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21 Sep 2010

Week 2 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

What stands out most so far about the 2010 NFL season is the way no team really stands out. No team has blown away its opponents in two straight games, and no team looks horribly, horrifically bad. Green Bay currently leads the league with 55.5% VOA, making this the first time since 2000 that no team has VOA over 60% after two games. (This was also the case in 1993 and 1995.) The team the Packers beat this past Sunday, Buffalo, is last with -51.1% VOA, making this the first year since 2004 where no team has VOA under -60% after two games. (This was also the case in 1995.) And while the Packers destroyed the Bills in Week 2, Week 1 saw Green Bay narrowly beat Philadelphia and Buffalo narrowly lose to Miami.

Only one team this year has either won its first two games or lost its first two games by more than a touchdown: Carolina, which at -50.9% ranks 31st in VOA, just a smidge ahead of Buffalo.

Here's another way to show the big swing between performance in Week 1 and Week 2: This year, 15 different teams had a difference of at least 50 percentage points between VOA in Week 1 and VOA in Week 2. Last year, only eight teams had a difference that large; there were only nine in 2008 and ten in 2007.

The most surprising team to rank high in VOA this year has to be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but of course there are questions about just how impressive their wins are considering their first two opponents were Cleveland and Carolina. How much stock can we put in a high early VOA without opponent adjustments? Well, last year when New Orleans led the league in VOA after Week 2, it seemed fairly easy to write off because their second win came against Detroit. Whoops. On the other hand, Buffalo was third in 2008 after wins against Seattle and Jacksonville. In that case, opponent adjustments did prove important. Seattle and Jacksonville finished a combined 9-23, and Buffalo finished 7-9.

All the FO stats pages are now updated, including the offensive line and defensive line pages for the first time, as well as the defense vs. types of receivers on the team defense page. The FO Premium DVOA splits database will be updated for 2010 sometime this evening.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through two weeks of 2010, 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.

DAVE is a formula which combines our preseason projection with current VOA to get a more accurate forecast of how a team will play the rest of the season. Right now, the preseason projection makes up 75 percent of DAVE.

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 GB 55.5% 6 25.5% 2 2-0 31.5% 4 -16.5% 11 7.5% 5
2 ATL 46.2% 17 25.9% 1 1-1 19.4% 6 -21.1% 7 5.7% 7
3 TB 31.6% 16 -0.7% 19 2-0 -4.2% 16 -30.3% 4 5.4% 8
4 NYJ 30.1% 20 16.8% 7 1-1 4.7% 12 -20.8% 8 4.6% 9
5 MIA 25.1% 11 16.0% 8 2-0 0.8% 14 -27.1% 5 -2.8% 21
6 SEA 18.9% 1 -0.3% 18 1-1 -9.0% 19 -18.6% 10 9.3% 3
7 NE 18.4% 3 20.7% 5 1-1 32.4% 3 21.3% 29 7.4% 6
8 SD 18.1% 25 0.4% 17 1-1 13.5% 8 -23.2% 6 -18.6% 32
9 PIT 17.8% 13 24.5% 3 2-0 -31.9% 27 -41.2% 1 8.6% 4
10 HOU 14.1% 9 -10.3% 23 2-0 46.2% 1 33.5% 32 1.4% 13
11 KC 13.6% 10 2.9% 15 2-0 -7.5% 17 -10.4% 15 10.7% 1
12 IND 9.9% 27 17.7% 6 1-1 32.5% 2 17.8% 28 -4.8% 25
13 CHI 9.7% 8 13.0% 9 2-0 3.0% 13 -13.1% 13 -6.4% 29
14 NO 8.5% 12 9.3% 11 2-0 13.4% 9 7.1% 22 2.3% 11
15 PHI 8.1% 19 12.8% 10 1-1 21.5% 5 11.2% 25 -2.1% 20
16 DAL 5.5% 7 3.4% 14 0-2 13.2% 10 7.3% 23 -0.4% 14
17 TEN -2.1% 2 -5.6% 21 1-1 -37.4% 31 -39.2% 2 -4.0% 23
18 CLE -2.3% 18 -16.0% 26 0-2 -15.5% 21 -19.2% 9 -6.0% 27
19 NYG -4.5% 4 5.5% 12 1-1 -11.7% 20 -15.5% 12 -8.2% 30
20 CIN -5.9% 29 -3.5% 20 1-1 -1.9% 15 0.8% 17 -3.2% 22
21 DEN -7.8% 21 -6.9% 22 1-1 13.7% 7 15.2% 26 -6.4% 28
22 BAL -8.2% 15 21.6% 4 1-1 -37.1% 30 -33.0% 3 -4.0% 24
23 STL -12.8% 24 -19.7% 28 0-2 -23.7% 23 -12.7% 14 -1.8% 18
24 DET -16.3% 22 -29.0% 31 0-2 -15.6% 22 5.3% 19 4.5% 10
25 WAS -18.7% 28 4.3% 13 1-1 12.0% 11 29.1% 31 -1.5% 17
26 JAC -21.4% 5 -13.9% 24 1-1 -8.8% 18 22.0% 30 9.4% 2
27 MIN -32.6% 26 2.0% 16 0-2 -24.1% 24 7.1% 21 -1.3% 16
28 SF -37.0% 31 -23.6% 30 0-2 -26.3% 26 5.1% 18 -5.6% 26
29 OAK -42.5% 32 -33.5% 32 1-1 -35.2% 28 5.4% 20 -2.0% 19
30 ARI -45.9% 14 -15.4% 25 1-1 -24.8% 25 11.2% 24 -10.0% 31
31 CAR -50.9% 30 -18.6% 27 0-2 -53.7% 32 -3.7% 16 -0.9% 15
32 BUF -51.1% 23 -21.2% 29 0-2 -36.2% 29 17.0% 27 2.1% 12

