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

Week 12 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

Our top two teams on bye means our top two teams stay the same this week, with the Kansas City Chiefs still No. 1 in DVOA, followed by the Los Angeles Rams. The New Orleans Saints move up to the No. 3 spot thanks to a big Thanksgiving night win over the Atlanta Falcons. In weighted DVOA, which drops the strength of September games, the Saints and Rams are essentially tied at No. 2.

I've written a lot in the last couple weeks about the disagreements between DVOA and other advanced metrics, which now tend to have the Saints at No. 1. But the difference between DVOA and other advanced metrics may be bigger for the Chiefs than it is for the Saints. And that huge difference between the Chiefs and the Rams/Saints in DVOA is also responsible for the huge difference between the Chiefs and Rams/Saints in our odds for winning Super Bowl LIII.

To see how much, I ran an additional simulation this week which gave the Chiefs the same weighted DVOA as the Rams and Saints (31.1%). In that simulation, Kansas City's chances of representing the AFC in Super Bowl LIII drop from 53.7 percent to 42.5 percent. We still would give the Chiefs the strongest odds of winning the Super Bowl, because unlike the Saints or Rams, they don't have to play the Saints or Rams on their way to Atlanta. But they wouldn't have the strongest odds by much:

Team Original
Simulation
If KC = NO/LAR
Simulation
KC 31.9% 22.4%
LAR 20.4% 22.0%
NO 19.9% 21.5%
NE 5.4% 7.0%
CHI 5.1% 5.9%
LAC 4.8% 6.3%
PIT 4.0% 5.0%
HOU 3.3% 4.0%
Others 5.2% 5.9%

The difference between the Rams and the Saints here has to do with remaining schedule, even though the Saints currently have the No. 1 seed thanks to the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Rams have the easiest remaining schedule in the league by average DVOA of opponent, while the Saints' schedule ranks 14th. That being said, the Rams have the hardest remaining single game, playing at Chicago in Week 14. The Saints' hardest remaining opponent, Pittsburgh, is a little bit below the Bears in DVOA and will come to New Orleans instead of the Saints going on the road.

While we're on the subject of the Saints, let's talk about the Saints defense. Last year, after a slow start, the Saints ended up with one of the best defenses in the NFL. The same thing seems to be happening this year. Thanks in part to the opponent adjustments for playing Atlanta, the Saints had the highest single-game defensive DVOA of Week 12 at -50.7%. It was their best defensive performance of the year, and emphasizes a major change in defense since their Week 6 bye. In Weeks 1-5, the Saints ranked 26th with 9.4% defensive DVOA. (Remember, defense means more scoring so a positive number is worse.) In Weeks 7-12, the Saints rank fifth in the NFL with -10.7% DVOA.

I took a look through other numbers on both offense and defense and found teams that have improved significantly in recent weeks. First, on offense:

  • Indianapolis was at -12.1% DVOA on offense through Week 6, 24th in the NFL. Since Week 7, the Colts have 26.5% offensive DVOA, fifth in the NFL.
  • Pittsburgh's turnaround was earlier. For September, through Week 4, the Steelers had 0.6% offensive DVOA, 16th in the NFL. Since Week 5, the Steelers rank fifth with 22.0% DVOA.
  • Cleveland's inflection point is actually Week 8 against Pittsburgh, before Todd Haley and Hue Jackson were let go. In Weeks 1-7, the Browns had -26.8% offensive DVOA, which ranked 30th. For Weeks 8-12, the Browns have 16.5% offensive DVOA, which ranks eighth. Every Cleveland game since Week 8 has had a better offensive DVOA than each of the seven games prior to Week 8.

And two improved defenses besides New Orleans:

  • Minnesota ranked 25th through Week 5 with 6.7% defensive DVOA. In Weeks 6-12, Minnesota has the No. 1 defensive DVOA in the league at -23.1%.
  • Denver ranked 22nd through Week 5 with -0.2% defensive DVOA. In Weeks 6-12, Denver has the No. 2 defensive DVOA in the league at -22.4%.

There are also defenses that have faltered over the last few weeks, including Jacksonville, Philadelphia, Seattle... and Buffalo. Although the Bills are second in defensive DVOA for the entire season, that splits into -24.6% in Weeks 1-6, first in the league, and -2.8% in Weeks 7-12, 10th in the league.

