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26 Oct 2010

Week 7 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

The year of extreme parity continues. The Giants take the number one spot from Pittsburgh this week, by a very small margin. New England is third. All three teams had close victories this week, so none of them really improve upon their overall DVOA ratings. (Yes, it is hard to imagine that the Giants' win over Dallas was close, but that's how it turned out when Big Blue let the Cowboys back into the game in the fourth quarter.) As a result, no team is above 30.0% in total DVOA for the first time since the last week of 2006, when San Diego finished the year on top at 29.5%. If we want to set the bar a little lower, we get this amazing statistic: This is only the fourth week of the DVOA Era, out of every single regular-season week going back to 1993 -- that's 296 total weeks -- where no team is above 28.0% in total DVOA. The others:

The parity is not quite as equal at the bottom of the league, where there have been plenty of weeks where no team scored below Arizona's current rating of -37.6%. However, the Cardinals are odd because they've managed to actually win three games despite playing so poorly overall. Arizona is only the third team with at least three wins and DVOA below -25%. The others:

  • 3-2 Detroit in Weeks 5-6 of 2007 (Lions had a bye in Week 6).
  • 6-6 St. Louis in Week 13 of 2004.

While we are on historical oddities, San Diego is the first team of the DVOA Era with a special teams rating below -15% any time after Week 4. The record for worst special teams belongs to the 2000 Buffalo Bills at -12.9%. The 1997 Seahawks (-9.8%) are the only other team to finish a season below -8.5%. So yes, the Chargers are obscenely, historically bad on special teams.

Speaking of obscenely, historically bad, I said last night on Twitter that I would try to answer a couple of questions in today's commentary, so let's get to it.

@matthewglidden: Do you track all-time worst DVOA on third down? If so, how do 2010 Bears compare?

The Bears currently have a horrific -117.1% DVOA on third and fourth downs, and if the season ended today, that would indeed be the worst figure we've ever tracked. However, the season doesn't end today, and this is the kind of split where you are going to get both high and low extremes early in the season. In fact, Arizona (-78.3%) would also break the record for worst third-down offensive DVOA if the season ended today. These numbers are going to regress to the mean a bit with more playing time, so we'll have to see if Chicago will in fact finish as the all-time worst offense on third downs, breaking the record set by... themselves.

Worst Offensive DVOA on Third/Fourth Down, 1993-2009
Team Year DVOA
3rd/4th Down
All Downs
CHI 2004 -68.8% -36.1%
HOU 2002 -65.5% -41.4%
SF 2005 -61.3% -42.0%
SEA 1998 -58.1% -14.2%
BUF 1997 -55.5% -22.0%
BAL 1999 -55.5% -19.5%
IND 1993 -55.3% -26.1%
CAR 2002 -53.4% -23.2%
OAK 2008 -51.2% -21.3%
OAK 1998 -50.3% -28.2%

@sfckoski: Does DVOA validate the common knowledge that the NFC West is the worst division? What is the worst division of the DVOA era?

Yes, the NFC West once again looks like the worst division in football based on DVOA ratings. The four teams have an average DVOA of -15.8% after Week 7. The NFC South is the next-worst division with an average DVOA of -7.8%. The NFC East is the best so far this year, with an average DVOA of 11.9%.

The NFC West has been the worst division in football for years and years now, which is sort of odd -- you figure this kind of thing should be cyclical and move around from division to division as different teams went up and down the development cycle, but the four NFC West teams have consistently awful records over the past few years. There were a couple of years there where Seattle was pretty good, but San Francisco made up for it by being extra-pathetic. Since the NFL went to eight divisions in 2002, the six worst divisions (based on average DVOA of the four teams) have all been the NFC West. The four teams had an average DVOA below -20% in both 2004 (-23.5%) and 2008 (-21.6%). The seventh-worst division -- probably the eighth-worst after this year is over -- was the 2002 NFC North, with an average DVOA of -14.1%.

From 1993-2001, the worst division by average DVOA was the 1998 NFC East, with an average DVOA of -12.6%. Dallas won the division and ranked 11th in DVOA. Arizona actually snagged a wild card with a 9-7 record despite ranking 27th out of 30 teams in DVOA. The Giants ranked 17th, Washington ranked 28th, and Philadelphia was dead last. Unlike the current NFC West, however, these teams didn't struggle for a whole span of years -- the average DVOA in the division was much closer to zero in 1997 and 1999. The other pre-2002 division with an average DVOA below -10% was the 1999 NFC West, where the champion Rams were outweighed by teams ranked 20th, 26th, 28th, and 30th.

If we're going to do the worst divisions, we should also look at the best divisions. Post-realignment, the best division was the 2004 AFC East, with an average DVOA of 20.3%. The Patriots finished second in DVOA and won the Super Bowl, while the Bills finished third but didn't even make the playoffs when they choked against the Steelers backups in Week 17. (I don't normally like to use the term choked, but I can't think of another description for blowing a win-and-you're-in game at home against a team resting its starters.) The 2008 NFC East is second, with an average of 18.8%, and this is currently the sixth straight year where the NFC East teams have an average DVOA above 10%, although the NFC East hasn't been quite as good as the NFC West has been bad.

Prior to realignment, the best division was the 1998 AFC East, with an average DVOA of 12.4%. The Jets, Dolphins, and Bills were all in the top six with the Patriots 11th. The Colts sort of ruined things by finishing 26th, although that wouldn't be a problem in future seasons, once their rookie quarterback got a hang of the NFL game. The 1993 AFC West, with an average DVOA of 11.8%, is the second-strongest division from the 1993-2001 period.

Returning to 2010... Stats pages, playoff odds, and DVOA premium database should all be updated through Week 7. Enjoy the ratings.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through seven 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 DVOA are adjusted to consider all fumbles, kept or lost, as equal value. SPECIAL TEAMS DVOA is adjusted for type of stadium (warm, cold, dome, Denver) and week of season.

Opponent adjustments are currently at 70 percent strength and will steadily grow stronger until Week 10. 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 8.5 percent of DAVE for teams that have played seven games and 19 percent of DAVE for teams that have played six games. In addition, DAVE slightly discounts the results of the first three weeks of the season, using the beginning stages of what will eventually become WEIGHTED DVOA.

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 NYG 27.9% 2 26.9% 2 5-2 12.2% 11 -22.9% 1 -7.1% 31
2 PIT 27.8% 1 27.4% 1 5-1 7.0% 15 -17.8% 3 3.0% 12
3 NE 26.2% 3 25.5% 3 5-1 29.0% 2 9.9% 27 7.1% 5
4 KC 26.2% 7 20.8% 6 4-2 17.6% 5 -4.4% 9 4.1% 9
5 TEN 25.9% 4 23.4% 5 5-2 0.7% 18 -20.9% 2 4.3% 8
6 PHI 25.0% 6 24.1% 4 4-3 23.9% 4 -3.9% 10 -2.7% 25
7 NYJ 20.5% 5 18.6% 7 5-1 14.8% 9 0.5% 15 6.3% 6
8 SD 13.9% 13 12.6% 10 2-5 15.6% 7 -15.6% 4 -17.4% 32
9 ATL 12.5% 10 12.8% 9 5-2 15.0% 8 3.0% 18 0.5% 15
10 IND 12.3% 8 13.6% 8 4-2 25.6% 3 7.8% 23 -5.6% 29
11 GB 11.5% 12 11.5% 11 4-3 16.8% 6 -1.1% 13 -6.4% 30
12 BAL 8.4% 11 10.6% 12 5-2 7.2% 14 2.3% 16 3.5% 11
13 MIA 5.9% 16 7.3% 13 3-3 8.0% 12 -1.1% 12 -3.3% 26
14 NO 4.6% 9 4.9% 14 4-3 7.5% 13 0.3% 14 -2.7% 24
15 HOU 3.7% 15 -0.3% 18 4-2 32.0% 1 26.6% 30 -1.7% 22
16 SEA 2.1% 14 0.1% 16 4-2 -9.8% 25 -2.0% 11 9.9% 1
17 DAL 2.1% 17 1.9% 15 1-5 13.9% 10 11.7% 28 -0.1% 16
18 MIN -3.4% 21 0.0% 17 2-4 -13.0% 28 -7.0% 7 2.6% 13
19 CIN -4.0% 18 -3.8% 19 2-4 4.2% 16 6.7% 22 -1.5% 21
20 CLE -4.1% 25 -5.5% 21 2-5 -4.5% 22 3.3% 20 3.6% 10
21 DET -4.5% 20 -9.6% 24 1-5 -3.6% 21 8.2% 24 7.3% 4
22 SF -7.1% 23 -7.4% 22 1-6 -11.3% 27 -5.2% 8 -1.0% 19
23 WAS -7.3% 19 -5.4% 20 4-3 -1.6% 19 3.8% 21 -1.9% 23
24 CHI -11.2% 24 -9.4% 23 4-3 -28.9% 30 -9.9% 5 7.8% 2
25 TB -14.9% 26 -14.6% 25 4-2 -6.0% 24 8.5% 25 -0.5% 18
26 OAK -19.8% 30 -20.1% 26 3-4 -10.7% 26 8.8% 26 -0.2% 17
27 STL -20.8% 28 -20.8% 27 3-4 -14.1% 29 3.2% 19 -3.5% 27
28 JAC -25.5% 27 -24.1% 28 3-4 -5.6% 23 27.6% 31 7.6% 3
29 DEN -25.9% 22 -24.5% 29 2-5 2.0% 17 24.0% 29 -3.9% 28
30 BUF -28.4% 29 -25.0% 30 0-6 -1.7% 20 31.3% 32 4.6% 7
31 CAR -33.3% 31 -28.2% 31 1-5 -39.6% 32 -7.6% 6 -1.4% 20
32 ARI -37.6% 32 -31.6% 32 3-3 -35.7% 31 2.5% 17 0.6% 14
  • 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 NYG 27.9% 5-2 25.9% 5.1 1 -0.7% 20 2.5% 14 22.2% 26
2 PIT 27.8% 5-1 28.9% 4.9 6 5.6% 8 -3.4% 25 10.9% 15
3 NE 26.2% 5-1 24.8% 4.9 5 2.7% 12 2.6% 13 9.5% 9
4 KC 26.2% 4-2 23.9% 5.1 3 -1.1% 23 -13.6% 31 11.5% 16
5 TEN 25.9% 5-2 27.0% 5.1 2 1.7% 15 5.0% 10 10.8% 14
6 PHI 25.0% 4-3 29.5% 5.0 4 0.8% 16 6.0% 7 6.9% 6
7 NYJ 20.5% 5-1 32.0% 4.7 7 -2.9% 25 2.3% 15 6.9% 5
8 SD 13.9% 2-5 15.3% 4.1 13 -7.0% 29 -1.6% 23 19.4% 23
9 ATL 12.5% 5-2 8.6% 4.3 11 0.7% 17 -10.1% 30 12.7% 17
10 IND 12.3% 4-2 14.0% 4.3 10 -0.1% 18 7.3% 3 14.2% 18
11 GB 11.5% 4-3 16.0% 4.5 8 -3.4% 26 7.0% 4 8.9% 8
12 BAL 8.4% 5-2 7.7% 4.4 9 1.7% 14 -0.2% 19 4.1% 2
13 MIA 5.9% 3-3 3.1% 4.2 12 9.0% 1 0.9% 16 15.1% 19
14 NO 4.6% 4-3 7.7% 3.9 14 -12.6% 31 -2.2% 24 9.7% 11
15 HOU 3.7% 4-2 1.1% 3.5 16 6.9% 5 5.5% 8 23.5% 27
16 SEA 2.1% 4-2 7.1% 3.8 15 -14.8% 32 -6.2% 27 18.1% 22
17 DAL 2.1% 1-5 -5.8% 3.4 18 5.9% 7 3.1% 12 15.8% 21
18 MIN -3.4% 2-4 -10.3% 3.3 19 6.7% 6 -1.0% 22 3.7% 1
19 CIN -4.0% 2-4 -0.7% 3.0 24 -0.9% 22 8.9% 1 6.3% 4
20 CLE -4.1% 2-5 -4.4% 3.3 21 8.7% 2 -0.3% 20 7.8% 7
21 DET -4.5% 1-5 -6.4% 3.0 23 4.8% 9 0.1% 17 9.7% 12
22 SF -7.1% 1-6 -9.3% 3.4 17 2.5% 13 -14.5% 32 27.8% 30
23 WAS -7.3% 4-3 -3.3% 3.2 22 3.2% 11 6.7% 6 4.5% 3
24 CHI -11.2% 4-3 -10.7% 2.6 25 -0.2% 19 5.5% 9 23.8% 28
25 TB -14.9% 4-2 -9.9% 3.3 20 -5.0% 27 -5.0% 26 20.4% 24
26 OAK -19.8% 3-4 -7.2% 2.2 28 -6.8% 28 7.0% 5 33.2% 32
27 STL -20.8% 3-4 -14.3% 2.4 27 -9.7% 30 -7.3% 28 15.4% 20
28 JAC -25.5% 3-4 -29.9% 2.5 26 7.0% 4 4.9% 11 20.7% 25
29 DEN -25.9% 2-5 -22.3% 1.8 30 3.4% 10 -0.2% 18 24.6% 29
30 BUF -28.4% 0-6 -27.0% 1.6 32 7.8% 3 7.9% 2 9.5% 10
31 CAR -33.3% 1-5 -34.3% 1.6 31 -0.8% 21 -1.0% 21 10.2% 13
32 ARI -37.6% 3-3 -36.1% 1.9 29 -1.2% 24 -8.2% 29 32.7% 31

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 26 Oct 2010

185 comments, Last at 30 Oct 2010, 3:18am by Alex51


by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 10/26/2010 - 9:59pm

is DVOA drunk? No way canChiefs be 4 and Raiders 26.

