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29 Sep 2008

Week 4 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

This week's DVOA ratings go up a bit early because of the Jewish holiday over the next couple days. They do not include the Monday night game between Baltimore and Pittsburgh, which gives the Ravens' number one ranking a big fat asterisk.

However, there is no big fat asterisk for Philadelphia's rating at number three. Yes, DVOA sees the Eagles as a top three team despite the fact that they are 2-2. In particular, it thinks the Eagles dominated last night's game despite losing it. Philadelphia has 31.2% DVOA for the game, while Chicago has -15.0% DVOA. Look closer at the standard numbers and it seems pretty obvious why. The Eagles outgained the Bears 4.5 yards to 3.0 yards on the average run. They outgained the Bears 5.4 yards to 4.7 yards on the average pass. They turned the ball over twice while the Bears turned it over four times. They were doomed by bad red zone efficiency, the fact that Chicago's turnover returns were much longer then their turnover returns, and Correll Buckhalter's inability to put the ball in the end zone.

As we often say, every team would rather come out of the game with a win instead of a higher DVOA rating, but going forward DVOA is the better predictor of how teams will play. The Eagles are not a 2-2 team, not in terms of quality. Here's a list of the top 2-2 teams since 1996 in terms of DVOA:

Year Team DVOA
When 2-2
2001 PHI 41.8% 11-5
2008 PHI 38.5% --
2003 TB 37.7% 7-9
2005 SD 36.4% 9-7
2000 PHI 33.6% 11-5
2000 DEN 31.5% 11-5
2005 SEA 29.3% 13-3
2006 KC 25.2% 9-7
2007 ARI 22.8% 8-8
1999 OAK 22.8% 8-8

This week, opponent adjustments begin to show up in DVOA, now at 40 percent strength. They will go up by 10 percent each week until we hit Week 10. We've also added our listings of schedule strength (both past and future) as well as "estimated wins" and week-to-week consistency (aka VARIANCE). Notable teams that are better than they look because of tough early schedules include Washington, Chicago, and Dallas. Notable teams with very easy schedules so far include Tennessee, Buffalo, and Atlanta.

* * * * *

Some little site housekeeping nuggets... 2008 stats are now in the premium database through Week 3; however, a bug means that 2008 isn't actually listed in the dropdown menus. We hope to have that fixed soon. You can get to 2008 by choosing another year, then changing the year in the URL to 2008. All the past stats pages have now been moved over, although many of those also need the dropdown menus added. All the free 2008 stats pages should all be updated through Week 4 (except Monday Night Football) in a matter of minutes. I'm not sure when playoff odds will be up; probably not until Wednesday or Thursday, but with Baltimore and Pittsburgh's Monday night game included.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through four weeks 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 DVOA are adjusted to consider all fumbles, kept or lost, as equal value. They also include opponent adjustments, currently at 40 percent strength. SPECIAL TEAMS DVOA is adjusted for type of stadium (warm, cold, dome, Denver) and week of season.

As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE.

DAVE is a formula which combines our preseason projection with current DVOA to get a more accurate forecast of how a team will play the rest of the season. Right now, the preseason projection makes up 40 percent of DAVE, and this year's DVOA makes up 60 percent. For teams with only three games played, that split is 55/45; for Baltimore, it is still 70/30.

