DVOA Analysis
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Week 16 DVOA Ratings

Dak Prescott
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

The Baltimore Ravens continue to dominate the Football Outsiders DVOA ratings after this week's win over the Cleveland Browns. It's hard to keep moving up when you're already above 40%, but the Ravens move up a little bit this week from 40.8% to 41.8%. The No. 2 New England Patriots also move up a little bit after their win over Buffalo, going from 33.3% to 34.5%.

Although the top ten teams in both total DVOA and weighted DVOA remain the same as a week ago, there is some movement below the top two. Kansas City moves up from fifth to third in total DVOA thanks to a big Sunday night win over Chicago. Seattle drops from sixth to eighth after its upset loss to Arizona, covered in this week's Any Given Sunday column. That means that, yes, Minnesota and Dallas each both move up one spot despite disappointing losses this week. Each team fell in DVOA but dropped less than Seattle. Unlike the Seahawks, the Vikings and Cowboys did not have their worst games of the season this week. Minnesota's worst game by DVOA was a Week 4 loss in Chicago, while Dallas' worst game was the Thanksgiving loss to Buffalo.

Let's talk a little about the Dallas Cowboys, shall we? I've seen a lot of complaints about the advanced metrics, including our DVOA, that have the Cowboys ranked among the league's top ten teams. Let's break the Cowboys down a little bit unit by unit to figure out whether we're overrating the Cowboys.

Dallas ranks 31st in our special teams ratings. We're certainly not overrating them there.

Dallas ranks 20th in our defensive ratings. We could be overrating them there, but that's actually a much lower rank than the Cowboys have in the league's official measures of defense. The Cowboys are 11th in points allowed and yards allowed. And the Cowboys are eighth in the league in yards allowed per play. Why does DVOA have the Dallas defense so much lower than other measures? Schedule is a big part of it, as the Cowboys have faced the No. 28 schedule of opposing offenses.

That brings us to the offense. We have the offense ranked second in DVOA behind Baltimore. Is that too high? To answer that, let's first answer a trivia question. Can you name all the seasons since the merger where the Dallas Cowboys have led the league in offensive yards per play?

I'll give you a hint: there are three seasons where Dallas has led the league in yards per play.

One of them came before we have DVOA and play-by-play data.

And here's the real surprise: the Dallas Cowboys never led the NFL in yards per play when they were led by the triplets of Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin.

The answer to the question: 1971, 2009, and 2019. Yes, it's the Dallas Cowboys not the Baltimore Ravens who currently lead the NFL in yards per play.

I discovered this fact when I went to look at where this year's Dallas offense stacked up against the offenses of the Dallas dynasty years. The 2019 Dallas Cowboys are the second-best offense of the franchise's last 35 years based on DVOA ratings. The only Super Bowl year with a better offense is 1995.

Here's a look at the three Dallas Super Bowl champions compared to this year's Cowboys in DVOA, yards per play, first downs, and turnovers. I also tossed in the 2009 Cowboys and the 2016 Cowboys, Dak Prescott's rookie year. That gives us the six best Dallas offenses since 1985.

Best Dallas Cowboys Offenses, 1985-2019
Year DVOA Rk Pass Rk Run Rk Sched Rk Yd/Play Rk FD Rk TO Rk
1995 29.6% 1 51.1% 1 19.8% 1 -2.7% 5 5.78 2 364 1 23 5
2019 24.5% 2 39.2% 5 9.1% 4 -1.3% 9 6.41 1 357 2 17 10
1992 23.6% 2 39.6% 2 13.7% 6 0.5% 16 5.53 3 324 4 24 4
1993 21.8% 2 38.1% 2 18.4% 2 1.2% 19 5.65 2 322 4 22 4
2009 21.7% 3 41.9% 3 13.9% 3 -1.3% 10 6.26 1 335 6 19 4
2016 19.9% 3 38.2% 3 11.5% 2 -0.7% 10 5.97 4 358 4 15 5

The Cowboys are averaging 0.93 yards more than the league average this season. They will likely finish the season with more yards and first downs than any Dallas offense in history. These Cowboys rank lower than other strong Cowboys offenses in turnovers, but only four turnovers are the difference between being tied for tenth and being tied for third.

