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21 Nov 2006

Week 12 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

Here's a look at this week's DVOA ratings. Extended commentary is finally posted (as of 1am EST, Wednesday) at FOXSports.com. This week is the first annual DVOA Commentary All-Optimism Special.

I assume that FO regulars do not need a reminder that the DVOA ratings are not adjusted for injuries, either past or future. But I'll give one anyway. DVOA ratings are not adjusted for injuries, either past or future.

Once again, Mike Harris has put together a Football Outsiders Playoff Odds Report based on DVOA and the remaining schedule. The Playoff Odds Report now uses a new algorithm based on analysis of the actual results of the last few weeks of each season since 1997. This algorithm also includes a variable to account for the generally lower performance of warm-weather and dome teams when playing cold weather cities after November 1. (As I've written many times in the past, this is one piece of conventional wisdom that is absolutely true.) It also drops the chances of a team winning its final game if it has clinched a playoff spot and cannot change its seeding with a final win.

You'll notice there are actually two reports. One uses current WEIGHTED DVOA numbers. The other one sets the Philadelphia Eagles to 0%, based on how well they played last year after losing Donovan McNabb for the season. If you think it is wrong to consider McNabb's injury and not other injuries, then my suggestion is that you don't look at that report.

One last big piece of news: The long-awaited Football Outsiders T-shirts are finally available! Yes, we opened a CafePress store like all the other sites out there. The FO shirts come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, and with two different taglines to go with the logo:

  • Tackling football from outside the hashmarks.
  • Stats are for losers. Better stats are for winners.

Some shirts have one line, some the other -- since we haven't opened a premium shop yet, we can only sell one of each type of shirt rather than offering a choice of taglines for each possible product. If the shirts prove to be super popular, we can take that next step. We're also trying to figure out how to do a shirt with some of Jason Beattie's cartoons, but we can't use Gil Thorp, lest we get sued. We'll keep working on that one.

(One of the first comments in today's thread suggested a ROBO-PUNTER jersey. Great idea, we'll hopefully have one ready after Thanksgiving.)

You know how I always say that a question asked through e-mail is much more likely to be answered than a question asked in a discussion thread? That goes triple for any questions or suggestions you have regarding the FO shirts and other swag.

Offense, defense, special teams are updated; individual pages and adjusted line yards will be updated later tonight.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through Week 11 of 2006, 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 based on strength of opponent as well as to consider all fumbles, kept or lost, as equal value. SPECIAL TEAMS DVOA is adjusted for type of stadium (warm, cold, dome, Denver/Mexico City) and week of season.

WEIGHTED DVOA is based on a formula which discounts games more than eight weeks ago in order to get a more accurate picture of how teams are playing now. This is the formula used for the rankings at FOXSports.com.

Remember that you can always use the keyword "DVOA" to access the latest DVOA commentary at FOXSports.com.

To save people some time, please use the zlionsfan template 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>

1 CHI 34.3% 2 9-1 34.1% 1 -3.4% 19 -28.8% 1 8.9% 1
2 SD 33.9% 4 8-2 32.8% 2 27.1% 2 -1.9% 16 4.9% 5
3 PHI 28.2% 1 5-5 25.2% 4 14.4% 4 -15.4% 5 -1.7% 25
4 JAC 24.9% 7 6-4 24.1% 5 -3.0% 18 -26.2% 2 1.7% 11
5 BAL 24.5% 8 8-2 23.1% 7 -3.9% 20 -22.8% 3 5.6% 3
6 DAL 24.5% 6 6-4 25.7% 3 9.9% 7 -15.8% 4 -1.3% 22
7 NYG 23.1% 3 6-4 23.8% 6 13.6% 5 -9.2% 8 0.3% 16
8 NE 18.8% 9 7-3 21.6% 8 8.6% 8 -8.2% 10 2.0% 8
9 IND 16.8% 5 9-1 15.9% 9 28.4% 1 8.5% 25 -3.0% 28
10 DEN 7.8% 10 7-3 9.2% 10 3.0% 12 -4.6% 14 0.2% 17
11 KC 6.7% 11 6-4 7.4% 11 2.4% 13 -2.8% 15 1.5% 13
12 CIN 6.6% 14 5-5 4.3% 14 15.3% 3 10.4% 27 1.8% 10
13 CAR 4.7% 16 6-4 7.0% 12 0.3% 16 -7.7% 12 -3.3% 29
14 PIT 4.7% 12 4-6 4.9% 13 1.4% 14 -10.4% 7 -7.1% 31
15 NO 4.2% 13 6-4 2.0% 15 12.1% 6 9.4% 26 1.5% 12
16 STL -3.4% 15 4-6 -4.7% 16 3.1% 11 5.5% 21 -1.1% 20
17 MIN -5.4% 18 4-6 -6.3% 18 -17.1% 28 -11.5% 6 0.2% 18
18 WAS -6.5% 19 3-7 -7.7% 20 8.2% 9 15.9% 29 1.2% 14
19 CLE -7.5% 24 3-7 -5.8% 17 -19.4% 29 -5.8% 13 6.2% 2
20 MIA -9.0% 20 4-6 -7.0% 19 -15.9% 27 -9.2% 9 -2.3% 27
21 GB -9.9% 17 4-6 -8.6% 21 -2.3% 17 5.4% 20 -2.3% 26
22 ATL -10.5% 21 5-5 -10.4% 22 -5.1% 21 1.7% 19 -3.7% 30
23 NYJ -12.4% 23 5-5 -13.6% 24 0.4% 15 16.2% 30 3.4% 6
24 BUF -15.0% 25 4-6 -17.2% 26 -13.2% 25 6.9% 23 5.1% 4
25 SEA -15.7% 22 6-4 -17.4% 27 -9.3% 24 8.4% 24 2.1% 7
26 HOU -15.8% 26 3-7 -13.0% 23 5.1% 10 19.6% 32 -1.3% 23
27 TEN -19.5% 30 3-7 -15.8% 25 -14.8% 26 6.7% 22 2.0% 9
28 TB -21.6% 28 3-7 -21.0% 28 -21.1% 31 -0.7% 17 -1.2% 21
29 SF -25.0% 31 5-5 -27.2% 31 -7.8% 23 15.8% 28 -1.5% 24
30 DET -25.4% 27 2-8 -25.9% 30 -7.0% 22 19.0% 31 0.6% 15
31 OAK -25.7% 29 2-8 -23.9% 29 -33.0% 32 -7.9% 11 -0.6% 19
32 ARI -30.3% 32 2-8 -29.6% 32 -20.7% 30 1.1% 18 -8.5% 32

  • NON-ADJ VOA shows what the rating looks like without adjustments for strength of schedule, luck recovering fumbles, or weather and altitude on special teams.
  • 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 least consistent (#1, highest variance) to most consistent (#32, smallest variance).

