Week 18 DVOA Ratings
Once again, it is time for postseason DVOA ratings. As always, the following rules apply:
- All 32 teams are ranked, whether they made the playoffs or not.
- Teams are ranked in order of weighted DVOA, not total season DVOA. Since weighted DVOA is meant to lower the strength of older games, these ratings do not include Weeks 1-4, and Weeks 5-10 are somewhat discounted.
- Only weighted DVOA is listed for offense, defense, and special teams. Total DVOA is also listed, but one game doesn't change much in a 17-game sample.
- Teams which did not play in the wild-card round are treated as if they had a bye week. (That includes both the 20 non-playoff teams and the four teams with byes.)
The big news this week is that the Indianapolis Colts take their win over Houston and move up to No. 2 in weighted DVOA. That means that Saturday's first divisional-round game pits the No. 1 team in weighted DVOA (Kansas City) against the No. 2 team (Indianapolis). The Colts rank lower over the course of the entire season -- seventh if we include the wild-card round -- but they've improved significantly since the early part of the season.
The Colts' first huge win was a 37-5 beatdown of Buffalo in Week 7, but it's more logical to use their Week 9 bye as the split in their season. When you do that, you get this split for Indianapolis in DVOA:
|Indianapolis DVOA, Weeks 1-9 vs. Weeks 11-18|
The other obvious story in the current DVOA ratings is that there is a huge gap between the top six teams remaining and the final two, Dallas and Philadelphia. This gap exists whether you look at total regular-season DVOA or weighted DVOA. Even this last weekend, both the Colts and Chargers had higher single-game DVOA ratings than the Cowboys or Eagles.
You will find DVOA matchup pages for the four divisional games on the FO Premium page. Snap counts should be updated with information on the wild-card round by this evening.
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To save people some time, we remind everyone to put their angry troll hatred into the official zlionsfan angry troll hatred Mad Libs form:
<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>
If you are new to our website, you can read the explanation of how DVOA is figured here. As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE.
There are no adjustments here for sitting starters in Week 17, although we do adjust the ratings that we use in the playoff odds report.
Teams in yellow are still alive in the playoffs. Teams in gray lost this past weekend.
Here are the one-game DVOA ratings for the first round of the playoffs. These ratings for the Philadelphia-Chicago game aren't going to make Bears fans feel any better, but the Bears overall outplayed the Eagles on a play-by-play basis on Sunday. Chicago gained 5.7 yards per play with no turnovers, while the Eagles gained just 4.7 yards per play with two turnovers. The game came down to red zone efficiency, as the Bears couldn't score a touchdown in three trips to the red zone while the Eagles punched it in twice from inside the 20.
Further fuel for offseason arguments: The team this weekend with the highest passing VOA (before adjustments) was Seattle at 34.8%. The team with the highest net yards per pass attempt was Seattle at 8.1. And the team with the fewest pass plays this weekend? Also Seattle.
57 comments, Last at 09 Jan 2019, 11:20am
#7 by Aaron Schatz // Jan 07, 2019 - 4:18pm
Weighted DVOA is based on how many weeks ago each game is, rather than how many games ago each game is. Therefore, the Patriots moved (slightly) ahead of the Rams because of which games have which weights in the formula. (Most likely culprits: the 34-10 loss to Tennessee is now worth less for the Patriots, and the Week 4 win over Minnesota drops out entirely for the Rams.)
#31 by Bobman // Jan 08, 2019 - 1:16am
Ahh, gracias, Aaron, although after like 15 years, no need to jump in on such a small matter. You're busy, I am sure, but I love that you guys find time to comment on such minutiae.
I figured it was something like what you indicated.
Or are you just covering for the lyin', cheatin', stealing computer...?
#2 by Will Allen // Jan 07, 2019 - 3:43pm
My homer rooting interest now lies in the Vikings getting into the top 8 in total DVOA and in the top 6 in weighted. I think that means I want the Rams to stomp the Cowboys (I hope so, just to get miserable Jerry Jones camera shots, instead of happy Jerry Jones camera shots) and I'm not sure about Saints and Eagles. I draw the line at rooting for the Patriots against the Chargers, however. Don't think Chiefs and Colts makes much difference, so I'm rooting for the Colts just because it'll make the most people crazy, even if it means more dumb attacks on Andy Reid's coaching record.
