DVOA Analysis
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Week 14 DVOA Ratings

Tannehill Mariota
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

Despite some big games between top teams, there's very little change on top of the Football Outsiders DVOA ratings this week. With 13 games in the books, we've gradually reached the point where one game, even one really good or bad game, isn't likely to make a lot of change because it won't outweigh all the games that came before it. The top six teams are in the same order that they were a week ago, with the first change being Minnesota passing Dallas for seventh place.

There's a little more movement in the weighted DVOA ratings, which makes sense -- the sample size is effectively smaller since some games are only partially weighted. Baltimore is still a significant No. 1 in weighted DVOA, 17 percentage points ahead of the rest of the league. New Orleans moves up to No. 2 with San Francisco staying at No. 3. There are a couple reasons for that. First, the Saints' 27-9 loss to the Rams in Week 2 is now significantly in the rearview mirror. Second, the DVOA system actually scored the Saints a little bit higher than the 49ers for this week's 48-46 Game of the Year. It was one of three games this week where both teams ended up with positive single-game DVOA ratings:

  • New Orleans 40%, San Francisco 20%
  • Baltimore 44%, Buffalo 16%
  • Kansas City 31%, New England 24%

That close DVOA outcome keeps New England from dropping below fourth place in weighted DVOA, and they remain ahead of Kansas City in both weighted and total DVOA. The Buffalo Bills have now climbed into the top ten in weighted DVOA. Also noteworthy, the Tennessee Titans are up to 11th in weighted DVOA and they are even higher (eighth) in the QB-adjusted ratings I use for the playoff odds simulation.

The strong Baltimore game against Buffalo keeps the Ravens high on our list tracking the best teams in DVOA history:

BEST TOTAL DVOA
THROUGH 13 GAMES, 1985-2019
Year Team W-L DVOA
2007 NE 13-0 62.0%
1991 WAS 12-1 58.6%
1985 CHI 12-1 55.8%
1987 SF* 10-2 47.0%
2004 PIT 12-1 45.1%
1998 DEN 13-0 43.4%
2019 BAL 11-2 42.8%
1995 SF 9-4 41.9%
2012 NE 10-3 41.8%
2004 NE 12-1 40.9%
1999 STL 11-2 40.3%
2013 SEA 11-2 39.1%
*Only 12 games due to strike

The San Francisco 49ers have fallen off our list tracking the best defenses in DVOA history, but the New England Patriots are still there. Wait, you might be saying, didn't they allow the Chiefs to score 20 on them in the first half on Sunday? Yes, but they allowed the Chiefs to score only 3 points in the second half of the game. Limiting the Chiefs to 23 points is very good! That's the second-lowest total for the Chiefs this season, and Kansas City averaged 5.2 yards per play compared to its season average of 6.3 yards per play. The Chiefs had their lowest VOA of the season in this week's game, -22.5% without opponent adjustment.

BEST DEFENSIVE DVOA
THROUGH 13 GAMES, 1985-2019
Year Team W-L DVOA
1991 PHI 8-5 -40.0%
2002 TB 10-3 -39.9%
1985 CHI 12-1 -35.2%
2008 BAL 9-4 -31.4%
2019 NE 10-3 -31.3%
1986 CHI 11-2 -31.0%
2015 DEN 10-3 -29.5%
1995 SF 9-4 -29.3%
2012 CHI 8-5 -27.8%
1988 MIN 9-4 -27.0%
2008 PIT 10-3 -27.0%
2004 PIT 12-1 -26.8%

It is absolutely true that the New England defense has regressed towards the mean somewhat in recent weeks. But that regression has been exaggerated by a dramatic change in the quality of the offenses that the Patriots are facing. From Week 1 to Week 7, the Patriots played the easiest schedule of opposing offenses in the league, based on average offensive DVOA of each opponent. Since Week 8, the Patriots have played the hardest schedule of opposing offenses in the league. Without opponent adjustments, the Patriots defense has been barely better than average over the last six games. With opponent adjustments, the Patriots haven't been as good as they were in the first couple months of the season, but they've still been one of the top defenses in the league.

Here's a look at the difference. Success Rate is from the point of view of the offense. "Avg Opp" is average offensive DVOA of opponents.

