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

Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Nick Bosa
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Aaron Schatz

The San Francisco 49ers escaped Arizona with a win on Thursday, while the New England Patriots took their first loss on the road in Baltimore Sunday night. What's important for our DVOA ratings is that neither team lived up to its previous standard of play. San Francisco remains No. 1 this week (36.8%) and New England remains No. 2 (36.0%), but the gap between those two teams and the rest of the league in overall DVOA has tightened with No. 3 Kansas City moving up to 29.7%.

Kansas City may be the most balanced team in the league right now, sort of. There is no team that ranks in the top ten in all three phases of the game, but Kansas City comes closest: second in offense, 11th in defense, and eighth in special teams. Of course, the thing that keeps Kansas City from being the most balanced team in the league is just how unbalanced they are between the pass and the run. On offense, the Chiefs rank second passing the ball (behind Seattle) but 20th running the ball. On defense, the Chiefs rank a very surprising fourth against the pass but a hideous 28th against the run.

There are two teams that are in the top ten on both offense and defense, but not special teams. One is New Orleans, which moves up two spots in DVOA to No. 5 without doing anything this week thanks to NFC North teams dropping down. The Saints are eighth on offense and sixth on defense. The other is Minnesota, which drops a spot to No. 6 this week. The Vikings are probably the actual most balanced team in the league, since they rank seventh on offense and seventh on defense. Even more remarkable is how those two units split out: the offense ranks eighth in both rushing and passing, and the defense ranks ninth against both the run and the pass.

Filling out the top nine are three unbalanced teams that rank in the top six on offense but 20th or worse on defense. You might be surprised to see Baltimore only move up one spot to No. 7 after the convincing win over New England. Special teams is the big difference between the Ravens and the next two teams: Green Bay at No. 8 and Seattle at No. 9. Seattle has only outscored opponents by 18 points, which suggests that their 7-2 record significantly overstates how good a team they are. But DVOA believes that the point differential may in turn understate how good a team Seattle is, and Seattle's 5.7 "estimated wins" come out between their Pythagorean projection (4.9 wins) and their actual win total (7).

Getting back to the subject of San Francisco and New England, Week 9 was the first time all season that each team earned a single-game defensive rating above 0%, i.e. worse defense than average. San Francisco (36.1%) came out worse than New England (16.3%) primarily because of opponent adjustments, since Arizona is an average offense while Baltimore is one of the league's top offenses this season. San Francisco's defensive DVOA fell by more than 10 percentage points, while New England's rating fell by almost 10 percentage points. (Last week's ratings are here.)

Nonetheless, New England and San Francisco were so far ahead of the rest of the league on defense that the gigantic gap remains on that side of the ball. Last week, the gap between No. 2 San Francisco and No. 3 Denver was larger than the gap between Denver and No. 31 Cincinnati. This week, the gap between San Francisco and Denver is about equal to the gap between Denver and No. 28 Arizona.

Were New England and San Francisco's defenses in the first half of the season a mirage caused by easy schedules? We'll need more than one bad game to be able to say that. Yes, the Patriots and 49ers have now had a game above 0%, but I went back and looked at the top defenses in DVOA history and no defense has ever made it through a whole season without at least one game with defense above 0%. The 2012 Chicago Bears came closest, as their worst game of the year was 3.9% (a Week 13 overtime loss to Seattle, 23-17).

San Francisco's 36.1% game was worse than the worst game for any of the defenses I looked up, but it comes pretty close to the worst game of the 2013 Legion of Boom Seattle Seahawks, who had 34.6% in a Week 9 overtime win over Tampa Bay, 27-24. And a number of historically great defenses had a single game worse than the one that the Patriots just had against the Ravens, including the 2002 Bucs, the 2015 Broncos, and even the best defense in DVOA history, the 1991 Eagles.

With the big drop in total DVOA, both the 49ers and Patriots drop off the "best total DVOA ever" tables that I've been keeping here each week. But they still rank very high among the top defenses through this point in the season.

BEST DEFENSIVE DVOA
THROUGH 8 GAMES, 1986-2019
  BEST DEFENSIVE DVOA
THROUGH 9 GAMES, 1986-2019
Year Team W-L DVOA   Year Team W-L DVOA
2019 NE 8-0 -43.3% x 2012 CHI 7-2 -39.9%
2002 TB 6-2 -43.0% x 2002 TB 7-2 -39.1%
1991 NO 7-1 -39.8% x 1991 NO 8-1 -37.1%
1991 PHI 3-5 -37.7% x 1991 PHI 4-5 -35.5%
2012 CHI 7-1 -36.5% x 2019 NE 8-1 -33.9%
2019 SF 8-0 -31.4% x 1997 SF 8-1 -32.2%
1993 PIT 5-3 -30.8% x 1992 PHI 6-3 -31.7%
1997 SF 7-1 -30.5% x 1993 PIT 6-3 -29.9%
1996 GB 7-1 -30.4% x 1990 CHI 8-1 -28.8%
2007 TEN 6-2 -30.0% x 2015 DEN 7-2 -27.4%
1993 BUF 7-1 -29.9% x 1996 GB 8-1 -27.2%
2011 BAL 6-2 -29.3% x 1986 CHI 7-2 -27.2%

The lower ratings for the Patriots and 49ers definitely make a difference in the FO playoff odds report. Our odds of the Patriots winning the Super Bowl have now dropped to 26.0%, or roughly 3-to-1. San Francisco is second at 19.0%, or roughly 4-to-1. Of course, the odds of New England going undefeated are gone, but we're also giving San Francisco just 3.8% odds of going undefeated. I went through and ran the odds of them remaining undefeated through each of their remaining games, starting with Monday night's big test against Seattle.

