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

Week 8 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

The Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams remain 1-2 on top of the Football Outsiders DVOA ratings this week. Both teams dropped slightly in DVOA after close wins, but there's still a sizeable gap between these top two teams and the rest of the league. The Los Angeles Chargers remain at No. 3 this week, with the Carolina Panthers moving up to No. 4 after their big win over the Baltimore Ravens. (The Ravens went from fourth to ninth, so the teams essentially switched places.) Chicago is back to No. 5 as Denver's loss to Kansas City drops the Broncos out of the top five. (Still, at No. 7, they remain much higher than conventional wisdom. Only Oakland has played a harder schedule this year by average DVOA of opponent.)

The big change this week is not at the top of the DVOA ratings but at the top of the playoff odds report. Each week, we've lowered the importance of preseason projections in the DAVE ratings we use to compile the playoff odds simulation. It's those preseason projections that were keeping the Rams ahead of the Chiefs even after Kansas City took over the No. 1 spot in DVOA. Well, no longer. With the preseason forecast now only 10 percent of DAVE ratings, this week the Chiefs move ahead of the Rams. And that means the Chiefs also move ahead of the Rams as our Super Bowl favorites for the first time. Our latest simulation has Kansas City winning the Super Bowl 28.0 percent of the time, and the Rams winning 27.5 percent of the time.

What's the difference between Kansas City and Los Angeles? It's almost entirely about strength of schedule. The unadjusted VOA numbers have the Rams significantly ahead of the Chiefs. But the Rams have played the No. 21 toughest schedule based on average DVOA of opponent, and the Chiefs have played the No. 5 toughest schedule. The difference isn't in playing the good teams but rather playing the bad teams. Kansas City has played four games against teams in our top ten (including Denver twice) and only one game against a team ranked lower than 20th in DVOA (San Francisco, 30th). The Rams have played three games against teams in our top ten but also three games against teams in the bottom five (San Francisco, Oakland, and Arizona).

There's one other issue going on with that big gap between the Rams' VOA and DVOA: fumbles. The Rams have recovered a league-high 80 percent of fumbles this year (6 of 7 on offense, 5 of 7 on defense, 1 of 1 on special teams). Kansas City has recovered 55 percent of fumbles. (The teams on the other extreme from the Rams? Miami and Oakland, which have recovered 29 and 30 percent of fumbles, respectively.)

Now that we've gotten to midseason, we're starting to get a lot of discussion of who the early leaders are for MVP. To me, there's only one candidate this year and nobody else comes close. Quarterback is by far the most important position in the modern NFL, and one quarterback is far ahead of the rest of the league in value this year. Patrick Mahomes is obviously the NFL MVP at the season's halfway point.

Right now, Kansas City has 70.7% passing DVOA on offense. Now, I don't have an easily accessible list of what every team's passing DVOA was after every week going back to 1986, the same way I do for total offense and total defense. But I can tell you that only one team has ever finished the season with passing DVOA over 70%: the 2007 New England Patriots at 72.7%. So right now, the Chiefs have the No. 2 passing offense we've ever measured, and that's despite normalizing DVOA for the high average offensive output around the league this year.

Check out this year's passing numbers. Mahomes leads all quarterbacks in both passing DYAR and DVOA. In passing DYAR, or total value, he's nearly 300 DYAR ahead of everyone else. Mahomes is on pace for over 2000 passing DYAR, a number that's only been achieved eight times by four different quarterbacks. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning each did it three times, and Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers each did it once. Let's say Mahomes slows down and finishes with "only" 1800 passing DYAR. He would be only the seventh quarterback to do that, after the four quarterbacks above plus Matt Ryan in 2016 and Daunte Culpepper in 2004.

Do you want to look at passing DVOA instead, so we're not giving Mahomes credit for how much the Chiefs like to throw the ball? OK, Mahomes is on pace to be one of only six quarterbacks to ever finish the season with passing DVOA over 45% on at least 200 passes. Brady and Manning each did it twice, and Rodgers, Randall Cunningham, and Steve Young each did it once.

