Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

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09 Sep 2008

Week 1 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

You love them when your team is high! You hate them when your team is low! DVOA ratings are in effect for 2008!

Just in case you were wondering how important DVOA ratings are after one week, I have four words for you: Atlanta is number two.

This year's DVOA ratings feature the return of DAVE, our rating that 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. For those who don't know the story, this metric is called DAVE as a reaction to criticism that our stats are too much alphabet soup. I mean, who can argue with a guy named Dave? (Technically, it stands for DVOA Adjusted for Variation Early.) In this week's DAVE ratings, the preseason projection counts for 90 percent, and the current VOA counts for 10 percent. Also, the projections used in DAVE have been tweaked to account for some of the Week 1 injuries -- obviously, that starts with Tom Brady, but it also includes injuries on the Jacksonville offensive line and among Seattle wide receivers.

Congratulations to Carolina, the only team to win in Week 1 despite a lower VOA than its opponent.

Offense, defense, and special teams pages are now updated with 2008 data. The DVOA Premium Database will be updated with 2008 numbers after Week 2. Individual stats pages and offensive line/defensive front seven pages will be updated with 2008 numbers after Week 2.

For those wondering, the first week of Quick Reads was delayed while we got used to the schedule of our new relationship with ESPN.com. It will be up later today, expanded with Monday Night Football included. The first Any Given Sunday (Bears over Colts) should be up later today as well.

However, DVOA ratings will only be posted on Football Outsiders this year. It's like old times. We're going back to the future! Seriously, words can't express how happy I am that I don't need to think of a comment for all 32 teams every single week.

* * * * *

Before we get into the numbers... I want to invite our readers in Indianapolis, Chicago, and Philadelphia to come say hello on the PFP 2008 book tour, just in case you didn't see the dates over on the side of the page.

Tonight, I'm in Indianapolis at the IUPUI Barnes and Noble. Yes, I know that nobody in Indianapolis knows there is a Barnes and Noble on the campus of IUPUI. Really, the store does exist. So come on out and say hello to me, Will Carroll, and Ned Macey at 6 p.m. TONIGHT.

Wednesday, I'm in Chicago. You can catch me on the WGN News at Noon and then at the Barnes and Noble DePaul at 5:30 p.m.

Thursday, it's off to Philadelphia. This time, the location is the Barnes and Noble at University of Pennsylvania, and the time is 5:00 p.m.

Because I'm traveling all over for the book tour, I'm not able to get to a lot of reader mail this week, but in next week's DVOA ratings I'll answer some questions that came up after we posted our preseason projections.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through one week of 2008, 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 VOA is adjusted for type of stadium (warm, cold, dome, Denver) 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. As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE.

To save people some time, please use the following format for all complaints:

<team> is clearly ranked <too high/too low> because <reason unrelated to DVOA>. <subjective ranking system> is way better than this. <unrelated team-supporting or -denigrating comment, preferably with poor spelling and/or chat-acceptable spelling>

1 PHI 110.1% 41.0% 1 1-0 62.6% 4 -36.0% 4 11.4% 3
2 ATL 81.5% -28.4% 30 1-0 96.9% 1 19.8% 25 4.5% 13
3 DEN 81.0% 10.8% 10 1-0 72.6% 2 -12.0% 12 -3.5% 23
4 DAL 72.8% 17.7% 6 1-0 65.1% 3 -13.9% 11 -6.2% 26
5 BUF 71.0% -6.1% 21 1-0 15.1% 14 -39.2% 3 16.7% 2
6 BAL 69.6% 9.8% 11 1-0 13.6% 15 -58.0% 1 -2.0% 21
7 PIT 59.0% 11.8% 9 1-0 32.2% 5 -22.1% 6 4.8% 12
8 NE 40.8% 25.9% 3 1-0 16.9% 11 -19.9% 7 3.9% 14
9 NYG 32.3% 8.8% 12 1-0 16.4% 13 -16.2% 10 -0.3% 17
10 ARI 31.0% 2.0% 16 1-0 4.8% 20 -25.8% 5 0.4% 16
11 GB 29.1% 35.8% 2 1-0 17.3% 10 6.1% 14 17.9% 1
12 CHI 16.4% -0.3% 18 1-0 16.8% 12 6.3% 16 6.0% 9
13 SD 13.0% 25.1% 4 0-1 24.7% 6 18.2% 24 6.4% 6
14 NYJ 12.2% -3.3% 20 1-0 6.1% 18 -16.6% 9 -10.5% 29
15 TEN 10.3% -1.3% 19 1-0 -17.5% 25 -45.5% 2 -17.7% 30
16 NO 8.4% 1.6% 17 1-0 23.1% 7 7.9% 17 -6.8% 27
17 CAR -0.1% 3.9% 15 1-0 18.2% 9 24.7% 27 6.4% 7
18 TB -8.2% 17.1% 7 0-1 7.9% 16 23.1% 26 7.0% 5
19 IND -15.3% 15.9% 8 0-1 6.3% 17 16.8% 21 -4.8% 24
20 JAC -22.3% 7.1% 13 0-1 -45.5% 31 -17.5% 8 5.7% 10
21 SF -24.4% -27.5% 29 0-1 -25.8% 28 4.8% 13 6.2% 8
22 MIN -29.7% 18.2% 5 0-1 6.1% 19 17.3% 23 -18.5% 31
23 MIA -32.8% -22.4% 27 0-1 -16.6% 24 6.1% 15 -10.1% 28
24 WAS -33.2% -11.7% 24 0-1 -16.2% 23 16.4% 20 -0.6% 19
25 KC -37.2% -18.8% 25 0-1 -19.9% 26 16.9% 22 -0.4% 18
26 HOU -59.6% -8.5% 22 0-1 -22.1% 27 32.2% 28 -5.3% 25
27 CIN -71.0% -8.9% 23 0-1 -58.0% 32 13.6% 18 0.6% 15
28 CLE -73.8% -19.3% 26 0-1 -13.9% 22 65.1% 30 5.2% 11
29 SEA -74.8% 6.5% 14 0-1 -39.2% 30 15.1% 19 -20.5% 32
30 OAK -76.7% -29.0% 31 0-1 -12.0% 21 72.6% 31 7.9% 4
31 DET -78.4% -27.4% 28 0-1 19.8% 8 96.9% 32 -1.3% 20
32 STL -101.7% -34.8% 32 0-1 -36.0% 29 62.6% 29 -3.1% 22

