Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Week 13 DVOA Ratings
Week 13 DVOA Ratings
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Aaron Schatz

Kansas City drops slightly in DVOA after a close win over Oakland, but the Chiefs stay No. 1 in our DVOA ratings. However, there's movement all over the rest of the top ten, especially in the weighted DVOA ratings that lower the strength of early-season games.

The Los Angeles Chargers have now climbed to No. 3 in full-season DVOA, passing the New Orleans Saints. In weighted DVOA, the Chargers have climbed to No. 2, passing both the Saints and their cross-city rivals, the Rams. A couple spots down, the Denver Broncos have shockingly moved into fifth place in both regular and weighted DVOA. The Chargers and Broncos are the only two teams right now who rank in the top ten for both offense and defense, and Denver's rise means we now have three AFC West teams in the top five.

We now have the Chargers' playoff odds at over 97 percent. Denver's playoff odds are up to almost 30 percent, not bad considering they were at 5.0 percent just four weeks ago. The other major wild-card contender in the AFC is Baltimore, which like Denver has won three straight games. The Ravens have a one-game lead on Denver for the second wild-card spot, and we give them a 54 percent chance of making the playoffs: 21.4 percent to win the division over Pittsburgh, and 32.2 percent to snag a wild card.

You may be surprised that we don't give the Ravens better playoff odds at this point. They're essentially tied with Pittsburgh in DVOA, and only a half-game behind on the standings. You may have heard a lot about Pittsburgh's difficult end-season schedule. However, by FO numbers, Baltimore's last four games are tougher than Pittsburgh's last four games because they have to play those super high-rated AFC West teams. Pittsburgh already passed the first hurdle on their difficult end-season schedule, although they passed it by tripping over it and falling on their faces against the Chargers. Now, Pittsburgh's final four opponents average 0.6% DVOA, with the toughest games being at the Saints and home against the Patriots. Baltimore's final four opponents average 10.6% DVOA, and the hardest games are both on the road, against the Chiefs and the Chargers.

Of course, there are two things that the DVOA playoff odds formula doesn't know about when it is simulating who wins the remaining games. First, it doesn't know about the historical matchup advantage that New England appears to have over Pittsburgh, making them probably a harder opponent than their current rating indicates. Second, it doesn't know how to treat games at the StubHub Center, which seem to be more like neutral-site games than they are like Chargers home games. Two years isn't enough evidence for us to say whether the Chargers truly have a smaller home-field advantage (or none whatsoever) but it seems absurd not to at least acknowledge that their home games aren't like those of other teams.

I do want to mention something I also brought attention to on Twitter earlier today. There's a lot of talk about the Ravens getting a jolt from their quarterback change, going from Joe Flacco to Lamar Jackson during their Week 10 bye and then winning three straight. DVOA suggests there's no Lamar Jackson effect going on here. He's been fine for a rookie quarterback, but what's going on is that the Ravens have been better on defense and special teams against an easier schedule. Compare this to the similar three-game winning streak by Baltimore's wild-card competition in Denver, who had the same Week 10 bye. The Broncos have been better in all three phases of the game against a harder schedule than the one they played when they started 3-6.

Weeks 1-9 3.5% -10.2% 0.0% 13.8% 1.8%
Weeks 11-13 -13.6% -19.1% 11.2% 16.7% -14.2%
Weeks 1-9 3.9% -9.7% -3.7% 10.0% 7.1%
Weeks 11-13 26.9% -24.7% 6.2% 57.9% 10.6%

"Schedule" on these tables is just the average current DVOA of each team's first nine opponents vs. their last three opponents.

Jackson also hasn't been a particularly effective runner. He's actually in last place for rushing DYAR right now. Part of that is because of six fumbles on running plays: two regular fumbles and four botched handoffs that aren't necessarily all his fault. But even removing all the fumbles, Jackson's rushing DVOA would only improve to 0.8%. Only 11 of his 28 first-down runs have gained at least five yards.

Let's move over and talk about the NFC a bit. This was a good week for the NFC East and a bad week for the NFC North. We'll take the East first. Three of the four East teams improved in DVOA this week. The New York Giants may be out of the playoff picture, but they're the best NFC East team this season by DVOA, slightly ahead of the Dallas Cowboys. (The Cowboys are slightly ahead in weighted DVOA.) Both the No. 16 Giants and No. 18 Cowboys improved their DVOA by over seven percentage points with their big Week 13 upset wins. The Eagles are right behind them at No. 19, and they improved their DVOA by 5.5% this week.

It's hard to undersell just how important this week's Philadelphia at Dallas game is for the playoff picture. If Dallas wins, the division race is essentially over. In simulations where the Cowboys win this game, they win the division over 97 percent of the time. Meanwhile, the Eagles will still have to play the Rams in Los Angeles and the Texans at home. Their playoff odds will drop to 6.9 percent.

