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The question is not whether Saquon Barkley is the best running back in this draft class. The question is whether any running back, even one as good as Barkley, warrants a top-five draft selection in the NFL in 2018.

25 Sep 2007

Week 3 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

We have to learn to trust the numbers.

When our preseason projections had Tampa Bay as the best team in the NFC South, and New Orleans at the bottom of the division, we assumed something was wrong. It wasn't fair to judge New Orleans based on two-year trends that included a year lost to a hurricane, right? The Bucs had reached the end of an era and were entering a rebuilding phase, right?

When we did our subjective staff predictions, and each staff member picked a team that would do better than projected and a team that would do worse than projected, I wouldn't even let people pick New Orleans and Tampa Bay. We all agreed those projections were a bit off. Although we were more optimistic about Tampa Bay than other analysts, nobody wanted to pencil them in for a division title.

Now here we are, three weeks into the season. Tampa Bay is one of the top five teams in VOA and New Orleans is the worst team in the league, one of the worst teams we've ever measured through three weeks. The strangest part of this is that the projection system didn't actually project it. The projection system didn't like the Saints because their defense was going to collapse, but only four teams had a better offensive projection. Instead, the defense has been bad and the offense has been worse. The offensive line has totally imploded. Drew Brees' decision-making skills went out the window. Devery Henderson disappeared. Reggie Bush regressed back to the start of last year. Sean Payton forgot how to surprise defenses. Deuce McAllister tore his other ACL. The Saints looked horrible last night.

The moral of the story: Trust the numbers. Unless the numbers are telling you that the Dallas Cowboys are going to collapse, in which case you probably shouldn't trust the numbers. (Actually, look at how many of us picked Dallas as "the team that would exceed their projection." We didn't really trust those numbers either.)

Dallas is having one of the best starts that we've ever measured with our play-by-play breakdown. Then again, the same goes for New England and Pittsburgh. You'll find more commentary on these teams below this week's ratings.

You can also check out the new Playoff Odds Report, which we are unveiling a week earlier than expected. This report plays out the season 5,000 times based on the current DAVE ratings. Thanks to Mike Harris for all his work on that.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through three weeks of 2007, 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 VOA 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/Mexico City) and week of season.

There are no opponent adjustments in VOA until the fourth week of the season, which is why it is VOA right now rather than DVOA. Instead, we use DAVE, which combines the preseason projection with the results of early games to give us a better prediction of how each team will rank at the end of the year. In this week's DAVE ratings, the preseason projection counts for 55 percent, and the current VOA counts for 45 percent. (Last week, the ratio was 75/25.)

All stats pages are now updated, including offensive line and defensive front seven for the first time this season. The DVOA Premium Database is also updated through Week 3. Loser League will be updated later tonight.

The second table that usually appears with DVOA -- schedule ratings, variation, estimated wins, etc. -- will begin to appear next week.

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>

1 NE 85.5% 1 56.9% 1 86.0% 3-0 53.5% 1 -28.0% 2 4.1% 10
2 PIT 79.9% 2 41.5% 2 80.1% 3-0 31.5% 4 -38.1% 1 10.3% 3
3 DAL 60.1% 3 21.6% 6 64.7% 3-0 46.7% 2 -9.3% 9 4.1% 11
4 IND 42.9% 5 23.2% 5 43.4% 3-0 35.0% 3 -18.4% 5 -10.5% 28
5 TB 42.3% 12 24.8% 4 39.1% 2-1 18.0% 7 -20.4% 3 3.9% 12
6 PHI 24.9% 19 25.5% 3 25.7% 1-2 19.9% 5 -9.2% 10 -4.2% 21
7 GB 24.3% 9 14.0% 9 19.6% 3-0 14.5% 10 -2.7% 13 7.1% 6
8 BAL 22.1% 7 16.5% 7 17.4% 2-1 -4.1% 21 -10.0% 8 16.2% 1
9 DEN 15.4% 6 7.0% 10 18.4% 2-1 11.3% 11 -19.5% 4 -15.4% 31
10 MIN 13.6% 10 1.1% 15 11.4% 1-2 -8.2% 24 -17.2% 6 4.6% 9
11 TEN 12.8% 20 2.1% 14 15.3% 2-1 7.0% 14 -8.0% 11 -2.1% 19
12 HOU 12.6% 4 -3.9% 17 15.8% 2-1 -3.9% 20 -1.1% 15 15.4% 2
13 ARI 7.1% 11 -7.0% 18 11.2% 1-2 16.9% 9 3.9% 18 -5.9% 23
14 SEA 6.5% 14 2.9% 12 9.1% 2-1 8.4% 12 9.6% 20 7.7% 5
15 JAC 3.8% 16 15.3% 8 4.2% 2-1 3.7% 17 2.6% 17 2.7% 13
16 CIN 2.0% 15 -1.0% 16 2.3% 1-2 19.5% 6 -0.4% 16 -17.9% 32
17 WAS 0.3% 13 3.7% 11 10.5% 2-1 -3.9% 19 -3.0% 12 1.2% 15
18 CAR -7.3% 22 2.4% 13 -1.4% 2-1 17.4% 8 15.8% 23 -9.0% 27
19 DET -11.4% 8 -10.4% 20 -11.7% 2-1 4.9% 16 15.8% 24 -0.5% 17
20 MIA -16.0% 23 -15.1% 26 -22.5% 0-3 7.0% 13 17.5% 25 -5.5% 22
21 CLE -20.0% 25 -12.2% 21 -14.5% 1-2 -6.5% 22 22.4% 28 8.9% 4
22 KC -23.6% 27 -24.7% 29 -19.3% 1-2 -25.9% 29 -13.6% 7 -11.3% 29
23 NYG -26.2% 28 -13.8% 25 -26.9% 1-2 6.4% 15 28.7% 29 -3.9% 20
24 SF -27.6% 21 -13.3% 23 -25.2% 2-1 -22.8% 28 6.1% 19 1.3% 14
25 SD -28.9% 24 -8.2% 19 -30.1% 1-2 -11.2% 25 18.8% 26 1.1% 16
26 ATL -29.5% 26 -13.2% 22 -30.5% 0-3 -2.2% 18 20.6% 27 -6.7% 25
27 CHI -34.2% 18 -13.3% 24 -35.1% 1-2 -40.3% 32 -1.4% 14 4.7% 8
28 OAK -38.0% 30 -23.8% 28 -30.3% 1-2 -13.4% 26 12.2% 21 -12.4% 30
29 STL -41.4% 17 -32.3% 31 -39.7% 0-3 -20.7% 27 14.1% 22 -6.5% 24
30 NYJ -49.1% 31 -17.8% 27 -44.3% 1-2 -7.0% 23 41.0% 32 -1.0% 18
31 BUF -58.5% 29 -28.9% 30 -56.5% 0-3 -30.2% 31 35.1% 31 6.8% 7
32 NO -68.6% 32 -33.3% 32 -65.1% 0-3 -28.8% 30 32.8% 30 -7.1% 26

Does it seem like it has been a long time since any team dominated its early competition like New England and Pittsburgh have? That's because it has been a long time: 11 years, in fact.

Only two teams in the DVOA era -- yes, the staff decided to keep that term -- have single-game VOA ratings over 80% in each of their first three games: the 1996 Packers and the 2007 Patriots. Only three teams have single-game VOA ratings over 70% in each of their first three games: the 1996 Packers, 2007 Patriots, and 2007 Steelers. Only six teams have single-game VOA ratings over 50% in each of their first three games, and three of those teams are playing right now:

Team Year Opponents Game 1 Game 2 Game 3 Total VOA
GB 1996 at TB, vs. PHI, vs. SD 121.6% 82.2% 94.1% 99.3%
NE 2007 at NYJ, vs. SD, vs. BUF 89.7% 85.5% 81.6% 85.6%
PIT 2007 at CLE, vs. BUF, vs. SF 92.8% 70.3% 77.2% 80.1%
DAL 2007 vs. NYG, at MIA, at CHI 58.9% 53.5% 88.7% 67.0%
KC 2003 vs. SD, vs. PIT, at HOU 51.4% 62.3% 68.5% 63.2%
DEN 2003 at CIN, at SD, vs. OAK 60.1% 54.1% 60.9% 57.4%

Remember, we aren't considering opponent adjustments here, because it is so early in the season. Some of these wins are over bad teams and will be rated lower when the season ends. Still, to have three teams start this strong is pretty remarkable. Let's look back into the past as well. Dallas has outscored opponents by 68 points this year, Pittsburgh by 71, and New England by 79. Only nine other teams since 1990 have outscored their first three opponents by 65 points or more:

1996 Packers (89)
1991 Redskins (81)
2001 Packers (80)
1992 Bills (74)
1999 Rams (73)
1995 Dolphins (68)
1998 Seahawks (67)
2000 Bucs (67)
2003 Broncos (65)

Four of the top five teams made it to the Super Bowl, and three of them won it. On the other hand, the 1998 Seahawks lost their next three games and finished the season 8-8, so nothing is guaranteed.