New England Defense, Weeks 1-7 vs. 8-14
  DVOA Rk VOA Rk Suc Rate Yd/Play Avg Opp Rk
Weeks 1-7 -45.2% 1 -62.4% 1 31% 4.00 -19.4% 32
Weeks 8-14 -17.2% 4 -4.8% 15 42% 5.24 12.8% 1

Remarkably, San Francisco's defense has experienced the exact same trend. Only New England faced an easier schedule in the first seven weeks of the season, and only New England has faced a harder schedule in the seven weeks since.

San Francisco Defense, Weeks 1-7 vs. 8-14
  DVOA Rk VOA Rk Suc Rate Yd/Play Avg Opp Rk
Weeks 1-7 -34.8% 2 -44.7% 2 34% 4.25 -11.4% 31
Weeks 8-14 -18.7% 3 -9.6% 6 43% 4.80 8.7% 2

As long as we're talking about season splits, I wanted spend some time this week going through a few teams that have used backup quarterbacks this year to show you what the difference has been in each team's offensive DVOA. There have been a lot of quarterback changes this year; more than ever, I'm making adjustments in the ratings I use in the playoff simulation in order to try to get the most accurate picture of how each team might play going forward because of changes at the quarterback position.

I'm not going to hit every team here that has started more than one quarterback during the 2019 season, but there are some interesting splits to share with you. Let's hit these teams alphabetically.

Andy Dalton may not have much longer as the starting quarterback in Cincinnati, but he's clearly not cooked and he's clearly been better than rookie Ryan Finley. Cincinnati's offensive DVOA was -33.4% in games started by Finley compared to -11.8% in games started by Dalton.

The backup quarterbacks in Denver have pretty small sample size, but the Broncos have gone from -10.8% offensive DVOA with Joe Flacco at quarterback (Weeks 1-8) to -16.7% DVOA with Brandon Allen (Weeks 9-12) and then 8.9% DVOA in two games with Drew Lock as the starter (Weeks 13-14).

Detroit had 4.1% DVOA with Matthew Stafford (Weeks 1-9), which dropped to a very similar -8.5% DVOA with Jeff Driskel starting (Weeks 10-12) and -8.1% DVOA with David Blough (Weeks 13-14). However, the pass performance has declined even more when you consider how the Detroit running game has surprisingly improved: -26.4% DVOA in games started by Stafford but -5.4% DVOA in games started by Driskel or Blough.

It's just one game, but Indianapolis' offensive DVOA goes from -0.4% (16th) to 6.2% (10th) when you remove the Week 10 game started by Brian Hoyer.

Jacksonville's DVOA in the two games when Nick Foles came back from his injury was -12.1%. Jacksonville's offensive DVOA for the rest of the season (Weeks 1-10, 13-14) is virtually the same, -11.8%.

Is Patrick Mahomes possibly still a little hurt? What's interesting about Kansas City isn't as much the split in Mahomes against Matt Moore but rather comparing that split to Mahomes since his Week 10 return. The Kansas City offense had 26.0% offensive DVOA in Weeks 1-6. That dropped to 15.5% in Weeks 7-9, which includes half a game of Mahomes and two and a half games of Moore. Since Week 10, Kansas City's offensive DVOA is only 15.3%, basically the same as it was with Moore at quarterback. There's a similar split if you remove runs and look only at passes.

One of the most obvious splits is Miami with Ryan Fitzpatrick compared to Miami with Josh Rosen. The Dolphins had -41.0% offensive DVOA in games started by Rosen (Weeks 3-6). They have -10.5% offensive DVOA in games started by Fitzpatrick (Weeks 1-2, 7-13).

New Orleans had an offensive DVOA of only 6.8% in games primarily played by Teddy Bridgewater (Weeks 2-7) but has offensive DVOA of 23.8% in games primarily played by Drew Brees. But what's interesting here is that a lot of the difference is in rushing DVOA: -4.8% in Bridgewater games, 8.4% in Brees games. Perhaps fear of Brees throwing the ball deeper has changed the way that defenses are playing against the Saints? Perhaps I will hunt down box counts to see.

Update: I asked Sports Info Solutions, and by their charting, both quarterbacks have faced an average box count of 6.6. Bridgewater has faced a slightly higher box count on designed running plays, 7.3 to 7.2.