On the other hand, an Eagles upset turns Philadelphia into the new favorite to win the division. Despite their difficult remaining schedule, the Eagles will be 4-1 in the division if they win Sunday, with a game remaining against injury-wrecked Washington. Dallas will be 3-2 in the division with a trip to New York still on the docket. With an Eagles win, the odds to win the division become 54.3 percent for the Eagles, 36.4 percent for the Cowboys, and somehow still 9.1 for the Redskins even though we've given them a huge DVOA penalty for being down to their third quarterback. Right now, only Arizona has a worse weighted DVOA than the ratings we're using for Washington in the simulation. Still, as Arizona showed this weekend, teams that bad can still pull off upset victories, and each of their remaining opponents has a negative total DVOA right now. In 44 percent of our simulations, Washington finishes the season at least 8-8.

On to the NFC North, the opposite of the NFC East: the top three teams all fell in DVOA from last week. The actual drops were almost as large, although the drop in the rankings was not too big. Minnesota drops from 14th to 15th, but that drop means going from 6.7% to 0.9%. Chicago only goes from No. 5 to No. 6, but that drops means going from 21.1% to 14.6%. The Bears' defense is still No. 1, but their offense dropped from 14th to 20th this week. Finally, we have Green Bay, still surprisingly high in DVOA compared to their 4-7-1 record. The Packers drop from tenth at 11.5% to 12th at 6.9%. Chicago is still the clear favorite to win this division, taking it in 85 percent of our simulations. But the Vikings are now in the sixth seed and are the current favorite to finish in that spot, making the playoffs in 58.5 percent of simulations and winning a wild card in 43.7 percent of simulations.

Finally, let's check in on the race to rank among the best and worst offenses ever tracked by DVOA. Current teams now rank sixth on each table. We've also got Buffalo seventh among the worst offenses. But with a gap between the five worst offenses and the two terrible offenses of 2018, Arizona or Buffalo will need to have a couple of really bad games in the final month to set the record.

THROUGH 12 GAMES, 1986-2018
THROUGH 12 GAMES, 1986-2018
Year Team DVOA x Year Team DVOA
2007 NE 47.3% x 1992 SEA -46.8%
2010 NE 43.2% x 2005 SF -44.9%
2004 IND 39.5% x 1997 NO -44.2%
1998 DEN 39.4% x 2002 HOU -43.4%
1993 SF 39.4% x 2010 CAR -41.2%
2018 KC 39.0% x 2018 ARI -37.4%
2002 KC 38.1% x 2018 BUF -36.4%
1995 DAL 35.8% x 2013 JAX -36.1%
1992 SF 35.5% x 2007 SF -36.1%
2012 NE 34.0% x 2004 CHI -35.9%
2013 DEN 32.6% x 2010 ARI -35.7%
2011 GB 32.5% x 2004 MIA -35.7%

We're not running the "best total DVOA" table, as the Chiefs have fallen below the top dozen teams in that measure. We'll have to see if they can climb back into the all-time total DVOA list over the last four weeks of the season.

* * * * *

Playoff odds are currently updated through Week 13, as well as the FO Premium DVOA database and snap counts.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through 13 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>

