DVOA Analysis

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

Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

You love them when your team is high! You hate them when your team is low! Once again, the famous Football Outsiders DVOA and DAVE ratings return for 2018.

Most Football Outsiders readers are familiar with DVOA, which we use all year round. Not as many Football Outsiders readers are familiar with DAVE, which we only use for teams during the first two months of the season. DAVE is our rating that combines the preseason projection with the results of early games to give us a better prediction of how each team will rank at the end of the year. For those who don't know the story, this metric is called DAVE as a reaction to criticism that our stats are too much alphabet soup. I mean, who can argue with a guy named Dave? (Technically, it stands for "DVOA Adjusted for Variation Early.") In this week's DAVE ratings, the preseason projection counts for 90 percent, and the current DVOA counts for 10 percent. The value of the preseason projection changes each week until we are only using current-year data after Week 8.

Of course, though I'm calling our main metric DVOA here, it is actually VOA because there are no opponent adjustments right now. We do not apply opponent adjustments until after Week 4, so in Weeks 1-3 DVOA and VOA are the same thing. Please don't get all nitpicky about it. Most readers know what's up, and if you don't, I just told you!

The New York Jets are No. 1 in DVOA after their big Monday night win over the Detroit Lions, and Baltimore is right behind after a huge win over Buffalo on Sunday. Jets fans should enjoy their spot at No. 1 while it lasts, because No. 1 has not been a common placement for the Jets in the DVOA ratings. This is only the third time since 1989 that the Jets have been No. 1 in DVOA at any time. The last time was after Week 9 of 2011, when the Jets snuck into the top spot for a week as part of a year without any particularly dominant teams. The other time the Jets were ranked No. 1 was after Week 4 of 1993, coming off a 45-7 pounding of the Patriots and rookie quarterback Drew Bledsoe. Both of those Jets teams finished 8-8, and I think that New York fans would happily take that result for the 2018 Jets. The Jets are still only 17th in DAVE, because we aren't writing off our preseason projections quite yet. Still, that huge win was enough to move the Jets up 13 spots from 30th in our preseason DVOA projections.

On the other hand, the Bills had an even worse preseason projection than the Jets and oh boy, do things look bad now after losing to the Ravens 47-3. Buffalo had a VOA of -130.6% for this loss, which is the worst Week 1 VOA of any team since the expansion Browns got shut out 43-0 by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first week of 1999. What's remarkable is that if the Bills had not lost so badly to the Ravens, it's the Detroit Lions who would have set a record for the worst Week 1 VOA since the expansion Browns. Here's a look at the ten worst Week 1 games since 1986, and again, these are without any kind of opponent adjustment:

Worst Week 1 VOA Ratings, 1986-2018
Year Team VOA Opponent Score
1989 PIT -163.3% CLE1 51-0
1999 CLE -151.6% PIT 43-0
1991 DET -149.6% WAS 45-0
2018 BUF -130.6% BAL 47-3
1998 PHI -126.0% SEA 38-0
1997 SEA -124.4% NYJ 41-3
2018 DET -123.4% NYJ 48-17
2005 TEN -123.0% PIT 34-7
2017 IND -119.2% LAR 46-9
2008 STL -119.0% PHI 38-3

The good news for Buffalo and Detroit is that a horrific Week 1 is not a guarantee of a disastrous season. The 1989 Steelers finished 9-7 despite having the worst Week 1 in DVOA history. The 1997 Seahawks were 8-8. The 1991 Lions went 12-4, although I don't think the Jets or Ravens will be challenging the 1991 Redskins for the all-time DVOA title.

However, put that horrible Week 1 performance together with the worst preseason projection in the league and the Bills are way, way behind the rest of the league in the DAVE ratings. Almost 20 percentage points separate the Bills from the Lions and Giants (who are effectively tied at No. 30). The Bills ended up with a winless 0-16 record in 1.3 percent of this week's playoff odds simulations. That may not seem like a lot, but that's extremely high after just one game. Flip it around, and no team has a better than 0.2 percent chance of going 16-0.