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 BAL 60.6% 1 2-0 20.4% 4 8.9% 11 -52.9% 1 -1.2% 20
2 NYG 42.1% 2 3-0 22.3% 2 29.4% 3 -8.1% 8 4.6% 8
3 PHI 38.5% 3 2-2 36.4% 1 11.4% 8 -26.9% 3 0.2% 16
4 TEN 34.7% 4 4-0 19.8% 5 -0.3% 19 -39.3% 2 -4.2% 28
5 TB 23.8% 13 3-1 22.2% 3 -3.9% 20 -26.4% 4 1.3% 13
6 BUF 23.4% 5 4-0 8.2% 12 7.7% 13 -10.6% 6 5.1% 6
7 WAS 23.0% 16 3-1 10.1% 10 25.7% 4 -1.1% 13 -3.8% 26
8 DAL 19.8% 7 3-1 16.5% 7 31.8% 1 11.8% 24 -0.3% 17
9 PIT 16.2% 10 2-1 10.9% 9 -6.9% 24 -21.0% 5 2.1% 11
10 SD 15.1% 9 2-2 19.7% 6 18.3% 6 3.5% 17 0.3% 15
11 CHI 8.3% 15 2-2 4.1% 16 -4.6% 21 -7.2% 9 5.6% 5
12 CAR 8.3% 21 3-1 6.7% 15 8.2% 12 1.1% 16 1.1% 14
13 ATL 5.3% 6 2-2 -13.1% 26 11.0% 9 10.4% 22 4.6% 7
14 NO 4.3% 23 2-2 2.9% 18 19.4% 5 12.5% 25 -2.6% 22
15 DEN 4.2% 12 3-1 3.7% 17 31.1% 2 21.9% 29 -5.0% 29
16 ARI 3.5% 14 2-2 1.6% 19 11.9% 7 5.1% 18 -3.4% 25
17 GB 2.7% 8 2-2 16.2% 8 -8.7% 25 -8.8% 7 2.5% 10
18 SF 1.7% 11 2-2 -10.1% 23 -5.2% 22 -4.1% 11 2.8% 9
19 MIA 1.1% 18 1-2 -11.2% 25 9.5% 10 0.5% 15 -7.8% 32
20 MIN -0.7% 17 1-3 9.0% 11 -0.2% 18 -6.7% 10 -7.3% 31
21 SEA -0.9% 19 1-2 8.1% 13 0.7% 17 -3.7% 12 -5.3% 30
22 OAK -1.4% 20 1-3 -10.3% 24 -9.8% 27 -0.9% 14 7.6% 2
23 NYJ -5.6% 26 2-2 -5.4% 22 1.3% 16 6.5% 20 -0.5% 18
24 JAC -6.2% 25 2-2 0.5% 20 5.0% 14 17.5% 27 6.3% 3
25 IND -12.8% 24 1-2 0.1% 21 1.9% 15 10.6% 23 -4.1% 27
26 NE -14.7% 22 2-1 6.7% 14 -5.7% 23 20.4% 28 11.4% 1
27 CLE -24.5% 28 1-3 -20.0% 27 -25.0% 30 5.7% 19 6.2% 4
28 CIN -40.5% 27 0-4 -25.1% 29 -27.8% 31 9.7% 21 -2.9% 23
29 HOU -46.0% 29 0-3 -22.3% 28 -9.2% 26 34.6% 30 -2.2% 21
30 KC -47.0% 30 1-3 -34.9% 30 -29.5% 32 14.3% 26 -3.3% 24
31 STL -60.4% 32 0-4 -47.2% 32 -18.1% 29 41.4% 31 -1.0% 19
32 DET -67.2% 31 0-3 -42.2% 31 -12.9% 28 55.9% 32 1.6% 12

  • ESTIMATED WINS uses a statistic known as "Forest Index" that emphasizes consistency as well as DVOA in the most important specific situations: red zone defense, first quarter offense, and performance in the second half when the score is close.  It then projects a number of wins adjusted to a league-average schedule and a league-average rate of recovering fumbles.  Teams that have had their bye week are projected as if they had played one game per week.
  • PAST SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents played this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative). It is not adjusted for which games are home or road.
  • FUTURE SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents still left to play this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative). It is not adjusted for which games are home or road.
  • VARIANCE measures the statistical variance of the team's weekly DVOA performance.  Teams are ranked from most consistent (#1, lowest variance) to least consistent (#32, highest variance).

1 BAL 60.6% 2-0 71.7% 4.0 1 -12.2% 26 3.7% 11 12.0% 14
2 NYG 42.1% 3-0 52.8% 3.1 3 -19.5% 30 17.0% 1 16.8% 19
3 PHI 38.5% 2-2 49.6% 3.0 4 -4.1% 21 12.9% 2 20.2% 23
4 TEN 34.7% 4-0 41.8% 3.4 2 -23.4% 32 -11.2% 31 4.2% 7
5 TB 23.8% 3-1 21.9% 2.5 10 5.1% 12 -4.3% 23 18.6% 22
6 BUF 23.4% 4-0 30.6% 2.8 5 -17.2% 29 -7.1% 29 14.8% 18
7 WAS 23.0% 3-1 18.2% 2.7 6 17.4% 3 2.0% 13 8.4% 13
8 DAL 19.8% 3-1 18.2% 2.6 8 9.9% 8 12.5% 3 12.9% 16
9 PIT 16.2% 2-1 21.6% 2.7 7 7.1% 10 4.7% 7 7.2% 10
10 SD 15.1% 2-2 20.5% 2.6 9 1.4% 15 -3.7% 21 2.7% 3
11 CHI 8.3% 2-2 2.5% 2.5 11 14.4% 4 -16.6% 32 3.4% 6
12 CAR 8.3% 3-1 7.5% 2.3 12 7.0% 11 -0.1% 17 8.2% 11
13 ATL 5.3% 2-2 13.7% 1.8 24 -20.5% 31 3.9% 8 49.3% 31
14 NO 4.3% 2-2 3.0% 2.1 14 13.2% 6 -3.3% 20 6.4% 9
15 DEN 4.2% 3-1 11.2% 1.9 17 -7.2% 24 -1.9% 19 24.2% 26
16 ARI 3.5% 2-2 -1.6% 1.7 25 5.0% 13 -0.4% 18 23.2% 25
17 GB 2.7% 2-2 5.4% 2.1 15 -6.1% 23 -5.4% 25 18.3% 21
18 SF 1.7% 2-2 4.1% 2.0 16 -15.1% 28 0.8% 15 17.7% 20
19 MIA 1.1% 1-2 11.3% 1.5 27 -4.2% 22 -4.0% 22 62.4% 32
20 MIN -0.7% 1-3 -5.0% 1.9 19 8.2% 9 -7.4% 30 8.3% 12
21 SEA -0.9% 1-2 5.1% 1.8 22 -8.8% 25 6.6% 6 37.1% 29
22 OAK -1.4% 1-3 -8.4% 1.9 18 -1.1% 19 0.8% 14 27.1% 27
23 NYJ -5.6% 2-2 -6.0% 1.8 21 1.3% 16 -6.4% 27 12.5% 15
24 JAC -6.2% 2-2 -10.6% 1.8 20 -0.2% 18 -5.4% 26 2.2% 2
25 IND -12.8% 1-2 -14.3% 1.8 23 0.3% 17 -6.8% 28 0.2% 1
26 NE -14.7% 2-1 -17.6% 2.2 13 -12.9% 27 0.6% 16 48.4% 30
27 CLE -24.5% 1-3 -24.1% 1.5 26 14.0% 5 11.4% 4 22.0% 24
28 CIN -40.5% 0-4 -45.9% 0.7 28 28.2% 1 2.7% 12 4.4% 8
29 HOU -46.0% 0-3 -43.8% 0.5 29 11.2% 7 -4.9% 24 3.1% 5
30 KC -47.0% 1-3 -33.3% 0.5 30 -1.7% 20 6.9% 5 31.3% 28
31 STL -60.4% 0-4 -69.9% 0.0 32 25.8% 2 3.9% 10 14.5% 17
32 DET -67.2% 0-3 -62.9% 0.1 31 2.4% 14 3.9% 9 2.9% 4

