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Two NFC teams were hit hardest by injuries last year. One already set the AGL record in 2016, while the other has a coach with the worst AGL since 2002. Also: the Rams' incredible bill of health in L.A., and Tampa Bay's questionable injury reporting.

06 Nov 2012

Week 9 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

Week 9 was a good week to have a bye, apparently. The Denver Broncos still have yet to play a game with a DVOA rating below 0% this season, but a closer-than-expected matchup with Cincinnati (single-game rating: 13.4% DVOA) drops the Broncos down below San Francisco and New England, two teams that had last week off.

Below those top teams, we're finally seeing that big gap between the top nine teams and the rest of the league begin to close. Pittsburgh, not Miami, is now tenth after its improvement in recent weeks. The Saints and Bucs are also climbing in the ratings. But the big surprise is the other reason the gap between nine and ten is shrinking: Atlanta has been dropping. Their last three games qualify as three of their four worst of the year by DVOA, and they surprisingly get a -23.3% DVOA this week despite their slim 19-13 win over Dallas. I will fully admit that this seems like a bit of a weird result. The Falcons had more yards per play than Dallas (7.2 to 7.0) and a better third-down conversion rate (50 percent to 30 percent). They did recover their only fumble, but that's not a huge amount of fumble luck. It looks like the DVOA system doesn't like Atlanta's negative plays (eight, compared to just three for Dallas) and the fact that they were overly dependent on those third-down conversions because they couldn't stay on schedule on first and second down.

Since our system doesn't like Atlanta's performance in Week 9, the Falcons' overall rating drops from 21.1% to 13.2%. Our odds for them going undefeated actually drop from 2.0 percent to 1.1 percent even though Atlanta won another game. The Falcons are no longer in the top ten in all three phases of the game, with their defense and special teams now roughly league-average.

Atlanta has the lowest DVOA of any 8-0 team during the DVOA Era. In fact, even if we included both 8-0 and 7-1 teams, the 2012 Falcons come out ranked 40th out of 43 teams. (Teams that went on a bye after eight games are included in that count only once.) This doesn't mean Atlanta isn't a good team, but they certainly don't compare to juggernauts of recent years like the 2007 Patriots and 1998 Broncos. Here's a look at the ten lowest DVOA ratings for teams at 8-0 or 7-1:

Lowest DVOA Ratings for 7-1 or 8-0 Teams, 1991-2012
Team Year DVOA W-L Final W-L
MIN 2000 -7.6% 7-1 11-5
OAK 2000 9.1% 7-1 12-4
STL 2000 10.8% 7-1 10-6
ATL 2012 13.2% 8-0 --
GB 2007 13.9% 7-1 13-3
IND 2006 15.6% 8-0 12-4
GB 2002 18.9% 7-1 12-4
BUF 1991 19.0% 7-1 13-3
MIA 1999 20.5% 7-1 9-7
HOU 2012 20.7% 7-1 --

Yes, the three worst 7-1 teams we've ever tracked all came in the same season, 2000. That year was kind of like this year, with a lot of good teams starting the year with close losses and mediocre records. After Week 9 of that season, the DVOA top 10 (if FO had existed at the time) would have included two 4-4 teams and the 2-6 Patriots. Four teams started that season 7-1, and they were ranked first (Tennessee), 13th (St. Louis), 14th (Oakland), and 21st (Minnesota). By the way, eventual Super Bowl opponents Baltimore and New York were respectively 12th and 17th in DVOA after Week 9.

You may have noticed that another one of this year's top teams, Houston, is also on that list of good-but-not-great 7-1/8-0 teams. Our third seven-win team, Chicago, is about average historically for a team with their record, but of course they are quite imbalanced. They rank first in the league in defense and special teams, but 25th on offense. The Bears have moved up from the fifth-best defense in DVOA history to the fourth-best defense in DVOA history -- and remember, FO counts turnover returns based on what the average return does on similar interceptions (based on location and pass distance), not based on how long the actual return is. So in our stats, the Bears aren't getting as much credit for all those defensive touchdowns, and they still have a historically great defense. Ignore anyone who argues that the Bears are feasting on easy opponents, by the way. They've played a very easy schedule of opposing defenses, but an average schedule of opposing offenses.