OK, but haven't the Dallas Cowboys played a really easy schedule this year? Actually, they have not, at least when it comes to opposing defenses. They played an easy schedule early in the season, beating up on the Giants and Washington and Miami. But look at the games the Cowboys have had since the bye week. Five of the Cowboys' last eight games have come against teams ranked in the top ten in defensive DVOA, including the historically great Patriots (in a driving rainstorm, further depressing the Cowboys' offensive numbers for that game). Combine that with Philadelphia now ranking 13th in defensive DVOA, and the Cowboys come out playing one of this year's ten toughest schedules on offense.

Here's one more table featuring those same six teams.

Best Dallas Cowboys Offenses, 1985-2019
Year Team W-L Total
DVOA
Rk Off
DVOA
Rk Def
DVOA
Rk ST
DVOA
Rk
1995 DAL 12-4 32.7% 2 29.6% 1 0.9% 13 4.0% 6
2019 DAL 7-8 15.7% 7 24.5% 2 4.7% 20 -4.1% 31
1992 DAL 13-3 35.1% 1 23.6% 2 -9.5% 5 1.9% 8
1993 DAL 12-4 24.9% 1 21.8% 2 0.8% 18 3.8% 7
2009 DAL 11-5 25.5% 5 21.7% 3 -2.9% 10 1.0% 14
2016 DAL 13-3 20.3% 2 19.9% 3 1.1% 18 1.6% 9

What's the difference between this year's Cowboys and the other strong Cowboys offenses? You can blame Dak Prescott and Kellen Moore and the Cowboys offense for having their worst game of the year at the worst possible time, in a division-deciding contest against Philadelphia, but overall the offense is not the problem for the 2019 Cowboys. This offense has been better than the Dallas offenses of most of the legendary triplets seasons. The problem has been defense and special teams, and coaching decisions, and luck and timing. (The Cowboys are 0-5 in games decided by seven points or less, 1-6 in games decided by eight points or less.)

Speaking of timing, there's another reason why conventional wisdom differs so much from advanced metrics when it comes to the Dallas Cowboys: recency bias. The Cowboys have played five of their six worst games of the year over the last six weeks. They were a much better team at the start of the year, but their big win over the Rams in Week 15 is the lone recent bright spot. Here's one of our DVOA week-to-week graphs to show the decline:

Dallas weekly chart

The silver lining for Cowboys fans around this year's cloud is that offense is more predictable than defense. It's likely that the Dallas defense and special teams bounce back next year but the offense continues to play well. The performance in close games will rebound. The in-game decision-making errors may be fixed by a coaching change. There's no evidence that playing worse in the second half of the season carries over to the following season. This Cowboys team is poised to be a serious contender in 2020.

One more note while we're talking about the Cowboys. We'll have to see what happens in the final game against Washington but a close loss could leave the Cowboys with the record for the best DVOA ever by a losing team. However, they probably can't have a win big enough to set a new record for best DVOA by an 8-8 team. Right now both of those records are held by Dick Vermeil Chiefs teams. The 2004 Chiefs (7-9) had 15.1% DVOA. The 2002 Chiefs (8-8) had 24.4% DVOA.

Finally, let's run our "best of/worst of" tables that I've been updating each week. One more game and we can compare this year's teams to the legendary teams over full seasons! That also means that next week I'll be officially unveiling where the 1985 Chicago Bears stand on the all-time total and defensive DVOA tables.