Worst DVOA Ever Watch

The Rams managed to work their way out of the "worst team ever" slot, but that's okay, they still rank as the worst defense ever measured through four games, if not four weeks.

2000 CIN -88.4%   2008 DET 55.9%
1999 CLE -68.0%   2008 STL 41.4%
2001 WAS -67.4%   2006 HOU 39.0%
2008 DET -67.2%   2001 ARI 35.9%
2003 CHI -66.4%   2008 HOU 34.6%
2006 TEN -62.3%   2007 NYJ 34.0%
2008 STL -60.4%   1998 PHI 33.9%
2002 CIN -58.6%   2000 SF 33.8%
2005 HOU -56.4%   2000 ARI 32.8%
1998 PHI -55.8%   2001 BUF 29.6%
2007 NO -53.8%   2005 HOU 29.2%
2001 BUF -51.8%   2003 SD 27.5%
1996 TB -50.5%   2006 TEN 26.7%
2006 OAK -50.1%   2003 ARI 25.3%

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 29 Sep 2008

80 comments, Last at 06 Oct 2008, 4:56pm by Anonymous


by sbTB09 (not verified) :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 4:45pm

Bucs jumped up like crazy

by BucKai (not verified) :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 8:28pm

Yeah, I was hoping for a big bounce once opponent adjustment came into play. Even with the ATL game.

If we could throw 3 fewer int's each game, the offense would look a whole lot better too. With KC, OAK, DET & ATL on the schedule still, we have an exceptionally winnable schedule. It's a month away, but I am already looking forward to the DAL game.

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 4:48pm

and Correll Buckhalter's inability to put the ball in the end zone.

Woah, woah, woah. The blame is absolutely not on Buckhalter for that play. It's on Matt Schobel, who, in a perfect world, would be the KCW Award winner for this week. Matt Schobel was lined over Alex Brown, and was the last person on the left side of the line. Brown went outside, around Schobel, and Schobel did some sort of weird windmilling turnstile thing (I am not joking - it's comedic), and Brown took a straight shot to Buck in the backfield.

Every other Eagle on the offense did their job on that play, and had Brown been slowed at all (heck, Schobel could've just stood there, and gotten run over or something), Buck would've walked into the end zone. If you watch the play, there is a wide, gaping hole (and I mean gaping) on the left side of the line, because both the SAM and MIKE linebackers for Chicago reacted really, really late to the snap, and Chicago was in this weird alignment as if they were expecting a play-fake - 4 guys lined up against 7 blockers.

The proper answer is "Matt Schobel's inability to block someone for even a half-second." Or hell, you could just say "Matt Schobel's inability to do anything."

by The Ninjalectual :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 5:36pm

Yes somehow Westbrook doesn't have that problem.

[/Redskins homerism]

by Jimmy :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 6:15pm

When I was watching it I gave the biggest credit for the stop on fourth down to Ogunleye. Brown was the first Bears players to grab Buckhalter, but the reason Buckhalter stopped was because he ran into the back of an Eagles blocker who simply shouldn't have been there. The reason he was there (as evidenced by the presence of a navy helmet poking out from under the Eagles player's torso) was because Ogunleye had driven him back behind where the center was at the start of the play. The Eagles used four linemen to move the Bears defensive tackles, which they did do but not as far as you would ideally want. This meant there were quite a few Bears players who were able to break on the ball, but it was Ogunleye that made the biggest play.