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 09 Sep 2008

114 comments, Last at 14 Sep 2008, 12:06pm by atsmith


by David (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 3:13pm

A hundred ten freaking percent VOA? My God, the opponent adjustment for the Rams is going to be astounding this year, isn't it.

by Bassett (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 3:15pm

Wow, that Atlanta offense DVOA is insane. Who knew the kid from Chestnut Hill would make his team into the most powerful offense ever created ...

seriously, I wonder what the highest single DVOA for an offense in a game has been, that atlanta game has to be up there at the top of the charts ..

by Mig (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 3:16pm

First big game of the season: DAL - PHI on MNF.

by KJT (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 3:21pm

This Dave fellow obviously isn't a Pittsburgh fan.

by David (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 3:24pm

Just one more thing - when should we look for Loser League standings?

by Kulko (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 3:27pm

NE is still 3rd in Dave? Man are you lucky that you don't have to post a Power ranking on Fox based on that number :-)

Although now I am even more intrigued to see that preseason projection without Brady.

by t.d. (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 3:27pm

I'm surprised someone had a better special teams performance then Buffalo. Big surprise that San Diego underachieved, again.

by Bobman (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 3:32pm

Just as everyone expected, Indy and Jax slugging it out in the bottom half of the barrel, nine slots below Arizona.

by TomC (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 3:33pm

I'm a bit surprised the Bears' defensive VOA is positive, especially with a defensive TD and a safety.

by Tom D (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 3:37pm

Re 9:

That was only 9 of the 29 points scored, and the Bears had several long drives, and they were 10 of 16 on 3rd down. The ranking doesn't surprise me, hopefully they can keep it up.

by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 3:55pm

I'm actually surprised. Based on the little bit of the Lions game I could stand to watch (I'm grateful for two things: Game Mix in HD and having to leave early to volunteer at the Colts game), I'd have guessed Atlanta's offense at about 200%.

I'm sure glad I kept Brady and Hasselbeck on my keeper/auction team.

Is it hockey season yet?

P.S. I should have stopped here first. Spent about 20 minutes figuring out the whole IUPUI Bookstore thing. Good thing I know someone who takes classes there. :) (The school, not the bookstore.)

by TomC (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 3:55pm

re: 10 -

I'm not surprised that the offensive VOA is positive, for the reasons you mentioned. But I would have thought that the Bears' big plays on defense would have more than made up for the handful of successful plays Indy had on offense, and so I'm surprised the Bears didn't have a negative (i.e., good) defensive VOA.

by underthebus (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 4:00pm

Whoo hoo Niners fans can come out of hiding. You've got to think with Martz and Gore that the OFF DVOA will go up. AZ has a a great D.

by Dylan (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 4:01pm


DAVE would argue that it might not be the biggest Monday night game of the first two weeks ...

by MCS (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 4:09pm

I think this is the highest I've ever seen Green Bay rated. Favre who?

by Jonas (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 4:28pm

The Ocho Cinco effect? The Cincinnati Bengals offensive voa: minus cinco ocho.

by Red Hedgehog (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 4:29pm

I am going to enjoy Philly's spot as the #1 VOA and DAVE team as long as it lasts.

Which will probably be until next week.

by panthersnbraves (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 4:41pm

Seeing NO, CAR, and TB jammed together in the middle makes sense, but somehow you printed ATL at the wrong end of the list - they were supposed to be next to LAST!

Welcome to the world of the NFCS - where 9-7 probably means the playoffs - IF you own the tiebreakers.

by Jimmy (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 4:44pm

TomC, #9

I suspect that the reason for the Bears' less than stellar defensive DVOA is mainly down to the fact that Manning is awesome. Even under the kind of pressure he was facing he still was able to get the ball to his WRs, some of the time to pick up long third downs. He also threw for a TD, and the Colts first drive was pretty long.

I have to say that the rating doesn't really bother me as no one who watched the Bears D on Sunday night could possibly think that unit deserves to be ranked 16th in the league, or that it's performance was below league average.

by cd6! (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 4:49pm

DAVE top 8:

Green Bay
New England
San Diego
Tampa Bay

VOA top 8:

And you're trying to tell me that DAVE is supposed to make DVOA more rational? What?

Sure VOA has Atlanta at number 2, but at least they played an awesome game. DAVE is high on San Diego, New England, Minnesota, Indianapolis, etc.

by Kaveman (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 4:59pm

Go Broncos! Happy way to open the season... pasting the Raiders. :-)

When do the individual stats come out? I'm eager to know how DVOA sees Eddie Royal.

The Mike, Mike and Mike commenting team on ESPN is ... horrible. My god. Bunch of idiots.

I'm excited but determined not to "jump to conclusions". Even though I wonder what the return of Brandon Marshall (television critic) will mean to Denver's offense. And clearly, if Shanahan game plans as well as he did for last night's game, this is going to be one hell of a season. But let's see what happens with the Chargers next week, before getting excited (if I say that to myself enough, it might work...)

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 4:59pm

"Sure VOA has Atlanta at number 2, but at least they played an awesome game. DAVE is high on San Diego, New England, Minnesota, Indianapolis, etc."

Thats exactly the point of DAVE: Not ranking teams that are predicted to be shitty really high.

NE, SD, Indy, were all expected to win 12+. Thats being factored in. Atlanta is expected to win 4 games. THats being factored in.

by Alex51 (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 5:07pm

And you’re trying to tell me that DAVE is supposed to make DVOA more rational? What?

I don't know, when I look at the DAVE top 10 list vs. the VOA top 10, I think the DAVE list has more teams that will make the playoffs. No way to know just yet, but it seems reasonable to me.

by Matt (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 5:17pm

14 - Maybe DAVE hasn't seen TARVARIS play. (TARVARIS stands for Tantalizing At Random Variable Appearances; Rarely Is Sufficient.)