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 21 Sep 2010

108 comments, Last at 26 Sep 2010, 12:41pm by Eddo


by Mike B. In Va :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 4:57pm

Glad to see the Bills in midseason form!

by billsfan :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 5:31pm

Not quite... I'd grown accustomed to seeing them in the neighborhood of 26.

(I also like the Eagles)

by NJBammer :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 4:57pm

I had sort of expected Dallas to score higher here.

by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 5:02pm

Really, why? I mean that sincerely. They looked hapless against the Redskins and only ok against the Bears. I'm surprised to see Philly right above them, but I guess both have just been mediocre and not really notably bad or good in either game. Opponent adjustments will be interesting - if the Redskins stink like their VOA, then adjustments will drop Dallas even further. Close loss to the Packers and close win over the Lions seem like Philly could balance right where they are. I think the Giants might benefit most from opponent adjustments, but that's working from the assumption that the Colts are their normal dominant selves...

by BucNasty :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 5:41pm

That assumes they look good going foward, which in truth I think is a relatively safe assumption. But at this point, all we know is that they crushed an awful Panthers team and got squashed by the Colts.

by TomC :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 9:57am

VOA didn't think they looked hapless against the Redskins. In fact (as discussed below), VOA thought they looked something like 60 "VOA percentage points" better against Washington than they did against the Bears. And I agree with the original poster that that is surprising.

by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 4:58pm

Wow. Did not expect to see Washington as the worst VOA of the NFC East. Once again, everything I thought seems to be wrong.

by Aaron Schatz :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 5:03pm

For fun, notice that the four NFC East teams rank 10, 12, 13, and 14 in DAVE.

by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 5:21pm


Just curious, have you ever gone back and looked at how meaningful DAVE actually is? I mean, is it any kind of useful predictor? My general sense is that it doesn't add a heck of a lot of clarity, but I'd be curious to know if I am wrong...

by Some guy from TX (not verified) :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 7:35pm

Based on DAVE ranking alone, the system has gone 23-9 SU, which means it has correctly picked 72% of the games through two weeks. Thus far it is currently a better predictor than all the "experts" at ESPN, PFT (tied with Rosenthal), Yahoo, BTI, etc. Just my two pennies and some extra analysis.

by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 8:45pm

Holy cow, that's freakin' amazing. But wait, maybe I'm confused - do you mean after week 1, DAVE picked the week 2 games correctly 72% of the time (ie. the higher DAVE ranked team won 72% of the time) or that in retrospect the higher ranked DAVE teams in weeks 1 and 2 won 72% of the time?

by Some guy from TX (not verified) :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 9:00pm

The first part. Preseason ranking went 13-3 @ 81% predicting week 1 games. Updated DAVE ranking went 10-6 @ 63% predicting week 2 games (called the MIA, CHI and TB "upsets"). =72% for both weeks. What I'm really wondering is; how variable is the percentage set for the preseason ranking in determining DAVE ranking. Last week it was set at 90% preseason and 10% VOA. This week it will be 75% preseason and 25% VOA. If it was set at say 70% or 80% instead, would the DAVE rankings change much? And how will that affect this "prediction model"?

by Steve G. (not verified) :: Fri, 09/24/2010 - 11:17pm

I can vouch for this. I'm in a straight "pick em" league with some family members, and I easily won the first week, and came in second the second week. It's not as effective picking against the spread, but for just picking winners, DAVE and DVOA in general works great.

by Dan-o (not verified) :: Sun, 09/26/2010 - 10:09am

Beware small sample size.

Yeah, it's been very good versus the Vegas line for the first two weeks of this season. Last season, though, it sucked miserably in the early going. (IIRC, Schatz acknowledged as much re: the accuracy of last season's projections.)