In yesterday's Audibles, I asked people to hold off on the "can the Patriots go undefeated" discussion until they had taken care of their harder road games. Well, as part of the Playoff Odds Report, I asked Mike Harris to give me the odds for each of the five undefeated teams to finish the season 16-0. It turns out the question we should be asking is not "Can the Patriots go 16-0?" but rather "Can the Steelers go 16-0?" The Steelers finished the season undefeated in 0.98% of simulations. Remember, the Steelers don't have to face the Colts, and they play the NFC West while the Patriots have to play the NFC East. (On the other hand, they have to play the Ravens twice, not once, and they play the Patriots in Foxboro rather than at home.) The Patriots were undefeated in 0.52% of simulations, the Cowboys in 0.14%, and the Colts and Packers each in 0.12%.

Just as extreme as those three great starts has been the Saints' horrible start. Here's a list of teams starting with three straight games below -50%:

Team Year Opponents Game 1 Game 2 Game 3 Total VOA
CIN 2000 vs. CLE, at JAC, at BAL -69.3% -61.8% -131.5% -87.5%
WAS 2001 at SD, at GB, vs. KC -80.0% -83.1% -94.4% -85.8%
NO 2007 at IND, at TB, vs. TEN -82.2% -74.5% -54.4% -68.6%
SEA 1996 at SD, vs. DEN, vs. KC -71.4% -58.0% -68.6% -66.0%

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 25 Sep 2007

166 comments, Last at 28 Sep 2007, 11:15am by podpeople


by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 3:29pm

Man, the Patriots are sinking like a rock. If current trends continue, they'll only be a positive 9% DVOA for the Super Bowl.

by BigBen (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 3:32pm

In reference to the great three game stretch by the steelers and the patriots, What's the difference between a great three game stretch at the beginning versus the end of the season.

To get the correct perspective shouldn't you look over any three game stretch for a team?

by Unshakable Optimist (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 3:40pm

Any idea when FO finds another home? I miss the comments for each team that used to be included in the DVOA ratings.

by Cmos (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 3:44pm

I couldn't get past Prospectus's projection for the Cowboys, it just didn't seem to add up. I thought they would be in at least 10 win territory, and Romo would move past the kicking debacle.

While I feel somewhat vindicated now, I'm now becoming concerned with the 'Boys having a late season collapse and limping into the playoffs, like the 2006 Cowboys and 2005 Colts.....other than that...How about them Cowboys!

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 3:44pm

I shudder to think that there are eight offenses which are worse than the Vikings; Adrian Peterson is the only explanation.

Regarding teams that matter, I've put away my Jerry Jones animus to enjoy players like Romo, Barber, and Ware, but if they get deep into the playoffs or the big game, we'll be treated to endless nonsense about how Parcells was too old school, and how ol' laid back Wade is a much better coach for the modern player. I like Phillips quite a bit, but the biggest difference in this team from the last couple of years is not having a completely immobile guy throwing terrible paases while being pressured, and instead having a rapidly improving guy who is supernatural in avoiding the rush, while throwing accurately downfield. Parcells was only too old school in the manner in which he tried to make do with a guy he was familiar with, but just couldn't play anymore.

by Matt (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 3:47pm

Denver was clearly ranked too high last week because they got housed by the Jaguars. DVOA with excel pasting errors is way better than this. Jagz rool!

by BucKai (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 3:47pm

I'm curious to see what the opponent adjustments will do to Tampa next week, considering our wins have come against the 29 & 32 ranked teams.

by Owl Jolson (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 3:49pm

Historically speaking the first three games of the season seem to “set the tone� for the rest of the season. The last three could be meaningless if you have already clinched a playoff berth.

by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 3:49pm

Frankly, I think the Patriots' odds of making the playoffs are a little on the low side.

by Brad (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 3:49pm

The most shocking result I see is that Indianapolis is ranked fifth in defensive DVOA. Small sample size and opponent adjustments aside, I don't think anyone expected to see that at any point this year.

by Joel_in_NOLA (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 3:54pm

I'm actually imagining a world where the Saints have a 2 and 14 year this season.

Woooo Hoooo! Play for those high draft picks boys!

by Gerry (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 3:55pm

"I shudder to think that there are eight offenses which are worse than the Vikings; Adrian Peterson is the only explanation."

Not the only explanation-- who they have played so far has something to do with it as well. I'm guessing that when opponent adjustments come into play next week, their offense will look worse.

by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 3:59pm

Well, the Colts have played the Saints, whose offense appears to have imploded, the Titans, whose offense is mediocre, and the Texans, who were missing Andre Johnson and their top two running backs. The Colts defense is much improved, and may even be an above average unit, but it's not the fifth best in football.

The playoff odds projector agrees with my assertion before the weekend that the Texans have a roughly 20-25% chance of making the playoffs, and reckons they can be expected to finish with at least as many wins as losses and are twice as likely to win the superbowl as have the first overall pick (though admittedly not very likely to do either). Woohoo!

I think the Cowboys are somewhat flattered by the schedule at this point, and if the Bears' injuries on defense aren't too long term, their DVOA for that game will be too high even once the opponent adjustments come in. The Bears defense shut down the Cowboys O for as long as their starters were on the field, but once Briggs, Harris and Vasher went down that unsurprisingly changed. The Chargers are also much better than VOA or DAVE currently thinks - that's purely a strength of schedule issue, and should be dealt with once the opponent adjustments kick in. That problem is also likely screwing with the AFC playoff odds somewhat.

by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 4:00pm

Re: 5

Nothing on God's green Earth can make me even think about putting away my hatred of all things related to the Cowboys.

by B (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 4:00pm

Hmmmm, Detroit is ranked higher than Chicago. Should I trust Dave on this one? Seems like quite a stretch, but with the injuries to Chicago's defense, it might just happen. Of course, Detriot's "Defense" is just what Grossman needs to suddenly look like a competent QB.

by Jimmy (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 4:00pm

This only makes me wish Grossman isn't the Bears starter even more (and that is difficult).

by Pippin (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 4:07pm

What would happen if you calculated the "pound for pound" best player based on VOA? Would it always be a particular position (e.g. quarterback)? Would it tend to vary from week to week or is there some skinny wonder in the league who'd almost always pick it up?

by mactbone (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 4:07pm

Yeah, this isn't good for the Bears (article linked in my name):
Fred Miller's right knee was wrapped in the locker room, and Adam Archuleta was wearing a brace on his right wrist.
They didn't even rate a mention from Lovie Smith when he went over the long list of banged up players for the Bears, who could truly benefit from a bye this week but will have to wait until the first week of November.

Defensive tackle Tommie Harris (left knee), linebacker Lance Briggs (groin) and cornerback Nathan Vasher (groin) are all in jeopardy of missing Sunday's game at Detroit after they were knocked out of Sunday's loss to Dallas. None of the injuries is considered to be season-ending, but all could be out a few weeks.

Losing just one of them will limit a unit that already is without tackle Dusty Dvoracek and safety Mike Brown. Ruben Brown has a sprained left ankle and defensive end Adewale Ogunleye (right hip pointer) and cornerback Charles Tillman, who had his right ankle re-wrapped during the game, also are banged up.

by Tony Romo (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 4:08pm

I really never thought I'd see it happen that the Steelers would be in the top 5 in special teams. Trading up for a punter and signing an All-Pro return guy paying dividends.

by Len (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 4:08pm

Re: #13 -

Take off your homer glasses. While injuries certainly factored to a degree, the Cowboys have exploded on each of their three opponents in the second half. The wizard behind the curtain is O Coordinator Jason Garrett and his halftime adjustments.

by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 4:12pm

I'm not as optimistic as everyone else about the Cowboys. A few reasons why.
-They've beaten the 23, 24, 25 teams in DAVE.
-The only competent qb they've faced put up 35 on them.
-The offense only played well against the Bears after Briggs was injured, and Mike Brown was already out. And several other Bears were injured in the second quarter.
-Romo and Barber are playing at unsustainable levels right now.
-Romo's low completion rate/new "throw long" philosophy will result in more turnovers.
-They have 8 interceptions already, only one team last year had more than 24.

by SoulardX (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 4:13pm

In St. Louis, this is approaching Touchdown Tony Banks and June Henley era lows....... sweet jebus. Looks like the 25% of FO experts who picked the Rams to make the playoffs will be very very wrong. Much like that idiot SoulardX.

by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 4:15pm

re: 21
"quarter" should read "half"

by Yinka Double Dare (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 4:25pm

From what I'm hearing, Harris is probably gone for about a month, which means the Bears are hosed. Forget the division, they'll struggle to make the playoffs.

