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

Week 8 DVOA Ratings

Ravens
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Aaron Schatz

The top two teams in our DVOA ratings flip places again this week, with San Francisco returning to the top spot. The 49ers had a huge game over the Panthers, who drop all the way from ninth to 15th after the loss. The Patriots, on the other hand, end up with a negative DVOA for their win over Cleveland once we apply the opponent adjustments. Overall, the Patriots dropped by over ten percentage points this week, while the 49ers move up by seven percentage points. The 49ers offense moved from 15th to 10th, while the Patriots offense has dropped all the way to 15th and their special teams are down to 26th.

Still, the Patriots defense has been so ridiculously dominant that the Patriots still appear on our list of the best teams ever tracked by DVOA. After the big win over Carolina, the 49ers are appearing on that list too. Both teams finish No. 8 on their respective lists:

BEST TOTAL DVOA
THROUGH 7 GAMES, 1986-2019
  BEST TOTAL DVOA
THROUGH 8 GAMES, 1986-2019
Year Team W-L DVOA   Year Team W-L DVOA
2007 NE 7-0 69.1% x 2007 NE 8-0 73.6%
1991 WAS 7-0 61.8% x 1991 WAS 8-0 58.8%
2019 NE 7-0 54.6% x 2001 PHI 5-3 51.8%
1996 GB 6-1 54.0% x 1996 GB 7-1 47.9%
2007 IND 7-0 48.7% x 1990 CHI 7-1 47.7%
1994 DAL 6-1 48.2% x 2007 IND 7-1 46.0%
2014 DEN 6-1 47.6% x 2003 KC 8-0 45.2%
2019 SF 7-0 46.3% x 2019 NE 8-0 44.4%
2006 CHI 7-0 44.3% x 2013 DEN 7-1 42.9%
1999 STL 6-1 43.2% x 2007 DAL 7-1 41.7%
1998 DEN 7-0 41.9% x 1994 DAL 7-1 41.4%
1990 CHI 6-1 41.1% x 2009 NE 6-2 41.2%

Yes, the 2001 Philadelphia Eagles being so high at 5-3 is a bit strange. DVOA sure loves those Andy Reid Eagles teams. The Eagles had five games over 60% DVOA in their first eight that year -- one of which was actually a loss in overtime -- then didn't have another game that high for the rest of the season.

What's shocking on defense is the absurd gap between the Patriots and 49ers and the rest of the league. The Patriots and 49ers are two of the best defenses we've ever tracked, and then there's a gap of almost 33 percentge points before you get to No. 3 Denver. The gap between the 49ers and Denver is larger than the gap between the Broncos and No. 31 Cincinnati. There's only one pass defense that can even sniff the 49ers and Patriots, and that's Carolina at -23.0%, but the Panthers are also the worst run defense in the league. (Showing you how much more important pass defense is than run defense, Carolina's ranks of 3 and 32 combine to be fifth overall.)

The Patriots still have the best defensive DVOA ever through 8 games, even though the defense had a (relative) off day against Cleveland.

BEST DEFENSIVE DVOA
THROUGH 7 GAMES, 1986-2019
  BEST DEFENSIVE DVOA
THROUGH 8 GAMES, 1986-2019
Year Team W-L DVOA   Year Team W-L DVOA
2019 NE 7-0 -49.7% x 2019 NE 8-0 -43.3%
1991 NO 7-0 -44.9% x 2002 TB 6-2 -43.0%
1991 PHI 3-4 -42.8% x 1991 NO 7-1 -39.8%
2019 SF 7-0 -41.6% x 1991 PHI 3-5 -37.7%
2002 TB 5-2 -38.8% x 2012 CHI 7-1 -36.5%
2015 DEN 7-0 -36.0% x 1993 PIT 5-3 -30.8%
2012 CHI 6-1 -33.4% x 1997 SF 7-1 -30.5%
2011 BAL 5-2 -33.3% x 1996 GB 7-1 -30.4%
1996 GB 6-1 -32.8% x 2007 TEN 6-2 -30.0%
1993 BUF 6-1 -31.3% x 1993 BUF 7-1 -29.9%
1997 SF 6-1 -31.0% x 2011 BAL 6-2 -29.3%
1992 WAS 5-2 -30.6% x 2015 DEN 7-1 -29.1%

So, what about the teams beneath the Patriots and 49ers? Well, the Denver defense has climbed rapidly to No. 3 after ranking just 27th in the league after four weeks. The Broncos are one of a number of teams that have seen one unit dramatically improve or decline between the first and second quarter-poles of the 2019 season. Ranks here are based on current opponent adjustments, and yes, Week 5 is an arbitary place to look for a split.

First, Denver. The Broncos defense had 14.0% DVOA for September (26) but is -30.3% (3) for October.

Baltimore has simultaneously turned things around on defense and settled into a bit of an offensive funk. Their offense has gone from 23.1% (3) to -3.0% (18), but the defense has improved from 17.3% (30) to -20.4% (6).

There are two other significantly improved defenses. Indianapolis, which has gone from 18.2% (31) to -10.8% (9), and Pittsburgh, which has gone from 5.0% (21) to -21.5% (4).

On the other hand, we have the Chicago defense. In September, Chicago had -21.1% DVOA (3) but the Bears defense for October is at 11.4% (26).

Switching to offense but staying in the NFC North, an October offensive surge is responsible for both Green Bay and Minnesota ranking in the DVOA overall top six, each with at least 70% chance of making the postseason. The Packers offense has gone from 5.3% (11) to 34.2%, the best in the league for October. The Vikings offense went from 3.1% in September (14) to 26.2% (4) in October.

Nobody is paying much attention to the final season of the Oakland Raiders but they're on the periphery of the playoff race in the AFC at 3-4. The defense is poor but the offense has been red hot the last few weeks. Oakland's offensive DVOA was -1.4% (19) in September but 29.0% (2) in October.

The other offense that's been surprisingly hot: Arizona. Remember last year, how Arizona had one of the worst offenses we had ever tracked at Football Outsiders? This year they've improved to 19th overall, and that's split between -15.1% (28) in September and 10.7% (9) in October.

Baltimore is not the only team having offensive problems in October. We can highlight three of them here. First, the problems with the Chargers offense over the last few weeks are so bad they fired their offensive coordinator yesterday. The Chargers had 13.6% offensive DVOA (5) in September but -11.5% (21) in October. The running game is the real problem, with a horrible -65.3% offensive DVOA running the ball in October that was twice as bad as any other team. The Chargers had just 2.3 yards per carry the last four weeks.

Philadelphia and Tampa Bay are getting more attention for the problems in their secondaries, but their offenses have also declined over the last month. Philadelphia went from 11.1% DVOA (7) in September to -9.2% (20) in October. Tampa Bay went from 8.6% DVOA (9) in September to -18.0% (24) in October.

Finally, a little appreciation for a team on the rise. Not enough of a rise to win any games, but a bit of a rise nonetheless. Miami's offense was the worst in the league in September with -40.7% DVOA but had -26.7% DVOA (28) in October. The defense has improved as well. In September, at 41.4% DVOA, it was twice as bad as any other defense in the league. In October, Miami had 19.8% defensive DVOA (28).

Unfortunately, that's not good enough to get out of the cellar quite yet as we continue to track how the Dolphins rank all-time in the worst teams we've ever tracked with DVOA. Miami has had its three best games of the year in the last three weeks, and each game has been better than the one before it, but the worst teams in DVOA history also tended to do (relatively) well in their seventh games also, so Miami is now on the bottom of the list. Don't worry, Dolphins, the 2005 49ers have some really bad performances coming up. Avoid having similarly bad games and you're out of last place! 