Sam Darnold has been a disappointment for the New York Jets this year, but the splits here will show you why we keep giving the Jets a bonus in the ratings we use in the playoff odds simulation. The Jets' offensive DVOA with Darnold is poor, -19.0%. The Jets' offensive DVOA in the three games without Darnold was abysmal, -58.2%. That would easily be the worst offensive DVOA ever if it lasted an entire season.

I haven't been making an adjustment for Pittsburgh but perhaps I should now that we have a 3.5-game sample of Devlin Hodges. Pittsburgh's DVOA this year in games started by Hodges (Weeks 6, 13-14) is -12.9% compared to -25.7% in games started by Mason Rudolph (Weeks 3-5, 8-12).

Tennessee is of course the champion of these starting/backup quarterback splits, with Ryan Tannehill playing completely out of his gourd since he took over the job in Week 7. The Titans offensive DVOA was -18.0% (29th) in Weeks 1-6. The Titans are at 27.8% (second behind Baltimore) since Week 7. The improvement is as much about the run as it is the pass, with the Tennessee rushing DVOA going from -17.8% (26th) with Mariota to 14.8% (second, again behind Baltimore) with Tannehill. Earlier today, Steven Ruiz wrote a good column for USA Today about why Tannehill is not likely to continue to play at this level for the long term. The main argument is that Tannehill is excelling in situations that are less stable, including league-best numbers under pressure. However, Tannehill's numbers are also good when he's not under pressure. It seems likely that while Tannehill can't continue to be this good, he should continue to be better than he was in Miami and, more importantly, better than Mariota was for Tennessee this year.

We'll finish up with Washington, another team that has started three different quarterbacks this season. We'll ignore what Colt McCoy did against the almighty Patriots defense. Washington had a reasonable -6.0% offensive DVOA in games started by Case Keenum, although the positive value is entirely the first two weeks of the season (against Philadelphia and Dallas) before Keenum's performance dropped and Washington had -21.7% offensive DVOA in his last four starts (Weeks 3, 6-8). Meanwhile, the team has a much worse -44.5% DVOA in games started by Dwayne Haskins (Weeks 4, 9-14), but he did at least have his first positive performance of the year in Week 13.

Finally, let's finish up this week's column with a look at where Miami stands in our tracking of the worst teams in DVOA history. The Dolphins' DVOA went up a little bit more after a close loss to the Jets, and they are almost ready to climb off my weekly list of the worst teams in DVOA history.

WORST TOTAL DVOA
THROUGH 13 GAMES, 1985-2019
Year Team W-L DVOA
2005 SF 2-11 -64.7%
2008 STL 2-11 -55.9%
2009 DET 2-11 -53.4%
2008 DET 0-13 -50.1%
1999 CLE 2-11 -49.6%
1991 IND 1-12 -46.4%
1987 ATL* 2-10 -45.8%
2003 ARI 3-10 -45.6%
2013 JAX 4-9 -43.2%
2019 MIA 3-10 -42.2%
1992 NE 2-11 -42.0%
2009 STL 1-12 -41.5%
**Only 12 games due to strike

The defense climbed out of the all-time basement, as Week 14's game against the Jets represented Miami's second-best single-game defensive rating of the year so far.

WORST DEFENSIVE DVOA
THROUGH 13 GAMES, 1985-2019
Year Team W-L DVOA
1986 TB 2-11 26.9%
1987 MIA* 7-5 24.4%
2015 NO 5-8 24.0%
2019 MIA 3-10 24.0%
2001 ARI 5-8 23.7%
1996 ATL 2-11 23.3%
1999 CLE 2-11 22.6%
2013 SD 6-7 21.9%
2008 DET 0-13 21.7%
2003 ARI 3-10 21.6%
2000 ARI 3-10 21.5%
2001 MIN 5-8 21.3%
**Only 12 games due to strike

* * * * *

Stats pages should now be updated through Week 14, including playoff odds, the FO Premium DVOA database and snap counts.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through 14 weeks of 2019, measured by our proprietary Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) system that breaks down every single play and compares a team's performance to the league average based on situation in order to determine value over average. (Explained further here.)

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

WEIGHTED DVOA represents an attempt to figure out how a team is playing right now, as opposed to over the season as a whole, by making recent games more important than earlier games.

