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Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Week 13 DVOA Ratings
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Aaron Schatz

There were a lot of big games in the NFL last weekend. Carolina and New Orleans battled for the NFC South division lead. Seattle resuscitated its season with a home victory over Philadelphia. Minnesota and Atlanta battled for playoff position. But are you ready for the biggest game of the entire NFL regular season this Sunday?

Are you ready for the DVOA Bowl?

Or, if I want to hype it up even more, are you ready for the third annual DVOA Bowl?

That's right! This weekend, for the third straight year, we'll have a regular-season game pitting the No. 1 team in DVOA against the No. 2 team in DVOA. Two years ago, Arizona spoiled the spirit of the DVOA Bowl by sitting starters at halftime, leading to an easy Seattle victory. Last year we had a much closer game, as the Seattle Seahawks -- who were actually aware they were playing in the DVOA Bowl -- took down the surprisingly strong in DVOA (but near-.500 in record) Philadelphia Eagles.

How often do we play a DVOA Bowl during the regular season? Well, I went back to look and it turns out that it's more common than you might think. It seemed special when it happened the last two years because it didn't happen a single time from 2010 through 2014, and it only happened very early in the season in 2009. However, throughout the '90s and '00s, a DVOA Bowl took place roughly twice every three seasons.

But this year's DVOA Bowl is an extra special DVOA Bowl. We've seen No. 2 play No. 1 before. We've never seen No. 1 play No. 1.

That's essentially how the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles stand in DVOA right now. The Rams are at 32.449%, and the Eagles are at 32.392%. To show you how close that is, five extra yards on Carson Wentz's final 20-yard completion on Sunday night would be enough to make up the difference and put the two teams in a dead heat.

How does the Sunday afternoon Rams-Eagles tilt compare with previous DVOA Bowls? Here's a look at all of the times we had a DVOA Bowl during the regular season, going back to 1989. Note that this is total DVOA instead of weighted DVOA, and it does not include 1986-1988 because we still need to go back and do week-by-week DVOA for those seasons.

DVOA Bowl: No. 1 vs. No. 2 in Regular Season, 1989-2017
Year Week No.1 DVOA W-L No.2 DVOA W-L Home Winner
1989 7 CHI 30.6% 4-2 CLE1 27.0% 3-3 CLE1 Cleveland, 27-7
1991 5 WAS 71.8% 4-0 PHI 35.4% 3-1 WAS Washington, 23-0
1994 7 DAL 47.6% 4-1 PHI 32.8% 4-1 DAL Dallas, 24-13
1996 7 GB 59.5% 5-1 SF 32.4% 4-1 GB Green Bay, 23-20 (OT)
1996 12 GB 41.1% 8-2 DAL 31.6% 6-4 DAL Dallas, 21-6
1996 15 GB 34.8% 10-3 DEN 33.0% 12-1 GB Green Bay, 41-6
1998 16 DEN 37.1% 13-1 MIA 29.3% 9-5 MIA Miami, 31-21
2000 9 TEN 31.2% 6-1 WAS 30.7% 6-2 WAS Tennessee, 27-21
2004 9 PHI 38.3% 7-0 PIT 31.6% 6-1 PIT Pittsburgh, 27-3
2006 4 SD 66.9% 2-0 BAL 56.4% 3-0 BAL Baltimore, 16-13
2007 9 NE 73.6% 8-0 IND 48.7% 7-0 IND New England, 24-20
2008 10 NYG 36.3% 7-1 PHI 35.5% 5-3 PHI New York Giants, 36-31
2008 14 NYG 33.3% 11-1 PHI 31.4% 6-5-1 NYG Philadelphia, 20-14
2009 2 PHI 98.0% 1-0 NO 75.0% 1-0 PHI New Orleans, 48-22
2015 17 ARI 34.0% 13-2 SEA 33.4% 9-6 ARI Seattle, 36-6
2016 11 PHI 30.2% 5-4 SEA 23.6% 6-2-1 SEA Seattle, 25-16
2017 14 LARM 32.4% 9-3 PHI 32.4% 10-2 LARM

There are some interesting stories here. My favorites:

  • The 1996 Green Bay Packers played not one, not two, but three DVOA Bowls in the same season. Three times, three different opponents who were ranked No. 2 going into that game. The Packers won the two games they played at home but lost to the defending Super Bowl champions in Dallas in Week 12.
  • The other year that featured multiple DVOA Bowls was 2008. You might be surprised to see that the New York Giants were at No. 1, because they washed out of the playoffs with a quick Divisional round loss. But the defending champion Giants were much, much better in the 2008 regular season than they had been in 2007. What's interesting here is that both of the DVOA Bowls featured the same two teams. Each team won on the road. That second game, with the Giants losing in Philadelphia, kicked off a late-season collapse for Big Blue. The Giants finished 1-3, with the only win coming in overtime. They still got a bye week in the playoffs, but that Divisional round loss? It was their third game against the Eagles that season.
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  • No year has featured two DVOA Bowls with a different team at No. 1 each time.
  • The Giants' post-DVOA Bowl decline is nothing compared to the implosion of the 1989 Chicago Bears. The Bears had started the year 4-0. Then they lost two straight, but both games were close: 42-35 to Tampa Bay and then 33-28 to Houston. The DVOA Bowl in Cleveland was Chicago's first big loss of the year. While they did win two of the next three, those were the last wins the Bears had all year. They finished the season 6-10, dropping to 11th in DVOA by the end.
  • The best-remembered DVOA Bowl is probably from 2007, when New England went to Indianapolis for a battle of unbeatens. I believe that game still has the highest TV ratings of any NFL afternoon regular-season game in history. (Note: Now fixed; prime-time games have had higher ratings.)

