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

Week 18 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

(Note: Special Teams DVOA below is now corrected.)

Once again, it is time for postseason DVOA ratings. As always, the following rules apply:

  • All 32 teams are ranked, whether they made the playoffs or not.
  • Teams are ranked in order of weighted DVOA, not total season DVOA. Since weighted DVOA is meant to lower the strength of older games, these ratings do not include Weeks 1-4, and Weeks 5-10 are somewhat discounted.
  • Teams which did not play in the wild-card round are treated as if they had a bye week. (That includes both the 20 non-playoff teams and the four teams with byes.)

As I did last year, I'm including full-season DVOA as well as weighted DVOA in this table, but it's almost the same as it was a week ago. Adding one game into a sample of 17 doesn't usually change things very much, especially when you are only doing it for eight teams.

The wild-card round really doesn't change much with weighted DVOA either. Although we didn't have any close games, we didn't have any ridiculous blowouts on the order of last year's Kansas City 30-0 victory over Houston. New England is still No. 1 by a good amount, and this week the last of the four Brady suspension games drops out of the weighted DVOA formula. Pittsburgh and Dallas are currently second and third despite a lack of any adjustment for these teams sitting starters in Week 17, although the Steelers did pass the Cowboys with their strong wild-card performance. Green Bay also moves up and now ranks No. 1 in weighted offensive DVOA.

You might notice that seven of the eight remaining teams have a higher weighted DVOA than full-season DVOA. Seattle is the only team left that played better earlier in the season than in the last few weeks.

You will find DVOA matchup pages for the four divisional games on the FO Premium page. Snap counts should be updated with information on the wild-card round by this evening. And if you have a team in the Football Outsiders 2016 Playoff Fantasy Challenge, you can check out your team right here. Scores for this will also be updated later tonight.

FO's wild-card round players for Madden 17 Ultimate Team will be announced in a separate post on Tuesday.

* * * * *

To save people some time, we remind everyone to put their angry troll hatred into the official zlionsfan angry troll hatred Mad Libs form:

<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>

If you are new to our website, you can read the explanation of how DVOA is figured here. As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE.

Teams in yellow are still alive in the playoffs. Teams in gray lost this past weekend.