BTW, for those using DAVE/DVOA differentials for straight-up pool picks, I'm curious if anyone adjusts for home field advantage (and by how much) or if you're just looking at the straight difference.

by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 8:49pm

I'd also like to see the case for DAVE, as I have (anecdotally) found it to be useless.

by dk240t :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 4:59pm

Damn, Houston needs Cushing back bad. #1 offense, #32 defense. Makes for exciting games, that is for sure.

by Karma Coma :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 5:07pm

Their kick return unit sure isn't making anything exciting. I'd be very surprised if that unit isn't ranked last in the league and on their way to a new record in futility.

by chemical burn :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 5:20pm

Opponent adjustments are going to help them, I imagine. The Colts are going to be (at least) pretty good again and the Redskins look (at least) competent. They won't be the worst in the league. Now whether their offense isn't analogously dropped by adjustments is an interesting question...

by UTchamps (not verified) :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 7:01pm

Sadly Cushing is not going to help the pass defense unless they add a lot of blitzes for him to the playbook. Cushing will make them really REALLY good against the run. No one is going to be able to kill the clock on the Texans but they REALLY need the pass rushers to play well in order to win games. Hopefully the young corners figure something out by midway through the year.

NFL.com has the Texans as the number two rush defense and the number 32 pass defense by the misleading stats of yards per game. Texans are giving up 411 yards per game passing. Yikes!

by Dave51 (not verified) :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 8:48pm

...if Cushing doesn't come down with a sudden case of Merriman-itis now that he's off the 'roids.

by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 9:00pm

Merriman didn't begin to suck because he was off the roids, he had a devastating knee injury that he was never really able to come back from. So barring a major injury, Cushing should be fine.

by Bobman :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 11:43pm

Mandarich-Bosworthitis? Jason Giambitis?

by Big Frank (not verified) :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 9:25am

As with anyone who uses 'roids, there's a strong case to be made that they contributed to the injury in the first place.

by donk (not verified) :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 9:30am

No, the injury happened because Jon Runyan took a cheap shot at the knee.

by Mr Shush :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 8:03pm

Note also that Indy is #2 on offense and #28 on defense, while Tennessee is #31 on offense and #2 on defense. AFC South: division of extreme unit disparity. And yes, the Texans secondary is terrible, while just about every other element of the team is good. Any team with a bad quarterback is liable to take a horrible beating against Houston, unless their defense is inhuman (Jets). A team with both a good quarterback and a good defense, however, will almost certainly win, which is why I desperately hope that if they make the playoffs, someone else knocks off the Steelers before they meet.

by Kevin :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 8:16pm

Look at who's #1 in offense and #32 in D (or 3 and 5 in offense).

by Bobman :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 11:45pm

I think the Texans are AWESOME, baby! Tops in O, bottom in D, and almost smack-dab in the middle on ST. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the 1999-2004 Indianapolis Colts.

by BJR :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 5:58am

Anyone know if the Redskins/Texans week 2 game was anywhere near the record for most passing yards in a single game?

by ammek :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 7:24am
by dbostedo :: Sun, 09/26/2010 - 1:03am

That link is subtracting sack yardage from the passing totals. Is that the way it should be done officially? I thought official team passing yardage didn't factor in sacks?

by Eddo :: Sun, 09/26/2010 - 12:41pm

Team passing yardage does have sack yardage subtracted out. Illogically, individual yardage does not. You often will see a QB have more passing yards than his team does, which is dumb, in my opinion.

by Sander :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 5:13pm

As a Bucs fan, I feel pretty safe in saying that this #3 ranking does not reflect the true quality of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football team, to speak in a Dungyism.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 5:19pm

I agree, but I'm certainly going to enjoy the delusion for as long as possible.

by BucNasty :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 5:34pm

Yes, let's bask in this moment. That DAVE guy can go to hell.

by drsayis2 :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 5:14pm

I'm surprised that Chicago dropped from 29.6% to 9.7%. Back of the napkin, this implies that they were roughly -10% in the Cowboys game, right? (Assuming each game had the same number of plays.) It sure seemed like they played better than -10%.

by tuluse :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 5:34pm

The problem is that sometimes the Bears run the ball.

Also, their defense wasn't great this last game. The Cowboys running game worked early, and their passing game worked more often than it didn't. They missed a field goal.

Also, this is the worst the Bears special teams has been since Toub has arrived. I'm pretty confident he'll work things out, but punting and punt returning is not where it should be.

by DW94 :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 6:56pm

Dallas' VOA Week 1:

Offense: 31.3%
Defense: -15.5%

I don't remember the individual pass/run splits, but I imagine that both teams' pass defense hit the skids (Dallas' certainly did). Also, Dallas ran the ball poorly overall. I thought Chicago's front seven looked good, especially the linebackers. I'm interested to see how they match up against Green Bay this week

by Dan :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 6:04pm

It seemed like a pretty even game for VOA purposes. Dallas was able to move the ball more consistently than the Bears (23 first downs vs. 14), and they were much better than the Bears on third down, but they kept turning it over and settling for FGAs. Then the punt game could give Dallas the edge.