1 CHI 34.3% 9-1 47.0% 7.6 3 -12.5% 32 -7.8% 26 27.3% 3
2 SD 33.9% 8-2 38.1% 7.9 1 -3.1% 24 -12.0% 31 6.3% 31
3 PHI 28.2% 5-5 22.8% 7.7 2 -2.2% 22 8.7% 4 9.8% 23
4 JAC 24.9% 6-4 26.0% 6.4 8 5.1% 7 -0.2% 19 37.4% 1
5 BAL 24.5% 8-2 32.3% 7.1 4 -2.8% 23 0.0% 18 10.2% 21
6 DAL 24.5% 6-4 25.1% 6.4 7 1.9% 13 -0.3% 20 14.2% 14
7 NYG 23.1% 6-4 17.7% 6.6 5 5.9% 5 5.9% 8 11.1% 18
8 NE 18.8% 7-3 26.1% 6.3 9 -4.8% 25 -1.7% 22 16.5% 9
9 IND 16.8% 9-1 16.1% 6.6 6 3.0% 12 2.6% 14 8.4% 27
10 DEN 7.8% 7-3 6.9% 5.3 12 4.3% 8 -4.0% 23 15.3% 11
11 KC 6.7% 6-4 9.9% 5.7 10 -5.6% 29 9.7% 1 28.5% 2
12 CIN 6.6% 5-5 1.2% 5.4 11 5.8% 6 3.4% 12 6.3% 30
13 CAR 4.7% 6-4 5.8% 5.0 16 -1.0% 19 7.2% 6 10.2% 20
14 PIT 4.7% 4-6 1.0% 5.1 15 3.1% 11 5.2% 10 14.9% 12
15 NO 4.2% 6-4 4.6% 5.3 13 -0.2% 16 1.7% 15 9.6% 24
16 STL -3.4% 4-6 5.9% 5.0 17 -6.9% 30 -9.8% 30 10.3% 19
17 MIN -5.4% 4-6 -1.6% 5.2 14 -4.9% 26 -7.8% 27 8.7% 25
18 WAS -6.5% 3-7 -13.3% 4.6 18 8.0% 3 7.7% 5 10.1% 22
19 CLE -7.5% 3-7 -14.6% 3.8 26 3.8% 9 0.8% 17 3.9% 32
20 MIA -9.0% 4-6 -2.9% 4.0 24 -1.4% 20 1.3% 16 8.7% 26
21 GB -9.9% 4-6 -13.1% 4.2 19 -0.3% 18 -8.3% 29 17.5% 8
22 ATL -10.5% 5-5 -0.9% 4.2 20 -1.7% 21 5.6% 9 26.3% 4
23 NYJ -12.4% 5-5 -12.5% 4.1 22 3.7% 10 -13.5% 32 14.5% 13
24 BUF -15.0% 4-6 -13.5% 4.1 21 1.1% 14 7.1% 7 15.9% 10
25 SEA -15.7% 6-4 -11.7% 3.8 25 -5.5% 28 -7.5% 25 12.1% 16
26 HOU -15.8% 3-7 -22.4% 4.1 23 9.2% 2 -4.9% 24 12.9% 15
27 TEN -19.5% 3-7 -22.6% 3.7 27 10.9% 1 8.8% 3 20.5% 7
28 TB -21.6% 3-7 -30.2% 3.2 30 6.4% 4 5.0% 11 7.9% 28
29 SF -25.0% 5-5 -24.7% 3.6 28 -0.3% 17 -7.9% 28 24.6% 5
30 DET -25.4% 2-8 -17.1% 2.8 32 -9.3% 31 8.9% 2 6.7% 29
31 OAK -25.7% 2-8 -32.7% 2.9 31 0.7% 15 2.6% 13 11.9% 17
32 ARI -30.3% 2-8 -24.0% 3.5 29 -5.0% 27 -1.3% 21 23.5% 6

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 21 Nov 2006

178 comments, Last at 28 Nov 2006, 12:10pm by B


by cjfarls (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 5:51pm

First! Yeah, my Broncos are just slightly above average. Another 1st round playoff loss... yeah.

by dbt (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 5:52pm

Clickable chart updated with the latest data. Click my name for it.

by cjfarls (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 5:53pm

Its actually pretty amazing how completely non-descript the Broncos are... 12th, 14th and 17th, with 10th overall... no wonder they're kinda painful to watch.

by andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 5:56pm

I love the football outsiders t-shirts.

But there is one missing.

It is a jersey, with the #1.

And Robo-punter on the back.

by Basilicus (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 5:57pm

Those are some nice-lookin' shirts. I especially like the hoodie.

by cjfarls (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 5:58pm

Re: #4 I'd so buy one of those....

by Basilicus (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 5:59pm

And Andrew's a genius.

by admin :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 5:59pm

OK, totally ignoring what I wrote about sending suggestions by e-mail -- and I still mean it, really -- comment #4 is a great idea and we will absolutely put that together. Should be available next week.

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:04pm

love the football outsiders t-shirts.

But there is one missing.

It is a jersey, with the #1.

And Robo-punter on the back.

if you added the Catholic Match Girl on the sleeve, I'd buy 2 dozen

by Mannie Fresh (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:07pm

Gotta love the chart

by Mike W (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:10pm

A la the Onion, how about the FO logo on the front and "Your favorite team's DVOA sucks" on the back.

Sorry, Aaron.

by IsaiahC (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:10pm

Wow! Dallas is 3rd in weighted DVOA. Can't wait to see what happens as we move farther and farther away from the Bledsoe era. (Although I don't know how much better it can get.)

by Mnatr (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:11pm

I'm not a huge fan of any of the current shirts, but I like the robopunter and I'd be even more up for a zlionsfan template shirt.

by Independent George (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:13pm

And Pittsburgh has narrowed the gap with Arizona for worst special teams! But with only 6 games left, will they be able to, er, win?

by kevinNYC (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:14pm

I've just finally crawled out of my Giants induced hole. It makes me feel somewhat better that the only teams that have played tougher schedules than the Giants are a combined 12-28. Does that mean they will beat Tennessee? Who knows.

Dammit, something needs to be done about NFL scheduling! The Giants need to play Western Carolina this week.

by B (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:14pm

12: Trust me, the farther away you can get, the better you'll feel. Meanwhile I'm basking in the knowledge that the Patriots are the only team left with a top 10 ranking in Offense, Defense and ST. I just don't know what it means, exactly. Oh wait, I know what it means. They really benefited from Favre's Eli impression on Sunday.

by Costa (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:15pm

Wow, Oakland's offensive DVOA is way off the chart. How does that rank historically in terms of offensive ineptitude?

by dbt (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:17pm

#10: Thanks. Lots of horrible javascript behind it. :)

One of the fun things in the chart is seeing, say, how important off/def/ST is. 3 of the top 5 DVOA teams have negative offense. the first negative defensive team is the colts at #9 on dvoa, and the only one that comes close is the chargers (who had a top 10 def dvoa until week 9).

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:17pm

Is the 5.2 estimated wins for the Vikings a result of bad fumble and turnover return luck?

I am mildly surprised that their special teams rankings remains below average, given the number of good punt returns Mewelde Moore has had.

by Andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:18pm

I can't believe the Eagles dropped so little. Admittedly, the defense at least only allowed two big plays - Henry's 42 and 70 yard runs, but without McNabb, that pretty much decided the game.

by Riceloft (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:19pm

The Browns moving up.. small consolation after losing to Pittsburgh.

by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:19pm

Unfortunately, I'm sure Catholic Match Girl would have the same licensing / royalties issues that the creators of Gil Thorp would raise. Hard to believe, but that is a real person out there.

Too bad -- a pink fitted "CMG" T would go nicely with a lot of team store items these days.

by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:21pm

The G-men are in a rapid decline and the Titans are having a strong upswing. Should be an interesting game, with recent momentum pitted against yearlong above average play.

by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:22pm

Oh, and what's up with the Ravens? Still stuck at 7, behind the Giants and Dallas? I thought they would go up after DAVE dropped out; maybe the Buc and Raider wins are declining?

by admin :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:22pm

Eagles dropped from 38.5% to 28.2%. I do believe that qualifies as "a lot."

by Yuri (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:24pm

#29 (5-5) SF vs. #3 (5-5) PHI. One is CLEARLY ranked TOO HIGH and the other TOO LOW. Actually, I am surprised that SF has a lower weighted DVOA than the 'regular' given that they have won the last 3.