1 NE 35.1% 1 14-2 24.7% 3 -7.3% 9 3.1% 6 25.3% 1
2 PIT 23.9% 3 12-5 12.7% 8 -12.1% 5 -0.9% 21 17.5% 4
3 DAL 23.0% 2 13-3 20.2% 4 0.0% 19 2.8% 9 21.0% 2
4 ATL 20.7% 4 11-5 25.0% 2 5.3% 21 1.0% 14 19.6% 3
5 KC 20.3% 5 12-4 8.3% 10 -1.7% 14 10.3% 1 13.9% 7
6 GB 20.1% 7 11-6 26.3% 1 6.0% 24 -0.2% 20 15.9% 6
7 PHI 11.5% 10 7-9 -5.2% 21 -8.1% 8 8.5% 2 17.1% 5
8 BAL 11.1% 9 8-8 -0.4% 16 -4.5% 12 7.0% 4 5.9% 10
9 TEN 10.7% 11 9-7 13.7% 7 7.0% 25 4.0% 5 3.9% 13
10 WAS 10.5% 8 8-7-1 20.1% 5 8.5% 27 -1.1% 22 9.2% 9
11 TB 7.8% 12 9-7 0.4% 15 -8.7% 7 -1.3% 23 -1.6% 21
12 NYG 7.7% 6 11-6 -9.8% 24 -16.5% 2 1.0% 13 4.9% 12
13 CIN 5.3% 15 6-9-1 6.2% 12 -0.6% 17 -1.6% 24 3.0% 15
14 IND 5.2% 18 8-8 7.9% 11 5.5% 22 2.9% 8 -5.1% 24
15 SEA 5.1% 14 11-5-1 -2.5% 17 -7.0% 10 0.5% 17 10.6% 8
16 ARI 3.4% 17 7-8-1 -2.6% 19 -12.4% 4 -6.4% 30 1.7% 16
17 OAK 2.5% 13 12-5 3.2% 13 2.0% 20 1.3% 12 5.3% 11
18 NO 0.6% 19 7-9 15.2% 6 12.6% 29 -2.0% 25 -0.4% 17
19 CAR -3.0% 20 6-10 -13.0% 26 -10.2% 6 -0.2% 19 -4.8% 23
20 DEN -3.5% 21 9-7 -19.5% 29 -19.8% 1 -3.8% 27 3.8% 14
21 MIA -4.7% 16 10-7 0.4% 14 5.9% 23 1.7% 11 -1.9% 22
22 SD -7.2% 23 5-11 -8.3% 23 -6.7% 11 -5.6% 29 -1.0% 19
23 BUF -7.9% 22 7-9 8.6% 9 12.0% 28 -4.5% 28 -0.7% 18
24 CHI -9.4% 24 3-13 -2.5% 18 7.6% 26 0.7% 16 -7.9% 25
25 JAC -10.8% 25 3-13 -10.3% 25 -3.1% 13 -3.6% 26 -10.7% 26
26 MIN -12.5% 26 8-8 -13.4% 27 -0.2% 18 0.7% 15 -1.1% 20
27 HOU -14.6% 27 10-7 -20.3% 30 -12.7% 3 -7.0% 31 -18.2% 28
28 DET -16.8% 29 9-8 -3.8% 20 16.1% 32 3.0% 7 -17.6% 27
29 SF -18.1% 28 2-14 -6.2% 22 13.9% 30 2.0% 10 -19.7% 29
30 CLE -29.8% 30 1-15 -15.8% 28 14.3% 31 0.4% 18 -30.9% 31
31 NYJ -30.8% 31 5-11 -24.6% 31 -1.5% 15 -7.7% 32 -32.4% 32
32 LARM -41.5% 32 4-12 -50.8% 32 -0.8% 16 8.4% 3 -29.0% 30

Here are the one-game DVOA ratings for the first round of the playoffs.

DVOA (with opponent adjustments)
OAK -45% -42% 10% 6%
HOU 34% -20% -64% -10%
DET -24% -19% 17% 12%
SEA 42% 8% -24% 9%
MIA -39% -38% 10% 9%
PIT 48% 19% -36% -7%
NYG -55% -26% 18% -11%
GB 74% 58% 3% 19%
VOA (no opponent adjustments)
OAK -43% -55% -6% 6%
HOU 26% -13% -49% -10%
DET -29% -27% 14% 12%
SEA 57% 24% -24% 9%
MIA -52% -43% 18% 9%
PIT 48% 21% -34% -7%
NYG -61% -20% 30% -11%
GB 70% 43% -8% 19%


24 comments, Last at 13 Jan 2017, 12:41pm

1 Re: Week 18 DVOA Ratings

I am sure it's staring me in the face, but I thought GB had a pretty good game for special teams against a team that was non-terrible in weighted DVOA for special teams. And yet their value was worse than the prior week? Any clarification is appreciated.

3 Re: Week 18 DVOA Ratings

They had +19% DVOA on special teams this week. I don't see how their season-long value could have declined with such a number.

8 Re: Week 18 DVOA Ratings

-1.6%, -1.3%, and 3.5% in their first three games. They had a bye in week 4 so nothing to fall off there. Those were their 6th, 7th, and 8th best special teams weeks. Week 6 vs Dallas was a 12.8% which was by far their best ST DVOA of the regular season. But weeks 13, 16, and 12 were 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. So ST have been getting better in general the 2nd half of the season (week 17 was 9th)

9 Re: Week 18 DVOA Ratings

Packers special teams is one of those cases where DVOA can't do a proper job. They suffered a ton of injuries and it forced players out of their roles all over the special team squads. Their punter is decent, their kicker is good. Their coverage is solid now that the team is a bit healthier. Their return guys are still a bit weak though. They likely are average overall not a negative. DVOA just lacks context for things like small injuries.