#3 by Bobman // Jan 07, 2019 - 3:56pm
I'm surprised the Colts Offensive VOA/DVOA are so high, since the third quarter was a black hole for them and the 4th was kind of light gray (Mack had some great runs in close-out mode, but they were shut out for a reason). Yeah, they would have scored at the end instead of kneeling down, but I assume their 1st half O was vastly, vastly higher than the 2nd half.
This is the kind of stuff that OCD fans worry about when their teams win big. Can't even enjoy a playoff upset....
Holy cow, those LAC/BAL defensive figures are monstrous (and resulted in some hideous O DVOAs as well).
#40 by Bobman // Jan 08, 2019 - 2:05pm
This is what I don't quite get: Sure, speed kills. But are the 7 DBs THAT MUCH faster (and as a result stop the runners sooner--way sooner?) than the LBs they replaced who are theoretically supposed to be superior run-stoppers and probably weight 25-40 lbs more? The narrative sounds great, but I find it hard to make sense of the assumption that had they played a standard D they would have allowed double or triple the rushing yardage.
It might have been more of a necessity issue if the LBs were gimpy.... And the confusion factor for the rookie QB undoubtedly played a major role, maybe more than the media has given credit for.
#49 by bravehoptoad // Jan 08, 2019 - 4:37pm
Ted Nguyen over at the Athletic had a good piece on how this Chargers defense worked. One thing they did was have their ends always crash inside hard to force the runs outside, and exploit the advantage of having speedy "linebackers".
Other people have been pointing out how the Chargers' innovation was less a matter of inspiration and more one of necessity, since their linebackers keep getting injured. It'll be interesting to see how they play New England next week. That's a team that might know how to play against a seven-DB defense.
#5 by Bobman // Jan 07, 2019 - 4:07pm
BTW, I am really pulling for a Frank Reich Reunion SB this year, and for Reich to then pull a Gruden with his inside knowledge of Foles and the Philly O. Then Luck goes out there and Dilfers a Lombardi (which sounds kind of naughty now that I see it in writing....).
Their week 4 game was close and that was before the Indy OL got the two OTs in place and Marlin Mack was still on the sideline. And Luck's shoulder was not quite al dente. In that game Luck was Indy's leading rusher with one carry for 33 yards. Great YPC, sure, but not really comparable to the team that hung 200 rush yards on the Texans on Saturday.
#6 by jimbojonessmith // Jan 07, 2019 - 4:17pm
Ravens special teams were uncharacteristically terrible yesterday. Not even talking about the missed 50-yard Tucker FG. They gave up a 33-yard punt return that led to LA's second FG from 53 yards after only gaining 7 yards on the possession. They gave up a 72-yard kickoff return to start the second half. They had a 31-yard punt in the 3rd quarter, that led to the Chargers' final FG of the day, from 47 yards out after a 16-yard drive.
Finally, the Ravens punt returner couldn't get up to fair catch the final punt of the game before it hit the ground and took a big Chargers bounce. I haven't watched the replay yet, but if he fielded the ball, I think they would have taken over past their own 45. Instead it took a big bounce and went out at the 34. Starting from near midfield would have at least given Baltimore a chance at the miracle game-winning TD.
#32 by Bobman // Jan 08, 2019 - 1:30am
If Indy does beat the Chiefs, either opponent will be balm for the fans, as both NE and SD have been playoff kryptonite for the Colts. Going to LA would be amusing and a little ironic given how small of a HFA it seems for the Bolts (small revenge for the 12-win wildcard Colts traveling to the 9-win AFCW champ Chargers a decade ago). I know Mike Scifres and Darren Sproles are no longer there to twist the knife, but beating the Bolts in 2019 would be deeply satisfying for Colts fans, and yet completely uninteresting to 99% of Americans.