In case anyone is wondering about how not having Harris and Vasher affects the Bears D, there was a game last year where they both were out. The pathetic Bucs offense scored 31 points. They hadn't managed a TD in either of their previous two games. I'm thinking those injuries just might have had something to do with how the Cowboys suddenly looked like an offensive juggernaut in the second half.

by Shawn (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 4:30pm

Buffalo is clearly ranked too high because they couldn't even beat a decent college team at this point (but could probably compete against Notre Dame). Any subjective rating system that has Buffalo in last is better than this. Now I go off script and say - at least I can finally admit FO was right about JP Losman. Maybe the Trent Edwards era will be an improvement?

by Erik Smith (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 4:31pm

But NO is trending upward!

by Chad Gerson (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 4:32pm

I TOLD YOU the Colts would have a decent defense this year. I also agree they are not #5 though.

As for their offense, once they get a lead they are so methodical they usually don't score in a hurry. That could bring their DVOA down. If they needed to they could easily have been scoring 38/game like the Patriots.

The Colts and Pats are numbers 1 and 2, everything else is up for debate. If only the Colts didn't have such horrendous kick coverage...

by Thok (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 4:33pm

Do the playoffs odds incorporate any sort of regression to the mean in them? They probably should, since some of the playoff percentages seems way too high. I mean, the Patriots shouldn't have a 98.5% chance of winning their division after 3 games (no matter how much the Bills, Dolphins, and Jets suck), since the chance of multiple significant injuries destroying the Patriots season is probably higher than 1.5%.

by kevinNYC (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 4:36pm

How can Aaron say the "David Diehl at LT experiment has been a failure" when ALL the offensive line numbers say the opposite? Sometimes you have to just admit you've been wrong so far.

by Len (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 4:40pm

RE: Bears injuries.

Briggs didn't come out of the locker room at the half.

Cowboys first possession: A 89 yard drive, touchdown. No Bears injuries. (Ogunleye was out briefly but came back.)

Cowboys second possession: A 91 yard drive, touchdown. During this drive Vasher was injured.

Third possession: 55 yards, field goal. No Bears injuries.

Fourth possession: 78 yards, touchdown. During this drive Harris was injured.

So based on this data, you could make the case that Briggs is the all-world player that kept the Cowboys under wraps, but that's about it. Maybe Vasher, maybe not. Especially not Harris.

by MikeJ (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 4:42pm

#21, I'll try to play devil's advocate to your post without being a complete homer:

1) Part of the reason the DAVE's are so low for their opponents is the beatdowns that the Cowboys have put on them. If you go by preseason DVOA then they've played #13, #19, and #28, still a little below average but a little tougher. They have played 2 of 3 on the road as well.

2) Yes Eli torched the defense but that was the 1st game of the year without Newman, the D has played better each game and will get Newman back playing on every down soon. Also don't forget they will get Tank after week 8 for some D-Line depth.

3) This point is going to sound really homer-rific, but the Cowboys offense got screwed by multiple bad calls in the Bears game. The block in the back called on Witten, the phantom pass interference on TO, and a ticky-tack hold on Flozell come to mind.

4) Terry Glenn will be back soon, which should come in handy as defenses are really focused on shutting down Owens and Witten right now (not that it's working too well for them).

Will they put up 35 points every week, of course not but they sure look like the best team in the NFC to me right now.

by MRH (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 4:45pm

Re 13/24 - a great deal of the Bears D "shutting down" the Cowboys in the 1st half came from Crayton turning a ctach into an INT and a TD into a FG.

As is often the case, there is a Bill James comment that is apropros. Re teams doing well after an old school HoF coach/manager retires, I think it's the 1984 Baseball Abstract that observed how the '61 Yankees, '33 Giants, and '83 Orioles won titles after McGraw, Stengel, and Weaver retired/were fired. Parcells out and Phillips in may be much like Weaver out and Altobelli in. Joe Altobelli is an extremely nice guy - I say this based on the experience of my dad, who is now neighbors with Altobelli, and Joe is always giving my dad free tickets and VIP parking passes to the minor league games in Rochester, NY. By most conventional measures, my dad is not a VIP.

by Gerry (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 4:45pm


Having watched all three Giants games so far, I'd say he has not played at a pro-bowl level, but has been good enough to where that position is not one of our biggest worries. And he doesn't cause me to pull my hair out thrice weekly (or more) as Luke Petitgout and his magical mystery false starts did.

by vanya (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 4:47pm

#17 - the answer is "Wes Welker."

by Matt (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 4:49pm

Science is beautiful.

"We have to learn to trust the numbers. When our preseason projections had Tampa Bay as the best team in the NFC South, and New Orleans at the bottom of the division, we assumed something was wrong. . . . Now here we are, three weeks into the season. Tampa Bay is one of the top five teams in VOA and New Orleans is the worst team in the league, one of the worst teams we’ve ever measured through three weeks. The strangest part of this is that the projection system didn’t actually project it. The projection system didn’t like the Saints because their defense was going to collapse, but only four teams had a better offensive projection. Instead, the defense has been bad and the offense has been worse. . . . The moral of the story: Trust the numbers. Unless the numbers are telling you that the Dallas Cowboys are going to collapse, in which case you probably shouldn’t trust the numbers."

by B-dog (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 4:50pm

Anyone else surprised the Bengals D is actually ranked #16? Thought they would be much much lower with a good showing against #21 Ravens, horrible horrible horrible showing against #22 Browns and not so good showing against #12 Hawks. I suppose the horrid special teams are setting up the very average defense in a lot of bad field position leading to an inordinate number of points scored against them. Not too mention the offense often times scoring very quickly sending the D right back out on the field. Any thoughts?

by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 4:52pm

Harris is out? Wow. That allows teams to double the ends as needed. The entire Packer line holds Harris in complete awe. You don't often hear pros refer to a rival player as "unblockable" or "superhuman". Packer center Scott Wells said he thought he was going to be out of pro football after Harris destroyed him in the first game last year. Then he said he got to the next few games and realized, "Hey, not everyone is Tommie Harris."

by Zac (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 5:02pm

Re: 17. You can do pound-for-pound DPAR. DVOA is already done on a play by play basis. Pound for pound DPAR is simply DPAR/plays. But really, this ranks people in basically the same order as the DVOA % ranks them.

by Matt (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 5:06pm

36 -

Caught a funny exchange on Bengals postgame radio on Sunday night (as I was driving home from another NFL contest), with host and caller debating whether Brady could throw for 500 or 600 yards if necessary this upcoming weekend.

Maybe the Bengals VOA is deceptively high even after the Browns' game meltdown because the stat can't measure how wide open receivers have been on some of those catches.

by Charles Jake (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 5:11pm


I'd say the Bears should play a 5-man line, but I don't think they have 5 healthy guys. This is starting to look more and more like the Champaign season.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 5:15pm

"debating whether Brady could throw for 500 or 600 yards if necessary this upcoming weekend."

The real question is whether or not Randy Moss could run 600 yards with Deltha Oneil chasing him.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 5:21pm

7.8 mean wins for the Vikings seems high, given they already have lost games to the Chiefs and Lions, but I suppose that is due to my failure to make a mental adjustment for the Bears and Chargers. Going through the remaining schedule, 6 wins still seems about right to me.

by mactbone (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 5:23pm

Re 40:
Reminds me of Lovie's first season when everyone went down with hamstring injuries in the preseason/training camp.

Hey, we'll get to know how good Jamar Williams is! Angelo will get to draft another QB bust! Ahhh, to root for a team that's had three decent QBs in franchise history and the GM is from Tampa and can't draft an offensive player with any talent.

by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 5:26pm

Re: 38

He meant literally pound-for-pound, as in DVOA/DPAR per pound of body weight.

by Dr. Statistics on the Side (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 5:28pm

Thok, you're not looking for regression to the mean. Regression to the mean is clearly visible in the Playoff Odds Report and the perfect-season projections; for example, the Steelers have a 99.02% chance of earning a worse winning percentage in their final 13 games than they have right now.

Instead, you're looking for a correlation among projected games that a team plays. While my intuition tells me that there should be such a correlation, I don't think anyone has quantified it, and I assume that the Playoff Odds Report is based on the assumption that the result of each game is an independent variable.

Of course, we know that there is a correlation among the games that a team plays, because good teams win more games than bad teams. That correlation is presumably expressed in the Playoff Odds Report by weighting the projected result of each game based on the projected strength of the teams playing that game. The correlation that you're looking for could possibly be expressed by also weighting the projected result of each game based on the projected results of previous games.

by Peder (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 5:30pm

Will, the big news is that the Vikes have a 1 in 23 chance of reaching the Championship game. How crazy is that?

by Charles Jake (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 5:32pm


If he drafts that kid out of Hawaii, I'm not responsible for my actions.

by jimm (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 5:35pm

Wow the Vikes are still in the top half of the league in DAVE. They sure look worse to me, but I'll go with the stats because every time I don't I almost always turn out to be wrong.