12 Re: Week 18 DVOA Ratings

But what DVOA does have context for doesn't match up with the change we're seeing here. Honestly, I've been having a ton of trouble reconciling some of the week to week DVOA movement this year with what my eyes see. Usually DVOA ends up matching pretty well - there must be some really weird scenarios (double and triple changes in trend curves in opponents strength this year. Which would make sense, considering some of the weird stretch some of the remaining teams (GB, Pitt, SEA, etc.) went through this year.

13 Re: Week 18 DVOA Ratings


Really appreciate all the input, but I have not read anything that helps explain something really basic. Namely GB had a really good ST outing on Sunday yet their seasonal value fell by a not insignificant amount. I read some things that could be influencers but nothing definite.

Anyway, thanks again. I just thought it odd

14 Re: Week 18 DVOA Ratings

No, I'm with you, I can't see going from a -1.8% to a -2.2%. Now if it's just an incorrect minus sign and it was supposed to be a 2.2% ST ranking that would make sense a 19% ST single game rating causing a 4% season jump would be a bit understandable. I try not to just dump the premium stats data, so I only listed what I did before. Week 6 was a 12.8 and that may have gotten discounted some more but so should the week 9 -24.8% (worst of the season by far). In the "run the table" time frame the never had a single game worse than -2.7% and were in general significantly more positive than negative. I would think the weighted trend was going even with just a 0% against NY. As looking back at quick reads it was -3.8, -3.0, -2.0, -2.1, -2.3, -1.8, -1.8, -2.2 (now) from week 11 onward. A clear upward trend, in part from better games, but in part I would thing from the weightings changing.

15 Re: Week 18 DVOA Ratings

Copying and pasting and a lot of manual who-knows-what in and out of excel could never introduce errors.

The standard is the standard!

16 Re: Week 18 DVOA Ratings

Hey. I'm kind of honored that you all watch these things so closely. Yes, I had made an error and skipped a step, and so special teams from the wild-card round were not included in the new numbers. That's now fixed above. Green Bay does, in fact, move up. Overall rankings don't change except for the Giants moving down one spot.

17 Re: Week 18 DVOA Ratings


Of course we watch. This crowd is geared for numbers so anything that seems out of kilter will draw questions. Thanks for the follow up and explanation. And GB Special Teams suck less! Wins all around

2 Re: Week 18 DVOA Ratings

It didn't seem at the time like the Giants were playing the worst game of the weekend. My money would have been on the Dolphins. But those special teams!

10 Re: Week 18 DVOA Ratings

I agree.

I watched the Giants-Packers game until the middle of the 3rd quarter and then put it on fast forward. The Dolphins game was the other way round, I saw they were 14-0 down on two big plays by the middle of the 1st quarter and didn't really ever believe they had a chance. It's almost a carbon copy of the game the week before against the Pats.

So I watched 28-mins in detail where the Giants played relatively well and glossed over 32-mins where they mostly got stomped other than a good 4th down stop and an non-predictive 41-yd TD catch.

On the other hand, I saw the Dolphins getting crushed for 15-mins and then glossed over them keeping the game closer for the remaining 45-mins.

I don't think that's recency bias ... but it's something like it.

4 Re: Week 18 DVOA Ratings

What was the Steelers Defensive DVOA when blitzing?

The standard is the standard!

5 Re: Week 18 DVOA Ratings

I hadn't seen the Pitt/Miami game so I just fired up the 9 minute replay on youtube. I have to admit to not being as impressed with Pitt as I expected to be. It's pretty much impossible to keep Brown from doing his thing, but even average defense limits the long TDs to first down receptions. Bell was otherworldly, but it's not like Miami's run defense is any great shakes.