I wonder given the strength of future schedule and the quarterback situation if the two teams' paths will ever cross (in the rankings that is, Philly convincingly beat the Niners on the field that helps me understand the rankings gap).

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:24pm

#12, I really like the Cowboys chances against the Bears in January, thus I really like their chances of being the NFC team in the Super Bowl. It all comes down to which Grossman shows up, and I'd say in the playoffs there is approximately a 33% chance that Very Bad Grossman steps onto the field at least once.

by Mike B. (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:27pm

I'm down with #4 - I'll buy that.

by Andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:28pm

dbt #18:

One of the fun things in the chart is seeing, say, how important off/def/ST is

Defense, especially scoring defense, wins championships. Almost invariably, the Super Bowl winner is one of the teams with the fewest points allowed. The lower points allowed as well, the better the team does in Pythagorean Wins (since it is part of the denominator), and the Super Bowl winner is almost always the team with the most Pythagorean Wins.

There is no consistency to high-powered offenses absent the best defense winning. Some years they do (1997 Broncos), some years they don't (1998 Vikings).

by andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:28pm

Well I'll hold off to see if something more official comes along, but click on my name for something that can be done (minimum a dozen) with www.customjerseybuilder.com...

by Yuri (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:29pm

To answer my own post... the Niners are now in possession of a wide receiver that does stupid things. Which bring down the DVOA, no doubt.

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Antonio Bryant was arrested on reckless and drunken driving charges after his Lamborghini was seen speeding faster than 100 mph on a freeway.

An officer entering U.S. Highway 101 saw Bryant speed past and tried unsuccessfully to catch him...

Bryant ... was uncooperative, combative and verbally abusive. He refused to step out of the car...

The officers were forced to use leather restraints ...

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:30pm


Either that B, or they were previously getting killed by opponent adjustments that are going away. IE the Jets/Miami arent playing as poorly anymore.

And like I was saying before...the Defence is much better than people thought. And you all thought I was crazy when I was bitching about them being 27th.

by Andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:30pm


But everyone else dropped too, so the Eagles only went from #1 to #3. That is surprising.

by MJK (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:30pm

Wow, New England is one of only 4 teams that has a top 10 offense and defense, and the only team that's top 10 in all three categories. So why don't I feel better about their chances in the playoffs? Maybe it's because they've lost to almost every winning team they've played in the last year and a half...

by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:35pm

Hey Aaron, would it be possible to get the Raven's offensive DVOA% pre-bye and post-bye (or Fassel era and post-Fassel era). Watching the Raven's passing attack these past few weeks, it looks like a totally different team out there (with the exception of Jamal Lewis still stinking). I'm not sure if its McNair's increased familiarity with the offense or Billick's genius (cue laughter), or improved line play, but its definetely something.

by Smeghead (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:35pm

Nice CafePress store. No FO thong???

by Parker (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:42pm

RE: 29

Not for nothing, but the Vikings allowed the 6th fewest points in the league in 1998 at 296.
The Rams, in 2001, allowed the 7th fewest.

by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:42pm

Re: 35

I second taking a look at the Baltimore Offense pre-/post-Fassel. That sounds like an excellent idea for either an EPC or maybe a blog post.

by Pippin (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:43pm

Given how much I respect and, frankly, love the FO analyses of football, it makes me really happy to see the Cowboys are finally doing well in the DVOA rankings.

It's not "gratifying because they were so obviously good, and now you've finally seen it" it's the other way around:

Seeing Dallas doing well in the FO stats makes me much more comfortable believing that they may actually be going somewhere.

Not *that* comfortable. I have been through the last decade-ish of uninspiring/crap play, after all.

by Parker (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:47pm

RE: 37

Forget I wrote that. That is all.

by Billy Penn (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:49pm

39. Keep in mind how high the Eagles have been ranked all year. :) Still feel good?

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:50pm

MJK, one wierd thing I've noticed is, very often teams with winning records before playing the patriots (that the pats beat), no longer have winning records 4 or 5 games later.

See Cincy and Min this year.

I'm not exactly sure what that means.

by Pippin (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:51pm

41: Heh, well, that's true. But then, the Eagles *were* really good at the start of the year. Insanely good on offense, especially, and I guess that's maybe been carrying them a bit in their decline lately. Whereas the Cowboys were rather average at the start and seem to be picking it up now. I'd rather have the Cowboys' current tendency than the Eagles' :)

The Romo factor is a big one, though. More and more tape each week. At some point, some team is going to cause him some big problems, I imagine. Unless he's the next coming of Brady.

Poor Bledsoe. That has to suck.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:54pm

An interesting note:

PHI and NYG are the only two teams in the top 10 who aren't recieving a NEGATIVE adjustment. IE theyre the only ones who are being pushed up by theyre hard schedule. The rest are recieving significant penalties.

They also, IMO, seem like the two teams of the top 10 most likely to have a bad 2nd half...again, not sure what that means.

by chris clark (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:55pm

re: 1/3

Looking at the nice charts (#2) cbt does, you can see that there is a big drop off just before DEN. Not only are the Broncos #10 in the ranking, but they are the best "mediocre" team, not the worst "excellent" team. The GREAT graphic charts make that just jump out at me.

On the upside, they've beat 2 high-probability playoff contenders NE & BAL and lost 2 to IND & SD (and were "in" both games they lost). They beat KC also, but I don't know where to put them. Maybe they can get to a 2nd round of the playoffs before getting tossed.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:57pm

RE #31...

Leather Restraints? Antonio Bryant shall henceforth be known as "The Gimp".

Wasn't RoboPunter issued #10? Either way, I can't wait to see it.

by ElJefe (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:59pm

Re #44:

I'd say that means they are significantly affected by injuries.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 6:59pm

The Cowboys are a prime example of how difficult it is to seperate offensive line performance from qb performance, and vice versa. Not that they look like the '72 Dolphins' offensive line now, but once they were protecting a qb who couldn't get a job as an exhibit in an art gallery, pass blocking suddenly became an achievable goal, especially with above-average receivers.

Offensive line stats, along with individual DVOA and DPAR rankings, should always be seen through a thick lens of interdependence.

by Tally (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 7:08pm

Re 45:

Definitely there is a huge dropoff between #9 Indy and #10 Denver.