WORST TOTAL DVOA
THROUGH 7 GAMES, 1986-2019
  WORST DEFENSIVE DVOA
THROUGH 7 GAMES, 1986-2019
Year Team W-L DVOA   Year Team W-L DVOA
2019 MIA 0-7 -67.9% x 2019 MIA 0-7 33.2%
2013 JAX 0-7 -63.4% x 1998 CIN 2-5 33.1%
2005 SF 2-5 -63.1% x 1992 ATL 2-5 30.5%
1993 TB 2-5 -58.3% x 2001 ARI 2-5 30.0%
2009 DET 1-6 -55.3% x 2000 STL 6-1 29.3%
1991 IND 0-7 -54.5% x 2000 SF 2-5 27.4%
2005 MIN 2-5 -54.1% x 2000 ARI 2-5 27.1%
2008 KC 1-6 -53.3% x 2006 HOU 2-5 26.4%
2009 OAK 2-5 -51.9% x 2016 DET 4-3 26.3%
1999 CLE 0-7 -51.4% x 1999 CLE 0-7 25.9%
1989 DAL 0-7 -50.8% x 1998 WAS 0-7 25.6%
1996 STL 2-5 -50.3% x 2012 NO 2-5 25.2%

Yes, that is a 6-1 defending Super Bowl champion on the "worst defensive DVOA through 7 games" table. The 2000 Rams won their first six games by an average score of 44-29, and then lost to Kansas City 54-34 in Week 8. In case you're wondering, the presence of three 2000 teams doesn't show that opponent adjustments weren't strong enough that year; remember that Arizona wasn't in the same division as St. Louis and San Francisco until 2002.

* * * * *

Once again this season, we have teamed up with EA Sports to bring Football Outsiders-branded player content to Madden 20 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.

  • RB Austin Ekeler, LAC: Second among running backs in receiving DYAR in October (27-of-31, 237 yards, 2 TD)
  • WR Mecole Hardman, KC: No. 1 in DVOA among October WR, min. 10 targets (12-of-15, 207 yards, 2 TD)
  • TE Austin Hooper, ATL: Second among tight ends in receiving DYAR in October (24-of-29, 284 yards, 3 TD)
  • LG Richie Incognito, OAK: No blown blocks in October; Raiders allowed no sacks and were second in adjusted line yards
  • C Corey Linsley, GB: No blown blocks in October; Packers ranked third in adjusted line yards, including second on runs up the middle
  • RE Marcus Davenport, NO: 2 sacks, 9 hurries in October according to Sports Info Solutions (tied for ninth in hurries)
  • DT Quinnen Williams, NYJ: 14 run plays in October for an average gain of just 0.9 yards
  • ROLB K.J. Wright, SEA: Tied for league lead with 11 October defeats including INT, 2 PD on third down, 4 run TFL
  • MLB Alexander Johnson, DEN: Tied for fourth with 10 October defeats including INT, 2 sacks, forced fumble, 4 TFL
  • CB Troy Hill, LAR: Only allowed 3.7 yards per target in October according to Sports Info Solutions charting
  • K Justin Tucker, BAL: 10-for-10 in October
  • P Brett Kern, TEN: Led NFL with gross punt value of 4.1 points of estimated field position over 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 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.

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 25 percent of DAVE for teams with seven games and 15 percent of DAVE for teams with eight games. This is the last week we'll be displaying DAVE ratings; next week we switch over to WEIGHTED DVOA.

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
TOTAL
DAVE
RANK W-L OFF.
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEF.
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
1 SF 46.3% 2 34.6% 2 7-0 5.4% 10 -41.6% 2 -0.8% 22
2 NE 44.4% 1 40.3% 1 8-0 2.9% 15 -43.3% 1 -1.8% 26
3 KC 26.5% 3 24.9% 3 5-3 25.6% 2 -0.6% 17 0.2% 14
4 DAL 26.0% 4 21.1% 5 4-3 28.0% 1 1.8% 19 -0.1% 19
5 MIN 23.0% 6 20.1% 7 6-2 16.0% 5 -6.7% 8 0.2% 13
6 GB 22.7% 5 20.2% 6 7-1 19.6% 4 -4.1% 13 -1.1% 24
7 NO 21.9% 8 22.2% 4 7-1 13.7% 6 -7.6% 6 0.6% 12
8 BAL 17.2% 7 14.5% 8 5-2 12.8% 7 0.8% 18 5.2% 1
9 SEA 13.0% 10 12.5% 9 6-2 20.1% 3 5.2% 22 -1.9% 27
10 LAR 11.1% 11 12.0% 10 5-3 2.9% 14 -8.0% 4 0.1% 15
11 JAX 8.6% 12 5.9% 12 4-4 4.3% 11 -2.9% 14 1.4% 10
12 PHI 6.1% 15 6.6% 11 4-4 1.2% 17 -4.8% 10 0.1% 16
13 HOU 3.4% 14 4.0% 13 5-3 4.0% 12 2.2% 20 1.6% 8
14 DET 3.2% 13 3.2% 14 3-3-1 3.8% 13 5.4% 23 4.8% 2
15 CAR 2.9% 9 2.8% 15 4-3 -6.7% 21 -7.8% 5 1.7% 7
16 IND 1.1% 19 -0.1% 16 5-2 7.1% 9 5.8% 25 -0.2% 20
17 OAK -0.5% 20 -2.1% 17 3-4 12.0% 8 14.0% 28 1.5% 9
18 TB -0.8% 16 -4.0% 20 2-5 -3.0% 20 -2.2% 15 0.1% 18
19 CHI -3.4% 18 -2.1% 18 3-4 -13.9% 28 -7.4% 7 3.1% 5
20 PIT -4.7% 17 -3.4% 19 3-4 -9.5% 23 -5.7% 9 -0.9% 23
21 DEN -7.7% 23 -8.2% 23 2-6 -10.9% 25 -8.8% 3 -5.6% 31
22 LAC -7.9% 22 -4.2% 21 3-5 2.1% 16 10.0% 27 0.1% 17
23 CLE -9.3% 25 -7.1% 22 2-5 -11.3% 26 2.6% 21 4.5% 4
24 TEN -11.0% 26 -8.7% 24 4-4 -13.8% 27 -4.4% 12 -1.6% 25
25 BUF -13.1% 21 -12.2% 25 5-2 -10.8% 24 -0.8% 16 -3.2% 30
26 NYG -18.6% 27 -18.9% 27 2-6 -9.2% 22 6.6% 26 -2.9% 29
27 ARI -20.1% 24 -18.7% 26 3-4-1 -2.9% 19 14.6% 29 -2.7% 28
28 ATL -22.4% 28 -19.2% 28 1-7 0.4% 18 16.9% 30 -5.8% 32
29 WAS -27.3% 29 -25.7% 29 1-7 -22.7% 30 5.7% 24 1.0% 11
30 NYJ -34.7% 30 -27.0% 30 1-6 -41.1% 32 -4.7% 11 1.8% 6
31 CIN -37.7% 31 -33.4% 31 0-8 -21.8% 29 20.4% 31 4.5% 3
32 MIA -67.9% 32 -57.8% 32 0-7 -34.3% 31 33.2% 32 -0.4% 21
  • 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 SF 46.3% 7-0 50.9% 7.9 1 -9.4% 27 4.0% 10 13.9% 26
2 NE 44.4% 8-0 62.4% 7.6 2 -26.3% 32 -5.0% 23 13.2% 24
3 KC 26.5% 5-3 21.8% 5.4 6 6.0% 9 3.6% 11 9.8% 16
4 DAL 26.0% 4-3 37.9% 6.6 4 -14.0% 29 2.8% 14 7.2% 10
5 MIN 23.0% 6-2 27.3% 6.7 3 -5.1% 24 9.0% 6 9.6% 15
6 GB 22.7% 7-1 15.0% 5.7 5 9.1% 4 2.3% 15 11.5% 20
7 NO 21.9% 7-1 23.8% 5.4 7 4.7% 11 -0.4% 18 8.5% 12
8 BAL 17.2% 5-2 26.9% 5.0 10 -14.3% 30 0.6% 16 11.4% 19
9 SEA 13.0% 6-2 15.4% 5.3 8 -5.5% 25 14.3% 1 7.1% 9
10 LAR 11.1% 5-3 11.3% 4.9 11 1.7% 18 6.7% 8 12.6% 22
11 JAX 8.6% 4-4 5.5% 4.7 13 -4.6% 23 -4.6% 22 4.3% 4
12 PHI 6.1% 4-4 6.1% 5.1 9 -2.8% 22 -6.6% 24 23.3% 32
13 HOU 3.4% 5-3 5.4% 4.3 15 3.8% 15 5.1% 9 2.5% 1
14 DET 3.2% 3-3-1 2.8% 4.5 14 4.5% 13 3.2% 12 4.3% 3
15 CAR 2.9% 4-3 -2.3% 4.2 16 6.8% 8 -0.3% 17 12.8% 23
16 IND 1.1% 5-2 -1.1% 4.1 17 -2.8% 21 -4.3% 21 10.4% 17
17 OAK -0.5% 3-4 -7.7% 4.8 12 9.3% 3 -7.6% 26 18.9% 30
18 TB -0.8% 2-5 -2.4% 3.4 22 7.9% 5 -1.5% 20 4.7% 6
19 CHI -3.4% 3-4 -6.4% 3.5 19 3.4% 16 11.4% 5 12.6% 21
20 PIT -4.7% 3-4 1.9% 3.7 18 1.1% 19 -10.5% 29 9.4% 13
21 DEN -7.7% 2-6 -4.4% 3.5 21 4.5% 12 3.1% 13 9.4% 14
22 LAC -7.9% 3-5 -2.7% 2.9 24 -10.9% 28 12.3% 4 4.7% 5
23 CLE -9.3% 2-5 -16.2% 3.4 23 12.3% 2 -19.6% 31 18.9% 31
24 TEN -11.0% 4-4 6.6% 3.5 20 -6.4% 26 8.4% 7 14.6% 28
25 BUF -13.1% 5-2 -0.6% 2.8 25 -17.0% 31 -7.1% 25 4.2% 2
26 NYG -18.6% 2-6 -26.3% 1.2 29 4.4% 14 -9.1% 28 15.8% 29
27 ARI -20.1% 3-4-1 -18.9% 2.5 26 -2.6% 20 14.1% 2 6.3% 7
28 ATL -22.4% 1-7 -24.2% 2.1 27 3.3% 17 12.8% 3 10.4% 18
29 WAS -27.3% 1-7 -29.7% 1.0 30 7.0% 7 -0.7% 19 13.8% 25
30 NYJ -34.7% 1-6 -45.7% 1.8 28 15.3% 1 -24.5% 32 14.4% 27
31 CIN -37.7% 0-8 -43.6% 0.9 31 7.3% 6 -8.1% 27 7.8% 11
32 MIA -67.9% 0-7 -67.7% 0.0 32 4.9% 10 -10.7% 30 6.8% 8