Look at the DVOA ratings below, and you'll find that some of the games came out a lot closer in the final score than in the final DVOA ratings. Let's take a quick look at three of them that you might have questions about:

  • How did Philadelphia end up so much higher than Atlanta when the Falcons gained more yards per play (4.6) than the Eagles (a miserable 3.6). The answer appears to be "third downs." The Eagles went 8-for-16 on third downs, and converted another with a DPI penalty. The Falcons, on the other hand, converted just 4 of 15 third downs and failed to convert on their one fourth-down opportunity as well. In addition, while the Eagles weren't moving forward as much as they wanted, they also weren't moving backwards. Not including penalties -- so many penalties, sigh -- Philadelphia had only three plays all game that lost yardage. Atlanta had nine plays that lost yardage.
  • Pittsburgh and Cleveland tied, so why are the Steelers so much higher in DVOA after one week? This game was all about turnovers, and the Steelers did not have very good luck there. Pittsburgh averaged 5.9 yards per play on offense compared to 3.8 yards for Cleveland. But all four fumbles in the game were recovered by the Browns, three Steelers fumbles and one of their own.
  • Minnesota only beat San Francisco 24-16, yet the Vikings are far ahead of the 49ers in DVOA. This one is particularly confusing because the 49ers actually gained more yards per play in this game, with 5.4 yards per play compared to 4.8 for the Vikings. It looks like the big DVOA difference here comes down to two things. First, the interceptions: three of them for the 49ers and none for the Vikings. Obviously, that's a big difference. Second, the 49ers constantly got bogged down in the red zone. So while the Vikings weren't getting many more yards on red zone plays, they were having more success. Minnesota had -18.2% offensive DVOA in the red zone, but San Francisco was at just -93.6% offensive DVOA in the red zone.

* * * * *

We're running a bit late getting all the stats pages working with 2018 data, but we'll keep this space current with information about what's getting updated when. The annual stats pages are now updated with 2018 data except for OFFENSIVE LINE and DEFENSIVE LINE, which are always first updated after Week 2. However, you'll notice the "default pages" are still pointing to 2017 rather than 2018. Until we get this fixed, you can go to the 2018 pages by putting 2018 in the URL or by using the dropdown menus that appear on all the stats pages. We're also working on getting Week 1 into the premium database and updating the snap counts database and we'll let you know when we've got that done.

UPDATE 9/12 1:00 p.m.: Week 1 snap counts and Loser League scores are now updated. Both can be found in the dropdown menus on the top of the site. (On mobile, that's via the green menu button in the top right.) Week 1 has also been added to the premium database, although we need to do a little fixing to make our new abbreviations for the Jaguars, Rams, and Chargers line up with our old abbreviations.

UPDATE 9/14 1:00 p.m.: OK, all the default stats pages now point to the proper 2018 numbers, and the premium game charting is now updated for Week 1.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through one week of 2018, measured by our proprietary Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) system that breaks down every single play and compares a team's performance to the league average based on situation in order to determine value over average. (Explained further here.)

OFFENSE and DEFENSE DVOA are adjusted to consider all fumbles, kept or lost, as equal value. SPECIAL TEAMS DVOA is adjusted for type of stadium (warm, cold, dome, Denver) and week of season. As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE.

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

DAVE is a formula which combines our preseason projection with current DVOA to get a more accurate forecast of how a team will play the rest of the season. Right now, the preseason projection makes up 90 percent of DAVE.

You'll notice something fun we're experimenting with this week: a sortable table! If everything works well with this over the next couple weeks, we'll start using sortable tables for a lot of our stats pages.