Looks like there are three mini-tiers or clusters, with Chicago and SD somewhat ahead of the pack and possibly favorites to go to the Super Bowl at this point (though each team has significant questions, CHI with offense, SD with defnese), then #3-#7 in a pack, and #8 NE with #9 IND at the edge of contention.

by Moridin (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 7:08pm

That just makes me more want to see how Tavarius would play behind the Viking line.

by Richard (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 7:12pm

49: San Diego's defense is really only a question due to injuries. If they get healthy, the D is a top-10 unit again.

by dbt (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 7:13pm

#51 ... and PED suspensions...

by admin :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 7:16pm

Mike Harris playoff odds report now finished. See notes above, or click my name for link.

by James G (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 7:16pm

Chicago vs. San Diego Super Bowl with San Diego losing? I predicted years ago that San Diego would be the next team to go 0-4 in Super Bowls. The year after the Vikings lost their 4th, the Broncos lost their 1st. The year after the Broncos lost thieir 4th, the Bills lost their 1st. And the year after the Bills lost their 4th, San Diego lost their 1st. With Rivers and Tomlinson, it seems like SD should be at least good enough to get there for a few years.

by paytonrules (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 7:17pm

#27 Evil Rex scares the crap out of me.

by Lou (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 7:19pm

Oooh I will absolutely buy a Robo-Punter jersey. And I'll second the need for a zlionsfan template shirt. It would be cool if you could do one for every team, but would probably infringe on nfl liscences.

by Michael (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 7:19pm

49: If Thomas Jones continues to run for 100 yards a game, the Bears offense will be less of a question. That running game can take much of the pressure off of Grossman.

by chris clark (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 7:23pm

re 49:

Interesting, depending on whether you use weighted or unweighted DVOA, NE is closer to 7 or mid-way to 9 IND. So, the 1st 2 tiers hold in both, and IND is not quite in the 2nd tier, and DEN is definitely not in the 2nd tier, and NE may or may not be in the 2nd tier depending on how one squints.

by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 7:29pm

The other one sets the Philadelphia Eagles to 0%, based on how well they played last year after losing Donovan McNabb for the season.

Just keep rubbing salt in the wound. Bastards.

by Goathead (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 7:34pm

Sigh... Sad Giants fan here... Still 6th but reality says otherwise. Between the injuries, Eli's shaky performances, and an apparent Tiki breakdown they look like toast right now.

by Dr. Optimist (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 7:39pm

Hey Mike Harris, if you have more time than you know what to do with, I'd love to see what the probability of the Steelers making the playoffs in the simulations is: a) if they run the table to go 10-6; and b) if they almost run the table, going 9-7.

That's the most depressing thing about being a hopeless Steelers optimist right now; either Baltimore has to go 2-2 in non-Steelers games, or one of Jacksonville, Denver, or San Diego has to significantly underperform, or the Steelers likely won't make the playoffs even at 10-6. (Sure, Indianapolis could lose out, or the Steelers could get lucky in how the tiebreakers fall out, but losing head-to-head versus Jacksonville, Denver, and San Diego was

by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 7:39pm

Re: 60

Usually that would make me feel better. But since the alternative is Bill Parcells and Terrell Owens making it to the playoffs, I think I'm just going to stop watching football all together until next season.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 7:40pm

#50, Yeah, Moridin, I have no doubt that the Vikings offensive line, which has not been horrible, would look much better than it has, if it had a reasonably competent qb who could just move a little. It would certainly expand their playbook, especially since the classic West Coast offense usually employs plays that move the pocket. RT Marques Johnson in particular has his weaknesses exposed by having a statue at qb.

Of course, the Vikings, unlike the Cowboys, have huge steaming piles of crap for receivers, so even if Jackson was even close to being mentally prepared to start in the NFL (and I have no idea of whether he is), the difference wouldn't be as pronounced as it has been for the Cowboys.

I'll say this however; substitute the Vikings' offensive line for the Cowboys', and the Cowboys would become a very good bet to win the Super Bowl. Of course, that would require salary cap adjustements as well, so it all becomes kind of pointless to really hypothesize, although it is not as wildly counterfactual to think the Cowboys with Keyshawn instead of T.O., and with Hutchinson (current contract) and Mckinnie (old contract) would be a much better team.

Roster construction is one of the most interesting things about the salary-capped NFL.

by Kal (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 7:41pm

Yeah, the gulf between Indy and Denver is huge. Interesting.

Also interesting to see how much SD and Chi are over the others.

On the playoffs - I hadn't realized that it's impossible for the Bears to lose their division now. Wow. I don't see how that's quite true, but I guess that Minn and GB both play each other at least once, so they can't both win or something. Dunno.

by Eddo (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 7:45pm

Mathematically, the Bears could still finish in 2nd place (or tied for 2nd). If they lose all of their remaining games, they would be 9-7. If either the Vikings or Packers (not both, as they will play each other once more) win all of their remaining games, they would be 10-6. In reality, it's not likely, but it is possible.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 7:48pm

I wonder if Mike Harris has current odds of an 8-8 team getting a wild card slot in the NFC.

by Eddo (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 7:53pm

In fact, the Bears could still finish in third place. Here's the scenario: Chicago loses all its remaing games (including one each to Minnesota and Gree Bay) to finish 9-7. Minnesota and Green Bay have identical 5-0-1 records (the tie being when they play each other) to finish 9-6-1.

by andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 7:54pm

Ach,I should refresh before posting anything else. Disregard my #30, and I'm waiting with baited breath at the RP jersey (wondering what color it would be, assuming green since the site has kind of a green logo).

by admin :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 8:04pm

New blog post on Rex Grossman for those interested:


by D (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 8:28pm

About the Grossman blog post. One thing that should probably be addressed is the fact that whether the Bears are way ahead, way behind, or playing close heavly depends on how Grossman is playing. The strength of Chicago's defense and speacial teams means that they are almost always going to have the advantage in terms of field position unless Grossman starts turning the ball over. So while it is accurate to say that Grossman plays worse when the Bears are behind or the game is close, it is also accurate to say that the Bears are more likely to be behind or playing a close game when Evil Rex is behind center. And that is why I still think the Bears need to give Griese a shot at starting.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 8:31pm

Very interesting post, Aaron. Who knows? maybe Grossman will put together three good games, or just three non-hideous games, consecutively in the playoffs, but I wouldn't bet the house payment on it. I definitely don't think they'll beat the AFC champs in the big game on a neutral field, and I'd only give them a slight edge in a Soldiers Field NFC Championship game. Rexus Horribillus is going to make an appearance at some point, I think.

by B (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 8:32pm

I want a ruling. Is it Bad Rex, Evil Rex, or Dislexy Rexy?

by Stillio (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 8:33pm

I just want to point out the trio of Chi, Jax and Bal: 1,2,3 on defense - 18,19,20 on offense. I could definitely see a 6-3 Super Bowl if some combination of these three make it to the big game.

by B (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 8:35pm

73: Bal/Chi superbowl will have 49 points scored on defense/ST and 6 points scored on offense.

by Rick (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 8:37pm

Re: 42
Yeah, sometimes Belichick figures out a way to beat a team, and then the way is copied for the following month.

Still, I'd feel a lot better about the Pats if they could beat the Bears. I figure it's a good matchup: BB feasts on young, insecure QBs. Also, the new turf couldn't hurt.

Re: 70
Bring on Griese! Please!

by Stillio (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 8:42pm

74: Funny and true, but is 31-24 with 49 on Def/ST better or worse than 6-3? And in the event of Chi/Bal should we just let Hester and Sams have a Return-off to see who the NFL champ is?

by Kellerman (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 8:42pm

Well, now that I see that my Bengals and the Browns are two of the three teams with the least variance, and the Bengals are about 14% ahead on DVOA (10% weighted) I am more convinced than ever that the Bengals will win this weekend on the way to 8 and 5.

by Chris (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 8:54pm

#61 and #66

These are the questions that fans have at this time of year. I wrote my software (click my name) in order that you can answer them yourself.

Mike Harris will get a little different answers due to the differences in projected game odds.

If Pittsburgh wins out they have about an 80% chance of making the playoffs. 9-7 depends on which team they lose to, a loss to Baltimore and its about 10%. A loss to Carolina and its about 35%. Of course these odds will change with the outcome of every AFC game from here on out.