Again, the strength of schedule comes into play here. Look at the unadjusted VOA on the quarterbacks page, and you'll see that Mahomes and Drew Brees are practically tied. But Mahomes has actually played this well despite playing a harder than average schedule of opposing pass defenses! So he goes from 41.0% VOA to 46.0% DVOA, while Brees, who has played a very easy schedule, goes from 41.1% VOA to 36.3% DVOA.

As a reader pointed out over Twitter, Mahomes' numbers are even more impressive when you realize that this is his first year as a starter. It's not as easy to split out as "first year in the league," but as long as I didn't forget anyone, this is the list of the best passing DYAR seasons by quarterbacks in their first starting seasons in the NFL:

Top Quarterbacks by Passing DYAR
in First Starting Season, 1986-2018
Player Year Team DYAR
K.Warner 1999 STL 1586
D.Culpepper 2000 MIN 1352
D.Prescott 2016 DAL 1302
P.Mahomes (through 8 games) 2018 KC 1101
M.Ryan 2008 ATL 1012
B.Roethlisberger 2004 PIT 908
R.Wilson 2012 SEA 872
R.Griffin 2012 WAS 727
A.Rodgers 2008 GB 708
P.Manning 1998 IND 697

That's incredible. We can't go back to Greg Cook in 1968, and we don't have Dan Marino's rookie season in our database yet (he had only nine starts), but I feel safe in saying that Mahomes is on pace to have the greatest year ever from a first-year starting quarterback.

In case you are curious -- I was, so I checked -- Warner had 817 passing DYAR through eight games in 1999

Meanwhile, on the other side of the offensive table...

WORST OFFENSIVE DVOA
THROUGH 8 GAMES, 1986-2018
2018 BUF -51.8%
1992 SEA -49.7%
2005 SF -47.9%
2010 CAR -47.3%
2004 MIA -46.0%
2007 SF -42.0%
1996 STL -41.9%
1993 TB -41.2%
2002 HOU -41.1%
2013 JAX -40.5%
2006 OAK -40.1%
2009 OAK -39.8%

They moved up a couple of percentage points, but for the second week, Buffalo is on pace to finish the season as the worst offense ever tracked by DVOA. The Bills offense is so bad that the Patriots held Buffalo to six points last night and their defensive DVOA got worse. The Patriots got better on offense, but worse on defense and special teams and dropped from eighth to tenth in DVOA despite a 25-6 win.

* * * * *

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 October 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 Philip Rivers, LAC: Led all QBs with 56.8% passing DVOA for October (71% completion rate, 10.7 net yards per pass, 6 TD, 1 INT).
  • HB Marlon Mack, IND: Led all HB with 117 rushing DYAR in October (6.2 yards per carry, 68% success rate).
  • WR David Moore, SEA: Fifth among WR with 108 receiving DYAR in October despite only 11 targets (20.2 yards per reception, 4 TD).
  • TE O.J. Howard, TB: Led all TE with 86 receiving DYAR in October (13-of-17, 15.1 yards per reception, 2 TD).
  • RT Rob Havenstein, LAR: Rams third in October with 5.7 adjusted line yards per carry on runs to the right side.
  • RE Chandler Jones, ARI: Tied for third among defenders with 10 defeats in October, including 3.5 sacks and 4 run TFL.
  • MLB Raekwon McMillan, MIA: Third in the NFL with 18 run stops in October.
  • CB Ronald Darby, PHI: Led NFL with 7 PD in October; 7 of his 13 tackles after receptions stopped receiver short of a successful play.
  • CB Orlando Scandrick, KC: Fourth among CB with 4.6 yards per pass allowed through Week 7; eighth with 66% success rate in coverage.
  • SS Budda Baker, ARI: Led all defenders with 14 defeats in October, including tackle or assist on 10 TFL.
  • K Jason Myers, NYJ: 11-of-12 on field goals in October, including five of 45+ yards. 78% touchback rate.
  • P Britton Colquitt, CLE: Led NFL punters with 48.1-yard gross average in October.

