Week 3 DVOA Ratings

Week 3 DVOA Ratings
Week 3 DVOA Ratings
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Aaron Schatz

The three remaining undefeated teams in the NFL are also the top three teams in DVOA through Week 3: the Los Angeles Rams, the surprising Miami Dolphins, and the unstoppable Kansas City Chiefs. Then there's a big gap before we get to the rest of the league, where things are a bit more scrambled.

You'll notice a handful of 1-2 teams interspersed with the 2-1 teams in the top half of DVOA, and even an 0-3 team. The New York Jets are sitting at No. 7 with the No. 2 defense and special teams in the league. This is almost all still the effect of that huge Week 1 victory over Detroit, which had 90.9% DVOA, the highest rating of any single game this year. Then the Jets go -57.9% for their loss to Miami and 0.1% for their loss to Cleveland. They'll likely keep falling in future weeks as that Week 1 game becomes less and less of their resume. As for the Houston Texans, I discussed their first two games last week. They had their worst game of the year against the New York Giants but DVOA didn't rate it that badly (-10.4%) and so they are still sitting at No. 11, with a rating just a little lower than a week ago.

Let's talk instead about those top three teams, starting with the Kansas City Chiefs. Their offense is a juggernaut right now, blowing away all kinds of records. Because the overall offensive environment around the league is so high compared to the past, they are not blowing away the record for the best offensive DVOA we've ever measured after three weeks. But they're up there.

THROUGH WEEK 3, 1989-2018
THROUGH WEEK 3, 1989-2018
Year Team DVOA Year Team DVOA
1999 WAS 55.3% x 2002 HOU -75.7%
1998 DEN 54.5% x 2013 JAX -68.2%
2005 PIT 53.9% x 1997 NO -64.1%
2007 NE 53.0% x 2000 CIN -58.1%
2013 DEN 51.1% x 2004 MIA -57.3%
2018 KC 50.6% x 1996 TB -53.7%
1991 BUF 49.9% x 1995 CAR -53.3%
2010 NE 46.4% x 2001 WAS -52.5%
2011 BUF 45.9% x 1994 ARI -51.9%
1992 DAL 45.8% x 2010 CAR -51.7%
2007 DAL 45.1% x 2018 ARI -51.7%
2000 STL 44.3% x 1992 IND -51.6%

If Josh Rosen can play better than Sam Bradford, we will only be running one of these two tables in future weeks.

For the most part, those top offenses are teams that kept scoring with top offenses all year. The glaring exception is the 2011 Buffalo Bills and a younger version of Fitzmagic, where Ryan Fitzpatrick turned back into a pumpkin after three weeks. That team averaged 37.7 points over the first three games, then just 19.9 points the rest of the way, finishing 6-10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, beware!

As for the Chiefs, they also have one of the top ten special teams DVOA ratings ever tracked through Week 3, but I'm going to wait a while before we start updating a table on that every week because this early, the sample size of special teams is so small. It's basically just a list of "which teams had the best single games between Week 1 and Week 3."

What about the Miami Dolphins? While everyone is paying attention to Tampa Bay and the crazy offensive numbers put up by Fitzmagic, what's going on down in south Florida is almost as wild. Miami is not only No. 2 in DVOA; they're also No. 5 in our DAVE ratings, which are still 65 percent made up of our preseason projections. That means the Dolphins now have a higher DAVE rating than the New England Patriots. Combine that with a two-game lead in the division, and our playoff odds report now puts Miami in the playoffs 82 percent of the time. They win the division 67.5 percent of the time, and they win the Super Bowl 9.6 percent of the time, which ranks third behind Los Angeles and Kansas City!

I will fully admit that this sounds completely insane. It is very unlikely that the Dolphins are really now just a 9-to-1 shot to win the Super Bowl. If I may publicly ponder my own methods, this makes me feel like it would be a good offseason project to examine and recalculate the percentages of the preseason projection that go into DAVE. In fact, many statistical prognosticators have found that you get better results by including preseason projections as part of your ratings all the way up until the end of the season. We may need to consider doing the same, perhaps creating something like DAVE or "predictive DVOA" that combines past performance with future projection all season long.

You may also be saying to yourself, "Well, of course, the Dolphins look too high because they aren't including the opponent adjustments yet. Just wait until they factor in the easy schedule that Miami started with." This is true ... but it is even more true of the Los Angeles Rams. If you're going to discount the Dolphins because of their schedule, you have to discount the Rams too.

I put together some numbers to figure out how easy each team's schedule has been so far. I looked at the average opponent rating with both DVOA (Week 1-3 performance only) and DAVE (which incorporates our preseason projections). And as great as the Rams are -- I happen to think they're the best team in the NFL right now -- they've played a very easy schedule no matter how you look at it. Oakland and Arizona are two bad teams we expect to stay bad. The Chargers have been mediocre, and our projections had them as mediocre. The Rams' past schedule ranked 31st in the league either way we measure. The only team with an easier schedule is the team the Rams are playing on Thursday night, the Minnesota Vikings, whose schedule ranks 32nd either way.