Seriously, he looked good on the successful drives the Viking had, wasn't helped much by his receivers, and certainly is dangerous when he runs. But if he can't take defenses out of 8 and 9 in a box more consistently than he did last night while the Vikings were digging their hole, I don't care how good Minnesota's running game might be.

by jimbohead (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 5:18pm

13 - see, SF's valuation confuses me. They muff a kickoff, and get 8th best ST valuation. Their defense can't gets one third down stop during the whole second half, and they're only at +4%. Weird.

by Vinyltoupee (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 5:19pm

Philadelphia is first on a Football Outsiders ranking?


by Sideshow Bob (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 5:23pm

And Seattle is last on special teams. Somewhere, Boone Stutz is smiling.

by Joseph (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 5:28pm

I see Philly and Atlanta's DVOA SEVERELY dropping when it kicks in. I also predict that, once we have DVOA for the year, redoing the week one games would have BUFFALO as the leader, although Philly's can be downgraded THAT much, right? (PS--I'm a Saints fan, don't care about the AFCE at all) I think the Bills will trend upward, while the other teams above them now beat bad defenses, dropping their Off DVOA. I also predict that the other three NFCS teams would be moved up, as the Bucs D would help the Saints offensive DVOA and vice-versa, and Carolina will move up based on beating the Chargers, whose rating will be better also.

by Elliot (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 5:29pm

In this week’s DAVE ratings, the preseason projection counts for 90 percent, and the current VOA counts for 10 percent.

What is the science behind the 90/10 split after week 1? Is there statistical evidence to support only modifying pre-season projections by at most 10% after a week of games?

by TomC (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 5:30pm

Aaaand #23 takes the thread.

TARVARIS = awesome.

Tarvaris Jackson = not so much.

by Tally (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 5:31pm

9, 19:
I'm sure once the opponent adjustments are put in, Chicago's defensive performance against Indy will look better. VOA doesn't know that Chicago made a top 3 offense look only above average.

Given that NE's current VOA (40.8%) is responsible for 1/10 of DAVE (25.9%), the revised, Brady-less preseason DVOA projection for NE is somewhere around 24.2%, down from the 40% posted for a Bradyful NE team. That DVOA would place them 5th, just behind SD and just ahead of MIN overall. It's still a bit optimistic, IMO.

by cd6! (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 5:32pm

To add to my post #20 and sort of #28:

I suppose it just seems to me that the first real game only counting for 10% of DAVE seems awfully low. If I owned the stats, which I clearly don't, I suppose I'd want the first game to count for 20% or 25% of DAVE. By week 5, DAVE should be entirely based on the regular season; at that point, you are you who are, preseason predictions be damned.

Also, I forgot to add: Rams LOL WTF

by Yaguar (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 5:34pm

I think DAVE's rating the Lions 28th is way too charitable.

by Dinty (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 5:37pm

Funny, my anti-spam word is doofus. Fitting.

DAVE's function is to weed out over reactions to one week's worth of data. As it states above, DAVE takes into consideration 90% of the preseason rank. If you think DAVE looks wrong, then, with the exception of NE which had an unpredictable event, you must have hated the preseason rankings then. DAVE is high on NE because they were preseason #1, they posted a 40% VOA, and it doesn't know Brady is out.

by The Hypno-Toad (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 5:41pm

I love it, one of the Broncos best performances in quite a while (shut up over there with your "defense adjustments," just give me this moment) and the Special Teams are still a wreck. Yikes. Is there any reason to think that might get worked out, ever? Seriously, when only two guys miss a tackle on kick coverage, I consider that a moral victory for the ST the past few years.

by torsloke (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 5:42pm

Congratulations, Aaron on making it to world of legitimate journalism. I was driving home with my girlfriend and nearly drove into a tree when I heard the sober NPR voice intone "And now with more on Tom Brady's injury we go to Aaron Schatz." NPR! I turned to my girlfriend and said, you know that fat book about football that you made fun of me for buying?" She nodded, clearly not able to comprehend what that had to do with "All Things Considered" on listener-supported Peabody Award-Winning KPCC Hoity Toity Radio. "Yeah, he's the guy who wrote that." Her stunned look was worth way more than I paid for the book. Well done. Enjoy the complimentary chardonnay and self-congratulatory intellectual elitism.

by Fan in Exile (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 5:43pm

As a Bronco's fan I'm really disappointed that Raiderjoe hasn't posted yet. I can't wait.

by Jerry (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 5:45pm

And to think I waited all day for these rankings. Needless to say I stopped looking after I saw Atlanta at #2.
Seriously, what good are these rankings? Heck, even Pete Prisco is more accurate than this! Should I wait until the fifth or sixth game to check them out.
I love the site and the articles but really, can you call them rankings at this time?

by Mike (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 5:47pm

How do fake field goals like the Bills' work? Are they special teams plays, or just passes?

by David (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 5:51pm


DAVE: -28.4%
RANK: 30

Just sayin'.

by Fan in Exile (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 5:51pm

Going back through the ratings I'm really not sure why the Bronco's special teams is so low.

by Matt (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 5:56pm

37 - nice variation on the zlionsfan standard complaint form. No team-supporting comment, but Pete Prisco is a very nice touch.

Yes, you can call them rankings. The rankings now show that Atlanta played a very good game in Week One. Normally, I am the last one to defend FO's approach in each and every situation, but even I can see that all this week's rankings purport to do is rank one game's performance, while also putting that performance up against preseason projections (in the DAVE column, where Atlanta is 30th).

by Matt (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 5:58pm

We should form a support group for fans of usually good and competent teams that usually have very bad special teams (at least for kick coverage purposes). I think the charter members would be Steelers, Colts, Seahawks, and Denver fans.

by Tom D (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 6:01pm

Re The Bear's Defense:

The short passing game was working for the Colts for a large part of the game, I'm guessing Tillman and Vasher had a lot success rate, but also low yards per attempt. They gave up a lot of 6 and 7 yard passes. However, the Bears completely shut down the Colt's running game, and deep passing game. The Colts also had a few long drives, so the fact that their offense looks slightly above average makes sense. I think with the end of year adjustments it will end up looking like a -10% to -15% DVOA performance.

by dagger (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 6:06pm

I don't know about the Lion's at 28; based on this weeks games, it would seem there is stiff competition for the bottom of the league!

by shake n bake (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 6:15pm

The Bears didn't shut down the Colts deep pass as much as the Colts just missed on the plays. 1 deep pass went off Waynes finger tips, one Wayne couldn't get his other foot in bounds, one became a 5 yard illegal contact penalty as the CB took his hands off Marvin just before the pass (but not before they were 5 yards downfield) and drops from Marvin and Gonzalez. The Colts were a rusty and caught some bad breaks on the deep pass.