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
TOTAL
DAVE
RANK W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
1 NYJ 90.1% -1.3% 17 1-0 15.9% 8 -40.3% 4 33.9% 2
2 BAL 79.9% 11.6% 7 1-0 21.6% 6 -65.9% 1 -7.6% 23
3 LAR 54.9% 17.6% 2 1-0 52.9% 2 -3.6% 17 -1.6% 18
4 PHI 46.9% 14.7% 4 1-0 5.0% 14 -41.9% 2 -0.1% 14
5 MIN 43.3% 14.6% 5 1-0 0.1% 16 -40.6% 3 2.6% 9
6 KC 37.2% 1.5% 10 1-0 43.4% 5 44.5% 30 38.2% 1
7 DEN 36.4% -3.4% 20 1-0 15.9% 7 -21.2% 7 -0.8% 15
8 CIN 28.1% 0.3% 15 1-0 15.0% 9 -8.7% 12 4.3% 8
9 MIA 24.2% -4.1% 23 1-0 6.7% 13 -30.5% 5 -13.0% 28
10 CAR 23.7% 0.7% 12 1-0 12.9% 10 -6.1% 15 4.7% 7
11 JAX 14.0% -3.6% 22 1-0 -2.7% 18 -14.4% 9 2.3% 10
12 PIT 12.4% 18.1% 1 0-0-1 -9.0% 23 -23.4% 6 -2.0% 19
13 CHI 10.4% -9.1% 28 0-1 -3.5% 19 -7.4% 13 6.4% 6
14 NE 8.2% 17.0% 3 1-0 9.7% 11 -6.0% 16 -7.5% 23
15 WAS 7.7% 0.9% 11 1-0 8.1% 12 -11.7% 10 -12.2% 27
16 GB 6.9% 10.0% 8 1-0 -2.2% 17 -10.3% 11 -1.3% 16
17 HOU -0.9% 0.7% 13 0-1 -12.9% 24 3.0% 19 15.0% 3
18 NO -9.6% 13.2% 6 0-1 49.0% 4 55.3% 31 -3.2% 20
19 NYG -10.3% -14.1% 31 0-1 -7.3% 22 -1.8% 18 -4.8% 22
20 TEN -15.6% -1.8% 18 0-1 -23.9% 25 4.3% 20 12.5% 4
21 TB -16.0% -6.8% 25 1-0 51.1% 3 59.0% 32 -8.1% 25
22 LAC -16.6% -2.9% 19 0-1 57.8% 1 32.1% 27 -42.3% 31
23 IND -18.6% -3.4% 21 0-1 -4.1% 21 10.8% 24 -3.8% 21
24 DAL -21.8% 4.6% 9 0-1 1.1% 15 7.3% 22 -15.5% 29
25 CLE -25.5% -5.4% 24 0-0-1 -24.9% 26 -16.0% 8 -16.6% 30
26 SEA -31.5% -0.5% 16 0-1 -25.4% 27 7.6% 23 1.6% 12
27 ATL -35.6% 0.3% 14 0-1 -43.9% 29 -6.5% 14 1.9% 11
28 ARI -38.4% -8.4% 26 0-1 -33.3% 28 16.0% 25 10.9% 5
29 OAK -43.3% -8.5% 27 0-1 -3.9% 20 40.3% 29 0.9% 13
30 SF -56.9% -10.1% 29 0-1 -48.0% 30 7.3% 21 -1.6% 17
31 DET -123.4% -14.1% 30 0-1 -53.9% 31 23.5% 26 -45.9% 32
32 BUF -130.6% -34.0% 32 0-1 -85.2% 32 34.0% 28 -11.4% 26

Comments

72 comments, Last at 14 Sep 2018, 10:00pm

1 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by panthersnbraves // Sep 11, 2018 - 6:58pm

excellent on the sortable tables! More a question than a complaint: Why is the Carolina Defense so low?

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31 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by DirtyGrizz // Sep 12, 2018 - 9:44am

I was wondering the same thing. Six sacks and a fumble recovery. 8 pts allowed. Interesting.

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45 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by InTheBoilerRoom // Sep 12, 2018 - 12:15pm

It looks like the Carolina rush defense came out looking poor at 14.4%, ranked 29th for the week. Subjectively, that seems strange considering how little Elliot was able to do on the ground.

Elliot had:
- one rush for 17 yards
- one rush for 16 yards
- two rushes for 7 yards (on 2nd and 17 and 1st and 10)
- three rushes for 4 yards (on 3rd and 26, 1st and 10, and TD on 2nd and 3)

Some of those runs above were not even very helpful. About five of his 15 rush attempts were successful. The rest of his runs were 3 yards or less, and not considered successful runs by FO criteria.