Doesn't matetr anyway, becaus Raiders goign to scalp Chiefs soon enough and show who real boss in AFC West

by CybScryb :: Tue, 10/26/2010 - 11:16pm

All I care about is that the Chiefs - Raiders rivalry resumes living up to the quality I became used to in the 60's and 70's. I'll be happy with a split as long as KC and Oakland finish 1 - 2 and Denver and San Diego return to the 3 - 4 slots like the good old days. Looking forward to November 7th!

by NotRaiderJoe (not verified) :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 3:57am

I think you're drunk.

by NoraDaddy :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 10:32am

You really went out on a limb there.


by BlueStarDude :: Tue, 10/26/2010 - 10:01pm

Dallas is clearly ranked too high because they have no fire and playing behind pathetic offense line Tony Romo could only manage to "finish" his season sixth in DYAR and third in DVOA (and one in rushing DVOA), and also this is the worst season ever.

by chemical burn :: Tue, 10/26/2010 - 10:07pm

As an Eagles fan, my main question into regards to Dallas is, "Will the players give up on the season?" I'd love for Dallas, which is actually playing far above their record, to just throw in the towel and stop trying. Those games looked like the big ones on the Eagles last season schedule, but I'd love for the Eagles to actually be going up against a bunch of guys who genuinely don't care. And my initial reaction is that this doesn't seem like a "Play for Pride" bunch of fellows...

by t.d. :: Tue, 10/26/2010 - 10:17pm

As a Cowboys fan who cannot stand Wade, I'd love for them to end up with a top five draft pick and a new regime. We got Aikman rather than Mandarich because Green Bay won a meaningless week 16 game trying to fight rather than play out the string. This team has a lot of areas of strength, but it isn't their year. Might as well make the best of it

by Joe T. :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 11:58am

They could end up with a top 5, assuming there is a draft next year...

by BigCheese :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 3:12am

There will definitely be a draft next year (unless a new CBA abolishing the draft is signed before then), as it's the last thing covered by the current CBA. It's after the draft that things get uncertain.

- Alvaro

by tuluse :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 3:31am

Funny should bring up that particular draft as every top 5 pick that year except for Manarich was HOF caliber player.

by BlueStarDude :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 6:37am

I think the offense will definitely keep playing. And on defense, we know Igor Olshansky will keep trying to tackle RBs for no gain so he can celebrate regardless of score or record. Spears and Bowen are in contract years (Hatcher, too, but he's hurt). Ware and Ratliff will always give their all. And there will be a lot of young guys getting playing time looking to prove themselves. Still the Eagles should be able to beat them pretty easily.

by t.d. :: Tue, 10/26/2010 - 10:05pm

The Giants' defense being #1 is a lock if they continue to injure opposing quartebacks

by chemical burn :: Tue, 10/26/2010 - 10:08pm

Yes, but only if they can do 2 in 1 game versus the Eagles...

by t.d. :: Tue, 10/26/2010 - 10:20pm

Well both Philly guys look injury prone behind that line, so you never know. Depends on when they catch them, anyway, as Vick doesn't look like he'll last no matter the competition.

by Quincy :: Tue, 10/26/2010 - 10:37pm

Reid's master plan finally come to light!

by Pass to Set Up ... :: Tue, 10/26/2010 - 11:28pm

It's somewhat Kafka-esque, no?

by Bucephalus (not verified) :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 5:20pm

Like. So much like.

by countertorque :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 2:23pm

Injuring WR's on the other hand, is the path to huge fines, suspensions, and vilification in the press.

by JCutler6 :: Tue, 10/26/2010 - 10:09pm

How naive us Bear fans were to think that we couldn't possibly get any worse on offense than under Ron Turner. It seems remarkable that this team will quite possibly break its own record for offensive futility - with this offense, at least on paper, being far more talented than the Jonothan Quinn, Craig Krenzel, Chad Hutchinson monstrosity of 2004. In my opinion it comes down to arrogance -

The arrogance of Jerry Angelo thinking that he could replicate the success he had with veteran FA offensive lineman in 2005/6 with Tait, Brown and Miller and subsequently neglecting the line in the draft

The arrogance of Mike Martz thinking that he can make his scheme work with the horrific talent on the offensive line, and then when its painfully obvious it isn't working, failing to adjust. Ironically, this was seen my many Bears fans as being Ron Turner's biggest fault, yet Martz has looked even more clueless than Turner in this respect (bar the Dallas game)

And last of all, the arrogance of Mike Tice thinking he can transform the non-NFL talent on the line into something that resembled a competent group. IMO he should've realised in camp that there was signifcant problems with the talent and urged Angelo to go and get a McNeil or Mankins, despite the high price they would've demanded. The amount of mental errors the line has made also should be blamed at least partly on Tice.

How sad that the best Bear defense since 2005/6 will go to waste, as will the brilliant special teams.

This leads me to another point. When does Dave Toub start to get chances to rise up the coaching ranks? There is precedent for special teams coaches to get head coaching jobs now with John Harbaugh in Baltimore, and Toub is clearly the best in the league. Even though he's had the luxury of having Devin Hester, he's still had outstanding results from Knox, Manning, Earl Bennett etc. If (when) Lovie is fired, I'd be all for Toub getting a look in as Head Coach

by t.d. :: Tue, 10/26/2010 - 10:24pm

Your team is in first place, and their nearest competitors are ravaged by injuries. It could be worse.

by tuluse :: Tue, 10/26/2010 - 11:11pm

Call me naive (or just stupid), but I think the offense is going to start turning things around. The current 5 guys they have actually block pretty well when they make contact. Continuity and experience will increase and they could look like an average unit in a few weeks.

I also have faith in Lovie Smith being able to stop the Bills offense. So I think they'll be 5-3 plus the bye week. Minnesota could easily give up on the season by then.

Things could turn around.

by JCutler6 :: Tue, 10/26/2010 - 11:49pm

I thought the same thing about the Seattle game. I can unfortunately see us being Buffalo's first win of the year.

Even if there is improvement on the O-Line, Cutler continues to be a worry. We all heard how Martz will be hard on Jay and improve his mechanics, yet they have regressed even further than last year and he continues to make these mistakes (throws of the backfoot primarily)

Things could turn around, I agree, maybe the Martz offense will start to click, but I remain sceptical :(

by CDB (not verified) :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 11:53am

Don't worry Bears fans, Chester Taylor is the new goal line back! All your worries have been washed away!

Disclaimer: I own Forte in two leagues and am more than annoyed to see him be a scapegoat for short yardage struggles. He doesn't have a prayer in Hell most of the time as the line is getting blown the F UP!

by BigCheese :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 3:20am

I couldn't agree more. After the last two weeks, and the worst coaching call ever (not challenging the goal-line fumble) that directly cost them the game (and killed Cutler's confidence or yet another week. If it was the Skins playing from a 9-point deficit, the way they were putting the ball on the ground and in the DB's hands, instead of Cutler tryign to play catch-up, that game would have ended MUCH diferently), I wouldn't even take the Edwards-led Bills for granted. As it is, the Fitzpatrick-led Bills actually worry me...

- Alvaro

by RickD :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 12:24am

"The current 5 guys they have actually block pretty well when they make contact."

You could say the same thing about a fire hydrant.

by Chip :: Tue, 10/26/2010 - 11:33pm

Agreed on all points. Particularly on Toub. The McCaskey's should keep him and Cliff Stein and move on from this mess.

by tuluse :: Tue, 10/26/2010 - 11:37pm

This "mess" hasn't been worse than 7-9 in 5 years, and I think it's rather unlikely to be worse this year either.

by Tim F. (not verified) :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 9:13am

Only complete and utter messes hold onto a 7-9 record as promising.

by tuluse :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 3:34pm

What? That's not what I wrote at all.

I'm saying 7-9 is the worst the team will be, not promising.

by RichC (not verified) :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 1:12am

"The arrogance of Mike Martz thinking that he can make his scheme work with the horrific talent on the offensive line, and then when its painfully obvious it isn't working, failing to adjust. Ironically, this was seen my many Bears fans as being Ron Turner's biggest fault, yet Martz has looked even more clueless than Turner in this respect (bar the Dallas game)


How exactly does one adjust to their offensive line not being able to block anyone?

by JCutler6 :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 1:42am

Shorter drops, as per the Dallas game and do away with the 7 step drops that Martz keeps trying to use. It isn't fullproof but its better than inviting the big blitz and leaving Cutler a sitting duck in the backfield as Omiyale and Webb watch DBs come through untouched

by RichC (not verified) :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 8:21am

From what I've seen of Chicago, he is doing shorter drops. Cutler is still getting killed.

by Big Frank :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 12:57pm

Did you not watch the last game? They did do shorter drops and D Hall jumped all the routes cause he knew that's what they had to do.

by Err (not verified) :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 1:15pm

I'm still not sold the D'Angelo Hall jumped the routes because he knew that is what he had to do... He jumped those routes because he is D'Angelo Hall and that is what he does, usually he will get burned down-field with an offense that can protect their corner-back.

I think the under-rated thing is how much they avoided Carlos Rogers. If they had attacked him at least he would have dropped those interceptions

by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 4:28am

Yeah, Martz has developed his QB-killer reputation because he simply won't abandon his offensive strategy; pass plays that take time to develop. If he simply changed his plays (or playcalling - maybe he simply doesn't 'do' 3-step drops and short outlet passes), then the Bears would be looking a lot better. And Cutler would be more likely to actually survive the whole season.

by Athelas :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 7:07am

Conventional wisdom is if Martz wasn't so arrogant and stuck on his system, his team would have won the 2001 Super Bowl.

by Semigruntled Eagles fan (not verified) :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 5:24am

Technically, Harbaugh had been promoted to Eagles DB coach for at least one season before he was hired by Baltimore, so it's still unlikely that a coach would go directly from coaching special teams to the head coach position. The manager making the hiring decision would be taking a big risk to bring in somebody who's never coached either an offensive or defensive position - if both units decline, the manager would be blamed for the bad decision to hire such an "inexperienced" coach.

by Spielman :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 11:27am

Mike Martz's offenses failing to adjust is one of their hallmarks.

He'll keep doing what he wants to do. If it works, great. If it doesn't, he'll keep doing it until it does.

by bravehoptoad :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 4:01pm

I can directly contradict that generalization with how he reacted here in SF. His play-calling changed drastically as the year went on and his QBs changed.

by Independent George :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 1:37pm

Living in Chicago, it always amazes me to hear how badly people want Lovie's head. He is a damned good head coach, and an astonishingly good defensive coach. My great fear is that Lovey gets fired and winds up in Dallas, where his professionalism turns a young & talented, but mentally weak, team and turns them into perennial contenders.

by tuluse :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 3:36pm

He has some flaws as a head coach, but I'm one of those who would rather wait and see if he can learn from his mistakes and grow than throw him out and start over.

A lot of teams get praised for keeping a head coach and GM together for a long time as promoting continuity. When the Bears do it it's because they're cheap or something.

by BigCheese :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 3:17am

To be fari, this particualr Bears fan called hiring Martz a horrible decission form the moment it was made. And although we were the minority I do seem to recall there were a few others who realized that Martz + Cutler + the Bears O-Line = unmitigated dissaster.

- Alvaro

by chemical burn :: Tue, 10/26/2010 - 10:12pm

Wow. SD stands out like a sore thumb up there at 2-5. But in the AFC West, they're not out of it, are they?

by Andrew Potter :: Tue, 10/26/2010 - 10:29pm

Are San Diego the highest DVOA team ever at this point with a below .300 record? What about below .500?

by chemical burn :: Tue, 10/26/2010 - 10:32pm

I'm curious if they had an even "normal" bad ST DVOA (like say -2.3%) if they would be the top ranked team in DVOA.

by AudacityOfHoops :: Tue, 10/26/2010 - 11:52pm


15.6% - (-15.6%) + (-2.3%) = 29.1%

by Kal :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 4:50pm

That's not how it works; it's 3/7ths * off + 3/7ths * def + 1/7th * ST. They'd still be significantly higher than they are now, but it's not taking off so much of their score.

by Eddo :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 5:47pm

The special-teams-is-only-33%-as-important-as-offense-or-defense factor is already accounted for in the numbers. A -17% ST DVOA is the equivalent of a -51% offensive DVOA!