Below our DVOA Bowl participants, the DVOA ranks stay mostly the same, but the ratings themselves do not. Pittsburgh may still be No. 4 and New England may still be No. 7, but the Steelers dropped 2.8% when they barely beat Cincinnati while New England improved 2.8% by easily dismissing Buffalo. The difference is even bigger in weighted DVOA, where that Week 1 loss to Kansas City is now long ago for the Patriots. New England has passed the Steelers, No. 4 in weighted DVOA with the Steelers one spot behind. The difference between the teams is enough to make the Patriots our new Super Bowl favorites. With so much less competition in the AFC for that trip to Minneapolis, whichever team is favored to win the AFC is going to have the best Super Bowl odds. For the first time since early September, that's New England again.

Speaking of Minneapolis, why did the Vikings drop a spot to No. 6 this week? They're even lower in weighted DVOA, at No. 7, even though they are currently in the No. 1 seed in the NFC and they've beaten three of the teams above them in our ratings (Saints, Rams, Ravens). What's going on here?

The first issue, of course, is that DVOA cares not for wins and losses, in particular for which team has beaten which other teams. DVOA is figured at the play-by-play level, so it's looking at how a team played throughout the game, not just a 1/0 result.

Minnesota's lower-than-expected rank is even stranger when you see that the Vikings have two reasons to be ranked higher than conventional wisdom. The Vikings have played the hardest schedule of any of this year's top teams, ranked No. 4 so far. And the Vikings have had miserable luck recovering fumbles, particularly on defense where they've caused nine fumbles and recovered only two of them.

No, the real explanation here is that wins come in different sizes and Minnesota's have generally been small. That 24-7 victory over the Rams in Week 11 was really impressive, but it was also just the third Vikings win by two touchdowns or more. The Vikings have a 5-1 record in games decided by eight points or less. The Vikings have outscored opponents by 81 total points, but that ranks only sixth in the NFL this year. As you might expect, the Vikings have been outstanding in the most important game situations. They currently rank seventh in offensive DVOA and fourth in defensive DVOA in "late and close" situations (second half, game within eight points). They've had the best defense in the league when tied or losing by a touchdown or less.

The Vikings are also outstanding on third downs. The ranks are similar to their ranks overall, but because third down DVOA has a larger spread, the ratings are stronger, especially on defense. On offense, the Vikings are 14.5% overall (6) but 22.1% on third down (5). On defense, the Vikings are -8.5% overall (8) but -33.9% on third-and-long (4).

Finally for this week, I turn your attention to the bottom of the rankings, where we have a new team in last place. When we predicted before the season that the Denver Broncos would be worse than expectations, I never, ever thought we would be talking about "worst team in the league." The Broncos now rate as the worst offense in the league, and that amazing defense of theirs has fallen to 10th place. Both Miami and Denver are now lower in DVOA than the winless Cleveland Browns. Perhaps that's why our simulations still have the Browns going 0-16 only 21.1 percent of the time.

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Late addendum: I ran these splits on Wednesday morning and tossed some comments up on Twitter. I thought I would post here as well for people to enjoy and dissect.

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Once again this season, we have teamed up with EA Sports to bring Football Outsiders-branded player content to Madden 18. This week, we've got TWO sets of content: our weekly content for Madden Mobile and our monthly content for Madden Ultimate Team on consoles.

These players will get special Madden Mobile items branded as "Powerline, powered by Football Outsiders," beginning at 11am Eastern on Friday. The Football Outsiders stars for Week 4 are:

  • MLB Paul Posluszny, JAC (HERO): Led Week 13 defenders with 8 stops (preventing successful offensive play) including 2 sacks plus 6 run tackles for combined 15 yards.
  • OT David Bakhtiari, GB: Packers RB gained 96 yards on 11 carries running left, 73% success rate.
  • DE Frank Clark, SEA: 2 sacks, run TFL, PD.
  • G James Hurst, BAL: Ravens RB gained 91 yards on 21 carries running up the middle, 62% success rate; Joe Flacco never sacked.
  • G Senio Kelemete, NO: Saints RB gained 152 yards on 25 carries overall; no sacks personally allowed.

And here are the Football Outsiders "Best of November" players for Madden Ultimate Team on consoles, which will go live around 11am Eastern on Friday. Stats below are from Weeks 9-12, and players were chosen before this past weekend's games.

  • QB Case Keenum, MIN: Second in passing DVOA for November; with 8.9 yards per pass and 71% completion rate.
  • HB Alvin Kamara, NO: No. 2 in rushing DYAR and No. 1 in receiving DYAR among RB in November. 76 rushing yd/G and 73 receiving yd/G with 6 total TD.
  • TE Eric Ebron, DET: Third in receiving DYAR among TE in November; caught 13 of 18 passes for 157 yards, 7 first downs and a TD.
  • LG Joe Thuney, NE: Patriots RB had 4.69 yards/carry up the middle in November with 55% success rate (second in NFL); Tom Brady only sacked 3 times.
  • C Alex Mack, ATL: Falcons RB had 53% success rate up the middle in November (fourth in NFL); Matt Ryan only sacked 4 times.
  • RT Joe Barksdale, SD: Chargers RB had 4.39 yards/carry to the right in November with 57% success rate (fifth in NFL); Philip Rivers only sacked once.
  • RE Adrian Clayborn, ATL: League-leading 6 sacks in November plus 15 pressures according to Sports Info Solutions charting.
  • DT Damon Harrison, NYG: Led NFL with 17 run stops in November, for average gain of 1.7 yards.
  • ROLB Lavonte David, TB: Led NFL with 12 defeats in November, including 4 TFL and six tackles to prevent third-down conversion.
  • CB Kendall Fuller, WAS: Only allowed 3.1 yards per pass in coverage for November according to Sports Info Solutions charting.
  • K Greg Zuerlein, LARM: 25 touchbacks on 27 kickoffs. 11-of-12 on field goals with only miss from 63 yards.
  • P Sam Koch, BAL: 7 of 17 punts downed inside the 10; 22-yard pass to convert fake punt.