* * * * *

Stats pages should now be updated through Week 8, including playoff odds, the FO Premium DVOA database and snap counts.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through eight 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.

Because it is early in the season, opponent adjustments are only at 80 percent strength; they will increase 10 percent every week through Week 10. As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE.

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 10 percent of DAVE for most teams (20 percent for teams with just seven games played).

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>

(Ed. Note: The original posting of this table had incorrect DAVE numbers, showing weighted DVOA instead. These numbers have now been fixed as of Wednesday afternoon.)

RK TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
TOTAL
DAVE
RANK W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
1 KC 37.2% 1 33.4% 1 7-1 33.3% 1 6.5% 26 10.5% 1
2 LAR 33.3% 2 31.0% 2 8-0 28.0% 2 -4.2% 12 1.1% 11
3 LAC 20.4% 3 16.4% 3 5-2 26.9% 3 0.3% 18 -6.3% 32
4 CAR 20.1% 9 16.0% 4 5-2 16.9% 5 -0.2% 17 2.9% 8
5 CHI 19.6% 6 13.3% 6 4-3 7.8% 11 -15.9% 1 -4.0% 30
6 SEA 14.5% 10 12.6% 8 4-3 1.9% 18 -12.9% 2 -0.3% 17
7 DEN 14.5% 5 12.5% 9 3-5 8.1% 10 -8.6% 7 -2.2% 22
8 NO 12.8% 7 13.8% 5 6-1 17.9% 4 7.6% 27 2.5% 9
9 BAL 12.7% 4 11.6% 10 4-4 4.0% 14 -8.7% 6 -0.1% 15
10 NE 12.2% 8 13.2% 7 6-2 13.1% 7 -0.6% 16 -1.5% 20
11 GB 8.6% 15 8.9% 12 3-3-1 13.4% 6 1.5% 20 -3.3% 25
12 HOU 8.1% 13 7.6% 13 5-3 -6.9% 24 -11.2% 5 3.8% 5
13 PIT 7.8% 12 10.4% 11 4-2-1 12.7% 8 3.0% 22 -1.9% 21
14 MIA 6.4% 11 5.0% 14 4-4 4.1% 13 3.5% 23 5.8% 3
15 IND 4.8% 14 4.3% 15 3-5 4.0% 15 2.2% 21 3.0% 7
16 WAS 1.4% 18 1.2% 17 5-2 -3.0% 21 -2.3% 14 2.1% 10
17 CIN 0.1% 22 -0.4% 18 5-3 4.5% 12 4.3% 25 -0.1% 14
18 MIN -0.3% 16 1.2% 16 4-3-1 0.1% 20 -2.9% 13 -3.4% 26
19 DAL -3.5% 19 -1.0% 19 3-4 -8.5% 25 -4.8% 11 0.3% 12
20 JAX -4.0% 17 -4.7% 21 3-5 -15.1% 26 -7.6% 8 3.4% 6
21 PHI -5.3% 21 -3.4% 20 4-4 -4.4% 23 -1.4% 15 -2.2% 23
22 NYJ -10.5% 20 -10.5% 23 3-5 -23.3% 29 -5.2% 10 7.6% 2
23 ATL -11.9% 23 -8.7% 22 3-4 8.2% 9 19.8% 31 -0.4% 18
24 NYG -12.3% 24 -12.4% 25 1-7 -4.1% 22 8.5% 28 0.3% 13
25 TEN -15.3% 25 -12.2% 24 3-4 -18.5% 28 1.2% 19 4.5% 4
26 DET -19.8% 28 -15.9% 26 3-4 3.3% 17 19.2% 30 -3.9% 29
27 CLE -19.9% 26 -18.0% 27 2-5-1 -26.1% 30 -11.7% 3 -5.5% 31