Miami's schedule has been easy as well: 24th based on DVOA of opponents, 27th based on DAVE. But what really stands out is Miami's schedule going forward. Based on current DVOA of their remaining 13 opponents, Miami has the easiest remaining schedule in the NFL. Based on current DAVE ratings -- which most importantly gives the New England Patriots a lot more credit -- Miami's remaining schedule still ranks 31st in the league.

Combine that 3-0 record with the easy remaining schedule, and you can see that Miami's excellent playoff odds are not just a product of DAVE overestimating what their early performance means for their chances of winning games in the future. To show this, I put together an additional playoff simulation featuring every team's records after Week 3, except this time I based the remaining wins and losses solely on our preseason projections. Past performance meant absolutely nothing in this simulation except for actual wins and losses. Remember, Miami's preseason DVOA projection ranked 25th in the league. New England's preseason DVOA projection ranked second.

In this simulation, Miami still makes the playoffs 55 percent of the time. They still win the AFC East 35 percent of the time. Their Super Bowl odds are much lower, as they only win the Super Bowl 2.7 percent of the time. But that's a huge change in playoff odds based solely on a two-game lead in the standings. In the preseason simulation, Miami only made the playoffs 29.5 percent of the time. Even assuming they are the same quality of team that we assumed in the preseason, Miami's odds of making the playoffs have nearly doubled because the Dolphins got off to a 3-0 start while the rest of the AFC East is 1-2. In this "what if" projection using solely the preseason forecast, only one other team even came close to improving its playoff odds this much thanks to the first three weeks of the season -- and that team exceeded the Dolphins. We listed Kansas City before the season with a 34.8 percent chance of making the playoffs. In a simulation that still assumes that Kansas City is a slightly below-average team, like we had in the preseason projections, the Chiefs would now have a 65.6 percent chance of making the playoffs thanks to their 3-0 start.

Here's the entire table of schedules with both past and future schedules based on average DVOA and DAVE rating of opponents. It's sortable!

1 LAR 49.2% 3-0 -23.6% 31 -5.1% 28 -11.8% 31 -2.2% 26
2 MIA 43.0% 3-0 -8.9% 24 -8.3% 32 -6.3% 27 -3.7% 31
3 KC 41.6% 3-0 -6.0% 21 -0.6% 13 -1.7% 19 -0.4% 18
4 CIN 23.2% 2-1 11.4% 5 2.3% 9 4.4% 9 2.4% 4
5 BAL 20.7% 2-1 -10.5% 25 -1.5% 17 -10.7% 30 1.4% 7
6 JAX 17.9% 2-1 -18.2% 27 3.5% 6 -5.3% 25 1.1% 9
7 NYJ 13.5% 1-2 -2.5% 20 -6.9% 30 -3.2% 20 -3.1% 29
8 CAR 13.5% 2-1 -2.0% 19 -3.9% 23 1.6% 14 1.1% 10
9 WAS 12.9% 2-1 -21.1% 30 -4.2% 26 -7.7% 29 -0.3% 16
10 CHI 11.4% 2-1 -20.3% 29 -6.6% 29 -6.4% 28 -2.9% 27
11 HOU 8.5% 0-3 -18.2% 27 0.3% 11 -5.3% 24 -2.0% 22
12 NO 6.3% 2-1 -15.1% 26 6.1% 2 -5.9% 26 4.7% 1
13 PHI 2.7% 2-1 -8.3% 23 3.0% 8 -3.2% 22 2.4% 5
14 SEA 2.4% 1-2 1.5% 15 -4.0% 25 -1.6% 18 -2.1% 24
15 DEN 2.0% 2-1 0.8% 16 5.3% 3 1.2% 15 0.9% 11
16 LAC 1.8% 1-2 11.3% 6 -4.7% 27 1.7% 13 -3.1% 28
17 PIT 0.1% 1-1-1 5.6% 12 4.2% 5 -0.2% 16 2.6% 3
18 IND 0.0% 1-2 12.9% 4 -3.9% 24 6.7% 6 -3.3% 30
19 MIN -1.6% 1-1-1 -29.3% 32 0.2% 12 -16.4% 32 1.2% 8
20 TB -4.6% 2-1 3.0% 14 -0.7% 14 11.3% 1 -0.7% 20
21 DAL -8.8% 1-2 -1.9% 18 -2.5% 20 -3.2% 21 0.1% 14
22 GB -11.3% 1-1-1 7.6% 7 -8.1% 31 3.1% 10 -4.3% 32
23 NE -13.1% 1-2 -1.3% 17 1.5% 10 -1.6% 17 -2.1% 23
24 TEN -19.7% 2-1 23.1% 3 -1.7% 18 5.9% 7 -1.1% 21
25 SF -19.8% 1-2 3.2% 13 -3.4% 21 3.0% 11 -2.1% 25
26 CLE -20.2% 1-1-1 6.6% 10 8.4% 1 7.7% 5 3.4% 2
27 ATL -20.4% 1-2 7.5% 8 -3.6% 22 8.4% 4 -0.4% 17
28 OAK -20.6% 0-3 31.4% 1 3.3% 7 11.0% 2 0.2% 13
29 NYG -21.7% 1-2 5.9% 11 -0.8% 15 3.0% 12 0.7% 12
30 DET -30.4% 1-2 -6.4% 22 -1.0% 16 -4.2% 23 0.1% 15
31 ARI -51.9% 0-3 24.5% 2 -1.9% 19 9.4% 3 -0.6% 19
32 BUF -56.8% 1-2 7.0% 9 4.9% 4 5.8% 8 1.5% 6