Of course, not everything in Buffalo is getting worse. Their offense has suddenly gotten much, much better. So much better. Prior to Week 10, the Bills didn't have a single game with offensive DVOA above -20%. But Buffalo managed to score a single-game offensive rating above 20% in both Week 10 and Week 12. That improvement has them almost sliding off our list of the worst offenses in DVOA history.

WORST OFFENSIVE DVOA
THROUGH 11 GAMES, 1986-2018
1992 SEA -44.3%
2005 SF -43.7%
2010 CAR -43.1%
2002 HOU -42.3%
2013 JAX -39.9%
2018 ARI -39.6%
2004 CHI -39.3%
2004 MIA -39.2%
1997 NO -38.9%
2018 BUF -37.9%
2008 STL -35.8%
1992 IND -35.5%

I feel like the Bills have really ruined my fun, because it was kind of cool seeing a team put up a (when adjusted for era) historically bad offense. But this is not something I have against the Bills in particular. If the Bills want to continue playing actual good offense and the Arizona Cardinals want to suck extra hard in December to get down below -40%, that would be fun to watch too. And by "fun to watch," I mean fun to monitor the stats, not fun to actually watch on television. Arizona has yet to put up a positive offensive DVOA in any game this year, although the Cardinals' 28-18 Week 5 win over San Francisco comes very close.

* * * * *

Once again this season, we have teamed up with EA Sports to bring Football Outsiders-branded player content to Madden 19 on a monthly basis. Today, we get to announce the Football Outsiders November players for Madden Ultimate Team on consoles, which will go live at 10:30am Eastern on Sunday. These players will also go live in Madden Overdrive for mobile devices sometime soon.

  • QB Baker Mayfield, CLE: Second in passing DVOA for November (65-of-88, 771 yards, 9 TD, 1 INT).
  • HB Phillip Lindsay, DEN: Third in rushing DYAR for November (42 carries, 249 yards, 3 TD).
  • TE Nick Vannett, SEA: Fifth among tight ends in receiving DYAR for November (10-of-14, 99 yards, 2 TD).
  • LG Quenton Nelson, IND: Colts ranked second with 5.97 adjusted line yards per carry on left-side runs in November; allowed just one sack.
  • RG Larry Warford, NO: Saints ranked fourth with 5.46 adjusted line yards per carry in November; allowed just two sacks.
  • RE Mario Addison, CAR: Tied for third in NFL with 8 defeats in November (7 TFL including 3 sacks, plus tackle to prevent third-down conversion).
  • RE Chris Jones, KC: Led NFL with 10 defeats in November: 5 sacks, two third-down PDs, two run TFL, and run tackle to prevent third-down conversion.
  • LOLB Leighton Vander Esch, DAL: Second in NFL with 45 total plays made and 6 passes defensed in November.
  • CB Steven Nelson, KC: Only allowed 4.4 yards per pass in November by Sports Info Solutions charting, 4 PD, 2 INT.
  • CB Coty Sensabaugh, PIT: Only allowed four catches for 45 yards (and 3.2 yards per pass) in November according to Sports Info Solutions charting.
  • K Justin Tucker, BAL: 8-for-8 including two FG over 45 yards; 71 percent touchback rate.
  • P Tress Way, WAS: Second in NFL with 44.7 net average in November; first in league with 7.4 points of estimated field position value on gross punts.

(Note: Late change here, as we had to remove Roquan Smith from our list of players for this month, we're subbing in Kansas City cornerback Steven Nelson.)

* * * * *

Playoff odds are currently updated through Week 12, as well as the FO Premium DVOA database and snap counts.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through 12 weeks 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.