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 5:20pm

No, actually, the ST DVOA is scaled to be equal to offense/defense. That's why you virtually never see "-17.4%" ST DVOA. Seriously, WTF, San Diego. That -17.4% ST DVOA is the equivalent of them having a (-/+) 50% offense/defense DVOA. They're just not hurt so monstrously bad because you don't have that many special teams plays in a game. (You can tell this is the case by just doing off. dvoa - def. dvoa + st. dvoa)

I mean, you normally get some outliers early in the season. But San Diego's actually bad even by those standards - Minnesota was at -14.4% in Week 7 in 2007. San Diego's significantly past that.

San Diego's an interesting test case, though, because my gut feeling is that bad special teams hurts you, in terms of your ability to win, more so than bad offense or defense (that is, you'll lose more games than you might expect based on the decrease in points scored/increase in points allowed) because special teams plays tend to be viewed as "safe" options by coaches - plus, they're used to playing field position if their offense is struggling, they're used to playing aggressive if their defense is struggling, but I don't think coaches are used to changing their playcalling when their special teams are struggling.

by tuluse :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 6:32pm

That's a really good point, coaches don't really game plan around special teams (except very specific things like FG range or not punting to Devin Hester).

This also explains why Belichick gets so much criticism when he does, since it seems so odd.

by EorrFU :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 1:20pm

I would think bad special teams lead to variance than winning or losing.

by DeltaWhiskey :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 1:28pm

Interesting theory, my DVOA database doesn't contain the variance data. FO could run a quick correlation between the two to see if there is a relationship. Using this week, the r = .15 and is ns. I know small sample size.

by AudacityOfHoops :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 5:28pm

It's trivially easy to check your statement by using the numbers at the top of this page, which would confirm that I'm right and you're wrong, nanny nanny boo-boo. :)

by JohnxMorgan (not verified) :: Tue, 10/26/2010 - 10:30pm

enjoyed the mailbag format.

by Ken (not verified) :: Tue, 10/26/2010 - 10:41pm

in the new Playoff Odds report, Pats have better chance to get bye, but worse chance to win division than the NYJ.any idea why?

by androlebow44 :: Tue, 10/26/2010 - 11:51pm

I believe that this is the case because the Jets beat the Pats. In the event of a two way tie, the Jets are more likely to win the division but somehow based on the simulations, if the Jets, Pats, and another team were in a multiple team tie, the Pats would be more likely to win, thus getting a bye.

The other possible explanation is that the Pats have a higher variance than the Jets meaning that their inconsistency could make them more prone to dominating and faltering.

by RickD :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 12:27am

I think the tiebreaker is the better explanation.

by Chad (not verified) :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 1:55am

From what I figure, This has everything to do with the team they lost too.

Not only do the Jets have to win the division to get the Bye, they have to also have more wins then Baltimore (unless Baltimore is First and the Jets are 2nd in the AFC).

For instance Say Titans or KC or Indy wins their division with a 14-2 and gets the 1st spot in the playoffs, then Jets and Baltimore end with 13-3 record, in this scenario Jets miss the bye. However if 13-3 Baltimore and 13-3 NE are vying for spot NE gets the nod since NE won head to head.

Also factoring in who gets Byes is the NE/Pitt Game, and Jets/Pitt game. Because Jets have less Dave then NE they probably lose to Pitt in more scenarios then what NE loses to them in.

by D :: Tue, 10/26/2010 - 10:55pm

Aaron, I was wondering if this weekends turnoverthon between the Bears and Redskins set any records. At the minimum it seems like the Redskins recovering 7 out of 8 fumbles has to be pretty unique

by db :: Tue, 10/26/2010 - 11:15pm

Any Arizona fans out there? The Whiz seems to be showing his true worth now that he doesn't have Warner's arm and experience to cover his limited abilities.

by wr (not verified) :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 12:39am

Not exactly a Cards fan, but I do live in Tucson, and root for them
to have a good team since we are force fed their games...

I don't think the Whiz is a bad coach overall. After all Shanahan lost
several IQ points when Elway retired, Landry lost some when Staubach
retired, etc. etc. The problem I have is how the QB situation has been
handled. If Leinart was so untrustworthy that he could be released
just before the season started, why wasn't a QB taken with a higher
(2nd or 3rd) round pick? Why wait so long to release Leinart?
IMHO Whizzy just didn't like the guy, and treated him accordingly.


by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 10/26/2010 - 11:46pm

The Colts run-DVOA is surprisingly good. 8th, for a team that usually is in the bottom half of the league. Hopefully this is a trend, as the running game needs to pick up with Dallas Clark gone.

by JasonK :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 7:57am

A lot of that is probably from the Giants game, when the current-#1-defensive-DVOA team decided that they should use Dime as their base defense and consequently got run over.

by Anonymous1 (not verified) :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 12:02am

So, NE has the same defensive ranking as they had coming off the Buffalo game, but the actual DVOA value has improved from 20% to 9.9%. Sounds about right to me. If they keep getting a little better each week, I think they could be a top 10-12 unit by year's end.

by Led :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 12:55am

Solid improvement by the defense but the offensive DVOA is in serious decline since the Moss trade. It's only two games so take it with a grain of salt until there's more data, but the Pats' offensive DVOA for the season has declined from 42% after week 5 to 35% after week 6 to 29% after week 7. Weeks 6 asnd 7 have been Brady's worst performances of the season by DYAR. (Not that the performances were "bad" but rather they were just ok...middling.) Time will tell whether this trend will continue or its just a random blip. I've always had an outsize view of Moss's effect on an offense, so I suspect the trend will continue.

by RichC (not verified) :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 1:14am

While I agree that Moss is having an effect, they've also played 2 of the best defenses in the league in the last 2 weeks, and DVOA's opponent adjustments aren't even good, let alone perfect.

by Led :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 9:24am

Could be. But Baltimore's defense has been average so far and they just got manhandled by the Bills. And I'm not sold on SD's defense. They've played the Pats and KC (whose offense I'm not sold on yet despite a good DVOA) and then 5 of the 9 worst offenses in the league. Time will tell.

by xtimmygx :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 12:20am

I tried to post this in last weeks DVOA ratings, but got to them rather late and assume it went unread (or at least I hope as it got no replies) so I'll repost it here:

The way that DVOA calculates SOS is clearly flawed in some ways. We can all imagine a fake scenario where you can play the middle teams in the league (9th-24th) or the top and bottom 1/4 of the league (1st-8th and 24th-32nd). However, you always have to consider what kind of team would want a certain schedule.
-If Team A is the 8th best team in the league they would want a schedule that was full of average teams. Those ranked 9th through 24th. That should lead to them winning the most games, with the idea that all of their opponents are worse than them.
However, Team B, which is the 23rd best team in the league would probably want to play the second schedule type as they get games against 8 teams that they are better than.
Team C which is in the best team in the league would want the schedule against the mediocre teams because they have a reasonably good chance of winning all 16 games, where if they had to play the top and bottom they could very easily lose some close games to a couple of the top teams.

The point of this long post is that I believe that the SOS should be modified to be more similar to what is using in Fremeau's (sp?) FEI index where, if memory serves me correct the SOS of schedule is based upon the chance that an elite team would go undefeated. In college teams going undefeated is fairly common (generally at least 1 or 2 a year). However, in the NFL this is not as common, but winning 12 or 13 games is kind of the equivalent. Perhaps SOS should be based a teams likelihood of winning some number of games (perhaps 11, 12, 13; an amount usually guaranteed to get you into the playoffs).

by tuluse :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 2:09am

I don't see why you would change the baseline. Yeah going undefeated is virtually unheard of in the NFL, but that doesn't mean it's not a good way to measure SoS.

by Alex51 :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 3:27am

The way that DVOA calculates SOS is clearly flawed in some ways.

That depends on what you expect from DVOA's SOS ratings. If you want to know how good a team would have to be, on a play-by-play level, to post a VOA of 0.0% against a particular schedule, then the way DVOA calculates SOS is basically perfect. Now, you obviously want something else from SOS, but some of us find it more useful/interesting the way it is now. Calling it "clearly flawed" basically assumes that everyone wants exactly what you want from it. Not everyone does.

We can all imagine a fake scenario where you can play the middle teams in the league (9th-24th) or the top and bottom 1/4 of the league (1st-8th and 24th-32nd). However, you always have to consider what kind of team would want a certain schedule.
-If Team A is the 8th best team in the league they would want a schedule that was full of average teams. Those ranked 9th through 24th. That should lead to them winning the most games, with the idea that all of their opponents are worse than them.

Not necessarily. Just because they are favored in more of their games doesn't mean that they will have more wins at the end of the season. For instance, let's assume that they would win 60% of their games against the middle teams of the league, 45% against the top quarter, and 80% against the bottom quarter. Then, against the middle teams, they'd get 11+ wins about 33% of the time. Against the top and bottom quarter of the league, on the other hand, they'd get 11+ wins almost 40% of the time.

Now, the probabilities in that hypothetical might be off - maybe by enough to swing things in favor of a schedule of middling teams - but there's no reason to assume that a priori. The probabilities I used are entirely consistent with your description of them as the 8th best team in the league - they would still be favored in all of their games when playing a middling schedule, while only being favored in half of their games when playing the top and bottom quarters of the league. And yet they would win more games against the latter schedule.

The same argument applies equally well to the other examples you give.

Perhaps SOS should be based a teams likelihood of winning some number of games (perhaps 11, 12, 13; an amount usually guaranteed to get you into the playoffs).

This is the one part of your post that I agree with, at least partially. I would like to see what the probability of winning, say, 11+ games against each team's schedule would be for an elite team. That'd be pretty cool. Of course, I'd also want to see what the chances of an average team would be, or even a below average team, to see how likely it would be for a mediocre team to wind up with a playoff slot because of an easy schedule. But I'd also like them to keep the normal DVOA SOS ratings. There's no reason that it has to be one or the other. They each contain valuable information.

by Arkaein :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 9:47am

I don't know if you or xtimmygx have read the FO Almanac (ore previous Pro Football Prospectus) before, but one of the features for each team is calculating a percentage chance of finishing with the following record ranges: 0-3, 4-6, 7-8, 9-10, 11+.

Of course this is all based on the preseason DVOA projections. During the season we don't have numbers for finishing with a particular record, but the playoff odds report basically considers all of the specific "DVOA matchup" possibilities into consideration. This doesn't yield a direct SOS like xtimmygx wants, but taking all the information together can paint a pretty good overall picture.

My personal opinion is that a SOS for calculating specific records and taking large variations in team quality into account is much more important for college football than the NFL. In the NFL the SOS between all teams is much closer and there is much less variance in team quality than there is across FBS.

by Alex51 :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 10:25am

I don't know if you or xtimmygx have read the FO Almanac (ore previous Pro Football Prospectus) before, but one of the features for each team is calculating a percentage chance of finishing with the following record ranges: 0-3, 4-6, 7-8, 9-10, 11+.

I have read those, and really enjoyed that feature. It would be pretty awesome to see it updated throughout the season. I think that would solve everyone's problems.

My personal opinion is that a SOS for calculating specific records and taking large variations in team quality into account is much more important for college football than the NFL. In the NFL the SOS between all teams is much closer and there is much less variance in team quality than there is across FBS.

I agree, which is why I want the original DVOA SOS to stay.

by AudacityOfHoops :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 10:15am

Yeah, it would be cool if they added another page to stats section that focuses solely on SOS, and measures it in a variety of ways. They could also show the average offensive and defensive DVOA of past/future opponents. Or even a schedule page for each team that lists their entire season, with opponent DVOA (total/off/def/st).

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 5:52pm

"The way that DVOA calculates SOS is clearly flawed in some ways."

You can't take a random distribution of numbers and reduce them to one number. Duh. There's no one "good measure" of strength-of-schedule. It just depends on what you want it for.

You could measure strength-of-schedule by the number of wins added/lost, for a team of that strength, versus an average schedule. You could measure strength-of-schedule by the number of wins added/lost, by an average team versus that schedule, compared to an average schedule.

"The point of this long post is that I believe that the SOS should be modified to be more similar to what is using in Fremeau's (sp?) FEI index"

Yeah, that's because in college football you only really care about comparing the top few percent of the league. No one cares if the reason that Northwestern won 6 games was because they played really easy teams.

That's not really true in the NFL.

"Perhaps SOS should be based a teams likelihood of winning some number of games "

What team? An average team? That team? An elite team? They're all different questions. Again, in college, no one cares why a team won, say, 6 games instead of 8 (or vice versa). In the NFL, we do. We care why a top-ranked DVOA team won only 9 games instead of 12. We care why a nearly-bottom ranked team won 8 games instead of 5. We care why an average team won 10 games instead of 8.

There's no one number that could explain all of those things.

As an aside, part of the reason you don't want to ask "likelihood of winning some games" as a measure of something connected to DVOA is that DVOA is linked to scoring, not winning. What you're talking about is something linked to winning - so really, you're interested in something like an opponent-adjusted estimated wins.

by xtimmygx :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 1:26am

I think you are breaking down what I am saying to much. What I am saying is that I come on to this website, which I have been doing for at least 5 years now, and conversations of what the SOS number means are constant. I find the number provided to be only marginally enlightening, as do many others, hence the recurring discussion.