Looking at the first three games, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have by far the largest gap between schedule rank by current DVOA (3.0%, 14th) and schedule rank by DAVE (11.3%, 1st). That's a gap of 13 places in rank; no other team has a similar gap of more than seven places in rank in either direction. New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh have all undershot their preseason projections at this point, in part because of how well the Buccaneers played against them. Right now, the Bucs are just 20th in DVOA despite their 2-1 record. This past schedule rank by DAVE suggests that Tampa Bay's first three games will rise in our ratings as the opponent adjustments are put in, starting next week, and as their first three opponents (probably) begin to play closer to the level we expected before the season.

If we look based on the difference in actual rating between past schedule DVOA and DAVE, we get a bunch of teams who've played the Packers and Patriots so far: Chicago, Washington, Minnesota, Houston, and Jacksonville.

The team with the biggest gap in the other direction for the schedule so far, based on ranks, is the Los Angeles Chargers, whose schedule ranks sixth by current DVOA (11.3%) and 13th by DAVE (1.7%). Based on the ratings themselves, the biggest gap belongs to the Oakland Raiders, but their No. 1 toughest schedule based on DVOA only drops to the No. 2 toughest schedule by DAVE. Miami, Denver, and yes, even the Rams are all outperforming their preseason projections.

Now let's look at upcoming schedules for the rest of the season.

Before the season started, we had the New England Patriots projected with the easiest schedule in the league. Not anymore. However, it makes a big difference if the Dolphins and Jets are closer to the teams they've been through three games or closer to the teams that we thought they were before the season. The Patriots' remaining schedule is ranked 10th based on current DVOA ratings, but it drops to 23rd if we use DAVE ratings.

Other teams whose remaining schedules look easier if we use DAVE ratings include Houston, Denver, and Cleveland. The Browns still have the No. 2 toughest remaining schedule with DAVE ratings, but it's a lot easier than their remaining schedule using past DVOA because of Baltimore and Cincinnati outperforming their projections right now.

On the other side are the Carolina Panthers. Their schedule ranked 23rd if we use current DVOA ratings, but improves to 10th if we use current DAVE ratings. A big part of that is their December Saints-Falcons-Saints stretch, but they have the Steelers and Eagles on their schedule too.

Other teams whose remaining schedules look harder if we use DAVE ratings include Washington and Baltimore.

* * * * *

All stats pages should now be updated through Week 3, including snap counts and playoff odds. The FO Premium DVOA database is also updated through Week 3. We're still experimenting with our tables, the sticky headers and the sortable functionality, so you'll find some of them are sortable while there are others we need to fiddle with before the sortable functionality works. We're getting to it all gradually and we hope everyone is enjoying the changes. Feel free to comment about them in the discussion thread.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through three 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.

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 65 percent of DAVE. The projection part of DAVE has been lowered to account for quarterback changes in both Arizona and San Francisco going forward. (Yes, Sam Bradford has been awful so far, but a veteran quarterback such as Bradford will still project to be better than a rookie such as Josh Rosen over a full season.)