Assuming equal weight to both games, the numbers for the Bears come out to 19.5% on offense, 13.7% on defense, and -16.1% on special teams.

by TomC :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 9:52am

If you make the "equal number of plays as last week" assumption for both teams, Dallas actually comes out with an even worse VOA for that game than the Bears (-25% or so compared to about -10%). I wonder how those compare to the actual single-game VOA numbers, and how common it is for both teams to have such bad VOA in a game (especially one that seemed reasonably well played).

by kbp (not verified) :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 5:16pm

Wow, how good is the Steeler D? Still, I'm a little curious about their ST DVOA being so high. They had a kick return for a TD, but at the same time, they've given up some fairly large returns, they've missed two field goals, and while Sepulveda was booming them against Atlanta, his average was much shorter against the Titans and he missed several opportunities to pin them within the ten and got touchbacks instead. You guys crunched the numbers, but it still seems off to me.

by IB (not verified) :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 5:33pm

I think you're on to something in that one TD return (or one TD return against) can have a wild effect on the special teams ratings. I'd guess--though I don't know this for sure--the ratings would be more predictive, at least early, if those were ignored.

by Jerry :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 8:37pm

The 52-yard made FG more than offsets the 55-yard miss.

More generally, give it some time. The special teams will find their proper level, whatever it is, the offense will be much better when Ben returns, and the defense will probably look even better once opponent adjustments kick in. (See where Atlanta is this week?)

by ugarte (not verified) :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 5:38pm

The team that will suffer the most from opponent adjustments is my New Orleans Saints unless SF and Minnesota wake up. 2-0 against the #27 and 28 teams.

by ChargerJeff :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 5:38pm

Quite a jump by the Bolts in VOA - 25th up to 8th. If they could fix the special teams they'd be pretty good.

Frankly, I was surprised they were so low after the KC loss - they didn't play poorly, except for 3 big plays - punt return TD, fumble by Mathews, big TD run on a defensive breakdown. In fact, by mainstream stats, they dominated (I know, I know). By the eyeball test, that didn't rank to me as the 25th best team after one week.

"Shut up," I explained.

by LinksterAC (not verified) :: Thu, 09/23/2010 - 8:50am

What probably killed the Bolts during Week One was special teams, where they were remarkably bad in VOA. Yes, the "eye test" definitely demonstrated the Chargers' superiority against KC. They were clearly better on offense and defense. However, special teams are an important part of the game, and the slip n'slide in Arrowhead made that contest terribly lopsided. Any given Sunday. Sometimes the team that adjusts to the elements better turns out to be the better team that day.

by ammek :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 5:46pm

Strange: the Packers are #3 in rush offense, and yet all I'm hearing is "crisis" since Ryan Grant went down.

Strange because Brandon Jackson (with more than half of the carries) has a negative DVOA and a 34% success rate. I'll be looking closely at ALY for an explanation.

To be fair, they are miles behind the top two rushing offenses.

Also, a note to teams: go with a 3-WR set against Indianapolis. And throw to #3.

by JasonK :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 6:01pm

I doubt the "WR type" tables have anything close to a meaningful sample size yet. Also, it seems likely that the #3 WRs they've faced so far (Jacoby Jones and Mario Manningham) may be a mite better than most teams' #3s.

by tuluse :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 6:02pm

Well that #3 ranking includes Grant's week 1 carries and any QB scrambles and end-arounds and reverses. I haven't seen the Packers play yet, so I don't know how creative their getting with their rushing. Not that this team really needs to worry about it's rushing attack. The offense works from the passing game, as long as the running back is moderately capable the offense will be fine.

by DisplacedPackerFan :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 7:07pm

You've got it there with the Grant's week 1 carries and the other runs too. Rodgers has had some good runs, they have had rushing TD's in both games. Jackson wasn't awful in the first game, Kuhn did have a 4.0 average on his carries in the 2nd game so with all that added in they work out to a 14% VoA which happens to be 3rd. They are 3rd in part because a lot of teams have run pretty poorly this year. A 14% isn't that much about average. That matches the eyeball test to me. Grant ran above average until he got hurt. Jackson ran a bit above average for about half his carries and then waaay below average for the other half. Kuhn was pretty much average on his carries. Rodgers carries were way above average so working out to a bit above average.

I don't think they need anything other than average, and the coaches have said that some of Jackson's problems are coachable. He was looking for the cutback at the start of the carry and not trying to just get to the whole. The Packers are built on a one cut to the hole, and go. It's a zone block scheme but it's simpler than what Denver used to do in the 90's. The back is only expected to make one move and beat one guy. Grant was actually very very good at doing this. He fit the scheme. Jackson wants to do more cut backs and such but he doesn't have the explosiveness to pull off the style of running he wants. If the coaches get through to him, he'll be fine, and Kuhn, even though he isn't really a running back should actually fit the scheme fairly well. He just won't be able to get the same kind of extra yards Grant could.