The issue here is that you can get the same value for SOS while playing vastly different schedules. If I told you that a team had a SOS value of 0%, you have gained very little information on the median quality of opponent, which is for all intents and purposes more useful to know. The years when the Colts and Pats had obscenely high DVOA there were SOS values that were high in the AFCE and AFCS due just to those two teams.

You say that in college no one cares why a team won a certain number of games but in the NFL we do. I agree, that is why I think it is important that we get a SOS measurement that accounts for this. 2 teams with a SOS value of 0% can very easily have schedules which when analyzed game by game would very obviously lead to very differnt records for teams of the same quality. In looking at a team under my method we could look at the 10th best team, or the average 6th seed in the playoffs, the options are a plenty. In fact, it can be calculated based on all kinds of teams, whether it be elite, great, good, average, poor, terrible. The wonders of computers lets the owners of this site churn this sort of data out pretty fast.

Also, to say that DVOA is linked to scoring, not to winning is just ridiculous. Points are directly related to wins and we can use that to estimate wins. We are given an estimated number of wins during the season and we are given how likely a team is to win a certain number of games in the preseason.

The type of SOS that I proposed would clearly be valuable. Maybe I was being harsh in saying that the SOS that FO gives us is clearly flawed, but it is imperfect and can be aided by providing more information.

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 11:20am

"What I am saying is that I come on to this website, which I have been doing for at least 5 years now, and conversations of what the SOS number means are constant."

Right, and when you change it again, you'll have the same discussions. Again - trying to represent a random distribution with 1 number doesn't work.

"Also, to say that DVOA is linked to scoring, not to winning is just ridiculous."

Really? Too bad it's true. DVOA's tuned to correlate to points and to be consistent year-over-year. A team with an offensive DVOA of +20% scores about 25.8 points per game (with an average defense and an average number of drives). Estimated wins, however, is based on the 'forest index':

"Forest Index: A response to a claim that total team DVOA rankings "missed the forest for the trees," the forest index (developed near the end of 2003) spits out an estimate of wins based on a formula that combines DVOA ratings in offense, defense, and special teams, as well as red zone defense, offense and defense in the second half of close games, offense in the first quarter, and variance (see VARIANCE)."

Points are not *directly* linked to wins - it's a timed game, and so certain *kinds* of performance (as mentioned above) lead to wins more often than you might think. Also, the game is a certain average length (~12 possessions, ~3-4 scores) so offense tends to be more relevant than defense because an equivalent percentage reduction isn't as beneficial as an equivalent increase given the small numbers involved. Now, granted, those kinds of performance might not be statistically relevant, but estimated wins is intended to be explanatory rather than predictive (which is what strength-of-schedule is anyway).

So in actuality, the SCHEDULE measure here isn't that bad when looking at DVOA to pseudo-"back out" the opponent adjustments. I don't think many people use it for that, though.

"The type of SOS that I proposed would clearly be valuable. Maybe I was being harsh in saying that the SOS that FO gives us is clearly flawed, but it is imperfect and can be aided by providing more information."

It's valuable for *some* cases. In college football, facing (and being) an elite team is rare, whereas in the NFL, it's common, and in college football, you're only ever discussing the most elite teams anyway, which is why you frame SOS in that context. The 'average' team in college football is Northwestern, Fresno State, Minnesota. Even the weakest schedule in history couldn't boost a ~50th-ranked team up to the point where anyone would be talking about them for a BCS game.

In the NFL, though, you'd want to frame it in the context of an average team, since, well, on average, that's who you're talking about. The easiest way to do that is to do something like "estimated wins for an average team given this schedule."

You could also frame it in the context of the team *in question* and ask how many wins they would expect based on, say, an average schedule based on a multi-year average. That's yet another measure, though. As an example, Philly, in 2004, probably wouldn't've looked like it had that easy or hard a schedule (despite the -5% or so average ranking) by "estimated wins for an average team." It probably would've been something like ~9 wins or so. Most of their opponents were around -5% or so (MIN,WASx2,GB,CAR, etc.), and the dogs on their schedule were mostly balanced out, so the "gimme" wins are balanced with losses.

But Philly in 2004 was an elite team (using the ~30% DVOA number excluding weeks 16-17), so really, those -5% teams were pretty much "gimme" wins rather than, say, 55% wins, and so "estimated wins for this team based on an *average* schedule, compared to estimated wins for this team based on *this* schedule" could actually be positive (meaning the schedule was *hard*) simply because for a 30% DVOA team, an "average" schedule wouldn't include a 35% DVOA team.

But that's a different (and weird) metric. The one I've suggested before (in addition to the SCHEDULE measure) is what I mentioned above: estimated wins for an average team based on this schedule.

by Alex51 :: Sat, 10/30/2010 - 3:18am

The issue here is that you can get the same value for SOS while playing vastly different schedules.

That would still be true no matter how you calculate SOS. Always.

If I told you that a team had a SOS value of 0%, you have gained very little information on the median quality of opponent, which is for all intents and purposes more useful to know.

Using median quality of opponent means you lose any effects of outliers, and anything else that skews the distribution. For instance, if you look at median quality of opponent, the following schedules look identical:

A - Best team in NFL history, 2nd Best team in NFL history, 16th Best team of 2010, 17th Best team of 2010, 18th Best team of 2010.

B - 14th Best team of 2010, 15th Best team of 2010, 16th Best team of 2010, 2nd worst team in NFL history, worst team in NFL history.

Yet they aren't even close to being the same difficulty.

If you look at just about any collection of numbers, and try to represent them with just one value, you'll lose information somewhere. If you use median or mode, you lose information about the outliers. If you use mean, you lose information about how the numbers are distributed.

In looking at a team under my method we could look at the 10th best team, or the average 6th seed in the playoffs, the options are a plenty. In fact, it can be calculated based on all kinds of teams, whether it be elite, great, good, average, poor, terrible. The wonders of computers lets the owners of this site churn this sort of data out pretty fast.

Yes, but then you're not talking about one SOS number. You're talking about dozens of distinct SOS numbers to describe the same schedule. If you take any one of them, they are going to have just as many flaws and problems as the current SOS measurement. So, saying that replacing the current SOS measurement with your SOS numbers would provide more information is like saying that upgrading the O-line would help a team's offense more than upgrading the RB. Of course it would - upgrading 5 players is likely to help more than upgrading one - but that doesn't make O-linemen more valuable than RBs.

The type of SOS that I proposed would clearly be valuable.

Well, sure. I don't think anyone's saying it wouldn't be nice to have. But it would also be a lot more work than the current one is, and it wouldn't fit as neatly into the current format. They'd have to make a page dedicated to nothing but various types of SOS. Now, I'm not against this, but it would be more difficult/cumbersome than the current SOS ratings.

Maybe I was being harsh in saying that the SOS that FO gives us is clearly flawed, but it is imperfect and can be aided by providing more information.

Once again, that depends entirely on what you're looking for from SOS. If what you're trying to find out is "why is Team A's DVOA so much different from their VOA?", then the current SOS ratings are pretty much perfect, and more information about what record a particular team could expect against that schedule would be superfluous. As far as I can tell, the only fair criticism of the current ratings from that perspective is that they don't account for the possibility that, say, Team A had many more plays in its games against easy opponents than it did in its games against hard opponents, which led to a higher VOA than expected, but an identical SOS rating. But that could be easily corrected by weighting opponents' DVOA in the SOS calculations by the amount of plays that occurred in the games against them. If you modified them in that way, the current SOS ratings would be a perfect answer to the question, "How much of the difference between Team A's DVOA and their VOA is due to the difficulty of their schedule?".

Now, maybe you think that the current ratings are too focused on VOA and DVOA as opposed to wins and losses. And I guess that's a fair point. But then we're talking about the broader issue of what the focus of this entire site should be - whether it's more important to get a better understanding of the statistics that give us insight into why teams win, or whether it's more important to get a better understanding of why certain teams have won/will win as much as they have/will. Both of those are worthy goals, and FO has always worked toward both of them to some extent, but the former seems like it's always been the main focus of this site, and I don't see that changing anytime soon.

by milo :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 12:28am

Consider the CLE rushing offense:
Against BAL they are successful on 14 of 30 rushes including 4 rushes of over 10 yards (12,19,25,48) with 1 rush for a loss. Average 5.97 YPC. Game rushing DVOA=19.5.
Against PIT they are successful on 5 of 21 rushes including 1 rush over 10 yards (14) and no rush for a loss. Average 3.14 YPC. Game rushing DVOA=-19.4.
Against NOR they are successful on 8 of 23 rushes including 2 rushes of over 10 yards (12,12) with 4 rushes for a loss. Average 3.26 YPC. Game rushing DVOA=16.6.
It seems that the the PIT and NOR games are more similar than the BAL and NOR games yet DVOA says the opposite. And since PIT is #1 in DefRushDVOA and NOR is #14 (BAL is #9) it would seem that VOA was even farther apart. 1 fumble in each game so no real difference.
What factor is so strong as to force this result?

by dmb :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 12:58am

The first thing I'd look at is on what downs and distances the runs occurred...

by milo :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 1:05am

That's what I did. I used 45% of needed yardage on first down, 60% on second down, and made on 3rd and 4th down to count successful plays. That seems to be what the site says they are doing at a basic level with additional points added in an undisclosed manner. This is from the playbook and doesn't include kneeldowns.

by qed :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 8:22am

I agree those raw stats don't seem to line up with the DVOA rushing numbers. Off the top of my head (and IANAS, I've just read the official stat explanations) I think the big adjustment may be situational based on score.

In the NO game the Browns were up 20-3 at halftime. Teams with a two-score lead in the second half are going to run the ball a lot, and I expect they get less per-play production from their runs. Since DVOA would compare the Browns runs to rushing plays from teams in similar situations that probably bumps it up.

In the PIT game the Browns were losing from the 2nd quarter onward. I expect teams that are losing in the second half get more per-play production from their runs, so that would depress the Browns ratings.

I'm not sure that my explanation is correct, it's just the one that makes sense to me both statistically and in football terms. 3 yards and a cloud of dust is fine when you're chewing clock to protect a lead, it's unproductive when you're losing and need to catch up.

by Jerry :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 1:54am

Opponent adjustments?

by mawbrew :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 8:11am

The game situation (I think) plays a role here. In the NO game, for example, the Browns were well ahead for a large portion of the game. Being successful running in that situation may be more dificult and more valuable than in a situation like the Pittsburg game where they were well behind for a good bit.

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 6:19pm

You're looking at more of a 'V' than 'VOA'. With New Orleans, those 8 successful rushes were 2nd & 2 for 3 yards, 1st and 10 for 8 yards, 3rd and 2 for 6 yards, 1st and 4 for 4 yards (TD), and then ( 1st and 10 for 9 yards, 2nd and 1 for 2 yards, 1st and 10 for 12 yards, 1st and 10 for 12 yards ). Those last four plays are important - they're in the fourth quarter, and teams rush *worse* in the fourth quarter with a lead (since they rush more often - you don't often see drives consisting of like, 75% runs). Cleveland ran almost exclusively on that drive in the fourth quarter, bled 7:30 off the clock and still scored 3 points. That's way better than an average team would do.

That's where they racked up all of the value. A 12 yard rush on 1st and 10 in the 4th quarter is much more valuable than a 14 yard rush on 2nd and 7 in the 2nd.

Also, that "no rush for a loss" bit is misleading. They had something like 5 or 6 rushes for no gain, which isn't really significantly better than a rush for a loss of 1, and the "1 fumble in each game" is wrong - the Browns didn't fumble on a rushing play in the New Orleans game. They did in the Pittsburgh game.

by Best Worst Ever (not verified) :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 12:35am

TB at 4-2 with a -14.9% seems pretty low, but I'm sure there's lower... anyone know?

by BJR :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 7:48am

There really are some muddled W-L records so far this year. According to DVOA, 7 of the worst 10 teams in the league have won at least 3 games. A lot of it must simply be down to the schedule, that has pitched a lot of these teams against each other so far. But some of these teams must have had an awful lot of luck in achieving their record so far.

by Bobman :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 12:37am

Please help me out here. The Colts and Pats are looking pretty similar on the surface, except for ST, which is, IIRC, about 1/7 of the total. (and about which, I'll make my annual appeal to say: it's overweighted! Okay, done.)

Pats O is ranked #2 at 29.0% and Colts are #3 at 25.6%. Pats D is ranked #27 at 9.9% and Colts 23rd at 7.8%. Based on that alone, you'd expect the Pats DVOA to be about 2.0% superior to the Colts.

So is the heart of the pretty wide gap all ST--where the 5th ranked Pats are 7.1% and the 29th ranked Colts are -5.6%???

If that's the case--the entire DVOA case against the Colts, I'll take it. They've already cut the returner who fumbled twice in one game. Their historical MO has been to secure the ball and hand it over to Manning with mediocre position, rather than risk fumbles trying for big returns. So their philosophical baseline is below average in the return game to begin with and has been for years. I'm relatively confident in their punter (when he sobers up and dries off) and kicker, which leaves coverage units.... hmmmmm. Always a sore spot. And with so many injured safeties and such, not likely to improve.