Odds of San Francisco remaining undefeated through:

  • Week 10: 70.4% (Seattle)
  • Week 11: 60.6% (Arizona)
  • Week 12: 42.0% (Green Bay)
  • Week 13: 22.0% (at Baltimore)
  • Week 14: 9.7% (at New Orleans)
  • Week 15: 8.8% (Atlanta)
  • Week 16: 6.5% (Los Angeles Rams)
  • Week 17: 3.8% (at Seattle)

I also flipped things around and looked at similar numbers for the Cincinnati Bengals, who end up going 0-16 in 4.7% of our simulations.

Odds of Cincinnati remaining winless through:

  • Week 10: 76.1% (Baltimore)
  • Week 11: 59.4% (at Oakland)
  • Week 12: 38.9% (Pittsburgh)
  • Week 13: 22.4% (New York Jets)
  • Week 14: 16.2% (at Cleveland)
  • Week 15: 14.6% (New England)
  • Week 16: 7.2% (at Miami)
  • Week 17: 4.7% (Cleveland)

Of course, the winless Bengals are not the worst team in our DVOA ratings. They aren't even 31st anymore, as the New York Jets dropped one spot after handing the Miami Dolphins their first win. The Dolphins are still the worst defense we've ever tracked through half a season, but their overall DVOA and offensive DVOA keep climbing. The Dolphins-Jets game was one of those games between two bad teams where both teams end up negative in DVOA because of opponent adjustments, but Miami was only at -12.8%, pretty close to average! Miami's single-game rating has risen in each of the last four games, and against the Jets they finally achieved an important milestone: their first above-average offensive DVOA of the year at 25.0%.

WORST TOTAL DVOA
THROUGH 8 GAMES, 1986-2019
  WORST DEFENSIVE DVOA
THROUGH 8 GAMES, 1986-2019
Year Team W-L DVOA   Year Team W-L DVOA
1993 TB 2-6 -66.7% x 2019 MIA 1-7 31.0%
2005 SF 2-6 -63.3% x 1992 ATL 3-5 30.7%
2013 JAX 0-8 -62.2% x 1998 CIN 2-6 28.9%
2019 MIA 1-7 -60.2% x 2001 MIN 3-5 28.7%
2009 DET 1-7 -55.5% x 2000 SF 2-6 28.0%
1991 IND 0-8 -52.2% x 2001 ARI 2-6 26.7%
2009 OAK 2-6 -50.3% x 2000 ARI 2-6 26.4%
1996 STL 2-6 -48.7% x 2000 STL 7-1 26.2%
2002 HOU 2-6 -48.6% x 1987 MIA 4-4 25.5%
2007 SF 2-6 -48.4% x 2005 HOU 1-7 25.2%
1989 DAL 0-8 -48.3% x 2010 BUF 0-8 24.8%
1999 CIN 1-7 -47.8% x 2006 HOU 2-6 24.6%

 

With the improvement of the Dolphins offense in mind, I made an adjustment in our playoff odds simulation to account only for Miami's DVOA in games started by Ryan Fitzpatrick. The goal here is to try to get the closest estimate of how well teams will play from here on out, and it's reasonable to suggest that the Dolphins are a better offense with Fitzpatrick at quarterback. With that change, Cincinnati moved slightly past Miami in our odds for earning the No. 1 overall draft pick, even though the Dolphins have the lower rating even with the Fitzpatrick adjustment.

 

We do a similar adjustment with the New York Jets rating, using a sort-of modified DAVE rating that incorporates performance with Sam Darnold at quarterback and a preseason projection that included Darnold, and leaving out the Luke Falk games. However, that Darnold-specific rating is looking a lot worse after the last three weeks. And when you combine the terrible three games Darnold has had with the terrible games that Falk had, the Jets are now approaching the title of the worst offense ever in DVOA history, despite that anomalous win over Dallas in Week 6.

WORST OFFENSIVE DVOA
THROUGH 8 GAMES, 1986-2019
Year Team W-L DVOA
2018 BUF 2-6 -51.8%
1992 SEA 1-7 -49.7%
2005 SF 2-6 -47.9%
2010 CAR 1-7 -47.3%
2004 MIA 1-7 -46.0%
2019 NYJ 1-7 -44.6%
2007 SF 2-6 -42.0%
1996 STL 2-6 -41.9%
1993 TB 2-6 -41.2%
2002 HOU 2-6 -41.1%
2013 JAX 0-8 -40.5%
2006 OAK 2-6 -40.1%

 

* * * * *

 

This week we introduce weighted DVOA, our rating that drops the strength of earlier games to get a better idea of how well teams are playing now. The last eight weeks worth of games are still at full strength or close to it, so right now the only game with less than 95 percent strength is Week 1, and the weighted DVOA ratings are very similar to the total DVOA ratings. In future weeks, they'll begin to diverge a little bit. We're also (mostly) retiring DAVE, our rating that combines in-season performance with preseason projection early in the season. I'm still using DAVE this week in the playoff odds report, but you won't find it on the team stats pages, because at this point the DAVE ratings are very similar to the full-season 2019 ratings. This last week of DAVE weights the preseason forecast at 8 percent for teams with nine games played and 15 percent for teams with eight games played.