28 OAK -21.3% 29 -18.2% 28 1-6 0.4% 19 18.0% 29 -3.7% 28
29 TB -21.8% 27 -18.4% 29 3-4 4.0% 16 22.5% 32 -3.2% 24
30 SF -23.7% 30 -23.1% 30 1-7 -16.4% 27 3.6% 24 -3.7% 27
31 ARI -32.8% 31 -30.7% 31 2-6 -38.0% 31 -6.5% 9 -1.2% 19
32 BUF -40.3% 32 -38.3% 32 2-6 -51.8% 32 -11.6% 4 -0.2% 16
  • 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 37.2% 7-1 34.9% 7.4 1 5.2% 5 -1.8% 19 6.9% 6
2 LAR 33.3% 8-0 41.0% 6.7 2 -2.5% 21 0.3% 14 8.9% 11
3 LAC 20.4% 5-2 31.1% 5.1 6 -7.1% 30 5.2% 5 6.7% 5
4 CAR 20.1% 5-2 23.2% 5.3 4 -2.7% 22 -5.2% 25 10.9% 18
5 CHI 19.6% 4-3 20.3% 5.6 3 -3.3% 25 -8.3% 31 16.8% 26
6 SEA 14.5% 4-3 21.9% 4.4 14 -1.4% 19 4.3% 9 11.5% 20
7 DEN 14.5% 3-5 14.3% 4.9 8 8.8% 2 -1.0% 17 16.8% 25
8 NO 12.8% 6-1 15.7% 5.3 5 -7.5% 32 4.3% 10 6.0% 3
9 BAL 12.7% 4-4 11.0% 5.0 7 -2.5% 20 -1.2% 18 17.6% 27
10 NE 12.2% 6-2 12.9% 4.7 11 1.5% 9 -6.8% 29 9.9% 14
11 GB 8.6% 3-3-1 8.2% 4.9 9 -4.3% 26 -2.5% 21 11.1% 19
12 HOU 8.1% 5-3 13.8% 4.8 10 -6.5% 28 -4.3% 23 8.4% 10
13 PIT 7.8% 4-2-1 13.9% 4.3 15 -3.3% 24 7.5% 4 6.6% 4
14 MIA 6.4% 4-4 4.0% 3.8 18 -3.3% 23 -8.7% 32 15.9% 24
15 IND 4.8% 3-5 8.7% 4.7 12 -6.9% 29 -5.0% 24 8.3% 9
16 WAS 1.4% 5-2 3.6% 4.6 13 -0.3% 18 -7.9% 30 9.4% 12
17 CIN 0.1% 5-3 0.1% 4.0 17 6.9% 3 0.9% 13 24.1% 29
18 MIN -0.3% 4-3-1 0.7% 4.2 16 -7.2% 31 5.2% 6 10.2% 16
19 DAL -3.5% 3-4 0.4% 3.7 19 1.1% 11 -5.9% 27 5.2% 2
20 JAX -4.0% 3-5 -5.1% 3.2 21 1.3% 10 -2.8% 22 11.8% 21
21 PHI -5.3% 4-4 0.2% 3.5 20 -5.1% 27 4.7% 8 7.7% 8
22 NYJ -10.5% 3-5 -10.5% 2.4 27 0.2% 16 -6.1% 28 28.5% 31
23 ATL -11.9% 3-4 -4.5% 3.0 23 0.2% 15 -2.5% 20 4.5% 1
24 NYG -12.3% 1-7 -14.1% 2.9 24 2.2% 7 -5.5% 26 10.1% 15
25 TEN -15.3% 3-4 -15.2% 3.0 22 -0.3% 17 0.1% 15 9.4% 13
26 DET -19.8% 3-4 -14.8% 2.9 25 0.6% 13 3.0% 11 31.9% 32
27 CLE -19.9% 2-5-1 -8.2% 2.3 28 1.0% 12 10.1% 1 7.1% 7
28 OAK -21.3% 1-6 -27.0% 2.2 29 10.6% 1 8.2% 2 18.6% 28
29 TB -21.8% 3-4 -24.1% 2.5 26 0.5% 14 1.7% 12 13.0% 22
30 SF -23.7% 1-7 -27.9% 2.2 30 1.7% 8 5.1% 7 10.2% 17
31 ARI -32.8% 2-6 -37.1% 1.7 32 4.4% 6 7.6% 3 14.6% 23
32 BUF -40.3% 2-6 -46.6% 1.8 31 6.4% 4 0.0% 16 25.7% 30

Comments

98 comments, Last at 03 Nov 2018, 3:50pm

1 Re: Week 8 DVOA Ratings

The success of the Panthers offense under Norv is one of the quietly great stories of the 2018 NFL Season. With that defense starting to play better (I think they were 26th in DVOA three weeks ago), this team is looking really strong.