1 KC 39.9% 1 38.6% 1 10-2 39.0% 1 6.4% 26 7.3% 1
2 LAR 29.5% 2 27.8% 3 11-1 27.9% 2 -1.4% 15 0.2% 16
3 LAC 28.1% 4 31.2% 2 9-3 27.7% 3 -5.2% 9 -4.8% 31
4 NO 22.6% 3 27.3% 4 10-2 19.5% 4 -1.6% 13 1.5% 11
5 DEN 21.4% 6 23.9% 5 6-6 8.9% 9 -13.7% 2 -1.2% 22
6 CHI 14.6% 5 13.4% 8 8-4 -3.3% 20 -22.0% 1 -4.1% 29
7 PIT 14.6% 7 16.9% 6 7-4-1 16.6% 5 -1.5% 14 -3.5% 27
8 NE 14.4% 9 15.4% 7 9-3 14.8% 6 0.2% 17 -0.2% 18
9 BAL 13.9% 8 10.9% 10 7-5 -1.0% 16 -12.2% 4 2.8% 7
10 SEA 11.2% 11 12.9% 9 7-5 8.6% 10 -0.2% 16 2.4% 9
11 HOU 7.2% 12 7.9% 12 9-3 -4.3% 21 -8.7% 6 2.8% 8
12 GB 6.9% 10 7.2% 13 4-7-1 13.7% 7 4.7% 23 -2.1% 24
13 IND 5.9% 13 9.8% 11 6-6 1.5% 13 -3.6% 11 0.8% 12
14 CAR 2.5% 15 1.5% 15 6-6 9.1% 8 6.4% 27 -0.2% 17
15 MIN 0.9% 14 2.3% 14 6-5-1 -1.8% 17 -6.0% 8 -3.2% 26
16 NYG -1.1% 20 0.1% 17 4-8 0.0% 14 5.4% 24 4.3% 4
17 JAX -1.9% 16 -4.0% 18 4-8 -16.2% 28 -11.3% 5 3.0% 6
18 DAL -2.0% 21 0.8% 16 7-5 -8.4% 23 -7.4% 7 -1.0% 21
19 PHI -6.5% 24 -7.3% 20 6-6 -3.3% 19 2.8% 21 -0.4% 19
20 ATL -7.9% 22 -6.3% 19 4-8 7.2% 11 16.9% 32 1.8% 10
21 MIA -8.1% 18 -11.4% 23 6-6 -7.8% 22 4.6% 22 4.3% 5
22 WAS -10.4% 17 -11.1% 22 6-6 -13.2% 27 1.7% 19 4.4% 3
23 CLE -10.8% 23 -8.6% 21 4-7-1 -10.6% 25 -5.2% 10 -5.4% 32
24 CIN -11.0% 19 -14.5% 25 5-7 -0.6% 15 10.7% 28 0.3% 14
25 TEN -12.8% 25 -11.6% 24 6-6 -11.1% 26 2.3% 20 0.7% 13
26 TB -14.9% 26 -16.0% 27 5-7 3.9% 12 16.3% 30 -2.6% 25
27 NYJ -19.6% 27 -26.6% 30 3-9 -26.0% 30 0.2% 18 6.7% 2
28 DET -23.5% 29 -15.9% 26 4-8 -8.6% 24 14.1% 29 -0.8% 20
29 OAK -23.7% 31 -24.9% 29 2-10 -2.8% 18 16.4% 31 -4.5% 30
30 BUF -25.2% 30 -18.0% 28 4-8 -36.4% 31 -13.1% 3 -1.9% 23
31 SF -27.6% 28 -28.3% 31 2-10 -17.7% 29 6.3% 25 -3.6% 28
32 ARI -34.5% 32 -34.9% 32 3-9 -37.4% 32 -2.7% 12 0.2% 15
  • 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 KC 39.9% 10-2 38.1% 11.2 1 1.7% 12 7.4% 5 9.5% 9
2 LAR 29.5% 11-1 30.9% 10.5 2 2.8% 9 -13.5% 32 5.5% 1
3 LAC 28.1% 9-3 31.4% 8.7 3 -3.5% 25 16.1% 3 8.1% 6
4 NO 22.6% 10-2 26.2% 8.3 5 -2.3% 21 1.2% 13 11.6% 10
5 DEN 21.4% 6-6 20.5% 8.4 4 8.0% 2 -8.5% 26 16.1% 25
6 CHI 14.6% 8-4 21.3% 7.3 8 -9.7% 32 2.5% 10 14.0% 19
7 PIT 14.6% 7-4-1 11.2% 7.0 11 5.2% 6 0.6% 15 14.8% 21
8 NE 14.4% 9-3 15.2% 7.6 6 -1.3% 15 -9.6% 29 13.5% 17
9 BAL 13.9% 7-5 14.7% 7.5 7 -2.2% 20 10.6% 4 15.8% 24
10 SEA 11.2% 7-5 11.9% 7.1 9 1.8% 10 -5.3% 22 7.6% 5
11 HOU 7.2% 9-3 12.6% 7.0 10 -3.6% 27 -5.5% 23 5.8% 2
12 GB 6.9% 4-7-1 5.8% 6.9 13 -4.8% 29 -9.1% 27 13.5% 16
13 IND 5.9% 6-6 14.6% 6.9 12 -8.3% 31 -2.2% 18 14.8% 22
14 CAR 2.5% 6-6 11.3% 6.1 14 -4.4% 28 6.7% 8 18.6% 27
15 MIN 0.9% 6-5-1 -0.4% 5.8 16 -3.5% 26 -1.4% 16 6.4% 3
16 NYG -1.1% 4-8 -0.6% 6.0 15 -2.6% 22 -4.8% 21 12.5% 12
17 JAX -1.9% 4-8 -3.7% 4.8 23 1.7% 11 -6.0% 25 7.3% 4
18 DAL -2.0% 7-5 1.4% 5.4 18 -2.6% 23 -4.2% 20 12.7% 13
19 PHI -6.5% 6-6 -4.7% 5.5 17 -1.7% 18 6.1% 9 14.3% 20
20 ATL -7.9% 4-8 -9.0% 5.0 22 1.6% 13 -10.0% 30 8.3% 7
21 MIA -8.1% 6-6 -7.6% 4.5 26 -7.2% 30 -2.9% 19 13.9% 18
22 WAS -10.4% 6-6 -6.2% 5.3 19 -2.0% 19 -5.5% 24 13.3% 14
23 CLE -10.8% 4-7-1 -6.7% 4.6 25 5.3% 4 6.7% 6 9.3% 8
24 CIN -11.0% 5-7 -15.5% 5.3 20 7.8% 3 2.0% 12 18.1% 26
25 TEN -12.8% 6-6 -13.0% 5.2 21 1.1% 14 -1.9% 17 20.8% 30
26 TB -14.9% 5-7 -15.9% 4.3 27 -1.5% 17 6.7% 7 14.9% 23
27 NYJ -19.6% 3-9 -19.1% 3.2 29 -2.7% 24 0.8% 14 22.0% 31
28 DET -23.5% 4-8 -22.3% 3.8 28 3.1% 8 -13.0% 31 20.5% 29
29 OAK -23.7% 2-10 -29.7% 3.1 30 8.1% 1 16.2% 2 18.7% 28
30 BUF -25.2% 4-8 -29.5% 4.7 24 4.1% 7 -9.2% 28 28.7% 32
31 SF -27.6% 2-10 -27.7% 2.8 31 -1.3% 16 19.2% 1 13.3% 15
32 ARI -34.5% 3-9 -36.5% 2.4 32 5.3% 5 2.3% 11 12.3% 11