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

<team> is clearly ranked <too high/too low> because <reason unrelated to DVOA>. <subjective ranking system> is way better than this. <unrelated team-supporting or -denigrating comment, preferably with poor spelling and/or chat-acceptable spelling>

 

RK TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
WEI.
DVOA
RANK W-L OFF.
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEF.
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
1 BAL 42.8% 1 47.2% 1 11-2 26.6% 1 -13.1% 4 3.1% 4
2 NE 34.9% 2 28.7% 4 10-3 3.9% 13 -31.3% 1 -0.4% 19
3 SF 32.5% 3 29.8% 3 11-2 7.7% 8 -25.0% 2 -0.2% 18
4 KC 26.4% 4 25.4% 5 9-4 20.2% 3 -3.5% 13 2.7% 6
5 NO 24.9% 5 30.2% 2 10-3 16.2% 5 -5.2% 9 3.6% 3
6 SEA 17.7% 6 18.2% 6 10-3 19.9% 4 0.7% 17 -1.6% 25
7 MIN 16.1% 8 17.8% 7 9-4 10.1% 7 -6.4% 8 -0.4% 20
8 DAL 14.5% 7 13.2% 8 6-7 26.2% 2 6.4% 22 -5.2% 32
9 LAR 8.0% 12 6.6% 10 8-5 -0.7% 17 -9.7% 6 -1.1% 21
10 GB 7.4% 9 4.3% 12 10-3 10.5% 6 3.9% 20 0.8% 11
11 BUF 4.4% 11 8.6% 9 9-4 -5.5% 22 -10.9% 5 -1.1% 22
12 TEN 3.5% 16 6.5% 11 8-5 6.7% 9 1.0% 18 -2.2% 27
13 PHI 3.1% 10 2.8% 14 6-7 1.0% 14 -2.2% 14 -0.1% 17
14 PIT 1.8% 13 3.8% 13 8-5 -18.3% 30 -17.4% 3 2.8% 5
15 CHI 0.3% 19 -0.4% 18 7-6 -9.0% 23 -7.8% 7 1.5% 9
16 TB 0.2% 18 2.6% 15 6-7 -5.0% 21 -4.8% 10 0.4% 13
17 CLE -1.5% 14 0.0% 17 6-7 -1.4% 19 0.7% 16 0.5% 12
18 LAC -1.7% 20 1.1% 16 5-8 5.8% 10 4.1% 21 -3.4% 31
19 IND -2.1% 17 -1.9% 19 6-7 -0.4% 16 -0.5% 15 -2.2% 28
20 HOU -4.0% 15 -6.3% 21 8-5 4.1% 12 10.2% 27 2.1% 7
21 DEN -6.9% 23 -5.9% 20 5-8 -9.4% 24 -4.1% 11 -1.6% 24
22 DET -9.0% 21 -11.8% 22 3-9-1 -0.7% 18 8.5% 24 0.2% 14
23 OAK -13.3% 22 -16.1% 25 6-7 4.8% 11 16.6% 31 -1.5% 23
24 ARI -13.7% 24 -12.9% 23 3-9-1 -0.4% 15 10.8% 28 -2.6% 30
25 ATL -14.4% 26 -13.0% 24 4-9 -3.4% 20 8.7% 26 -2.3% 29
26 NYJ -19.1% 28 -18.2% 26 5-8 -26.8% 32 -4.1% 12 3.6% 2
27 CAR -20.2% 27 -26.4% 29 5-8 -11.8% 25 6.7% 23 -1.8% 26
28 JAX -21.7% 25 -27.2% 30 4-9 -11.8% 26 11.3% 29 1.4% 10