Comments

183 comments, Last at 01 Nov 2019, 11:00am

1 One sort of variance I like…

One sort of variance I like to track that has seemed to have a mild predictive power is asr vs defensive dvoa. Basically because sacks are really good pressures but higher variability, a static pressure rate early in a year could see really low sacks (den/Philly) or high (sf/be) mildly distort their performance. Den, Philly, and ne have all returned from freakish outlier status (sf mostly not). So New England continuing to put up insane defensive performances gets more and more impressive every week to me.

3 Nobody is top 10 across the…

Nobody is top 10 across the board. Only Minny and NO are in shooting distance.  Edit: Jax too, I guess, thought they fall mildly short in two categories instead of one like the others.

17 Jacksonville

Can anyone tell me about Jacksonville? I don't think I've seen a single game from them this season, but the numbers have them as solid across the board, and 9-7 might get you a playoff spot in the AFC this year. 

4 The only games I've watched…

The only games I've watched this year are 49ers games, and it's giving me a warped, floating idea of NFL reality, because I see them play teams of ostensibly different quality every week, but they all kind of look the same. Carolina is apparently pretty good, but they looked a lot like Cincinnati, who apparently stinks. The Rams (good) didn't look that much different from the Browns (bad). The only game that's looked much different was the one against Washington, and that took place in two inches of standing water. Maybe the game with the Steelers was different because the 49ers had 5 turnovers, but besides those turnovers it played out kind of the same, too. It's like everything football-related has turned to clouds, and I can't grab any of it.

12 I have a similar effect as a…

I have a similar effect as a Pats fan with other coaches.  The truly abominable ones stand out, of course, but the gap between Belichick and even HOFers like Dungy and Cowher is so large that they blend in with the rest of the crowd.

81 No, that's not what I'm…

No, that's not what I'm suggesting - I'm saying a disproportionate number of the *games* occurred during those 5 years. Over half of them came in those 5 years, as opposed to the 13 later.

It's recency bias - we're less willing to call certain coaches "great" because they're still in the league, and so we're only comparing Belichick to coaches everyone agrees are great, which means they're older, which means they're comparing against the Browns years.

Belichick has a ludicrously high winning percentage vs Reid and Tomlin, for instance, and both of them will likely have just as good a "I'm a top 20 coach all time" argument as Schottenheimer/Shanahan/Coughlin. He's got a winning record vs Payton, who even right now is basically a season away from being equal to Tony Dungy, and he's got a winning record vs John Harbaugh, whose career floor is probably something like Shanahan or Holmgren. I think Carroll has a 1 game advantage over him.

There's an additional problem in that Belichick's been so dominant that we're actually probably less likely to think of coaches in this era being all-time great because of him: Reid has no Super Bowls, for instance, even though he'd likely have 1 without him (either 2004 or 2018).

85 Well, I really think…

Well, I really think adopting the conceit that these guys can be ranked with precision is as silly as doing so with qbs, so I really try to avoid breaking out a tiny subset out of what is already a pretty small sample to begin with, for any purpose. That was really my point.

Belichik has been and is great, and may well be the best ever. But if we could run 50,000 game experiments, that didn't pollute what we were trying to observe, it wouldn't surprise me that somebody else came out on top.

91 Is Belichick really that great though?

This is his regular-season record with and without Brady over his entire coaching career:

  • without Brady   45-52
  • with Brady       218-61

The ‘without Brady’ includes his time in Cleveland as well as his first season in NE; additionally, the first two games of the 2001 season and all but the first game of 2008 are reflected without Brady as well. Keep in mind, it took a Drew Bledsoe injury in a putrid loss in the home opener of 2001 for Belichick to make a switch at QB. Brady was on the bench and Coach sure as hell didn’t see a future GOAT if he was starting Bledsoe over him. No wonder there are reports of a fracturing relationship between the two— Brady has made Belichick who he is and if it wasn’t for TB12, Belichick would’ve been outta coaching about the time Wayne Fontes and Rich Kotite were given an exodus outta the NFL. 

92 "Brady has made Belichick…

"Brady has made Belichick who he is and if it wasn’t for TB12, Belichick would’ve been outta coaching about the time Wayne Fontes and Rich Kotite were given an exodus outta the NFL. "

 

I don't know if you are a Patriots fan, but if you are, this has to be a minority opinion. I am frankly stunned thats the conclusion you have reached, though its perhaps understandable if all you are doing is a cursory look at wins and losses. 

First of all, he was given a suicide mission in Cleveland. That he made the best of a rotten situation is actually a big feather in his cap. In other news, Belichick had the tremendous fortune of having Brady score a whopping 13 points in 2 superbowls and yet he came away with a win in both, against two leading offensive dvoa squads. And in two of those other losses, his defenses were torn asunder when the opposition scored a ludicrous 17 pts and 21 pts.(yes I know one time his defense did give up a gazillion points in a superbowl loss). 

Should I also bring up the fact that he was able to win 11 games with a quarterback whose previous start was all the way back in high school. And not only did he win 11 games, he turned that quarterback into a thriving passer. That star qb is now out of the league, probably because he didn't have Brady's legendary pep talks to bolster his on the field play. 

I've seen this argument made before. Its nonsensical once you dig deeper into the numbers. I've also seen people make the opposite argument and while I would personally love to believe Brady is a below average passer this whole time, I'm too wedded to my intellectual dignity to go there.

Bottom line - I could envision a world in which Belichick flames out as a head coach. Those circumstances would be a) inheriting a dumpster fire instead of the Patriots, b) taking a godfather offer from Dan Snyder who then poisons his reputation so that he never gets another job again.