Heck the coaches have said they are very happy if they get 2 or 3 runs a game of 12 or more yards. Since they tend to call only about 20 rushing plays a game and I think they figure they are only getting about 4 YPC on the other plays they are hoping for about 100 yards a game from the rushing game. They don't want a lot out of it.

I'm just going to bask in the change that is the Packers special teams being ranked 5th and really only being below average in kickoffs, well they are pretty low on "hidden" as well, but as the stats say that is the stuff that is mostly out of their hands. The coaching staff may actually be getting dividends from the extra emphasis they put on it in OTAs and training camp. :)

by ammek :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 5:10am

They haven't done anything gadgety: it's basically a poor man's version of the Tampa running game circa 2000, with Brandon Jackson as a crap Warrick Dunn and John Kuhn as a straight-ahead rumbling butter-fingered Mike Alstott. Rodgers' five runs have all been successful, and few runs have been "stuffed" — that probably accounts for the #3 rank.

I agree that the Packers will be able to run well enough if the passing game gets into a groove. However, the offense has struggled over the past three years to build on a second-half lead: it is better at winning-to-run than running-to-win. Even when Grant was healthy, there was no big-play threat on the ground, and now it will be even harder to run an eat-up-the-clock offense.

by kamchatka (not verified) :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 9:20am

I'll assume for the sake of my sanity that your comparison doesn't extend to the rest of the offense, making Aaron Rodgers "a poor man's Brad Johnson."

by ammek :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 11:33am

Or Shaun King.

No, your sanity is safe, it doesn't.

by BucNasty :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 4:07pm

He has had a few Rob Johnson moments...

by jimm (not verified) :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 6:06pm

I didn't see Miami's first game against Buffalo but how the heck the game they played against Minnesota suggests they had a game that would predict future success is beyond me.

They had one TD drive. They managed to get across the Minnesota 40 yard line exactly once. Tipped a ball in the end zone and had some interceptions tossed their way.

Minnesota had 7 drives that penetrated Miami's 30 yard line.

To me that suggests Miami was extremely fortunate to have won the game.

by pavao13 (not verified) :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 7:36pm

Well in defense of the offense they started two drives on the 1-yard line and another drive on their 2-yard line. That makes it pretty difficult to score.

by Noah Arkadia :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 10:15pm

If Miami only had one TD drive, Minnesota also only had one... and it started at the Miami 2-yard line. I'm guessing that's one of the 7 "penetrations" you're counting.

Truth be told, Miami went ultraconservative after their TD, much more than they should have. It's as if the coaches expected that would be all they needed to win. I guess they were right but I don't like it.

by Tim F. (not verified) :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 11:30pm

Disgruntled Vikes fan?

I twice recall Miami calling runs up the middle on 2nd and 3rd after gaining 5 yards on first when in good field position. And after gaining 1 or 2 yards, did it again.

In other words, there are still oldschool teams who pound the ground and are good at it (even when not chewing up the field). Miami didn't have to successfully run up the middle to win, but they would have taken it if it was there on a plate 9 out of 10 times rather than getting into a run and gun, hurling match with the Hucker. So they kept trying to establish it, even if it was not to be had. Establishing a lead, preserving a field position advantage, having confidence in your defense, and primarily aiming to slowly grind away time and yards is (still) a tried and true strategy for success.

Miami, who led the field position battle the entire first half, twice regained the field position advantage from inside their 5 off of turnovers to hold Minnesota to a single scoring opportunity (a 2.5 yard drive).

Conversely, the Vikings got within Miami's 25 yard line 7 times and NEVER got in the end zone. Had 4th and short twice to take control of the game and failed. I'll take the team with 3 sacks, 3 interceptions (1 overturned), 1 forced fumble recovered for a TD, 2 turnovers on downs, and THE WIN as the team more likely to win in most instances.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 10:11am

I mostly agree, but I'll note how bad coaching decisions play a role. Yes, coaches tend to kick too often. No, that doesn't mean they should be foregoing 42 yard field goal attempts, in a domed stadium, in the first quarter of scoreless games. Getting a three point lead early in a game often puts a team in a better position to make better and easier decisions later in the game, leading to a significantly better chance of winning. This is especially the case when playing a team which has constructed a roster like the Dolphins have. Childress screwed up, and yes, I was saying it before the ball was snapped on 4th down.