29 NYG -22.3% 29 -22.8% 27 2-11 -13.8% 27 8.7% 25 0.1% 15
30 CIN -25.7% 31 -23.6% 28 1-12 -16.6% 28 14.1% 30 5.0% 1
31 WAS -28.0% 30 -30.6% 31 3-10 -26.3% 31 3.4% 19 1.7% 8
32 MIA -42.2% 32 -35.2% 32 3-10 -18.2% 29 24.0% 32 0.0% 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 BAL 42.8% 11-2 43.0% 10.6 2 1.0% 12 -6.3% 25 19.1% 26
2 NE 34.9% 10-3 36.1% 10.7 1 -3.3% 26 -21.2% 31 10.2% 12
3 SF 32.5% 11-2 31.2% 10.2 3 0.0% 17 3.8% 10 16.7% 21
4 KC 26.4% 9-4 21.9% 9.4 6 2.5% 8 -2.7% 20 8.0% 7
5 NO 24.9% 10-3 26.9% 9.7 4 -1.1% 20 -6.3% 26 8.0% 6
6 SEA 17.7% 10-3 11.0% 9.4 5 6.3% 2 -0.5% 18 7.5% 4
7 MIN 16.1% 9-4 18.7% 9.1 8 -2.6% 24 2.0% 14 5.0% 2
8 DAL 14.5% 6-7 21.6% 9.2 7 -4.0% 27 -5.7% 24 8.1% 8
9 LAR 8.0% 8-5 7.5% 7.5 10 4.8% 4 11.1% 4 20.4% 29
10 GB 7.4% 10-3 4.8% 7.9 9 -0.7% 19 2.5% 12 17.5% 23
11 BUF 4.4% 9-4 11.6% 6.4 15 -6.8% 31 5.9% 8 10.3% 13
12 TEN 3.5% 8-5 14.3% 7.3 12 -5.7% 30 5.6% 9 19.6% 28
13 PHI 3.1% 6-7 2.7% 7.3 11 -3.0% 25 -11.9% 30 17.4% 22
14 PIT 1.8% 8-5 2.9% 7.1 13 1.7% 11 9.4% 6 8.6% 9
15 CHI 0.3% 7-6 -1.5% 6.6 14 -1.2% 21 16.6% 1 7.7% 5
16 TB 0.2% 6-7 2.7% 5.7 20 -0.2% 18 -9.1% 27 9.5% 11
17 CLE -1.5% 6-7 -5.6% 6.1 18 4.1% 5 1.2% 16 17.7% 24
18 LAC -1.7% 5-8 3.7% 5.3 22 -5.1% 28 9.7% 5 12.5% 16
19 IND -2.1% 6-7 2.4% 6.3 16 -5.6% 29 -5.6% 23 7.0% 3
20 HOU -4.0% 8-5 -3.3% 6.1 17 1.9% 10 2.4% 13 15.6% 20
21 DEN -6.9% 5-8 -5.0% 5.7 21 0.9% 13 1.4% 15 14.0% 17
22 DET -9.0% 3-9-1 -10.0% 5.2 23 0.4% 15 0.3% 17 4.7% 1
23 OAK -13.3% 6-7 -13.4% 5.9 19 0.9% 14 -10.1% 29 24.8% 31
24 ARI -13.7% 3-9-1 -19.8% 4.9 24 5.3% 3 8.0% 7 15.4% 19
25 ATL -14.4% 4-9 -15.0% 4.7 26 2.9% 6 3.7% 11 14.4% 18
26 NYJ -19.1% 5-8 -10.4% 4.5 27 -8.1% 32 16.3% 2 26.4% 32
27 CAR -20.2% 5-8 -21.4% 3.8 28 -1.5% 22 13.5% 3 19.4% 27
28 JAX -21.7% 4-9 -21.3% 4.8 25 -1.9% 23 -9.9% 28 22.0% 30
29 NYG -22.3% 2-11 -26.0% 2.0 31 2.0% 9 -22.4% 32 9.2% 10
30 CIN -25.7% 1-12 -32.4% 3.2 30 6.4% 1 -3.0% 21 12.5% 15
31 WAS -28.0% 3-10 -23.5% 3.3 29 0.0% 16 -1.6% 19 18.7% 25
32 MIA -42.2% 3-10 -44.9% 1.6 32 2.6% 7 -4.4% 22 11.4% 14