 

Outside of those 2, if you just randomly simulated Belichick's career, he probably wins a couple sb's but not having Brady is obviously going to keep him short of 6. 

 

 

 

100 More or Less

The Pats success fries the reasoning capacity of some fans so much that I've seen them argue that without Brady, Belichick is a stiff, and then in the same comment, they'll claim that without Belichick, Brady would be Scott Zolak.

(In fact, I think it's far more likely that the Brady wouldn't have made it without Belichick than vice versa: even if he'd been drafted, he might never have gotten a shot and drifted among semi-employed backups for a few years).

 

127 Belichick without Brady is…

Belichick without Brady is at worst defensive Andy Reid. Belichick's been able to MacGyver defenses out of scraps just like Reid's able to cobble together offenses out of nothing. Where Belichick's been better than Reid is as a GM, so that even when he didn't have Brady, the offensive talent was still significant.

He'd still be a Hall of Fame coach without Brady, it just wouldn't be so flamingly obvious to an average fan blindly focused on Super Bowls.

101 Two issues with this: The…

Two issues with this:

The minor -- Brady was going to start by 2002.  Belichick was looking for an excuse to bench to highest-paid QB in the league.  He didn't have the cachet he enjoys now.

The major -- The problem with this type of "analysis" is that it doesn't allow for Belichick to improve as a head coach, and I think it's undeniable that he's much better now than he was in 2002, let alone 1995.  Yeah, Brady has been his QB for most of that time, but I don't think his coaching success is primarily attributable to Brady. 

126 I have a very hard time…

I have a very hard time believing any part of this. Belichick's coaching acumen gives Brady and the Patriots an instant advantage every time they take the field. 

"Brady has made Belichick who he is." Hardly. You really can't prove one way or the other, but last year's Super Bowl is a prime example that this narrative is completely false. In my opinion, they have the perfect symbiotic relationship of any HC-QB we've ever seen.

What do they say the Patriots always do best? Take away the opponent's best weapon. Why can the Pats do this better than anyone else, often with an inferior roster (on paper). Because of the head coach.

Let's be honest though, without a couple clutch FG kicks and the biggest INT in SB history, their SB record is probably the reverse of what it is now.

132 Let's be honest though,…

Let's be honest though, without a couple clutch FG kicks and the biggest INT in SB history, their SB record is probably the reverse of what it is now.

I'm floored that people still buy into this nonsense. You can just as easily do it the other way. Helmet catch? Asante dropped INT? Welker drop? Graham fumble? Kearse catch? Nevermind that the two Vinatieri kicks were to break ties, not come from behind. Time to retire this talking point.

136 I don't think this is…

I don't think this is nonsense so much as a little out of context; it's 100% true of every dynasty, and not a knock against any of them. It's really noticeable about the Pats because (1) they've been to nine Super Bowls, and (2) most of those were close games. The 80s/90s Super Bowls were typically blowouts, but there were loads of tough playoff games within an utterly stacked NFC; the Bears and Giants could easily have taken a few of the Niners & Redskins titles (with Minnesota and Philly playing spoiler some years), and the Niners & Packers could have easily won some of the Cowboys' titles. 

The Pats dominated versus the Rams and went 5-3 in the close ones; if we concede the Rams win and flip the rest of the results, they have still won four Super Bowls out of nine appearances, including a 19-0 season. That's an all-time great dynasty regardless, but every one-score game involves at least a little bit of luck. Appearing in 9 of 19 Super Bowls and compiling a .747 win percentage since 2000 is the far more mind-boggling achievement. 

138 Sorry, I was being a little…

Sorry, I was being a little facetious with my assertion that they owe their legacies to a couple kicks and an INT.

What we should really do for this silly Brady or Belichick debate is simulate what their SB records and appearances would be with only Belichick and a replacement level QB or only Brady and a replacement level HC for all these years.. Now that would be fun..

150 I meant 2018. It's a purely…

I meant 2018. It's a purely qualitative observation (and I admit to tuning out long stretches of the game), but I thought the Pats controlled that entire game despite the score being close for most of it. The other Super Bowls could have easily gone the other way - I have trouble imagining the Pats not winning that one, and feel like it could have been a blowout if things just shook out a little differently.

137 I think the point of that…

I think the point of that statement should be to look how fickle the typical definition of greatness is when it is limited to super bowl wins. One doesn't have to imagine too hard a universe where the Patriots end up losing every single one of these super bowls, despite basically being the same teams. 

 

Instead of their reputation as the greatest dynasty of all time and possibly the greatest head coach and quarterback of all time, they would become a lampooned figure like the Buffalo Bills.

 

 

 

147 " One doesn't have to…

" One doesn't have to imagine too hard a universe where the Patriots end up losing every single one of these super bowls, despite basically being the same teams.  "

You wonder how things would have changed had they lost the 2001 Super Bowl?  Does that hurt their confidence?  Is Belichick less committed to Brady in 2002 after a down season (the only time Brady missed the playoffs so far)? 

Famously, there is a bit of a loser's curse in Super Bowls.  The players are human, and losing a big game may put some of them in a funk.  It may also cause coaches and GM's to make bad decisions going forward.  Like trading away all your first round picks for a CB.

164 I'm not sure it changes…

I'm not sure it changes anything. That 'down year' still ended 9-7 in an evenly matched AFC East (three 9-7 teams plus the Bills at 8-8), and they were playing much better at the end of the season than at the beginning. Those Jason Taylor/Zach Thomas defenses were good enough beat anybody, and the Jay Fiedler offenses were bad enough to lose to anybody.

133 The Patriots playoff…

The Patriots playoff experience over the past two decades establishes the inanity of using playoff w-l records to "prove" anything. That record could be substantially better or worse if a few random events having nothing to do with coaching performance are changed. I know Belichik has been great because the roster he's charged with managing for 380 games or so over the past 21 years has won a ton.

140 As usual, I completely agree…

As usual, I completely agree with you.

Last year I asked a Pats fan if he would rather have Tom Brady and Mike McCarthy or Aaron Rodgers and Bill Belichick. He didn't answer. It might be easier to answer if they were in the Pats' organization (and division/conference) or the Packers' in this hypothetical, but it still got him flustered. :)

161 I can see Belichick and…

I can see Belichick and Brees winning a bunch of rings. I can see Payton and Brady still struggling with those poor defensive units the Saints have had over the years. Maybe Brady doesn't lose to that 7-9 Seattle team. And maybe Drew Brees doesn't lose to the 2007 Giants or start SB46 with a Safety.

End of the day, I truly believe Belichick without Brady still has multiple rings. Brady without Belichick doesn't or maybe tops out at 2.

119 Not entirely correct.

You're also using recency bias.  See, you're using the Eagles years.  Belichick is 1-2 vs Reid (KC) in the regular season, getting absolutely blown out twice, winning one on a last second score.  He is 2-0 vs Reid (KC) in the playoffs, winning one fairly easily by 7 and essentially tying the other and winning a coin flip.

So total, you could argue he is 2-2-1 against Reid (KC) if you ignore the "recency bias".

125 Let me be a lot more clear…

Let me be a lot more clear about what I mean. My original reply was a lot longer, but I cut it down because I thought it would be obvious. Whoops.

When people look at Belichick versus "great coaches," the coaches mentioned are all old coaches. In the article linked above, from 2013, Belichick (maybe Shanahan, 2013 was his last year) was the only active coach. This is due to recency bias - we only agree coaches are "great" after some time, unless they had tremendous success early on (Belichick, Shanahan). See Marty Schottenheimer being included in that list, for instance. So because we're looking at "great" coaches, we're looking at games from some time in the past.

In Belichick's case, his games in the past are mostly Browns games. Those Browns were mostly bad. Therefore, Belichick's record will tend to be bad. That's what I'm talking about.

I'm not saying you ignore the Browns games. I'm not saying you ignore any games. I'm saying you need to include the more recent games against coaches who likely will be considered great. That's the recency bias I'm talking about. The other "old" great coaches got to include games against Belichick when he was just starting out and they were entrenched, but Belichick doesn't get to include games against the "new" great coaches when they're starting out and he's entrenched because we don't consider them "great."