Prescott had two successful scrambles, plus the 2 point conversion.

None of that appears particularly outstanding for Dallas or particularly terrible for the Carolina Defense. I would have expected both the Dallas rush offense and Carolina rush defense to both be closer to 0% than they ended up.

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58 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by yayFootball // Sep 12, 2018 - 7:10pm

Most of the teams with better defensive DVOAs than the Panthers forced multiple turnovers, and some of them also gave up fewer yards/play, so that makes sense. But when comparing the Eagles to the Panthers, it's hard to see why their DVOAs are so different. The Eagles surrendered more yards/play and a higher third down conversion rate. Both teams forced 1 turnover. Yet the Eagles have a defensive DVOA of -40 while the Panthers are at -6. Would be interested to know what the cause of that difference is.

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2 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by dmb // Sep 11, 2018 - 7:06pm

Sortable tables!!!! As a longtime (>10 years) reader, this is a milestone day. (Really, all the usability improvements you've been making are great and much-appreciated.)

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39 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Noah Arkadia // Sep 12, 2018 - 11:34am

Yeah, that's pretty cool.

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3 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Will Allen // Sep 11, 2018 - 7:24pm

Stafford has been top 10 by DYAR in 6 of the past 8 years, never lower than 15. The Lions haven't been awful, but it sure does feel like they haven't made the most of that consistently good qb play.

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4 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by JP_Wright // Sep 11, 2018 - 7:28pm

@FO Staff -- Sortable tables are very nice. Keep the run of improvements coming and keep up the great work.

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5 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Lyford // Sep 11, 2018 - 7:45pm

On both firefox and chrome, Windows and Linux, I'm seeing the social media link boxes covering text on the left-hand side. Looks like they're supposed to be in the left margin, but the margin's not big enough...

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7 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Megamanic // Sep 11, 2018 - 8:06pm

I got that too - until I realised Adblock Plus needed switching back on & everything was fine again :)

and they wonder why we use adblockers...

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12 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Alternator // Sep 11, 2018 - 10:21pm

I've long tried to keep adblockers off here on FO, but that sidebar overlay (and general slowness loading the page - I'm not sure what from) forced me to turn it back on.

I'll give it a week and try again without the adblock.

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6 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Led // Sep 11, 2018 - 7:52pm

Sorry if this is a dumb question, but since the numbers are based on only one game and there are no opponent adjustments, how can Buffalo have the lowest DVOA and Baltimore NOT have the highest? I must be missing something fundamental about how the numbers work.

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8 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Vincent Verhei // Sep 11, 2018 - 8:06pm

Biggest reason for this kind of thing is usually penalties. Offenses are penalized for things like false starts and delay of game because they committed them, but the Ravens don't get extra credit just because the Bills are too incompetent to even function.

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15 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Led // Sep 11, 2018 - 11:01pm

Thanks. That makes sense. I was disregarding the impact of penalties because of their relative insignificance over the course of a season. But in any single game the impact of penalties can be pretty large.

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24 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Anon Ymous // Sep 12, 2018 - 7:52am

Given the paltry ST score, I would have guessed there. Aren't things like missed FGs and poor punting counted against one team without adding to the other?

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48 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by mehllageman56 // Sep 12, 2018 - 1:38pm

I would think the ST score puts the Jets ahead, with a 40 percentage point lead for the Jets there. Also, the Ravens/Bills
game had a more plays; Ravens with 74, Bills with 61. The Jets/ Lions game had 126, compared to 135 for the other game.
That probably means the special teams plays, not counted in those totals, count more in the Jets' totals than the Ravens'.

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49 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by mehllageman56 // Sep 12, 2018 - 1:40pm

With that said, the Ravens and Bills had more penalties than the Jets or Lions, so perhaps that mattered as well.

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9 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Raiderfan // Sep 11, 2018 - 8:07pm

Astonished that both the Rams and the Chargers offenses ranks higher than TB’s.
I smell West Coast bias.