58 comments, Last at 07 Dec 2018, 7:36pm

1 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Just a heads' up: sorting on the W/L column is broken, putting LAR, NO, and KC at the "bottom" (below or above SF/OAK) depending on which direction you sort by.

4 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

This is just something we have to live with; because we're doing W-L records instead of doing W and L as separate columns, it is sorting those records as text.

2 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

An interesting thing about Denver is that their schedule is extremely boom or bust; 9 games against teams in the top 11 of DVOA (Two each against the Chiefs/Chargers, one each against the Rams/Seahawks/Steelers/Ravens/Texans), 7 against the bottom 10 (Two against the Raiders, one each against the Niners/Cardinals/Browns/Bengals/Jets).

Obviously, we're only 2/3 of the way through the season, but has there been another team that just managed to go a season without playing cromulent teams?

25 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Chiefs are the same, but they drew NE (8) and JAX (17) instead of Houston (11) and NYJ (27) . Overall KC has 9 games vs teams currently in the top 10 of both weighted and total DVOA, and considering they are one of the top 10 teams that is a lot of matchups.

Chiefs are 4-2 vs top 10 with 3 games remaining (LAC, BAL, @SEA).
Broncos are 3-5 vs top 10 with 1 game remaining (LAC).

Broncos probably win out though. 3 easy games and the Chargers at home. Probably going to be 3 AFCW teams in the playoffs.

3 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Seems like the Ravens should go back to Joe Flacco over Jackson since they are position to make a run for the playoffs. I believe Flacco was one of the worst rated QBs last year, but this season he is 17th in DYAR and 18th in DVOA. As a mediocre starting QB he's still far ahead of where Lamar Jackson is right now.

6 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

The problem here is, you have competing incentives.

Joe flacco is done after this year, so he brings 0 value going forward. Jackson is the future.

Thus, is it worth turning to Flacco in hopes of winning the sb ? The current version of the Ravens is better than the one that won the SB, but it still feels like a low probability play.

Plus, there's a chance Jackson improves enough to be just slightly worse than Flacco, so you have to take that into account.

Having watched Jackson twice so far, I'm extremely pessimistic about his future. He resembles a more flawed version of Mike Vick. Vick's talents were so extreme that it negated the massive holes in his game. I'm not seeing the same for Jackson.

7 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

But what about the rest of the players? If, as coach, you send the signal that next year is more important than this year; then you give them a pass to just loaf through the rest of the year. See the Oakland Raiders.

More importantly, Harbaugh has a massive win-now incentive. Just a few weeks ago people were saying he'd be gone at the end of this year. If he's got the chance to post a winning season, make the playoffs, win the division then he takes it to make any firing decision that bit harder.

10 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Ravens players seem confident that Jackson gives them a fine chance to win. I think none of them would say it on the record, but they ACT like they have a better chance to win with Jackson than with Flacco.
(That's me going entirely by soft indicators like body language etc: things I could be wildly misinterpreting.)

Going with Jackson is not necessarily a "wait til next year!" concession, at all.

9 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Funny. I watched Jackson's first two starts very closely (not the Falcons game yet, but I have it on DVR), and I'm extremely optimistic about his future. His glaring misses seem to be due to inconsistent fundamentals; but he is very patient in the pocket, has good pocket awareness, and generally seems to have great feel for who is coming open when and how the ball should get there. Broadly it seems that he is making hard throws and missing some easy ones. Seems like "too much time to think" makes him self-consciously mess up his motion or mechanics or something; but when he plays on automatic, things go well. Jackson also dropped a gorgeous dime to John Brown for a 48yd pickup on a play-action pass in his first start – that got called back for holding (on Orlando Brown), so it doesn't count: but it certainly effects my perception of his passing ability. In that game specifically, if the twp tipped-ball INTs had fallen incomplete and the long completion been allowed to stand, his passer rating for the game would have been over 90 – excellent for a rook. Point being he hasn't been far from having quite-good passing stats.
(Remember I haven't seen the Atlanta game.)

NB: also I'm a Ravens fan, so there's a nonzero chance that I'm believing what I want to believe.