That being said: why the hell would anyone not include the Eagles years for Reid? You can't do that. You remove those years, and Reid's only got 70 wins and no conference championships. Great winning record, sure, but jeez, 70 wins puts you a few losing seasons away from Brian Billick. You remove the Browns years from Belichick and he's still a Hall-of-Fame coach.

You could easily say that Reid has shown signs of improving versus Belichick since the Eagles years, and I've got no argument with that. But that doesn't diminish Belichick (and again, there's no point to ignore Belichick's record over Reid during the Eagles years) considering Belichick's 6 years older than Reid and will likely end his career first.

141 You are addressing a very…

You are addressing a very important point. Great coaches can be great in different ways, along with some commonalities, and we don't get to run experiments to allow us to have confidence in asserting which one is "best" without regard to context. Belichik, as great as he is, is not the guy I'd have parachute in to a bad roster, horseshit owner, and difficult media environment, if my life depended on that team making the playoffs within one or two years. That would undoubtedly be Parcells or Schotty. If I know I'm going to have to reshuffle the QB deck every 2 or 3 years, I'm going with Joe Gibbs. Belichik might be great in those settings, too, but the other guys have a lot going for them.

 

 

142 I consider Marty one of the…

I consider Marty one of the greatest coaches in history, and his 8-8 season with Washington one of his greatest accomplishments. (And his getting fired at the end of that season so that they could hire Steve Spurrier might be the most Snyderesque moment of this era). 

That said, I think we need to understand context. Even if we concede that Belichick 1.0 was a mere beta for the vastly superior Belichick 2.0, the Cleveland years were not the dumpster fire people remember:

 

1990 (pre-Belichick): 3-13, -234 point differential, 2.53 Pythagorean wins

1991: 6-10, -5 differential, 7.84 Pythagorean wins

1992: 7-9, -3 differential, 7.90 Pythagorean wins

1993: 7-9, -3 point differential, 7.91 Pythagorean wins

1994: 11-5 (1-1 postseason), +136 differential, 12.33 Pythagorean wins

1995: 5-11, -67 point differential, 6.06 Pythagorean wins.

 

1995, of course, is the year they announced the move; attendance sank like a stone, and fans booed the team when they did show up. Before then, it was a terrible franchise turned to three years of mediocrity, followed by an excellent 1994 season with a #1 ranked defense that gave up 204 points, headed by some nobody named Nick Saban. The counterfactual of Cleveland staying put and Belichick holding on to Saban, Sean Payton, and Ozzie Newsome within the organization remains one of the great "what if" questions of the NFL. 

144 I do think Modell gets a bad…

I do think Modell gets a bad rap as an owner. Up until catching a bad case of stadiumitis in the early 90s, he was a pretty good owner, and the Browns had a decent record of success under his reign, in what was often a brutally tough division. 

My favorite coaching jobs are either Parcells with the Jets, or Parcells taking on Jerry Jones, an absolutely hideous roster (Troy Hambrick touching the ball a lot, Quincy Carter as QB, corpses all over the defense) , and going 10-6, into the playoffs. I still can barely believe that happened, and it was then that I began to appreciate Parcells' description of coaching in the NFL; "Ya' gotta figure out a way to win these games". 

145 And as far as I know, he…

And as far as I know, he wasn't an actual criminal like DeBartolo or Irsay.

DeBartolo being in the HoF still bugs the heck out of me. His great claim to fame was signing fat checks before the salary cap, and threatening to fire Bill Walsh for not winning a Super Bowl every season. 

177 I recently stumbled across a…

I recently stumbled across a film on Y*utube documenting Parcells’ time in Dallas (I was actually searching for that ‘Two Bills’ ESPN production). I believe the film was produced by the Cowboys organisation themselves, so you have to endure a rather nauseating portrayal of Jerry Jones, but it was nevertheless an interesting insight into Parcells and how he operated, including extensive interviews with assistants and players from that time (such as Payton, Zimmer, & Romo). And plenty of soundbites from the man himself. I think you would enjoy it. 

155 Terrible franchise? 1990 was…

Terrible franchise?

1990 was bad (but so was 1995...), but prior to that, they went to the playoffs every year from 1985 to 1989 (under Schottenheimer). And they were okay under Rutigliano before him.

Schotty is either the second or third best coach in franchise history, after Brown and comparable to Collier. 

It's not like they were bereft in the post-Belichick era. They won a SB in 2000 and have the second-most AFC SB wins in the 2000s.

160 Shoot, you're right. I…

Shoot, you're right. I should have said that the 1990 Browns were a terrible team. I just wanted to make the point that the 91-93 Browns, while nothing to write home about, were actually decent, the '94 Browns were actually good, and the '95 collapse was more about the move than the merits of the team itself.

Belichick absolutely had faults back then, which he has since learned from, but people commonly talk about those years as if he were Kottite. He wasn't. He was probably somewhere between Lovie Smith and Herm Edwards, with a big question mark as to where things could have gone had it not been for the move. 

For the record, I absolutely love Marty and think he's horribly underrated as a head coach.

182 Got his schnozz too deep…

Got his schnozz too deep into the Johnny Blue at a team function, yelped a bunch of shit at Jimmy, Jimmy tells him he's out of line, and reneging on previous agreements, Jerry belches some more shit, and Jimmy says adios.

5 DVOA-- Continually Fascinating and, at times, Unfathomable

Notice I did not say WRONG.

Team A has beaten Teams B, C and D-- two of them on road

Team A has a better W.L record than Teams B, C and D.

In games other than the head-to-head contests, Team A has lost once, Teams B and C have lost twice, and Team D has lost once.

Team A plays the Number One team in these rankings in three weeks-- also on road-- should they win that game, and not lose any of the other two they play in the meantime, they will have at least the same record, and perhaps better, than that team-- yet I bet they will still trail in DVOA.

Close margins, though-- I still think NFC is utterly wide open.

A of course is GB-- and B, C, D are the Chiefs, Cowboys and Vikings.

7 Clear Favortie

The NFC is not "wide open"; it has a clear favorite in the 49ers that has as large a gap over number 2 as NE does in the AFC and will likely also get home field due to schedule. Obviously the NFL is a single knockout tournament and anything can happen, but I think what the 49ers have done this year is vastly under-credited for some reason in light of all the attention paid to the question of how good the Pats actually are.

On a related note is DVOA at an all time high for standard deviation, or is the cluster at the middle sufficiently tightly packed that it outweighs the impact of the highly-unusual wings in assessment of the distribution? I can't remember a year with two such clear favorites measured via DVOA at this point in the season in respective conferences, and obviously there are the downward outliers in the AFC as well.

8 If you look at the DAVE…

In reply to by sbond101

If you look at the DAVE projections on the playoffs odds page you'll find that the 49ers have only a 6.2% lead over the Saints. That's enough to make them a favourite but I'd be hesitant to label them as a 'clear favourite'. The Saints defence also seems well positioned to shut down the 49ers offense if we consider strengths and weaknesses. And if it comes down to Brees vs Garoppollo I know who I'm taking.

22 Injuries or rapid health…

In reply to by sbond101

Injuries or rapid health improvements will likely have a notable effect on how we see these teams in 8 weeks, and besides health factors, teams just get better or worse sometimes. Teams, even great ones,  rarely stay static. The 2007 Pats were still the best offense by a mile by week 17, but scoring wasn't quite as ridiculously easy as it was earlier, and by the time the playoffs rolled out, they actually had to work at getting points.

46 vegas

In reply to by sbond101

vegas disagrees with you. so if you feel sF is a clear favorite feel free to wager up

72 I think the 49ers aren't…

In reply to by sbond101

I think the 49ers aren't getting much credit, because their schedule has been soft and it seems like a bit of a mirage. 

 

Carolina isn't a great team, but the 49ers crushing them will probably help get the 9ers a little more respect.  And they play Seattle and Green Bay in the next 4 weeks, so that may give us better perspective as well.