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18 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Drunken5yearold // Sep 12, 2018 - 12:12am

I only got to watch the Chargers/Chiefs game this weekend and I can't stress this enough: the Chiefs defense is AWFUL. I'm not sure if Berry coming back will be enough to pull them back up to respectability. Even with the two huge special teams plays and Mahomes to Hill embarrassing the Chargers defense, the Chiefs still could have easily lost that game if the Chargers receivers had managed to hold onto all of those deep balls. We're talking receivers running deep with no Chiefs defensive back within 5-10 yards of them, over and over and over ... and the Chargers receivers just could not hold onto passes that were hitting their hands. Okay, a couple of them were difficult catches, but at least 3 that would have gone for 30+ yards were just straight up drops.

The Chargers defense desperately needs Bosa to get healthy soon. They looked pretty ordinary out there without him. I don't think they were that bad though. Reid is great at game planning early on in the season and then other teams adapt once they get tape on what he's cooked it up. And obviously Hill going God Mode didn't help matters, but that guy makes everyone look slow.

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10 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by MarkV // Sep 11, 2018 - 8:50pm

I find the breakdown of the special teams strange. Mostly that from Den v Sea, Den punt returns are not awful. It seems like if the returner doesn't touch the ball returns don't take any fault - which didn't seem right watching the game.

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13 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by sean58 // Sep 11, 2018 - 10:49pm

For DEN-SEA, it looks like that's completely due to Michael Dickson adding a ton of value with his punts. The special teams page has SEA's punt unit adding 3.8 points. KC is at 3.2, then the next highest is HOU at 1.2.

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11 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by merlinofchaos // Sep 11, 2018 - 10:21pm

You'll notice something fun we're experimenting with this week: a sortable table! If everything works well with this over the next couple weeks, we'll start using sortable tables for a lot of our stats pages.

Now all you need are cool things like highlight the row you're hovering on. (This is easy in CSS. It's something like tr:hover { background-color: yellow; })

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14 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Moridin // Sep 11, 2018 - 10:54pm

This is true. Also often a good idea, alternating row colors. Easy to do and adds a lot of easy readability to tables (last product that had UI tables, I used soft white and beige/sepia alternating).

Enjoying the new site :)

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40 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by The Ninjalectual // Sep 12, 2018 - 11:38am

I agree with everything so far, and I'd add that it might be nice to break the table halfway through to remind us which column is which.

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44 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by deus01 // Sep 12, 2018 - 12:15pm

I guess the table could also just be scrollable with fixed headers but sometimes that can be annoying on mobile because you can get yourself into a situation where you can't touch outside of the table to scroll the page itself.

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54 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by The Ninjalectual // Sep 12, 2018 - 3:52pm

Even better! I've never used CSS (or 'tables' in HTML for that matter) so that didn't occur to me as a possibility

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37 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Alex51 // Sep 12, 2018 - 11:22am

Also, I'd like to point out that the order is wrong in the W-L column. It has CLE and PIT at the bottom, when they should be above the teams that have a loss.

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16 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Mr.Morden // Sep 11, 2018 - 11:25pm

In the "Special Super Bowl Matchups" section of the playoff odds, you guys should include rematches of games from the pre-Super Bowl era. E.g., a Browns-Rams Super Bowl (which I think would have about 0.3% odds) would be a rematch of the '50 and '51 NFL championship games.

Also, it's interesting how you have Philly as being a little more likely to win the NFC than Minnesota, and yet Min-Pitt is listed as a slightly more likely SB matchup than Phil-Pitt. Maybe since Minnesota plays the AFC East this year, a season where Minnesota plays really well is one in which it potentially knocks New England out of homefield advantage, thus improving Pittsburgh's chances?

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32 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by peterplaysbass // Sep 12, 2018 - 10:30am

Good observation. It would be interesting to see the 12 playoff teams and their seeds in all of the simulations that resulted in MIN/PIT or PHI/PIT Super Bowls.

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53 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by CaffeineMan // Sep 12, 2018 - 3:19pm

Great screen name. Has to be read hearing Londo's voice.