The Bears are one of nine teams that are virtually assured of a playoff spot at the season's halfway point. The playoff race has really solidified remarkably early this season. In the current playoff odds, nine different teams are listed with over 90 percent odds for making the playoffs: Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, New England, New York Giants, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco. Two other teams, Green Bay and Seattle, have odds over 75 percent. If we were predicting the election, the second AFC wild card spot would be our only "toss-up state."

Is this a big change from previous seasons? Absolutely. I have saved each week's playoff odds tables since the beginning of the 2009 season. After Week 9 of 2011, only three teams had over 90 percent odds of making the playoffs. After Week 9 of 2010, same thing only three teams. After Week 9 of 2009, it was six teams. So nine teams at that level at midseason is a bit remarkable. Here's a look at the top ten teams based on postseason odds in each of those years, so you can see how much different the numbers are from the numbers this season. The teams marked in red ended up missing he playoffs despite high odds at midseason.

Top 10 Teams Most Likely to Make Playoffs
by Football Outsiders Odds after Week 9, 2009-2012
2009 2010 2011 2012
NO 99.8% NYG 94.9% SF 100.0% HOU 99.8%
MIN 99.7% ATL 91.6% GB 99.6% DEN 98.8%
IND 99.4% PIT 91.0% HOU 94.9% ATL 98.3%
DEN 94.7% GB 88.7% BAL 89.1% NE 97.2%
NE 94.1% NO 83.1% NYG 80.7% CHI 93.6%
DAL 91.0% PHI 82.6% DET 79.6% SF 93.2%
ARI 88.5% KC 78.8% CIN 73.5% NYG 91.8%
CIN 85.7% NE 78.8% NE 69.1% PIT 91.8%
PIT 85.1% BAL 76.0% ATL 68.5% BAL 90.7%
PHI 75.0% NYJ 74.6% PIT 67.2% GB 86.5%

Yes, the New York Giants at 6-2 and 30.9% DVOA had the highest chance to make the playoffs at the midpoint of 2010, then went 4-4 the rest of the way and lost the division to Philadelphia on tiebreakers. At some point we'll have to simulate playoff odds all the way back to 1991 to see if any other team had a bigger collapse based on midseason playoff odds. The 2009 Broncos are close.

One last note: We no longer have nine straight AFC teams at the bottom of the ratings! Philadelphia's continued follies have moved them down to 26th, breaking that string of AFC putrescence. Wait, aren't our numbers supposed to love the Eagles? Something must be broken.

* * * * *

All stats pages should now be updated (or, at least, will be in the next few minutes) including FO Premium stats.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through nine weeks of 2012, 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. WEIGHTED DVOA represents an attempt to figure out how a team is playing right now, as opposed to over the season as a whole, by making recent games more important than earlier games.

Because it is early in the season, opponent strength is at only 90 percent; it will increase 10 percent every week through Week 10. As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE.