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>

RK TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
WEI.
DVOA
RANK W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
1 KC 41.6% 1 42.4% 1 9-2 38.4% 1 5.2% 25 8.5% 1
2 LAR 32.6% 2 31.1% 2 10-1 31.5% 2 -1.1% 17 0.1% 17
3 NO 27.1% 4 31.1% 3 10-1 23.4% 4 -1.5% 14 2.2% 9
4 LAC 26.2% 5 28.2% 4 8-3 26.4% 3 -5.5% 9 -5.7% 32
5 CHI 21.1% 3 20.9% 6 8-3 2.7% 14 -22.5% 1 -4.0% 29
6 DEN 19.7% 7 21.8% 5 5-6 8.8% 9 -12.5% 3 -1.6% 23
7 PIT 14.5% 6 17.0% 7 7-3-1 14.2% 6 -2.4% 12 -2.1% 25
8 BAL 14.2% 9 12.7% 9 6-5 1.6% 15 -9.9% 5 2.7% 6
9 NE 11.6% 10 13.5% 8 8-3 12.3% 7 0.8% 19 0.2% 16
10 GB 11.5% 8 11.5% 10 4-6-1 14.7% 5 1.6% 20 -1.5% 22
11 SEA 9.5% 12 10.3% 11 6-5 5.1% 11 -2.8% 11 1.5% 11
12 HOU 7.7% 14 8.5% 14 8-3 -6.6% 21 -12.0% 4 2.2% 8
13 IND 7.0% 11 8.7% 13 6-5 4.5% 12 -1.2% 16 1.4% 13
14 MIN 6.7% 13 8.9% 12 6-4-1 -0.5% 17 -9.8% 6 -2.6% 26
15 CAR 5.4% 15 5.4% 15 6-5 10.7% 8 5.8% 26 0.6% 15
16 JAX -5.4% 17 -7.6% 17 3-8 -15.4% 28 -7.0% 7 3.0% 5
17 WAS -7.0% 16 -8.3% 18 6-5 -11.2% 25 0.1% 18 4.4% 3
18 MIA -7.3% 20 -9.0% 19 5-6 -8.8% 23 2.8% 21 4.3% 4
19 CIN -8.1% 19 -10.6% 23 5-6 0.4% 16 9.3% 28 0.7% 14
20 NYG -8.2% 21 -7.4% 16 3-8 -2.2% 18 8.6% 27 2.6% 7
21 DAL -9.6% 22 -9.4% 20 6-5 -9.4% 24 -1.5% 13 -1.7% 24
22 ATL -9.6% 18 -10.2% 21 4-7 8.6% 10 19.6% 32 1.4% 12
23 CLE -11.9% 25 -10.4% 22 4-6-1 -12.7% 26 -6.3% 8 -5.5% 31
24 PHI -12.0% 23 -11.6% 24 5-6 -6.3% 20 4.2% 24 -1.4% 21
25 TEN -14.9% 24 -14.4% 25 5-6 -13.2% 27 3.7% 22 1.9% 10
26 TB -18.5% 28 -18.9% 26 4-7 3.3% 13 18.8% 31 -3.0% 27
27 NYJ -18.7% 27 -19.4% 27 3-8 -25.7% 30 -1.2% 15 5.8% 2
28 SF -24.0% 26 -25.2% 30 2-9 -16.9% 29 4.1% 23 -3.1% 28
29 DET -24.1% 29 -22.8% 29 4-7 -7.2% 22 16.1% 30 -0.8% 19
30 BUF -24.6% 31 -21.8% 28 4-7 -38.3% 31 -14.8% 2 -1.0% 20
31 OAK -27.2% 30 -30.1% 31 2-9 -6.1% 19 15.8% 29 -5.3% 30
32 ARI -37.4% 32 -37.9% 32 2-9 -39.6% 32 -2.9% 10 -0.7% 18
  • 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).
RK TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
1 KC 41.6% 9-2 38.6% 10.4 1 3.4% 9 -0.9% 16 9.9% 13
2 LAR 32.6% 10-1 31.9% 9.9 2 5.7% 5 -15.3% 32 6.0% 2
3 NO 27.1% 10-1 29.7% 8.2 3 -2.8% 21 -0.5% 14 9.3% 10
4 LAC 26.2% 8-3 32.6% 7.4 6 -5.8% 29 16.4% 3 8.3% 7
5 CHI 21.1% 8-3 26.4% 7.7 4 -10.5% 32 3.7% 10 12.7% 15
6 DEN 19.7% 5-6 18.1% 7.5 5 9.5% 1 -9.0% 28 16.2% 23
7 PIT 14.5% 7-3-1 13.9% 6.4 10 2.7% 10 5.9% 5 17.0% 25
8 BAL 14.2% 6-5 12.0% 6.9 8 -1.3% 18 5.6% 6 16.7% 24
9 NE 11.6% 8-3 13.0% 6.5 9 -0.6% 16 -5.9% 22 14.3% 20
10 GB 11.5% 4-6-1 7.9% 6.9 7 0.1% 13 -13.7% 31 13.3% 18
11 SEA 9.5% 6-5 7.9% 6.4 12 4.6% 8 -7.4% 26 7.2% 5
12 HOU 7.7% 8-3 13.5% 6.4 11 -4.9% 26 -8.2% 27 5.5% 1
13 IND 7.0% 6-5 17.2% 6.4 14 -9.6% 31 -6.1% 23 15.4% 21
14 MIN 6.7% 6-4-1 4.9% 6.4 13 -3.4% 24 2.2% 13 6.3% 3
15 CAR 5.4% 6-5 14.1% 6.0 15 -5.4% 28 2.8% 12 18.5% 27
16 JAX -5.4% 3-8 -6.2% 4.1 25 -0.5% 15 -2.9% 20 8.1% 6
17 WAS -7.0% 6-5 -1.9% 5.2 16 -3.1% 23 -10.5% 30 8.4% 8
18 MIA -7.3% 5-6 -7.3% 4.2 23 -4.8% 25 -7.2% 25 15.4% 22
19 CIN -8.1% 5-6 -11.6% 5.1 17 7.0% 2 4.3% 8 19.2% 28
20 NYG -8.2% 3-8 -3.9% 4.6 19 -5.3% 27 -0.7% 15 10.0% 14
21 DAL -9.6% 6-5 -0.1% 4.0 26 -6.0% 30 -0.9% 17 6.8% 4
22 ATL -9.6% 4-7 -8.8% 4.5 20 -0.1% 14 -5.0% 21 9.2% 9
23 CLE -11.9% 4-6-1 -6.7% 4.1 24 5.1% 6 7.8% 4 9.6% 11
24 PHI -12.0% 5-6 -9.2% 4.4 22 -2.6% 20 3.4% 11 9.8% 12
25 TEN -14.9% 5-6 -16.3% 4.7 18 1.4% 12 -6.4% 24 21.3% 30
26 TB -18.5% 4-7 -19.9% 3.2 28 -1.1% 17 5.5% 7 13.6% 19
27 NYJ -18.7% 3-8 -20.0% 2.9 29 -1.3% 19 -1.7% 18 24.0% 31
28 SF -24.0% 2-9 -22.6% 2.9 30 -3.1% 22 18.5% 2 13.1% 17
29 DET -24.1% 4-7 -22.1% 3.5 27 2.5% 11 -2.2% 19 21.2% 29
30 BUF -24.6% 4-7 -32.8% 4.4 21 6.1% 4 -9.2% 29 31.8% 32
31 OAK -27.2% 2-9 -31.2% 2.6 31 5.0% 7 21.8% 1 17.8% 26
32 ARI -37.4% 2-9 -41.0% 2.0 32 6.8% 3 4.0% 9 12.9% 16