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55 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Richie // Sep 12, 2018 - 3:53pm

I think there might be an error. I think the Super Bowl odds are calculated by multiplying the Conf Win percentage of the two teams, which gives me 2.7 for Pit-Phi, and 2.6 for Pit- Min. Or I could be mistaken on how they calculate those.

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60 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by RickD // Sep 13, 2018 - 12:14am

No, they're calculated by simulating the entire season x times and looking at the results. As mentioned, a win by Minnesota over New England would help both the Vikings and the Steelers. So there are many interconference correlations.
Super Bowl odds become the product of the respective conference championship odds once the playoffs start. But this early in the season we shouldn't be surprised to see small correlations appearing here and there.

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17 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Grendel13G // Sep 11, 2018 - 11:57pm

I was surprised by the Broncos' high offensive VOA. They looked decent, but their performance didn't really stand out as I was watching it.

Then I remembered: ROBO-PUNTER.

That's a lot of hidden yards to have to make up.

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27 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by MarkV // Sep 12, 2018 - 8:42am

Me too. Thinking back, Denver started every non turnover drive in bad to terrible field position and plenty of drives ended badly, but after going 30-50 yards.

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72 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by morgzord // Sep 14, 2018 - 10:00pm

Plus no 3 and Outs.

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19 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by killwer // Sep 12, 2018 - 12:54am

I'm surprised the eagles have a positive offensive voa.

On the other hand once dvoa comes this game might look worse on offense due to injuries to Neal and Jones

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20 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Thok // Sep 12, 2018 - 1:54am

Pittsburgh is rated too high because how exactly do you tie Cleveland? Making fun of teams that tie Cleveland is a better system than this. Cleveland!!!

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34 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by The Ninjalectual // Sep 12, 2018 - 11:00am

LOL

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21 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by ammek // Sep 12, 2018 - 3:30am

Am I seeing correctly that Buffalo, after one week, has a 30% chance of securing the top pick in the draft? Thirty percent!

It's hard not to jump to conclusions when the bottom five of VOA includes the Bills, Lions, Raiders and Cardinals. Imagine the NFL without parity. Oh, and the Chargers special teams...

Any thoughts as to why Arizona gets -38.4% for its defeat, but the Breadbins only 7.7% for their victory? Is that all about penalties too?

PS In the playoff odds section, MIN vs KC should be listed as the rematch of superbowl IV; PHI-OAK was XV; and WAS-OAK as XVIII.

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22 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Will Allen // Sep 12, 2018 - 6:44am

Really interesting how the Cards are reverting to their historical ineptitude. I thought Michael Bidwill had turned that corner, but maybe not.

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26 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by ammek // Sep 12, 2018 - 8:35am

Well, I don't think signing Bradford and Rosen is a sign of ineptitude as such, at least not in the way that Buffalo is managing the QB position. But their drafting from 2015-17 seems to have been spotty, to say the least, and they desperately need one of the young receivers to emerge. Steve Wilks was a low-key coaching hire. I think it's too early to write them off; they're not making obviously foolish errors in the way that Oakland and Buffalo are, nor does the roster look as thin as Detroit's. But the line has been a problem for a while, and the offense is going to have to open up eventually, rather than settle for lots of doomed runs and terrible ALEX. It's too early to say whether that's a coaching issue, a Sam Bradford issue, or a week-1-with-revamped-offense issue. But it certainly was ugly.

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28 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Will Allen // Sep 12, 2018 - 8:53am

The problem lies in making an off season decision to rely on a guy in his age 31 season who has a knee with pronounced degeneration, and I say that as a guy who was hugely impressed with Bradford's 2016 performance with the Vikings. Now, you may roll those dice if you have an otherwise extremely good roster, and Bradford's the best option. That's what the Vikings did last year, albeit with Keenum as a backstop. When you aren't a contender anyways, taking up money and time with Bradford makes no sense.

I'm likely overreacting to a shockingly bad home opener, and the D.C. team is likely better than I expected, but man, that was grim.

(edit) To clarify, I just think they should have used Bradford money to improve blocking, and get a cheap veteran qb to sacrifice for a few weeks.