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

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

1 SF 37.6% 2 36.7% 1 6-2 18.9% 4 -18.6% 4 0.1% 18
2 NE 35.4% 3 35.3% 2 5-3 31.4% 1 -0.6% 17 3.5% 8
3 DEN 33.0% 1 32.2% 4 5-3 19.0% 3 -12.0% 6 1.9% 15
4 GB 32.3% 6 32.4% 3 6-3 20.4% 2 -9.1% 7 2.8% 12
5 CHI 30.9% 5 30.6% 6 7-1 -13.9% 25 -36.5% 1 8.3% 1
6 SEA 29.3% 9 30.6% 5 5-4 5.5% 14 -20.9% 3 2.9% 10
7 NYG 27.5% 4 29.1% 7 6-3 17.8% 6 -7.6% 8 2.1% 14
8 HOU 20.7% 7 19.5% 8 7-1 8.8% 9 -21.0% 2 -9.1% 32
9 ATL 13.2% 8 12.4% 9 8-0 10.2% 8 -1.8% 16 1.2% 17
10 PIT 7.8% 12 9.8% 10 5-3 6.9% 10 1.8% 19 2.6% 13
11 DAL 7.3% 14 6.3% 11 3-5 6.5% 11 -4.6% 13 -3.8% 27
12 BAL 6.7% 11 5.0% 12 6-2 3.6% 16 4.4% 21 7.5% 3
13 TB 4.4% 16 3.9% 14 4-4 5.5% 13 -5.6% 10 -6.7% 30
14 MIA 3.4% 10 4.0% 13 4-4 -7.6% 22 -5.4% 11 5.6% 5
15 DET 1.9% 15 1.6% 16 4-4 18.4% 5 8.4% 24 -8.0% 31
16 MIN 1.4% 13 0.7% 17 5-4 -6.6% 21 -0.1% 18 7.9% 2
17 CAR 0.8% 21 1.7% 15 2-6 -1.7% 18 -6.1% 9 -3.6% 26
18 NO -6.8% 22 -6.3% 18 3-5 12.9% 7 21.0% 30 1.3% 16
19 NYJ -7.3% 18 -8.0% 20 3-5 -16.2% 27 -5.1% 12 3.9% 7
20 WAS -7.6% 17 -7.3% 19 3-6 5.8% 12 6.9% 22 -6.5% 29
21 STL -9.3% 23 -9.8% 21 3-5 -10.8% 23 -3.3% 15 -1.8% 21
22 ARI -11.3% 20 -12.0% 22 4-5 -21.3% 29 -12.8% 5 -2.8% 24
23 SD -13.0% 25 -13.0% 24 4-4 -13.6% 24 2.4% 20 3.0% 9
24 CIN -14.9% 26 -12.4% 23 3-5 -2.2% 19 15.5% 28 2.8% 11
25 BUF -15.4% 27 -13.3% 25 3-5 -0.4% 17 21.3% 31 6.3% 4
26 PHI -15.8% 19 -16.3% 26 3-5 -16.1% 26 -3.8% 14 -3.5% 25
27 IND -22.5% 29 -22.6% 28 5-3 4.3% 15 24.0% 32 -2.8% 23
28 OAK -22.8% 24 -22.0% 27 3-5 -5.5% 20 11.9% 25 -5.4% 28
29 CLE -24.6% 28 -24.1% 29 2-7 -22.0% 30 7.6% 23 5.0% 6
30 JAC -38.2% 30 -38.4% 30 1-7 -24.5% 31 12.7% 26 -1.0% 20
31 TEN -39.1% 31 -39.0% 31 3-6 -18.4% 28 18.2% 29 -2.5% 22
32 KC -44.7% 32 -44.5% 32 1-7 -29.7% 32 14.6% 27 -0.3% 19