First, Baltimore, which drops a couple of slots this week even though its total DVOA went up:

BEST TOTAL DVOA
THROUGH 15 GAMES, 1985-2019
Year Team W-L DVOA
1991 WAS 14-1 57.9%
2007 NE 15-0 55.7%
1985 CHI 14-1 54.0%
1987 SF* 10-2 47.0%
1995 SF 11-4 42.4%
2010 NE 13-2 42.1%
2019 BAL 13-2 41.8%
2012 SEA 10-5 41.1%
2004 PIT 14-1 40.7%
1996 GB 12-3 38.9%
2013 SEA 12-3 38.6%
1999 STL 13-2 38.1%
*only 12 games due to strike

Hopefully, the performance of the 2019 Baltimore Ravens backups this week won't knock the Ravens out of the all-time top dozen. Perhaps I'll put together a "no sitting starters" list that considers where teams such as the 1991 Redskins, 1999 Rams, and 2004 Eagles stood before they started playing backups in the last couple weeks of the season.

The Patriots' overall rating and offensive rating both went up this week, but their defensive rating got a little worse. That only drops them one spot on this table, though:

BEST DEFENSIVE DVOA
THROUGH 15 GAMES, 1985-2019
Year Team W-L DVOA
1991 PHI 9-6 -41.1%
1985 CHI 14-1 -34.4%
2002 TB 11-4 -32.1%
1986 CHI 13-2 -31.6%
2019 NE 12-3 -29.2%
1988 MIN 10-5 -27.9%
2012 CHI 9-6 -27.7%
2004 BUF 9-6 -27.2%
2015 DEN 11-4 -26.9%
1995 SF 11-4 -26.9%
2008 BAL 10-5 -26.3%
1997 SF 13-2 -26.1%

Finally, the Miami Dolphins no longer rank on the list of the worst overall teams in DVOA history. Their defensive rating also improved a little bit this week, but not enough to take them off the worst defenses list.

WORST DEFENSIVE DVOA
THROUGH 15 GAMES, 1985-2019
Year Team W-L DVOA
1986 TB 2-13 27.9%
2015 NO 6-9 27.2%
2000 MIN 11-4 26.8%
2008 DET 0-15 24.7%
1987 MIA* 7-5 24.4%
1999 CLE 2-13 23.8%
2019 MIA 4-11 22.8%
1986 MIA 8-7 22.0%
1992 ATL 6-9 21.9%
2004 MIN 8-7 21.1%
1996 ATL 3-12 21.1%
2004 SF 2-13 20.2%
*only 12 games due to strike

* * * * *

 