A game in Foxboro, on the other hand, will be a mindless media sensation, reviving the 2014 game and subsequent upheaval, and all the previous Peytom Branning games, despite the fact that nobody but Vinny is still around in Indy from the pre-Luck days. The media circus would be as dumb as bringing up the 1995 Harbaugh-led 10-7 upset of the Chiefs in the playoffs--as if it is relevant to 2019! But it will happen, and drive me nuts.
So for my personal sanity (and that's all Roger Goodell cares about, right?), yeah, Indy vs SD would be a good AFCCG.
#41 by Bobman // Jan 08, 2019 - 2:08pm
That would make some sense (and therefore is likely impossible). They would double the gate income from about $5 million to about $10 million (assuming $150 average ticket price), and it would look nicer on TV.
#44 by dmstorm22 // Jan 08, 2019 - 2:27pm
You mean this year, or in future when they share the same stadium.
I believe it were to happen 2020 and beyond when they are in the same building, one would be played on Sunday, and the other on Monday.
This has also been the contingency for the Jets/Giants.
#37 by FlippingADollar // Jan 08, 2019 - 12:44pm
Any reason? This is the first QB that the Colts have faced that is above average except Watson. And I think that the mobility of Watson and Mahomes is similar, but accuracy is wayyyy different. I posted below too but since the Colts started 1-5, here's the QBs they've faced:
#13 by theslothook // Jan 07, 2019 - 5:28pm
I think the Cowboys aren't a joke imo. Their defense is definitely for real and really good. Their offense can run the ball and Dak at this point is an above average game manager. They are basically a better version of the Seahawks. And the eagles defeated the rams at home very recently.
The rams should be good. They have the destroyer of worlds. They have a dynamite defensive coordinator. They have proven talent on their secondary. And yet, it isn't good. It's bad. The kind that won't get you stops when your offense is struggling. Of all of the teams left in the playoffs, I trust the rams defense the least.
Their offense has talent galore. It can be great. It doesn't consistently play great.
I am one of the few, probably, who thinks the Rams will lose this weekend. A shame. I like their coaches, I like their talent. It should be better than this.
#17 by BJR // Jan 07, 2019 - 5:55pm
Woah, that's a lot of negativity for a team that is still ranked #2 in total DVOA.
DVOA also disagrees with you that the Cowboys are a better version of the Seahawks.
I certainly don't rule out Jared Goff throwing in a stinker, and the Cowboys doing just enough on offense to win. But it's not what I would be predicting based on the entire seasons worth of evidence.
#19 by theslothook // Jan 07, 2019 - 6:04pm
Maybe I was too hasty. The pass defense is actually way better than I expected - it was ranked 9th. Despite being an analytics person, there's something unsettling about this team. I like their talent a lot on both sides of the ball. I have a lingering distrust of Goff and maybe I'm letting too many prime time games coloring my impression of their defense.
Funny thing, I don't think the cowboys are that great either.
Just...this more gut than anything I suppose.
#11 by Bob Smith // Jan 07, 2019 - 4:47pm
It looks like Patrick Mahomes will have to pull a Jim Kelly-somehow lead your team to a S.B. game when your Defense is officially Ranked next-to-last by the NFL. The only thing-Kelly did it TWICE-'91 AND '93.
#15 by serutan // Jan 07, 2019 - 5:47pm
Reminds me of the Air Coryell days in San Diego for the same reason - Fouts & co. also had to drag a terrible defense along with them but never got to the SB. Was the Freezer Bowl in Cincy that teams only AFC CG?
#16 by Will Allen // Jan 07, 2019 - 5:52pm
The Bills did not have a terrible defense when they were going to Super Bowls. The standard stats are deceiving, in good measure due to how the Bills offense was a bit unusual schematically, for the era.
#35 by Lowe_51 // Jan 08, 2019 - 10:25am
As a long suffering Chargers fan, I remember those days (even though I was pretty young). Those Chargers made back to back Conference Championships, losing to the Raiders in 1980, before the freezer bowl in '81.