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 6:57pm

I don't agree, at all. Ogunleye was on the far right side of the play, and the play was clearly intended to open up a lane to the left. Furthermore, the reason Buck couldn't get the touchdown is because Alex Brown's arm was around his neck well before he even got to the goal line.

At the snap, the Bears defensive linemen were lined up on Schobel (Brown), Herremans (Dvoracek), Jean-Gilles (Idonije), and Celek (Ogunleye). Jackson and Jean-Gilles immediately engage Idonije, with Jackson pushing him to the left, and the combination of Jackson, Runyan and Jean-Gilles just flatten Idonije completely. Runyan's action left him a little slow to engage Ogunleye, but Dan Klecko barrels in and picks up Briggs (who was the quickest LB to rush to the line) and eventually Urlacher as well. This forms a total logjam on the right side.

The left side, though, is where things are wide open. Herremans passes Dvoracek off to Thomas, and then fires out to pick up Hillenmeyer, which means all of the Bears to the right are in a total logjam, and the only Bear without a blocker on the left side is the corner, who's waaay too far out to do anything.

Of course, Schobel does his turnstile impression, Alex Brown fires off cleanly, and the rest is history.

Look at the picture linked in the Audibles article. Brown's arm is dragging Buck to the right. To the left, there's nothing but green. Left is where Buck was heading. The Bear on the ground (under Buck) is Idonije, who had no chance of doing anything if Buck headed left.

Without Brown, that's a TD.

by Jimmy :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 10:16pm

I had a look at the replay and I think you are correct in that Brown did make the better play, but Ogunleye had dived inside and was the helmet under the pile. But on review, yeah it was Brown that made the play, and Schobel that utterly failed to make the block.

by tictoc (not verified) :: Tue, 09/30/2008 - 1:01am

Yeah I totally agree with you on Schobel. The eagles guard and tackle both created plenty of room for buckhalter. Schobel just gets a hand on brown and buckhalter scores. Schobel's responsibility on a dive is to block in before out and there was an outside linebacker who moved parallel (to the line of scrimmage) leaving schobel with his whiff. I think his "windmill" was an attempt to chip brown (to slow him up) then procceed to the linebacker who is closer to the play. Good aggressive play by brown to come hard down the line of scrimmage.

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 09/30/2008 - 4:18am

None of the linebackers moved at the snap. Schobel did. The play called for Herremans to pass off the DT lined up against him to Thomas, and then, if possible, get to a LB to allow for enough space between Jackson and Herremans.

Schobel flat out screwed up. Andy Reid admitted as much in the press conference when he said that Schobel's responsibility was to pin Brown (which he didn't). He also did point out Ogunleye (and Payne) breaking through the line on the right, although in this case, the failure of the play was Brown getting in the backfield.

by WookieBH (not verified) :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 4:53pm

"Correll Buckhalter's inability to put the ball in the end zone" Shouldn't the blame for this go to Andy Reid for NOT calling a QB sneak at that point?

And why are the Eagles consistently so great with mediocre records? They show up three times on that list, when no one else shows up more than once! That has to be the most frustrating thing about being an Eagles fan. Every year, the team has so much potential, and somehow, they squander it away, and because they are so good on paper, its hard to know what needs to be done to replace it. Can you just give Philadelphia some sort of negative multiplier to lower their metrics so that they can be rated more in line with their ultimate performance. Maybe create a variable called "Team plays in Philadelphia" or something.

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 5:17pm

Can you just give Philadelphia some sort of negative multiplier to lower their metrics so that they can be rated more in line with their ultimate performance.

The Eagles "ultimate performance" in both cases was 11-5 in both cases. I don't think anyone would call that "mediocre."

by tuluse :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 5:30pm

Surely there are some Philly fans that would call 11-5 mediocre.

by Alex51 (not verified) :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 5:33pm

"Every year, the team has so much potential, and somehow, they squander it away, and because they are so good on paper, its hard to know what needs to be done to replace it."

Well, the last two times they showed up on that list, they made the playoffs, including the first of four consecutive Conference Championship Game Appearances, so you might say that nothing needs to be done, other than wait for the team's W-L record to catch up, as it usually does. The only reason the Eagles appear on that list so much is the curious habit of Andy Reid's teams of losing significantly more often before their bye week than after. Over his entire head coaching career, Andy Reid is 33-33 before the bye week. After the bye week, he's 51-21. So, they make up for it at the end of the year. They usually just have mediocre records at the start of the season.

by Independent George :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 5:54pm

Andy Reid is 33-33 before the bye week. After the bye week, he's 51-21. So, they make up for it at the end of the year.

Andy Reid has head coached 66 games before the bye week? And 72 after? Just how old is this guy?

by Eddo :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 6:04pm

Um...(66+72)/16 is between 8 and 9 years. Without looking it up, I'd say that's about right.

by DenverMatt (not verified) :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 6:52pm

It's impossible to coach that many bye weeks, the NFL has only had the 17 week season for what - five, ten, years? Andy Reid would have to be coaching 10 different teams to get that statistic.
You would only have one a year anyhow.