* * * * *

Stats pages should now be updated through Week 9, including playoff odds, the FO Premium DVOA database and snap counts. A quick note on stats pages: a computer error meant that the overtime of Tampa Bay at Seattle was left out of this week's ratings. We'll have that fixed and included by next week, probably sooner. It only meant a difference of a couple tenths of a percentage point in DVOA, but player stats such as Russell Wilson's touchdown total are listed incorrectly.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through nine 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.

Because it is early in the season, opponent adjustments are only at 90 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.

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 SF 36.8% 1 36.1% 1 8-0 5.5% 12 -31.4% 2 -0.1% 18
2 NE 36.0% 2 34.7% 2 8-1 2.1% 14 -33.9% 1 0.0% 17
3 KC 29.7% 3 29.5% 3 6-3 23.6% 2 -4.2% 11 2.0% 8
4 DAL 26.0% 4 25.9% 4 5-3 26.7% 1 -0.8% 17 -1.6% 25
5 NO 22.2% 7 22.5% 5 7-1 13.1% 8 -8.5% 6 0.6% 14
6 MIN 21.5% 5 21.5% 6 6-3 13.5% 7 -7.7% 7 0.3% 15
7 BAL 19.9% 8 18.4% 7 6-2 16.6% 4 0.7% 21 4.0% 3
8 GB 13.7% 6 14.2% 8 7-2 14.5% 6 0.4% 20 -0.4% 20
9 SEA 10.1% 9 10.7% 9 7-2 20.9% 3 7.4% 27 -3.5% 29
10 HOU 9.9% 13 9.8% 11 6-3 6.2% 11 -1.5% 14 2.2% 7
11 LAR 9.4% 10 10.0% 10 5-3 0.5% 18 -8.8% 4 0.1% 16
12 IND 5.5% 16 6.5% 12 5-3 6.9% 10 -0.5% 18 -1.9% 26
13 PHI 5.2% 12 5.4% 13 5-4 0.9% 17 -4.8% 10 -0.6% 21
14 JAX 3.7% 11 3.8% 14 4-5 1.0% 15 -1.8% 13 0.9% 11
15 OAK 3.2% 17 2.2% 16 4-4 16.2% 5 14.4% 29 1.5% 9
16 CAR 2.0% 15 2.3% 15 5-3 -4.5% 21 -5.7% 9 0.8% 12
17 DET 1.5% 14 1.7% 17 3-4-1 4.0% 13 5.6% 24 3.1% 6
18 TB -0.8% 18 -0.9% 18 2-6 -2.4% 20 -0.9% 16 0.7% 13
19 LAC -1.0% 22 -1.0% 19 4-5 7.2% 9 7.3% 26 -0.9% 22
20 CHI -3.3% 19 -4.2% 21 3-5 -14.6% 27 -6.9% 8 4.4% 2
21 PIT -5.1% 20 -3.7% 20 4-4 -15.1% 28 -8.8% 5 1.2% 10
22 DEN -5.3% 21 -4.4% 22 3-6 -9.4% 23 -8.8% 3 -4.8% 31
23 TEN -8.6% 24 -10.2% 23 4-5 -8.9% 22 -4.0% 12 -3.7% 30
24 CLE -12.1% 23 -11.0% 24 2-6 -11.9% 25 3.7% 22 3.6% 4
25 BUF -12.6% 25 -12.0% 25 6-2 -12.5% 26 -1.4% 15 -1.4% 24
26 ARI -16.2% 27 -15.6% 26 3-5-1 0.9% 16 13.9% 28 -3.2% 28
27 NYG -19.6% 26 -19.1% 27 2-7 -11.8% 24 6.5% 25 -1.3% 23
28 ATL -21.9% 28 -21.3% 28 1-7 -0.1% 19 16.0% 30 -5.8% 32
29 WAS -29.2% 29 -30.3% 29 1-8 -24.9% 30 4.0% 23 -0.4% 19
30 CIN -38.7% 31 -39.2% 30 0-8 -23.4% 29 19.8% 31 4.5% 1
31 NYJ -40.9% 30 -41.8% 31 1-7 -44.6% 32 -0.4% 19 3.4% 5
32 MIA -60.2% 32 -58.6% 32 1-7 -26.8% 31 31.0% 32 -2.3% 27
  • 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 36.8% 8-0 43.3% 8.2 1 -11.3% 29 5.9% 10 17.4% 30
2 NE 36.0% 8-1 52.5% 7.5 2 -22.3% 32 -5.8% 23 12.2% 21
3 KC 29.7% 6-3 23.2% 6.4 5 8.2% 3 2.8% 13 10.2% 18
4 DAL 26.0% 5-3 40.4% 7.5 3 -16.0% 30 3.6% 12 7.6% 8
5 NO 22.2% 7-1 23.5% 6.1 6 4.8% 9 -0.9% 17 8.5% 13
6 MIN 21.5% 6-3 23.0% 7.2 4 -2.3% 23 5.9% 9 9.3% 15
7 BAL 19.9% 6-2 26.7% 5.9 7 -7.1% 28 -6.6% 24 12.0% 20
8 GB 13.7% 7-2 7.7% 5.8 8 8.6% 2 1.4% 15 18.9% 32
9 SEA 10.1% 7-2 13.2% 5.6 9 -4.8% 25 13.7% 1 6.7% 6
10 HOU 9.9% 6-3 9.8% 5.3 13 5.2% 8 5.4% 11 4.4% 4
11 LAR 9.4% 5-3 11.2% 5.3 12 -0.3% 20 6.5% 8 13.9% 25
12 IND 5.5% 5-3 1.1% 5.1 14 0.1% 19 -3.5% 21 9.4% 16
13 PHI 5.2% 5-4 7.4% 5.6 10 -5.0% 26 -8.1% 26 18.3% 31
14 JAX 3.7% 4-5 -1.0% 5.0 15 -2.2% 22 -2.6% 20 5.1% 5
15 OAK 3.2% 4-4 -4.3% 5.6 11 9.1% 1 -7.8% 25 16.9% 29
16 CAR 2.0% 5-3 -2.4% 4.6 17 4.2% 12 0.1% 16 13.2% 22
17 DET 1.5% 3-4-1 -1.0% 4.9 16 4.6% 11 2.4% 14 4.1% 2
18 TB -0.8% 2-6 -2.8% 4.0 22 6.8% 5 -2.2% 19 3.8% 1
19 LAC -1.0% 4-5 2.5% 3.8 23 -5.8% 27 12.3% 2 8.2% 12
20 CHI -3.3% 3-5 -7.7% 4.0 21 3.8% 13 10.5% 5 9.9% 17
21 PIT -5.1% 4-4 -0.2% 4.0 20 1.1% 18 -12.9% 29 7.6% 7
22 DEN -5.3% 3-6 -2.4% 4.2 18 3.4% 14 7.5% 6 9.0% 14
23 TEN -8.6% 4-5 5.0% 4.1 19 -4.7% 24 12.0% 3 14.1% 26
24 CLE -12.1% 2-6 -14.7% 3.4 24 7.2% 4 -19.6% 32 16.8% 28
25 BUF -12.6% 6-2 2.4% 3.3 25 -19.5% 31 -5.2% 22 4.3% 3
26 ARI -16.2% 3-5-1 -17.8% 3.0 26 1.4% 17 6.8% 7 7.8% 9
27 NYG -19.6% 2-7 -30.1% 1.4 29 5.8% 6 -15.6% 30 13.2% 23
28 ATL -21.9% 1-7 -24.5% 2.5 27 4.6% 10 10.9% 4 10.6% 19
29 WAS -29.2% 1-8 -29.7% 1.0 30 3.3% 15 -1.7% 18 13.2% 24
30 CIN -38.7% 0-8 -43.7% 1.0 31 5.8% 7 -8.9% 27 8.2% 11
31 NYJ -40.9% 1-7 -43.0% 1.8 28 2.8% 16 -17.8% 31 15.2% 27
32 MIA -60.2% 1-7 -57.2% 0.0 32 -0.9% 21 -9.6% 28 8.1% 10