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 LAR 49.2% 1 26.3% 1 3-0 32.7% 2 -14.6% 8 1.9% 11
2 MIA 43.0% 3 10.7% 5 3-0 17.2% 8 -22.2% 3 3.6% 7
3 KC 41.6% 2 13.3% 2 3-0 50.6% 1 27.1% 32 18.1% 1
4 CIN 23.2% 4 6.7% 10 2-1 17.3% 7 -2.8% 15 3.2% 10
5 BAL 20.7% 6 10.2% 6 2-1 3.7% 13 -20.8% 5 -3.8% 22
6 JAX 17.9% 5 3.0% 16 2-1 0.4% 17 -14.1% 9 3.4% 8
7 NYJ 13.5% 9 -2.3% 20 1-2 -27.3% 29 -27.6% 2 13.2% 2
8 CAR 13.5% 13 3.9% 13 2-1 17.9% 6 9.6% 23 5.2% 5
9 WAS 12.9% 17 5.0% 11 2-1 8.4% 10 -8.4% 11 -4.0% 24
10 CHI 11.4% 7 -2.9% 21 2-1 -19.6% 27 -27.8% 1 3.2% 9
11 HOU 8.5% 11 3.9% 12 0-3 0.4% 16 0.2% 17 8.3% 3
12 NO 6.3% 18 12.8% 3 2-1 23.5% 4 17.0% 28 -0.2% 16
13 PHI 2.7% 12 8.5% 7 2-1 -3.1% 19 -14.6% 7 -8.9% 29
14 SEA 2.4% 25 3.1% 14 1-2 -15.0% 26 -15.5% 6 1.9% 12
15 DEN 2.0% 14 -4.0% 23 2-1 1.1% 15 0.1% 16 0.9% 14
16 LAC 1.8% 10 0.1% 18 1-2 30.2% 3 14.5% 26 -13.9% 31
17 PIT 0.1% 21 12.6% 4 1-1-1 9.3% 9 3.1% 19 -6.0% 27
18 IND 0.0% 22 -0.7% 19 1-2 -10.6% 25 -6.5% 12 4.2% 6
19 MIN -1.6% 8 7.2% 9 1-1-1 -6.5% 22 -13.4% 10 -8.5% 28
20 TB -4.6% 16 -5.0% 24 2-1 21.4% 5 21.0% 29 -5.1% 26
21 DAL -8.8% 15 2.1% 17 1-2 -9.7% 23 -3.4% 13 -2.5% 19
22 GB -11.3% 23 3.1% 15 1-1-1 2.3% 14 14.8% 27 1.1% 13
23 NE -13.1% 19 7.5% 8 1-2 -0.6% 18 8.5% 21 -3.9% 23
24 TEN -19.7% 28 -6.7% 25 2-1 -22.4% 28 2.7% 18 5.4% 4
25 SF -19.8% 26 -17.7% 30 1-2 -4.6% 20 13.7% 25 -1.5% 17
26 CLE -20.2% 29 -8.8% 26 1-1-1 -28.1% 30 -22.1% 4 -14.2% 32
27 ATL -20.4% 24 -4.0% 22 1-2 4.6% 12 22.9% 30 -2.2% 18
28 OAK -20.6% 20 -9.9% 27 0-3 6.8% 11 24.5% 31 -2.9% 20
29 NYG -21.7% 27 -16.7% 29 1-2 -5.8% 21 11.9% 24 -4.0% 25
30 DET -30.4% 30 -11.5% 28 1-2 -10.0% 24 8.3% 20 -12.0% 30
31 ARI -51.9% 31 -25.5% 31 0-3 -51.7% 32 -2.8% 14 -3.1% 21
32 BUF -56.8% 32 -34.7% 32 1-2 -48.0% 31 9.1% 22 0.3% 15


54 comments, Last at 28 Sep 2018, 1:35pm

#1 by Will Allen // Sep 25, 2018 - 9:10pm

With Everson Griffin being likely done for the season, if not his career, due to what appears to be pretty severe mental illness, this Vikings season is starting to look way too much like 2016 or 2014. They are more talented now, so they can compensate better, perhaps, but it is going to be a real slog.

Beyond the football stuff, it's really depressing to see Griffin suffer this. The guy had come so far from where he was when he entered the league, and now it looks like he is facing a hard path. Stacked on top of Tony Sparano's sudden death, well, it's just terrible

Points: 0

#8 by andrew // Sep 26, 2018 - 8:26am

I was worried about the team a little, but at the time my floor didn't include this scenario. Just hope Griffin is okay. Don't think this is a playoff team, as we have seen when the line is bad nothing else really matters. Everyone else in the NFC north appears to have a decent offensive line.

The DVOA plummet was pretty severe, and that's without the opponent adjustments for the Bills.

Points: 0

#9 by Will Allen // Sep 26, 2018 - 8:51am

It appears as if Rieff is hurt as well; I'm curious as to whether it is something that was affecting him against the Bills.

They have spent a lot of money and draft capital to get their qb issue solved, going back many years, the last 4 or 5 especially, and it really has affected their depth elsewhere.

Points: 0

#10 by andrew // Sep 26, 2018 - 9:00am

Wonder if they will bring back Robison assuming Griffin is not gonna be back any time soon...