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 6:58pm

The statistic meant "all weeks before the team's bye week," not "the single week before the bye week." Same for after.

by Eddo :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 8:20pm

The record isn't for games immediately preceding and following bye weeks, though. For example, this year, Andy Reid is 2-2 before the Eagles' bye week (so far).

by phillyangst :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 6:41pm

Let's call the variable "DVOA Loves Philadelphia!!!" Or FO must make a metric that penalizes the Iggles for not scoring touchdowns when getting possession after turnovers, good field position, in the red zone and/or inept play calling.

by Stop the Redskin hating (not verified) :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 5:00pm

Is there some loophole in the NFL playoff system that allows the NFC East to send its fourth-place team in place of the NFC West Champion if nobody out west musters a winning record?

If not I think this should be the most pressing issue addressed by the rule-changing committee

by tuluse :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 5:19pm

I would bet a large sum of money that at least on team in the NFC West has a winning record. It's probably going to be 9-7 earned by playing a team that has clinched, but the division winner will have a winning record.

by NRG :: Tue, 09/30/2008 - 12:34am

They all get to play each other, that means a fair number of wins by default.


by Anonymous (not verified) :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 5:06pm

what is the latest point in a season where we've seen a team have a NEGATIVE estimated wins?

by tuluse :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 5:14pm

The Bears really took a hit in passing offense this week. Even as opponent adjustments boosted it up.

However, tied for first, best DVOA in their division, and easiest schedule from here on out. I'm liking it.

As a bonus if Aaron Rodgers is out for any significant amount of time, you can probably count the Packers out of the playoffs. It's funny, usually when replacing an all time great QB, fans get frustrated with bad play like untimely interceptions. With Favre, they are used to that, but the one thing he did was stay healthy. Which appears to be the one thing Rodgers can't do.

by Dave R (not verified) :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 6:42pm

I can't be the only one who thinks it was bizarre that Flynn beat out Brohm for the #2 spot, and there's no way that can last.

by ammek :: Tue, 09/30/2008 - 3:42am

Vroom looked absolutely horrible in the preseason. Accuracy of Akili Smith combined with the vision of Ingle Martin IV. Flynn, albeit against the third-stringers, looked like the kind of green but coachable guy you could stick on the practise squad.
Wait, he's the starter?
Any previous instances of seventh-round (or lower) draft picks starting at QB in their rookie season? Doug Johnson? Tony Graziani?
Oh, Hades...

by Martin C (not verified) :: Tue, 09/30/2008 - 6:56am

I may be wrong but I think Gus Frerotte started 4 games as a rookie for the Redskins way back when. He was picked in the 7th round while Heath Shuler was picked #5 overall by the Skins in '94.

Shuler also played that year but got hurt.

by ammek :: Tue, 09/30/2008 - 8:07am

So unheralded Gus, 15 years ago you came off the bench to replace a crappy starter, and you were terrible, and you ended up being replaced yourself.

Fast forward to 2008.....

by kpickles :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 5:20pm

Will Balt and Pitt's DVOA be updated before next Sunday?

Thanks for the early post and enjoy the holiday :)

by Aaron Schatz :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 5:33pm

Sorry, I should have manually given St. Louis 0.0 estimated wins... I will put something up that updates Baltimore/Pittsburgh, probably in XP on Wednesday night.

by armchair journe... :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 9:43pm

On that same note, the Giants appear to have underplayed the projection of 3.1 wins. I guess they're really going to have to give 110%, now.

armchair journeyman quarterback

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 9:59pm

That's the bye-week issue. To quote, from this page:

Teams that have had their bye week are projected as if they had played one game per week.

by Marcumzilla :: Tue, 09/30/2008 - 2:18pm

Maybe the calculation includes them somehow managing to pick up another loss during the bye week. Haven't we learned sometimes we shouldn't question the surprising numbers?

by tuluse :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 5:42pm

The Bear's worse category of special teams is punt returns, and it's the only one where they are below average. Who would have guess that at the beginning of the year?

by Anonymous (not verified) :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 5:44pm

Will one of the Jewish brethren who frequents this site please give a toot on the Shofar for me.

by Mr Shush :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 6:25pm

Well, I guess I can take some solace from the fact that the Texans have suffered their two blowouts on the road against top ten teams, and the schedule gets a lot easier from here on out. Unless something crazy happens, like the Colts and Jags turning out to be a lot better than DVOA currently thinks they are . . . AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!!!

At least we get to play the Lions.
At least we get to play the Lions.
At least we get to play the Lions.

[/rocking gently from side to side while staring blankly into the middle distance]

by Chip (not verified) :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 6:37pm

"The Bears... Have easiest schedule from here on out. I'm liking it."

Courtesy of former GM, Matt Millen and the Atlanta Falcons.

by Kyle (not verified) :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 6:50pm

"They were doomed by bad red zone efficiency"

At what point does this simply become a part of the Eagles?