Whether an 8-8 NFC team can make the playoffs depends on the team, due to tiebreakers. Here are the conditional playoff chances of some of the NFC teams, if they finish 8-8:
Carolina 15%
Giants 30%
NO 17%
Seattle 40%
Dallas 5%
Philadelphia 20%
Atlanta 7%
SF 25%
StLouis 7%
Minnesota 30%
Green Bay 5%

I plan to post another comparison of Mike Harris' playoff projections and mine later tonight.

by fantasystooge (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 9:02pm

Re: #2 - DBT, take a bow. Very nice work.

by RecoveringPackerFan (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 9:08pm

#75: BB obviously realized that Rex was coming to town and decided to install a faster field to get more hits on him. Go Pats! (and I hope the Packers actually get to the field this week)

by Vash (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 9:10pm

When do we get the shirts with the slogan "We’re angry. We won’t stand for any more. We made tee shirts."?

by Julio (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 9:11pm

I would say that the best teams are the teams that have a high ranking in all 3 phases of the game (O, D, ST) or at least high in D and ST. That would make Chicago, Bal and NE the best, with NE having the best balance since they rank 8th on offense, 10th on D and 8th on ST. All the other teams have numbers all over the map. I would guess of the teams with good records that SD is going to have a tough time in the playoffs (16th in D).

by RecoveringPackerFan (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 9:14pm

After reading the blog post, I'd like to see something like that for other QBs with the "gunslinger" reputation. (like Favre, perhaps?) It seems likely that this stat has alot to do with forcing deep throws against a defense playing the pass, and that performance while behind would improve drastically with time in the league.

by James, London (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 9:16pm

I was just checking the site before I go to bed and caught the "FO Apparel stuff".

Re #4

Andrew, you are a genius and I'll buy one.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 9:16pm

If Baltimore and Chicago end up in the superbowl, I will shoot myself.

Perhaps wearing a ROBO-PUNTER jersey.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 9:19pm

#86: Wait, good teams have good ST or D? ST is important, but more important than O? Wha?

Personally, at the moment, I like SD and DAL, especially later when SD's front 7 comes back.

by Eddo (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 9:36pm

Re: 70 & 75.
Yes, Rex scares the crap out of me come playoff time as well, but do you really think going to Griese would be better? Most likely, Griese will make fewer mistakes while at the same time not producing quite as much as Grossman. Isn't this just a variation of the Kyle Orton offense? Does Brian Griese "just win games"?
Along those lines, what gives me reason to hope is that Grossman didn't play well against the Jets, but also didn't play terribly. In fact, I thouhgt he did a nice job not forcing many throws. With the quality of the Bears defense and a running game that seems to be finally getting its act together, if Rex simply realizes that he doesn't need to always make something happen downfield, the Bears can have playoff success even if he is not playing particularly well.
And yes, a strong pass rush in the playoffs can rattle Grossman, but how is that different from the majority of quarterbacks in the league? Look at the other possible quarterbacks of NFC playoff teams when they face a pass rush: Hasselbeck is the one that inspires the most confidence, although can be rattled (see the Bears game this year); Eli Manning may be getting worse by the week; Romo, as good as he has looked, is no sure thing (and Grossman started off the season even better than Romo); Delhomme has a tendency to force throws under pressure; Brees is having a great year, but he has played in exactly as many playoff games as Grossman (one). Aside from maybe P. Manning, Brady, McNabb, and Palmer, no quarterback has really proven they can consistently succeed against a heavy rush.
Grossman didn't thrill me in last year's playoff game against Carolina, but he didn't disappoint me, either. If I had told you beforehand that Grossman would lead the Bears to three offensive touchdowns, you probably would have assumed they would have won the game.

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 9:46pm

Incidentally, the ROBO-PUNTER jersey is awesome, and the #1 number is appropriate given the initial discussion (would he be the top draft pick).

Of course, give my opinion on the subject, I would make it a Detroit Lions jersey. That'd be completely appropriate.

by James C (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 9:50pm


But Millen would never take ROBOPUNTER over another receiver.

by Becephalus (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 9:57pm

On behalf of myself, and perhaps Will Allen and Pacifist Viking, we would like to apologize for sticking up for the Vikings, they clearly did not deserve our advocacy :)

by Kal (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 10:08pm

I would imagine that every QB would have a lower rating when behind (especially given sample size); the question isn't whether they have a lower rating, it's by how much.

by GARY (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 10:14pm


by Mannie Fresh (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 10:23pm

What can be suprising to most people:

People claim the Bears need to establish a running game, yet Thomas Jones has the 4th most rushing yards in the NFC, ahead of many notables like Warrick Dunn, Steven Jackson, Ahman Green, and Brian Westbrook. He has more yards than Rudi Jahnson from Cincy. Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson combine for more yards than other two-headed tandems that are overrated in the NFL: Ace-Deuce-And-Plenty-of-Use-McAllister and Reggie Bush and more yard than the Corey Dillon/Laurence Maroney due.

I'm sure the Bears have established thier "running team" mantra, don't you think?

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 10:36pm

Hey, Becephalus, I already ate my DVOAcrow, although my preseason win projection for Minny may still end up being closer than Aaron's , and it is very likely my midseason projection will be better. No doubt, though, I overrated them and I think it is mostly due to my underestimating the effect of Koren Robinson's near-inevitable fall off the wagon. Without a number-one caliber wideout, and the other guys really not even being mediocre number-two caliber, Brad Johnson's deficiencies just became impossible to work with. Outside the Raiders, they have to be close to the easiest offense to game plan for in the league, and certainly the easiest with a decent offensive line.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 10:38pm

I think they've established "we play crappy defences" more.

by Tally (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 10:44pm

Re #51, #82:

SD's defense isn't as bad as #16. Weighted DVOA actually underestimates the Chargers D, since the most recent games have been injury plagued.

On the other hand, their pass D is still probably going to be bad even with Merriman and Castillo back...better, b/c of the pass rush, and not likely to give up as many big plays, but still questionable.

by B (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 10:49pm

96: Yea, it's really too bad your best defensive player got busted for steroids. I'm sure that would negatively affect their defensive ratings.

by thad (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 11:06pm

Will Allen,
totally agree on the Cowboys and Vikings o-lines. I would take Hutchinson over owens in a heartbeat.
All this Cowboy love is scaring the crap out of me. They are a good team, they ain't that good.

by Tally (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 11:12pm

Re 97:

But the Roid Warriors will be back, and that will improve the D enough, I think, to make SD balanced enough in all three phases to be legit contenders.

by D (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 11:13pm

There is this common misconception that Orton was an "effecient game manager". He wasn't. He was a turnover machine and a disaster waiting to happen. Griese is different. He has played in conservative ball control offeses his entire carrer and was relatively successful in them. True, he will never put up the monster numbers that Grossman does when Rex is on, but he also will not take the stupid risks that Grossman is prone to. The Bears defense and special teams are good enough to ensure that the offense is almost always working on a short field which means Chicago does not need a high powered passing attack to generate points. The offense just needs to move the chains and not turn the ball over.

by Nathan (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 11:50pm

That's weird... I went back home for thanksgiving and found out one of my classmates was on the Cleveland Browns for a little while.