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All stats pages should now be updated through Week 13, including snap counts, playoff odds, and the FO Premium DVOA database.

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These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through 13 weeks of 2017, 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.

WEIGHTED DVOA represents an attempt to figure out how a team is playing right now, as opposed to over the season as a whole, by making recent games more important than earlier games.

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

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

1 LARM 32.4% 1 33.7% 2 9-3 12.0% 8 -11.9% 4 8.5% 2
2 PHI 32.4% 2 34.7% 1 10-2 15.2% 4 -14.0% 3 3.2% 10
3 NO 29.8% 3 31.8% 3 9-3 27.1% 1 -4.8% 11 -2.1% 22
4 PIT 26.5% 4 26.5% 5 10-2 14.9% 5 -10.6% 5 0.9% 15
5 BAL 23.0% 6 24.1% 6 7-5 -9.8% 23 -23.4% 1 9.4% 1
6 MIN 22.4% 5 22.9% 7 10-2 14.5% 6 -8.5% 8 -0.6% 19
7 NE 20.2% 7 27.3% 4 10-2 25.6% 2 11.0% 29 5.6% 5
8 JAC 14.5% 8 11.2% 9 8-4 -2.8% 20 -21.8% 2 -4.5% 27
9 SEA 10.9% 11 13.6% 8 8-4 3.4% 13 -7.0% 9 0.6% 16
10 CAR 10.7% 9 10.1% 10 8-4 -2.3% 19 -8.7% 7 4.3% 8
11 KC 10.1% 10 1.2% 15 6-6 15.4% 3 10.8% 28 5.6% 6
12 DAL 5.3% 17 6.0% 12 6-6 7.0% 11 9.5% 26 7.7% 3
13 GB 4.4% 14 2.0% 14 6-6 4.4% 12 0.3% 18 0.3% 17
14 ATL 4.3% 15 4.3% 13 7-5 14.4% 7 9.1% 24 -1.0% 20
15 DET 3.6% 12 -0.8% 17 6-6 2.4% 14 4.5% 20 5.7% 4
16 LACH 2.0% 16 6.3% 11 6-6 8.9% 10 -3.0% 13 -9.9% 32
17 WAS -0.1% 13 -3.6% 18 5-7 0.3% 17 -4.0% 12 -4.4% 26
18 CIN -2.9% 20 0.6% 16 5-7 -1.9% 18 0.7% 19 -0.3% 18
19 HOU -5.1% 18 -8.3% 22 4-8 -3.5% 21 -1.8% 14 -3.3% 23
20 TEN -5.3% 22 -6.0% 21 8-4 0.9% 16 7.3% 21 1.1% 14
21 OAK -5.4% 19 -4.6% 19 6-6 10.8% 9 17.3% 32 1.2% 13
22 BUF -11.2% 21 -16.9% 24 6-6 -16.2% 27 -0.4% 17 4.6% 7
23 ARI -11.9% 23 -5.9% 20 5-7 -13.7% 25 -8.8% 6 -6.9% 30
24 NYJ -15.4% 25 -12.6% 23 5-7 -5.8% 22 7.9% 22 -1.6% 21
25 TB -15.9% 24 -17.9% 25 4-8 1.3% 15 13.5% 31 -3.7% 24
26 CHI -20.4% 26 -20.5% 27 3-9 -18.3% 28 -1.7% 15 -3.8% 25
27 SF -24.4% 29 -23.0% 28 2-10 -14.8% 26 11.3% 30 1.7% 12
28 NYG -24.9% 28 -25.1% 30 2-10 -10.5% 24 8.3% 23 -6.1% 29
29 IND -26.6% 30 -20.2% 26 3-9 -21.1% 30 9.3% 25 3.8% 9
30 CLE -27.0% 31 -23.4% 29 0-12 -22.3% 31 -0.8% 16 -5.4% 28
31 MIA -27.3% 32 -27.6% 31 5-7 -20.1% 29 9.8% 27 2.5% 11
32 DEN -27.4% 27 -33.8% 32 3-9 -23.2% 32 -5.4% 10 -9.6% 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).