The Bears did get enough pressure to keep the Colts from trying tons of deep passes and had some good coverage on some of the plays.

by jimm (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 6:29pm

Regarding the Vikings/GB - I thought GB looked the better team for the most part but that neither team looked very impressive.

The smart folks who run this site sure have more ammo on Jackson. His accuracy problems were on display in a big way. What I notice now (with the help of some illuminating stats from MNF) is that Jackson is horribly inaccurate on the deep ball. He missed every long toss in the game - not even giving his receivers a chance. I thought back and that's been pretty much the story since he's been at the helm.

The most discouraging aspect of the game for me as a fan was the total lack of pass rush.

by Kurt (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 6:31pm

And to think I waited all day for these rankings. Needless to say I stopped looking after I saw Atlanta at #2.

Did you also throw your morning newspaper away in disgust when you got to the standings, and saw Atlanta at 1-0 and in first place? Honestly, who would wait all day for week 1 rankings of any sort?

by mikeabbott (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 6:35pm

I guess that's the turnover effect.
The patriots barely win thanks to a pass bouncing off bowes hands and three more 1st and goal stops and up 40.

by Tundrapat (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 6:35pm

Someone at Football Outsiders is failing me. There are no posts by Raiderjoe.


Will these only appear after wins by Oakland? I knew I shouldn't have gotten my hopes up.

In other news - 'my' QB, Tarvaris Jackson, looks...better than last season, but still not quite there. First off, he should learn that he's not pitching in the major leagues. The guy was throwing darts on Monday.

And no one I know likes to catch darts.

So what happens to the Jaguars now? I'd think that losing 2/5 of the OL is about as bad as losing the QB. Just ask Marc Bulger of the 2007 Rams.

by Tundrapat (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 6:37pm

#46 - Thanks Jimm (sort of) for reminding me of our pass rush. Or lack thereof.

Umm...didn't the Vikes pay a massive load of cash - and draft picks - to fix this in the offseason?

by mikeabbott (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 6:39pm

So what happens to the Jaguars now? I’d think that losing 2/5 of the OL is about as bad as losing the QB. Just ask Marc Bulger of the 2007 Rams.


I have to disagree with that.
Replacing two unknown guards is much easier than replacing an MVP quarterback.

If it were larry allen and john hannah in their primes it would be a fair comparison.

by MJK (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 6:42pm

I'm surprised NE's defensive VOA was so good. Yes, they held their opponent to 10 points, but to my eye it seemed like KC was converting third downs all over the place...

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 6:51pm

What is the science behind the 90/10 split after week 1? Is there statistical evidence to support only modifying pre-season projections by at most 10% after a week of games?

Yes - Aaron covered it back when DAVE was introduced in ... 2006, I think? It's simple - you just correlate a linear combination of the DVOA preseason projection and the first-game DVOA to the final full season DVOA.

(For a ballpark estimate, too: according to the correlation coefficient, the projection explains about ~half of the regular season variation, and obviously the first game explains 1/16th of the regular season variation. So you're going to expect something like a 90/10 split.)

by TitansT (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 7:22pm

is clearly ranked because . is way better than this. .

by TitansT (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 7:24pm

[Titans] is clearly ranked [too low] because [their defense dominated Jacksonville]. [My own Power Rankings where Titans are #1] is way better than this. [DVOA can kiss my furry hang-downs].

by KJT (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 7:26pm

#51 - That's a valid point except that the Rams lost about 10/5 of their offensive line last year.

by Joe Skolnik (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 7:28pm

When will playoff odds be up?

And next weeks Eagles Cowboys matchup will be one of the best games all year. I have a feeling that their next meeting will be this years Colts - Patriots

by Ragman (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 7:36pm

Quick Reads is up at ESPN. Click the link in my name.

by DrObviousSo (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 8:03pm

[Steelers] is clearly ranked [too low] because [they threw around a dark horse candidate]. [The subjective rankings of most people who watched the games] is way better than this. [DVOA doesn't take into account the fact that the Steelers pulls starters and played a very soft prevent (I think, listening to the radio) after halftime].

Sorry, that last part was supposed to be unrelated, but I am curious what the Steelers and Texan's scores through just the first half look like.

by Jimmy (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 8:03pm

shake n bake, #46

While all those things you describe did happen (the passes off fingertips, out of bounds etc.) they can as easily be ascribed to defensive scheme success as offensive error. The passes which just missed were all very difficult passes to complete. To get the ball to Wayne deep, Manning had to try and place the ball basically just within Wayne's reach because otherwise Vasher would have broken up the pass, and he had to do this while running for his life from the Bears' rush. So the tolerance for the play was six to twelve inches of field 40 yards away, throwing the ball as you run along on a bad knee. Don't get me wrong, Manning was brilliant Sunday night, but he wasn't unlucky, he was having to try to pull of throws that are extremely difficult to execute. The reason for that was that the Bears defense was making life very difficult for the QB, especially the D-line.

If you want to talk about unlucky, where the hell were the holding flags on the Colts first drive? The offensive line looked like they had dipped their hands in pots of glue before kickoff.

by Temo (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 8:04pm

59. Thanks! I see true yards has become Effective yards. Kudos!

by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 8:23pm

Re 36: Enjoy the complimentary chardonnay and self-congratulatory intellectual elitism.

Hey, I'm an intellectual elitist--even have the same Ivy League degree as Schatz. Where the heck is MY complimentary chardonnay?

by RB #25, Tulane (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 8:25pm

Anyone know where I can get a quick bio on Schatz, Wikipedia's is pretty weak sauce?

by Jimmy (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 8:33pm


You could try the back of PFP. Or you could try the 'meet the outsiders' option in the 'about the site' tab at the top of the page.