It does seem to me that the Vikings have been horribly inconsistent in game. One half they look fairly solid of offence the next half they look like the worst offence in the league. Particularly the offensive line's pass blocking. In the second half of the Det and KC game the pass blocking was horrible, but otherwise they've given the QB tons of time.

by mactbone (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 5:37pm

Re 47:
What, you like Brohm or Henne at this point?

Geez, with all the buzz when the season started this QB class is turning into pumpkins FAST.

by johonny (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 5:47pm

Sad the Dolphins offense has passed it's defense. At least you can always count on that lousy special teams.

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 5:47pm

Thok (#28 )--

I'm not the one who does it, but my understanding is that the estimated percentage is based on something like 5,000 simulation of the remainder of the season, based on current DAVE/DVOA figures. So in those 5,000 simulated seasons, the Patriots win the division 4,925 times.

As the year progresses, and DVOA takes over for DAVE and becomes steadily more accurate, weird outliers like the Patriots and Steelers will get more realistic projections. (Or they'll keep blowing away other teams like lint, until they meet December 9th, when both teams annihilate each other like a proton and an anti-proton meet. Or something.)

by Cam (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 5:49pm

13, 20)
the bears didn't exactly shut down the cowboys offense in the first half either, but the refs seemed to do just fine keeping the cowboys from being up by possibly more than one possession.

If you are going to cite injuries as why the Cowboys continued their second half trend, then I say without injuries, Terry glenn would have changed the first half score because he would have negated Crayton's end zone drop and the INT

by Yaguar (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 5:50pm

I think we need to take a moment to consider how absurd the Patriots' projection is.

The 1999 St Louis Rams are the former best team in the DVOA Era (yes, we're using that term now). They had a DVOA of 45%. Only one other team, the 1996 Packers, has been over 40%. The dominant Patriots of 2004 were at 35.7%. A more run-of-the-mill best team in the league can be in the mid-to-high twenties.

Right now, DAVE's mean projection for New England is 57%. That's essentially as good as a team with the 2006 Colts offense, and the 2006 Bears defense and special teams.

As a Colts fan, this makes me want to cry.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 5:56pm

peder, if the Vikings make the conference championship game, I'll send every poster in this thread a bottle of Laphroiag 15 year old whisky. No, I don't care whether they like it or not.

Jimm, the offensive line hasn't been great, but I guarantee you that if the receiver and qb play achieved something approaching professional competency, all of a sudden the offensive line would look like one of the better ones in the league. I chuckled the other night when a guy as knowledgeable as Madden said that the Cowboys o-line had dominated the Bears defensive front. Have Bledsoe handling the snaps, and Madden would have been talking about how the Bears defensive front dominated the Cowboys offensive line.

by Sergio (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 5:56pm

I refuse to believe the Dolphins have been merely a couple of spots below average.

If anything, I'd say it's a contest between us, the Chiefs and the Vikings. If.

Then again, it's the first time in a while I had seen a positive DVOA for the offense, so... or maybe it's my mind playing games with me. Whatever.

by Charles Jake (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 5:57pm


Definitely not Henne. Maybe Brohm. I might be biased because the best thing that ever happened to me (my wife) came out of Louisville.

by PatsFan (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 5:59pm

Re: #53

Hold onto your years -- the Pats' annual injury festival hasn't started yet. You don't really think Moss will stay healthy for the whole season, do you?

by Gerry (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 6:00pm

DAVE be damned, I live in dread for my Giants this weekend. Yes, we may have benched Webster which would be a good thing.

But Philly won't spend the game trying to run over us when they can pass over the middle constantly.

This is just a bad, bad matchup for us.

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 6:01pm

Yaguar (#53 )--

As a Patriots fan, the projection makes me more than a little leery, because there seems to be no way they can keep it up.

Fortunately, this comes down to two possibilities:

1. We're right. As more data comes in, opponent adjustments, regression to the mean, simple letdown, and so on, will bring the Patriots' (and, to a lesser extent, the Steelers') projected DVOA back down from the stratosphere. Common sense prevails over small sample size.

2. DAVE is right. The Patriots (and the Steelers, who knows?) really are that good. Every Patriot fan becomes a walking "fathead" promotion. Not so much fun for fans of other teams, but think of the schadenfreude potential if they face-plant in the playoffs anyway.

by Lou (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 6:04pm

Re the bears drafting a QB

I'm still holding out hope Philadelphia runs McNabb out of town. Or maybe Pennington becomes available.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 6:04pm

PatsFan, I don't think Moss was jaking it in 2004, when he pulled a hamstring, and he does have a chronic ankle problem, but I also think it likely that his injury problems in the Raidah years were in part due to being disinterested. I'd say he has at least a 50% chance of staying healthy, in good part because he really wants to play. I wouldn't be surprised if he is being far more diligent about things like stretching and therapy.

by jimm (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 6:08pm

If the NFL would just outlaw the forward pass the Vikings would be a real contender.

by Fourth (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 6:09pm

How early is too early to start rooting for a high draft pick for your team? I'm ready, but it still feels dirty.

by Otis Taylor \'89 (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 6:10pm

The best part of being a Pats fan is their best defensive player has not even practiced this year. Of course, that may also be the worst part since there is always the chance he may be out for the whole year. I would have liked to have seen them healthy during the AFC Championship last year.

by jimm (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 6:24pm

Will Allen - re offensive line - I can't argue with you that the QB and WR play has been awful, but I think the O line has more to do with than you. I think the study in Prospectus 07 on QB performance under pressure may well be a hint as to how important protection is to a pass offence. Only 5 QB's had a positive DVOA while hurried (Romo was second at 42.2%) and top QB's like Brady, Favre, Bulger and Rivers were all less than negative 40 DVOA.

My guess is that such pressure explains the precipitous drop in play of Drew Brees and Phillip Rivers. I don't think these two suddenly lost their abilities. Their situations just changed dramatically.

by mactbone (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 6:38pm

Re 60:
Pennington would be an awful option for the Bears - the line just isn't good enough even with his dink-and-dunk style. Honestly, the offensive line needs an overhaul and fast - maybe Tait can hold it together for another year, but Miller is done and I'm pretty sure Ruben is too but it's hard to tell with guards.

by TomC (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 6:38pm

By the way, all Chicago sports outlets are now reporting that Griese will be under center with the first team at Wednesday's practice.

(No link, as I do not wish to endorse any of our lousy local media.)

by Dylan (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 6:40pm

I'm just posting because of 54. Another reason to root for the Vikings.

If they don't make it, can I at least get some Five o'Clock brand vodka?

Oh, umm ... football analysis ... anyone else waiting for the crowning of Mike Martz after Kitna goes for 450 against the Bears D this week?

by KarmaComa (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 6:47pm

#28 "I mean, the Patriots shouldn’t have a 98.5% chance of winning their division after 3 games (no matter how much the Bills, Dolphins, and Jets suck), since the chance of multiple significant injuries destroying the Patriots season is probably higher than 1.5%."

You mean like the multiple significant injuries that destroyed their last three seasons? If three division titles and a Superbowl are seasons destroyed, you should probably call Robert Kraft and tell him he can fire A/V club prez Belichick so you can finally bring some success to the franchise.

by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 6:47pm

Raiders should be meuch higher than 28. Dvoa joke.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 6:50pm

Yeah, jimm, and unless I have a stopwatch on each time a Vikings qb is has been hurried or sacked, correlated with how many steps the drop was, and the number of guys rushed, and thus see that the Vikings o-line has been poor, I'm more inclined to say that the much more prominent issue for them is that their throwers and catchers couldn't start for any other team in the league.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 6:53pm

I guess a better way to say it, Jimm, is that pressure is not merely a function of offensive line performance.

by jd (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 6:55pm

RE: 29

Exactly. I wonder if he's watched a Giants game yet.

by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 6:58pm

#65 - The Chargers O-line clearly has regressed, but in New Orleans I think it's more a case of Brees having made the line look far better than it really was last year with the speed of his decision making and release, and for some reason his play, independent of the line, seems to have collapsed. He's making bad throws even when he's not under pressure and he's being pressured on plays where he wouldn't have last year because he would have got the ball out before it became an issue.

#20 (and others) - Right. It's my homer glasses that induce me to believe that the loss of an all-pro linebacker, a starting cornerback and the league's best defensive lineman may have resulted in some reduction in the standard of the Bears defense. I'm a Texans fan, but I guess the Bears wear dark blue too, so maybe that's how it works. And the fact that Witten exploded the minute Briggs was no longer on the field to cover him is pure coincidence. I hear a lot of Cowboys homerism on this thread, but not much from fans of any other team.