Assuming O and D are what they are and will be, and the ST stabilizes to a more respectable "gentleman's C" of about 0% to negative 2.0% (ranked 16-20), would that really move them up to the low-20s from their current DVOA of 12.3 and DAVE of 13.6?

I know that wins are not part of DVOA, so I won't snipe about NYG or KC being ahead of Indy, but something looks amiss. SD being so highly-rated looks eerily similar to the traditional NFL rankings based on yards--we know they are relatively meaningless and that points are a bit closer to the truth.

Just in the top 3rd of the league, Jets and Colts look too low, Giants, Phi, SD, and KC too high. Granted, the top six are so close in DVOA that it's essentially a tie.... but I'd put the 7th ranked Jets ahead of at least half of them, and the Colts and Ravens ahead of a few as well. Time will tell.

by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 4:48am

The Colts and Pats are looking pretty similar on the surface, except for ST, which is, IIRC, about 1/7 of the total. (and about which, I'll make my annual appeal to say: it's overweighted! Okay, done.)

I'm sure Norv Turner will be comforted by the fact that someone else thinks special teams are overrated.

I doubt the Colts coaching staff really considers better or longer returns to have some supremely high turnover risk. Unfortunately, I don't have the data to see if longer returns are more prone to turnovers (from what I have seen, turnovers on special teams are primarily from a muffed reception, and distant second to that from a well-played tackle/forced fumble). I think the Colts just don't pay much attention to improving the special teams talent (or coaching staff).

San Diego is highly rated because their defense and offense typically perform pretty well. And then their special teams do them in.

by Alternator :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 2:16am

San Diego is making a really good case that while normal special teams might be worth 1/7 overall, really exceptionally bad special teams can be worth as much as your offense and defense combined.

Devin Hester a few years back made a pretty good case that exceptionally good special teams play can be worth as much as your offense, if that offense is average.

That said, any kind of system is going to falter when you hit the edge of the bell curve. Beating probability like that almost requires circumstances that violate the normal patterns.

by AudacityOfHoops :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 10:56am

DVOA shows San Diego's special teams to be more important than either their offense or their defense, so I don't think it's off by as much as I think you think it's off: OFF +15.6%, DEF -15.6%, ST -17.4%.

by RickD :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 12:49am

Trent Dilfer is saying that it's not Brad Childress's call whether Favre starts or not. Apparently, even if Favre's left leg falls off, it's still his call, since Favre has a long career of accomplishing whatever he sets his mind to.
I wish ESPN would fire Dilfer. "Irrational" doesn't begin to cover it.

by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 4:52am

I think the problem may be that you're watching games on ESPN with the sound on. Find your 'Mute' button, you'll be much happier for it.

Having said that - as a Vikes fan, I wouldn't object to Favruh's leg falling off. I just wish the management had made more of a long-term planning effort, rather than 'rehire the crusty jeans model, and go with Tarvaris 'Headlights!' Jackson as the backup', without even sniffing at a new QB to groom and prepare. One guy's 41, the other is obviously not starting-caliber.

by solarjetman (not verified) :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 1:14am

For masochistic purposes I would really like to see which performance by the Broncos was worse in DVOA terms: this week's home loss to Oakland, or the 1994 home loss to the LA Raiders ( http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/199409180den.htm ). Worst single game performances of the DVOA era, by team, would be a fun article.

by BJR :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 7:01am

I don't know about DVOA, but I do know that the final result of the Den/Oak game fell 52 points away from the Vegas line (Denver were generally a 7 point favourite), which may well be some sort of record.

by The Ninjalectual :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 2:54am

These numbers are going to regress to the mean

Ahem, Aaron, that would be regress toward the mean. Didn't you say all the writers here would make that a point of emphasis? Please be better than NFL officiating!

by dbostedo :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 9:08am

It's really :

"These numbers are going to regress to the mean a bit..."

The "a bit" part would imply toward the mean without really reaching it.

by kamchatka (not verified) :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 4:06am

This is an extremely odd line:

30 BUF -28.4% 0-6 -27.0% 1.6 32 7.8% 3 7.9% 2 9.5% 10

by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 4:57am

I don't know which part you're calling 'odd'. Beau Fleuve is the 30th ranked team in terms of DVOA, their non-adjusted VOA is close to their DVOA. The only thing that might be somewhat odd is the Forrest index projecting them with 1.6 wins, based on 7 games played (remember that teams that have had their bye are projected as if they had played that week).

They have had a tough schedule (3rd toughest), they have a tough remaining schedule (2nd toughest), and their generally consistent in their suck (10th overall in variance).

by ammek :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 4:59am

Okay, it really is time to revise the 'A' in DVOA.

There are now 25 passing offenses above average. Twenty-one of those are above 12%, including the Browns and Lions. You sacrificed DPAR for DYAR to make the stat easier to understand; you simply have to do the same for DVOA. Nobody looking at Cleveland's +14% DVOA is going to think "Ah, that's average!"

And it's not as if we're seeing a great improvement in passing offense this year. The top teams are not as lights-out as they were in 2008-09 (QB interception rates have returned to earth, except in Indianapolis); the mass of teams in the middle has improved fractionally in stats like completion percentage and yards per attempt; and there's a huge gap down to the three or four teams with really horrible DVOA, which brings down the mean.

If you were using a 2010-only baseline, with the mean of passing offense set at 0% (rather than 14.1%), you'd still end up with more teams above than below average. Without the DVOA formula it's hard to tell, but probably none would be above +35% (which fits the impression that there is no extraordinary passing offense this year), although upwards of a dozen teams would be squashed between +10% and +25%. At the bottom end, Chicago, Arizona and Carolina would rank as some of the worst pass offenses of all time — relative to the league average.

by The Ninjalectual :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 7:51am

I think there has actually been a great improvement in passing offense this year, and that's what's driving the change in the "A." I agree that a re-adjusted "A" would be nice, but I wonder if the last couple of years is enough sample size to make it meaningful. I expect that if we go back farther than that, we'd start seeing the same "A" we have now.

by ammek :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 8:10am

Where is this improvement? Completion percentage is up by 0.1%, and yards per attempt by an even smaller fraction. Interception and sack rates are the same. The only significant increase is in attempts (34.0 per team per game, most since 1995), which would affect DYAR but not DVOA.

The change in pass offense this year seems, on the face of it, to be that there are no outstanding units and fewer really sucky ones (see: Cleveland, Oakland, Tampa Bay, etc).

by Oh Dallas (not verified) :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 10:05am

Others have written about the increase in offensive passing DVOA the past 5 years ago (perhaps it was longer, I haven't checked the numbers recently). This rise interests me as well; maybe I can find some of the threads later on today.

by jmaron :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 8:41am

Not in Minnesota there hasn't.

by Aaron Schatz :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 11:36am

A reconsideration of the baseline we use as "average" is coming this offseason. Reconsideration of how we calculate SOS is probably coming as well. However, to the people who want to complain about it every week (not you, Ammek), I will note that complaining about it will not make it come any faster.

by ammek :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 12:22pm

That's good news — thanks. And yeah, I complain about it maybe twice a season, so I only feel *averagely* a bore for doing so.

I'll be interested to see what you find when you do the reconsideration. It's hard, using only conventional stats, to get a grip on the nature of how pass offense has progressed over the past few years. The consensus opinion seems to be that "rule changes" have led to passing becoming "easier". But all of the trends in conventional stats — improved completion percentage; decreases in yards per completion, pick rate and sack rate — are long-running, many of them have trended steadily since the early 1990s or even prior to that. Will it be enough to divide DVOA according to a 'pre-2007 baseline' and a '2007-and-after baseline'? Or will it be necessary to draw up a rolling baseline (and if so, what will you do with the outlying years, 1995 and 2002?)? And how will rush offense be affected by a change in baseline: is the 'average' in Run DVOA an average of running plays only, or is it based on success rates for all offensive plays, including passes?

Now isn't the time to answer these questions, but I hope that you'll have a chance to explain your findings when you go through the formula in the offseason.

by Jacob Stevens (not verified) :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 5:21pm

Can I ask, is part of the SOS reconsideration looking into whether there is any sort of feedback effect? It's a good time to bring up, considering that NFC West question. Which has been quite bad through the DVOA era, unquestionably. But the severity sometimes seems amplified.

by DGL :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 9:15am

Are you saying that the NFC West suckiness goes up to 11?

by ammek :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 5:31am

The special teams DVOA numbers are different on the Special Teams page compared with the Team Efficiency table (ie, on this page). San Diego, for example, is a historically bad -17.4 in the chart above and a mind-bogglingly even worse -19.3% on the special teams page.

by jmaron :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 8:43am

I noticed the same thing last week and sent an email to Aaron about it. Almost all the teams had very different ratings in the two tables.

by Andrew Potter :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 10:55am

San Diego's special teams DVOA was 19.3% last week. Maybe it hasn't been updated yet?

by Aaron Schatz :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 11:40am

Sorry. For some odd reason, this is the second straight week I forgot to hit the button for special teams when I was going through the program to create all the HTML, so I re-posted last week's by accident. I'll go fix now.

by Thok :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 5:35am

Wait, the 49er's DVOA improved? Is that opponent adjustments, or does DVOA think they played decently in Carolina?

by Keasley (not verified) :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 7:22am

Looks like a number of teams DVOA shifted in the opposite direction from the outcome of the game. San Diego lost and moved up 5 spots. Miami lost and moved up 3. SF, as noted, moved up 2 despite a loss.

Meanwhile, Washington won and dropped 4 while Seattle won and dropped 2.

Opponent adjustments or on field performance? Probably a little from column A and a little from column B. Having watched both the Chicago/Wash and Sea/Ari games my eyes saw two teams win with very lacklustre play. Arizona self-destructed with some terrible special teams play and horrendous quarterback play from Max Hall. Seattle had the fumble luck and the special teams advantage yet was completely unable to put the game away. 1 TD in 7 red zone trips. Yuck.

Meanwhile, the Bears/Washington game may have been the most pathetic display of 'professional' football I've ever seen. I actually missed the first half and turned it on just in time for the worst/stupidest comedy of fumbles and interceptions I've witnessed in almost 30 years of Sunday games. Washington stunk and its probably safe to say that fumble luck was the difference in the outcome of the game. I mean, sure, DeAngelo Hall had a pretty great individual game but a couple of those balls were thrown right to him. Hall notwithstanding, Wash dropped 4 spots and totally deserved it. Meanwhile, Chicago was completely wretched and didn't move in the standings at all. I guess they played to their level. Yikes. For a team leading its division: double yikes.

Maybe we'll see a divisional round playoff game between the Bears and Seahawks that will feature 8 interceptions, 3 fumbles, 3 punts returned for touchdowns, and 9 field goals. The winner will face the Giants who will promptly knock the starting QB out of the game, and despite no drop off on offense for Sea/Chi, the Giants will prevail. The Superbowl will feature the Giants outplaying the Steelers but losing the game on a series of questionable calls by the officals and the worst season in NFL history will come to an end.

by Independent George :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 9:48am

I was watching from the beginning, and actually sent a text to my friend that "McNabb is looking great against a pretty good Chicago defense" in the 2nd quarter, shortly before the wheels came off.

by tuluse :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 3:41pm

Is it just me or does Washington look great early in every game and get progressively worse as it goes along?

by Shattenjager :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 12:22am

That's a Shanahan hallmark.

by RickD :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 1:13pm

San Diego and Miami lost to two of the top three teams in very close games. An increase in the respective DVOAs is reasonable.

We don't have the same explanation for the 49ers, who lost to the awful Panthers.

by tuluse :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 3:41pm

How is this the worst season in NFL history?

by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 4:17pm

Honestly, do people remember 2004, where there were two NFC Wild Cards at 8-8, and the second seed Falcons had a +3 point differential, and the sixth seed Rams had a -73 point differential.

by JIPanick :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 4:59pm

Yeah, but the AFC was loaded. The Pats, Colts, and Steelers *all* arguably hit a peak that year, and the Chargers, Broncos, Bills, Jets, and Chiefs were all good enough to contend.

by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 7:03pm

The AFC Was loaded, but the NFC was arguably worse than this year. When people claim that "this is the worst year in history" they are generally talking about the NFC teams, as the AFC teams do have some quality to them this season, and I would put the NFC batch of 2004 (or even 2006) right along with this one.

by Vicious Chicken Of Bristol (not verified) :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 7:57am

Wait, Ben Roethlisberger is #1 in DVOA? There must be some mistake, Aaron was very clear that Ben is not a top 5 QB.

by ammek :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 8:04am

Jason Snelling is #3 in rushing DVOA. Are you suggesting he's a top-5 running back?

by RickD :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 1:16pm

The full quote was something along the lines of "I don't care what the statistics say, Ben Roethlisberger is not a top 5 QB."

A statistically-based rebuttal is not all that relevant.

Now you could take issue with Aaron for ignoring his own stats when convenient, but that's a different argument.

by Geo B :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 2:40pm

@Vicious - where are you pulling that stat from - a subscriber part of the stats, I'm not seeing it on this page.
(I'm asking because I was the one that started the "who are the Top 5 QB's if Ben is not one of them" thread on this weeks Quick Reads)

Steeler fan trapped in Houston!
Six Time SB Champs! ;-)

by commissionerleaf :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 5:19pm

He's #1 based on all of two games.

