A near upset victory for the New York Giants knocks the Tampa Bay Buccaneers down a few percentage points, but they're still No. 1 in the Football Outsiders DVOA ratings this week. Tampa Bay had a big enough lead that one average game was nowhere near enough to drop them from the top spot. It was Tampa's second-worst game of the year (behind the Week 1 loss to New Orleans) and the first game of the year where the Buccaneers had a positive (i.e. worse than average) defensive rating.
Pittsburgh is up a spot at No. 2, passing the Baltimore Ravens after beating them on Sunday. Kansas City and Indianapolis stay at four and five, and then Seattle moves up to sixth after a big win over San Francisco. Seattle had 50.0% DVOA for the game, which is the Seahawks' best single-game rating of the year and also any team's best single-game rating for Week 8. San Francisco drops four spots to No. 12 after the loss.
The Los Angeles Rams drop three spots to No. 10 after losing to Miami, although you might be surprised that their DVOA for the game wasn't that bad, just -14.4%. Of course, the Rams outgained the Dolphins by over 300 yards. On a per play basis, the Rams had 5.3 yards per play and held the Dolphins to just 3.0 yards per play.
Miami is now up into the top ten, moving up four spots with the win over the Rams. The Dolphins had their lowest offensive rating of the year at -31.5%, not an auspicious debut for Tua Tagovailoa -- again, 3.0 yards per play is very bad -- but the Dolphins didn't need him to play well.
On the other hand, Miami had -26.2% defensive DVOA for the game, the Dolphins' third straight game under -25%. One year after they were one of the worst defenses ever measured by DVOA, the Dolphins rank 11th in defense through eight weeks. Miami also had 36.9% special teams DVOA, the best single special teams game of the season so far for anyone. The 88-yard punt return by Jakeem Grant was huge and Grant also had a 45-yard kickoff return. Matt Haack also pinned the Rams inside the 10 four times and boomed another punt 63 yards from the Miami 15 to the Rams' 22. Miami now ranks second in special teams for the season, trailing only Baltimore.
You might notice that DAVE has Miami much lower than DVOA. The Dolphins are down at 15th in DAVE, which combines in-season performance with preseason projection to get a more accurate predictive metric. The reason is that the projection used in DAVE has been changed to use Tagovailoa as the Miami quarterback instead of Ryan Fitzpatrick. Despite the rookie performances of Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert, the expectation remains that rookies will not be very good, so the quarterback switch drags Miami down in DAVE.
Buffalo is only 14th in DVOA despite a 6-2 record, which means Miami has the highest rating of any team in the AFC East. Nonetheless, in part due to Tagovailoa's low projection, our playoff odds only give Miami a 14% chance to win the division. However, the win over the Rams doubled Miami's chances of making the playoffs, which are now up to 37.6%. Miami has the easiest remaining schedule in the league according to average DVOA of opponent, which is a bit of a surprise since the Dolphins have already played one of their two Jets games. Below Miami, the Patriots are a dismal 26th in DVOA with just 8.2% chance of making the postseason. And the Jets fell to -45.2% DVOA after they got slaughtered by the Chiefs. The gap between the Jets and No. 31 Jacksonville is now 20 percentage points, larger than the gap between No. 31 Jacksonville and the No. 20 Houston Texans.
Speaking of the New York Jets, here's an update on all the quirky odds I started tracking last week, which starts with the odds of the Jets going winless:
- New York Jets go 0-16: 8.8% (up from 6.7%)
- Pittsburgh goes 16-0: 4.9% (up from 1.7%)
- Entire NFC West makes the playoffs: 2.4% (down from 4.8%)
- Entire NFC West has a winning record: 17.2% (down from 38.4%)
- Entire NFC East has a losing record: 62.2% (down from 63.1%)
- Entire NFC East is 6-9-1 or worse: 26.2% (down from 26.4%)
- Entire NFC East is 5-10-1 or worse: 3.7% (down from 3.8%)
The NFC West's odds of fielding four winning teams really plummet this week. The Rams losing a non-division game is a big part of that, but so is a change in San Francisco's DAVE. Just as I've changed the projection part of Miami's DAVE to reflect Tagovailoa as the quarterback, I've also changed the projection part of San Francisco's DAVE to reflect the loss of both Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle. That change plus the loss to Seattle drops the 49ers' playoff odds in half this week, down to just 21.3%.
The odds for the NFC East to all have losing records barely change and they won't really change until we get non-division games. This week won't move things much since the Eagles are on bye, Washington plays the Giants, and the simulator already thinks that Dallas will probably lose to Pittsburgh.
A few other random notes to finish up the week's commentary:
- Think the season has been bad for Atlanta so far? The Falcons have the hardest remaining schedule in the league. Atlanta still has to play both games with Tampa Bay and New Orleans, plus they get a trip to Kansas City. But since the Falcons don't completely suck, we only give them a 34% chance of earning a top five pick in the draft. They're stuck in limbo, especially if they beat Denver this week, that will make it tough to draft one of the top quarterbacks.
- Speaking of teams that want to draft a top quarterback, Jacksonville has the second-hardest remaining schedule in the league. Carolina is third.
- The New York Giants have played the league's toughest schedule of opposing defenses so far this year. The Minnesota Vikings have played the toughest schedule of opposing offenses.
- You wouldn't think of a team that loses in heartbreaking fashion as consistent, but the Los Angeles Chargers are consistent because they lose close games in heartbreaking fashion over and over. So the Chargers have the lowest game-to-game variance in the league this year. All of their single-game DVOA ratings fall between -20% and 20%. New Orleans has also been consistent this season. Cleveland and San Francisco are the least consistent teams in the league, which should be no surprise.
- Baltimore now ranks second in run offense DVOA but only 24th in pass offense. Their running game has been more efficient than their passing game this season. The same is true for Minnesota (third running, 22nd passing).
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Football Outsiders playoff odds, snap counts, and the FO+ database are now all updated through Week 8. In addition, we have added more data to the FO+ database. The "DVOA as of a Specific Week" view is now updated with the current version of DVOA back to 1999. This also means we have run/pass splits updated as of a specific week going back to 1999, so you can learn, for example, that Washington led the NFL in both passing and rushing through Week 8 of 1999, ahead of even the Greatest Show on Turf Rams.
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These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through eight weeks of 2020, 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% strength; they will increase 10% every week through Week 10.
DAVE is a formula which combines our preseason forecast with current DVOA to get a more accurate projection of how a team will play the rest of the season. DAVE is currently 50% preseason forecast for teams with seven games played and 45% preseason forecast for teams with eight games played.
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>
- 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).