Another thing to like about Jackson, and this is specifically in comparison to Flacco: the ball comes out on time. I've seen a few tape cut-ups of specific plays on Twitter (Matt Waldman and someone else), and in (some of) those plays you see Lamar's back foot hit on the 3rd or 5th step, one hitch, and the ball is out. I've been in Joe Flacco's corner for a decade; but Joe has always been a tick slow in getting the ball out. He usually decides late and throws late. His arm talent has been such that he could still complete passes that get out late; but YAC opportunities are diminished, etc. Jackson's game seems "quicker": quicker decisions, moving the ball quicker. Like a point guard driving and dishing, or faking one way and passing another. Jackson doesn't seem to put the same zip on the ball that Joe did; but the quicker decision-making looks like it's giving players better YAC chances (for ex plays to John Brown, Mark Andrews).

I mean, when Jackson completes the ball. He's got to solidify his fundamentals; and he sure as hell has to eliminate the fumbling. But he's a 21yo rookie. He *should* have some work to do. Put another way, I'd a helluva lot rather have my team's future tied to Jackson than to Josh Allen. (Which is not saying much.)

- - - - - - -

As to whether the Ravens should turn back to Flacco – in my opinion, they should only do that if the game situation warrants. Like Jackson gets knocked out of a game for a series; or they fall behind by 3 scores in KC with enough time remaining to have a legitimate shot at mounting a comeback. The running attack the Ravens have mounted over the past 3 games is built entirely on defenses having to react to Jackson's presence, his threat to scoot around the perimeter or backside of plays. It's not just that the opponent defenses have been bad (though they have been): it's that the Ravens have adopted a style of play that is difficult to defend well for any opponent. If Flacco comes back in, the running game goes back out. It seems to me the Ravens have set themselves up to have their cake and eat it too, these last seven games of the season (after the bye): win while giving the rookie live game experience at the same time.

11 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

It is certainly worth noting that Jackson has faced an *incredibly* easy schedule of defenses so far. He could not have asked for a friendlier landing spot. (Even more incredibly, this schedule extends for the next two weeks. By that time Jackson's first 5 starts will have been against defenses in the current bottom 7 by DVOA).

That is not to say we should have expected Jackson to rip those defenses to shreds in his first starts, especially given we all knew he was a raw prospect coming out of college. It's really too early to tell.

14 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

"NB: also I'm a Ravens fan, so there's a nonzero chance that I'm believing what I want to believe."

I'm not, and I have been seeing the same thing. I'm bullish on him.

30 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

I saw his games against the Falcons and Bengals. He wasn't horrendous in either game, but I'm more dismayed by his general approach to quarterbacking. Maybe I wasn't watching it clearly enough, but I didn't like what I saw out of his pocket presence. He didn't instantly panic when the ball was snapped, but I didn't see anything to suggest he was a composed player. He also ran a lot. Like, a lot a lot. Then again, lots of rookies look bad in all kinds of ways and progress out of it. Then again, some don't.

Look, he's not the worst rookie qb I've ever seen, not even close. And I think he can make the Ravens offense far more functionally useful than Flacco. Its funny, at the time of his drafting, I thought it made perfect sense. A team historically built on defense and special teams with no real history of receiving talent or innovative passing - someone like Jackson works. He improves the run game, gets those incremental yards when you need to buy the defense a few extra minutes.

I can also buy into some of the other hidden benefits. A guy like Jackson doesn't need great perimeter weapons because he's unlikely to take advantage of them nor is he likely to be held back that much(yes, he needs a baseline level of competence, but I don't think he'd properly utilize Julio so its a bit of a wash). By virtue of his running style, the ravens don't need to spend on running backs either. So effectively, their resources can be put into linemen and defense.

But there's a hard ceiling here for a player like Jackson and we saw that pretty clearly with Vick. The day he faces a defense that knows how to corral his scramble style, the entire offense will grind to a halt. And worse, if the rest of the team isn't so good, then will he be able to elevate them? As crappy as Flacco has been, that playoff run was mostly about him, His style is the kind you need to beat good defenses - namely, scan the pocket and deliver the ball - something I really have no faith in Jackson developing.

I don't know if its controversial to say but scramble qbs usually are remedial when it comes to reading defenses. Why? Because they have their legs to fall back on. Brady, Brees, Manning, Rivers, Ryan etc...they don't and so they rely on their mental abilities. And those are universally more consistent and sought after traits then a player like Jackson relying on his legs.

32 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

QB's who are willing and able to run the ball frequently AND are good at passing are rare. Here is the list of QB's who had seasons where they averaged 7+ ANY/A and 30 rushing yards per game:

Russell Wilson, 3 times
Steve Young, 3
Robert Griffin, 1
Colin Kaepernick, 1
Cam Newton, 1
Tyrod Taylor, 1
Mike Vick, 1
Deshaun Watson, 1
(that's in the history of the NFL)

If you adjust for passing environment, you can add a couple more guys:
Greg Landry, twice
Daunte Culpepper, 1
Rich Gannon, 1
Steve Grogan, 1

So, really, Russell Wilson and Steve Young are the only QB's to be good at both passing and running over multiple seasons.