If I recall, the disparity between wins/losses for Philadelphia over the past two years (not including this season) has been that Philadelphia's offense produces excellently according to DVOA metrics between the 20s but their stalling in the red zone is what prevents them from posting win/loss records that DVOA would expect. Also, that this is not a typical result given how effective the offense is before the red zone, so we can expect this flaw in the Philadelphia attack to eventually correct itself.

Perhaps this thinking is simply... wrong.

by Kyle (not verified) :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 6:57pm

As a quick follow-up, speaking to the Giants flaws in the red zone, perhaps this is simply an issue with the statistical calculations?

I would not dare to call the Giants the second most efficient / consistent offense in the NFL despite their DVOA ranking. I've witnessed far too many drives stall out inside the 20 to remove them from that consideration altogether. Its a maddening but obvious combination of execution, playcalling, execution and a lack of identity. I would not say this is easily fixed and can be expected simply due to their success prior to the "Green Zone", as Tom Coughlin refers to it as.

To me, it implies that both Philly and the New York Giants have the talent and ability to correct these flaws in their respect offenses, but by no means would I expect it based on DVOA rankings.

Perhaps red zone efficiency is undervalued? Are there any statistics on red zone efficiency kept throughout the season?

As a disclaimer:
By no means am I anything more than an amateur when it comes to understanding the FO.com football statistic metrics. Feel free to correct me on anything.

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 7:03pm

If I recall, the disparity between wins/losses for Philadelphia over the past two years (not including this season)

Um, I don't think you recall correctly. The Eagles red zone performance in 2006 wasn't significantly different from previous years. It was in 2007 when they dropped significantly.

by Alex51 :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 8:49pm

"'They were doomed by bad red zone efficiency'

At what point does this simply become a part of the Eagles?"

I don't know, but I suspect it would have to happen more than once in the last 5 years before I called it part of their team identity. From 2003-2006, the Eagles had a higher DVOA in the red zone than they did outside it. In 2007, they got approximately no production out of the TE position, so they suffered in the red zone, where TEs are especially useful as receivers. There's no reason to think their red zone efficiency won't bounce back.

by Raining Men :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 7:01pm

Matt Schobel shouldn't be in the league. I have nothing else to add to this discussion.

Shana tova, everyone!

by John Doe (not verified) :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 7:30pm

With the Cowboys losing to the Redskins and the Eagles losing to the Bears the Giants are looking pretty good for a repeat trip to the playoffs in the NFLs toughest division. I think this is a much better Giants team than last year.

by JasonK :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 8:10pm

A 1-game lead in the division is nice, but it's way too early and other teams are way too good at this point to be talking playoffs. Note the #1 ranking in "Future Schedule."

Honestly, I'm surprised that the opponent adjustments didn't drop the Giants further. I guess Washington's improvement since Week 1 helps to wash out the close call against Cincy (who looked ghastly this weekend) and Rams being the Rams.

by John Doe (not verified) :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 9:49pm

I saw the #1 next to future strength of schedule, that is because they play in the NFC East. With the Cowboys and Eagles losing this week (one of them to a team the Giants beat) the Giants are in a good position.

The non NFC East teams they face this season are:

San Fran

I think it's unlikely they lose more than 3 of those and very likely they lose 2 or less. Also, Cincy looked particularly bad because Palmer was out.

Obviously it's early in the season, but this week did a lot to inspire confidence in their chances.

by Chucky P (not verified) :: Tue, 09/30/2008 - 2:32am

I think it's safe to throw that first Skins game out; the Zorn and Campbell you got seem to be much better now. I don't really see your logic either as the Giants have any advatage over the others NFC east teams due to schedule. The other NFC east teams have the same schedule (outside of Min, the Skins have the Lions and the Cowboys and Eagles played their north matchups out). After the Eagles the Skins have no more road games in divison, while the Giants still have all 3, not to mention the honor of hosting Dallas and Philly. I think the fact that you only have a one game lead over two teams should be cause for concern, not the other way around.

by Dales :: Tue, 09/30/2008 - 9:36am

"I think it's safe to throw that first Skins game out; the Zorn and Campbell you got seem to be much better now. "

The Skins looked awful in week one.

Was that because: 1) They just weren't ready, or 2) The Giants made them look awful, or 3) A combination of both.

It is possible that they just weren't ready, but I don't know if it is safe to assume that, either.

by Chucky P (not verified) :: Tue, 09/30/2008 - 12:04pm

Point taken, assumptions making an ass and all that. And while that "awful" Redskins team may reappear it seems doubtful that Campbell will revert to locking onto one reciever for an entire and that Jim Zorn will look like a deer in headlights and totally mismanage the clock with no urgency. Obviously, young QB and rookie coach --- some mistakes are in the future, but that game was bad as Jason Campbell has ever looked, in my eyes, and I don't know how often we'll see repeats of that.