As to the Patriots, it shouldn't surprise anyone that a team with Tom Brady throwing to a healthy, motivated Randy Moss has a terrifyingly good offense, and we all knew their defense would be good. I really think the Patriots are by a distance the best team I have ever seen, though I haven't been watching the game long enough to have seen the '96 Packers.

On the quarterbacks, as I've posted on the open discussion forums, it looks very much as if the projection system is going to like all of them, but especially Brennan (providing he comes back from injury pretty soon). Woodson will be the best prospect of the rest because of his running ability.

by Jerry (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 7:03pm

re #69:

What happens if Brady goes down for the season? Sadly, there's more than a 1.5% chance of any given player suffering an injury.

(Now qualified for Will's offer. Go Vikes!)

by CA (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 7:04pm

Re: 54if the Vikings make the conference championship game, I’ll send every poster in this thread a bottle of Laphroiag 15 year old whisky. No, I don’t care whether they like it or not.

Will, make mine the 10, please, Cask Strength preferably. I'm more of a Lagavulin and Ardbeg man myself, actually, but I'm glad to know there's a fellow Islay fan in FO land.

by admin :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 7:11pm

A note on the Patriots: They are not going to actually finish the season with a DVOA of 56.7%. The DAVE is extreme because from 2001-2006, there was no team that had the best projection and then played this well through three weeks. In fact, there was no team that played this well through three weeks PERIOD.

From 2001-2006, the highest DAVE after three games belongs to the 2006 Ravens, at 48.6%. The highest DAVE at any time belongs to the 2006 Bears, after Week 5, 49.4%. So the Pats now have the highest DAVE ever. (DAVE doesn't start until 2001 because we don't have the non-DVOA variables necessary to do "what if" preseason projections for previous seasons.)

Notice how much of an outlier the Pats' rating is. They may end up with the highest DVOA this season, or even the highest DVOA ever, but I'm fairly confident the Pats will not end up above 50%. This stuff will settle out as more games are played.

by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 7:13pm

What happens if Brady goes down for the season?

I'd still give the Patriots a 50/50 shot of winning the division.

by Kaveman (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 7:14pm

I have to post in this thread now, just for a chance at that Laphroaig. :-)

by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 7:15pm

Re 31
1) I guess all I'll say is that the Bears, Giants, and Dolphins haven't been very good when playing other teams either. I'll wait for more evidence to go further.
2)Yes, but someone else will probably get hurt, so I don't know how important it is. Unless Newman is a star-level player, in which case it's important. Is he?
3)I didn't see those plays, so I can't say either way.
4)Although since the Cowboys have been facing teams who have been unable to stop Witten and Owens because of personnel, it hasn't really hindered them.

by Omar (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 7:17pm

re #74 (and others)

The Yeahbuts are out in full force regarding the Cowboys offense.

It's clear that we cant take them seriously until they beat the 86 Bears, 2000 Ravens, and The Decepticons.

by putnamp (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 7:20pm

So who looks like they're going to have the biggest upwards/downwards swing once we get to the point that opponent adjustments can go in?

New England's played the 30th, 31st, and 25th-ranked teams in DAVE. Pittsburgh's played the 21st, 24th, and 31st. Indianapolis, meanwhile, has played 11th, 12th, and 31st.

(Seattle's played 5, 13, and 16! :D [homer alert])

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 7:22pm

since the chance of multiple significant injuries destroying the Patriots season is probably higher than 1.5%.

I don't think the simulations jitter around the true strength (DVOA) of each team, which is kindof what you're thinking.

Regression to the mean doesn't quite work the way you think it does. Teams don't regress to an average team: they trend to their mean projection. If you had them "regress" to an average team, that would mean you played in the National Coin-Flip League, where the true strength of every team is identical.

Right now, everything about the Patriots/Steelers says they're that good. Their projections are that good. Their Pythagorean wins are that good. There's nothing to regress them to.

Which, honestly, is a little scary. If I wasn't convinced that Philly, over the year, can probably develop into a team that's also "that good" as McNabb finishes coming back from the knee injury. Their defense is already significantly better, and the special teams still contain a significant penalty for Greg Lewis and J.R. Reed. which isn't actually real.

by putnamp (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 7:23pm

Dallas is at 20, 23, and 27.

and yes, I know the reason we DONT make adjustments this early is *because* these values haven't had time to even out - getting stomped in a full 1/3rd of your games is going to push you down a good deal, and I don't really think Dallas or Pittsburgh will see swings that large. NE and Indianapolis on the other hand...

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 7:32pm

All right, I'm going to limit my liability to approximately 10k, so accounting for my posts, the offer stands through #105.

Bunch of hooch-hounds, I tell ya'......

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 7:33pm

and I'm calling Lloyd's of London right now......

by Kevin King (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 7:42pm

DVOA could have been wrong about the Cowboys, but I have a hard time believing they're this good. I hope not. I do have the solace that these 3 games might have been an aberration and that the Cowchips are perrenial September cahmpions. Let's see how the O-line's health holds up and if TO doesn't blow up; plus, the defense is still suspect, IMHO. Disclaimer: E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!!! (Oh, and go Vikes -- get us some alcohol, Brad!!!)

Will, what a great way to get folks to root for the Vikings! Aside from the fact that I hope Childress does well.

Oh, and go Phils!!! (Have to make up for all the Eagles chants at the bank! ;) )

by coldbikemessenger (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 7:46pm

re 31
Glenn may come back, he may need microfracture surgery, which would probably end his career.
Also Newman may not be at full strength for the rest of the year.
Its my understanding that the best solution for him is 3-4 months of rest.
Obviously I hope he plays, but i am not really counting on that every down thing.

by jebmak (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 8:10pm

I made in in for Will's offer, YES!!!

Of course I put some money on the Pack to win the division, so the Vikes will have to do it from the wildcard.

by Todd (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 8:18pm

re 80: I would classify Newman pretty close to star player. At the very least, he could have been a significantly better player than Jaques Reeves.

re 88: You make a good point about the health of Newman, and he may never be 100% this year, but all indications are that he is progressing and played solid in limited time Sunday.

re 88: Terry Glenn already opted to come back this season and not have the season ending surgery. However, I definitely wouldn't expect him to be anywhere near 100%, or even helpful to the team.

by register_allocation (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 8:24pm

WRT the 'on the clock' table on the Playoff probabilities page -- is there a reason only 25 teams are listed?

You're projecting the Vikings a 25% chance to make the playoffs? I'll take that bet!

by Sean McCormick :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 8:25pm

Re 69: The Patriots are the only team in the division not have suffered a major loss at quarterback in any of the last five seasons. Already this year both the Jets and Bills have had to play a game with their backup quarterback.

That's what a significant injury looks like. The Patriots haven't had to deal with one in the Brady era.

by Catfish (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 8:29pm

If the Bears really are going to play like a -13% DVOA team the rest of the year, the Vikes providing me with whiskey via Will Allen would be a pretty good consolation.

by Jeffo (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 8:30pm

I'm in for booze. Go Vikes!

As for an actual comment, I agree with #58 (I'm a Giants fan as well), and I'm a ticket holder. I may need the whiskey early...

by Yaguar (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 8:32pm

77: (Aaron)

If DAVE has the Patriots at 56.9%, but that's not the mean projection for their end-of-year DVOA, then what is that number? I thought that DAVE was like the win projections, an average expected value for something.

Do you think the Pats will finish under 57% because DAVE doesn't work the way I described, or because they're such an extreme outlier that they broke the system, or because you think opponent adjustments won't be kind to these early games, or because the idea of a 57% DVOA team is just totally unbelievable?

by Christina (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 8:36pm

On the subject of the Pats and injuries, I'm still waiting for all the DBs and LBs to start going down. I'm actually surprised that there hasn't been an injury in the secondary yet, because that's usually where the Pats get injured the most.

((knocks on wood))

And Will, feel free to exempt me from the alcohol purchase.... I don't drink, so you might as well save the money. ;-)

by Jimmy (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 8:38pm

If the Vikes do make the championship game and Will went through with his promise he would have to go down in history as an FO legend. A special place in the glossary next to ROBO-PUNTER.


Followed four weeks later by


Followed two weeks later by


And then the Ice Titans invade and all hell follows with them.

by The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 8:44pm

Re: 54

Posting for the Laphroiag, just in case. I like Speysides, not Isleys, but I can give it to my Dad.

by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 8:46pm

Will, I hope you'll continue to be careful. Make a similar offer but without the limit in a thread about the next Patriot-related controversy and I think the Names could start getting very jumpy.