That 1980 defense was not nearly as bad as it's always been perceived. They were 11-5 on the season and I believe in those 5 losses the offense had a combined 27 turnovers...in 5 games. Then they lose the turnover battle in the AFC Title game 3-0, and there you go. Until the 2006 team came along, that was the Chargers' best shot at a Super Bowl. If they get by Oakland, they most likely roll the Eagles for the title just like the Raiders did. Now in 2006, if Marlon McCree just lets that 4th down pass drop to the ground.....
Anyhow, unless they're the '85 Bears, an offense that produces two outcomes...scoring very quickly or turning the ball over...is going to make a defense look really bad all the time. So I always bristle when people say Fouts was so saddled by a bad defense. Those defenses were set up to fail.
#42 by Bobman // Jan 08, 2019 - 2:13pm
People understand that with turnovers stressing a team's own D, but the quick-strike offenses are an under-appreciated negative factor for the defense as well. "Hey man, we just busted our butts for ten minutes out there and you only give us two minutes to rest? You can see that I'm 300 lbs man, right? You think it's easy chasing down ball-carriers at this weight?"
Having said that and sympathized with the D, that's what I love about the no-huddle--seeing the D freakin' exhausted and standing with their hands on hips, steam rising from their bodies, after 9-10-11 plays near the end of a game.
#57 by Bob Smith // Jan 09, 2019 - 11:20am
Bobman-that is a great point about the no-huddle offenses. The one that Kelly and the Bills ran was very effective-and in Buff. in January no less. I can only imagine if we would had him in Miami playing for my Dolphins in January-those D's would have been crawling off the field.
#12 by ChrisS // Jan 07, 2019 - 5:25pm
That offensive DVOA for Baltimore is awful. I wonder how ugly it was before the 4th quarter and the 75 & 80 yard TD's (those two drives made up over 2/3 of Ravens total yards). But the fumble on their last drive was probably a very big negative.
#38 by Steve in WI // Jan 08, 2019 - 12:58pm
Looking at the numbers individually, I don't see anything too far out of whack. -25% for the defense: yeah, they played pretty well. I would love to have that final drive back, but they limited big plays (which of course might have hurt them on the last drive; if Philly scores with 5 minutes left, maybe Trubisky leads the Bears down to score the game-winning TD). 4% for the special teams: some really good punts from O'Donnell in the first half (and a really bad one to set up Philly's last drive), one great return from Cohen, 3/4 FGs from Parkey. And then 5% for the offense: that still feels a little high, but it makes sense that a very good 4th quarter balanced out a pretty bad first three quarters to come out somewhere near even.
And the worst part of the eye test on offense was the 3 near-INTs by Trubisky, which of course don't show up except as incompletions in DVOA.
#27 by MC2 // Jan 07, 2019 - 9:43pm
I was just about to say that it must be a mistake that Chicago's DVOA was identical to their VOA, in all three phases...
Then I remembered they were playing the Eagles, literally the most average team ever, so there were no adjustments!
#29 by dank067 // Jan 07, 2019 - 10:18pm
Terrific way to see their nearly perfectly average DVOA manifest itself. Rising to 0.6% DVOA this week, we'll see if they can pull that off again.
Even their weighted DVOAs for all three phases are within +/- 3%!
#36 by FlippingADollar // Jan 08, 2019 - 12:42pm
I'm surprised the strengths of the wins for the Colts is so high. They played the leagues worst QBs since their 1-5 start. I think only Watson is a top half QB per FO ratings.
#43 by Bobman // Jan 08, 2019 - 2:19pm
Well, their run/pass splits indicate the pass D is only pretty good, but the run D is much better. So that could be why.
They have faced some good RBs and held them in check. That opponent list includes Henry (Ten), Fournette (Jax), Miller (Hou), Elliott (Dal), Barkley (NYG), etc.
#50 by E // Jan 08, 2019 - 5:22pm
Both NFC East teams win and the 5-11 Giants remain the best team in the division by Weighted DVOA. .
This NFL season has been strange - There is normally some deviation between DVOA success and real world success (due to the small sample size of 16 games) but this year there is almost no deviation - 6 of the top 7 teams in Weighted DVOA are still alive - except for one division that was pretty bad top to bottom yet produced 2 teams in the final 8. The NFC East clearly hates FO.