In looking at the NFC East I also think the Giants are the team with the least room for growth personal wise. Dallas has a D that appears to be underperforming and a rookie runner who can learn to make more plays and get used on more downs; Philly has slew of injuries and a rookie playmaker who should get better as the year goes on; the Skins have theee high skill positions draft picks yet to produce anything and a new system on offense that looks better every week; other than a discontented receiver and 5 of their 6 division games left what upside do the Giants have?

by Dales :: Wed, 10/01/2008 - 11:58pm

"but that game was bad as Jason Campbell has ever looked, in my eyes, and I don't know how often we'll see repeats of that."

I thought he looked, in that game, pretty much as he has looked most of his career in the games I had seen. Which was only a fraction, but was more than just a couple.

I think the games since then he has looked much, much different than he has, career to date.

"In looking at the NFC East I also think the Giants are the team with the least room for growth personal wise."

I could be persuaded about that, although I am not sure. Manning has had room for improvement-- all he would have to do is sustain his peaks better. The Giants wide receivers can develop to give them a top corp. The corners are young.

But even if there is little room for growth, when you won the Super Bowl and did so by going through Dallas, Green Bay, and 18-0 New England, you don't have to grow too much. In fact, you just need to sustain and then get the breaks in the playoffs.

by John Doe (not verified) :: Tue, 09/30/2008 - 12:25pm

My point was basically that after week 4 the NFC east stands as such:

Giants beat Redskins
Redskins beat Dallas
Dallas beat Philly

Obviously football is more than a simple logic game so it's not as clear cut as that. As a Giants fan I had concerns about the Giants making the playoffs after seeing Philly and Dallas the first three weeks. This week eased those concerns a bit. It's certainly not a lock but if the Eagles had beaten the Bears and the Cowboys had slaughtered the skins the outlook would be much bleaker.

The Giants most valuable asset is their offensive and defensive lines. If they do make the playoffs it will be because of those two units.

by Jon P. (not verified) :: Tue, 09/30/2008 - 4:36pm

The Giants barely beat the skins in week 1. Which was away, and the thursday season opener. The giants did not look good in their win over the skins, but they barely got it done.

The Giants still have to play the skins in DC, and have a very tough schedule ahead. I wouldn't start bottle popping just yet.

The NFC East has always been tough, and there have always been a lot of split seasons with the other teams in the division.

by Dales :: Wed, 10/01/2008 - 10:05am

"The Giants barely beat the skins in week 1"

I don't think this is true. The Giants controlled the ball for nearly 12 minutes more, had almost twice the yards, won by more than one score, allowed the Skins into their territory only three times (including one time as a result of a long kickoff return), and had a VOA of 32% compared to -33% for the Redskins. That wasn't a 'barely beat'. It was a tail whupping that was worse than the 9 point final point differential (which is not a small point differential).

The big question remains if it was a tail whupping because the Giants are that good, or because the Redskins needed a week or two more to get in synch, or if it was just one of those days where a team comes out flat for not apparent reason. But that was not a case of one team barely beating another.

Now the Giants win over the Bengals, THAT was a case of the Giants barely beating another team...

by Trogdor :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 7:56pm

I love how the Browns and Bengals play one of the ugliest games in football history, and their reward is to swap the 27 and 28 places in DVOA. Seems really fitting.

by Kellerman :: Tue, 09/30/2008 - 1:57pm

I think that the Bengals have a realistic chance of going winless this season if Palmer misses more games. If they can't beat the Browns at home without him, then who will they beat on their schedule? Even with Palmer, the schedule - combined with their play through the quarter pole - makes me believe they are the favorites to wind up with N0. 1.

by Doug (not verified) :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 7:57pm

Wow, nice to see that Detroit is through the easy part of its schedule! LOL!

*drops head, trudges slowly away with eyes on the ground)

by dmb :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 9:43pm

I'm sorry, but I'm pretty sure that most Lions' fans realized that the highlight of their season came last Thursday.

The good news for y'all is that there's actually a reason to look forward to next season (for once!). I'll be pulling for you....

by zlionsfan :: Wed, 10/01/2008 - 11:51am

Well, Ford still owns the team, so any happiness that Millen is gone is tempered by the fact that the guy who hired Millen is still around.

I suppose it's possible that Bill will take over at some point, but I'm not holding my breath.

It's also possible that Bill will be as excited about the next incompetent GM as he was about the idea of hiring Millen in the first place.

In closing, as you said, Millen is still fired. :)

by Telamon :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 8:02pm

So, everyone who predicted the AFC South would have the worst DVOA in the AFC after 4 Weeks, raise your hand.

Liars. Besides, it was a rhetorical question.

by MontanaPantherFan (not verified) :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 8:17pm

Telamon: Do you moonlight as a member of the Bluths, by any chance? *waits to see if anyone gets that reference*

by Telamon :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 8:20pm

I know enough to get that it's Arrested Development.

And to be flattered?

by MontanaPantherFan (not verified) :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 8:19pm

I meant to direct that at Doug, not Telamon. Sigh.

by dmb :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 9:25pm

Okay, that makes more sense.