Nuts. Checking up if I can find out more, but that's weird.

by B (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 11:53pm

99: The question is how will they perform now that they can't take the roids anymore.

by Chris (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 11:56pm

A comparison of Mike Harris' playoff projections and mine is now posted in my blog (click my name). By the end of the season, this should provide some limited data for evaluating the predictive power of DVOA compared to the predictive power of a power rating system based soley on wins and losses and where played.

by B (not verified) :: Tue, 11/21/2006 - 11:59pm

Griese last year had 7 Ints in 185 passes. Grossman so far this year has had 7 Ints in 329 passes (not counting this past weekend). I wouldn't count on Griese as being some panacea who will solve the TO problem.

by B (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 12:05am

Err, make that 11 Ints in 312 passes for Grossman this year. Which is still a slightly slower rate than Griese last year or in 2004. Griese had a higher DVOA in 04, but a lower one in 05 than Grossman is now.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 12:05am

If we count dropped interceptions, Grossman is just as bad (probably worse) than Orton was or Griese would be.

I'll say it again.

Orton will fail you. Grossman will fail in spectacular fashion.

by Roy (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 12:08am

Steven Jackson has almost all of the Rams' rushing attempts, something like 195/240. Jackson has a DVOA of about +5%, but the Rams' total rush offense has a DVOA of about -8%. Why the big difference?

by Your Guilty Conscience (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 12:24am

Fnor seems to have somethin against the Bears...is somebody havin a bad day or is it because your team lost this Sunday? Either way whatever u spittin outta ur mouth won't discourage us from plannin a Superbowl Shuffle Remix

by RC (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 12:39am

a Ravens-Bears Super Bowl would be tremendous. Then again I'm a Ravens fan and I love great defense.

by Eddo (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 12:46am

Re: Grossman v. Griese
I was not saying that Griese and Orton are equals. What I was getting at is that it just seems that arguing for Griese over Grossman is arguing for the "he just wins games" theory, which is one of the biggest punchlines here at FO.
Re: 106 - Fnor
Grossman did indeed fail "in spectacular fashion," as you so put it, against Miami and Arizona. However, what he has shown the last two weeks is promising. Against the Giants, he had a shaky first half and was able to make appropriate adjustments mid-game in order to have a very good second half. Against the Jets, you could say he failed, but in the same way you are saying that Kyle Orton will fail you--he didn't really contribute to the win, but also avoided making the big mistakes he made against the Cardinals and Dolphins.
To me, it just seems unfair that a lot of people are discounting the Bears' playoff chances because Grossman has had two terrible games where he has forced throws and turned the ball over, while at the same time jumping on the Cowboy bandwagon without ever wondering if Romo will fall apart in a big game. Also, having watched Rex every game this year, he is still developing as a quarterback, and has six more chances to learn before the playoffs start.

by D (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 1:20am

I should qualify my previous remarks by saying that A) Lovie Smith knows way more about football than I do and B) I don't think Griese will be a panacea who will magically solve all of the Bear's offensive problems. I just think he would be better than Grossman.
But I have been wrong before.

by zip (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 1:33am

Either way whatever u spittin outta ur mouth won’t discourage us from plannin a Superbowl Shuffle Remix

You're right, that was way more effective than backing up your point with facts.

by Richard (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 1:44am

Correlations again:

ESPN: .768
FOX: .755
CBS: .757
Pythagenpat: .915

by Fnor (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 1:51am

#110: He also had a terrible game against MIN. He just got lucky. I'll agree he showed progress against the Giants. Then again, I would also agree that by the end of the game the Giants really didn't have a defense left, making the adjustment to decency a good sight more easy. Grossman hasn't done a lot to impress me this year. Berrian, on the other hand, is completely insane. The effectiveness of the offence against a good D, I believe, is entirely reliant upon Berrian being able to go deep and run under rather erratic Grossman throws.

As far as development goes... he's not going to lose his problems over the course of the next 6 games. He could get over them a season from now. I'm open to that, since he has shown the ability to adapt a bit. I'm not sold on the idea that he'll become a consistent, top-flight quarterback, however. He thinks he's Brett Favre, which is a bad mindset for even Brett Favre these days.

#109: There's a difference between a low-scoring game because of great defence and a low-scoring game because of inept offence against great defence. The latter is usually close-your-eyes awful.

#108: That last sentence made absolutely no sense. Also, I like the Bears. Lance Briggs is one of my favorite players.

For the record, my team won Sunday.

by Pete C (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 2:10am

Looking at your rankings, one team strikes out as a potential monkey wrench: Seattle. Despite being 25th in DVOA, I have to believe they still could be the 2nd best team in the NFC (with a healthy Matt and Shaun). Do you have any ideas what impact a healthy MH-SA tandem might have on their current DVOA?

by dbt (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 2:17am

Fnor, don't let the haters get you down. I'm a Bears fan and the last thing I want is a super bowl remix. Just a super bowl title.

(If someone wants to try and tell me if it's broken or not, I tried adding a floating sorted set of captions to the right hand side of the clickable dvoa chart. I can't test in IE at the moment).

by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 2:25am

dbt - it's broken, at least when I try to view it with IE. It worked earlier.

by dbt (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 2:48am

thanks for the feedback. reverted for now.

by centrifuge (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 2:57am

Fox Commentary is all screwed up. The Chargers have no comment -- instead, their comment is next to Dallas. The Dallas comment is presumably lost to the ether. The Pittsburgh comment seems to be directed toward the Saints (and isn't very optimistic), and the Steelers' "next game" is actually the Browns'.

by Mannie Fresh (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 2:58am

Another week, another Superbowl lock. First it was Bengals, then Broncos, then Patriots, then Colts, not that they lost, the baton is passed on to the Chargers. Pick a damn team and stick with them...

by admin :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 2:59am

Commentary finally posted:

All individual stats and line stats updated now as well.

by BillWallace (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 3:52am

Wow, no compassion at all for the Philly fans.

by Trieu (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 3:58am

(Preface: FO rules! But . . . )

Optimism is boring.

by Flux (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 3:58am

what's with the wordless san diego commentary? is that some sort of meta-optimism? In many years I'd take that as a "if you can't say something nice say nothing at all." but SD is actually good this year?

by Jim (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 4:05am

Obviously San Diego is playing so well right now that their greatness transcends the written word. I feel the unspoken Charger love, Aaron.

by Bill Barnwell :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 4:14am

Aww...Aaron thinks he can out-goofy-music-reference me with Sloan? This shalt be war.

by David Brude (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 4:28am

Can someone from FO explain in detail why WAS's pass offense ranks so high? I can only remember maybe two games where they've looked decent. The pass offense has at least from a qualitative perspective seemed middle of the road to poor.

by Richard (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 6:05am

125: Believe it. Thanks Aaron.

by Not saying (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 9:00am

Re: 107 (Jackson's DVOA vs. Rams DVOA)

That's a good question. I don't know the full answer, but I had a couple thoughts.

Almost all the other carries have been by Davis, who has been spectacularly bad (-24.9%).

Bulger's carries aren't listed under DVOA (I suppose most of his "carries" are kneeldowns), but I don't think that he adds much there. 1.6 average isn't so great.

If you look at the Giants, you have almost all the carries by Barber (16.5%) and Jacobs (41.5%). But the team DVOA is only 12.9%. So it doesn't seem to be just a Rams thing.

Maybe QBs make a big difference. Maybe the average for RBs is lower than the average for teams. Is the A in DVOA for RBs just compared to other RBs?

by Not saying (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 9:02am

To answer my own last question, because I'm an idiot, the answer is yes, it's just RBs compared to each other.

So, I guess that's the main answer.

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 9:04am

cjfarls (#1)--
Yeah, my Broncos are just slightly above average. Another 1st round playoff loss…
You never know -- the Broncos could luck out and face the Patriots in the first round.

by jdb (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 9:22am

One thing about Rex Grossman.