37 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Looks like Tarkenton never rushed for 400 yards in a season, or 30 yards/game in a season.

Tarkenton's best yards/game season was 26.9 in 1966. That ranks as the 82nd-best for a QB (min. 200 pass attempts). But at the time he did it, it was the 14th-best QB rushing season.

44 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Gannon misses your arbitrary cutoff by like .05 ANY/A in 2000. He also had enough scramble rushes to offset the sack yardage.

McMahon did it in 1984.

Frankly, that looks like a decent QB list.

47 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Adjusted Net Yards Per Attempt is inherently biased against rushing QBs. First off, it includes passing TDs in the formula, penalizing rushing QBs for running in a touchdown as compared to throwing for one. Second, it includes number of sacks. When a rushing QB is tackled for a 1 yard loss on a designed run, it's still a negative play, but it should be thought of as a rushing tackle for loss not a one yard sack. By comparison, the formula doesn't penalize a pocket QB for handing the ball off to the RB for a 1 yd loss. Third, it subtracts sack yards from passing yards, so the problem of counting QB rushes for loss as sack yards screws up ANY/A not once but twice for rushing QBs.

If you use plain old yards per attempt to overcome these biases, there's actually 47 seasons in which a QB ran for 30+ yards per game and averaged 7+ Y/A.

54 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Oh, I see. I was using minimum 200 pass attempts. If you drop to 100 attempts it lets a few more guys in. I'm not sure I want to consider guys who are throwing less than 200 times a year.

The main reason I did it, was just for a quick way to look at how rare it is for a QB to both run the ball successfully (and frequently) and ALSO be a good passer. Even if you drop to 100 pass attempts, you are looking at a very small pool of guys who have done it.

56 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

the problem is that the rare thing is averaging 30 yds/game rushing for a QB, not throwing for 7.5 Y/A. so there were 23 times when a QB ran for 30yds/game and threw 7.5+ Y/A over one season (minimum of 200 pass attempts http://pfref.com/tiny/aA8PY), but there were only 47 times a QB ran for 30yds/game and threw for 7.5 Y/A or less (min. 200 pass att. http://pfref.com/tiny/bahgp), so the QB threw for 7.5+ Y/A in roughly one third of all 30 yd/game seasons.

the other thing to look at is how rushing QBs compare to non-rushing QBs. using that same 30yd/game cutoff, from 2012-2017 (you can go back and add more years if you want but this takes a little extra work in excel so i just went with a six season span) there were 22 times a QB averaged 30Y/G over a season, and 193 times a QB averaged 29 or fewer Y/G rushing in a season (min. 200 pass attempts for both groups). the rushing QBs averaged 7.5 Y/A and 61.5% completion, the non-rushing QBs averaged 7.2 Y/A and 62.7% completion. you can add in more years if you want a bigger sample size, but it kinda seems like there isn't some big difference between rushing and non-rushing QBs when it comes to passing.

58 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

That's good stuff!

There just aren't that many QB's who have been able to average 30 rushing yards/game in a season. I ran a different count. This time 30 yd/gm (min 150 total rushing yards, to weed out guys who only played a couple games), and have a designation as "QB", so there is no longer a pass attempt minimum. This gives me 32 different players who have ever averaged 30+ yd/gm (since the merger). http://pfref.com/tiny/EXmHx In total, it has been done 79 times by those 32 players. (Michael Vick leads the way with 10 seasons.)

If I take that same query and then add a requirement of a Y/A+ of 110 (indicating a very good passing season), the list gets clipped to 14 players across 26 seasons. Now Russell Wilson is the leader with 4, and Michael Vick falls down to 3. So it's not like these guys are becoming better or worse QB's because of their running. Most of the guys who ran a lot in multiple seasons, had some seasons where they were good passers and some where they were less good. But their passing performances don't seem to correlate much with their running.

51 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

>> But there's a hard ceiling here for a player like Jackson and we saw that pretty clearly with Vick.
>> [Flacco's] style is the kind you need to beat good defenses - namely, scan the pocket and deliver
>> the ball - something I really have no faith in Jackson developing. I don't know if its controversial
>> to say but scramble qbs usually are remedial when it comes to reading defenses. Why? Because
>> they have their legs to fall back on.

Your comment assumes that Jackson is "remedial" at scanning the field and reading defenses. For a college prospect / rookie QB, he absolutely is not. His college tape shows him quite proficient at that. Check out some of Matt Waldman's work on Jackson from this past draft cycle (available on YouTube, I think). Jackson's NFL games have shown flashes of that skill – along with fumbles, rookie INTs, and throwing some balls into the dirt.

I mean, of course Jackson is "remedial" compared to Drew Brees and Tom Brady. But he absolutely looks like he has the foundation to continue sharpening those skills at the NFL level. He might fail to progress, but he doesn't look remedial (for a rookie) or unprepared, at all.