  • NON-ADJUSTED TOTAL DVOA does not include the adjustments for opponent strength or the adjustments for weather and altitude in special teams, and only penalizes offenses for lost fumbles rather than all fumbles.
  • 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 SF 37.6% 6-2 35.2% 8.0 2 7.3% 7 7.8% 7 22.9% 32
2 NE 35.4% 5-3 37.7% 7.6 3 -1.7% 17 -2.3% 20 10.5% 17
3 DEN 33.0% 5-3 30.6% 8.1 1 2.4% 12 -17.2% 32 6.2% 7
4 GB 32.3% 6-3 24.1% 7.1 6 3.4% 10 3.7% 9 12.7% 25
5 CHI 30.9% 7-1 36.0% 7.5 4 -8.4% 30 14.2% 2 10.2% 16
6 SEA 29.3% 5-4 16.1% 7.2 5 10.7% 5 4.1% 8 5.3% 3
7 NYG 27.5% 6-3 25.1% 6.2 8 1.9% 13 1.0% 15 19.3% 30
8 HOU 20.7% 7-1 24.5% 6.4 7 -3.1% 18 -6.6% 24 14.2% 27
9 ATL 13.2% 8-0 23.3% 5.9 9 -7.8% 29 1.7% 14 11.6% 22
10 PIT 7.8% 5-3 13.4% 5.0 12 -5.9% 26 -12.6% 31 12.5% 24
11 DAL 7.3% 3-5 -5.4% 4.9 14 17.5% 1 -10.7% 30 8.1% 13
12 BAL 6.7% 6-2 11.4% 5.1 11 -7.7% 28 2.2% 11 16.8% 28
13 TB 4.4% 4-4 11.7% 4.7 15 -5.6% 24 1.9% 13 11.2% 21
14 MIA 3.4% 4-4 7.9% 5.3 10 -9.3% 31 3.7% 10 7.0% 11
15 DET 1.9% 4-4 1.2% 4.5 17 -0.4% 15 12.1% 4 5.5% 4
16 MIN 1.4% 5-4 5.3% 4.9 13 -5.1% 21 19.9% 1 6.5% 9
17 CAR 0.8% 2-6 -6.2% 4.6 16 12.3% 3 -6.6% 23 10.5% 18
18 NO -6.8% 3-5 -3.5% 3.8 19 -1.3% 16 10.1% 5 11.0% 20
19 NYJ -7.3% 3-5 -8.1% 3.8 18 8.8% 6 -7.7% 27 22.7% 31
20 WAS -7.6% 3-6 -3.9% 3.6 21 2.7% 11 -1.1% 18 8.2% 14
21 STL -9.3% 3-5 -14.4% 3.5 22 14.3% 2 9.5% 6 8.9% 15
22 ARI -11.3% 4-5 -17.2% 2.7 26 11.0% 4 13.7% 3 4.4% 2
23 SD -13.0% 4-4 1.7% 3.3 23 -17.1% 32 0.9% 16 7.1% 12
24 CIN -14.9% 3-5 -5.3% 3.1 25 -5.5% 23 -5.9% 22 11.0% 19
25 BUF -15.4% 3-5 -19.2% 3.8 20 -4.2% 19 -0.7% 17 17.6% 29
26 PHI -15.8% 3-5 -16.1% 3.1 24 1.8% 14 2.1% 12 6.1% 5
27 IND -22.5% 5-3 -15.5% 2.5 27 -5.1% 22 -7.3% 26 6.1% 6
28 OAK -22.8% 3-5 -15.0% 2.4 28 -4.3% 20 -7.9% 28 14.0% 26
29 CLE -24.6% 2-7 -9.4% 2.3 29 -6.2% 27 -2.7% 21 6.5% 10
30 JAC -38.2% 1-7 -38.8% 0.5 31 3.4% 9 -8.0% 29 3.3% 1
31 TEN -39.1% 3-6 -39.6% 0.7 30 5.2% 8 -7.1% 25 6.5% 8
32 KC -44.7% 1-7 -47.8% 0.4 32 -5.9% 25 -1.3% 19 12.0% 23