Roethlisberger is an above average quarterback, right around Donovan McNabb territory only with more goofball interceptions and fewer goofball incompletions.

by DeltaWhiskey :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 8:23am

and more super bowl rings and allegations of sexual misconduct.

by ammek :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 8:54am

It's hardly unexpected, but the top teams on the 'worst 3rd/4th down DVOA' list were an unholy mix of already dreadful offense + rookie quarterback (David Carr, Kyle Orton, Alex Smith … and Max Hall?). Further down the list we get some creaky old QBs, once known for their athleticism, hobbling into retirement: Warren Moon in his last year, Donald Hollas, and the decaying corpse of Rodney Peete. The rest are QBs who were inexperienced, but not rookies: Jon Kitna, Stoney Case, Tony Banks, the sorely missed JaMarcus Russell, and Todd Collins. Collins may find himself on the list anew as a Bear, but the most worrying match for Jay Cutler must be Jeff George, who pops up twice, in Indianapolis and Oakland.

by Lou :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 3:20pm

Orton was a rookie in 2005. The 2004 Bears QBs were Chad Hutchinson, Craig Krenzel, Jonathan Quinn, and Rex Grossman. Yeah, it was bad.

by Spielman :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 10:34am

"Since the NFL went to eight divisions in 2002, the six worst divisions (based on average DVOA of the four teams) have all been the NFC West."

This is absolutely boggling. Given the limited number of years we're looking at, this means the NFC West's third best performance since 2002 is still worse than any performance by any other division.

Yet hilariously, the division has still represented the NFC in the Super Bowl twice, and has racked up 10 playoff wins over that period. That's four more than the NFC North and AFC West, and only one less than average.

by DeltaWhiskey :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 10:35am

DVOA is cumbersome for comparing teams, and frankly I don’t know what the number really means. Therefore, I’ve taken the liberty to provide the following.

I’ve converted this weekend’s DVOA into numbers that make more sense (to me). Caveat: There is error in these numbers, I’ve provided the correlations for you to assess the error and value.

For TOTDVOA, I’ve converted to Wins in a season. This conversion utilizes the following formula WINS = 13.785*(TOTDVOA) + 7.9307. The formula is the regression equation for the correlation between TOTDVOA and Wins (r = 0.854)

1 NYG 11.8
2 PIT 11.8
3 NE 11.5
4 KC 11.5
5 TEN 11.5
6 PHI 11.4
7 NYJ 10.8
8 SD 9.8
9 ATL 9.7
10 IND 9.6
11 GB 9.5
12 BAL 9.1
13 MIA 8.7
14 NO 8.6
15 HOU 8.4
16 SEA 8.2
17 DAL 8.2
18 MIN 7.5
19 CIN 7.4
20 CLE 7.4
21 DET 7.3
22 SF 7.0
23 WAS 6.9
24 CHI 6.4
25 TB 5.9
26 OAK 5.2
27 STL 5.1
28 JAC 4.4
29 DEN 4.4
30 BUF 4.0
31 CAR 3.3
32 ARI 2.7

For OFFDVOA and DEFVOA, I’ve converted to pts/gm using the following formulas:
PTS/GM=(380.83OFFDVOA + 341.05)/16 (r = 0.822)

01 HOU 28.93
02 NE 28.22
03 IND 27.41
04 PHI 27.00
05 KC 25.50
06 GB 25.31
07 SD 25.03
08 ATL 24.89
09 NYJ 24.84
10 DAL 24.62
11 NYG 24.22
12 MIA 23.22
13 NO 23.10
14 BAL 23.03
15 PIT 22.98
16 CIN 22.32
17 DEN 21.79
18 TEN 21.48
19 WAS 20.93
20 BUF 20.91
21 DET 20.46
22 CLE 20.24
23 JAC 19.98
24 TB 19.89
25 SEA 18.98
26 OAK 18.77
27 SF 18.63
28 MIN 18.22
29 STL 17.96
30 CHI 14.44
31 ARI 12.82
32 CAR 11.89

PTS/GM=(406.5*DEFDVOA + 343.09)/16 (r = 0.776)
For ST DVOA, I’ve converted to point differential per game using the following formula:

01 NYG 15.63
02 TEN 16.13
03 PIT 16.92
04 SD 17.48
05 CHI 18.93
06 CAR 19.51
07 MIN 19.66
08 SF 20.12
09 KC 20.33
10 PHI 20.45
11 SEA 20.94
12 GB 21.16
13 MIA 21.16
14 NO 21.52
15 NYJ 21.57
16 BAL 22.03
17 ARI 22.08
18 ATL 22.21
19 STL 22.26
20 CLE 22.28
21 WAS 22.41
22 CIN 23.15
23 IND 23.42
24 DET 23.53
25 TB 23.60
26 OAK 23.68
27 NE 23.96
28 DAL 24.42
29 DEN 27.54
30 HOU 28.20
31 JAC 28.46
32 BUF 29.40

PTDIFgm = 49.306*STDVOa - 0.0412 (r = 0.278)

RNK TM y = 49.306x - 0.0412
01 SEA 4.84
02 CHI 3.80
03 JAC 3.71
04 DET 3.56
05 NE 3.46
06 NYJ 3.07
07 BUF 2.23
08 TEN 2.08
09 KC 1.98
10 CLE 1.73
11 BAL 1.68
12 PIT 1.44
13 MIN 1.24
14 ARI 0.25
15 ATL 0.21
16 DAL -0.09
17 OAK -0.14
18 TB -0.29
19 SF -0.53
20 CAR -0.73
21 CIN -0.78
22 HOU -0.88
23 WAS -0.98
24 PHI -1.37
25 NO -1.37
26 MIA -1.67
27 STL -1.77
28 DEN -1.96
29 IND -2.80
30 GB -3.20
31 NYG -3.54
32 SD -8.62

Final, I’ve combined as follows: OFFPT/GM – DEFPT/GM +PTDIFgm = PTDIF

01 NE 7.72
02 PIT 7.50
03 TEN 7.43
04 KC 7.16
05 NYJ 6.33
06 PHI 5.18
07 NYG 5.05
08 SEA 2.89
09 ATL 2.89
10 BAL 2.69
11 IND 1.18
12 GB 0.95
13 DET 0.49
14 MIA 0.39
15 NO 0.21
16 DAL 0.12
17 HOU -0.15
18 MIN -0.20
19 CLE -0.30
20 CHI -0.69
21 SD -1.07
22 CIN -1.61
23 SF -2.03
24 WAS -2.45
25 TB -4.00
26 JAC -4.77
27 OAK -5.05
28 STL -6.06
29 BUF -6.26
30 DEN -7.71
31 CAR -8.35
32 ARI -9.01

That’s my two cents worth for now.

by AudacityOfHoops :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 11:16am

Cool. I think I understand everything, except for how you came up with the ST equation. Oh, and what data you used for the rest (this year, last years, several years, etc).

by DeltaWhiskey :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 11:45am


PTDIFgm = 49.306*STDVOa - 0.0412 is the regression equation for the correlation between STDVOA and per game pointdifferential.

This correlation is slightly than the correlation between STDVOA and wins. Since STDVOA contains both Offensive and Defensive elements of the game, it made sense to me to use this metric rather than offensive points or defensive points and it allows for a combination of all three DVOA components with a different metric (OFFPT/GM – DEFPT/GM +PTDIFgm = PTDIF). I realize it is not a particularly robust correlation, but it is statistically significant. It adds interesting, although possibly pointless opportunity for debate...i.e. TOTDVOA v. this statistic as a marker of team quality.

The correlations and their equations are based on data from 1996 to 2008.

by AudacityOfHoops :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 1:35pm

If you are simply regressing STDVOA onto point differential, won't that end up giving STDVOA more credit than it should have? Maybe that would only happen if STDVOA is correlated with OFFDVOA or DEFDVOA... What about fitting the following:

PointDif/G = b1*OFFDVOA + b2*DEFDVOA + b3*STDVOA + b0

Then using the following to convert STDVOA to a point value:

STptval/G = b3*STDVOA

ACTUALLY, why not just use FO's point values for special teams directly? They calculate point values for ST, then convert to DVOA for display here. Simply using the point values listed on the ST pages seems like a good way to go.

by DeltaWhiskey :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 1:49pm

"won't that end up giving STDVOA more credit than it should have?"

I don't know. To be honest, I'm starting quick and dirty and trying to find a way to make DVOA make a little more intuitive sense and haven't thought through. You're correct regarding overvaluing STDVOA. Maybe I should have multiplied it by the R-Square of the correlation coefficient.

I guess I could (should) do the same with the other points; however, it's worth noting that when you enter a 0.00% DVOA into these equations, the output comes within a decimal place or two of the league average over the years, so I don't know.

Other statheads have thoughts?

While I'm commenting here: Regarding the WINS value. My interpretation is that TEAM X's DVOA of Y is consistent with a team the wins Z games in year (Substitute points as appropriate). It should be noted that in general, and I don't have the specific numbers on hand b/c this is the first time this season I've pulled this out, that the regression equation is fairly effective for "predicting" within +/- 2 games. Unfortunately, a 4 game swing is huge around the mean. Within +/- 1 game, it hits on about 50% if I recall. I'll look into this more.

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 11:59am

"I don't know. To be honest, I'm starting quick and dirty and trying to find a way to make DVOA make a little more intuitive sense and haven't thought through."

To be honest, if you want a quick and dirty way, Aaron did it before:


You just add 1, and multiply by 21.5 (special teams you just multiply by 21.5).

"You're correct regarding overvaluing STDVOA. Maybe I should have multiplied it by the R-Square of the correlation coefficient."

You're actually probably overvaluing them all. You really want to do a multiparameter regression straight off to point differential for a combined measure. I would do it to point difference/*drive* rather than ptdiff/*game* since points/drive is pace-independent. You can get those numbers from the drive stats game (if you want to go back to points/game for basic reference, just multiply by average drives/game). The statistical properties might look a little worse, but it's at least more fundamentally sound.

The problem is that, if you think about it, imagine an ideal world, with football having offensive performance O, defensive performance D, and special teams performance S, even if offensive DVOA is perfectly correlated to O, points scored/drive (PS) isn't sum over all drives(PS(O)). It's sum over all drives(f(PS(O),starting field position for drive), and starting field position, on average, is correlated to D and S. So really, it's sum over all drives(f(PS(O),D,S)).

Ditto with points against. So when you do a 1-D regression on each, you're just averaging the influence on each, but, of course, there is a natural correlation between O, D, and S: the team. So you overestimate the influence of each, and then add the overestimated measure together, because you have few "good offense, bad defense" teams in the sample.

(Adding DVOA directly, the way it's done here, is actually okay because they're built upon independent measures: the plays themselves. To first order, excluding score effects which are corrected for, teams don't play offense differently because of another team's offense.)

But to be honest, I think if you do all that, you're... basically recorrelating DVOA back to the set it was tuned on, and I'd be surprised if you got something much different than the simple scaling.

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 12:12pm

Oh, just to expound on the reason for the natural O/D/S correlation - when a team's bad, they tend to be bad everywhere, and if they're good somewhere, they're likely not terrible elsewhere. A simple correlation of offensive/defensive DVOA will show that - it's a fairly sizable correlation.

by DeltaWhiskey :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 12:22pm

"A simple correlation of offensive/defensive DVOA will show that - it's a fairly sizable correlation."

Uh, no r = 0.007, or zero.

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 2:12pm

Yeah, welcome to statistical weirdness. I should've explained better.

Correlation, O/D, year by year (p, rsq, slope)
2009: -0.357, 0.128, -0.55
2008: -0.173, 0.03, -0.18
2007: -0.32, 0.102, -0.58
2006: 0.0594, 0.004, 0.08
2005: -0.341, 0.116, -0.56
2004: 0.0913, 0.008, 0.12
2003: 0.0708, 0.005, 0.08
2002: 0.0499, 0.002, 0.07
2001: -0.07, 0.005, -0.08
2000: 0.0575, 0.003, 0.07

Note that there are no strong positive correlations: in a truly random sample the correlation coefficient would be randomly distributed. So what does that mean?

It means that if you imagine a 4-quadrant space with "-/+ O/D", "+/+ O/D", "-/- O/D", and "+/- O/D", that 3 of those 4 quadrants are well-populated: -/+, -/-, and +/-.

+/+ (good offense, bad defense - e.g. the 2004 Minnesota Vikings quadrant) is really poorly represented (well, spatially). A graphic helps: ( http://img138.imageshack.us/img138/4269/32917315.png ) - here X is offense, Y is defense.

So yeah, I should've just said "just plot the two" and it would've been obvious they're not random variables.

by DeltaWhiskey :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 12:17pm

Thanks, that's way more work than I want to commit to this, as I said, I'm looking for something quick and dirty, makes sense. I'm not really trying to predict as much as simplify things a bit.