11 Your whole premise is faulty…

Your whole premise is faulty and why it doesn't jive with DVOA at all. For starters, wins and losses compress a bunch of information down into a single value, the consequence of which means a lot of salient information gets lost.

Also, when you follow this transitive property logic in the nfl, it quickly breaks down and you realize its a worthless rabbit hole to go down into. Team A beats team B. Team B beats team C. But then Team C destroys Team A....and the whole damn loop makes no sense!

 

Putting all of this into plain English, GB hasn't been as impressive as its record has been to this point. A squeaker over a weak Chicago team. A near loss at home to Detroit of which they were saved by questionable penalties. Then they get fortunate to play a Chiefs team missing its best player(who might also be the best player in the nfl) and its surprisingly close. 

That's three games that swing the Packers from 7-1 to 4-4 and a very different discussion about what this team's quality is. 

20 <em>Also, when you follow…

Also, when you follow this transitive property logic in the nfl, it quickly breaks down and you realize its a worthless rabbit hole to go down into. Team A beats team B. Team B beats team C. But then Team C destroys Team A....and the whole damn loop makes no sense!

There used to be a site called "beatpaths" that did just that.  It involved removing "beatloops" in order, from smallest to largest.  You can check out the FAQ to see how he resolved beatloops.  It was a kick to check on when it was up and running.

35 BeatPaths/BeatGraphs

The BeatPaths site was down a long time ago. I ran a site called BeatGraphs that replaced it for quite a long time but this past year my WebHost got bought out and the replacement screwed up the site. I never got around to fixing it. I still have the code though. I haven't really been keen to republish though since there doesn't seem to be much of an audience for them.

36 Beatgraphs

not awesome about the site, but awesome to hear about it again. I used to love going to the site every week and looking at the 3 graphs and the differences... wasn't a very good contributor though, I just lurked.

37 I somewhat wondered how many…

In reply to by Moridin

I somewhat wondered how many lurkers there were. I'd definitely be willing to put the site back up. I'd just have to know that there were people looking for it. Alternatively I might just post the graphs to imgur or something.

99 Not sure if anyone will see…

Not sure if anyone will see this update, but the site is tentatively back up. I'm not exactly sure how to get the word out to all those lurkers. There's still a bit of work to do but at least this season is available.

106 Your chart has Miami at the…

Your chart has Miami at the bottom, so your methodology passes the sanity check for me!

Everything else is debatable, including whether TB should be down on the bottom rank with Miami, NYJ and Cincy.

I must say, though, I liked the Week 7 graph a lot better than the Week 8 one.  An inverted pyramid balanced on top of the Dolphins just seemed so intuitively correct.

123 Huh, well there's a tiny bug…

Huh, well there's a tiny bug there I think. I'll have to check it out. The Jets are where they are because there are so many teams stacked above them. Miami and Tampa have room to move up (nobody with a win against them in the tier above), but since they're ranks are lower than NYJ, they can't be higher on the graph. Cincinnati on the other hand, has room to move up and is ranked higher than the Jets. I think they should be on Cleveland's tier.

If you're looking for a better "Miami is really bad" graph for Week 8, check out the Iterative version (my favorite). The most strange thing there is Dallas being low because the Jets keep a very weak link over them.

124 Ok not a bug.

Above is a better description of how it works on the upper half of the graph. In reality the graph is built from the bottom up, ranking every team on the lowest tier possible that their score allows. So when Cincinnati is placed, there is no need for them to go on a new tier, so they're placed on the lowest. Cleveland comes next with a win over the Jets, forcing the creation of the second tier.

175 I actually used to have a…

I actually used to have a comment section but I disabled it because I was getting 100 bot posts for every real post and it was frustrating to moderate. I also used to post on reddit but some people think I take these too seriously. If you know a forum where I could post regularly and have discussion there, I'd be up for it.

As far as the Rams, their losses to Tampa Bay and Seattle are both looped away by their win over the Saints. They end up keeping their win over Carolina. As for the Panthers they manage to hold on to their win over the Texans and Houston's win over Kansas City is essentially propping up all of them.

171 I had set things up so it…

I had set things up so it was 99% automated. All I had to do was add "NFL 2019" every year to the season database table and it would know where to go to get scores, calculate/draw the graphs, and push them to the website. So last night I had to add 2017-2019 for all four leagues. It took a bit longer for it to process, but it's not too much.

63 I really enjoyed those…

I really enjoyed those graphs, and sometimes would point people there from FO discussions.

They were the exact opposite of FO analysis: restricting ourselves to just wins and losses, can we automate a bar-room X-beat-Y-beat-Z-beat-A drunken argument?

The results were entertaining. Perhaps not engaging enough to generate the traffic and conversation needed for revenue. But worth a look every week or two.

 

70 Oh my God, this year would…

Oh my God, this year would be ridiculously interesting.

San Francisco would be *far* at the top this year. I think the only teams New England has unlooped beathpaths to are the teams they've beaten plus the Chargers and Bengals whereas San Francisco has sooo many via the Panthers beating the Texans. I think SF has beatpaths to every team in the AFC except Buffalo, New England, and Indianapolis, and they might only be missing the Saints, Packers, Cowboys, and Seahawks in the NFC.

151 Well with the site up I was…

Well with the site up I was right about the Patriots (except I missed Tampa, I thought I edited that in) but San Francisco's also missing Philly (!) and Minnesota. Minnesota was my oops but totally didn't realize Philly's losses would all be looped away. But still, holy crap that stresses the difference between the Patriots schedule and San Francisco's.

6 Buried the Lede

Of course, KC, DALL and MIN all slightly lead GB in DVOA

47 Nobody Noticed I Did Not Say Wrong

I simply pointed out something more interesting and, to be honest, having almost nothing to do with the "beatpaths" comments. We are all aware of how statistics-- particularly a simple one game result-- can be bent into unrecognizable shape. This is very different than that.

GB defeated the three teams ahead of it in the DVOA rankings this week. And has a better record than each of the three as well. So either the Packers caught those teams in "bad" weeks (there is truth to this: Cousins was in his poor stretch, they missed Mahomes) or the Packers themselves were more lucky than good in beating these three teams-- which a 31-3 3rd quarter lead over Dallas belies as does their performance this Monday night.

The notion that SF is some mammoth favorite to win the NFC is absurd. I don't care what DVOA says. They have played one tough opponent. They have caught teams unaware. Let's see how it all looks after they have played SEA, GB and gone to BALT and NO--  If they lose 2 of those games they are going to be in some trouble for home field or a division title given the tiebreakers-- if they lose 3 of those games, they could very well be sunk in both of those competitions, If they lose only one, well then we can start thinking about "crowning their ass".

 

 

54 DVOA doesn't think they're a…

DVOA doesn't think they're a massive favorite; it thinks they're a mild favorite over the Saints (see above, or check the playoff odds report.)

Also, which teams, in your opinion, have they caught unaware?  Carolina was coming off a bye week.  Sean McVay is as aware as anyone on the planet how good of a coach Shanahan is.  Do you think Washington didn't know a good team was coming to play them?  Do you think Cleveland relaxed a bit too much because they thought they'd roll over the 49ers?  It's a curious comment.

57 Definitions

I suppose this is a matter of opinion; The odds that SF wins the superbowl according to the playoff odds report are 19.8%, >50% more frequently then the next closest competitor (NO at 12.7%). By my reckoning that makes them substantial favorites in the NFC - though more in line with typical emerging favorites at this point in the year than what has happened in the AFC where I think everyone agrees that the temporary loss of Mahomes has inflated the SB odds for the Pats to some degree (and some think opponent adjustments really effect this as well). The statement wasn't intended to say that the NFC isn't competitive, but it's definitely not the horse-race that it is frequently made out to be. There is a clear favorite, and 2-3 other teams that are in a position to improve and challenge for that position down the stretch. The comment about the dispersion in DVOA stands - we know that the outliers at the top & bottom are some of the largest outliers of all time (SF/NE on one end and the suck-fest on the other), dropping those outliers the distribution looks fairly tight - I still think comparing standard deviations would be interesting as 5 outliers in a distribution of 32 seems like a lot of outliers.