Comments

54 comments, Last at 12 Dec 2019, 2:37pm

1 I'd really like to dig into…

I'd really like to dig into the details of DVOA further sometime (maybe when the kids are grown.....). Because despite reading FO for a decade now, I still have trouble comprehending how a team giving up 48 points can have an extremely high one-game DVOA, regardless of how many points they scored. Sure the offensive performance is worth a ton, but shouldn't the defensive failures drag the overall effort down to nearly zero?

3 It looks like the Total VOA…

It looks like the Total VOA for both NO and SF decreased from week 13 to week 14, so I assume they both had negative performances.  But since SF had a big game against the 7th-best defense, and NO had a big game against the 2nd-best defense, both of their DVOA was positive.

6 Yeah, this basically covers…

Yeah, this basically covers it. It's all about opponent adjustments.

Before this game, SF had a season-long DVOA of 35.0% and NO was at 23.3%. So if they played each other evenly at 0.0% VOA each, you'd naively expect NO to get 35.0% DVOA for the game while SF gets 23.3%. (There are various complications which could make the number different from this, but that's a good initial starting point.) And that is very close to how it actually turned out: New Orleans 40%, San Francisco 20%.

5 If I have time after week 17…

If I have time after week 17, I'm going to try to get a handle on which coaches, over the past 20 years, have had teams which consistently exceeded preseason projected win totals, and which ones consistently fell short. I'll use FO projections for as far back as they go, and then see if I can find the Vegas over/unders.

Of course, there's a decent chance that it is just a blob of randomness, and it'll be a significant amount of work, and one of my major goals in spending time here is to avoid work....hmmm....

...eh, forget I said anything.....

41 Not an achievement. Not "Least".

For an apples to apples comparison, The NFC North is 12-4 against the NFC East. The AFC East is 11-4, with one game left against the weakest team in the NFC East. So, they're about as close as they could be to the same record. The rest of the NFC is 5-2, which is slightly worse than the AFC East.

So it's not a huge achievement. But it pretty much shoots down the idea that it's as weak a division as we all assumed early in the season. Unless the NFC North is also a "Least" division and the NFC is a "Least" conference.

47 That "rest of the NFC went 5…

That "rest of the NFC went 5-2 against the NFC East" stat can also be misleading, though. Those are the games that teams play against the teams in their conference that finished in the same place in their division. To the extent that last season's standings are predictive of this season's standings, you'd expect a lot of parity since it's first-place teams playing first-place teams and last-place teams playing last-place teams. Right now, for example, the NFC East teams have the exact same order in the standings that they did at the end of last season, while the other three divisions have two teams that swapped places and two teams that are in the exact same position. It's possible that this is a weird level of stability, though. Every preseason we're told that there will be a team that goes from worst to first in their division and that is guaranteed not to be the case this year.

21 It's not so much that the…

It's not so much that the AFC East has been bad, it's that it's been non-threatening.  There have been plenty of mediocre teams in the division, but very few good ones (besides the Patriots).  These Bills would be one of the high points, and before that...the Rex Ryan Jets?

42 Yup, they'be been consistently mediocre

The AFC East overall W-L outside NE isn't actually that bad, it is just that their teams are rarely very good.

They've combined for two seasons of 11+ wins outside of NE ('08 Dolphins, '10 Jets), but also have very rarely gone worse than 4-12 ('07 Dolphins at 1-15).

48 The QBing outside of Brady has been generally bad

Not surprising in this era, the only times Brady has lost the division is when another team in the AFC east (Manning, or Pennington (Jets and Miami) had a good quarter back based on this sites data. The Jets, Miami, and Bills QB situation has been a mess for years. The Pats QB position has been amazingly (he's beating father time even) consistent. You really have to go back to the 90s when you had an era that was more wide open in the division and better QBs spread around the AFC east teams. For the past 20 years its been GOAT and little else. Which has made the division less than compelling unless you like watching Fitzpatrick  Pyrrhic victories.

30 that would be interesting. I…

that would be interesting. I often do little projects like when I'm curious about something. 

Recently looked up all of Kubiak teams as coordinator and hc and found his teams average 6% more per play than avg. As an OC his teams were 8.5% above avg, as a HC they were 2.5% above avg.

I was pretty sure his teams had a great record of offence, but looked it up when someone noted this years team was the best ever in that stat. (turned out that wasn't true if you accounted for gain in offence over the years, it's actually his 7th best). To me that is a pretty incredible record. He improves both the run efficiency and pass efficiency. His teams were far better both passing and rushing as an OC, but particularly so running. 

This morning I looked at SB winning teams and strength of opponent schedule using Football Reference's SRS. Found out 22 of 54 Super Bowl winners had a 1st or 2nd easiest schedule in their conference. None have ever had a top 2 toughest schedules, only 3 had a top 3 toughest. Seems having an easy schedule is a great help to winning a Super Bowl. But I presume most people know that. 