1 LARM 32.4% 9-3 31.6% 9.0 4 -1.8% 22 3.4% 11 17.5% 25
2 PHI 32.4% 10-2 36.2% 9.4 2 -5.8% 31 1.9% 17 12.5% 19
3 NO 29.8% 9-3 24.5% 10.5 1 0.6% 11 -5.7% 24 8.9% 11
4 PIT 26.5% 10-2 28.7% 8.9 5 -0.6% 19 2.8% 13 12.5% 20
5 BAL 23.0% 7-5 26.4% 7.6 7 -1.8% 23 -7.5% 27 21.4% 29
6 MIN 22.4% 10-2 19.4% 9.0 3 5.4% 4 -2.1% 19 4.8% 3
7 NE 20.2% 10-2 23.9% 7.8 6 -4.2% 27 -6.8% 26 8.7% 10
8 JAC 14.5% 8-4 20.2% 6.8 11 -3.1% 25 -6.0% 25 24.3% 32
9 SEA 10.9% 8-4 17.7% 7.2 9 -4.1% 26 10.1% 4 5.5% 4
10 CAR 10.7% 8-4 10.2% 7.1 10 0.5% 13 3.8% 10 5.6% 6
11 KC 10.1% 6-6 11.6% 7.6 8 -0.3% 15 -14.5% 30 17.5% 24
12 DAL 5.3% 6-6 5.1% 6.7 13 -0.3% 16 3.3% 12 22.6% 31
13 GB 4.4% 6-6 -0.4% 6.7 12 5.5% 3 2.4% 15 5.7% 7
14 ATL 4.3% 7-5 7.4% 6.5 14 -1.1% 20 13.6% 1 4.4% 1
15 DET 3.6% 6-6 -0.9% 6.2 15 4.9% 5 -8.7% 29 4.6% 2
16 LACH 2.0% 6-6 12.4% 5.4 19 -5.7% 30 -2.7% 21 7.4% 8
17 WAS -0.1% 5-7 -8.5% 5.3 20 10.5% 1 -15.6% 32 16.1% 22
18 CIN -2.9% 5-7 -1.4% 6.0 17 -2.9% 24 7.1% 7 16.4% 23
19 HOU -5.1% 4-8 -8.9% 5.2 21 2.7% 8 -2.5% 20 18.7% 27
20 TEN -5.3% 8-4 -1.8% 6.1 16 -4.3% 28 2.7% 14 19.3% 28
21 OAK -5.4% 6-6 2.6% 5.9 18 -7.0% 32 12.5% 2 12.6% 21
22 BUF -11.2% 6-6 -10.2% 5.1 22 -0.4% 18 -15.3% 31 18.5% 26
23 ARI -11.9% 5-7 -14.0% 4.0 25 2.9% 6 -4.9% 22 11.4% 16
24 NYJ -15.4% 5-7 -9.1% 4.2 23 -5.5% 29 6.1% 9 10.2% 13
25 TB -15.9% 4-8 -13.7% 4.1 24 -1.6% 21 12.1% 3 8.4% 9
26 CHI -20.4% 3-9 -26.2% 3.6 26 10.1% 2 -1.0% 18 10.8% 15
27 SF -24.4% 2-10 -25.6% 2.7 30 0.6% 12 9.1% 5 5.5% 5
28 NYG -24.9% 2-10 -24.4% 2.8 29 2.0% 9 6.4% 8 10.1% 12
29 IND -26.6% 3-9 -28.4% 2.6 31 1.4% 10 -5.2% 23 10.8% 14
30 CLE -27.0% 0-12 -33.4% 2.6 32 2.8% 7 8.4% 6 11.6% 17
31 MIA -27.3% 5-7 -24.0% 3.6 27 0.4% 14 2.0% 16 12.2% 18
32 DEN -27.4% 3-9 -20.5% 3.4 28 -0.4% 17 -8.0% 28 21.8% 30


92 comments, Last at 10 Dec 2017, 8:06pm

1 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Vikings are clearly ranked too low, because ranking teams by most unpleasant local ethnic food is clearly best, and lutefisk tastes like and has the mouthfeel of hardened silicone caulk.

23 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

That's better than its reputation. Any food where you have to beware saponification aspires to taste like silicone caulk.

\still better than surstromming or hakarl.

41 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Oh, harkarl is the worst. The only way to consume it, in my experience, is by eating a small piece, immediately followed by a shot of liquor north of 120 proof. May have been as intoxicated as I ever have been, after "enjoying" a harkarl "appetizer".

44 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

I swear, The Nordics eat crap even Koreans wouldn't eat.

Korean cuisine usually only pickles the hell out of things. The Norse lye things that can't be pickled!

51 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Nothing like a short growing season, and primitive food preservation technology, to expand the boundaries of the set known as "edible for humans".

56 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

The historical explanation for the fermentation-based preservation was a lack of easy access to salt for high-strength brines.

Which seems odd, for a coastal people.

66 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

To be fair, lutefisk really isn't a Twin Cities local food, and, to find it in a largely non-ironic fashion, you really need to head northwards up to the Iron Range, where kindly old Scandanavian ladies will serve you that rotting horror some people pretend is "food".

Why, yes, I did grow up in that area and had a father who was a minister, so when the nice old church lady at the potluck offered me some, I was forced to take it, eat it, and smile.

Lutefisk is a war crime.

68 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

I had it non-ironically deep into the '70s, while growing up in Minneapolis. You mean some irony sauce would have made it less gag-inducing? I'm gonna complain to my parents when I see them at Christmas!

69 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

A pile of iron shavings would make it less gag-inducing; pretty much anything would.

I had it in the last 70s/early 80s as well, but I've been back in the Twin Cities for a dozen years and I've never seen anyone serve it or talk about it in any way other than it being an utter horror. Maybe it died out with the older generation. We can only hope.

87 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

So do we need an advanced stat ranking ethnic foods to quantify how horrific lutefisk is? Would Lutefisk be the 2005 49ers of ethnic cuisine?

2 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Has anyone looked into the accuracy of the playoff odds predictions? Particularly over the course of the season?

6 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Vikings are too low...they have wins over three of the top-5 teams...six of the top-15 in DVOA. Meanwhile, the Chiefs are too high. 11th? After going 1-6 in their last seven games including losses to the Bills, Jets and Giants?

3 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Wow, Chicago and D.C. apparently have schedules significantly more difficult than other teams so far. I'd love to see the data in graph form. Unfortunately I am not capable in this regard.

8 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

The Redskins have played the Rams, Seahawks, Eagles(x2), Saints, Vikings, and pre-collapse Chiefs. The inversion of the standings from last season has made their schedule much tougher, as the Vikings and Saints were not expected to be playing as well as they have been.

9 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

I'm having a look at the DVOA for each team this week in the Premium and there were some pretty strange results this week.