It's a bit sad that four of maybe the six best teams when you look at record & DVOA happen to play in the same two divisions (Saints/Panthers & Chiefs/Chargers)

13 Re: Week 8 DVOA Ratings

The Broncos haven't beaten anybody respectable since Week 1. Their high rating seems to be based largely on losing close games to good teams. Which is a lot easier to do than to win close games against good teams.

23 Re: Week 8 DVOA Ratings

I think you're being a bit harsh on them underwhelming in 2015. In the 1st half sure, but that team in the 2nd half had beatdown after beatdown,culminating with one of the most dominant performances of a great team ever in the 49-15 NFC TItle Game win.

2 Re: Week 8 DVOA Ratings

Here's something I meant to put in above; I'll put it down here instead as a bonus for people reading the comments. I was curious to see how much of the Rams/Chiefs dominance in the Super Bowl odds was because of their ratings being so far ahead of the rest of the league, and how much was because they have such a significant lead for the No. 1 seeds in each conference. So I ran two additional simulations. The answer appears to be that their rating dominance is much more important than currently having the best record in each conference.

In added sim 1, I reduced the DAVE rating for both the Rams and Chiefs to be the same as the Los Angeles Chargers, essentially having all three teams tied at No. 1. In this simulation, the Super Bowl win odds dropped below 20 percent for each team:

LAR 17.5%
KC 16.4%
NE 11.7%
NO 9.9%
CAR 7.5%
LAC 5.8%

In added sim 2, I kept the ratings the same but only looked at sims where the Saints beat the Rams in Week 9 while the Patriots beat the Packers and the Chiefs lost to the Browns. This would give the Patriots the lead for the No. 1 AFC seed by tiebreaker, and lower the Rams' lead to half a game (and they would no longer have the tiebreaker with New Orleans). This only happens in 7.0 percent of simulations because the Chiefs losing to the Browns is very unlikely. Yet even in this simulation, the Super Bowl win odds for the Chiefs and Rams are still way ahead of everyone else:

LAR 27.3%
KC 24.7%
NE 11.4%
NO 9.6%
CAR 5.3%
LAC 3.7%

81 Re: Week 8 DVOA Ratings

How is K.C. or LA's lead for #1 seed 'such a significant' one? Both have teams in the conference with only one more loss, and the Pats, as you note, own the tiebreaker with K.C.
Even though future SOS favors the Rams (slightly), I think K.C. is likely to lose more games. K.C. faces some excellent offensive units and shootouts can go either way.

4 Re: Week 8 DVOA Ratings

Still very strange to see the NFC North all within 1 game of each other yet range from 5th to 26th in DVOA. My gut tells me the Vikings somehow end up on top. I don’t know why but I simply don’t trust the Bears despite their surprisingly 11th ranked offense.

(I say this as a Packers fan who has no faith in the coaching to do anything positive anymore)

19 Re: Week 8 DVOA Ratings

In a league so tilted to passing, take the team with the best QB.

What's scary is that teams are nearly perfectly sorted that way now. Only the NFL North doesn't have arguably their best QB at the top of the standings (Trubisky is clearly 4th), but that division has everyone within a game.

You can argue about the NFC East, but the difference between Wentz, Smith, and Prescott doesn't feel large, especially when they let Prescott do Prescott things.

44 Re: Week 8 DVOA Ratings

Wentz was likely going to win the MVP before he got hurt last year. Prescott did okay in a virtually perfect situation his rookie year and has been mediocre since. It's likely he won't be a starter in the league past next year.