Comments

57 comments, Last at 08 Nov 2019, 1:47pm

1 Gotta say, I'm glad NE's SB…

Gotta say, I'm glad NE's SB odds are at a more reasonable level. It's bad juju when that shit's inching toward 50%.

2 My god, the Jets pass…

My god, the Jets pass offense is the stuff of legends. Its almost -50 %, a mind altering, unfathomably horrible figure.

 

Amazingly, DVOA seems to view Atlanta in the same universe as the Redskins, who I believe might legitimately be the worst team in football(which is no small feat considering the teams in question). This has to be a case where four outlier awful teams are dragging down the season averages in a way makes them all look better than they are.  

Whats even more interesting...they are all comically awful for completely different reasons. Like 4 different flavors of suck. 

 

4 The D.C.s are horrid, but…

The D.C.s are horrid, but they look like they try to prepare. When I've seen the Falcons, they looked like about a third of the roster has completely taken Monday through Saturday off.

3 I strongly suspect that the…

I strongly suspect that the Vikings' pass rushers, running backs, and wide receivers are significantly better on artificial turf, so I'm curious to see how they do in Dallas, compared to K.C.. On the other hand, I'm not confident at all that their olinemen can be counted on to hold up on the road, on any surface.

Their corners, while ok, are not performing up to their draft status as of yet this year. Players can get better from November 1st on. They can get worse, too. How's that for penetrating analysis?

5 Two things....

A question and a remark

1) On the offensive and defensive pages, when it says "SCHED" is that past schedule or future schedule? And if it is past schedule, is it based on the prior opponents CURRENT offensive/defensive DVOA or their DVOA at the time of that game?