- KC had a DVOA of 48% compared to -42% for NYJ. That difference would be even larger if not for opponent adjustments. It's highly unusual for a losing team to have a DVOA that much higher than a winning team.
- ARI had a higher DVOA than LARM. That's just due to opponent adjustments, but it seems pretty weird for a pretty one sided game.
- I'm pretty sure Denver had the worst DVOA of the year with -122.8%. Miami "only" had a DVOA of 53% so that seems to say more about Denver than Miami.
-CLE had a better DVOA than LACH. Again, opponent adjustments, but seems pretty weird.
- CIN had a much better DVOA than Pittsburgh (50.9% vs -12.1%).
- There were 4 games this week where both teams had a positive DVOA (PHI vs SEA, CLE vs LACH, ATL vs MIN, CAR vs NO). That seems unusual.

35 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Arizona-Rams wasn't actually that one sided: almost the entirety of the difference between the two teams was caused by the 2 interceptions in the first quarter, both of which had big returns, and both of them you wouldn't necessarily have expected big returns. Those are both cases where it's a big play for the Rams, but they got a *much* bigger value out of them than you'd normally expect. Plus the Rams got a blocked field goal with a big return, too.

So those are all things that are great for the Rams on the scoreboard, but it's not like they can count on them week to week. I mean, if you look at that first turnover that led to the Rams first touchdown, if the receiver just *tackles* him rather than... whatever the hell he thought he was doing, the Rams probably don't score a touchdown on that drive.

Both teams basically ended up with the same yards/play, Arizona had a way higher 3rd down conversion percentage, but their 2 turnovers were way more costly than the Rams 1 turnover was. So not terribly surprising that the two teams were close in play, and then Arizona gets boosted in DVOA because they played well versus a good opponent.

70 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

I don't know how the Rams rank in big plays, but it seems like they have had a lot of big plays this year - both on offense and defense.

Reminds me a bit of the 2009 Saints in that regard.

62 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

I was wondering what DVOA would think of that Jets-Chiefs game. I imagine the big reason the Chiefs had a better rating is that while the teams had about the same yardage total, KC was much, much better on a per play basis. The Chiefs averaged a crazy 10.3 yards per play, while the Jets were only about half that. Remember the Jets also went 13-20 on third downs. I imagine DVOA thinks being that effective on third down isn't really sustainable, and so isn't predictive.

10 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

I don't think the Rams get as much home field advantage as is typical for nonterrible teams, and I think the Eagles, having spent all week on the West Coast after playing Seattle, will not suffer anywhere close to as much disadvantage as is typical of a East Coast team playing on the opposite coast. I kind of like the Eagles as 2.5 point dogs, despite the fact that the Rams have been my favorite to win the conference since September.

11 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Seattle is ranked too low because DangeRuss is #Amazeballz. Clearly using a system that would grossly inflate their ranking based on reputation alone would be better. If only they had been able to retain Hauschka, their special teams wouldn't be holding them back and they would be in contention for the #1 seed.
#MVP #VelvetSuit

12 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

GB special teams really helped the cause against Tampa. If the units can keep this up for the remainder of the season Gb might crack the top 12. Most interesting is that rookie Josh Jones who has been getting attention for his role on the defense was replaced on coverage units because he could not play the role without committing penalties

13 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

That second game, with the Giants losing in Philadelphia, kicked off a late-season collapse for Big Blue. The Giants finished 1-3, with the only win coming in overtime.

Not coincidentally, Plaxico Burress had shot himself 10 days earlier.

The best-remembered DVOA Bowl is probably from 2007, when New England went to Indianapolis for a battle of unbeatens. I believe that game still has the highest TV ratings of any NFL regular-season game in history.

Not sure where those ratings cited in that article came from, but the NFL Record & Fact Book lists (at least) ten Monday Night Football games with higher ratings, topped by the 1985 Bears-Dolphins game. Maybe that article meant Sunday afternoon games only?

FWIW, the Patriots-Giants Week 17 game that year drew a higher rating, though across three networks. (And the linked article cites a 1995 Chiefs-Cowboys Thanksgiving game as drawing a higher rating.)

30 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

The one Giants win in that stretch was a really good game as well, that ended up being fairly meanningless in the long stretch.

It was a winner-take-all for hte #1 seed between New York and Carolina. The game went to OT, the Giants won 34-28. It was a back and forth affair all night played out on a brutally cold night in the Meadowlands.

Of course, both teams would then lose their Divisional Round home game.

14 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

How do the Saints have more estimated wins than games played? Oh I see we are done with that one now.

16 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Let's see--10.5 Est. Wins, 12 games played--not sure of your point, unless it was meant to be sarcastic. I'm a Saints fan, and the only thing that makes sense is that the BUF and MIA wins really mess up the metric.

74 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Yes, that was a joke. What I don't understand is how NO has more Est Wins than the Eagles and Rams. Those teams have higher DVOA against weaker schedules. Yet the Saints have significantly higher Est Wins, more than one whole win higher than both teams?

15 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

When I look at the unit rankings for the top teams the Vikings overall score seems less strange. The kicking game really has sucked, and not just because of the kicker; there have been lots of issues. The punter hasn't been great. True, the Saints special teams have been worse, but their offense has had more blow the doors off games than the Vikings. The Vikings defense has been quite good, but they have given up some garbage time tds a little too easily, and I agree those shouldn't be discounted. I don't know enough about opponent adjustment to have any opinion on the proper weighting, but I imagine there is a bit of randomness contained therein.

17 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Not a Saints fan, but it would be kinda awesome if they won the Superbowl this year after all the talk about trading Brees. Also, teams should be fighting to hire Rob Ryan so they can then get the huge bump in performance from firing him.

18 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

I am a Saints fan, and I actually wouldn't be too disappointed if Philly or Minnesota won it all this year. Or even LA really. It's refreshing to see all those teams doing well. Pittsburgh and NE, not so much.