In other news, I still don't buy the Chargers' projection or DAVE. Pittsburgh and Dallas really have just played patsies (which doesn't mean they aren't both good). New England have played one good team, and Indy have played two. The AFC South is harsh.

by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 8:49pm

"And then the Ice Titans invade and all hell follows with them."

No, you're going to have to wait for Hook in Space 2: Fenris vs. the Croc for that.

by D (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 8:52pm

According to the Chicago Tribune, Griese is going to start on Sunday, which is what I've been calling for since last preseason.

by brasilbear (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 8:55pm


Will, would you trade Jackson and your receivers for Grossman and his receivers? No hidden agenda, just asking.

If Griese starts (and I'd like to see Orton myself), Grossman is done in Chicago. Might as well as release him now, move Orton up and sign someone like Rattay as 3rd string. Too bad, I liked the idea of a gunslinger.

by smashmouth football (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 8:57pm

Disclaimer: I've been sober since 1991 so I'll pass on the generous booze offer.

Let's all take a deep breath and see how things play out for a while. Having said that, I'm nervous about how good the Steelers and Patriots look. I'm also concerned that the Ravens D may be losing a step, especially in pass defense. If I'm Cleveland's offensive coordinator, you better believe I'm practicing a no-huddle offense this week.

by Eddo (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 8:57pm

I'm just depressed that whomever the Bears play at QB will guarantee them having a worse QB than their opponent for all but three of their remaining games (Vikings twice, Raiders).
Ugh, I've defended Rex in the past, but now he has to go, if for nothing more than so the coaching staff doesn't get run out of town by the fans and media.
Does Brian Griese really inspire confidence in anyone?

by Alex (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 8:58pm

I'm posting for a chance at the Laphroiag. A 4.4% chance.

by Jimmy (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 8:59pm

"No, you’re going to have to wait for Hook in Space 2: Fenris vs. the Croc for that."

OK Shush now you have completely lost me.

by brasilbear (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 9:00pm

The Bears BBS is convinced that Griese=SuperBowl, or rather "anyone but Grossman=SB."

by smashmouth football (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 9:05pm

For Bears fans:

Think back to 2000 when the Ravens suffered from extreme QB suckitude and went 5 straight games without scoring a touchdown. They finally replaced a scrub (Tony Banks) with another scrub (Trent Dilfer) and went on to win the Super Bowl. At the time of the change, the Ravens were 5-4. So my point is--your season isn't necessarily over. But there's a big if--your defense was decimated by injuries Sunday. I hope some of those guys (Tommie Harris!, your cornerback) come back soon.

Aside: My sister, her husband and one of my nephews live in Chicago so they're sort of my second team.

by D (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 9:12pm

Actually 108 makes a good point that I should have addressed in my previous post; if the Bears' string of defensive injuries turns out to be a long term problem, any upgrade at QB will be moot.

by Dan (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 9:15pm

I'd like to name myself as an alternate for the whiskey sweepstakes, in case Will's cutoff hasn't already accounted for repeat posters and booze avoiders.

by Jimmy (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 9:28pm

To stand any chance whatsoever at a Superbowl with Griese the Bears are going to have to play out of their skins while Briggs, Harris and Vasher and hope no one else goes down in the meantime (all fairly unlikely). It seems to me that once a few starters go down the lack of familiarality (Is that a word? If so have I spelled it right?) amongst the remaining players causes an increase in injury risk for the remainder. I can see the Bears season spiralling rapidly out of control from here on in. If they can stay in touch with the wildcard race while getting healthy they might be able to sneak into the playoffs in the NFC (where I am pretty sure that they will let in any team who have their own jerseys and are willing to pay their own travel expenses).

In a more realistic mood I am hoping the Bears piss weak schedule moves them up the draft order a few spaces, and the decision not to expend cap monies on Grossman may leave room to resign Berrian and Briggs. Grossman was talking about wanting top ten QB money if he had won the Superbowl and I am assuming his agent would have wanted as much for a good performance this year. That money should in theory go back into the pot for other players.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 9:39pm

I have no problem with the non-imbibers gracious declining the offer, of course, but when it gets to the point that somebody days they'll give the Laphroiag to their dear ol' dad, because the hooch comes from the wrong island!? I'm tellin' ya', that just rips it! Sheesh!

Brasibear, for just this year, putting aside issues like getting accustomed to the offense? Abso-freakin'-lutely. Grossman actually can throw a deep ball on target once in a while, Berrian can get open deep and catch the ball, and Muhammed ain't goin' to the Hall of Fame, but he is a legitimate professional receiver. Just putting Berrian on the field with a qb who can throw on target 30 yard downfield would make stacking the box to stop Adrian Peterson much more risky.

by brasilbear (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 10:05pm


The problem I've seen this year is that teams are playing 2 safties deep, taking away the long pass, and just blitzing the hell out of Grossman. Even faking it makes him wet his pants. Oh well, the fans wanted Griese, they got Griese. Long live the Griese.

by The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 10:26pm


You misunderstand, my dad loves Scotch and is partial to Isleys, including Laphroiag. It would be much more meaningful to him than to me. However, if it will make you happy I will drink it myself, possibly while watching the Super Bowl two weeks later.

BTW, if you bet on the Vikes to make the conference championship game now, you will probably be able to afford to pay for all the booze. I imagine you can get pretty favorable odds.

by declan (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 10:43pm

fellow bears fans, I feel your pain.

however, on the other hand seeing as, via the plethora of defensive injuries (and is anyone else less than optimistic about tommie harris returning anytime soon?) the season is more or less over, I kind of feel like why can't Ron Turner just say **** it, max protect and have berrian run as fast as he can down the sideline on 50% of the offensive snaps? not that it would be effective in the least, but it'd sure be a hell of lot more fun than watching Griese checking down to the FB in the flat 47 times a game. after all they'd be bound to land at least one or two absurd, jaw-dropping TDS over the course of the last 13 games. dagnabbit, Rex is a freak of nature! I want to see him cock back and sling the ball 60 yards on every single down! maybe that's just me, though. sigh.

whatever, as long as Ron Turner gets cut loose after this year. that dude is terrible - Norv is a woeful HC but at least he can run an offense - Ron just sucks.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 10:51pm


by Just Another Falcon Fan (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 10:57pm

Well, I guess I've missed out on the single-malt, and this is a season that could drive Carry Nation to drink if she was a Falcon fan.

by ernie cohen (not verified) :: Tue, 09/25/2007 - 11:10pm

Um, Aaron, you don't want to predict whether a team can go 16-0 by simulating entire seasons. You know exactly what teams PIT/NE have to beat to go 16-0, and the DAVE numbers already tell you what their chance of beating each team on their schedule is, so you just multiply all the game probabilities together.

The question is, what formula does the playoff report use to calculate a team's odds of winning a game, given their DAVE numbers and those of their opponents? Using the DVOA/win prob regressions from punter's paradise and the week 2 DVOA numbers, I got a much higher percentage for NE going undefeated. (That formula uses the separate offence/defence/st numbers, rather than a composite number; do you have DAVE broken down by category?)

by cdcox (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 12:46am

Re 45. I have indeed done an analysis that quantifies the correlation between current DVOA ratings and the outcome of future games. I have also done the same analysis for my playoff prediction software, which predicts future games only on the win-loss outcome of past games. Both methods show strong correlation and predictive ability; however, DVOA has a slight but significant advantage in making predictions compared to my prediction method. I should point out that my method of using DVOA to predict future games is probably different than Mike Harris' method. I'm planning to publish the results from my study on my web site in the near future.

Even though DVOA playoff predictions are probably slightly more accurate than mine, my interactive software allows scenario analysis and more detailed breakdown of season wins and draft position.

by Alex (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 12:55am

Using the DVOA/win prob regressions from punter’s paradise and the week 2 DVOA numbers, I got a much higher percentage for NE going undefeated.

Well, that should be expected, since their week 2 VOA was 88.3%, while their current DAVE is "only" 56.9%.

by tic toc (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 1:33am

Just getting my name in the post in the off, off, really off chance that the vikes make the championship game. I'm starting to like purple.

by silentdibs (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 1:55am

Help me with something here. The Jets play NE and BAL, and somehow their DVOA is /worse/ than their VOA? Is MIA really that bad?

by jay (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 1:56am

#31 Best in the NFC? Maybe, but so what? Best in the NFC is completely irrelevant this year. At BEST that makes the Cowboys the fifth best team in the NFL. It will be a cakewalk for the AFC in this year's Superbowl. Unless half of the team gets hurt in the AFC championship game, expect the AFC to be 14 point favorites in the Super Bowl. And I doubt it will be THAT close. The Cowboys would be better off throwing a couple of games and letting some other NFC team take the beating that is waiting for the NFC. I guess all that talk about parity will go away for awhile.

by Yaguar (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 2:05am

122: I think non-adjusted VOA isn't the same as straight VOA without the D. I think non-adjusted VOA doesn't eliminate non-predictive events like fumble recoveries. The Jets have been a little bit lucky with respect to fumble recoveries, looking at their box scores. There are probably other things that I don't know about.