 

32 I must be and old foggie,…

I must be and old foggie, because I wish the AFC and NFC teams all played each other once a year, with no inter league games. Then best in the each conference play for the Super Bowl. If teams were tied in conference record, you go with head to head to decide. If it's a multiple tie and head to head didn't fix that, point differential. 

To me that would produce the best team as winner far more often, and I would love the intrigue of what league is better without ever really knowing. 

46 Not in terms of games played

Pre-merger (from 1961 to 1967) the NFL had two seven-team divisions, and each team played home-and-home against the other 6 teams in their division plus two games against teams from the other division (one home and one away, I presume on a rotating basis).

For three years (1967-69) the NFL had four four-team divisions; each team played home-and-home against the other three teams in their division and one game against each team in two other divisions (but it seems the division makeup changed each of the three years so it's hard for me to reverse-engineer the schedule rules).

I didn't go through all the permutations of NFL division makeup and schedules before 1961.

The AFL was simple - eight teams in two four-team divisions, and every team played home-and-home against every other team.

34 I assume part of the reason…

I assume part of the reason is that if the SB winning team truly is the best team, that means they didn't have to play *against* the best team during the season, so their SRS is a little lower than all the teams that did have to play them.

But it is a little depressing to think that your strength of schedule is such a strong determinant in how good of a season you will have.

35 Which makes the 1991…

Which makes the 1991 Redskins all the more impressive. They had to play the 1991 Eagles and 1991 Cowboys in-division. Also, holy shit Indy. You went 1-15 against one of the league's easiest schedules.

54 Eagles didn't have Randall Cunningham

Deadskins were playing the QB pu-pu platter of Brad Goebel, Pat Ryan, Jeff Kemp for the Iggles. With RC#12 Eagles would have beaten them twice.

Goebel and Ryan threw for a combined 30 yds in the first matchup where Birds got shutout. Ooof. Jeff Kemp 'led' the victory in the week where Rypien started off with a 75-yd pick 6, but the Iggles had 3 turnovers.

53 The FO projections are fine…

The FO projections are fine and because they use a large number of simulations the "true" distribution appears in the results. But in any specific 16 game season the variance is much higher. This results, relative to actual single seasons, in too few projected wins at the top (almost no 11+ win teams) and too few losses projected at the bottom. For 2019 the projection for the best team was just over 10 wins and the worse team was at 5. So perhaps map the projecte top and bottom 5-ish teams to the average number of wins for those slots, the body of the projection likely matches actual expected records for those slots.

7 blocked punts

Does the Hidden column on the special teams page include blocked punts?

28 Yes, since it incorporates…

In reply to by ammek

Yes, since it incorporates all elements of special teams (except onside kicks) that are not included in the other five listed elements.

At some point, I do want to do an overhaul of special teams that creates separate "predictive" and "non-predictive" special teams ratings so we somehow account for things like blocked punts and FG. I have a very long to-do list, though.

8 The San Francisco 49ers have…

The San Francisco 49ers have fallen off our list tracking the best defenses in DVOA history, but the New England Patriots are still there. Wait, you might be saying, didn't they allow the Chiefs to score 20 on them in the first half on Sunday?

Guys, guys, stop. This is like Christian rock.

It doesn't make NE look good, it makes DVOA look bad.

14 hmm

You want Aaron to stop right before he says

"Yes, but they allowed the Chiefs to score only 3 points in the second half of the game. Limiting the Chiefs to 23 points is very good! That's the second-lowest total for the Chiefs this season, and Kansas City averaged 5.2 yards per play compared to its season average of 6.3 yards per play. "

Wouldn't want any evidence to spoil your predetermined narrative.

 

 

23 The "good" offenses…

In reply to by RickD

The "good" offenses consisted of whatever Pittsburgh was in week 1, the Ravens, the Eagles, Dallas, Houston, and KC.

The Ravens and Texans were healthy. They shredded NE.
The Eagles were missing their RT, RBs 1-3, and WRs 1-2. This same composition scored 3 points in three quarters against the Giants, and lost to Miami.
Dallas played in a driving rain storm in which neither offense looked competent.
Mahomes put up 23 points while shotputting dying quails around the field. Still their second best passing game since week 5.