39 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

There is a very likely chance that the NFC returns just one playoff team in 2017 (one of Atlanta or Seattle). It's fun that with so much turnover, and the prospect of a playoffs without the Packers and potentially Seahawks, I find it much more alluring.

To be fair, There is a scenario where the AFC returns just two (NE & PIT), with JAX, TEN, BAL, SD all being new entrants.

72 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Unfortunately (for those who like change and don't like the Patriots or Steelers), those 2 AFC teams have been to just about every playoffs in the last 17 years, and usually at least one of them gets to the AFCCG. Of course, they have also been in 10 of the past 16 Super Bowls.

78 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Yup, when you expand the group to include Patriots, Steelers and [Peyton Manning's team] it becomes quite depressing for the rest of the AFC.

Starting QB for the AFC in teh Super Bowl since 2001:


19 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Interesting info on the 1 vs 2 data. When the DVOA difference was 10% or less the higher ranked team won 3 and lost 8. When the spread was more than 10% the fav won 3 and lost 1.

I looked at Super Bowls going back to 1990 - when the DVOA spread was 10% or less the stronger DVOA team won 6 and lost 4. When the spread was greater than 10% the stronger team won 12 and lost 5.

I also looked at ELO and SRS in those super bowls and if you find very similar predictive results. The greater the spread the greater the predictive ability.

20 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Kind of an interesting point about the "resolution" of DVOA as a win-predictive measure. Everyone with a cursory understanding of how DVOA is calculated recognizes that "small" differences in DVOA are as likely a result of convoluting factors as actual differences in the quality of team performance - it is therefore unsurprising that in small samples like superbowl or "DVOA bowl" matchups the teams would play pretty even when the DVOA's of the two were "close". I suspect that the 10% difference was picked fairly arbitrarily; does anyone have any thoughts as to how to go about determining what a statistically significant difference in DVOA is from a win probability point of view?

22 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

10% was an arbitrary choice by me because I'm not statistically capable of doing proper analysis. I suppose a proper study would look at every game and show that each x amount of DVOA would lead to x % better chance of winning.

One of the reasons I like ELO ratings is they actually give predictions based on % chance of winning. How accurate is that - I suspect roughly as accurate as SRS and DVOA.

I think we tend to search for an accuracy level that leads to things like rankings of teams from 1-32, ratings that go to a 10th of percent as DVOA does. What seems likely is that the difference in quality between the top 7 or so teams this year are not really discernible by any known ranking system.

34 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

I don't think everyone with a cursory understanding of DVOA considers 10% a small difference. If that was the case no one would bother arguing about whether a 30% team is better than a 20% team or 20% better than a 10%. Yet they do all the time.

Heck, the guy who makes the site gets asked why the heck Balt is so high at 23% - and agrees they should be lower - you think anyone would say a word if Baltimore's ranking was 13%?

37 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

I think you misunderstood my point; people understand that a "small" differences in DVOA aren't significant from a win probability point of view. I'm not aware of any good analysis to indicate what a "small" difference in DVOA actually is (qualified by that differences impact on the predictive value of DVOA in determining win probability). I think such an analysis would be really interesting, but I'm nor sure what appropriate statistical methods would be. I've seen the suggestion of bucketing games by DVOA difference, but I'm not sure that using the 20+ year DVOA era as a source is actually appropriate due to the changing nature of football over the time period (I'm also not sure it's not appropriate).

48 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

"I'm not aware of any good analysis to indicate what a "small" difference in DVOA actually is"

DVOA correlates to points. 100% DVOA means you'll score twice as many points as average. Average points scored is about 22 points, so 100% DVOA is 22 points over average. So a 10% DVOA advantage is about a 2.2 point favorite or so, which is about a boost of about 5% in win probability (that is, about 55% of the time a 10% DVOA favorite will win).

As I pointed out elsewhere the 1 vs 2 comparison in the table isn't easy because you've got home field to deal with, and the 'small' difference cases are dominantly away. For the Super Bowl, though, the "under 10% difference = 60% win percentage" is just about in line with the back-of-the-envelope estimate there.

49 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

In the FAQ section they answer the question does DVOA work with DVOA correlation to wins vs pt differential, wins, and yardage differential - both for in season and year + 1. The comparison shows a clear advantage for DVOA in predictive ability year + 1 but not in year.

But the comparison is against some pretty basic stats...how does it compare to adjusted point differential? Yards/play or yards/pass differential? How about ELO?

Most important to me - Football Outsiders is by far the most interesting football site. My gut is ELO, SRS, Expected Points, DVOA all have about the same predictive ability because there is just too much randomness to get much better predictive ability and the low hanging fruit has been picked.

54 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

"because there is just too much randomness to get much better predictive ability"

You're thinking about this wrong. The job of a team strength stat isn't to predict the winner of a game perfectly. It's a game. You can't predict it perfectly, obviously, because someone's got to win.

(In fact, you can actually show that it's *impossible* to predict football results at better than about a 60-some percent clip or so- the teams are too tightly clustered in true strength. You can do that just using the win distribution of the teams themselves.)

An ideal team strength stat stabilizes quickly and correlates to *itself*, while also correlating to wins - specifically, the team strength differential between two teams correlates to the winning percentage when those two teams play.

58 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

not sure what that means.

For me I would like more certainty in my world and that includes the Vikings. So I hope that some stat will provide me with some certainty that the Vikings are so much better that they will definitely win the Super Bowl.

But that's terribly silly because:

1) There can be no stat that will provide me the level of certainty I desire. The 2007 Pats were the best stats based team in NFL history...you couldn't ask for more certainty that they were a better team and yet they lost.

