% 21 2.4% 19 -0.6% 20
23 TB -8.4% 29 -7.7% 24 3-3 -4.3% 22 -0.4% 15 -4.6% 25
24 CAR -9.3% 24 -6.5% 22 1-5 0.4% 15 3.1% 21 -6.5% 29
25 LARM -10.5% 22 -9.3% 25 3-4 -20.1% 31 -4.4% 10 5.2% 5
26 JAC -12.2% 23 -11.4% 26 2-4 -16.5% 29 -4.3% 11 0.0% 17
27 IND -13.2% 28 -12.2% 27 3-4 1.9% 14 22.3% 31 7.1% 2
28 DET -16.2% 26 -14.9% 28 4-3 4.0% 13 26.3% 32 6.0% 4
29 SF -21.4% 27 -21.2% 29 1-6 -11.5% 27 7.2% 24 -2.7% 23
30 HOU -25.4% 30 -23.9% 30 4-3 -21.6% 32 -3.4% 12 -7.2% 31
31 NYJ -32.7% 32 -30.1% 31 2-5 -16.2% 28 11.6% 27 -4.9% 27
32 CLE -33.1% 31 -32.1% 32 0-7 -8.3% 26 20.1% 30 -4.7% 26
  • NON-ADJUSTED TOTAL DVOA does not include the adjustments for opponent strength or the adjustments for weather and altitude in special teams, and only penalizes offenses for lost fumbles rather than all fumbles.
  • ESTIMATED WINS uses a statistic known as "Forest Index" that emphasizes consistency as well as DVOA in the most important specific situations: red zone defense, first quarter offense, and performance in the second half when the score is close. It then projects a number of wins adjusted to a league-average schedule and a league-average rate of recovering fumbles. Teams that have had their bye week are projected as if they had played one game per week.
  • PAST SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents played this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative). It is not adjusted for which games are home or road.
  • FUTURE SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents still left to play this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative). It is not adjusted for which games are home or road.
  • VARIANCE measures the statistical variance of the team's weekly DVOA performance. Teams are ranked from most consistent (#1, lowest variance) to least consistent (#32, highest variance).



TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
1 PHI 30.3% 4-2 35.8% 5.3 2 -4.9% 26 10.4% 1 13.9% 24
2 SEA 21.9% 4-1-1 23.5% 4.8 7 -6.2% 29 3.4% 8 12.4% 22
3 DEN 20.5% 5-2 29.2% 4.9 6 -4.4% 24 1.5% 15 10.6% 18
4 MIN 20.2% 5-1 18.7% 5.4 1 2.2% 12 -2.4% 23 10.9% 19
5 DAL 19.3% 5-1 21.0% 5.0 3 -0.5% 22 3.0% 9 5.1% 7
6 NE 18.3% 6-1 19.9% 4.9 5 -4.5% 25 -4.7% 29 16.5% 29
7 ATL 18.2% 4-3 13.8% 4.9 4 4.0% 8 0.6% 18 8.4% 12
8 GB 17.8% 4-2 15.7% 4.5 8 1.4% 14 2.8% 10 8.7% 13
9 BUF 14.1% 4-3 19.0% 4.0 11 -5.7% 28 -3.6% 27 16.4% 28
10 ARI 7.7% 3-3-1 12.7% 3.6 15 -2.7% 23 2.1% 11 11.0% 20
11 SD 7.3% 3-4 9.1% 3.8 12 1.9% 13 -6.0% 32 2.0% 2
12 KC 4.1% 4-2 3.4% 4.4 9 -8.6% 31 2.0% 12 37.6% 32
13 NYG 4.0% 4-3 -3.8% 3.7 14 6.0% 3 3.4% 7 0.7% 1
14 PIT 3.4% 4-3 3.2% 3.3 20 3.5% 9 -5.3% 30 33.9% 31
15 WAS 2.9% 4-3 4.7% 4.0 10 0.7% 17 9.3% 2 9.9% 16
16 MIA 1.7% 3-4 0.0% 3.7 13 2.9% 10 -5.9% 31 15.6% 27
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
17 OAK 0.6% 5-2 2.6% 3.1 22 0.8% 16 1.1% 17 9.0% 14
18 CIN 0.2% 3-4 4.7% 3.3 19 -0.4% 21 -1.1% 21 12.2% 21
19 BAL -3.1% 3-4 6.0% 3.3 18 -8.1% 30 4.9% 3 6.0% 9
20 TEN -4.3% 3-4 3.3% 3.5 17 -9.4% 32 -2.2% 22 10.0% 17
21 NO -4.8% 2-4 -1.4% 3.5 16 4.2% 6 -0.6% 20 2.1% 3
22 CHI -6.6% 1-6 -4.7% 2.8 24 0.0% 20 1.6% 14 6.6% 10
23 TB -8.4% 3-3 -10.2% 2.9 23 0.9% 15 4.6% 4 20.7% 30
24 CAR -9.3% 1-5 -9.7% 2.3 28 4.0% 7 3.9% 5 5.9% 8
25 LARM -10.5% 3-4 -5.5% 3.2 21 0.2% 19 -0.1% 19 14.4% 25
26 JAC -12.2% 2-4 -6.4% 2.3 26 0.5% 18 -3.0% 25 4.7% 6
27 IND -13.2% 3-4 -9.6% 2.4 25 -5.3% 27 -3.2% 26 3.4% 5
28 DET -16.2% 4-3 -14.2% 2.3 27 2.3% 11 3.6% 6 8.1% 11
29 SF -21.4% 1-6 -22.9% 1.8 31 5.0% 5 1.4% 16 14.9% 26
30 HOU -25.4% 4-3 -23.6% 2.1 29 5.6% 4 -3.6% 28 9.8% 15
31 NYJ -32.7% 2-5 -35.7% 1.9 30 6.9% 1 -2.7% 24 12.9% 23
32 CLE -33.1% 0-7 -33.7% 0.3 32 6.6% 2 1.8% 13 3.1% 4

Comments

158 comments, Last at 28 Oct 2016, 9:29pm

154 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

Bradhsaw had some crappy years. Staubach relaly mnever did. at their heights, Bradshaw probably a tick belwo Staubach. Staubach a little more accurate. Bradshaw had tendency to make great throws art key moments but Staubach renowned for comebacks. two greta players.

132 Re: Week 7 DVOA Ratings

I struggle with where to place Warner.

On one hand, he was really hot and cold.

On the other hand, he dragged StL and Arizona to three Super Bowls, and had them in a position to win all three with one defensive stop.