Comments

95 comments, Last at 03 Dec 2018, 8:39pm

1 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

I love that Seattle is 11 in DVOA, Weighted DVOA, Offense, Defense, and Special Teams. Feels to me like they're about the 11th best team in football too. They may as well be #1 in Variance (sadly, they're only #5).

2 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Wait, the best team in the NFC East by weighted DVOA is the Giants? Then again, I watched the Thanksgiving showdown in Arlington and it made my eyes hurt.

So, real wins versus estimated wins. Two teams stand out. Denver (2.5 fewer of the former than the latter) has played the hardest schedule. Green Bay (2.4 fewer) doesn't have that excuse. By season-long DVOA it's the fourth best team in the conference, yet nine NFC teams have more wins and better playoff odds. To read the hugely negative Packer press you'd never imagine the team was 5th in total offense nor 9th in passing by DVOA. Yet it's not only that writers and fans don't understand how to adjust for defense (the Packers passing offense is 14th by unadjusted VOA, narrowly ahead of the NFC East's awesome checkdown Giants). The crucial stat might be variance, where the Packers are #1 on offense, reflecting the groundhogdayish experience of seeing Rodgers take another third-down sack.

Meanwhile, the Patriots are on course to have one or more extra real wins vis-à-vis estimated wins for the sixth straight season. Ho hum.

29 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

I don't know why I get the barbs for posting a fairly innocuous statement. I am not some drive by Packer poster aka oaktoon taunting other teams/posters, etc when things go well and then disappearing when convenient.

74 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

So why not write that versus 'playing our tiny violins for you' which is snark in any forum.

And I am not 15 years old who has only known 12 at qb. I sat through my share of Bart Starr, Forrest Gregg, Lindy Infante ineptitude. But hey you got in your shot. Enjoy.

57 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Because people who aren't fans of the Packers find this hilarious.