46 Re: Week 8 DVOA Ratings

Prescott's passing DVOA and DYAR in 2016 were significantly higher than Wentz's in 2017 with a similar number of passes. However you want to account for differences in situation, Prescott was way too good as a rookie and hasn't been nearly poor enough since to start talking about him like he's not being able to get a shot as a starter within two years. His contract situation will be pretty interesting to watch, though.

58 Re: Week 8 DVOA Ratings

Nobody would dream of taking Prescott over Wentz today, either on the current team or to start a franchise. Any QB playing with a top 3 RB behind the top OL -by a wide margin that year- is going to look great.

51 Re: Week 8 DVOA Ratings

"In a league so tilted to passing, take the team with the best QB."

That would still probably be the Vikings, according to DYAR, YAR, QBR and EYds, but they are all very close. Rodgers still gets the nod in DVOA. And Stafford actually beats out Rodgers in QBR. Trubisky beats out all 3 in QBR!

22 Re: Week 8 DVOA Ratings

I predicted the Vikings to lose 6 straight starting last week (Saints loss makes them 0-1 so far). Just using the eyeball test, they don't appear to be in the class of GB or CHI this season, and with the schedule they have I think they struggle to even end the season with even 8 wins.

Their best chance for a win in in those 6 is home against Detroit. Depends on which of the Lions' split personalities shows up that week.

27 Re: Week 8 DVOA Ratings

Look, I'm not predicting anything, but be a little more reticent about patting yourself on the back, for predicting the winner of a game in which your pick was at a significant deficit on yards per play, yards per drive, and 10 fewer first downs, and largely won because of a fumble return, from a receiver who rarely fumbles, and a pick 6, when a normally terrific receiver failed to complete a route. Your "eyeball test" had absolutely nothing to do with forseeing such events.

28 Re: Week 8 DVOA Ratings

Fully agree with your end.

I left that game feeling pretty good about both teams. The Vikings won the LOS on majority of the game, if not for hte Thelen fumble they may go up 20-10 and win it.

In the end, the Saints were handed 10 points (good on them for making the fumble into a TD and not a FG), and that was really all they needed.

31 Re: Week 8 DVOA Ratings

Well, look, the Vikings are still pretty injured, so all sorts of bad outcomes are possible for them, especially if the injuries continue. That's the dumbest thing about pretending to have insight as to which NFL teams are going to win games several weeks from now; hell, you don't even know which players will be on the field! If some halfwit started pronouncing confidently which trainer was going to win the Triple Crown horse races in 2021, without knowledge of what horses would be running, everybody would just roll their eyes in response. For some reason, though, people take NFL predictions, weeks into the furture , seriously, despite the fact that the predictor doesn't know which human beings will actually be competing. That's before we get to all the other random events which decide outcomes. It's a joke.

Are there people who are actually better than average at predicting such things? Very probably, but absent a very large sample size to establish that, I wouldn't take anyone's pronouncements on such things as anything to pay attention to, beyond merely for purposes of a mildly interesting way to kill some time.

Again, with every year that passes, the more I become convinced that the number of people who actually know anything, with regard to future outcomes, is so small that they can barely be found.

92 Re: Week 8 DVOA Ratings

You're right. It is totally impossible to have an opinion on what team could possibly win in the future. Who could possibly think that a team who hasn't logged a win against a team above .500 and has padded their win total against the likes of the Cardinals and 49ers (while losing to the Bills at home) could possibly struggle with a difficult upcoming schedule? Crazy right?

You're also right that I didn't include potential meteor strikes, future injuries, or infectious diseases into my analysis of the fact that the Vikings appear to be the third best team in that division.

94 Re: Week 8 DVOA Ratings

Of course, I expressly wrote that venturing opinions on such things was a source of mild entertainment, so, no, I didn't write that it was impossible to have such an opinion. Why don't you just write what assertions you wish to argue against, and then do so, and leave me out of it?