Be honest, you haven't looked very hard have you?

by sam! (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 8:36pm


They weren't two unknown guards. They are THE two starting guards from the team that had arguably the best running attack over the last two years. They were already down a pro bowl guard who had to call it quits after getting injured last year, and their primary backup guard is currently filling in at center. Then, one of the other backups got hurt during the game.
Of the Jags top 8 linemen, 5 are currently injured to some degree. Manuwai is done for the year. Meester is out for the forseeable future. One is in critical condition in the hospital. One would not have played if there were realistically anybody else to take his spot on Sunday (Nwaneri).

Their top 3 guards are currently ALL unavailable to play that position this coming Sunday.
Top 8 linemen:

by broncosguy (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 8:37pm

20: Yes, DAVE makes things more rational. There is not a team that does not belong on your DAVE list. There are at least 4 that don't in the top 8 based on 1-game VOA (Atl, Den, Bal, Buf);

21, et al: I've been a Broncos fan in 4 decades; believe me, I relished sticking it to Goat'sBloodDrinking Al and his minions. But last night's game was disheartening. The single area of need of improvement -- by far -- was the run defense. And the run defense was awful. Awful. Awwwful. 4.8ydspercarryful. Had the Raiders not attempted a forward pass the first half, they would have scored at least 10 pts. They would have still lost, being incompetent in every part of the game NOT rushing the ball. If I'm a Chargers coach, I'm salivating over that game tape.

by ZSGhost (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 8:41pm

is clearly ranked because . is way better than this.

by ZSGhost (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 8:46pm

Why does it do that?!

New England is clearly ranked too high because without BRady they suckk seriously there like a canadian team. The YES Network is way better than this. GO YANKEES RED SOX SUCKKKKKKKK

by James (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 8:46pm

67: Interestingly enough, if you look at the defensive VOA breakdown, the Broncs were -40.2%, good for fifth best run defense. I'm not entirely sure why this is, but it may have to do with the fact that the Raiders burst a 40+ run in their last drive, which VOA would discount due to the game being effectivley over.

by sm (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 9:01pm

Can somebody explain this to me? In the DVOA Projections from a week ago, Minnesota was at 22.5, Indianapolis was at 21.7, a gap of 0.8. Indy's VOA for game 1 was -15.3, Minny's was -29.7. So how has the gap between them in DAVE grown to 2.3 points (Minnesota 18.2, Indianapolis 15.9)? A 90/10 split between the Projection and the week 1 VOA should give Minny a DAVE of 17.28 and Indy a DAVE of 18, right?

by Aaron M. (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 9:08pm

I have to say that I'm starting to believe these ratings are slightly biased. I watched the NE vs. KC game and thought KC's defense played fairly well against the so called "Greatest Team of All-Time", even if Brady was knocked out in the first. To hold them to 17 points was a miracle when that was the spread. And KC ends up the 22nd best D of the day? I know opponent adjustments aren't in yet, but really? I just didn't think the teams looked all that different (obviously the Chiefs O-line is inferior) and the gap in rankings is 8th for NE and 25th for KC. If Dwayne Bowe would have caught an endzone pass the Chiefs would have gone for 2 to win it. The difference between 8th and 25th should have been domination considering this is 1 week's worth of games. I guess I just thought KC would be more middle of the pack, like 16-20 and NE would be 10-15. I wasn't impressed with either team. Moss was still good though.

by Charles Jake (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 9:13pm

The Bears "O" out-performed the "D!" Ha!

by Kaveman (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 9:25pm

#41: That comment made me wonder, so I went and looked. Oakland's ST rank is 4th. Denver is down at 23rd.

The Broncos allowed one long kickoff return, for 58 yards. Even considering that, the Raiders' average starting field position was their 23 yard line. The Broncos' was their 22 yard line (I've excluded a drive that began due to a turnover on downs).

Denver kicked off 8 times; 4 went into the endzone, 2 were touchbacks. Oakland kicked off 3 times; 1 went into the endzone and it was a touchback.

Denver punted twice for a net average of 38.5. Oakland punted five times for a net average of 39.2.

The Raiders returned both Denver punts for a total of 3 yards. The Broncos returned two of Oakland's punts for 19 yards. Two other punts were touchbacks, and the last was fair caught at the 8 yard line.

Denver made 2/2 field goals, 5/5 extra points... what am I missing? It seems odd that the one long kickoff return and the minor differences in net punt average or starting field position are causing a difference of 11.4% in VOA. Anyone enlighten me?

by Kaveman (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 9:32pm

#67, #70: There were a few too many runs that picked up 5 yards or more, but not enough to worry. To me, what is far more important is what I didn't see: any surprised or confused looks on the defense. Watching the D play the run last year was almost nails-down-a-blackboard jarring because of how uncomfortable everyone seemed. These guys don't seem lost at all. They can get better and hopefully will, but that wasn't a 30th ranked D last night for sure. :-)

by PerlStalker (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 10:08pm

#74: Royal also had a fumble on a punt return. Yes, the Broncos recovered but DVOA hates fumbles.

by RickD (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 10:46pm

re: 69
Go Yankees?

You poor, poor troubled man.

by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 10:54pm

Chad Clifton keeps a job because he is an excellent pass blocker. If he did more on run blocking than lean on guys he would be an easy Pro Bowl choice. As it is he's "just" a good lineman.

Who has stymied Jared Allen the last two times they have faced one another.

Maybe the Vikes can pull a "Sapp" and get Chad off the field......

by RickD (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 11:00pm

re: 67
Agree that the Broncos still have major issues with their run defense. I suspect that it's not measured so much by VOA because the Raiders stopped running in the second half. Also, Jamarcus Russel "rushed" 4 times for 7 yards, including a fumble. If somehow VOA could only look at Fargas and McFadden, I think we'd see that the Raiders ran rampant.