Although it's already been said, I was very encouraged by his lack of crazy throws and turnovers against the Jets, even against pretty constant pressure. Sure, it was pretty much the exact opposite of an offensive juggernaut, but with an excellent defense and special teams and a decent running game (which hopefully continues to produce at least 125+ yards a game), he doesn't really have to do too much, as long as he doesn't make any dumb turnovers. Also, #106 (Fnor)-if you counted dropped interceptions for Grossman, you'd have to count them for Griese and Orton too.

by Becephalus (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 9:36am

120 I don't even understand that commment? Are you talking about DVOA or the media or what? I haven't seen a single AFC team or the bears for that matter desrcibed as a superbowl lock by any of the staff here?

by Translucent Nutsack (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 10:42am

Could someone please explain the phenomenon that is "Catholic Match Girl" and Robo-Punter to the uninitiated

by Translucent Nutsack (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 10:44am

or would that be "phenomena that are"

by Fnor (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 11:00am

#132: Based on my memory of last year, even including that, the comparison is still unfavorable. Grossman's had a LOT of INTs dropped.

As for Griese, that's fair. I don't know how inaccurate he is off the to of my head.

by Abarine (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 11:02am

This is the second time I've seen this on the site, and it bears mentioning because one of the guys it involves is a potential Pro Bowler. Cleveland's starting strong safety is not Brodney Pool; Sean Jones beat him out in training camp. Jones also has the most interceptions of any safety in the NFL right now, with 5. Pool's been starting, but it's been at corner (both in the Carolina and Pittsburgh game) in place of Leigh Bodden, who's been injured. Jones has been called our most consistent player by Crennel and Phil Savage; Pool's good, but he ain't Jones.

by jdb (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 11:11am

fnor-true, Grossman's had a pretty fair # of INTs dropped this year. Still though, I can't help but feel that his potential upside is greater than Griese (I'm going to discount Orton, feeling that his ceiling is pretty much as a passable back-up).
I looked up Griese's career stats and they're pretty darned good (63.2 comp rate, 7.0 yd/att, 103-78 TD/INT). I think he's a good QB and could start for several teams. But he's 31, and he had that torn ACL. Meanwhile, the jury is still out on Grossman. It seems like you have to really give at least 2 full seasons (preferrably 3) before you can really decide about a QB. I think that in the long run, the worst Grossman can wind up is a quality, slightly above average NFL starter-compararable to Griese. Plus he's 5 years younger. Anyway, that's just my opinion...

by Not saying (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 11:22am

Re: 134

For the ROBO-Punter phenomenon, look here.

The Catholic Match Girl is in reference to an ad that used to appear on this site, but alas, no longer does. It was for the site catholicmatch.com and featured a girl with really big eyes. (The ad was even called by the site their "crazy eyes" spot.) People talked about it a lot in extra points and also in Scramble for the Ball, where Bill named his bet of the week the "Catholic Match Girl Staredown of the Week".

by James C (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 11:27am


Robopunter is explained (with a link) in the outsiders glossary found in the drop down menu below 'just the stats'.

Catholic Match Girl was an all too brief visitor to these shores whose fair face/ doe eyes/ creepy stare/ bunny boiling/ insect eating ways are now lost to us all. Here is a link to the nonsense but it may no make any sense as CMG is with us no more.


I hope that explains it but somehow I doubt it.

by Peter (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 12:11pm

Does anybody (not a Bear or Charger fan) really think they can beat the Chargers?

I'm a Bronco fan, and I can tell you that what happened to us on Sunday night was probably the most terrifying (and frustrating) 20 minutes of football any of us have ever seen against San Diego. That team is scary good, even with half of their front seven out of commission.

by admin :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 12:16pm

I have no idea why the Chargers comment is still not up. There is one, this is it:

The Chargers still get to play Oakland, Arizona, and Buffalo, and only the Jets have an easier remaining schedule. The Chargers have the best red zone offense in the league and the best running game in the league, while only the Colts rank ahead of them in passing DVOA and on third downs. NEXT: vs. OAK

As for the Browns, Pool has great numbers this year, both with the early charting and the individual defense stats based on the straight pbp. If he's playing corner, the reason I have no idea is that nobody ever sees the Browns, which is pretty much part of the point of the article. I'll try to actually watch them at some point but they're never on national television or NFL Replay.

by PhillyCWC (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 12:21pm

No optimism for Philly, the city of eternal busted dreams. Sigh.

by PhillyCWC (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 12:23pm

On a related note, as you may know, Ryan Howard of the Phillies was selected this year's National League MVP. As I was watching coverage on this over the past few days, I couldn't help thinking that the MVP nod means he'll be hit by a bus or something as soon as the Phillies start to do well and make a serious bid for the playoffs next year. That's just how it goes in Philadelphia.

by Jero D (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 12:23pm

Based on the non-adjusted DVOA spreads of this week's matchups, the GB @ SEA game would be ranked a 1 in a weighted office pool.

by Jero D (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 12:25pm

Add to #145:
That is with SEA as a fav.

Total DVOA has GB a fav with 3 points.

I took SEA large.

by Gil (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 12:43pm

Gotta love "optimism" where my team's (Washington's) bright spot is that a member of the secondary leads the league at his position when it comes to tackles on running plays. Why not just say, "The defensive line sucks, the linebackers suck, so be grateful that the safeties pay attention on downs when they're not being flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct"?

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 12:49pm


Because this is the optimism column, not the reality column.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 1:02pm

Maybe a reference to the greatest Onion article ever (see link) would work as well. Of course, you'd need permission from The Onion, but c'mon.

Also, the thong would have to be a CMG item.

by Abarine (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 1:46pm

I haven't charted or anything, so it's entirely possible that Pool's played safety here and there; we've had so many DB problems this season that nothing would be shocking.

How good are his numbers? I've noticed him in there several times, but I can't honestly say I've noticed good or bad things.

by CrazyBoB (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 2:39pm

As a Cleveland fan i have watched all the BRowns games this year, and Brodney Pool is mostly playing a mix between cornerback, and straigt out covering the tight end on passing downs. Sean Jones is playing great at safety also, while Pool seems to me to be the person most responsible for the Browns defense against tight ends this year.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 2:46pm

152: You're evil.

by Cameron (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 3:03pm

Please, for the love of dog: if you're gazing intently at DVOA statistics, you're "poring" over them. "Pouring" is something that you do with beer.

by centrifuge (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 3:17pm

FO's Wikipedia page has a small section on ROBO-PUNTER. Perhaps someone will add a header for the Catholic Match girl soon.

by rollo (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 4:27pm

Looks like, in the race for the last AFC wildcard, Jacksonville has a bit of an edge in future schedule. Jags future schedule = 0.3% (19th). Chiefs future schedule= 9.7% (1st). Also, the Chiefs and jags are the two most schizophrenic teams and rank #2 and 1 in variance. Both teams have easy games on the road and most of their tougher opponents at home. Who can master their good side and hold it together? If noone, who can come out on top in Arrowhead?

by Jim Maron (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 4:40pm

I just read the comment on the Fox site about the Eagles and how they will now fall apart.

If the Eagles are truly as good as their stats to this point suggest they are, than I think it is highly unlikely they would fall apart based on the loss of the QB.