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 06 Nov 2012

150 comments, Last at 13 Nov 2012, 3:59am by Dragon Pi


by MyAnonymous (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 4:51pm

Shocks me that the Bears offense is so bad this year. Subjectively they look improved over past years. Brandon Marshall definitely makes a huge difference. See the 4th quarter against the Panthers for instance. Maybe it's because DVOA is built to reward teams that consistently gain yardage? The Bears have definitely been a boom and bust offense. But the bright side is that given how good their defense and special teams are, if they have an offense that can make plays at all they're really dangerous. We've seen some anemic Bears offenses make the Super Bowl and NFC Championship game over the past several years.

by kbukie :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 5:06pm

The Bears' offense has been terrible in the first quarter/half, and have played one of the easiest schedules vs defenses in the NFL. Those factors combine to produce not-so-good DVOA numbers.

by Jimmy :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 5:24pm

The Bears are pretty bad right up until the fourth really, they are better in the second and third than the first but the improvement is nothing to write home about. They really struggle with pass blocking at times and are constantly shooting themselves in the foot with procedure penalties. Combine this with some head scratching playcalling and substitutions at times (I know this is something that many fans complain about but some of it is odd) and you have the 2012 Bears offense. They don't deserve to be ranked any higher, if the opposing teams weren't constantly turning the ball over I suspect that the perception of the offense's play would be nearer to DVOA's opinion.

by tuluse :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 5:26pm

It's better by DVOA than any Bears offense since 2009.

by Charles Jake (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 6:03pm

To paraphrase the coach of another Chicago team, the Bears have more than enough to win with at the skill positions, especially when Alshon Jeffrey is healthy. They are being held back by the line and playcalling. If we never see another empty backfield again it will be too soon.

Emery has to upgrade the line and replace Knox's speed this offseason, regardless of how far the Bears go this year.

by Marko :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 8:28pm

I'm with you on the empty backfield thing. Why they went empty in the red zone while leading by 29 points is beyond me. Another formation I never want to see again is shotgun when Cutler is standing in the end zone. Unless it is the fourth quarter and you are in desperation mode, that is a recipe for disaster with this team. Which it was, as it predictably resulted in a safety thanks to a penalty on Webb.

by justanothersteve :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 10:58pm

As a Packers fan, I'd be thrilled if the Bears went empty backfield. Even if Forte was split out as a receiver. Between Forte and Michael Bush, the Bears should never line up with an empty backfield unless they're down a couple scores after the two minute warning.

by tuluse :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 3:54am

Not even then. This line is bad and it needs a back to clean help out.

by catfish44 (not verified) :: Thu, 11/08/2012 - 4:56am

bears are being held back by cutler as much as the offensive line. he is an average QB with a great arm. he is often inaccurate, holds the ball too long causing sacks, reluctant to throw the ball away, and makes poor decisions. in sum, on offense, only marshall and forte are above average.

by seadnak :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 4:51pm

I wonder what the Colts DVOA would look like if the Chicago game was excluded? Also a little confused why their weighted DVOA is lower (all be it only a small amount) - doesn't that discount the Bears game?

by seadnak :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 4:52pm

double post

by TristramShambler (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 5:04pm

The Colts also played the Jets recently. They were destroyed by a bad team. In particular, they allowed a bad offense to move up and down the field against them with ease. As a Colts fan, I can confirm that after that game I thought the Colts were truly terrible. Now, with the way their schedule shakes out and the fortune they've had to grab some close wins, they may still make the playoffs. But I've seen all their games and I must agree that they are a bad team.

by seadnak :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 5:12pm

I don't doubt they are a bad team getting just enough breaks to win close against other bad teams (packers aside) and can't really argue with overall ranking (and I'm a Colts fan too)...I'm more just wondered how much the Chicago beatdown is counting here

by Ben :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 5:22pm

I've been trying to figure out why DVOA hates the Colts defense this year. Now, they certainly aren't good by any stretch, and I wouldn't think anything of it if they were ranked in the mid-20's or so. But worse then Buffalo, New Orleans, and Tennessee? It seems like those teams are giving up 30+ points every week.

I'm assuming it has something to do with being shellacked by the Bears and Jets (25th and 27th offenses by DVOA) and the fact that they have only force 3 turnovers the whole season, but I'm still surprised they are at 32 defensively.

by turbohappy :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 6:02pm

Throughout most of the game, the Dolphins (22nd-ranked offense) were scoring at will. I have to agree with you though, New Orleans at the very least looks worse on TV ;o)

by Ben :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 6:11pm

Well, Miami scored on their first 3 drives, then only got a FG out of their last 7 drives.

I'm certainly not arguing that the Colts have anything resembling a good defense, I'm just surprised at seeing it last in the league.