2) I've been thinking about the variance metric and I wonder if it could be done differently? For instance, the 49ers defense ranks 32nd in variance, meaning they they have been the least consistent but here is their game-by-game defensive DVOA

-49
-11
-30
+0
-88
-32
-23
-57
+36

Most weeks it's just were they incredibly dominant or just merely dominant... but it kind of seems like they are getting "punished" a bit by saying they are the most volatile. Maybe they are by range of returns but is there really that much of a practical difference between -88% and -57%? Both are incredible.

Maybe instead it should be focused on just volatility above some certain threshold (like -5% and above) that way a team as dominant as the 49ers defense has been doesn't look like they are inconsistent when really they are just inconsistent in how much of a degree they destroy their opponent.

Something like Sortino Ratio in finance where really you only care about standard deviation of negative returns because you aren't going to care about volatility if you oscillate between +5%, +8%, +20%, +8%, +30%, etc... I'll take upside volatility every time.

6 To answer your first…

In reply to by shaunnewkirk

To answer your first question, the SCHED listed on the offense and defense pages is PAST schedule strength.

7 " but it kind of seems like…

In reply to by shaunnewkirk

" but it kind of seems like they are getting "punished" a bit by saying they are the most volatile"

I know you have punished in quotes, but your comment reads like you think volatility is a bad thing. It's instructive to know that SF's defense has incredible highs and some lows, as opposed to, say, the 2000 Ravens with their 3.6% variance, 2nd-lowest for that year. In any case, their variance is mainly that high because of the +36 and not so much the -88 (and the +0 isn't actually a game but the bye week).

9 Yeah...

I put punished in quotes for that specific reason, that it wasn't quite the word I was looking for.

 

But you could look at that variance rank and think "they are a good defense but they've been inconsistent" which is fair but also kind of not because it's just been varying degrees of dominant, but always dominant (except for vs the Cardinals).

 

Then you look at the Chiefs who have had games of

 

+35

-54

+14

+8

-0

+3

-42

+16

-19

 

They've had games of being pretty dang good (vs Oakland and Denver) but then games of being fairly bad (vs Jacksonville, vs GB, vs Baltimore)

 

That I think better specifies the variance, the volatility of being both good and bad, in any given week you could have Jekyll or Hyde. Whereas with the 49ers (again except for one game against the Cardinals) you've had Jekyll each week.

18 The 49ers have been Hulk…

In reply to by shaunnewkirk

The 49ers defense has been Hulk every week, but a Hulk who's been more angry or less, except one week when they were Bruce Banner.  

43 We'll find out soon enough…

We'll find out soon enough if it was just wonky, or if the 49ers defense just isn't built to take on mobile QBs.  Coming up they've got Russel Wilson, Kyler Murray again, Aaron Rodgers, and Lamar Jackson. 

21 Except the mean value (their…

In reply to by shaunnewkirk

Except the mean value (their actual DVOA) and the variance already tells you that. Obviously a -30% DVOA with a high variance would have some epic performances and some mediocre/bad ones. 

The only way an additional metric would help is if the results weren't basically symmetric, so you need higher-order moments to describe the distribution. And if you look at the 49ers distribution it's basically symmetric about -30 or so, with the Arizona game being a bit too large of an outlier, but nothing crazy.

Variance is also computed play by play rather than game-by-game (at least it was the last time Aaron answered that question).

10 Raiders up to 15 now which…

Raiders up to 15 now which si food
Lasr time i checked tney were 20 something. Will co tinue to clumb. Thinj w ill end up in tiop 10 for sure. Kinks beinf worked out. J. Jacobs RB Alabama probably offensice rookie of uear. Head coach very good.

11 3rd down DVOA

Since EDJ ranks the top 5 best and worst coaching decisions of the week and for 9 weeks all 10 decisions (90 total) involve going for it vs punting/kicking a field goal, where going for it is always the better decision, I was wondering if you are considering a DVOA successful play adjustment on 3rd down. For example, your statistics tell me that it is a successful play to gain 14 yards on 3rd and 15. In a less extreme example, it is a successful play to gain 6 yards on 3rd and 7, since you are much more likely to convert 4th and 1, than 3rd and 7. It is simply a bad coaching decision to not go for the 4th and 1. not a bad third down play.

16 DVOA uses a system of …

In reply to by jheidelberg

DVOA uses a system of "partial success." You still get partial credit for a 13-yard or 14-yard gain on a third-and-15.

26 Thanks for the info

In reply to by jheidelberg

Aaron,

Thanks for the info regarding DVOA, and partial 3rd down credit success.  I thought I may have found a hole in your DVOA model, but at 60 years old I could probably get through a hole opened by my beloved Ravens offensive line, before I find a hole in your DVOA model.

12 Ravens D improved since the Cleveland game

After the Browns dropped 40 on them, Baltimore reorganized significantly on D: cut one of their starting ILBs, signed a few guys off the street, eventually traded for Marcus Peters. By the eye test, they instantly started playing better after inserting Josh Bynes into the starting lineup. More organized, fewer blown coverages, etc.
(Boggles the mind to see the Ravens sign a street FA and start him at ILB. And improve!)