If I were Norv, I would be very concerned because they were not able to beat a weak Panthers team at home, and the Chargers' D looks very suspect with Merriman going on the IR today. But yeah, they should feel like they can run on the Broncos. A lot.

by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Tue, 09/09/2008 - 11:39pm

I have to say that I’m starting to believe these ratings are slightly biased. I watched the NE vs. KC game and thought KC’s defense played fairly well against the so called “Greatest Team of All-Time”, even if Brady was knocked out in the first. To hold them to 17 points was a miracle when that was the spread. And KC ends up the 22nd best D of the day?

The ratings don't take opponent into account. Holding an average opponent to 17 points is fine, not great.

by Neoplatonist Bolthead (not verified) :: Wed, 09/10/2008 - 12:05am

Re: 79 -- those Panthers are WAY better than anyone gives them credit for. Yeah, they were mediocre last year, but they started four different QBs and STILL won 7 games! I think they're a serious playoff threat. The Broncos will have a comparable offense (good air game, good ground game) and have a good passing D. I expect the two teams to be pretty equally matched this first time around, both able to pound the ball with limited throwing action, though the Chargers are deeper and will probably end up ahead after the season is over. The net edge in this game goes to San Diego on special teams, but that's not exactly comforting.

by RickD (not verified) :: Wed, 09/10/2008 - 12:30am

re: 81
Of course the Panthers are a playoff threat! They're in the NFC South! That's the division that regularly recycles its cellar dwellers into division champions, and vice versa.

About the Chargers-Broncos. I'm assuming the Chargers run over the weak Broncos' run D. The interesting question will be whether Cutler and Royal will be able to do to the Chargers' D what they did to the Raiders.

What really stuck out was just how bad DeAngelo Hall looked last night. Not only was he repeatedly schooled by a rookie, he commited multiple stupid personal fouls. And the Raiders paid top dollar for this?

by MC2 (not verified) :: Wed, 09/10/2008 - 1:31am

Reading the reactions to the Week 1 DVOA is something that I always look forward to, far more than the ratings themselves.

by 35th&amp;Shields (not verified) :: Wed, 09/10/2008 - 1:37am

Weren't there two teams who outplayed their opponent and lost week 1?

I agree with you San Diego losing a game they should have won. The one you're missing I think is San Francisco. The numbers... San Francisco 38% 3rd down offense, 9.8 passavg, 5.4 rushavg, 31% 3rd down defense, 6.6 def passavg and 2.8 def rushavg.

Do the five fumbles for san fran and 1 interception to 0 and 0 for arizona respectively make up for such a disparity?

by Mystyc (not verified) :: Wed, 09/10/2008 - 2:09am

The Peyton Manning comment in Quick Reads seems off. Manning had positive DYAR and a better Effective Yards than just yards. What's the difference I'm supposed to see there?

by davidCO (not verified) :: Wed, 09/10/2008 - 2:29am

I admit I was a bit surprised when I saw the Broncos rush defense DVOA of -40.2% and a ranking of 5, considering they gave up 150 yards, but then again, the whole reason for DVOA is that yards simply don't tell the whole story. As I think back at the game, the Denver defense did pretty darn well when it mattered. The Raiders had very little success rushing on 3rd down and in the red zone. The yards they got were in the middle of the field, and 42 of them came in junk time when the game was already over. Also, the first team rush defense was pretty impressive during preseason as well (which unfortunately DAVE doesn't reflect, as it doesn't differentiate between starters and the rest of the team - at least as far as I know). I think their rush defense will be much better than last year.

by RB #25, Tulane (not verified) :: Wed, 09/10/2008 - 2:31am

I just read in Football Prospectus that you guys think McFadden is suited for the zone-blocking scheme, because he makes "quick cuts." Are you kidding me? I saw at least twelve of his games at Arkansas, he runs in a straight line (maybe to off-tackle a little bit, but still in a straight line). In preseason, I saw him make a few very, very slow, pointless, cuts, usually poorly timed, and an overall bad read.

I, Matt Forte (I am not really Matt Forte), am way better. You said it yourself in Football Prospectus, boom-and-bust running backs blow, i.e. Reggie Bush; except for that McFadden's receiving skills aren't that great.

Yours' Truly,
Mr. 21K

by thestar5 (not verified) :: Wed, 09/10/2008 - 4:20am

"The Mike, Mike and Mike commenting team on ESPN is … horrible. My god. Bunch of idiots."

Seriously? After listening to Kornholer the whole first game the Mike crew was music to my ears. MNF is the only time I ever get the urge to mute the TV. Most of the other guys say stuff thats wrong or dumb sometimes, but Kornholer is just embarassing.

I would say he's the worst commentator in football, but you can't really even call himthat. All he does is talk about pop culture. Or if he does say something about football, it'll be him creaming "Aaron Rodgers is THE MOST criticized player in football, but no one knows about his life!!!!!" or other drivel. I don't think its possible to be worse than he is.

Furthermore, Ditka nad Golic are at least insightful, which is more than probably half the guys doing games can say these days. I don't know, but that's my 2 cents. I was pretty surprised someone would be so unhappy with them with all of the Joe Buck/Bryant Gumbel/Kornholer types out there.

by thestar5 (not verified) :: Wed, 09/10/2008 - 4:22am


by ammek (not verified) :: Wed, 09/10/2008 - 6:25am

(Jumping to conclusions...) 20 teams have positive offensive DVOA, versus 12 with negative (ie, good) defensive DVOA. I guess the adjustments will have an effect on that, but there weren't any huge shootouts Sunday/Monday (and especially not Thursday) so I wonder if 2008 is gonna be another big year for offense....

by Kulko (not verified) :: Wed, 09/10/2008 - 7:17am

Re 72:
I am not sure, but I think it fits what I saw on the field.

KC held their opponent to 17 points, gave up consistently long runs and forced two fumbles and recovered both.
So VOA has many data points where they played bad and assumes there is a bit of luck involved.

NE held their opponent to only 10 points, held LJ to 2.4 y/c plus one long run and held KC to less then 20 yards on 6 of 9 drives. So VOA has lots of good datapoints and assumes that the defense will be much better going forward.