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29 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by ammek // Sep 12, 2018 - 9:27am

See, I think the Bradford contract is canny, and with the defense they (might) have there's a chance the Cardinals could reach the fringes of the playoff race. But, yes, the opener was unsightly, and if the quarterbacking/passing offense doesn't improve, then Bradford will not be considered a worthwhile investment.

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30 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by BJR // Sep 12, 2018 - 9:27am

The Cardinals also signed Mike Glennon this offseason ($8 million, 2 years according to reports). He could have played the role of sacrificial lamb pre-Rosen, although I'm not convinced there are any circumstances under which a team should enter a season with Mike Glennon as its starting QB.

More to the point, why are the Cardinals doing committing that much money to a 3rd string QB? If Bradford is deemed that much of an injury risk he should not have been signed for anything approaching the money they handed to him. They appear to have been desperately insuring against having to throw the rookie in straight away, but have only ended up with a variety of bad options, whilst spending a ton of resources. A mess.

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35 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Will Allen // Sep 12, 2018 - 11:03am

That's just it. They have 10.625 mil in cap space devoted to a 31 year old guy with very pronounced injury concerns, and 2 million in cap space devoted to a 28 year old guy who they don't want to play under any circumstances. With a roster with other notable holes. With a rookie qb they presumably want to ease into starting under favorable conditions. Hell, just sign Brock Osweiler for less than a million, put your resources into better blocking, and plan on the rookie starting by October. If you don't think he'll be ready by then, you likely should not have drafted him that high.

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46 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Sixknots // Sep 12, 2018 - 12:24pm

Did the Cards have Rosen when they signed Bradford and Glennon? I don't remember.

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56 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Richie // Sep 12, 2018 - 4:00pm

No. They were both signed before the draft.

https://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nfl/cardinals/2018/03/14/arizona-...

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36 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by The Ninjalectual // Sep 12, 2018 - 11:17am

There's at least one team that would LOVE to have a Mike Glennon type guy, or even an A.J. McCarron type! Oh wai

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64 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Mike B. In Va // Sep 13, 2018 - 7:24am

The running theory is that they decided to save money by trading AJ, because he wasn't going to make this offense any better. They're certainly saving money for the fans - why watch this live? - though I'll bet InBev's stock is really up due to the amount of Labatt's being sold.

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43 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz // Sep 12, 2018 - 12:12pm

Thanks for the corrections. A bad backup had us reverting to an old Super Bowl list, so some of the corrections I made in the past got un-corrected. :(

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63 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Mike B. In Va // Sep 13, 2018 - 7:20am

As someone who watched the game (in the pouring rain, no less), I think 30% might be giving Buffalo too much credit. That first half was the worst offensive (or maybe MOST offensive) performance I've seen in 35+ years of watching football.

The defense has some promise, and maybe they'll be better at moving the ball with Allen (it's a pretty low floor), but that O-line makes last years' Seattle line look All-Pro.

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23 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by sbond101 // Sep 12, 2018 - 7:46am

Really interesting that TB beat NO with -6.8% DAVE vs. +13.2% DAVE. I didn't get to see that game but I had a look at the box and saw three fumbles all went TB's way, does that account for almost all of the 19% DAVE difference or is there something else I'm missing here. Can someone who saw the game give me an idea of how this could be the case?

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25 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Anon Ymous // Sep 12, 2018 - 7:56am

DAVE maintains heavy preseason projection weightings. The DVOA numbers, which only include week 1's results, might make more sense to you.

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33 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by peterplaysbass // Sep 12, 2018 - 10:50am

Minnesota's VOA scores fit my expectations after that game. DAVE agrees. It was kind of a funky game against the 49ers, so a big change would have come with questions. Given Aaron Rodgers' current health, we may not have much clarity on the Vikings after week 2, either.

I still have no idea what to expect from Cousins this year.

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38 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by The Ninjalectual // Sep 12, 2018 - 11:33am

I think that was a pretty standard Cousins game. Competent overall with flashes of brilliance. I'd expect that kind of performance every week, at minimum.