Points: 0

#29 by Mountain Time … // Sep 26, 2018 - 5:01pm

Seriously? That's a huge overreaction, to call the Vikings "not a playoff team." The Bills game was a fluke more than a sign of things to come. Nothing's guaranteed for anybody in the NFC North, but the Vikings will still win a bunch of games and will be in contention, at the very least.

Points: 0

#50 by andrew // Sep 27, 2018 - 6:36pm

That's just it, their offensive line woes are not a fluke. 2017 is looking like the fluke, because this sure looks a lot like what they were like in 2015 and 2016, except then they had quarterbacks who were adept at running for their lives (teddy B) or not being rattled while completing checkdowns (2016 Bradford). It seems Cousins' biggest weakness is handling pressure, and that just dovetails into a perfect storm. Anyone they face is gonna bring pressure, and their schedule has a lot of teams with a better pass rush than Buffalo (next two games in particular, and that's not counting facing Chicago twice).

Points: 0

#2 by Bobman // Sep 25, 2018 - 11:01pm

Same old Colts, winning with D and ST.

I LOVE the fact that they hire Pagano, the former DC at Baltimore where they feel shame if they ever finish outside the top-5... Pagano, who seemed like a nice enough guy who really knew how to spout cliches and make up new ones like rolling ball of butcher knives and 800-lb safe in the middle of the DL... Unfortunately his most hyperbolic flights of fantasy were for guys no longer in the league. This guy had a silver tongue but a brain made of lesser metals. Anyway, his D's rarely, if ever, broke into the top 20. And he has admitted that Luck's talent bought him a bunch of wins and a couple extra years.

So now onto Reich, former QB, former super-bowl-winning OC, and their D (admittedly only three games into his tenure) is way ahead of the O.

It's an upside down world. I fully expect Irsay to give up his Twitter any day now.

Points: 0

#18 by theslothook // Sep 26, 2018 - 1:02pm

I have serious concerns if Luck can ever return back to his old self. But the defense has been fun to watch. Darius Leonard is all over the place. And the surprising play of Margus Hunt.

Points: 0

#3 by jamie_k74 // Sep 25, 2018 - 11:06pm

Re. Miami's playoff odds; I bet that if they get a win over NE next week, by hook, crook or necromancy, they'll really get a boost; three games up on NE, 2-3 on the rest of the div, plus no worse than a split on first tie-breaker (H2H). Of course, it probably won't happen, but then again, there's been some seriously weird stuff this season already, and we're only 3 weeks in.

Points: 0

#4 by herewegobrowni… // Sep 26, 2018 - 12:12am

"and 0.1% for their overtime loss to Cleveland"


Points: 0

#6 by mehllageman56 // Sep 26, 2018 - 12:39am

The Browns recovered 3 of the 4 fumbles in the game. So bad fumble luck is probably helping the Jets DVOA in that game a little.

Oh, now I see what the problem is, in this imaginary overtime session of typing....

Points: 0

#14 by Aaron Schatz // Sep 26, 2018 - 11:36am

Sorry, my brain freeze. Fixed.

Points: 0

#5 by herewegobrowni… // Sep 26, 2018 - 12:14am

oops, double-post. server been running slow...

Points: 0

#7 by MC2 // Sep 26, 2018 - 4:11am

I have to think the Cardinals are going to show some significant improvement, not necessarily because of the switch to Rosen (although I did view him as basically the 1B to Mayfield's 1A among this year's QB class), but rather, because they simply have too much talent to be as bad as they have been so far. When you have David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Chandler Jones, and Patrick Peterson, there's no way you should be the second worst team in the league, no matter how bad your QB plays.

Points: 0

#11 by Mike B. In Va // Sep 26, 2018 - 9:23am

Keep in mind the current worst team in the league has equivalent talent, albeit at different positions (although Tre White and Peterson are about equal at the same position, and Jones has an edge over Jerry Hughes, but not as big of one as you might think). It's what surrounds them that makes the difference - and there they're about equal, I think. Fitz probably buys them an offensive advantage, since the receivers in Buffalo are a steaming pile of suck.

Edit - and AZ has an easier schedule. In fact, we may find Oakland on the bottom by the end of their year, since they have the hardest remaining schedule.

Points: 0

#36 by MC2 // Sep 27, 2018 - 1:09am

Well, at this stage of their respective careers, I would definitely put Peterson a notch ahead of White, and I would probably put Johnson a couple of notches ahead of Shady, but overall, you make a good point. All NFL teams, even the worst ones, have some great players.

As far as who ends up at the bottom, I wouldn't be surprised if it turns out to be some team that we currently view as average, or even above average, that ends up falling apart, likely due to tough luck with injuries.

Points: 0

#12 by Aaron Brooks G… // Sep 26, 2018 - 10:07am

You guys seem oddly concerned that DVOA likes the Dolphins.