It doesn't know yet, that KC is playing without an OLine and NE is supposed to be a TOP 3 offense, so it can't take that into account

I counted and KC converted 4/10 long 3rd downs (4 or more yards to go). Its probably not a perfect game, pput far from horrible.

by Kaveman (not verified) :: Wed, 09/10/2008 - 9:01am

#88: I love hearing Jaws talk football. I enjoy seeing a play thoroughly broken down every so often, with a commentator pointing out stuff that I wouldn't have seen. And I can tune out Kornheiser simply by recognizing that his purpose and focus is to be the human interest guy. People like my wife are interested in the side he focuses on and that's great with me.

Mike^2 commentary?

"Oh, he absolutely mugged him!"


"You could see his hand on the jersey, pulling it away, I'm amazed he got away with that!"

"I'm not going to argue with you on this one."

"What a mugging. Amazing."

"Well, looks like he got away with it."

"He sure did. And now its first down."

And of course, the replay shows little to no contact. This is commentary?

by Andrew (not verified) :: Wed, 09/10/2008 - 9:37am

Kaveman #92:

The replay showed him holding his jersey as he tried to run. I suppose that is less contact than shoving him to the ground.

by ammek (not verified) :: Wed, 09/10/2008 - 9:59am

2004-era fans with memories of BJ Sander will be flabbergasted to see Green Bay atop the special teams rankings - even if it is only Week One. And this in spite of a blocked field goal attempt.

A question: do blocked FGs count differently in DVOA from other missed FGs? I'm guessing (and hoping) that a low kick is a less repeatable occurrence than a wide one.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 09/10/2008 - 10:39am

"I’m surprised NE’s defensive VOA was so good. Yes, they held their opponent to 10 points, but to my eye it seemed like KC was converting third downs all over the place…"

Really? I seem to remember Kansas City having like 110 yards passing going into the 4th quarter. Huard moved the ball well, but Croyle did absolutely nothing.

Croyle was 11/19 for 88 yards.

KC had 10 drives. 4 were 3-and-outs. One was 1-and-pick. One was 9 plays for 19 yards.

by JCRODRIGUEZ (not verified) :: Wed, 09/10/2008 - 10:47am

Honestly I did not expected that lack of love for the Steelers after the demolition of the Texans...lets wait and see, the "Joe Flacco" led Ravens are not, I repeat, ARE NOT, a contender this year and its victory over that Cincy Massive Trainwreck seems to me way overrated...

by dryheat (not verified) :: Wed, 09/10/2008 - 11:15am

Granted, I was playing with my daughter during the game, so I may have missed something, but....

I recall Kansas City having two good plays all game, a run by Johnson that went for 12-15 yards and boosted his YPA to 3.5 or so, and the last minute pass to Devard Darling that went for 60 or so due to busted coverage.

Patriots had two fumbles in Chief's territory, losing both.

I don't know how anybody can say the two teams looked pretty much equal. Kansas City nearly tied up the game, but there's no way you can say they played the Patriots even, especially post-Brady when everybody knew they were going run heavy and still ran to the tune of 5 yards per carry or so.

Kansas City's defense did look better than expected, but frankly, I have no idea what DVOA is going to say about this game when the adjustments kick in. The Patriots offense might not be very good, and the Chiefs defense might end up better than expected.

by WhoDat (not verified) :: Wed, 09/10/2008 - 11:44am

The whole dave / dvoa mix thing is I guess as good as any other attempt to gloss a statistical / authoritative sheen over the rear view mirror to make us think we're looking through the windshield.

To wit:
Sunday: NO secondary surprisingly contested many throws, shut down Joey Methuselah.
Monday: Jeff Methuselah turns out hurt.

Point? It just seems so hard to draw a bead on the state of a team when you're dealing with a "next man up" population of data points, esp week 1. guess that's the whole deal about not jumping to conclusions.

The bad news IRW which is good news here in la-la land is that you'll get a great dataset for the VORP / DVOA / barbicoa nums on Colston!

by crack (not verified) :: Wed, 09/10/2008 - 2:27pm

Mike^2 commentary?

“Oh, he absolutely mugged him!”


“You could see his hand on the jersey, pulling it away, I’m amazed he got away with that!”

“I’m not going to argue with you on this one.”

“What a mugging. Amazing.”

“Well, looks like he got away with it.”

“He sure did. And now its first down.”

And of course, the replay shows little to no contact. This is commentary?
As opposed to Jaws and Tirico when Al Harris ran over Bernard Berrian. Inverse conversation
Jaws: That was clean
Tirico: Really?
Jaws: Yeah completely

Replay shows mugging

Jaws: I saw a different angle.

I like Jaws, it's just what instantaneous analysis devolves into no matter who is doing it. No time for nuance.

by The Hypno-Toad (not verified) :: Wed, 09/10/2008 - 6:45pm

I'm still worried about the Broncos Run D, to an extent. But I am not at all worried that it will be anywhere near as bad as it was last season. There was only one really long gain, and it came while the Broncos were playing prevent. Whereas last year, it seemed like we could have 14 guys in the box, and someone would break off a 40 yard td every third play. For 30 runs, the defense did very well, in my opinion. For one play, they did very poorly, but they did catch him before he got in the end zone, which I liked. The tackling seemed much better all game long, we gave up some yards after contact, but it didn't seem like much. And as someone above pointed out, the defense actually looked like they knew what they were supposed to do. And let's give credit where credit is due, Oakland has a couple of impressive RBs.

by Adam (not verified) :: Wed, 09/10/2008 - 7:37pm

You know, the Broncos mailed it in in the fourth quarter.

Going into the 4th quarter, Oakland had 130 yards of total offense.

In the fourth quarter they got 184. Denver was up by 27 at that point, the game was already over as Oakland has no magical comeback QB on their roster.

In a prevent defense, Denver, like all defenses, gave up a ton of yards and two touchdowns.

Their run defense to that point was pretty good, not great but certainly not concerning like last year. Therein lies the inherent flaw in Mr Schatz formulae for devising who is better at what.

Garbage time yards and points are counted into the overall statistics when its obvious to anyone actually watching the games that teams with huge leads just play soft defenses, make the offenses take the underneath stuff, prevent the big play to waste time on the clock.