John Madden got mocked a lot later in his career, but he didn't get to have the winning percentage he had by being a dummy. One of his bromides that I thought had a lot of wisdom was that getting some points as quickly as possible, by the most reliable means, was the best way to make your life easier later in the game, as opposed to taking risks to get a touchdown right away. I think the last Vikings game provided a fine example of that, in the negative.

by Tim F. (not verified) :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 12:11pm

Last I checked, the coach was a part of the team, and Chilly has been consistently disappointing his whole career. I can't parse a statement like, "they were the better team, they just had bad coaching" as a sensible comment. Childress has always been Childress and he has a large impact on who the Vikings are. In essence, I can think of very few instances when you wouldn't be able to say, after a Vikes loss, "The Vikes are great, it's Childress that sucks."

by Will Allen :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 1:32pm

Well, it would be senseless to parse a statement that no person actually made.

by Tim F. (not verified) :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 2:40pm

Well, you did say you more or less agree but that coaching played a role. If you didn't think that Childress's role mitigated superior Vikings play, what was the point in posting? I was broadly generalizing, don't see how my broad statement makes your "yeah but, Childress makes bad decisions" NOT a dodge. I can't see how going for it on 4th down early in the game played a bigger role than Long manhandling Jared Allen, or more or less neutralizing the Williams Wall for 75% of the game, or Dansby stuffing Peterson at the 1, and on and on... In every facet but fantasy point production, Miami led Minnesota. One 4th and short attempt flipflops that somehow?

I also think it's completely useless to say that having 3 points early instead of 0 means that the Vikings could have scored a late FG to win. If Miami only had 4 pt lead throughout the 1st and 2nd quarter, they likely would have been more aggressive in trying to move the ball rather than playing field position and trying to establish the inside power run.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 3:57pm

Something in your brain has now created the fiction that I employed the words "mitigate" and "but". Your brain has also hallucinated that I stated or implied that the decision to not kick a field goal early was a bigger role than Long's play against Allen. Read very carefully, and very, very, slowly. I stated that I mostly agreed with you. Get it? I merely added to yout assertion by stating that the failure to take a high percentage kick, to take an early lead, played a role, because, believe it ot not, a 3-0 early lead, especially against a roster not constructed to do a lot of fast scoring, increases the chance of winning. If you need this restated once again, so as to allow you to respond to what I wrote, instead of what you have imagined I wrote, let me know. Conversely, you can just post what you wished I had wrote, and respond to your own post in whatever manner you desire.

by Tim F. (not verified) :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 6:41pm

You did use the word "but" -- nowhere have I attempted to directly quote you. If you want to be a pedantic ass and not admit that by saying, the coaching decision to not quick a field goal played a role in who was the better team (the topic of discussion you decided to join in on), fine. I still disagree with your assertion; the "3 point lead" would have lasted a few minutes and impacted how Miami responded. And I disagree with your self-inflated sense of superiority and attempts to insult me through pedantry.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 9:53pm

No, you purely invented things that I did not write or imply, and then called me pedantic when I noted that I did not write or imply the things you asserted I did. Now you are asserting that kicking field goals in the first quarter of games does not impact what follows. This all took place after I stated that I mostly agreed with you.

In other words, you're a loon.

by Tim F. (not verified) :: Thu, 09/23/2010 - 1:32pm

It's not hard to assert that you said "but" because you did.

The implication being there is, in fact, something you disagree with. If you're whole point is to agree with me: great, good for you.

And now you are putting words in my mouth: I didn't say an early field goal wouldn't impact later events; in fact, I am saying that it would have most certainly had a fairly large impact and there is no way to know how an early FG would have impacted the Fins strategy. Hypocrite. Conversely, implying that an early field goal would have resulted in a Vikes win suggests to me (again suggest, just trying to follow your complete agreement but repeated protestations, I can't really get a clue as to what you want to say at this point) that you would be thinking that that early score would effect anything but a final attempt at a FG and a win.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 09/23/2010 - 4:18pm

Yes, I wrote "but I'll note how bad coaching decisions play a role". Unfortunately, your brain has deciphered these words as meaning "Childress's role mitigated superior Vikings play", followed by "yeah but, Childress makes bad decisions" and then, even more fantastically, "going for it on 4th down early in the game played a bigger role than Long manhandling Jared Allen, or more or less neutralizing the Williams Wall for 75% of the game, or Dansby stuffing Peterson at the 1,...." You'll just have to trust me on this; on most of the planet, the words "but I'll note how bad coaching decisions play a role" does not mean "Childress's role mitigated superior Vikings play", nor does it mean "going for it on 4th down early in the game played a bigger role than Long manhandling Jared Allen, or more or less neutralizing the Williams Wall for 75% of the game, or Dansby stuffing Peterson at the 1,...." . It could mean "yeah, but Childress makes bad decisions", but when you invent "Childress's role mitigated superior Vikings play" prior to that, the link is weakened. Read extremely carefully. To note that a coaching decision played a role in an outcome is not to assert that a team had superior play. Got it?

Now, when you write....