"don't play offense differently because of another team's offense"

Are you sure? The most obivous example is that the conventional wisdom that teams look for ways to keep the Colts Offense off the field. It seems reasonable that there could be other examples to a lesser degree.

by tuluse :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 12:24pm

I think he was referring to a far more simple effect. If your opponent scores a lot of points, you have to try and score a lot points. That leads to riskier/more aggressive play calling.

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 2:25pm

"Are you sure? The most obivous example is that the conventional wisdom that teams look for ways to keep the Colts Offense off the field. It seems reasonable that there could be other examples to a lesser degree."

Yeah, that's second order. The "keep the Colts offense off the field" is quite possibly one of my most hated things announcers say. They're not trying to keep the Colts offense off the field, they're trying to shorten the game, because the more possessions a game has, the more an offense has an advantage. The Colts offense is going to come on the field after them no matter what.

by DeltaWhiskey :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 2:59pm


by tuluse :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 3:50pm

The concept behind DVOA is actually pretty simple. It's the difference between a team and the NFL average on a per play basis, adjusted for opponent strength.

This makes more sense to me than some kind of arbitrary "this is how many points a team should score" stat.

by AudacityOfHoops :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 3:59pm

I think for an overall metric, something on the scale of points or wins might be good, which is why I'm interested in the above regressions. However, for all the breakdowns that can be done using DVOA (throwing to a TE, 3rd & long plays, plays where the team is down by a FG in the 4th quarter, etc), the % above/below average is much more intuitive. Because those need to be per play, and saying a team is "0.002 points per play above average on 3rd and long plays" ... just doesn't work at all.

by DeltaWhiskey :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 4:10pm

I'm glad it does for you. However, I have no idea in the real world what the difference between 2 team's DVOA's can be translated to. For example, that the difference between HOU's ant PIT's offense is basically a touchdown rather than 25 DVOA percentage points.

I'm not saying this information is better than DVOA, and in fact it is in some ways worse b/c there is an extra margin of error in these numbers.

But if I sit down in a bar to have a discussion with a member of the unwashed masses, saying to them that "Well, HOU's Offense DVOA of 32.0% means they're better than PIT's Offense DVOA of 7.0%" because of theri difference between their play and the NFL average on a per play basis, adjusted for opponent strength,"
is not going to go over too well. But if I can say that in general I expect HOU's offense to be able to produce one more touchdown per game than PIT's, then I have a little more credibility...that is until I have to explain that this number is derived from the regression equation of the correlation coefficient between DVOA and Wins in a year.

More importantly though, the fact that PIT's and HOU's offenses are roughly only a touchdown apart may tell me something about the relative importance of a fortunate bounce of the ball here or there.

by tuluse :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 4:17pm

You can't just say "the Houston offense is about 25% better than the Pittsburgh offense?" It's pretty easy to understand what 25% better means.

According to your numbers, the difference is 6 points, not a TD. Which makes thing even more confusing. Does that mean the offense is going to drive down the field two extra times to score 2 FGs? Or does it mean the offense is going to score an extra TD on a single drive? There's a big difference between those two outcomes.

If you want to keep making these feel free, I just wanted to voice a contrary opinion. The theory behind DVOA is actually quite simple. The implementation is the tricky part, and if you believe DVOA is actually measuring what it claims to be.

by AudacityOfHoops :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 4:41pm

According to your numbers, the difference is 6 points, not a TD. Which makes thing even more confusing. Does that mean the offense is going to drive down the field two extra times to score 2 FGs? Or does it mean the offense is going to score an extra TD on a single drive? There's a big difference between those two outcomes.

Really? He said it was a per game average, it's not that complicated. Your comment above is akin to him asking you "Houston is 25% OF WHAT better? Are they going to score 8.75 points on a drive where Pittsburgh scores 7?

Though I would agree that expressing the offenses in terms of points per game is misleading. Some of the value of the offense could be translated into worse opponent field position, which is more like preventing points than scoring points. If we want to express the OFF/DEF/ST in terms of points, a point differential for all of them might work better than points scored/allowed. So, for example, Houston's offense is +7.6 pts/g, while Pittsburgh's is +1.7. Meaning that an average team, paired with Houston's offense, facing another average team, would expect to win by 7.6.

Again, this would be more intuitive to me, when comparing overall team strength. But once you do any kind of breakdown (even into passing DVOA and rushing DVOA), the approach doesn't really work so well any more.

by DeltaWhiskey :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 4:45pm

I can say they're 25 percentage points better, but I don't know what that means as I'm watching a game.

Which is intuitively more meaningful, HOU is 25 DVOA percentage points better on offense or HOU's offense can be expected to be, on average, 6 pts/game better? (BTW: I'm aware that pts has the inherent prolem that not all points are scored by the offense - if I had some way to look at only points scored by the offense, the measure would be more accurate).

"There's a big difference between those two outcomes."
How, they both result in 6 points? There is a difference in the process.

"If you want to keep making these feel free."
Thanks. I guess at the end of the day, I'm trying to figure out what DVOA means in the real world.

by Jeff Fogle :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 7:07pm

DW, what about stepping back a step or two instead of diving in deeper? Is there a way to just cluster the offenses in rough terms of performance/capability...then live with the fact that it's probably impossible to pin things down to the nth degree beyond those clusters.

Something like:

Elite offenses:
About a field goal worse than elite:
About 6-7 points worse than elite:

Etc...same thing on defense. I've talked in other places about thinking in terms of clusters rather than totem poles. To me, we're at a point where it's becoming a matter of applying super-math to areas where the inputs aren't that super-accurate to begin with. It's not "garbage in-garbage out" so to speak. But, "stuff you can't really know to the nth degree in---variations of unlikely to be pristine totem poles out." Everybody has their own totem pole...but reality isn't a totem pole (similar to what we're seeing with the various rankings over in the college stuff with S+P, FEI, F+ and all the varying elements in the BCS process). Reality is stuff clustering.

In terms of speaking English with everyone, and having discussions in bars...this may be a good way to go...and everyone would be on the same page in the discussions. Back up a few steps and see if there are reasonable ways to cluster the teams in a way that is universally agreed on. Might be harder than it seems. I'm not going to have Kansas City as a top five offense, for example, given that they couldn't drive the field for points vs. SD, Cle, SF, and Indy (7-6-7-0 points on drives of 60+ yards). I know they're capable of exploding vs. soft defenses like Jax and Houston. If we can agree on clusters universally...then move forward. If not, then doing regressions and the like is just carving up mud...

My take anyway. Sometimes zooming the microscope lens in too far messes up the image...

by DeltaWhiskey :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 9:41am

Looking at the data I've generated, perhaps facilitating clustering is its greatest value. It suggests cleaner cut points.

Starting with WINs (I don't want to call them projected wins, estimated wins, etc. b/c DVOA isn't predictive in this manner, well it is, but not in a terribly useful way) there arguably a little clearer break between TEN and PHI. TEN's on field performance is consistent with team's that win 12 while PHI's play is consistent with a team's that win 11. This break point is not clearly obvious looking at TOTDVOA w/ TEN of DVOA 25.9% and PHI DVOA 25.0%. I'm not arguing this is the best way to cluster, but I think it demonstrates the utility of this kind stat that is not intuitively or visually obvious when looking at DVOA. I realize from a mathematical standpoint that the error involved means that these two teams could arguably be swapped, but for discussion of this week's snapshot I think there is utility.

Next, for OFF, I've gone ahead and rounded the numbers to whole numbers. Teams don't score fracttional points (thank God). Here's the table.

RNK TM y = 380.83x + 341.05
01 HOU 29
02 NE 28
03 IND 27
04 PHI 27
05 KC 26
06 GB 25
07 SD 25
08 ATL 25
09 NYJ 25
10 DAL 25
11 NYG 24
12 MIA 23
13 NO 23
14 BAL 23
15 PIT 23
16 CIN 22
17 DEN 22
18 TEN 21
19 WAS 21
20 BUF 21
21 DET 20
22 CLE 20
23 JAC 20
24 TB 20
25 SEA 19
26 OAK 19
27 SF 19
28 MIN 18
29 STL 18
30 CHI 14
31 ARI 13
32 CAR 12

Eyeballing doesn't give a clear cluster or break point; however, the mean is 22 w/ a standard deviation of 4.

So one breakdown could be (It should be noted that conversion to points is not required to make this breakdown, we could just take the mean and SD of DVOA scores):

Elite +2SD
Good +1 SD
AVG w/in +/-1SD
Bad -1 SD
Horrid -2 SD

So what that suggests is that no there are no "elite" offenses at present, although HOU is poised.

So the Good: HOU, NE, IND, PHI, KC
The Bad: MIN, STL
The Horrid: CHI, ARI, CAR

For defense, the mean is 22 with a SD of 3.

Elite: NYG, TEN
Good: PIT, SD, CHI
BAD: None
Horrid: DEN, HOU, JAC, BUF

Thoughts after looking at this:

"I wonder if CHI and HOU play each other, it could be bad, b/c it's always bad when matter and anti-matter meet."

by DMC :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 10:52am

While I don't like putting another calculation on top of DVOA for points or games, the grouping seems like an interesting addition that will avoid the constant posts over ranking when the DVOA differences are very small.

by DeltaWhiskey :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 11:38am

I'm not a big fan of the additional calculation, and calculating based on mean and SD of DVOA should not change the clusters. As I've said, I like speaking in terms of wins or points b/c it takes less thinking for me. I realize it's grayer, but I think in most discussions we have on this site, we don't require pinpoint precision; moreover, as you point out the very small differences in DVOA may be meaningless anyway, so I suspect the additional statistical dilution associated with converting to another metric may be nonsignificant as well - at least for our discussion.

Additionally, what I don't like is the difficulty we sometimes seem to have around here talking about percentages and percentage points (i.e. is the difference in team X's performance 5% better or 5% percentage points better?). Moreover, given that we don't exactly know how DVOA is created, we don't know if change in DVOA percentage is linear or curvilinear. We assume it to be linear.

by Jeff Fogle :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 11:54am

Thanks Delta! Like how those shake out.

Did a little more on Kansas City's offense. They got to face two of the dreadful defenses on your list, and really lit them up. They didn't impress vs. average and good as a composite.

Vs. Horrid: 6.6 yards-per-play, 56% on third downs, 59 points on drives of 60+
Vs. Others: 5.0 yards-per-play, 28% on third downs, 20 points on drives of 60+

That's 20 TOTAL points in four games combined on long drives...vs. 59 in two games vs. horrid.

Not trying to create any more math headaches (lol). I think further digging will probably find similar situations...where a certain style LIGHTS UP crappy defenses but struggles to drive the field for points vs. everyone else. Run heavy teams were like this in the past before short passes became extended handoffs in a modified running game. KC does pile up rushing yards in their wins. Another monkey wrench for the totem pole approach or clustering I guess.

One of the advantages of clustering from a handicapping point of view is that you can see how each offense or defense did against various clusters and try to draw better conclusions. To me, that helps with the points you were discussing earlier...making everything easier to understand and talk about with other football fans. "Elite" and "horrid" are universally understood in a way that 28% or -32.3% aren't. More informed discussions involving more people can't be a bad thing.

Thanks again for all the work and typing it up. Helped me see things I wasn't seeing before with several teams. At least for me, I think it's easier to absorb things in clusters like that than in one long line. I don't sweat the "average" teams and the ends of the spectrum really register before my brain says "enough already, time for a snack."

by DeltaWhiskey :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 12:28pm

No problem.

As I look at this, SD, and PHI appear to be the closest to fielding both a good a good OFF and DEF. Of course, we're all aware of PHI's relationship w/ DVOA, so never mind.

For you ST fans out there:

The Bad: IND, GB
The Horrid: NYG, SD

by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 12:26pm

I wish my brain was working better today, but I should've noted this elsewhere:

You might've noticed that your coefficients/offsets are really close for offensive/defensive DVOA. In fact, the coefficients are also really close to the offset (but both higher). Since DVOA originally gets (basically tuned) to point differential(-ish), the natural conversion is just

PTS/GAME = (344DVOA+344)/16.

The coefficients get boosted in your case because, as I mentioned, there's a decent correlation between offense/defense DVOA (presumedly due to the front office) and so the data points with strong defense tend to have strong offense, and so they allow better field position, fewer points allowed, etc. than you would expect if you're not doing a multiparameter regression (which would see the covariance between off/def DVOA). The offsets (which don't get affected by covariance), however, are absolutely spot on.

The special teams coefficients/etc. probably get washed completely (note the tiny Rsq) because their span's so much smaller than O/D. You'd probably want to calculate expected point differential from the 1D correlations and correlate that with ST DVOA, or just do the multiparameter regression.

But since DVOA is scaled to match points anyway... you'd just get back "multiple by 21.5 and add the average."

by Independent George :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 10:45am

Are there any other Giants fans completely horrified at their #1 DVOA (and #2 DAVE) ranking?

Watching the games, I feel like the Giants may in fact be the most talented & balanced team in the league (especially with Matt Dodge seeming to get over his rookie jitters), but also the most boneheaded. In every game, I feel like they can dominate every aspect of the game, but commit six turnovers and then lose on a completely preventable punt return, pick-6, or fumble.