61 clearly they didn't

Do you think Washington didn't know a good team was coming to play them?

If the Redskins had known that, they'd have given up more points.  

My perspective on the 49ers is strongly colored by the fact that they only opponent I've seen them play is the Redskins.

 

67 In that case, your…

In that case, your perspective is not only strongly colored, but likely still damp.

If you're a run game afficianado, play one is those 7-minute highlight videos of the game vs. Carolina.  That single-wing T run where the slot receiver, Samuel, scores on a handoff untouched is my new favorite running play of the year.

65 On the subject of GB

In reply to by oaktoon

Going week-by-week, the reason GB is lower than KC, DAL, and MIN seems to be threefold. First, they have a significant negative rating for the loss to Philadelphia, more than the score would indicate. Second, they have a negative rating for Week 1 despite beating Chicago. Third, DVOA has the game with Kansas City as essentially a tie, at least when it comes to play-by-play efficiency.

The loss to Green Bay is Dallas' only negative game of the year, with the loss to the Jets at about 0%.

Kansas City is being boosted in part by a huge Week 2 win over Oakland plus a nice big rating for the Week 7 win over Denver.

For Minnesota, it's all about which games had more plays... if you look at the average of single-game DVOA ratings, Green Bay would be higher. If you add up all the plays individually, the Vikings are slightly higher.

These four teams are pretty tight together, along with New Orleans, in a group of five. I wouldn't make too much of Green Bay being fourth in that group.

104 I would really enjoy having…

In reply to by oaktoon

I would really enjoy having the Packers fall to the FOMBC this year, although I don't understand why it doesn't work to keep the irrational Patriots fans away.

111 Nothing will top the run-up…

Nothing will top the run-up to the 2011 playoffs. Nearly all of the Cheeseheads here are pretty levelheaded, but back then there were a couple, no longer visitors here any longer, who were completely off the chain. One, who I think went by Paul M., wrote something (in an effort to raise Ted Thompson to the status of Pigskin God) along the lines of "The water truly does run more clear and cold in Green Bay, and it brings the future of football", without a trace of irony. I was pretty sure they were doomed from that point on.

115 I may have to search some…

I may have to search some old threads at some point.  For some reason, the phrase (or at least the paraphrase) The Packers are changing the paradigm of how offensive football will be played in the future sticks in my head.

128 Ah, 2011, when I was…

Ah, 2011, when I was convinced the Packers were on their way to establishing the Dynasty of the Decade. Then with  2012, which was a good a GB team as any, the Fail Mary was the difference between the 2 seed and 3 seed. Dom Capers D truly exposed against SF. Then 2013 injury showed how badly out-coached McCarthy is without Rodgers. Then 2014 scarred me forever.

131 I'm a little embarrassed to…

I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but I might have written something similarly hyperbolic about the Pats and how they were using Gronk and the murderer in lieu of expensive WRs back then. 

139 In terms of zany ideas, I…

In terms of zany ideas, I could probably be convinced of a Packers Nirvana more so than a Joe Webb secret quarterback Superstar. what's more amazing is how he arrived at that conclusion after watching that playoff game. 

I try not to be too harsh, I've had wild theories as a fan that have definitely not come true so I get that part of it. still I'm not so confident in my crazy theories that I'm going to broadcast them and then claim with some level of certainty that everybody else is wrong.

143 Webbspiracy

I completely understand developing an irrational attachment to a backup QB during a bad season. I think we've all been guilty of it. Heck, to this day, I have a soft spot for Charlie Batch despite having no emotional attachment whatsoever to either Detroit or Pittsburgh; I really have no idea why, either.

The Webb obsession, however, was something else entirely. He went beyond saying Webb had some unpolished talent and could be great if developed; that definitely true of a lot of QBs, and I'm not even sure it's ever wrong. He held absolute certainty that Webb already displayed the supreme physical talents of Michael Vick, and the Vikings just needed to stop holding him back. 

167 Didn't he claim there was a…

In reply to by Independent George

Didn't he claim there was a conspiracy to prevent Webb from playing because the owners didn't want to unleash how he'd change the position upon the game?

174 It seems only fair to note…

In reply to by Independent George

It seems only fair to note that, for all the amusement the Ol' Webby's career has provided, damned if he still doesn't have one! And 7.5 million in career earnings! That isn't Chase Daniel, but it ain't bad! Good for him!!!!

176 What about Somebody Chang,…

What about Somebody Chang, Tommy Chang, maybe, WHO WROTE IN ALL CAPS, and loved to break down a team's quality based on the last two or three moves they'd made in FA and the draft? 

Or Chris, later just C, who mainly wanted to argue against advanced stats, and 90% of whose comments could be reduced to the zlionsfan template? 

Or Pat, who *loved* his *asterisks* and his italics and his bold, and...um...oops, Pat still posts on here. 

(Just kidding, Pat.  I'm always happy to see your posts.) 

10 Says who???

Nobody is paying much attention to the final season of the Oakland Raiders

23 Well.  I live close enough…

In reply to by Raiderfan

Well.  I live close enough that I can hear it whenever I'm out jogging and they score a touchdown.  Does that count? 

I thought they were headed for an abysmal season, but Gruden seems to have them pushing hard.  It kind of shocks me the guy might still be a decent coach. 

55 I'm not sad to see them…

I'm not sad to see them leave the Bay.  Once I went with a friend, a Broncos fan, to see a game at the Coliseum.  These were the Broncos colors he wore: a pair of blue and orange sneakers.  It was a non-stop hassle, non-stop, nothing like the other stadiums I've been to.

Good riddance.

For pure nose the loudest by far were the Warriors (fireworks).  I kind of miss those guys.

110 Living in the bay area and…

Living in the bay area and seeing the warriors rise...the cleanest explanation is that the raiders have stunk for so long that most of the fanbase has remained dormant. If they had had lasting success in that period, they would have brought back the fans. But they decided to keep Al Davis in charge for far too long and then drafted Russel which set them back a decade. I don't think Gruden inspires much confidence for the future either.

13 I am going to make a…

I am going to make a contrarian claim here. I don't think this season plays out any differently with Matt Flynn as the coach than with McCarthy at the helm. Maybe not literally the same because the relationship had long since deteriorated, but I'm not seeing some major offensive sea change in how Rodgers has been playing as a quarterback. He'd been great under McCarthy before, even though the media has conveniently deleted it from their collective conscience.

This Packer team seems an awful lot like the Packers we saw circa 2014-2016. The difference is, they signed a bunch of people on defense which has helped a lot and they've been winning close games which has kept the chemistry positive. It may also lead to a high seed, in which case this particularly observation on its face will seem silly. But the crux of my point remains. They fixed the defense and removed someone who was killing the mood. The team otherwise remained largely the same. 

To add, I  normally don't like going for the leadership or personality angle to a story, but I can't help but feel that a lot of the morass that was coming out of Green Bay a year ago was the strained(fractured? toxic??) relationship between the qb and his coach. I guess if it took the axe to get the mood back, then it was worth it. But I don't think they've landed on their next McVay. 

39 As Aaron noted, GB just…

As Aaron noted, GB just finished the last four games with the best offensive DVOA in the league over that span. Davante Adams didn't play in any of those games. Their skill position players are all either 4th round-or-later draft picks or UDFAs from the past couple of years, plus 35 year old Marcedes Lewis and the corpse of Jimmy Graham at TE. Rodgers has been great, but I have no qualms creditinf their coaching staff for getting the production they have out of those guys.

90 They were also in the nfc…

They were also in the nfc championship game three years ago. 2 years ago Aaron Rodgers got hurt. One year ago the team collapsed. 

 

I just feel like had they run it back and assuming Rodgers and McCarthy did get along, they'd be close to where they are now. 

 

Optimism is booming in GB on the back of a 7-1 record and Rodgers seemingly back to being Rodgers, but those 2 things could have easily occurred under McCarthy. That he's become a lampooned figure to this point is a bit strange to me. 