And, 2) If there was actual certainty that the Vikings would win - than what would be the point of watching.

In the end it seems to me that all this reading of football stats is simply an exercise in avoiding the certainty that I will be dead someday.

64 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

watching the Vikings with my Dad and younger brother since 1969 has definitely shaped my psyche.

Dad is 88 this year, I'm really hoping the Vikings give him a present soon. This is the first Viking team he's actually liked since Bud Grant's days. He's from Winnipeg and was impressed by Grant from his days coaching the Bombers there. My brother and I might have a different outlook on life he took a shine to Vince Lombardi instead.

65 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

There is a particular kind of stoicism required to be a Vikings fan for decades. This isn't to say that what they have endured is the worst of what all fans have experienced. Decades-long Lions fans, for instance have exhibited a genuine, intrinsic, fondness for the game itself, that may not be exceeded by any other fanbase. The Vikings fan has a Sisyphean experience in this Vale of Tears, whose fate is to almost get to where he or she wants football fandom to arrive at, only to see it rolling back down to The Valley of Disappointmemt. I actually find it pretty fascinating, now in my 47th year of paying attention to them. I just know something bad, awful, terrible, is going to happen as, week by week, the season becomes more successful. Will it happen this Sunday? In mid-January? As the ultimate destination is only inches away, on the first Sunday in February? Who knows,but I am a hopeless masochist at this point. Hit me again! HA! HA! HA! HA!

67 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

If you're a Lions fan, you enjoy the superlative individual performers who pass through.

Guys like Spielman, or Sims, or Stafford, or Johnson, or Moore, or Brown or Hanson, or Barry. God, Barry.

And even Suh, in all of his shit-kicking, QB-stomping glory. Man, I miss him. He was fun.

71 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Oh, man, that old crappy turf in the Metrodome destroyed at least two HOF careers, Sims and Millard, and I was there when both those knees exploded.

88 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

I don't know whether to be angry at Miami, laugh at them, or be relieved that they overpayed Suh. On the one hand, that 2014 defense was great largely because of him. On the other hand, whenever he does something stupid, like the Mallett choking incident, I say to myself, "I'm glad he's not our problem anymore".

42 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

The 1 vs 2 games were regular season, so you've got home field to deal with, and for the "less than 10%" crowd, most of those games were away (4 home, 7 away). They went 2-2 at home, and 1-6 away.

In other words, when the teams were close to each other in DVOA, the home team won 8/11 times, which does not bode well for the Eagles on Sunday.

21 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Regarding the Vikings and their lack of 2 score wins. Many of Minnesota's games could have been bigger wins with more aggressive strategy at the end of the game.

NO - won but 10 pts, but Minn also knelt with 1st down at NO 7 with 1:42 to go
Balt - won by 8 - Balt threw a TD on the last play of the game
Det - won by 7 - minn had FG blocked when Lions player jumped offside with 1:15 to go
Atl - won by 5 - minn kneels on Atl 10 1st down 2 mins to go

So if the Vikings push in for TDs in 3 of those games, rather than kneeling or playing for a FG - then they have a much more impressive looking record.

But, while many of the Viking games recently seemed on like they were going to be dominant beat downs (Wash, Det, Balt) those games all tightened later. So that probably tells you that they are a good team, but not a great team.

24 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

I have performed no studies, but based on observation teams with really good defenses tend to be pretty conservative later in the game when the team has a lead. The head coach is likely of the mindset that hey my defense is really good I am not going to take risks that may help the other team when if I force that team to put together a chain of plays on their own at some point my defense will 'break' that chain and end the game.

45 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

I think the Vikings offense has maxed out its potential, and the best they can do is maintain status quo. I don't think that is likely.

I think the defense has nontrivial room for improvement, and we have seen a glimpse of that in Atlanta. If they get HFA, they might get pretty darn scary.

I think they could make very large improvement in special teams, via simple execution, but fundamentally, predicting all but the very best placekickers' performance over an 8 week span is hopeless.

47 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

I learned the other day that Viking qbs are receiving pressure on 38% of dropbacks but only getting sacked 6% of the time. I am no whizerati but I suspect that is unsustainable over the course of an entire season. That might be the soft underbelly of the Vikes offense if anyone can learn to exploit it

50 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

I think their defense needs to play to its potential, which I don't think it has (perhaps in part due to fumble luck), because I agree that they have done some stuff on offense which may not be sustained. I think Zimmer knows this as well, which is why he is desperate to get HFA, which will mean a lot to the defense.

25 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

How in the mighty fuck are my Ravens the #5 team in DVOA?!?? They have sucked for much of the year.

The "fire Harbaugh" uproar on Ravens forums has been particularly strong this year. And of course, 11-5 with a playoff spot is still very much on the table. What a crazy, crazy season.

27 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

This one is pretty simple.

1) Fans, even Baltimore fans, don't appreciate defense as much as offense.
2) Fans have almost no appreciation for great special teams and how much they can matter.
3) Baltimore's rating is artificially raised by the serendipity to constantly play backup quarterbacks, as addressed in last week's DVOA ratings. It's probably more accurate to put them below the Patriots and Vikings.

33 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

The Ravens would be insane to fire Harbaugh. This is a team that lost so many key players (admittedly few *great* players) before the season even started, has no offense partly because their QB is saddled with a giant contract and has played like dog-bleep for most of the season, and they are fighting for a playoff spot.

They've only had one truly bad year under Harbaugh, and yes while some of the shine of those first five seasons have worn off, so has a lot of the talent he's been handed.

Also I don't think there's any mistake as to why their Special Teams are consistently very good given his background.

29 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

I continue to be amazed that the Packers are still considered 'about average' in every phase. Watching the games they seem awful. Maybe that's just an unconscious comparison to how they look with Rodgers on the field.