The whole offense seems supremely talented, but wildly inconsistent. Eli will spend three quarters driving up an down the field, then fling it into triple coverage on 2rd and 2. Bradshaw & Jacobs are fantastic when they hold onto the ball. The WRs seem to regularly make the spectacular plays, but screw up the routine ones.The O-line used to be the most consistently great part of the team, but has gotten older and more injury-prone.

I watch every game with dread. I feel like they should beat every team they face, but am always convinced they will blow it somehow.

by Quincy :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 11:38am

That about sums it up for me too. During the entire second half of the Bears game I expected them to lose a game where they recorded 9 first-half sacks on a Hester punt return. I'd throw strip sacks into your list of concerns looming over every offensive series. There's at least one play every game where Diehl gets horribly beaten, the opponent's top pass rusher has a practically unabated path to Eli, and the best any Giant fan can hope for is that the ball will bounce to one of the other linemen.

Speaking purely from anecdotal evidence and fan anxiety I would think a bend-but-dont-break type of defense that forces the Giants into long drives would be the optimal strategy against their offense. They might gouge you for 9 plays but if you force a 10th the Giants will likely reward you with a play that essentially undoes everything they accomplished on the first 9. The ultimate example is of course the Tennessee game where they managed only 10 points without ever punting.

Of course, the Giants don't have a monopoly on the talented but self-destructive model. I'm sure Cowboys and especially Chargers fans can relate. The Giants are just having the most success with it this season.

by Toast Patterson (not verified) :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 11:39am

I feel pretty much the same way IG. I can't complain too much when they're tied for 1st in the NFC but the Giants have been maddening at times. Their inconsistency is epitomized by Eli more than any other player. He can read defenses and slice teams apart for long stretches and then make several bone-headed plays in a row. He's currently on pace for 32 touchdowns and 25 picks. He probably won't hit either number but the inconsistency is not likely to go away any time soon. This is who he is.

At least the G-persons look like they're going to keep things interesting into November and December this year, which is more than I expected a couple of weeks ago after the debacle against the Titans.

by royflip (not verified) :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 11:54am

You, like me, have been a Giants fan for too long. Even with 3 SB wins, we all seem to cover our eyes with each extra point, waiting for something to go wrong. I watch other teams just to make sure that it happens to everybody and it does; but it just seems like it is always us. It goes back to Herman Edwards running off with Pisarcik's handoff or Trey Junkin's bad snap. Take heart, I bet you were certain Norwood would make that field goal or that Jacobs would be stopped short on that 4th and 1, that Asante Samuel would grab that interception, that Eli would throw it over Plaxico's head in the end zone or Brady would hit Moss deep. It doesn't always happen. It just feels like it.
I see our 50 minutes are up. Please set up next week's appointment with the receptionist....

by Independent George :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 1:27pm

I'd almost forgotten about Trey Junkin. Poor guy - of all the people responsible for that collapse, I blame him the least. They never should have been in that position to begin with.

And yes, I was convinced Brady was going to hit Moss deep in triple coverage. I had absolute certainty that the DBs would close in and run right into each other, leaving Moss all alone.

On the bright side, it could be worse. We could be Jets fans.

by Bjorn Nittmo (not verified) :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 5:05pm

I forwarded this series of emails to my inner-circle Giants-fan brethren. You guys sum up the experience perfectly. I'd add only that once the shock of the SB win over the Patriots sunk in (around August of 2008), I realized we had a serious identity crisis on our hands, much as I imagine Red Sox fans had to face after their won their 2nd World Series in 4 years in 2007. What makes us Giants fans is KNOWING that whatever needs to go wrong will happen, at the hands of Pisarcik, Tito Wooten, Trey Junkin, or whichever Giant decides to step up to the responsibility. But here we faced not only an image-shattering miracle win (and play) for the ages, but also ther realization that the Giants are one of only 7 teams with 3+ Super Bowl wins, with two of them hugely dramatic upsets no less. We really had, and have, nothing to complain about for the next 20 years at least. (But don't worry, I was able to ignore that conclusion and snap back to form.)

by DGL :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 12:44pm

DVOA 27.9%, variance 22.2%. Yeah, that about sums it up.

by Dales :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 12:48pm

I've felt this way for years (and looking at the comments, we are not alone).

I remember in 2006, getting into debates on FO where I was saying the Giants were significantly more dangerous than DVOA was measuring-- that they had the talent and skill to beat any team no matter how good the other team played. Same in 2007, which played out at the end of the season.

And so on for each of the last few years.

The Colts game this year strikes me as an exception, but by and large over the past 5 years, I have felt that very few teams have beaten the Giants. They lose mostly due to their own foibles.

That does not make them better, and in some ways it makes them worse, than teams that have had similar DVOA ratings each year. However, they remain a very dangerous team.

by Mark S. (not verified) :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 12:14pm

Have to say I agree with this and all the other Giants fans' thoughts here. I think they have great talent, the team is extremely balanced and does everything on offense and defense well (some things very well), and I think Eli is a very good quarterback, but yeah I can't argue with any of that. Don't know if I felt this way going back decades though, but it sure seems like the story of the Giants *this* decade, going back to the Kerry Collins teams.

This year is particularly egregious (though last year was awful too), but it seems like I can NEVER trust the G-Men special teams. We have not had a placekicker I trusted to hit a 45-yarder since Brad Daluiso. Domenik Hixon is the only kick return playmaker I can remember since Dave Meggett. Punt coverage is always shaky, etc etc.

I am reasonably optimistic about this year because: I don't think Eli's INT rate can or will continue this year - only about half of them have been his fault (some of the tipped balls ARE 100% on his ledger, but most are not), Matt Dodge *might* be rounding into shape and Tynes looks pretty good since Sage started placeholding, and Bradshaw has had much better ball security since the TEN game, and Monday's fumble was pretty fluky. I'm suer I will be pacing through every game as alwayss though...

by DeltaWhiskey :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 12:30pm

As you can see from my above post, your fear of NYG ST is justified, they're horrid.

by ChaosOnion :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 5:08pm

I think SD has you beat for "most boneheaded."

by Jeff Fogle :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 10:59am

Wanted to provide an update on the Preseason projections vs. market prices. Compiled a list back then of main differences. Last year's struggled, but this year's look to be doing very well to this point in the season:

Baltimore Over 10 (5-2 so far, must finish 6-3)
Pittsburgh Over 8.5 (5-1 so far, in great shape)
Cincinnati Under 8.5 (2-4 so far, in very good shape)
Cleveland Under 5.5 (2-5 so far, on pace to win)
Houston Under 8.5 (4-2 so far, might be tight)
Kansas City Over 6.5 (4-2 so far, just 3-7 to win)
San Diego Under 10.5 (2-5 so far, only 9-0 beats it)
Denver Over 7 (2-5 so far, some work to do)
Oakland Under 6.5 (3-4 so far, too close to call)
Washington Over 7.5 (4-3 so far, but not sparkling)
Dallas Under 10.5 (1-5 so far, only 10-0 beats it)
Chicago Over 7.5 (4-3 so far, but trending poorly)
Detroit Under 5.5 (1-5 so far, in good shape)
Atlanta Over 9.5 (5-2 so far, projected to get there)
New Orleans Under 10.5 (4-3 so far, in good shape)
San Francisco Under 9 (1-6 so far, only 9-0 beats it)
St. Louis Over 4.5 (3-4 so far, rare pick in trouble)

Of 17 differences...three are basically already winners (SD, Dallas, and SF)pending perfect play from those teams from this point forward...and two of the teams are using backup QB's right now. Excellent start.

I think readers greatly appreciate how quickly you guys jump in to fix typo's or other inadvertent errors in the NFL pieces. I hope you'll consider doing the same with RW's college articles. Mistakes happen. Everyone gets that (and makes their own). It looks horrible to leave them up after readers keep pointing them out. The UCONN coach isn't the coach of Northwestern. Virginia Tech can't be in two places in a personal poll (just like Utah couldn't be a few weeks ago). Navy hasn't beaten Notre Dame three times in a row. It's been happening all year, and there's not even an acknowledgment over in those articles. Do you guys (Aaron and Bill) just never read the college stuff or the comments? Does RW not care? A bizarre half season to this point in that particular feature. Tempe isn't Tucson. Don't get me started! Please consider fixing those errors when they're pointed out, encouraging more proof-reading and editing, and PRIDE in one's work. Everything reflects on FO, not just the pro stuff.

Congrats on the multiple successful early season reads to this point in the NFL...

by Aaron Schatz :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 11:43am

Duly noted, and we'll try to make sure the college material is better edited in the future, with errors corrected.

by Dean :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 12:53pm

St Louis is in trouble? They're winning at a 43% clip and they have to be .250 on the season for the pick to be "wrong."

With their schedule, I'd put the current over/under at 8. 4.5 will be the easiest over they hit all year.

by Jeff Fogle :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 1:04pm

In the spirit of the later comments I decided to make a mistake that somebody could point out (lol). My bad. It was the last one on the list and I got it reversed in my head. The St. Louis pick is in great shape too. The edit feature is gone for me in that post...so everyone please imagine Dean's comments within those parenthesis.

PS: thanks to Aaron for his response

by vcn (not verified) :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 2:23pm

I don't think the problem with the RW articles is editing. They're thrown together from Googling and box scores as excuses to dabble in strained metaphor--accuracy or analysis would be beside the point.

Editing them--if it distracts at all from the many wonderful features on this website--would be a complete waste of time. Maybe make them Insider-only?

Reading this over, it sounds more trollish than I like being. It's a rant that I've been stopping myself from ranting for a long time.

by Anonymous Coward (not verified) :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 12:10pm

Can we get odds of the Rooney Mara bowl included on the playoff odds report?

by young curmudgeon :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 12:41pm

Rooney Mara. Mmmm... Makes you forget Catholic Match Girl!

by Jonadan :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 7:38pm

>Detroit Lions< is clearly ranked >too low< because >they didn't lose this week<. >Wild optimism based on no longer needing to take a paper bag to games< is way better than this. >Lionz gonna win the north!!<

by zlionsfan :: Wed, 10/27/2010 - 8:09pm

Yes, it is amazing how good a bad team looks now that it's simply a bad team. Watching two years of atrocious football makes me appreciate the current team so much more.

by Alternator :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 2:30am

If I was given decent odds, I might put a few bucks on that one.

Cutler goes down in a blaze of tacklers, Rodgers suffers the same fate, Favre insists on playing but sucks royally...then in come the 7-9 Lions, with some luck on their side, to win the division!

by The Hypno-Toad :: Fri, 10/29/2010 - 3:33pm

Not just luck, but maybe even some swagger and guts?

by cfn_ms :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 1:15am

Higher than I'd expect:

NYG #1 - 5-2, meh schedule, feels REALLY weird to see an NFC team at #1, far from dominating the point differential statistic
KC #4 - 4-2 against a meh schedule. Doesn't the AFC West suck? Dominated SF and Jax, barely held off Cleveland, 1-2 against SD/Hou/Ind. Is that really a top 5 team? Feels more like a #8 to a #12 team to me.
SD #8 - Here I think I get it, it's the special teams that are horrible, and DVOA doesn't really care about special teams, right? Obviously I disagree, but I completely accept that sometimes you just have to live with a team whose rating looks skewed if you've got a methodology and assumption set that work for everyone else.
SF #22 - Wait... why is this not one of the 3 worst teams in the NFL? (Car / Buf the others, maybe Jax in the mix). And did they really go up after losing to team #31? Schedule is just OK, they've gotten drilled a couple times... are they getting strongly rewarded for the close losses, or is there more to the story?

Lower than I'd expect:
NYJ #7 - Has their schedule eally been THAT bad? I can see docking them for the oddly close game against Denver, but this feels to me like a better team than they're getting credit for.
Bal #12 - I thought DVOA normally over-rated Baltimore b/c it didn't care about penalties? Again, feels weirdly low. 5-2 w/ slightly above-avg schedule, the main knock here is that they're not really dominating the low-level teams? On the other hand they're 2-1 in three road games against NYJ, Pitt, NE
Ari #32 - As before, dead last seems a bit much, though bottom 10 seems obvious, and bottom 5 at least arguable. Does DVOA care that they've had 2 home and 4 road games, or does it not matter since at season's end it'll even otut?

by Led :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 2:06am

For the Jets, it's not just schedule. I believe a big chunk of the difference between their VOA (highest in the league) and DVOA is fumble recoveries.

by outsidersisajoke (not verified) :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 1:55am

59-14 nuff said 26th ummm you guys stink as usual did your brilliant rankings predict that last week just like you predicted oakland to win 4 games this year, more of a joke every week.

by DGL :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 9:15am

Template error. Please repost.

by AudacityOfHoops :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 10:48am

Nobody predicted last week. Didn't Vegas have the Broncos as 7 point favorites?

by cfn_ms :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 11:54am

I think it went up to 9-pt favorites at some ponit, actually.

by EasyLikeSundayMorning (not verified) :: Thu, 10/28/2010 - 11:53am

The Vikings are #1 in Var. That must be comforting. Favre's Var on fidelity is similarly #1.