Point being: I think the Ravens D might be significantly better than they were in Sept. I think that #21 ranking is not going to stand up, as the season wears on.

13 Aaron highlighted the Ravens…

Aaron highlighted the Ravens' defensive improvement in his intro to last week's DVOA rankings, noting they went from 17.3% (# 30) in September to -20.4% (# 6) in October.

Here are their defensive DVOA ratings since the Week 4 Cleveland debacle.

Week 4: 16.9 (CLE)
Week 5: 9.4 (PIT)
Week 6: 6.4 (CIN)
Week 7: 0.8 (SEA)
Week 8: 0.8 (BYE)
Week 9: 0.7 (NE)

I wouldn't worry too much about the overall rankings, as the changes they made following Week 4 are clearly working in DVOA and on the field. 

39 To Patriots fans accustomed…

To Patriots fans accustomed to stratospheric offensive production it may look like the offense blows, but it is ranked slightly above league average according to DVOA. I know there have been injuries, especially on the O-Line, but I also suspect the farcical schedule may have suppressed their offensive efficiency. I do expect them to look a bit better by DVOA as Brady is forced to play more aggressively against stronger opposition. 

42 "To Patriots fans accustomed…

"To Patriots fans accustomed to stratospheric offensive production it may look like the offense blows"

Granted.

"slightly above league average according to DVOA"

Which is why I put the "kinda" in my original comment.  That said, I think DVOA overrates NE's offense a little.  First, DVOA has a bit of a stylistic preference for NE's approach, similar to how they loved Philly back in the day.  Second, NE's big leads has allowed them to take advantage of units that checked out in the second half.  

It appears that they are honing in on what works best for this personnel, so I expect the unit to actually be slight-to-moderately above average in short order.  If a couple of the TE's and/or the rookie WRs emerge is viable targets, they may even become good.  Here's hoping!

47 I haven't watched every…

I haven't watched every Patriots game this season, but those I saw it felt as though the Patriots offense was doing little more than just killing time, with a lot of inefficient running, and Brady throwing the ball in the dirt, or taking a give-up sack at the first sign of pressure. Maybe this was entirely down to dysfunction, but it felt to me at least partly by design, against terrible teams they knew they couldn't possibly lose to without some sort of ridiculous offensive meltdown. 

Against the Ravens, down early, we saw them play much more up-tempo and pass heavy, and they put together some nice drives, and had the Ravens D on the ropes before the long TD drive that iced the game for Baltimore. DVOA probably isn't too keen on that game overall given the two turnovers, but I think it was a template of what we can expect going forward against better teams, hopefully (for their sake) without the turnovers.

50 Blatimore Game

Yeah - I think it's clear from what we've seen from the Pats this year that they are better at passing than they have shown in many games so far and that they basically can't power run after the string of injuries they've had. The passing offense is going to be more turnover-prone then normal because of the poor blocking and lack of familiarity between the receivers & QB in the option-route heavy portion of the offense. In games where the Pats are heavy favorites they have rightly avoided the higher variance approach and let their defense win the game; I had thought they would have this sorted out by now but given the turnover at WR it just hasn't happened. The Baltimore game was something of a Rorschach test in that it can be read to show improvement in the passing game as it definitely was more efficient then its been, on the other hand the protection issues that may prove fatal in the playoffs were also definitely present. If the Pats defensive front 7 has a few more games where it struggles for stretches we'll get a chance to get an answer on this before the playoffs - if they have a bounce-back and go back to winning the game on their own the Pats offense will go back into their shell and we will continue not to have clean data to see how the offense is progressing and will  continue to need to rely on the much-maligned "eye test".

51 FWIW, the up-tempo was not a…

FWIW, the up-tempo was not a reaction to being down, it's the style they planned to use all week.  

I suppose you could make the case that they didn't bust out the good stuff earlier in the year, but that's largely because there has been so little good stuff.  I can assure that if NE's offense was properly functioning, they wouldn't have approached those games the same way they did and even the second tier stuff would have looked more competent.  

15 Vikings balanced

The Vikings are bizarrely balanced -

offence 7th, defence 7th,

pass offence  8th, rush offence 8th,

pass defence 9th, run defence 9th

20 Underachieveing 49ers

Did not reach their estimated win total of 8.2 in 8 games.

(I know, I know, it's pro-rated to 9 games, but still would rather see it as an estimated wins in the # of games they did play).

If they did, would they be 8.2 * 8 / 9? or 7.3 basically?

22 It's difficult for me to…

It's difficult for me to look at the Bears sitting at -14.6% offensive DVOA, with all of the resources Pace has invested into the offense and with a head coach who is supposed to be an offensive expert (but is just plain offensive in the way he calls games), and think either that Trubisky is the primary problem or that this regime deserves to stay employed.

Ryan Pace has achieved a 29-44 regular reason W-L record in his tenure, and that's WITH the 12-4 season in 2018! He's failed at drafting a first round QB and failed at 2 head coaching hires now. They fired Phil Emery for going 23-25 and failing (spectacularly) with 1 head coach; he never got to pick his own QB...