43 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

GB has lost to the teams ranked 3-6 in DVOA with Hundley at QB. Detroit is for lack of a better word 'equal' to GB. So basically GB has lost to the teams you would expect and beaten the teams it should.

GB was really only dominated by Detroit and Baltimore mostly because the game plans were dumb given the limitations at qb. GB was competitive in all other games both wins and losses

31 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

I have to watch a Jacksonville game sometime. I've read the defence is really good, the RB is really good, but the QB stinks. But I've never actually seen them play.

My favourite games are a team with a good offence but not great defence vs a team with a great defence but not great offence. Strikes me NE vs Jacksonville would be so much fun, because you add in the upstart vs the long standing champ.

40 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

I watched the Jags against the Chargers a few weeks ago, and LA was able to have some success passing to RBs. DVOA suggests that their pass defense is fantastic against deep balls and #1 receivers, but less good against RBs and TEs, so I think that gives us a clue as to how New England would attack them.

52 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

NE sure does seem to attack weaknesses very well. I remember in 2006 when when a 4-2 Vikings team was feeling good - they had the Williams Wall and no team could run against them (they gave up 2.8 per rush that year).

So Brady come out and throws almost every single down - final stats were 43 passes 15 runs, 4 of those were consecutive runs to end the game.

They actually ran effectively that game as well, 6yds/carry, probably because they set it up so well with the pass.

Belichick is a smart coach.

76 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

That was one of the worst officiated games I've ever seen. If I knew any Vikings fans back then, I would have called them up immediately afterward to apologize.

Unfortunately, my pro-Patriot bias means the bad calls weren't important enough for me to remember them individually, but I recall being blown away at how many times Minny got screwed.

46 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Have we ever gotten an explanation for why the Saints Estimated Wins are so high? I recall there being a bunch of (erroneous) complaints earlier in the season when NO had more estimated wins than games played, but I don’t remember anyone explaining why they have a larger than 1 game gap over every other team and have for most of the season. Especially with today’s write up on the Vikings high DVOA in situations that Eaimates Wins values, combined with a low fumble recovery rate and difficult schedule that should boost their total. Are the Saints just head and shoulders above the rest of the league in one metric? Or is it all of the metrics? I can’t even guess which one it would be.

61 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

From the glossary:
Estimated wins: The number of games that team should have won if it faced an average schedule of opponents and average luck, as determined by the Forest Index.
Forest Index: A response to a claim that total team DVOA rankings "missed the forest for the trees," the forest index (developed near the end of 2003) spits out an estimate of wins based on a formula that combines DVOA ratings in offense, defense, and special teams, as well as red zone defense, offense and defense in the second half of close games, offense in the first quarter, and variance (see VARIANCE).

It seems that it is a measuring in-game performance and discounting weak starts and giving a premium for strong finishes. Sort of like measuring the slope of a least squares line of a win probability chart.

In the premium stats, there are DVOAs broken down by quarters, halfs and late/close. The Saints improve on both O and D as the game progresses and are extraordinarily strong in late/close DVOA thanks to the comeback against WAS. The Vikings appear more steady throughout with better O in 2nd and 3rd Q. NE seems to start halves strong and taper off slightly, especially 4th quarter D. I'm sure the formula is much more complex and yes, the Saints are kind of an outlier for winning teams.

79 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

The disconnect between the Eagles' DVOA and record, year after year (until recently!) was always amazing to me. There were always reasons that made sense (even in the years backfilled) but it's still impressive to me how consistently it was happening with that franchise.

73 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

I remember that 1998 Broncos-Dolphins DVOA bowl. I was not nearly as aware of underlying statistics at the time, and assumed that a 9-5 Dolphins team was much worse than a 13-1 Broncos team. I was hoping the Broncos would go into that game undefeated, so the Dolphins could "protect" their perfect season, like they did against the Bears in 1985. But Denver didn't hold up their end, and lost to the Giants the week before.

But I don't have any recollection of the Dolphins being perhaps the 2nd-best team in the league at that time.

The Dolphins then got hammered at home the following week by Atlanta, as they committed 6 turnovers. So they dropped to 4th in DVOA so the Dolphins-Broncos rematch in the playoffs didn't also end up being a DVOA rematch.

81 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Apparently. Looks like he threw a game-winning 37-yard touchdown to Amani Toomer with 57 seconds left in the game.

Elway drove down to the Giants' 30-yard line, but ran out of time.



Sorry if it's written somewhere Aaron but where can you find those splits for the first half compared to the second half of games played?



89 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

without going back to read the 1998 article, I'm shocked that Miami ever rose to number 2 in dvoa that season. their opponent adjustments mustve been through the roof, as the AFCE had 4 playoff teams in addition to the combo of marshall faulk and rookie peyton manning. The listed game vs Denver, on MNF, was supposed to protect the '72 dolphins legacy and be a throwback to when Miami beat the undefeated bears late in 1985. But Denver ruined that the week before by losing late to the Giants.

The shocking part to me is how Miami and not Minnesota was number 2 that late into the 1998 season.

90 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Funny. I wrote a similar comment in #73.

It looks like opponent adjustment has a lot to do with the difference between Minnesota and Miami. Miami finished 4th in DVOA, just ahead of Minnesota.

But Minnesota was 2nd in VOA, while Miami was 9th. This helps explain why I didn't remember the Dolphins being that good that year. I didn't have as good of an understanding of schedule strength at that time. The Dolphins played against 10 playoff teams that season, including both Super Bowl participants. The Vikings only played against 4 playoff teams.

91 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

The Packers/Broncos game from 1996 is somewhat misleading as Denver didn't play many of their starters because they had already clinched their playoff spot.