Stats pages should now be updated through Week 16, including playoff odds, the FO Premium DVOA database and snap counts.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through 16 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 41.8% 1 49.4% 1 13-2 29.8% 1 -11.7% 4 0.3% 16
2 NE 34.5% 2 27.8% 4 12-3 4.6% 11 -29.2% 1 0.7% 12
3 KC 29.5% 5 31.2% 3 11-4 22.5% 3 -4.5% 10 2.5% 7
4 SF 28.3% 3 24.0% 5 12-3 5.9% 9 -21.1% 2 1.3% 10
5 NO 28.0% 4 36.5% 2 12-3 20.4% 4 -3.9% 12 3.7% 3
6 MIN 16.0% 7 18.5% 6 10-5 4.9% 10 -10.6% 7 0.5% 14
7 DAL 15.7% 8 10.5% 9 7-8 24.5% 2 4.7% 20 -4.1% 31
8 SEA 14.5% 6 14.0% 7 11-4 17.0% 5 1.1% 16 -1.4% 23
9 GB 9.9% 9 7.7% 11 12-3 8.3% 7 -1.2% 15 0.4% 15
10 LAR 6.2% 10 4.6% 14 8-7 -0.4% 17 -8.2% 8 -1.5% 25
11 BUF 5.1% 11 13.1% 8 10-5 -5.4% 21 -11.4% 5 -0.9% 20
12 PHI 4.9% 15 5.1% 13 8-7 2.2% 15 -2.9% 13 -0.3% 18
13 TEN 4.8% 12 10.2% 10 8-7 9.2% 6 1.2% 17 -3.2% 28
14 TB 3.3% 13 7.2% 12 7-8 -6.6% 22 -11.1% 6 -1.1% 21
15 HOU -1.9% 17 -2.1% 17 10-5 0.6% 16 5.4% 22 2.9% 4
16 CHI -2.3% 14 -5.6% 22 7-8 -10.7% 25 -7.3% 9 1.2% 11
17 IND -3.3% 21 -2.0% 16 7-8 -2.2% 18 1.6% 18 0.5% 13
18 PIT -4.9% 16 -4.2% 20 8-7 -24.4% 31 -16.6% 3 2.9% 5
19 LAC -6.1% 18 -4.9% 21 5-10 2.9% 12 5.4% 21 -3.6% 30
20 ATL -6.6% 20 -2.7% 18 6-9 2.3% 14 5.7% 23 -3.2% 29
21 ARI -6.7% 22 0.3% 15 5-9-1 2.9% 13 7.1% 24 -2.5% 27
22 CLE -7.5% 19 -12.9% 23 6-9 -3.0% 20 4.7% 19 0.2% 17
23 DEN -8.0% 23 -4.0% 19 6-9 -8.3% 24 -2.8% 14 -2.5% 26
24 OAK -11.8% 25 -14.4% 25 7-8 6.2% 8 16.6% 31 -1.5% 24
25 DET -13.3% 24 -22.5% 29 3-11-1 -3.0% 19 11.7% 28 1.4% 9
26 NYJ -17.5% 29 -14.0% 24 6-9 -25.8% 32 -4.3% 11 4.0% 2
27 NYG -17.8% 27 -18.3% 26 4-11 -6.8% 23 10.6% 27 -0.4% 19
28 JAX -22.2% 28 -34.2% 31 5-10 -11.5% 26 12.6% 29 1.9% 8
29 WAS -22.6% 30 -20.7% 27 3-12 -18.3% 29 7.1% 25 2.9% 6
30 CAR -24.3% 26 -36.0% 32 5-10 -12.6% 27 7.3% 26 -4.4% 32
31 CIN -28.1% 31 -22.1% 28 1-14 -18.6% 30 14.5% 30 5.1% 1
32 MIA -42.1% 32 -31.3% 30 4-11 -18.1% 28 22.8% 32 -1.3% 22
  • 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 41.8% 13-2 45.0% 12.1 2 -1.7% 24 -4.9% 18 17.1% 22
2 NE 34.5% 12-3 36.8% 12.8 1 -3.8% 29 -42.1% 32 9.3% 10
3 KC 29.5% 11-4 26.7% 11.1 5 1.2% 11 -6.1% 19 9.1% 9
4 SF 28.3% 12-3 26.5% 11.1 4 0.2% 13 14.5% 8 14.8% 19
5 NO 28.0% 12-3 29.6% 11.8 3 0.2% 14 -24.3% 30 8.4% 5
6 MIN 16.0% 10-5 19.0% 9.9 8 -1.2% 19 -2.3% 16 6.7% 2
7 DAL 15.7% 7-8 19.0% 10.4 7 -1.6% 23 -22.6% 29 9.4% 11
8 SEA 14.5% 11-4 8.6% 10.5 6 3.3% 6 28.3% 4 9.1% 8
9 GB 9.9% 12-3 6.8% 9.5 9 0.1% 15 -13.3% 25 18.7% 24
10 LAR 6.2% 8-7 1.8% 8.6 10 6.3% 1 -6.7% 21 20.7% 31
11 BUF 5.1% 10-5 9.0% 7.6 13 -3.6% 28 -17.5% 26 9.1% 7
12 PHI 4.9% 8-7 5.1% 8.5 11 -2.2% 25 -17.8% 27 19.4% 27
13 TEN 4.8% 8-7 11.0% 8.2 12 -3.4% 27 -1.9% 15 16.7% 21
14 TB 3.3% 7-8 5.1% 7.0 18 -0.7% 16 -6.6% 20 8.6% 6
15 HOU -1.9% 10-5 -1.6% 7.3 14 2.3% 7 4.8% 13 13.6% 18
16 CHI -2.3% 7-8 -6.0% 7.2 16 1.8% 9 16.0% 6 7.7% 3
17 IND -3.3% 7-8 0.9% 7.2 15 -4.0% 30 -22.2% 28 12.6% 16
18 PIT -4.9% 8-7 -1.9% 7.0 17 -1.1% 18 41.8% 1 9.8% 12
19 LAC -6.1% 5-10 -2.6% 5.6 25 -4.6% 32 29.5% 3 11.7% 14
20 ATL -6.6% 6-9 -10.0% 6.8 20 3.4% 5 3.3% 14 15.6% 20
21 ARI -6.7% 5-9-1 -10.7% 6.6 21 4.2% 3 6.2% 10 19.0% 25
22 CLE -7.5% 6-9 -13.6% 6.3 23 4.3% 2 -28.1% 31 18.2% 23
23 DEN -8.0% 6-9 -6.5% 6.4 22 1.4% 10 -11.8% 24 13.2% 17
24 OAK -11.8% 7-8 -10.1% 6.8 19 -1.3% 21 -8.0% 23 20.2% 28
25 DET -13.3% 3-11-1 -14.4% 5.5 27 1.2% 12 9.9% 9 6.6% 1
26 NYJ -17.5% 6-9 -12.8% 5.7 24 -4.2% 31 5.1% 11 25.2% 32
27 NYG -17.8% 4-11 -17.6% 3.6 30 -1.5% 22 4.9% 12 7.9% 4
28 JAX -22.2% 5-10 -21.9% 5.5 26 -2.6% 26 -3.3% 17 20.3% 29
29 WAS -22.6% 3-12 -18.8% 4.6 28 -1.1% 17 15.7% 7 19.1% 26
30 CAR -24.3% 5-10 -26.0% 3.9 29 1.9% 8 28.0% 5 20.4% 30
31 CIN -28.1% 1-14 -32.3% 3.4 31 3.6% 4 -7.5% 22 12.5% 15
32 MIA -42.1% 4-11 -39.3% 1.5 32 -1.2% 20 34.5% 2 11.2% 13