Also, huzzah for Montana!

by Doug (not verified) :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 9:06pm

I don't get it.

by dmb :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 9:29pm

If you've watched Arrested Development, you may have seen a few moments like this.

A wonderful series, but an obscure reference.

by tuluse :: Mon, 09/29/2008 - 11:47pm

You really mean Charlie Brown then.

by Anonymous (not verified) :: Tue, 09/30/2008 - 1:18am

What has the world come to, when people don't remember Charlie Brown???

by bowman :: Tue, 09/30/2008 - 8:15am

Does DVOA count Jaguar's fake punt for a touchdown as a ST play, or a running play? Or is it ignored, because it is "lucky"?

I'm bitter because yahoo! thinks it wasn't a D/ST touchdown...

by panthersnbraves :: Tue, 09/30/2008 - 8:24am

Lost in all of the NFC East fireworks, is that the NFC South comes in next with all four teams above average (5-14).

by CoachDave :: Tue, 09/30/2008 - 9:18am

*Disclaimer...100% qualitative analysis

To me...Philly looks like a team that assuming everyone gets healthy (obviously a big if) and DeSean Jackson stops this Jekyll & Hyde routine, they could easily be the Super Bowl champs at the end of the year. For 3 reasons:

1) Great defense that creates turnovers and kills drives with timely sacks and,

2) A healthy McNabb that to me looks better than he ever has...and will get better as Curtis returns and Jackson "improves"

The "lack" of running game somewhat scares me...but if I were putting money on the eventual SB champ...I would place that bet on Philly...reluctantly. :)

by Dales :: Tue, 09/30/2008 - 9:48am

"1) Great defense that creates turnovers and kills drives with timely sacks and,

2) A healthy McNabb that to me looks better than he ever has...and will get better as Curtis returns and Jackson "improves""

Three problems with this.

A) The Giants, who have
1) A great defense that creates turnovers and kills drives with timely sacks and,
2) A healthy Manning that to me looks better than he ever has... and will get better as Smith, Hixon and Boss continue to develop,

B) The Cowboys, who have
1) A great defense that kills drives with timely sacks and,
2) A healthy Romo who has a ton of offensive weapons beyond anything that the Eagles have,


C) The Redskins, who have
1) A great defense that does not get sacks at the rate of the other NFC East teams (at least so far, with Taylor hobbled and learning a new system) but creates turnovers and has been stingier than the others in the division despite playing more high-powered offenses and,
2) A healthy Jason Campbell that to me looks better than he ever has...and will get better as he continues to learn Zorn's system and as their young rookie wideouts gain experience.

Plus, the Eagles have forced 6 fumbles and recovered 5. That is not sustainable.

The Eagles very well could be Super Bowl contenders. Unfortunately for them, every other team in their division fits that description as well.

by Conflagration on the Dance Floor (not verified) :: Tue, 09/30/2008 - 3:15pm

Exactly right. And at least one of those super bowl contenders will not reach the playoffs. Cruel.

by Drake (not verified) :: Tue, 09/30/2008 - 3:26pm

OK, stupid question, but what does FK stand for in the QB stats?

by Tom Gower :: Tue, 09/30/2008 - 6:19pm

FL = Fumbles Lost. FL = Fumbles Kept (by QB's team).

by Drake (not verified) :: Wed, 10/01/2008 - 2:09pm


by MdM (not verified) :: Wed, 10/01/2008 - 6:20pm

FK = Fumbles Lost Fumbles Kept
FKT = You are put in a bad situation by a teammate's mistake.

4th quarter: Buckhalter stopped for no gain at the 2 (FKT)

by FireOrLime (not verified) :: Thu, 10/02/2008 - 7:49am

Best pick for Survivor leagues in week 5? Dallas seems to be the easy choice, with Carolina and maybe Green Bay a distant second and third.

Week 6 looks like it'll be a little tougher to parse. I'm thinking the easiest call then will be Washington over St. Louis with Minnesota over Detroit waving in the background.

by Anonymous (not verified) :: Fri, 10/03/2008 - 5:23pm

I'm actually really really worried about week 6 skins vs rams. The rams have all these changes suddenly with the new coach, qb change again etc and they have a bye week meaning 2 weeks to prepare a gameplan to beat the skins. Everyone knows they still have talent, but the one positive I see is their new offense lead by al saunders is the same offense the skins had the past few years, they will at least have a good idea what works and what doesnt against that offense as long as Saunders doesnt pull a switcheroo and add some crazy plays to that anemic offense.

by Ari (not verified) :: Sun, 10/05/2008 - 9:37pm

Looks like the Eagles will be the best 2-3 team ever?

by Alex51 :: Mon, 10/06/2008 - 6:21am

I don't know, in 2003 they started 2-3 and finished 12-4 with an NFC Championship Game appearance, so they might not even be the best 2-3 Eagles team of the DVOA era.

by Anonymous (not verified) :: Mon, 10/06/2008 - 4:56pm

Forgive me if this topic has already been broached, but I wonder if Philly be the best 2-3 team in DVOA history.