As to the rest of your post, you unintentionally illustrate my point nicely. You actually think the data points known as wins and losses, with teams somewhere between, oh, .350 and .700, over a span of 7 or 8 games, gives us meaningful insight as to what will happen over the next 7 or 8 games. Read carefully. It really doesn't.

Might you be right about the Vikings? Absolutely. But when making little more than a wild assed guess, it is better to acknowledge that reality, as opposed to dressing up the wild assed guess in a bunch of silly, pseudo meaningful, quantitative analysis, or implying that an "eyeball test" has meaning, absent dozens or even hundreds of hours of analysis. It is also better to avoid taking one data point, categorized as a "win" or "loss" and extrapolating much from it, absent some in depth analysis as to what produced that data point.

Look, I'm sorry for my role in turning this conversation into something less than friendly, but the reason I did respond is because it pertained to the teams I watch the most, and with every year that I watch this game the more it is driven home for me as to how damnably difficult it is to have meaningful confidence in one's view of future events. I really only meant to illuminate how limited our tools for doing so are.

30 Re: Week 8 DVOA Ratings

1. I have a highly calibrated eyeball. ISO 17025 certified.

2. I wasn't patting myself on the back, just explaining that the six games I felt they were likely lose started last week for clarification.

33 Re: Week 8 DVOA Ratings

Yeah, but unless you predicted that your predicted winner would lose significantly on a per play, per drive, and first down basis, but get more points via a 52 yard fumble return, from a receiver who rarely fumbles , and via a pick six when a normally terrific route runner didn't complete a route, then you really didn't have any useful insight as to whom would win the game, beyond what anyone would have, if they had a functioning thumb and a coin. That's the point.

37 Re: Week 8 DVOA Ratings

Might make more sense to think of the Bears offense in a cluster of closely-spaced teams with slightly above average offensive DVOA than the 11th best in the league. Something that's mildly interesting is that while Trubisky is 20th in passing DVOA, the Bears themselves are 14th in passing offense DVOA. It might not be that significant, but I wonder how that split comes to be, since it looks like Trubisky has thrown every Bears pass.

50 Re: Week 8 DVOA Ratings

I should really know the answer to this, but are QB scrambles added to rushing or passing DVOA? If the latter, then Trubisky's #1 rush DVOA/DYAR probably has a lot to do with this.

52 Re: Week 8 DVOA Ratings

I think it's a matter of other teams having multiple QB's. So Trubisky falls behind some QB's who are only partly responsible for those offense's lower rankings. Trubisky falls behind Osweiler, who is only responsible for half of Miami's DVOA; Wentz who isn't responsible for all of Philly; Fitzpatrick, who is only half of Tampa; Matt Cassel had 6 subpar pass attempts for Detroit; Jeff Driskel completed 4 of 4 passes for Cincinnati, but it looks like that may have dropped Cincinnati's DVOA just barely below Chicago's and DeAndre Hopkins attempted one pass for Houston.

Though some of these differences seem larger than the contribution of the players, so individual passing DVOA probably has some differences from team passing DVOA.

55 Re: Week 8 DVOA Ratings

This makes a ton of sense, particularly because I am pretty sure that a QB's rushing value gets added to team rushing DVOA. The only other thing that occurs to me right now is that if a WR fumbles that might hurt your pass offense DVOA without affecting the QB (though that doesn't appear to be a factor with Chicago).

5 Re: Week 8 DVOA Ratings

I think RGIII's rookie year is an excellent comparison to Mahomes, in that both lucked out with a coaching staff willing to work with them and commit to an offense designed around their particular strengths, as well as being surrounded by plenty of good-to-great teammates. Let's just pray that if Mahomes gets hurt he's able to recover, unlike Griffin.