Comments

24 comments, Last at 09 Jan 2020, 5:54pm

2 Bucs Rush DEF

Where do they rank among those all-time units? Bouncing around the site I think perhaps #5?

5 Assessing where Dak Prescott…

Assessing where Dak Prescott ranks in the nfl is tough. I am certain hes a good qb. But just how good? For example - is Dak right now better than Rodgers? Is he definitely better than Cousins? What about Matt Ryan?

6 Chicago Bears Defense

Amazing to see the team has 3 of the top 12 all time DVOA units (through week 16). They love their Defense in that city and would prefer that and a QB they can kick in the shins. S

Also, nice to see that the Superfans are right - the 1985 team was up there with the all-time greats (the Hogs, and undefeated Pats).

17 "the worst QB they couldn’t…

"the worst QB they couldn’t drag to a championship game was Kramer."

Not sure exactly how to parse that, but do you realize Kramer was #1 in the NFL in DYAR in 1995 (and #3 in DVOA)? That team was truly excellent on offense for much of the year, and Kramer had the misfortune to fall into the cracks between the great defenses of the 80s and early 90s and the great defenses of the Lovie era. The 1995 defense was 22nd in DVOA and got rolled over by both expansion teams and the Not Greatest Show On Any Surface Rich Brooks Rams.

8 is there a mistake in the cowboys´s table?

Why the 2009 Cowboys have 21.7% in total offensive DVOA and the 2019 24.5% although the 2009 have 41.9%/13.9% pass/run dvoa, much higher than the 2019´s 39.2%/9.1% and booth have the same -1.3% sched???

10 It's Simpson's Paradox!

It's Simpson's Paradox! I almost added a "pass-run ratio" column to the table to show that the 90s teams ran the ball too much. (Yes, you can have Emmitt Smith and still run too much.) Even the 2009 team ran more than the 2019 team. I'll list them here, this is (passes + sacks) / runs without kneels/spikes removed.