Has Football Outsiders ever done a study of the effect of a QB on the outcome of a game. I'm not statistician, but it seems to me that QB performance has a lot more to do with the team he plays on than his own ability.

by B (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 4:41pm

157: The Jets.

by B (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 4:43pm

Heh, whoops. I meant to answer 156, but for teams who collapse when their starting QB goes down, there's The Jets without Pennington, The Steelers without Rothlesberger, Philly last year, and many more. It's a pretty rare situation when a good team can lose their starting QB and continue to play well. Statistically, losing a QB is worse than losing any other position.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 4:50pm

"The Steelers without Rothlesberger,"


Maybe last year....certainly not this year

by Jim Maron (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 4:55pm

159 - No offence but that's just anecdotal evidence. I could name several teams that improved when their starting QB went down. Like I said I'm no statistician but back in 2002 a friend said about the same thing to me and it just didn't seem right to me so I looked up all the teams where a backup threw more than 100 passes and it turned out the backups actually had a higher rating (85.5 vs 83). These backups threw 2900 passes and the starters threw 3600, so it wasn't a small sample.

Just wondering if anyone here has done a real statistical analysis.

by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 4:57pm

Just wondering if anyone here has done a real statistical analysis.

Click on "About this Site", "Links outside the Outsiders", and click on "Bloody Sundays". You'll find that a team's chance of winning goes down by 24% after the starting quarterback is injured, the largest of any position, by far.

Philly really is screwed.

by chris clark (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 5:01pm

re: 161

For real analysis, one needs to analyze teams without their starting QB for more than 2 games (i.e. at least 3). I think a backup can be a short term improvement if not a know quantity (the other teams don't know what to defense against). However, after 2 games, one begins to have sufficient tape on the player that the other teams can adjust.

by SOW (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 5:04pm

Perhaps someone can let a brother in on the ROBO-PUNTER joke?

by SOW (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 5:06pm

Found it! A link for the uninitiated.

by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 5:11pm

KC's tiebreakers are really bad against the Jets (confenrence record), Cincinnati (head to head), and even Pittsburgh and Miami (head to head).

So I see our road to the playoffs as: 1) stay within one game of the Jags and 2) stay ahead of everyone else. Then I think we would prevail in Arrowhead against a warm-weather Jags team on the last week of the season.

Our schedule is really tough, but three of our four hardest games are at home and people are starting to get healthy: Green, Pro-Bowl guard Brian Waters, Tony Gonzales, our best LB Derrek Johnson, and S Greg Wesley all should be full strength after Thanksgiving, if not before.

On the minus side, Jacksonville's defense seems to be regaining its early season form and Garrad seems every bit as good as Leftwich. And I am afraid of the Jets schedule could allow them to finish 10-6 or better, which leaves us very little margin for error. DVOA has the Jets finishing 8-8, which would mean splitting on Houston, @GB, Buffalo, @Minnesota, @Miami, and Oakland. I'm hoping that Cincinnati drops two out of Baltimore, @Indianapolis, and @Denver to leave them at 9-7.

by Jim Maron (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 5:22pm

162. Thanks, read the article but didn't see anything in it about winning percentage decline with backups. Look at 2006 - teams that lost QB's to Injuries:


I think it is save to say that most if not all of these teams played as well with their backup as they did with the starter and in many situations (Sea, KC, Pitt, Mia?) one would have argued an injury would have been a disaster for that team?

I don't buy the argument that a QB effects the game anywhere near as much as people think and I still don't see any proof otherwise.

by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 5:31pm

162. Thanks, read the article but didn’t see anything in it about winning percentage decline with backups

That's because the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's website sucks now. That article was the start of a series, but you can't easily get to the series anymore from that article. Here's the portion of the series that has that information.

Here's the real link to the series - the one on the side of the article is crap.

by Jim Maron (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 5:47pm

168. Much appreciated. I sure would like to see the actual data that enabled them to claim a 24% higher liklihood of a loss. They throw out the claim, but they don't show how they arrived at the figure.

by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 6:22pm

I sure would like to see the actual data that enabled them to claim a 24% higher liklihood of a loss. They throw out the claim, but they don’t show how they arrived at the figure.

It's just from NFLPA documents and a regression analysis - I think it's mentioned somewhere in that series, but I'm not sure. They don't make the compiled data public because, well, it's their work.

The author used to comment on here occasionally. Note that this is a "generic" average, and so it's entirely possible that certain classes of teams could do better than others, for instance.

In Philly's case, though, they're heavily screwed, unless Reid massively changes his playcalling. The only reason they were able to sustain such a high rate of passing is because McNabb's got a ridiculously low interception rate. The same cannot be said for his replacements.

by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 6:29pm

I can think of quite a few quality teams that would still be good if they lost their starting QB:

Pitt (w/ Batch)
KC (w/ Huard)
Balt (w/ Boller)
Den? (w/ Cutler, who knows?)
Chi (w/ Griese)
Atl (w/ Shaub)
Dal (w/ Bledsoe)

The teams that seem to be overreliant on QB play:


I have no idea about:

Jack (now that Leftwitch is done)

Anyways, it doesn't seem that farfetched for a front office to plan ahead and not create a team that is completely crippled with the injury of one player.

by braddw34 (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 7:18pm


great post

by Eddo (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 7:41pm

Thanks braddw34 (#172)
And to Fnor (#114), I normally would agree with you that there's no way a quarterback can lose all his bad habits in six games. But it does seem that Rex's poor games are getting a little less poor as the season continues.
I also think it's a matter of Ron Turner's play calling. Against Arizona, Grossman's main flaw was that he kept forcing the ball downfield and not hitting his underneath check-downs. However, watching that game, there didn't seem to be a lot of underneath routes--it was as if the coaching staff panicked along with Grossman and decided to keep running high-risk passing plays that played right into the Cardinals' strength, for that game at least. Against the Jets, the coaching staff realized that they needed to keep things simpler, which led to fewer turnovers and ultimately, a win.

by Kal (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 9:27pm

Thanks braddw34 (#172)
And to Fnor (#114), I normally would agree with you that there’s no way a quarterback can lose all his bad habits in six games. But it does seem that Rex’s poor games are getting a little less poor as the season continues.

Not so fast. He did better against NY(team) primarily because he was under a lot less pressure. The Jets weren't able to get to him as much, nor were the Giants. Part of that was that the Bears were able to run the ball. Part of it was that he made fewer errors overall, but I think a bunch of that is simply that he wasn't called on to win the game singlehandedly.

I'm not sure that'll be the case against the Pats.

by Marko (not verified) :: Wed, 11/22/2006 - 9:52pm

"Part of it was that he made fewer errors overall, but I think a bunch of that is simply that he wasn’t called on to win the game singlehandedly."

Well, he never is called on to win the game singlehandedly. The encouraging thing about last week's game against the Jets is that he seemed to have realized that fact.

by Mentos Fillapeedios (not verified) :: Thu, 11/23/2006 - 12:17pm

re: 171

The Ravens with Boller? They will start losing. Count on it.

by makaveli (not verified) :: Sat, 11/25/2006 - 5:17am

please dont put Tomlinson on the cover of the next madden game, or sports illustrated, or any campbells soup commercials. i know you ppl dont have a lot of control over this, but you can at least stop focusing on him as much- wait until the chargers win some playoff games first. thank you. RIP tupac

by B (not verified) :: Tue, 11/28/2006 - 12:10pm

Judging from how the top 10 teams played this week, Indy, Bal, Dal and NE should rise, and the others should fall. Philly, obviously will have the biggest drop, but I expect Chi has enough of a lead over the rising teams to stay #1, at around 29%.
After them the order will be: Bal, Indy, then SD, Dal, NE, NYG, Jax, KC, Cin, Denver.