As for Pitt's defense, pretty much every big play involved unblocked rushers and/or Moore holding the ball too long, both of which are fixable. Granted, Moore may have been holding the ball because the coverage was excellent on those plays, but the data seems to suggest that subsequent success was probable had the fumbles been throwaways instead.

Just to be clear, I'm not suggesting that Pitt didn't deserve to win or any such nonsense, I'm saying that correctable Miami mistakes played a major part in the handful of plays that had the biggest impact on the final score. Other than running the ball, Pitt wasn't as dominant as the score indicated.

BTW, take this with a major grain of salt. I wasn't particularly impressed with Denver's defense against Pitt in the divisional round last year, and they went on to have their most impressive performances of the season the next two weeks. :)

7 Re: Week 18 DVOA Ratings

Gotcha re the AB touchdowns, better defenders stop them maybe. But the 10 play, 10 run, 83 play drive seemed like the steelers were just toying with the fins. Like they could do it all day. Would not have been healthy for bell, and worth running other offensive plays, but you just don't see that kind of run domination in the nfl. It was like 1988 Nebraska/Kansas. I Know you said "bell was otherworldly, but..." But I just felt like the steelers could have gone back to that anytime they were in trouble. To me, most impressive thing of the weekend...with possible exception of 12's eyes magnetically drawing the Giants secondary a full half yard towards him to complete that Hail Mary, but that was supernatural force.

11 Re: Week 18 DVOA Ratings

Gotcha re the AB touchdowns, better defenders stop them maybe.

I would say certainly since both came down to poor tackling angles.

But I just felt like the steelers could have gone back to that anytime they were in trouble.

I agree, which is why I said "other than running the ball" in the first post. Their rush attack looked like it would be transferable to any game against a Miami-caliber defense. My point was that Pitt's passing attack and defense seemed to get disproportionate value out of correctable Miami mistakes... even for units with equal talent.

18 Re: Week 18 DVOA Ratings

They say defense wins championships, but the top teams this year all seem to have one thing in common, and it isn't great D. In WC Weekend, the two dominant offenses won easily, and the other two games saw two evenly matched O's separated by a huge D gap (SEA-DET) and the dominant O (OAK) subverted by a major injury...Now with ATL, NE, PIT, and DAL/GB ready to move on, would anyone be at all surprised if this trend continues?

21 Re: Week 18 DVOA Ratings

What is particularly surprising is that there really are no good pass defenses left. Of the eight, only Houston and KC have posted positive (negative?) pass defense DVOA this season, and it would be a huge surprise if either of those teams were hoisting the Lombardi in February.

It's just going to come down to which of these mediocre defenses can do enough at the important moments. I'd suspect New England or Pittsburgh are best placed to that, but of course only one of them can reach the big game. There are going to be a lot of points, particularly in the remaining NFC games.

19 Re: Week 18 DVOA Ratings

When I add up all The numbers (DVOA for RZ, All Plays, Off/Def lines, PFF player scores...) Ill be targeting Pitts run game and Dallas and Atlanta pass game sprinkled in deep tourny's with a contrarian receiver. I'm kind of new at this but that's what it shows me. Minus injuries, which I haven't got to yet. Thoughts?

20 Re: Week 18 DVOA Ratings

Is it easy to pull a list of the biggest playoff mismatches in history according to DVOA? And where does NE-HOU fall on that list? (NE approximately +50% in DVOA compared to HOU).

22 Re: Week 18 DVOA Ratings

By regular (un-weighted) DVOA, the difference between the 2007 Pats and Giants was 51.0% (NE was 52.9%, NYG was 1.9%). Their end of the year weighted DVOA's were closer (mostly the NE one dropped ~10%).

Taking a weighted DVOA approach, not sure if anything touches this.

23 Re: Week 18 DVOA Ratings

Biggest mismatch I can find in a quick search is 1991 Redskins (56.9% DVOA) against the Lions (-1.2%) in the NFC Championship game that year. Unsurprisingly, they won 41-10.