27 I remember when I was among…

I remember when I was among the Bears fans excitedly speculating that the 2nd round pick the Bears get back from the Raiders might be only a handful of picks behind the 1st round pick they're giving up. Now the Raiders have a BETTER record than the Bears, and there's an increasing chance that the 1st round pick the Raiders are getting will be in the top 10.

25 I mean, Trubisky is…

I mean, Trubisky is unquestionably playing terribly. Whether he naturally has talent and is being held back, is a question that I can't answer. Ultimately I think you're going through a version of what I went through as a Rams fan in the Fisher era. Ultimately, we can talk about a decision or two here or there, but teams need to play well and win games. If a team does not win games, then management needs to get fired. 

I have never seen Pace be interviewed, so I can't say that he's some bumbling idiot. But there's no excuse for being this bad over that long, especially when you get the QB that you want. The interesting question is who is available that might be a better choice over Pace.

28 Oh boy

Your comment got me to check something, because I heard on the radio that based on some traditional stats, Trubisky is worse this season - in year 2 of the Nagy offense - than he was in his rookie year under the awful Dowell Loggains offense. I decided to go look up his DVOA in 2017. It was a putrid -16.8%. His DVOA in 2019? -17.6%. I guess this lines up with something else I've heard, that Trubisky seems to look better when he's just out there improvising than when he's trying to actually execute the offense. That does not seem to bode well for his future.

I think Pace was given a really long leash based on how little talent there was on the team in 2015. IMHO, it's the NFL, not MLB...and in any case, the Bears are on track to finish dead last in their division 4 out of the 5 years Pace has been GM. I think he has gotten a disproportionate amount of credit for hitting on some later-round picks (disproportionate mainly because it's so random whether those picks pan out), and not enough criticism for underwhelming or flat-out missing on first and second round picks, including those he has traded up for. Plus he has also missed on key free agents (Trey Burton, ladies and gentlemen).

32 Keep Pace, Dump Nagy

In reply to by Steve in WI

I would keep Pace and dump Nagy at this point.  

In totality, Pace has a very strong Free agent track record and avg in the draft.  

In less than 5 yrs, he rebuilt a DEF that was ranked 32nd to the best in the league (and best in DVOA in 5 yrs).  Recall that Fangio said that he had two expansion teams with more talent than what he inherited.

Sure, he missed on Trubisky and some other high picks, but it’s well known that the draft is a crap shoot.  I pick stocks for a living and am humbled each day, so I know how hard it is.  

Overall, the organization has completely turned around from the Emory-Trestman era.   Fix the QB (and maybe head coach) position and this team is still a contender.  

Highlights below.  

Key free agent signings:  Akiem Hicks, Khalil Mack, Danny Trevethan, Prince Amukamara, Allen Robinson, Josh Sitton.   These are all expensive, blue chip, difference making players. Others include Bobby Massie, Taylor Gabriel, Trey Burton (valuable pieces, justifying contract value)

Free agent releases:  Adrian Amos (unlikely to justify contract $), Bryce Callahan (hasn’t played this year), Cam Meredith (only played 6 game in NO, injuries since).

FA misses: Mike Glennon, Eddie Royal, Cody Parkey.   These were all relatively inexpensive misses.  All deals were essentially 1-yr deals with team options, v little guaranteed money ($5M each for last two, $18M for MG but that’s the rate for QBs).

Draft hits (above expectation):  Eddie Goldman, Adrian Amos (5th), Cody Whitehair, Eddie Jackson, Tarik Cohen, Bilal Nichols, David Montgomery (3rd), prob Roquan Smith,  3-4 PBers there.

Draft avg picks:  Leonard Floyd, James Daniels, Anthony Miller.  Outcomes uncertain, could surprise to the upside still.  

Draft Misses: Trubisky, Kevin White, Adam Shaheen.  Brutal missss in the worst way. 

38 If you agree that Nagy is a bad coach...

Then Ryan Pace has hired 2 bad coaches. Why should he get to pick a 3rd?

I have to disagree with some of your assessments. Trey Burton looks like a flat-out bust, and I don't know that Massie and Gabriel (though they are decent players) have had impacts commensurate with their salary cap numbers. I would argue that Anthony Miller is trending closer to a miss than average (and Pace liked him so much he had to trade up for him), and I am concerned both with whatever Smith's off-the-field issue was and how he has looked completely lost on the field since he came back.

Plus I quibble with the idea that Parkey was a relatively inexpensive miss. For a kicker, he was extremely expensive, and the fact that the Bears are paying him $4M+ this year *not* to kick for them probably impacted who they could reasonably bring in as a replacement, as well as their decision to stick with him throughout last season.

Also, with the giant caveat that none of us can really know how a player is going to be based on half a rookie season, I'm not convinced that Montgomery is a draft hit, again especially after you factor in the trade up to get him. He's looked fine at the most fungible position in the league.

Mack was of course technically a trade, although I agree that locking him up for years to come was unquestionably the right move. As I've said elsewhere, I have nothing bad to say about Pace regarding the decision to get Mack but I do think the praise has been a bit overblown - it was an obvious move that anyone in his position should have made.