5 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

It is curious that the Lamar Jackson analysis only focus on his runs, and not his overall effect on the running game. I don't think Gus Edwards would be gashing teams up the middle if the edge defenders weren't guarding against Jackson keeping the ball.

Edwards (a rookie UDFA) started playing once Jackson started, and has climbed to 11th in YAR w/ only 76 carries.

If the Ravens play Flacco, they immediately go back to having one of the worst rushing attacks in the league.

Folks have also noticed that an uptick in the Ravens defense may be helped by the offense sustaining more drives. The Ravens have held the ball for 39, 34, and 38 minutes in each of Jackson's games (23, 25, and 26 in Flacco's last three).

12 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Yeah, but you've still got a lower overall offensive DVOA since Jackson took over, so it seems that despite all the natural strategic advantage of playing him, Flacco might be the better choice.

13 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

The big issue with going back to Flacco, though, isn't if he gives them a better chance or not, it's the fact that Jackson is their man next year and it would be bad for his confidence (and his teammates' confidence in him) if they went back to Flacco now.

19 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Apparently John Harbaugh has come out and said they may split duties at QB this week. Obviously there's a certain degree of smoke and mirrors going on here, as there was before Jackson's first start when they refused to rule Flacco out until the last minute. Although, given they are playing in Arrowhead, they could start Jackson, with the very real possibility of inserting Flacco if they fall behind and need to pass, pass, pass.

22 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

>> ... still got a lower overall offensive DVOA since Jackson took over

I'm not sure DVOA is accurately capturing the difference in Baltimore's play since Jackson became the starter.

For one thing, the opponent adjustments have probably been large (bad defenses). For another, the turnovers are huge in DVOA, which is entirely appropriate but may not be reflective of Jackson's skill level going forward. That's under the theory that all rookie QBs have a certain number of mistakes they have to get out of their system: a boneheaded INT or fumble by a rookie may just represent a "learning opportunity" that he corrects, rather than a propensity to continue turning it over, game after game. And for a third thing, Baltimore's offensive DVOA might be artificially inflated a little, by how well they performed in the first ~3 or 4 weeks of the season. For some reason, even with Flacco the Ravens offense has not been the same since that opening burst. Maybe O-line injuries? Ravens discussion board people think that defenses adjusted to what the Ravens were doing to start, and the Ravens/Flacco have not counter-adjusted. I don't have any film expertise to judge whether that's true or not.

It also looks weird that Jackson's rushing DYAR have been negative in each game. That doesn't match the eye test; and defenses are not reacting to him as if he's an ineffective runner. Quite the opposite.

Basically i think we all need to see more.

38 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

obviously i'm a ravens fan and biased/optimistic, but i agree. ravens are averaging 7.5 plays a drive the last three games (0.6 above next-best team) and 3:39 per drive (0:13 above the next best team). they've got 13 combined turnovers and punts (only the Saints, Texans and Chargers have fewer). i think the ravens are just getting slammed on the opponent adjustments, cause these are all qualities that DVOA is supposed to be better at highlighting as compared to basic stats.

anyway, i think the three phases of the ravens work together really well right now in a way that doesn't really show up when you just add three numbers together for OFF, DEF and S/T. i would expect them to outperform their DVOA totals as a result of the phases complimenting each other over the next few weeks (assuming they keep playing as good as they are). also, watching the way the offense has been working (with only studying a few plays in slo-mo, not actual film study like some do), i really think they're running a lot of plays that are consistent gainers against any scheme they'll face. you can stack 8 in the box when you know somebody's gonna run, but you still don't know where/how/who is going to run, and as soon as the play gets going. bringing someone in motion across the line while Lamar can keep or hand off just has so many possibilities that whatever scheme you play has to account for. i don't really see a good way to scheme against him, i think teams are going to need pure skill from a few key positions like DE/OLB to beat him. it's really a great scheme for a rookie too because there isn't so much the defense can do in terms of throwing things at the QB he hasn't seen. maybe i'm just crazy, but i honestly like the ravens chances against KC. i could be totally wrong but i think the D comes up big and the offense does enough from their end to keep Mahomes on the sideline for most of the game. the D did just hold the Falcons to their fewer yards since 1999. we'll see.

8 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

The Chargers are certainly the most obscure of the dark horses this season, I don't think any other power ranking has them in the top four. I'm surprised by how good their offensive line numbers are; that has been the problem for them in recent times, but they're up from 26th to 7th in adjusted line yards, which looks to be the biggest improvement of any team. (In fact, ALY seem quite consistent from last year to this; is that normal?)

Most of the excitement is out west this season, isn't it? The *FC Wests have four of the top five teams and three of the bottom four. Has any region ever seen such polarization?

Speaking of dark horses, I'm keeping an eye on Tyler Lockett, whose receiving DVOA is presently the third-best in 33 years. He has a shot at the seemingly unbreakable record held by the legendary Dennis Northcott. The names of the other players who've finished a season with 50+% receiving DVOA – Jordy Nelson, Tim Dwight, John Taylor twice – hint at the need to name this prize the Best at Beating Single Coverage Award featuring QBs who are either the greatest ever or willing to take a sack rather than float a hopeful pass in their direction.