Incidentally, as somebody who doesn't root for the Lions, I still think they screwed up by firing Caldwell (he actually has the best winning percentage of any Lions coach since the 60s aside from an interim guy who went 4-3...which itself speaks volumes about Lions coaching), BUT every time I watched a Lions game with him coaching, I found myself immensely frustrated by the decisions/play of the Lions.

84 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

All snark aside, there have been some Rodgers' throws recently that were very reminiscent of Bad Smokin' Jay. Open receiver, Rodgers unpressured, but inaccurate, while displaying mechanics that would be charitably described as sloppy. Now, I don't want to overstate the case here; Rodgers would have to travel parsecs to get into the neighborhood of The Indifferent One. However, the best argument for replacing McCarthy is that he seems to have lost the ability or willingness to coach bad habits from recurring with the team's most important player. Which is ironic, in that McCarthy was originally hired to kick Stubbleface in the ass.

87 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Just some fun (and surprising to me) facts:

McCarthy now ranks 27th all-time in coaching wins (5 behind Marvin Lewis).
He is tied with Joe Gibbs, Bud Grant and Buck Shaw for 24th all-time in winning percentage at .621.
He is 20th all-time at 49 games above .500.
He is tied with Bud Grant, George Seifert, Pete Carroll, Bill Walsh and John Harbaugh for 13th all-time with 10 playoff wins.

McCarthy is 55 years old. If the Packers were to move on from him, would he get (or want) to coach again someplace else? If he coaches 5 more seasons and averages going 8-8, that would be 40 more coaching wins for him. That would bump him up to 16th all-time in wins, unless Mike Tomlin, Pete Carroll or Sean Payton can beat him to 165 wins. I'm assuming Marvin Lewis doesn't have 35 wins left in him.

88 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

On a related point, I keep going back and forth on what to think of Marvin Lewis. On the one hand, he's stuck in perennially tough division, with a perennially terrible owner, with most of his tenure spent in the harder conference and has done quite well. Jokes aside, the Bengals during the Lewis era have been pretty good

And yet.... they've never once been great and have fallen flat every single year in the postseason. Sure, each one can be explained and reasoned through and playoffs are random events, but it's still pretty remarkable. The usually hapless Jags by comparison have gotten past the first round three times in the last 15 years. I mean, even the stumbling Jets and snakebit Chargers have done it.

Somewhere in my head, I respect Lewis' accomplishments a lot and I do feel like there's a stronger possibility the next hire with the Bengals does a lot worse than a lot better. But, Lewis as a coach seems to have a prohibitive hard ceiling.

92 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

The 2015 Bengals were pretty good. Through week 12 they were 10-2 and number 1 in DVOA. https://www.footballoutsiders.com/dvoa-ratings/2015/week-12-dvoa-ratings

Then Andy Dalton got hurt and they went 2-2 down the stretch with AJ McCarron (who actually played pretty well). Then they blew that home playoff game to Pittsburgh when Jeremy Hill fumbled while running out the last 90 seconds of the clock.

90 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Oh, I'm not on the Fire Omar McCarthy! Train. The data indicates that he likely a well above average coach. If, however, the CEO decides, by close observation, that McCarthy is going to be ineffective in coaching Rodgers, well, McCarthy is easier to replace than Rodgers, which is not to say it is easy to replace McCarthy.

59 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

My dream is that the Giants finish with the highest weighted DVOA in the NFC East and also the #1 overall pick in the draft. That feels like a system fail - just not sure if it's FO's system or Pat Shurmur's.

4 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Most people who don't know anything about DVOA would probably be surprised to see how high it ranks the Broncos this year. They would really be surprised to know DVOA actually thinks this squad is better than the Super Bowl champion 2015 team. Those Broncos were ranked 8th in the league and had a DVOA of 17.7%. The 2018 Broncos are ranked 6th and have a 21.8% DVOA.

5 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

To be honest, I know a bit about DVOA and I'm still surprised. I've always throught they were better than their record, but not by as much as DVOA says. They've got some pretty glaring weaknesses.

That said, the last 2 weeks they cleaned up a lot of the mistakes. Bolles is getting a lot fewer flags. If their 3rd CB weren't "receiver can't catch" I'd be a lot more comfortable with their chances of running the table the rest of the way in. That said I do like them to win 4 of their 5 next. Oddly the matchup I'm most concerned with is the Browns. After firing Hue they're actually doing pretty well and could give more trouble than conventional wisdom would say.

7 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

I'm surprised too but that No. 1 past schedule means a lot of adjustment. And I think people forget just how horrendous the 2015 offense was for much of the regular season. That team had only 9.7 Pythagorean wins (https://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/teameff2015).