I love reading the stats on this, but too much praise was given to NE last year for all those eff you touchdowns they scored when the game was already well out of reach (and karma is a bitch, now they lost Brady for the year, that's what happens when you cheat and are unsportsmanlike). Meanwhile, teams that lay off in the 4th quarter when the game is already won they are just waiting for time to expire are penalized in these rankings.

Oakland didnt all of a sudden get 184 yards in one quarter better on Monday night. No team who has been stuffed from start to the fourth quarter just magically gets better. Its because defenses lay off.

Assume Denver plays the 4th quarter defensively like they did the other three quarters and you find that Oakland finishes the evening probably shut out and with a meager 180 total yards.


by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Wed, 09/10/2008 - 8:19pm

Garbage time yards and points are counted into the overall statistics when its obvious to anyone actually watching the games that teams with huge leads just play soft defenses, make the offenses take the underneath stuff, prevent the big play to waste time on the clock.

VOA and DVOA take score and time remaining into account. So if you're down 35-7 in the 4th your performance is compared to other teams down by multiple TDs in the 4th.

Aaron has tried removing 'garbage time' from the equations and the correlation with winning goes DOWN.

by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Wed, 09/10/2008 - 9:36pm

didnt read any posts yet and might not (not tenough tijme) but wanted to say that dvoa putting Raiders 30th in okay. Raiders desreve that ranking. But it wa s hard game to win. D Hall never saw Royal before. Too to cover a guy like that. Team needed a game to work things out and get usued to playing wiht the other new guys.
Broncos will see a much diffenrnte and better Raiders team later in year.
Raiders and Chargers still best eams in division even though both 0-1.
Loss just a blimp on the radar screen.

by Evil Rex (not verified) :: Wed, 09/10/2008 - 10:49pm

#103, Loss just a blimp on the radar screen.

Or, y'know, it could be more of a Zeppelin...

by Eddo (not verified) :: Wed, 09/10/2008 - 10:56pm

Ah, I love Raiderjoe.
Especially when you consider that "just a blimp on the radar screen" is the exact opposite of the common saying RJ meant to type.

by elhondo (not verified) :: Thu, 09/11/2008 - 9:26am

I've studied the writings of raiderjoe for a few years now, and I have to say, he might have this one right.

Who would worry about a blimp on the radar screen? Seriously, unless your a city of baritones, unduly worried about gaining a high pitched voices, what's a blimp going to do.

A blip, on the other hand is usually an aircraft, missile or ICBM. Blips are much more problematic (though rarely, a blip is actually a blimp).

by Charles (not verified) :: Thu, 09/11/2008 - 12:15pm

The Cardinals get to beat up on another bottom feeder this week. Dave better get ready to drop them in the top ten, especially the defense.

by Craig (not verified) :: Thu, 09/11/2008 - 12:54pm

As far as 10% after week 1, I imagine that Football Outsiders has studied the VOA in other past seasons. My best guess as to why VOA is so low is the following: a team's ability to game plan is the lowest in game 1. There is nothing to go on in game 1 other than study of team personnel and previous season's games. By game 5, teams have a good knowledge of their opponents tendencies. The second most important impact is players working together for an entire four quarters.

by Peter Libero (not verified) :: Thu, 09/11/2008 - 2:02pm

108: I think it's a little simpler than that... it's simply one datapoint, and the way a team is expected to perform based on last year is really much more predictive of their continued success than week 1.

Variance is big in football; Atlanta's week 1 performance is extremely unlikely to be the way their whole season goes, much the same way Indianapolis will probably do much better based on what we know about the roster.

by broncosguy (not verified) :: Thu, 09/11/2008 - 6:39pm

Yes, the Broncos run D might improve over last year; this is akin to praising a movie for being better than Ishtar. Yes, we should discount the late Fargas breakaway. So too should we discount the JRussel runs (as cited above)and the successful stuffs against an obviously disheartened OL (roughly mid 2nd qtr thru 3rd). The Raiders have a very good running game, and I want to be wrong on this. I guess we'll know for sure by 6 p.m. Sunday.

by broncosguy (not verified) :: Thu, 09/11/2008 - 6:47pm

"a blimp on the radar".

John Madden shows up on radar?

While that's a classic RaiderJoe malaprop, its far from the silliest thing he said. D Hall got abused because he'd never seen Eddie Royal? By that logic every rookie WR should be an MVP candidate.

And did anyone else notice? For a really big guy, Jamarcus Russell is really easy to tackle.

by The Hypno-Toad (not verified) :: Fri, 09/12/2008 - 5:58am

110 - I don't think we can "discount" the long Fargas run. But I feel like we can take heart in the fact that there was only one long run, especially considering the situation where that run happened. But I completely agree that disregarding Russell's rushing stats leads to a more accurate picture of the Broncos' performance. My read on the Bronco Run Defense is they probably wind up in the middle of the pack (somewhere in the 14-20 range is my best guess) and I'm totally fine with that. I'm not expecting great things, and I don't see much that leads me to expect that the run defense will even approach greatness in the next few seasons. But for now, I'll take slightly below average.

by Aaron M. (not verified) :: Sun, 09/14/2008 - 1:42am

I take my comment back about the Chiefs Patriots game. I was just surprised that VOA had them dominated, while their defense came out 21st on the day in yards allowed, and I thought their offense performed similarly to NE's minus the runs. NE was 9th in the NFL in yards allowed and allowed just 53 fewer than the Chiefs. Time of possession was dead even. The real difference comes in when you notice KC allowed 1.1 more yards per play than NE. That's pretty much the problem. That stat has NE at 10th and KC at 24th. Just watching the game I noticed KC wasn't running the ball well, but without looking up the per play average I felt like the teams were both just poking along on offense. My expectations of a shutout and domination by NE didn't happen, and thus my perceptions of the game and the Chiefs performance were colored quite a bit.

When adjustments kick in, the Chiefs defense will improve. I expect Cassell to pull out a half-Brady with this team and throw 25-30 TDs. All he has to do is get it near Moss, or hit Welker quick off the line. With reps in practice he'll be ready.

by atsmith :: Sun, 09/14/2008 - 12:06pm

interesting discussion. i can ALMOST read it, unlike the website itself which is illegible.