40 I have to disagree

Leonard Floyd is a miss, they traded up to get a guy that is easily replaceable. Mack was a trade not a Free Agent. Josh Sitton was actually pretty disappointing with the Bears, Trey Burton was ok last year and has been abysmal this year. The first round picks have been White-huge bust, Floyd-disappointing, Trubisky-traded up to get a guy that would have been anyway and didn't take what I thought was the obvious pick in Watson, Roquan Smith-I'm concerned about him. Mike Davis is another free agent miss. No other options have been added at QB so with Trubisky struggling they don't really have anywhere to go except an athletically limited 30 something journeyman. Dion Sims was absolutely overpaid a few years ago, as were Marcus Cooper and Marcus Wheaton. Other than Mack every trade that Pace has been involved in has been a terrible value for the Bears. 

24 The top eight teams from the…

The top eight teams from the Best Defensive DVOA Teams Through Eight Games also show up on the Best Defensive DVOA Teams Through Nine Games (excluding the current 49ers), so we get to see their relative performance in Game Nine. The 2019 Patriots had by far the biggest dropoff, at 9.4 percentage points. The second-worst is the 2002 Bucs, at 3.9 percentage points.

It's just one game, but it seems to argue in favor of people who claim that the opponent adjustments haven't sufficiently addressed how bad the Pats' opposition has been.

29 It does, and yet conversely,…

It does, and yet conversely, it's likely the worst thing that could have happened to the rest of the AFC (short of Gronk un-retiring).

Instead of a complacent defense believing their own media clippings, Belichick gets to spend the bye week working with a humbled defense.

Maybe Wentz still lights them up when Philly comes to town in a couple of weeks, but we'll see.  The real litmus tests will be Dallas (can NE stop their run game and Prescott) and KC ('nuff said), plus mini-KC (i.e. Houston).

If NE's D is middling to worse against those offenses, and still makes the lists of top historical D's at the end of the season, an asterix really will be warranted.

 

31 " it's likely the worst…

" it's likely the worst thing that could have happened to the rest of the AFC "

You're suggesting that it's better for New England's Super Bowl chances to lose a game than to go 16-0 with dominant defensive performances in each game? I find that hard to believe.

33 I was suggesting that…

I was suggesting that whatever the actual quality of NE's D, having their egos deflated right before the bye week gives Belichick a more attentive group to work with than the one that was printing up t-shirts that echoed the media hype.  As a result, playoff NE's D is likely to be better for being exposed in the BAL game than they otherwise would have been.

34 The Bills look like they…

The Bills look like they might be the worst 6-2 team ever. Given their schedule the rest of the way, they could easily be a playoff team that finishes in the bottom quadrant of DVOA, which seems really unusual if not unprecedented.

35 I think the Rams once made…

I think the Rams once made the playoffs despite finishing something like 28th in DVOA.

Edit: Actually, it was the Seahawks.  In 2010, they finished 30th with -22.9% DVOA, but still won the NFC West (at 7-9).  And then they actually won a playoff game!

37 You were right about the…

You were right about the Rams, too.  They also made the playoffs once as the 30th ranked team, at -25.9 DVOA, and also won their first playoff game, as an 8-8 wild card in 2004 (people think there's conference imbalance this year, but that was the worst conference I've ever seen)

54 Yeah, the NFC was bad in…

Yeah, the NFC was bad in 2004.  The Falcons went 11-5 and got to the CG despite having negative DVOA.  Their defense was solid, but not spectacular.  Their offense, on the other hand, was spectacularly bad, relying almost exclusively on Vick's scrambling ability.

56 There's really not much of…

There's really not much of an imbalance this year. 2004 had the biggest interconference record difference in history (AFC was *24* wins above 500). This year the NFC is 7 games over right now, but I'm not sure that won't even out a bit - the worst teams with interconference games remaining in the AFC (Jets and Dolphins) have 3 games against the Giants/Redskins, and the best teams in the NFC have more "hard" interconference games than "easy" ones.

DVOA basically agrees too, with the AFC having 4/10 teams in the top 10 and 7/16 teams in the top half.

41 It's amusing how well the …

It's amusing how well the "worst" playoff teams have done recently.  Seattle was mentioned, an 8-8 SD team beat 12-4 Indy in 2008.  Denver was 8-8 in 2011 when they took down Pitt, and 7-8-1 Carolina won a playoff game as well, this time against Arizona (IIRC).  

They generally get smoked in the next game, but eeking into the playoffs at .500 or worse doesn't seem to be a hindrance on Wildcard weekend.  :)

46 There was also the 2016…

There was also the 2016 Houston Texans, ranked 30th in DVOA, who won a playoff game against 12-4 Oakland (who were down to starting a third string QB). 

Of course they were summarily blown out in Foxboro the following week. 

48 A big part of this is that…

A big part of this is that if you make the playoffs at 7-9, almost by definition you have won your division and will be hosting the first playoff game, but never the second. That 2010 Seattle team beat the defending Super Bowl champions, and no way that would have ever happened in the Superdome.

57 That Vikings team was…

That Vikings team was certainly the worst defense to ever make a conference championship and perhaps even to make the playoffs. They came within a few plays of getting home field advantage! 

 

Yes, Randy Moss was good.