Right now the opponent adjustments are really weak. Once the opponent adjustments take full strength, DVOA won't be so hard on the Jets for getting pummeled by the Patriots.

by big_adventure (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 2:51am

#54 - Will, I'm just posting for the Laphroaig. I don't even believe that the Vikings have a 4.4% chance, but, in the event...

Please send it to:
Total France
Attn: DSI - Sean EASTHAM
24 Cours Michelet
La Défense 10

And my coworkers and I can get a little glow on during work. Thanks in advance !

And as bad as the Vikings are, the Dolphins are at least as sad, plus significantly older. Sniff. This kind of reduces their chances of getting on NASN - and I'm effectively paying 50US a month to get that channel and Eurosport for the Rugby World Cup.


by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 2:56am

The Fins as high as 20th? That can't be right. They're closer to 30th than 20th.And even in DAVE, they're still above the Jets.

This team is the worst I've seen in 26 years of being a fan. We're talking 1-15 here.

by ernie cohen (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 8:17am

re: 120

I used the current DVOA numbers because (1) the WP regression used all three DVOA numbers, whereas only one DAVE number was available, and (2) the purpose of the exercise was to show that even if we assume that teams like NE keep up their over-the-top perf, 16-0 remains highly unlikely. (Using the week 3 numbers, it comes out to 8.6%)

BTW, one of the most unexepected outputs of the regression was that if you want to calculate win probability, the special teams DVOA is almost twice as important as offensive DVOA, which is somewhat more important than defensive DVOA. So the unweighted adding of these numbers to get total DVOA might not be the best way to predict win probability.

by podpeople (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 8:49am

So the Eagles jumped up from 32 in offensive DVOA to 5th. Wonder how opponent adjustment later in the year will knock that down a bit. Just as an aside, a lot of people in the Philly area are so to give the team credit for beating up on a bad lions team...but isn't there a huge difference between capitalizing on a bad defense and putting up 56 points with your QB going 21 for 26 and almost 400 yards. 14 yards per attempt yikes. How many times does an NFL team put up that kind of gaudy numbers?

by mactbone (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 9:19am

Re 116:
Orton's still not starting. Who's the other Bear you hate, Moose? Just trying to figure out the next one to go down from the Curse of Fnor.

by James, London (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 9:23am

Dammit! I arrive late and miss the booze. Can you make an exception for a Limey Will? You won't have to pay for overseas shipping :)


Fourth, as for rooting for a high draft pick early, as a Miami fan I don't even have that consolation. The chances are they'll screw it up and pick a long-snapper anyway...

by Grouchy Bills Fan (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 10:42am

Doom. Doom. Doom.

by Andrew Foland (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 10:44am

The correlation between DAVE and the week-3 results is +0.94. That is an unbelievable number.

If you rescale the DVOA's (which you plausibly need to do because of excess randomness in small samples) to have the same trimmed RMS (+-2 stdev) as the DAVE, then the standard deviation of the difference is 0.06 (i.e. 6%). Unrescaling that turns into about +-11% on the original DVOA.

Given that the RMS of the DVOA is 28%, DAVE is pegging teams' performance within 0.4 standard deviations (measured over the ensemble of teams.) That's really, really good.

by Alex (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 10:51am

BTW, one of the most unexepected outputs of the regression was that if you want to calculate win probability, the special teams DVOA is almost twice as important as offensive DVOA, which is somewhat more important than defensive DVOA. So the unweighted adding of these numbers to get total DVOA might not be the best way to predict win probability.

Can you post a link to the site that did that regression? Something seems a little crazy when special teams DVOA is the most important of the three. In fact, it's more than a little crazy, it's flat out unbelievable.

(1) the WP regression used all three DVOA numbers, whereas only one DAVE number was available

Dave numbers are available for all three, you just have to go to the 2007 Defense, Offense, and Special Teams pages.

by vijay (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 11:31am

Re #82:

I love the Cowboys and am one of their biggest fans, but Megatron would ABSOLUTELY kill Marion Barber. Look, I love the Cowboys, but there is no way that a defense lead by studs like Megatron at MLB and Shockwave in the middle of the D-line would have any problems with the Cowboys. I think the Cowboys are great, but I just can't get there - the Decepticons would unfortunately kill the Cowboys...

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 11:32am

"That’s what a significant injury looks like. The Patriots haven’t had to deal with one in the Brady era."

IIRC, the patriots set the league record in 2005 for most starter-games missed. Yeah, they haven't lost Brady, but they've lost pretty much everyone else at some point or another.

This "brady is the entire patriots team" is absurd.

by Alan Milnes (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 11:36am

"Something seems a little crazy when special teams DVOA is the most important of the three. In fact, it’s more than a little crazy, it’s flat out unbelievable."

Not from Philly, huh.

by CA (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 12:01pm

Re: 128 So the Eagles jumped up from 32 in offensive DVOA to 5th.

The Eagles' offense was a victim of the Excel pasting error last week. The Eagles' actual offense VOA rank last week was 21, not 32.

by DJAnyReason (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 12:03pm

Re: 135

In 2005 the Patriots went 10-6, for the 5th best record in the AFC, and lost in their 2nd playoff game.

You're right, Brady isn't the entire team. But the Patriots, in the year you mentioned, looked pretty pedestrian at the end of the day.

by DGL (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 12:05pm


Remember, the Super Bowl is a sample size of one. "Best in the NFC" matters because anything can happen in 60 minutes of football, and even if the best in the NFC is fourth or fifth best in the NFL, it gives you a better chance of winning the SB than if you're second-best in the NFC...

by DJAnyReason (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 12:06pm

Re: 135, 138

The Pats also, in 2005, were 12th in overall DVOA, at 3.4%, and has 8.9/9.1 estimated/pythagorean wins.

So, yeah, you could say the Pats have faced significant injuries in 2005. And the results were the Pats became a pretty average team.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 12:08pm

10-6, winning your division, and blowing out a 12-4, +17% Dvoa team in the first round of the playoffs is pedestrian?

But, you're making my point... they HAVE dealt with significant injuries, and still made the playoffs. This whole "theyre 50/50 to win the division if brady goes down" is absurd.

THEYRE IN THE SAME DIVISION AS THE BILLS, DOLPHINS, AND JETS. They could have a below average offense and theyre still the best team in the division.

by Mike B. (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 12:24pm


I think you're being overly optimistic. There's no Bruce Smith at the end of this tunnel, either.

by JoshuaPerry (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 12:28pm

Philly at 1-2 is doing better than both teams it lost to..

by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 1:16pm

This whole “theyre 50/50 to win the division if brady goes down� is absurd.

Huh. And here I expected to be lambasted for being too generous.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 1:36pm

Scott, if there were other good teams in the division, they'd be in tough shape.

But, they've got a -20+% dvoa defense, a great offensive line, great receivers, and a good running back. The offense would drop significantly, but the defense would still be good enough BY ITSELF to beat the jets, bills, and dolphins.

by Al 45 (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 1:37pm

re: 144

Huh. And here I expected to be lambasted for being too generous.

You don't believe that, even without Brady, they're better than the Bills, Dolphins, or Jets?

One, they're already three games up on two thirds of their opponents, and two games up on the other. Two, their defense is better than any team in the AFC East. Three, their talent at WR is better than any team in the AFC East.

Look, I fully admit that without Tom Brady, I don't think this team wins the Super Bowl or, quite possibly, even makes the AFC Championship game.

However, even without Tom Brady, their shot at winning the AFC East is considerably higher than 50/50. Probably something like 75/25. Even without Tom Brady, they're just that much better than the rest of the AFC East.

by Justin Zeth (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 1:43pm

Having watched the Steelers for years, let me assure you: Their seeming dominance is mostly a function of their opponents. The Steelers' defense, in particular, has long been designed specifically to demolish bad quarterbacks and/or bad o-lines. It's quite routine for the Steelers, in a good season, to blow the doors off of opponents whose quarterbacks do not deal with pressure very well. Their opponents so far have been arguably the worst three quarterbacks in the league: Charlie Frye, J.P. Losman and Alex Smith. And, as we all know, the Browns, Bills and 49ers all badly suck and are all legit contenders for the #1 pick.

The Steelers' schedule gets much sterner later in the year, after they're done running roughshod over the NFC West. They may run to 6-0 to start the year, but after their bye, they have to play Baltimore twice, New England, the Jets, the Broncos, the Flaming Thumbtacks. They're going to lose half of those games.