"I also think it's completely useless to say that having 3 points early instead of 0 means that the Vikings could have scored a late FG to win..",

..it certainly seems to me that you are writing that a field goal would not impact later events, unless you typically think it useless to discuss the possible impact of a field goal at that time, despite your last post saying that "it would have most certainly had a fairly large impact..." Do you think it useless to discuss an event which could lead to a different outcome, when you believe that event most certainly had a fairly large impact? This seems odd. Then again, this statement...

" implying that an early field goal would have resulted in a Vikes win..."

....seems to indicate that you employ the words "could" and "would" interchangeably. Again, our unfortunate exchange here seems to be the result of you and I having very different conceptions as to what the meaning of words are. Perhaps it would be best if we did not converse in the future, but I'll abuse Aaron's bandwidth for a few more words, in the attempt to communicate my meaning. I am not asserting the Vikings has superior play. I was merely observing that, in a game like this, the decision to forgo a likely field goal early in the game may have an effect on the final outcome.

Really, though, I'll be quite happy to ignore your posts in the future, and I apologize for interacting with you in this thread.

by BadgerDave :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 6:06pm

wow a positive Special Teams rating for the Packers, I love it!! Gonna be a big game this week, finally will be able to watch it (trapped in flatland)

by kbukie :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 6:08pm

Wow, are the Bears bad defensively against "other" WRs. 227.5% DVOA defensively.

Sample size issue?

by lpstd :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 6:34pm

Based on the offensive and defensive VOA rankings alone I would love to see a Pittsburgh-Houston game RIGHT NOW.

by TimK :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 3:56am

Well, you do get Indianapolis @ Denver (2/28 vs 7/26 and similarly dodgy special teams) coming up this week. Not exactly the battle of opposites you were looking for but could be interesting at least for the first half.

Although as Denver might be without both starting CBs and a starting OT seeing Manning, Freeney and Mathis on fire last week makes me doubt whether it will stay interesting.

by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 6:40pm

why Raiders 29? team ois 1-1. one game out of 1st place and getting in 1st place next week. kcchefs going to lose, Raiders win, both 2-1

no way are Raiders 29tgh best team. more like 12-17 area

look at d. McFAdden run stats. guy is like beasrt

by Jonadan :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 8:56pm

KC Chefs? I hear the pancakes are excellent.

by T. Diddy :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 10:24pm

Great googly moogly.

by TomC :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 9:41am

Thread win.

by DVOA Hater (not verified) :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 8:00pm

Tampa Bay is clearly ranked too high because they haven't proven themselves against great teams. ESPN power rankings is way better than this. Do you seriously thing that friman could lead this team to the promased land. LOL WTF.

by kbukie :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 8:12pm

I feel like you should get bonus points for following the template exactly.

by John (not verified) :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 8:44pm

Except the poster's nick is "DVOA" hater, instead of "VOA" hater, which is the current state of the world.

On the gripping hand, the tables do erroneously refer to DVOA totals, so the overall score is mixed. The East German judges are giving their usual 10s, while the French are too busy gawking at the cheerleaders.

by kamiyu206 :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 8:34pm

Last season, Saints' 2nd week opponent was Eagles, not Lions. They faced Lions in Week 1. And that Week 2 win against the Eagles was quite impressive.

by Kevin from Philly :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 12:21pm

Their second half was dominating. The first half, the Eagles played pretty well until they turned it over twice late in the 2nd.

by rk (not verified) :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 9:07pm

The Steelers have played their 3rd string QB for 5 quarters and their 4th stringer for 3, they were rotating their 4th and 5th tackles at LT, and their offense has outperformed 5 teams. Having seen what passed for offense in Tennessee, that is astounding.

by Umm.. (not verified) :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 9:44pm

"Week 1 saw Green Bay narrowly beat Philadelphia and Buffalo narrowly lose to Miami."

Green Bay was soundly beating Philadelphia until a player they didn't gameplan for came in to take all the snaps at quarterback. Vick's near comeback did happen, but for who the Packers actually prepared for, they've been soundly, wholly better.

by BucNasty :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 4:12am

It's debatable whether or not the Philly offense has been better with Vick because teams are still getting reaccustomed to dealing with his legs or because Kevin Kolb is just a bad quarterback.

by just another internet dog (not verified) :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 9:47pm

Dallas is clearly ranked too high because I'm still upset about Clint Longley. Ranking teams based on the numerical equivalents of the RGB versions of their uniform colors is way better than this. teh h0g5 r00lz!

by John (not verified) :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 10:00pm

Pittsburgh is clearly ranked too low because Roethlisberger will be the man. Peter King is way better than this. Steelers PWNAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

by DW94 :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 10:02pm

Are you upset about the Thanksgiving comeback, or because he punched Roger? ;)

by Eddo :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 11:28am


by just another internet dog (not verified) :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 10:08pm

The Thanksgiving comeback, of course. I actually didn't know about him punching Staubach. That almost makes me want to think kindly of him. But not quite. That TG game left a permanent scar on my then 9-year-old psyche...

by South Bay Bengal (not verified) :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 10:34pm

Okay, so by this point in time I knew that the Bengals weren't likely to make any big jumps in the rankings after their ho-hum game against the Ravens. The offense played on par with Baltimore's mediocre (or horrendous, according to DAVE) offense, while the defense played...on par with Baltimore's top D? And yet...they DROPPED four spots in DAVE while Baltimore CLIMBED three positions?