117 Not that strange really

1. Anyone who is in a public role for an extended period of time eventually becomes a target of sarcasm, memes, etc. Billy boy in NE gets this regularly but because his teams still win SO much that stuff is just minor noise. But when your teams begin to struggle the noise becomes the message

2. McCarthy was hardly Mr Personality. He pretty much treated any critiques as so much nonsense. And the GB/WI football market has some good writers who ask really good questions. By all accounts Mike treated everyone not on his staff like they were one step above a moron

3. The team patterns just became really pronounced. The team could run the ball but Mike used the run sparingly for reasons unexplained. The special teams outside of Crosby were regularly poor to terrible but while McCarthy would TALK about getting that fixed nothing would really change. I won't put the defense on MM because pretty Dom Capers keeping his role for 2-3 years too long was on Thompson. The gameplanning would be the usual stuff which may or may not work and the last 4 odd years more often than not not working very well and then Mike telling 12 ok do your thing. 

4.  The 2017 season clinched it for me on why Mike needed to go.  It was super obvious that the Packers needed to player a Badger style offense. You had an offensive line that was much better run blocking than pass blocking once you lost your starting right tackle. You had Aaron Jones and Jamal Williams FFS. Run the blanking ball. Nope, let's ask Hundley to be Aaron Rodgers.  It was insane. Beyond insane. The game plans were baffling. The abject refusal to do anything other than what had been done previously was just bizarre.

 

Certainly Rodgers had lost faith in McCarthy much earlier. And that likely spilled over on the team full bore come 2018 which is not a credit to 12.  

 

But anyway, hope this helps

118 Zimmer just continues to…

Zimmer just continues to impress me on these fronts. When injuries change the landscape, he adopts a different approach to navigating the landscape, including bringing in former head coaches like Shurmer or Kubiak to add offensive schemes that made things challenging for Zimmer in his DC role. When somebody asks him about things that went south, he won't hesitate to name himself as the culprit, in as salty a tone as he directs at others. He coaches like a guy who has seen worse things than losing a football game, and as a result, just doesn't have any regard for the normal ego driven trappings of the profession.

Lots of jibber-jabberers before this season were hinting at his job being rightly in jeopardy if he didn't win the division or a playoff game or two. They are clueless about likelihood about making a substantial improvement over him.

48 with Flynn, the Pack Might be Trouble

With Lafleur, they are 7-1. I couldn't disagree more, and for the simple reason that once Adams got hurt, there is no way the Packers offense plays as well as it has since-- McCarthy didn't know how to use backs as weapons in the passing game. And the attitude has changed-- it's not simply chicken-and-egg with winning. Rodgers and others had grown tired listening to him and didn't respect him as much as they might have 4-5 years before.

64 Hardly seems unimportant

If all Matt LaFleur (not Flynn, btw, that had me confused) can be credited with is fixing the culture in GB while not getting in the way of significant defensive improvement and enabling Rodgers to play at his best, that honestly seems pretty great. Everything good is still good and everything bad is better? I'll take that and call it a (big) win. 

It is true that Rodgers is putting up career average numbers right now and he did that as recently as 2014-2016. However, he was 31 years old in 2015. 35 is a long way down the 'ol QB age curve. QB play peaks at 26-30 years old. With Rodgers' early bench warming, one could reasonably argue that he's a tad behind that curve, so he was probably in his very peak physical form in that time span. It depends exactly how you parse all the QB-related rule changes of late and how you calculate age curves, but any way you slice it, all things considered, a QB at age 35 really ought to be noticeably inferior than the same guy at 31. That is clearly not the case. Aaron Rodgers circa October, 2019 led the top offense in the league and put up normal-for-peak-Rodgers numbers with an utterly milquetoast top receiver (MVS, 40th of 70 in DVOA). That right there speaks volumes. Rodgers of yore had a few guys named Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, also in their primes. I gotta think there's some special sauce enabling Rodgers to make the remaining ingredients so darn good. 

84 Sorry I meant Lafleur.Also…

Sorry I meant Lafleur.

Also didn't Mike McCarthy use ty Montgomery in a scatback role along with Randall Cobb? 

I guess I sort of saw McCarthy in the same way I saw Mike Tomlin. They were the managers of a team and McCarthy's offense was really a slave to the personnel and how great Aaron Rodgers played that day. I haven't watched the Packers the last two games, but I have seen three previous games and I didn't come away that impressed with what they were doing. It was an inconsistent offense with lots of intermittent Rodgers brilliance.

My basic premise is the rebound season from the Packers has more to do with spending on defense and a mood change.

80 I'm in Packers country and that is probably not correct.

One of the embedded reporters who has covered the Packers for many years (Mike Clemens) has talked about the difference in the locker room between last year and this year.  There is definitely a morale difference, separate of offensive philosophy differences, which have also helped (splitting out the RBs as receivers, for example, or running more jet sweeps).   I think the better the Packers do, the harder it will be for McCarthy to get another head coaching job.

14 Richie Incognito is one of…

Richie Incognito is one of the larger examples, literally and figuratively, of how you can be an absolute A-hole, and last a very long time in an industry, if you can perform an important task better than 75-80% of your peers.

73 Recent Incognito Shenanigans

"In May 2018, after demanding his release from the Bills, the lineman underwent involuntary medical treatment following an alleged altercation at a public gym. Three months later, he was arrested at an Arizona funeral home for allegedly threatening to shoot employees and demanding his deceased father be decapitated for research."

https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/raiders-sign-guard-richie-incognito-who-had-multiple-bizarre-run-ins-with-police-in-2018/

The guy should be near the top of anyone's list of most-likely players to crash and burn spectacularly upon retirement. Let’s just hope he doesn’t take anyone else with him.

33 This is the effect of the…

This is the effect of the Dicky Betts principle, which I named almost 20 years ago, and has caught on locally (how's that for a tombstone?).  It reads:

People will put up with your bullshit for exactly as long as somebody can do your job at least as well.

It's going to be a long while before Incognito isn't able to hold down a job as NFL guard.

16 So the Jets have the worst…

So the Jets have the worst offensive DVOA currently, beating out Miami. How are they compared to all-time teams, and how does Adam Gase still have a job? Why would the Jets care about which players he can't get along with, since he won't be there within two years? Given the rumors swirling around that team today, and who got traded, doesn't the fact that the team signed Bell and Montgomery, and traded for Osemele mean they have more talent on offense? And yet the offense is putrid (Gase's specialty), and the defense and special teams are competent, while signing only CJ Mosley, who's injured anyway. Fire the idiot now.

21 I didn't know what to make…

I didn't know what to make of Adam Gase as an offensive genius. He drew heavy praise from Peyton Manning and if you read some of the background articles on their relationship, Manning seemed impressed with Gase' tape study and willingness to broaden Manning's scheme. That makes Gase a wonderful offensive coordinator when his quarterback is Peyton Manning, (Ok, maybe that's too harsh. He did a good job with Jay Cutler) but says nothing about his capacity to be a good head coach. Furthermore, even long time successful coordinators like Norv Turner or Wade Philips or Rod Marinelli seemed incapable of fielding successful units you would think they should have. 

Gase the head coach seems way in over his head and that dovetails with a long held belief I have. Never hire a Manning offensive coordinator nor any coordinator out of New England. 

 

 

49 Packer Fans Aren't Shocked

very good turned into good, which turned into mediocre. Blowing the game in Seattle for the 2014 NFC title was a big factor. Getting blown out by the Falcons in the 2016 NFC title game didnt help much either,

75 " Gase the head coach seems…

" Gase the head coach seems way in over his head and that dovetails with a long held belief I have. Never hire a Manning offensive coordinator nor any coordinator out of New England.  "

 

Sure, now you tell me.  My Dolphins have tried both of those.  (And I guess the Jets have now done both as well.)

26 "is putrid (Gase's specialty…

"is putrid (Gase's specialty)" <-- sums it up.  

Ownership doesn't have a serious plan, so letting Gase run things into the ground is going to be permitted.  Unfortunately WJ doesn't have a background in real decision making.  They have a serviceable QB and some good players but can't seem to tell the difference between good and bad at all levels of the organization.