You've been telling us for the years the AFC (l)East isn't New England and a collection of used hair, but the second one of those hairballs looks like a real team you want to recalibrate the math. Just saying. =)

Points: 0

#27 by Richie // Sep 26, 2018 - 3:21pm

I am a (long beaten-down) Dolphins fan and have a hard time believing they are the third-best team in the league.

Points: 0

#39 by johonny // Sep 27, 2018 - 11:22am

The football gods would appear to have set the schedule such that we'll get a pretty good feel this week for where Miami really is. The assumption right now is that the Pats will start playing better on offense when their two WRs that didn't start the season integrate into the offense. In that case it's a good time for Miami to be on the road verse them. The good news for Miami overall is that their schedule is shaping up more like two years ago than last years hurricane and England adventure schedule so the wild card seems possible or the division if the Pats really are only the 23rd best team in the league so long as Tannehill stays healthy. The reality of the AFC east is, all four teams seem to be heavily dependent on that starting QB because all four teams really ignored their back up QB situation. You could argue the BIlls sort of ignored their starter too. One of the odd things of the AFC least over the last two decades isn't just the Pats putting up good performances year in and out. It's that when a non-Pats AFC least team does perform well metrically, they under perform record wise. It's been a while since a non-Pats team put eleven or twelve wins up. Maybe it's this year? Maybe.

Points: 0

#45 by mehllageman56 // Sep 27, 2018 - 2:07pm

I don't think the Jets have ignored their back-up quarterback situation, since their back-up is their starter from last year. It's just that they jettisoned the guy who should have been their immediate starter, so now they are starting a 21 year old rookie. The Bills could have had a better quarterback room to start the year, but it's that they are missing a capable veteran starter, so now they are starting their rookie as well. The Pats have ignored their back-up and long term starter situation.

I really think things are different this year, and it's not going to go the way everyone thinks. Perhaps that's because I identify with grumpy old Luke Skywalker.

Points: 0

#13 by Pat // Sep 26, 2018 - 11:24am

Welp, that's it, it's official: this is New England's worst DVOA start through 3 weeks in the entirety of the time that FO's been putting out early season DVOA (since 2006). Obviously not apples to apples since methods have changed in that time. Same relative rank as last year, though.

Definitely the worst DAVE through 3 weeks that a Brady-led team has had, though, because New England's projection in 2017 was significantly better than the projection in 2018.

Last 10 years:

2018: Wk 3 DAVE 7.5% end-of-year ??
2017: Wk 3 DAVE 12.8% end-of-year 22.6%
2016: Wk 3 DAVE 14.5% end-of-year 24.9%
2015: Wk 3 DAVE 30.3% end-of-year 22.6%
2014: Wk 3 DAVE 17.4% end-of-year 22.1%
2013: Wk 3 DAVE 19.7% end-of-year 18.9%
2012: Wk 3 DAVE 28.0% end-of-year 34.9%
2011: Wk 3 DAVE 27.5% end-of-year 22.8%
2010: Wk 3 DAVE 23.7% end-of-year 44.6%
2009: Wk 3 DAVE 21.0% end-of-year 28.8%
2008: Wk 3 DAVE 9.4% end-of-year 13.1%
2007: Wk 3 DAVE 56.9% end-of-year 52.9%

Average *per-team* difference from Week 3 to final DVOA is essentially perfect (less than a percent off) by construction I think, with a standard deviation around +/-14% (so final DVOA = week 3 DAVE +/- 14%).

Average change from DAVE to end-of-year: +4.27%, median change +4.7%, standard deviation of 7.9% (so final DVOA = (week 3 DAVE + 4.3%) +/- 7.9%
Largest improvement: 2010, 20.9%
Biggest decline: 2015, -7.7%

Applying the average change to this year puts them at 11.8%, which last year would've put them ranked 10th in the league, with around a 10-6 record. Damn, so far my prediction from the East Over/Under thread is looking spot-the-heck on. Upper range of 19.7%, lower range of 3.9%, or a win range of something like 8-12 wins.

Note: After correcting for an early start (the +4.7% offset), DAVE by week 3 is really accurate historically at predicting the Patriots, but there's as a caveat, there's not a lot of lever arm there (the Patriots have been ridiculously consistent) with the exception of 2007 and 2008.

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#15 by Will Allen // Sep 26, 2018 - 11:37am

Prime Randy Moss: good at catching passes.

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#16 by Aaron Brooks G… // Sep 26, 2018 - 12:09pm

Wes Welker, as well.

That was a loaded defense, though, too. The worst player was what, Jarvis Green?