  • 1992 1.03
  • 1993 1.03
  • 1995 1.03
  • 2009 1.34
  • 2016 1.02
  • 2019 1.41

Also, 2019 Cowboys are VERY low in the plays that are in DVOA but not passes or runs (False Starts + Delay of Game). They have only 5, lowest in the league. Houston is highest in the league with 30. Those plays are, of course, all negative.

12 “Too much” implies the…

“Too much” implies the efficiency would be the same at different volume.

If you assume Smith and Irvin dragged Aikman along with them, “overemphasizing” the run would generate the efficiency, not reduce it.

Aikman was a system QB. He was a disaster whenever all of the pieces were not present.

11 Strange numbers this year

First we had Buffalo 25th in DVOA, behind Atlanta.

Now we have Dallas as the second best offense.

An elite offense wouldn't have so many bad games.

10 points against the Saints. 9 points against the Patriots. 15 points against the Bills. 9 points against a bad Eagles team.

13 Buffalo's offense committed…

Buffalo's offense committed a lot of turnovers early on, which really sank their DVOA even if it didn't cost them games. Plus, DAVE has them being really, really bad instead of the kinda meh they actually were. As a predictive measure, their offensive DVOA was probably closer to right than one would think.

Dallas' offense can execute, they just can't score. In the games I've watched, their playcalling seems to do them in as much as anything - Zeke will rip off a couple of seven yard runs and they'll throw two passes and go three and out after moving 30 yards. It's bizarre.

14 Dallas

Bizarre really is the word for the analytical situation regarding Dallas's offense. I've watched them a bit (though not as closely as I have some other teams). In addition to underperforming expected wins based on DVOA they have substantially outperformed with respect to fumble luck (17 recovered out of 27 on defense 8 recovered out of 14 on offense), they've only given up 1 punt/kick block, and they've actually been better than their opponents in the red zone. My best insight into how this has happened is that they have gotten really bad results on plays that generally happen in games that are late/close; They've missed 8 of 18 FG's longer than 40 yards, and let opponents convert 10/19 on 4th down (vs. a 34.9% 3rd down rate) - maybe this accounts for the terrible W/L result compared to their per-play efficiency?

16 There's the answer

In reply to by sbond101

FG kicking--missing 8 FG's longer than 40 yards means that for average, they should have made about 5 or 6 of them (depending on length). With their close losses, that would certainly explain 1 or 2 of them. Fewer people would be questioning Dallas' rank if they were 9-6 with a couple of close losses.

15 Aaron I think the analysis is great, thanks

Would love to see the offensive breakdowns for 2006 after Romo became the starter, and 2007 minus the Redskins game at the end (I know starters played for at least a half, but the field was a mess and the Cowboys seemed to be focused on getting players various records—it was nuts; I'm over it).

When I said in the Audibles thread that Dak is too inconsistent, I was taking into account his full body of work over four years. A good rookie season followed by two lackluster seasons and then this year. He deserved a pro bowl nod this season, but the limitations of his game have also been evident, fully on display at the worst times. Ball placement and not seeing open receivers have been consistent issues through all four years. There is the continual, annoying sense that he is predetermining where to go with the ball, and if that doesn't work out, he doesn't seem to be able to compensate (especially now that his scrambling ability has become pedestrian).

Dak doesn’t deserve more blame than the 1a) owner/GM, 1b) special teams, 2) coaching, or 3) lack of defensive talent beyond the front four, but he is playing behind a really good line, with good receivers, good tight ends, and good backs; it seems likely that his flaws will continue to hold this team back unless he can somehow finally correct them.

20 The Chicago Bears

So with only one meaningless game left to go, now's as good a time as any to reflect on what the Bears are and what they should do going forward.

Under Matt Nagy, the Bears have gone from -3.4% offensive DVOA last year (bad, for a head coach brought in to be an offensive specialist) to -10.7% this year (abysmal). How much of that is Nagy's system, how much of that is Trubisky, and how much of that is the dearth of quality personnel at TE and OL (ie, Ryan Pace's fault), is debatable, but IMHO I've seen enough that I'm pessimistic that Nagy is or ever will be a good offensive coach.