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41 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Will Allen // Sep 12, 2018 - 12:02pm

I'm obviously observing him a lot more closely this year, and much like I was with Bradford, I'm coming away more impressed than I expected to be. When I started watching Bradford closely, I began to see why so much money had been sent his way; his throwing ability is terrific, and he'll stand in the pocket, even under pressure, and deliver. His bugaboo was health, of course, and it got him last year, after playing extremely well under terrible blocking conditions in 2016.

Cousins doesn't throw as well as Bradford (few do), but he is just a preparation freak, even by the standards of NFL starting qbs. If the blocking doesn't collapse (and it very well may), having Diggs, Thelien, Rudolph and Cook as targets will mean that Cousins will really be able to exploit weaknesses in any defense, especially going no huddle. There are worse ways to spend 14% of the salary cap, and it has been done more than a few times.

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50 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by peterplaysbass // Sep 12, 2018 - 1:47pm

Glad to hear he such an avid prepare-r for games/opponents. That helps me like him a little more. Unfortunately we won't learn all that much until the team faces a quality opponent.

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61 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by killwer // Sep 13, 2018 - 1:54am

So what you are saying is if everything is perfect cousins will be good enough but he might struggle outside perfect blocking? You pay that much money for a qb like Rodgers who or wilson who can work outside perfect blocking but the vikings would have been better of with teddy bridgewater at a fraction of the cost

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62 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Will Allen // Sep 13, 2018 - 2:29am

No, that isn't what I am saying. It is something that you hallucinated that I said, apparently because you want to have an argument about something I did not say.

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65 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Brooks Good Twin // Sep 13, 2018 - 8:11am

I think you're nuts. The Vikings have great helmets.

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68 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Guest789 // Sep 13, 2018 - 10:23am

Underrated comment.

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69 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Will Allen // Sep 13, 2018 - 11:27am

Brady is not better than Manning!

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71 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by young curmudgeon // Sep 13, 2018 - 2:01pm

Please, we settled this a long time ago. Sarah Manning is better than Marcia Brady.

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42 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by johonny // Sep 12, 2018 - 12:09pm

A week 2 AFC east match up between two two 10 ranked teams with first place on the line and New England isn't involved... okay it's only week 2, but it's still fun.

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47 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by ChrisS // Sep 12, 2018 - 1:00pm

The historical worst VOA performances is the kind of table this Lions fan expects the Lions to dominate with twice as many appearances as any other team. Is their one game special teams performance of -46% anywhere near historically bad?

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51 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by andrew // Sep 12, 2018 - 2:26pm

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

Are we no longer crediting zlionsfan for the format? I mean bad enough his team got steamrolled...

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52 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Will Allen // Sep 12, 2018 - 2:30pm

Along those lines, when's the last time anybody read a post from zlionsfan? Lots of the old timers seem to have faded away! (sob)

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57 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by The Ninjalectual // Sep 12, 2018 - 4:03pm

I was asking myself the exact question just the other day when using the template. I think there's another Lions fan oldie that disappeared for a few years and reappeared recently, can't remember who exactly ATM.

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66 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Brooks Good Twin // Sep 13, 2018 - 8:13am

I wouldn't be shocked if it's not just Lions fandom slipping away.

I know multiple people who have just completely given up on them.

(Not specifically because of Caldwell -> Patricia, but it didn't help)

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70 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Sep 13, 2018 - 12:48pm

I actually appreciate the fact that the Lions emphatically demonstrated right away that they stink. I now know that I can spend my Sundays doing something more productive...like actually watching competently coached teams play football.

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59 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by TomC // Sep 12, 2018 - 8:03pm

Curious what the no-Kizer (Rodgers-only) VOA would be for Chi-GB. Or even 1st/2nd half.

Actually, forget it, I'm better off pretending the whole thing was a bad dream.

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67 Re: Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by dank067 // Sep 13, 2018 - 9:38am

Oh my, I remember opening quick reads earlier this week and wondering what Kizer's numbers looked like. He didn't qualify for the table there but it's up on the position stat pages now. He posted -74 DYAR with -189.2% DVOA on 9 dropbacks...

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