Of the arguable six competent offenses they've played, they played four of them at reduced strength or in unplayable conditions. But hey, no pressure. Your '85 Bears defense should be able to carry even a McMahon-caliber QB to a mud-stomp title, right? Anything less would represent a spectacular failure.

31 Maybe the better comparison…

Maybe the better comparison to the 2019 Patriots is the 2015 Broncos? I notice they're now tracking closer to that team in defensive DVOA than to the 85 Bears, and both teams feature offenses quarterbacked by all-time greats clearly in the decline phase of their careers.

 

38 No, I mean the 2015 Broncos…

No, I mean the 2015 Broncos. That was the team with the great defense which drug a below average offense to a SB win. The 2014 version was the last year John Fox coached them, before Kubiak and Phillips where hired.

50 A fun game to playis to turn…

A fun game to playis to turn pop music into christian pop by replacing the word "baby" with "Jesus" whenever it comes up in the lyrics. An even more fun game is to substitute "drugs" for "love" :) 

10 I *knew* it! Knew it! On…

I *knew* it! Knew it!

On Twitter, Aaron said that New England's defense "improved slightly" with the Kansas City game, and had them listed at -31.4% in the table. I looked at that and said "wait, isn't that basically what they were last week?" Then I went and looked it up, and, OK, Aaron's *technically* right: last week they were at -31.3%. So... a 0.1% "improvement." Bit of a stretch on the word "slightly." But I also realized "wait, the Eagles and Giants play tonight, and DVOA still thinks Philly's offense is *good*... so I'll bet they end up exactly the same."

And, hey, look. Eagles offense goes down noticeably... and New England ends up with the *exact same* rating as last week. Bit premature on that "improved slightly" comment, Aaron. :)

11 The breakdown for backup…

The breakdown for backup quarterbacks is also a useful reminder that the early-season Patriots faced the Dolphins with Josh Rosen, the Jets with Luke Falk, and the Redskins with Colt McCoy. Their early-season split understates the badness of the offenses they faced. They faced not just a series of bad offensive teams, but a series of bad offensive teams with horrible backup quarterbacks.

25 This is true, and a…

This is true, and a reasonable criticism. I tried to quickly account for this by:

Multiplying the opponent adjustments for Miami by 2

Multiplying the opponent adjustments for Washington by 1.5 (since Haskins has been really bad too)

Multiplying the opponent adjustments for the Jets by 1.5 (since the Pats played Falk once but also Darnold once)

The new Patriots defensive DVOA with these adjustments would be -28.6%. Still one of the best ever, but not as good as the usual method is listing.

26 Thanks for running the…

Thanks for running the numbers. I meant it more as an observation than a criticism - the run of offenses the Patriots faced for the six games from Week 2 through 7 of this year has to be among the worst slate of offenses anyone has faced in the lively ball era. 

16 Denver Weeks 1-8 Offensive DVOA

In the Week 8 DVOA ratings article Denver's offense is listed with a -10.9% rating. Have subsequent changes to other team's ratings actually improved that all the way up to +10.8% over the last 6 weeks (+21.7%!), or is that just a typo?

18 I think an analysis of…

I think an analysis of historically great defenses, with an eye towards road vs. home performance, might be interesting. I've always thought holding a great offense to 24 points in their own building is more impressive than holding a mediocre offense to 6 points in your own, especially if your offense was having a tough time in the road game. I wonder what DVOAs of these two contrasting types of games would illuminate.

22 DVOA seems to corroborate…

DVOA seems to corroborate the eye test for me, that there's five likely Super Bowl contenders headed by BAL and followed by SF, NO, NE, and KC in some order. You can give Seattle and Minnesota a chance in case Wilson or Cousins catch fire, and then the rest from team 8 (I still don't believe Dallas's DVOA rating) to 20 there isn't much separation.

27 Wilson will be Wilson

You can give Seattle and Minnesota a chance in case Wilson or Cousins catch fire

Don't know about Minny but Seattle needs to find a pass rush to catch fire.  Wilson is almost always hot.

39 Vikings need to fix their db…

Vikings need to fix their db rotation. It may not work, but something has to be tried. Until last Sunday, they kept using Rhodes as if he were a premium NFL coverage guy, despite the fact that he is, um, not that any longer. Well they mixed things up on Sunday, and the results were good, but then again it was the Lions, so who knows?