Stupid DVOA.

[kicks dirt]

by Dan :: Tue, 09/21/2010 - 11:00pm


Cincy's VOA rose from -50.4% (29th) last week to -5.9% (20th) after this week, and their DAVE rose from -7.4% (21st) to -3.5% (20th). Baltimore's VOA fell from 8.8% (15th) to -8.2% (22nd) and their DAVE fell from 29.2% (1st) to 21.6% (4th).

by South Bay Bengal (not verified) :: Sat, 09/25/2010 - 8:33pm

HEY! If I could actually READ or use REASON, I damn well wouldn't be a Cincinnati Bengals fan!


by Q (not verified) :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 2:59am

Seeing GB with as #3 in Rushing has to be pretty shocking to a few people.

by chasehas :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 8:53am

Tennessee's overall offensive VOA went from 21.5% Week 1 to -37.4% this week...so that means their offensive VOA for week 2 was around -96%? Nice. (Then again, 6 offensive TO's will do that to you, I suppose.)

by TomC :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 9:43am

discount shoe is the new Raiderjoe.

by Kevin from Philly :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 12:24pm

There's only ONE Raiderjoe. I hope.

by Aaron Schatz :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 8:23pm

Wait a minute, can you guys see the discount shoe comment? Because when we get something marked as spam, the rest of you aren't supposed to be able to see that, only Barnwell and Elias and I are supposed to see it...

by omaholic :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 9:07pm

I don't see it.

by Jerry :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 11:14pm

Some of that spam appears in the comments from time to time until it's removed, and occasionally people leave legitimate responses to it.

by TomC :: Thu, 09/23/2010 - 11:20am

I made the comment during the few-minute window before it was marked as spam. Sorry for causing confusion.

by bravehoptoad :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 11:37am

It's a shame VOA can't treat interceptions off tipped passes differently than other interceptions. Those are flukey plays.

I'd love to see SF's VOA for the Saints game with those tipped interceptions counted differently, somehow. Their offense looked good. Of course, we don't know how bad the Saints defense this year is yet.

by Theo :: Thu, 09/23/2010 - 9:14am

It seems unfair, but a QB who doesn't see a linebacker or misreads his position should still be punished for throwing his way.
And it's a skill to time a jump and make it a tip ball so the rest of the team can intercept.

by bravehoptoad :: Thu, 09/23/2010 - 10:34am

If that were true, then all tipped passes would count the same, whether they were intercepted or not.

In this game, Brees also had two tipped passes. Neither of his were intercepted; both of Smith's were. Is that because some skill of Brees' made his tipped passes jump away from defenders? That's hard to believe. So Smith gets docked in a pretty good way and Brees doesn't, even though they both made two throws that were equally "bad" by the standards you've stated.

by Jerry :: Thu, 09/23/2010 - 1:02pm

As you know, the play-by-play just says "Interception". And to the extent that the result of a tipped pass is random, the luck should even out at least somewhat over the course of a season.

by roguerouge :: Sat, 09/25/2010 - 7:06am

Well, over several seasons, yes. But in one season, I don't think there's enough tipped passes to make a valid sample size. I agree: this is an area for further research via game charting.

by JPS (not verified) :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 1:14pm

I love how both Pittsburgh and Baltimore have horribly negative Offensive VOAs, yet their defensive VOAs are so negative as to mostly or altogether cancel out the offense.

by ChicagoRaider :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 2:22pm

In the QB ratings, it is interesting to see that DVOA already has Bruce Gradkowski as an above-average QB. And he didn't even have that good a standard QB score for his half.

by Easy Like Sunday Morning (not verified) :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 4:31pm

I wouldn't over-rely on early season stats. That said, the defensive VOAs for the Steelers and their first six opponents are:
1. PIT: -41.2%
2. TEN: -39.2%
3. BAL: -33.0%
4. TB: -30.3%
5. MIA: -27.1%
7. ATL: -21.1%
9. CLE: -19.2%

As Tomlin once said, iron sharpens iron. 

by caj8585 :: Wed, 09/22/2010 - 5:56pm

Oh snap, Bill Simmons just name dropped DVOA on PTI.

by Rickja (not verified) :: Fri, 09/24/2010 - 6:01am

I have been using Dave for several years now and it has been very helpful in finding situations that beat the spread. But i use it with other methods also that work out quite well.