Also, Denver's only slightly ahead of 2015. You're looking at weighted DVOA, not full-season DVOA. Full-season DVOA is 19.7%.

21 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

As a Broncos fan, THE OFFENSE STILL SUCKED WITH PEYTON [in 2015].

At least when Osweiler was in, I wasn't worried about the next pass being a lame-duck INT (although, in retrospect, that totally should've been a worry). With Peyton, after week...4, basically, that was a constant concern, because at that point it became pretty obvious that he'd hit the wall Father Time put in his way.

In retrospect, the Broncos were much better when he was in (and when he realized he didn't have to do it all himself and basically let the defense take care of business in the playoffs, that was the best iteration of the team). But the offense was still so horrifying to watch that I was always more relaxed when the defense was on the field.

53 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Tampa had an above average passing offense in 2002, and if you have to choose between being above average in either passing or rushing, pick the former. Tampa, in my view, was significantly better on offense than those other teams. That 2002 Bucs team is kind of an underrated champion, I think.

54 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Right, and Denver's defense this year his not historically good.

Interestingly, I think it's one player away from that. Sadly that player was let go for Reasons. (Actually I understand the Reasons but I think they'd have 3 more wins this season if they'd kept Talib).

8 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

It has as much to do with the 2015 team being not as good as one might think. They had a very weak offense, of course, and they kinda skated by all season, collecting a lot of narrow wins that ultimately garnered them the home field advantage they needed to succeed in the playoffs. I think with just slightly different luck they could have easily been a wild card team that went out right off the bat in the playoffs. It seemed like they were in crisis mode for much of the season thanks to their offensive struggles, which always made their eventual success more remarkable to me.

39 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

As always, injuries were a critical factor. Pittsburgh and New England were both pretty beaten up by the time they went to Denver in the playoffs that year. Pittsburgh had endured a brutal game in Cincinnati the week before, and were without Antonio Brown, among others. Denver barely scraped past them. The Patriots OL line was ravaged by injury late in the season, and they limped into the playoffs. It was only some Brady/Gronk brilliance that allowed them to put up any offense at all in the AFCCG.

And crucially in both those games, and in the Super Bowl, Denver were able to take an early lead and allow their pass rush to take over, whilst turtling on offense. I would not have fancied their chances of playing from behind.

Interestingly DVOA had the two best AFC teams that year as the Bengals and Chiefs. But the Bengals lost Dalton to injury late on in the year. And the Chiefs narrowly lost the division to Denver, and were pretty beaten up themselves. They had to go on the road, and inevitably lost in Foxboro.

41 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Denver taking an early lead and then turtling on offense the rest of the game is probably a fair description of the Panthers and Patriots games, but not the Steelers game. Denver scored first, but Pittsburgh took the lead by the end of the first quarter and kept it until there were just three minutes left in the game. It was a comeback win for the Broncos in that one.

52 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Your points are all valid. I just dislike doing revisionist history because unless you are the 85 Bears, every team has had favourable breaks go there way when it comes to winning the SB.

I love Zach Lowe's comment on this. "They don't give championships for season long point differentials."

I guess it's a matter of taste, but I like the randomness of the NFL more than the near certainty of the NBA. Even pre super teams, there were realistically only 4 to 5 teams with any shot to win the title. A NBA equivalent of the 2007 NYG would never have stood a chance.

55 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Oh, definitely, the predictability of the NBA finalists really inhibits my interest in the sport. How they get anybody to spend a hundred bucks or more to attend a regular season game, between even the two third best teams in their respective conferences, is a bit puzzling to me.

68 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

You can get 100 level Pacers tickets for like $60 some nights. It's great.

Also, it's still a phenomenal athletic display for most NBA teams. I guess in some ways it's similar to the reason people go see ballet.

69 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

Me personally, I don't tailgate and I generally dislike attending NFL games. I find there too many obnoxious fans ( having been to several 49er games) and you just can't capture the game Dynamics despite being able to see the whole field.

I enjoy attending basketball games more

72 Re: Week 12 DVOA Ratings

I wouldn't pay to attend either, at this point. Too many drunks at NFL games, and not enough urgency at regular season NBA games. I'll go for the socializing on those occasions when I've been invited to a luxury suite; it's kind of like attending a high end sports bar. Baseball, at a good stadium, on nice day, I'll attend anytime, since I just like being outdoors in the summer.