95 Re: Week 8 DVOA Ratings

I see why you would say that, as there are undoubtedly some similarities, but I think there is one huge difference between between RG3 and Mahomes in their first years as a starter: Mahomes runs an pro-style offense that requires him to make decisions and find secondary receivers, which he does amazingly well for someone with so little experience. People forget (or didn't recognize in the first place) how limited Shanahan's offense was in RG3's rookie year, probably because success blinds everyone to deficiencies. But that offense was highly non-standard, consisting of a large number of quick-hitting, one- or zero-read plays, which, combined with Griffen's athleticism, was strikingly effective. However, the scheme never asked him to go through reads, scan the field, find secondary receivers, etc, which was a problem on 3rd and long when play action, quick slants, and the like wouldn't work well. That offense's conversion rate on 3rd and long was by far the worst in the league, and Griffen looked very much like the rookie he was in those situations. His injury obviously played its part in his decline, but I think a large part of his problem was that he simply never developed the skills that virtually all NFL QBs have to have to be successful. I see no such problem with Mahomes, who is making all kinds of reads and throws and whose decision-making skills are already well-developed.

7 Re: Week 8 DVOA Ratings

The Broncos being 7th at 3-5 is a major shock, but the Seahawks being the 6th ranked team in the league is also a pretty big surprise. I don't think they were pegged at being more than mediocre by most people before the season started, and I don't think that conventional wisdom has changed much. I must admit I haven't been paying hardly any attention to them at all.

15 Re: Week 8 DVOA Ratings

Most of what the Seahawks lost was on defense and people had legitimate questions about whether they could actually (finally) pull together an oline. But their oline actually started to get better last year after acquiring Brown and has continued to improve after a rough start to the season. The big surprise, that maybe shouldn't have been a surprise, is that Carroll has once again cobbled together a strong (or at least serviceable) secondary out of youngsters, position converts, and some spare parts.

As others have said, we'll known a lot more about these Seahawks in 4-5 weeks.

49 Re: Week 8 DVOA Ratings

Not that firing Cable hasn't had an effect, but it's exaggerated. As Ronin points out, the improvement starts last year, and also the Seahawks had improved personnel (Sweezy, Fluker) and improved health.

96 Re: Week 8 DVOA Ratings

Fluker is now Seattle's best offensive line and he was acquired directly as a result of Solari.

Moreover, Seattle's defensive line was getting no pressure on anyone this season until they faced Cable's line at Oakland, where Carr was hounded all day.

I think last year's offensive line improvement was exaggerated.

8 Re: Week 8 DVOA Ratings

Looking at the Running Back section, I managed to find James Conner, who doesn't look that good (27th in DVOA and DYAR). Is the 3 game stretch where he didn't do a lot affecting his DVOA and DYAR? I guess his fumbles are also an issue. His success rate is pretty good though. And the Steelers line is pretty good in all fronts (11th in Adjusted Line Yards, 12th in Second Level Yards, 6th in Open Field Yards, although Conner's Bowling Ball act also helps. And 1st in Adj. Sack Rate, which looks crazy. But there was a 2 game stretch where Ben wasn't even touched.)

10 Re: Week 8 DVOA Ratings

Whew, the Colts seemed to have realized what madness they were perpetuating with all that good O and ST and have finally reverted to form. Actually, ST is still pretty good, but the D has shown its true colors. That happens when you make a Carr look like a Manning. 18 consecutive completions without your best RB and WR1 just traded away? Yes sir!I don't think the D was hit nearly as hard by injuries as the O, but strangely they seem to have done better early in the season against better offenses, and lately started letting Darnold and Carr just own them. Weirdness. Also, the sacks seem to have slowed down.

14 Re: Week 8 DVOA Ratings

I know preseason is only 10% of DAVE this week, but DAVE appears extremely close to DVOA. Is it reflecting the correct information? Thanks

16 Re: Week 8 DVOA Ratings

Why are the DAVE ratings on the playoff odds page different (by about 2 or 3 points for most teams, but by as much as 6 points in some cases) compared to the ones listed on this page?

Is this a mistake, or does the simulation use some special variation of DAVE?

41 Re: Week 8 DVOA Ratings

No, I made an error. That's actually weighted DVOA above, not DAVE. I forgot to paste in DAVE to replace weighted DVOA in the tables because I'm now extending DAVE an extra week. Let me see if I can fix this.

Aaron