It's interesting that DVOA is not getting excited about Nick Chubb. He's 22nd in rushing DVOA but 9th, I think, in unadjusted VOA – which is what happens when your coach gives you 20-plus carries against the Bengals, Chiefs and Falcons, but only nine against Houston.

15 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

"Most of the excitement is out west this season, isn't it? The *FC Wests have four of the top five teams and three of the bottom four. Has any region ever seen such polarization?"

If so, it's been the *FC Easts. Usually the AFC East is good for 2-3 stinkers and 1 great, and although down this year, for a long time the NFC East was good for 2-3 great teams.

46 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

If not, they ought to be. I think the Chargers match up better against the Patriots than any of the other AFC contenders, especially with the emergence of Derwin James and loss of Kareem Hunt. They have solid receiving, rushing, and defense. Only special teams can hurt them.

20 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Denver's high ranking but low chance of making the playoffs has me wondering, who are the best teams to miss the playoffs in DVOA history?

42 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings


From 2015 data. The 2017 Ravens and 2016 Eagles slot in at 12th and 20th, respectively. At their current DVOA, the Broncos would be 9th, if they miss the playoffs. Subjectively I think it's 50/50 they make it or not.

24 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Vikings vs. Seahawks is a classic "Whomever has the home field, wins" matchup, and that's the Seahawks. It's odd to see the Seattle offense ranked so much higher than the Seattle defense, but I have no reason to think yet that the Vikings will have much offensive success in a difficult road environment. If the Vikings' kicker can manage to have a good day, just once, just for the novelty of it, it'll really improve the Vikings chances of pulling off an upset. I wouldn't risk my money on that proposition, but if they do, they very, very likely make the playoffs.

27 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Vikings are 0-4 vs teams with a winning record. The line should be closer to SEA -6 for this game, so, kicker or not, I would advise against betting any money on an upset.

28 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

I already wrote that I expect the Seahawks to win, but I certainly don't make judgements like that based on a tiny number of data points, registered as a win or loss, representing hugely complex competitions. That's a supremely ill-advised way to risk money.

31 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Objective models have the line at or around Seahawks -6, which means it is far from a "whoever has home field wins" game. That was the point.

Now it's the NFL, and any team can win on any day, but implying the two teams are equal is a bit of a stretch.

33 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Objective models are an imperfect representation of reality. What they frequently overlook in regard to the NFL is injury data. In particular, the Vikings defense has made huge strides since Everson Griffen returned, then suffered a setback when their two best corners had very limited snaps against New England. Now, if those two corners are very limited again (and with Zimmer you rarely get a good sense of the injury situation until gameday), then yes, 6 or 7 points, or even more, is appropriate, especially since a Viking kicker has yet to have a good day this year. Kickers are nortoriously variable however, so it wouldn't be a shocking development if it happened, and I just don't have any insight into the condition of Rhodes and Waynes. If they can nearly fully go, however, yes, it is a game where home field advantage, including kicking in a dome, would likely prove decisive.

What is a very poor use of metrics, however, is using w-l records over a 4 game sample, to gain insight as to how a team is likely to perform in the next game. Until you get much larger samples, w-l records are as likely to obscure reality as they are to illuminate it.

40 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Your points on data sets size are completely valid. But this is a real issue with football at all levels. We simply don't have large sample sizes of data with consistent variables (health of teammates/opponents, consistent schemes, weather, opponent, etc.) to work with the vast majority of the time - if ever! Especially when it comes to issues like team health and injury entanglement: is a smaller sample size of data that may better reflect the current current state (or the state for a specific upcoming game) better* than a larger more variable set of data? I don't have a definitive answer - but sometimes that may be true.

This is not to suggest that top level W/L analysis is better than more nuanced dissection of that same data set.

*and by "better" I mean more predictive.

41 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

The use of w-l as data points is particularly poor in obtaining insight, with regard to future events, because the variables which produce that "w" or "l" are extraordinarily, extraordinarily, large, thus meaning that a small handful of those data points essentially tell us nothing that we can employ with confidence, and might just as easily lead us to poor predictions.

50 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Having endured the Packers special teams this season I cannot begin to imagine what is must be like to watch a team WORSE at ST than Green Bay.

55 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

The NFC North teams' special teams DVOA rankings are inversely related to their won-loss record. If the Packers can get WORSE at special teams, maybe they can win the division.

EDIT: this was meant to be a reply to msg #50

57 Re: Week 13 DVOA Ratings

Is variance total % or +/- %?

Example, NO DVOA is 22.6% with Variance of 11.6%.
Does this mean NO hypothetically play down to a 11.0% DVOA or up to a 34.2% DVOA. Or is the 11.6% roughly split in half with 5.8% above and 5.8% below the team's DVOA?