I'm not saying the Steelers suck, and if the Ravens end up having to run with Kyle Boller most of the year they're definitely going to take the AFC North, but if you gave me an over/under of 11.5 wins on them right now, I would bet the under.

by AdamJT13 (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 1:49pm

Re #74 -- Witten "exploded" long before Briggs left the game. He burned Briggs for two long catches and had 72 yards receiving before halftime -- all with Briggs in the game.

by Alex (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 2:46pm

“Something seems a little crazy when special teams DVOA is the most important of the three. In fact, it’s more than a little crazy, it’s flat out unbelievable.�

Not from Philly, huh.

No fair! We fixed that. Reno Mahe returned to Philadelphia to save our return game.

And honestly, even if Detroit had recovered 2 fumbled/muffed returns, do you really think it would've made a difference?

by Matt (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 2:51pm

147 -

Some worthwhile points, but you're completely overstating the case. I might agree with you that they'll win 11 or less by the end of the year, and I understand that you're not saying they suck, so I don't mean to be too harsh; but in support of your generally sound conclusion you offer some laughable arguments.

"Their seeming dominance is mostly a function of their opponents. The Steelers’ defense, in particular, has long been designed specifically to demolish bad quarterbacks and/or bad o-lines. It’s quite routine for the Steelers, in a good season, to blow the doors off of opponents whose quarterbacks do not deal with pressure very well. Their opponents so far have been arguably the worst three quarterbacks in the league: Charlie Frye, J.P. Losman and Alex Smith."

Several problems here. Yes, the Steelers D can make bad QBs look especially bad. If you want to dwell on individual games and matchups, it's also essentially the same defense (both in terms of scheme and personnel) that (1) soundly beat Tom Brady and Donovan McNabb on back to back weeks in the regular season in 2004, when those two eventually met in the Super Bowl; (2) contained and confounded Peyton Manning and Matt Hasselbeck in the playoffs in 2005; and (3) has a 4-2 record against Carson Palmer, not counting games where Kimo blows up his knee.

As for blowing the doors off of bad opponents, you say that like it is a bad thing -- but Aaron's research on stomps and dominations says otherwise.

"And, as we all know, the Browns, Bills and 49ers all badly suck and are all legit contenders for the #1 pick."

Um, did you watch any of the 49ers games? They aren't great, but they don't suck either, and based on FO's current predictions they have a just a slightly better chance of winning their division (26.2%) than of getting the No. 1 pick (0.2%). So we don't all know that. You might counter that none of their success this year is due to Alex Smith, and you'd be right, but your whole focus on defense vs. QB as the only measuring stick is pretty myopic anyway.

"They may run to 6-0 to start the year, but after their bye, they have to play Baltimore twice, New England, the Jets, the Broncos, the Flaming Thumbtacks. They’re going to lose half of those games."

You mean they might lose on the road to NE, BAL, and DEN? What would that prove? Heck, they could lose 4 or 5 of those games and, as you said, still take the AFC North.

Look, I don't think many (or any?)reasonable and halfway knowledgeable fans think the Steelers will go 16-0, or even 13-3. If that's the straw man you aim to demolish here, then well done. The column above simply pointed out that as great as the Patriots have looked, the Steelers may have an even better chance at going undefeated this year -- and for either team, that chance is pretty small.

by Jerry P. (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 3:05pm

Biggest shocker so far (to me) is Arizona's offensive line rankings. Especially the power success and stuffed column.

by dbt (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 3:20pm

Witten burned Archuleta in the first half.

Also, just so that we're clear, both Peanut Tillman and Nate Vasher are out this weekend, as are Lance Briggs and Tommie Harris.

Plus Dusty Dvoracek and Mike Brown already on IR, that's more than half your starting defense in street clothes on Sunday.

Good times in Chicago.

by QB (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 3:37pm

You know I can't pass up on a whiskey freeroll.

by Jim Kimber (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 3:43pm

jebmak - 89 -
That Packers division title bet of yours is looking pretty tasty right now. I stuck with betting the over on 6.5 wins - I have to say that is looking pretty good right now, but I'm regretting not taking the 6/1 or 7/1 about the division title.

by Marcumzilla (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 6:10pm

There are a couple over/under bets I wish I'd have made... And amending the whisky offer after the fact isn't fair -- I'm in on it too :D

by jebmak (not verified) :: Wed, 09/26/2007 - 10:43pm

Kimber - 154

Yeah, I'm liking that 7-1, but at least your O6.5 looks like a sure thing right now, I still have to sweat the games.

I don't think that the Jets at 13-1 are going to pull it off though.

by Nick (not verified) :: Thu, 09/27/2007 - 12:33am

It's too early to proclaim the Bucs a good team. If you watched their games, you saw a poor offense whose only good quality is not turning the ball over over, matched with a good (not great) defense featuring an emerging star in Barrett Ruud. More importantly, you also saw that the Bucs beat two awful teams - the Saints and Rams. Winning ugly home games against two of the worst teams in the league will not look very impressive by year's end. With the Bucs' upcoming schedule (@Car, @Ind, Ten, @Det, Jax, ARI), I predict they'll win 1 of the next 6, and enter the bye week at 3-6.

by ernie cohen (not verified) :: Thu, 09/27/2007 - 12:35am

Here's a link to the formula for win probability.

by ernie cohen (not verified) :: Thu, 09/27/2007 - 12:44am

Something seems a little crazy when special teams DVOA is the most important of the three. In fact, it’s more than a little crazy, it’s flat out unbelievable.

It doesn't mean that ST DVOA is more important than O or D, because the ST DVOA numbers are typically much smaller than the others. My point is that these numbers do not seem to be normalized in any useful way (as opposed to something like PAR), so it doesn't make sense to add them together.

by pete c (not verified) :: Thu, 09/27/2007 - 10:28am

Is there a projection in DVOA concerning a team playing prevent defense? I have trouble believing the Jet defense is that awful. The same thing happened last year as the jets would get up big against awful teams, go into a bend/don't break prevent mode, and turn an 18 point lead into a 3 point win.

by ernie cohen (not verified) :: Thu, 09/27/2007 - 11:41am

Okay, I re-ran the NE and PIT chances at 16-0 using the DAVE numbers, and got 3.2% chance for NE, and only .36% for PIT.

Compared to the Playoff Report simulations, the two main differences are (1) I didn't use any adjustments for dome, offense type, or bye weeks, and (2) I used the formula that keeps O,D, and ST separate. NE's chances go up, and PIT's down, because NE's value is more on offense and PIT more on defense.

by Alex (not verified) :: Thu, 09/27/2007 - 12:01pm

I have trouble believing the Jet defense is that awful. The same thing happened last year as the jets would get up big against awful teams, go into a bend/don’t break prevent mode, and turn an 18 point lead into a 3 point win.

Problem is, when the opponent gets within 3 points, and then tries an onside kick with a minute left in the game, they've still got a realistic chance of winning. If the Jets defense were playing well, they wouldn't give up such a large lead when the game's outcome was still in doubt.

Also, their defensive VOA was almost as bad after week 2, and both of those games were losses, so the whole "garbage time shouldn't count because they already had it won" argument doesn't work. They really are that bad.

by Craig (not verified) :: Thu, 09/27/2007 - 1:29pm

Not only will Tampa and NO show how well the numbers work but so will Minnesota. Has anyone seen any experts who have rated the Vikings above 23 in power ratings right now? Considering the number of young players they have, they could improve quite a bit as the season goes on. A Peterson may have caught more balls in the first three games than he did in any season at OU.

by Oswlek (not verified) :: Thu, 09/27/2007 - 5:52pm

Re: NE and injuries

I have debated this before and I'm not going to rehash the entire thing, but that 2005 team was beset by enough injuries that equivalent guys lost from every other team in the league would have led to a 6-10 record. Yes, I know that what I am saying is just conjecture, but I truly do believe it.

But, the one thing that people rarely mention is that Brady played the last 10 or so games with the same injury that forced McNabb onto IR. Also, their record would have been 11-5 if they chose to play their starters during the final game.

I also believe that even without Brady, we are likely looking at a 10-6 team, 9-7 at worst. I frankly have a hard time seeing anyone in the AFCE being over .500 besides them at seasons end.

by SuperGrover (not verified) :: Fri, 09/28/2007 - 3:52am

I love homers. Most of these comments are ridiculously negative (147) or ridiculously positive (164). I'm just happy to see my over/under bets on both the Packers and the Bears look pretty good right now. Unfortunately, I'm not as sold on my over on the Skins thanks to that second half debacle last week. What the hell was that?

by podpeople (not verified) :: Fri, 09/28/2007 - 11:15am

I heard the patriots are going to play the colts blindfolded with one arm tied behind their backs and they aren't even going to start tom brady. They'll win though because they are the best team ever duh. Seriously, let's keep our homerism in check a little bit.