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#17 by Will Allen // Sep 26, 2018 - 12:47pm

I still maintain that if Brady had been able to step up, and thus deliver a good deep ball (no given, I know) to Moss at the end of that Super Bowl, they might have had to induct Moss into the HOF while he was still an active player. Imagine what the guy may have done if he really loved playing football, as opposed to making a lot of money while listening to the crowd when he scored touchdowns (and I really don't mean that as criticism)?

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#19 by theslothook // Sep 26, 2018 - 1:08pm

If I had to pick one non qb to start a team, there are only a handful of players I'd consider, but I think Moss would be my choice.

I didn't see enough of Rice or any of White, LT, or the other older legends, but Moss simply being on the field titled the defensive geometry to a large degree.

Btw, other modern players worth considering are Donald, Watt, and Reed who are(was, were) absurdly dominant

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#21 by Will Allen // Sep 26, 2018 - 1:15pm

His rookie year, when opponents really didn't accept what they were up against until about December, was laugh out loud funny. Turned a well over the hill Randall Cunningham into MVP. Oh, and Cunningham badly underthrew Moss, running 5 yards free 40 yards downfield, in ot, in the NFCCG.

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#32 by LionInAZ // Sep 26, 2018 - 8:24pm

It's hard to argue against Jerry Rice or Randy Moss, but LaDainion Tomlinson is still my personal favorite, because he did it running, receiving, and even threw 7 passes for TDs. How many other players were that versastile? I never got to see enough of him because I live in AZ and stuck with Cardinal games on TV, good or bad, but I always looked forward to it. Too bad he was stuck with the Chargers bad management.

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#35 by theslothook // Sep 26, 2018 - 11:37pm

Faulk to me is the better, more difficult player to defend.

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#37 by Aaron Brooks G… // Sep 27, 2018 - 8:19am

User name does not check out.

I favor Barry over his period contemporaries or near contemporaries, like Emmitt, LDT, Davis, Martin, Alexander, Holmes, or Johnson. You needed less to get Barry going. He never played around the line talent that Emmitt, LDT, and especially Davis, Holmes, Johnson, and Alexander did. I feel like Barry could have gotten 2500 yards on those Chiefs or Seahawks teams, where Lomas Brown would have been the least talented guy on the line.

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#43 by theslothook // Sep 27, 2018 - 12:50pm

I think as running backs go, no other running back had the ability of Marshall Faulk. He was a great Runner and receiver - I can't think of a single other running back did it for that many years and that well. And I do believe, his prime years came well before the offensive Revolution that would follow from the late 2000s to today - namely the explosion in spread and short passing.

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#40 by Theo // Sep 27, 2018 - 12:25pm

Rice to start an NFL team.
Moss to play a game.
Sean Taylor if we are talking then-rules. He was killed entering his prime but no doubt in my mind he'd make it to the Hall of Fame.

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#20 by theslothook // Sep 26, 2018 - 1:13pm

The defense was good, but I don't think it was loaded. Their d line was really good and their linebackers were smart, savvy veterans who were seriously lacking in speed. They also had a huge whole at safety in Brandon Merryweather and at corner with Hobbes.

It's lost to history now, but if the Chargers hadn't suffered injuries to Rivers, Gates and LT - I think they beat Ne in that afc title game.

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#22 by BJR // Sep 26, 2018 - 1:35pm

What's also lost in history is how good overall the Colts were that season. Ranked #2 in DVOA on offense and defense. They really could have beaten the Pats in the AFC title game, but of course lost a stinger to the Chargers in the divisional round.

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#23 by theslothook // Sep 26, 2018 - 2:24pm

They turned the ball over three times in the red Zone that game. that said Dwight Freeney was injured and the defense completely folded in that game.

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#25 by commissionerleaf // Sep 26, 2018 - 2:50pm

Manning used to throw about as many picks to the Chargers every year as the rest of the league combined. I'm only half joking... There was a rain game in San Diego in the regular season that year:


That game was played (as you can sort of tell from the numbers) in an absolute downpour. And Craphonso Thorpe got nine targets. Nine.

Manning threw eight picks in two games against San Diego that year. ...and eight in fifteen other games.

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#28 by dank067 // Sep 26, 2018 - 4:56pm

Craphonso Thorpe! No memory of him but I see those 9 targets amounted to about half of his career total, with another nine coming in that awful Week 17 Sunday nighter vs the Titans.

Fun discussion, this sent me down a 2007 rabbit hole. Pittsburgh and Jacksonville were also very good teams in the AFC that year—probably a notch below NE/IND/SD but worthy contenders. There was a lot going on that season.

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#30 by Mountain Time … // Sep 26, 2018 - 5:07pm

How can anyone forget Craphonso!

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#31 by commissionerleaf // Sep 26, 2018 - 6:27pm

He is my second favorite "unknown Peyton Colts receiver" after Blair White, who laid out late in the regular season 2010 deep in the end zone to bat a pass away from Reggie Wayne's outstretched hands. Full extension! It was really a great defensive play, one of the best pass deflections I have ever seen, marred only by the fact that he was, technically, on offense.