It's a shame that they have squandered another year of a good defense (and -7.3% defensive DVOA is still good, especially considering how many key injuries they've had this year compared to last). It's a continual frustration to hear Bears fans complain about the defense, particularly in games where the offense scores in the single digits. No, they are not historically good or even one of the top 5 teams this season, but they're plenty good enough to win when paired with a cromulent offense.

So, I am on record as saying that I think Trubisky, Nagy, and Pace are all failures. If I wielded the power, I'd move on from all of them right now (and go a level above Pace and fire Ted Phillips, which is long overdue). But I don't, and there is a 0.0% chance that the Bears clean house this offseason. Given that constraint, I think the Bears should bring all 3 back for next season and give it one last shot. If, as I believe they will, they fail to look like a championship contender, then fire Pace, fire Nagy, and let the new regime decide together who the next franchise QB should be.

I endorse competition for Trubisky in the form of a late-round rookie or a free agent QB, but no free agent that would require a large multiyear commitment. (I would love to see them bring in Kaepernick, but the gutless McCaskeys would never allow it). I don't want them using one of their 2nd round picks or trading up into the 1st round to take another QB who would be the assumed replacement for Trubisky, because I completely distrust this regime's evaluation of the position.

What I don't want to see is a change at only 1 of the GM/coach/QB positions, that would then set up multiple years of half-measures and constraints. Don't fire Nagy and let Ryan Pace hire a 3rd coach (especially when any coaching candidate would have to look at Pace missing the playoffs 4 of his 5 years and question his job security). Don't completely move on from Trubisky and commit the team to another guy for 3-4 years when it's likely that coach and GM will be gone in a year or two. And don't fire Pace but tell the new GM he has to keep Nagy. The Bears have a perfect opportunity here to have everything aligned contract-wise if they do have another failed season next year; if that happens, I don't see how they'd bring any of Pace/Nagy/Trubisky back. And if I'm dead wrong and Nagy and Trubisky look good in year 3, great.

21 Two WEI DVOA Adjustments in Playoff Odds Seem to be Incorrect

It says adjustments were made for NYJ and DEN but they go in the opposite directions I'd expect. NYJ goes down from -14.0 to -18.2 when only considering Darnold games and DEN goes up from -4.0 to -1.3 when only considering a backup QB for the rest of the season. Maybe I'm missing something...

22 Marshawn Lynch Effect

If an adjustment was to be made to SEA's Weighted DVOA concerning their disastrous running game situation, what would it be?

23 Cowboys

I'm awfully late in commenting on this post. Just registered. FO puts out some great stuff. I have a lifetime in statistics and sports analytics from a variety of perspectives, so I enjoyed your preemptive rebuttal to the stock criticisms of your analytics. However, I think you might want to be a bit more open to evaluating the possible limits or flaws in any particular metric. It is detective work -- what just doesn't look right. Yes, eyes and seat-of-the-pants analysis can fool us, but stats have limitations too. Your DVOA's are very useful stats. Nevertheless, even with adjustments for score gap and quarter (along with other factors), I wonder if the dissonance between what they were saying about the Cowboys and what the eye test was saying for many is in the weight given yardage gained after falling well behind. The Cowboys had 3 really bad offensive games, but they also had 4 others where the final yards per play were impressive but they fell behind by substantial margins. Yes, they still had some chance to win but their win probabilities were really low by halftime in 3 of these. For a fan watching, these tend to count as bad offensive performances, but I wonder just how much the second half performance is discounted if they were able to bring the gap back down.

24 Dallas offense DVOA ranks by…

In reply to by sportsprof

Dallas offense DVOA ranks by quarter:

Q1: 15th

Q2: 4th

Q3: 1st

Q4: 2nd

Late and close: 1st

 

Now, by score gap:

Losing big: 5th

Tied/losing small: 9th

Winning small: 1st

Winning big: 3rd

 

So they did get better as the game went along, and they were at their worst when they really needed one score.  Looks like the numbers back up your theory.