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#38 by Aaron Brooks G… // Sep 27, 2018 - 8:22am

You aren't familiar with the behavior of Chargers team in the clutch, are you?

Remember, this is the franchise that lost an AFC Championship game by fumbling away a game-clinching INT, on 4th down.

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#41 by Richie // Sep 27, 2018 - 12:29pm

I assume you are talking about the Marlon McCree game? That was actually a divisional playoff game, not the championship game.

Looking at the play log I am surprised to see that the McCree interception happened with 6:25 left in the game. My memory was that had he held onto the ball, the Chargers were assured of victory. Up 21-13 on your own 30 with 6 minutes left is a good position to be in, but victory is not assured.


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#42 by commissionerleaf // Sep 27, 2018 - 12:36pm

The Chargers seem to lose games for stupid reasons all the time, not just int he playoffs, ever since they fired Schottenheimer. It is true that the 2000s Chargers were probably the most talented team in the league in a number of years, but, y'know, NORV. Philip Rivers exploded under Norv though; three consecutive years leading the league in YPA during the prime years of Rodgers, Manning, and Brady...

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#24 by Pat // Sep 26, 2018 - 2:37pm

Well, 2007 was of course the huge outlier there (and it's ridiculous how accurate DAVE was in week 3, given how far of an outlier New England was that year!). 2008 was Randy Moss (and Welker) making Matt Cassel look enough like an average quarterback that someone wanted to trade for him. Which might be more of an accomplishment than 2007.

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#26 by Richie // Sep 26, 2018 - 2:58pm

"The projection part of DAVE has been lowered to account for quarterback changes in both Arizona and San Francisco going forward."

Was DAVE changed to account for Baker Mayfield? And is that an increase or decrease?

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#54 by Aaron Schatz // Sep 28, 2018 - 1:35pm

Mayfield's QBASE is high enough that there's no change for Cleveland.

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#33 by techvet // Sep 26, 2018 - 10:07pm

Am I reading that right that the Packers have the second-easiest schedule the rest of the way?

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#34 by dank067 // Sep 26, 2018 - 10:32pm

That's how I read it as well. They have four total games remaining against the current #30-32 in DVOA—Buffalo, Arizona and Detroit—which is obviously favorable. They'll also get to play Beathard-led San Francisco. But three of the games that one would have thought would be among their toughest going into the season, @Minnesota (#19), @New England (#23) and vs. Atlanta (#27!) will probably prove to be tougher than DVOA/DAVE currently rate them.

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#44 by theslothook // Sep 27, 2018 - 1:11pm

Gotta love that KC ranks 32nd in defense. Such imbalance can take you far; even a top seed in your conference, but projects poorly for your sb hopes. The few SB champions I can remember that were so heavily skewed to one side we're 2015 broncos, 2006 colts, and 2000 Ravens. Can't really remember any others. Plenty made it to the sb though.

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#46 by Mountain Time … // Sep 27, 2018 - 3:27pm

The '06 Colts were balanced by a defense/Bob Sanders playing well in the playoffs, otherwise offense-skewed teams have a terrible anecdotal record. The 2013 Broncos, 2007 Pats, etc.

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#49 by Eddo // Sep 27, 2018 - 4:08pm

Yeah, they were definitely imbalanced. A +33.8% offensive DVOA (1st) paired with a +8.6% defensive DVOA (25th), and they lost in the divisional round.

The 2011 season also featured the +33.0%/+10.2% Saints (lost in divisional round) and the +31.9%/+13.2% Patriots (lost in the Super Bowl).

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#48 by Eddo // Sep 27, 2018 - 4:06pm

The 2013 Broncos and 2007 Patriots actually weren't that imbalanced.

The 2007 Patriots had a +43.5%/-5.8% offense/defense split (which is extreme, but only because their offense was SO good; the defense was ranked 11th that year).

The 2013 Broncos had a +33.5%/-0.2% split. The -0.2% defensive DVOA was ranked 15th.

The 2015 Broncos actually had a worse split, at -8.7%/-25.8% (the offense ranked 25th) - and they won the Super Bowl.

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#53 by Mountain Time … // Sep 27, 2018 - 7:12pm

Ha, that's what I get for posting without looking!

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#51 by MC2 // Sep 27, 2018 - 6:42pm

The 2016 Falcons came within a hair of winning it. Of course, close doesn't count, but at least they didn't get blown out in the SB like most "all offense" teams seem to do.

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#52 by theslothook // Sep 27, 2018 - 7:00pm

How many of the all offense teams actually lose a true shootout? It feels like all of them I can remember ended up falling well short of their typical production.

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