Of course, the Packers are pretty much the only competent offense the Colts have played all season, so I suspect that also has something to do with it. We'll see how the defense holds up against the Patriots, Lions and 2x Texans...

by Ben :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 6:19pm

To follow up my own post, the Colts have played 5 of the bottom 8 offenses per DVOA and still has KC left on the schedule (as well as the Titans and Jags again) Against that schedule, they'd probably have to be allowing 3 PPG to rank as an average Defense.

by Bobman :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 1:45am

Okay, so how the heck are the Colts winning? It's not luck (with a small "L") because they've been heavily penalized and gotten very few fumbles/INTs. Special teams? Not so special (as usual). Their O is very much a work in progress. Both sides of the ball have had their share of injuries on a talent-thin team (This week, they'll sit their top two CBs, a pro bowl OLB/DE, their top RB, a starting TE, and this is a typical list of inactives). Their run game has only recently come alive (a relative term, which in the Hoosier State means more than 90 yards a game). Which leaves Andrew Luck. He passes the eyeball test as the main reason they are 5-3. When he smoothes out the ups and downs, and if he ever gets decent protection, and if the D ever figures out how to take the ball away, and next year's $43M in cap space gets well spent, they might do some real damage. Or they might just forget that this is a rebuilding year and, like the 95 Colts, decide to do it now.

I've lived through years of gaudy Colts DVOA, drive stats, etc, followed by premature playoff exits. This year, like 1995 and 2006, maybe a really flawed Colts team will make some noise in January. Extraordinarily unlikely. But so was 5-3 just ten weeks ago.

by RichardD (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 6:52pm

The Saints were at #32 on defense until last night's beatdown of the Eagles. First time I've ever felt pity for Mike Vick.

by ODBvernon :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 6:41pm

I think you're being a little harsh on the Colts. Are they a good team? By no means would I argue that, particularly on defense, they are a good team. Are they a truly bad team? I wouldn't say so. They outplayed the Dolphins, particularly in the 2nd half (both statistically and with the eyeball test). I would say the same is true for the Titans in regards to "winning" the second half and generally outplaying them. And the Browns game was probably a wash.

None of those teams are world-beaters, but I don't think the Colts' performance in those games was terrible either.

In general, the Colts strike me as a mediocre team with an offense that can put together great stretches and a defense that is decidedly shitty. My belief is that the Colts are going to be competitive the rest of the way, minus the two Texans games and likely the Patriots game (mostly because I can't imagine any rookie QB being too successful against a Belichick defense no matter how shitty).

And if I could find a sports book offering 4:1 (reflecting their 25% chances in the playoff odds) that the Colts don't make the playoffs, I would jump all over that given how weak the bottom of the AFC is.

by Insancipitory :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 7:05pm

"(mostly because I can't imagine any rookie QB being too successful against a Belichick defense no matter how shitty)"

[this is where pictures of Russell Wilson are posted]

I've really enjoyed my season tickets this year. Really really. XD

by Kal :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 12:03am

Yeah, the Pats defense is simply really bad. Every single QB that has gone up against the Pats so far has put up season-best stats for that QB. Mostly because every single QB can throw deep on the Pats since apparently the safeties and corners are horrible.

by Alternator :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 1:44am

The safeties are injured (though if you view health as a skill, it is one the safeties lack) and that's making the corners look worse. Arrington is good enough to cover most third receivers, and is solid in the slot; McCourty is really bad with his back to the QB, but pretty good in man and a decent enough replacement safety. They've also given time to three rookies in the backfield, and one of those three is really raw. I don't think there's a healthy, seasoned vet in the secondary.

It's a unit that, with health and experience, can easily go from atrocious to below-average by the end of the year, but it's not there yet. The front seven is extremely good against the run and not bad at generating pressure, but they aren't exceptional at it, and the coverage is so bad that it makes the pressure look worse.

I'd expect the Patriots to finish the year ranked in the low 20s (weighted) on pass defense, assuming health improves slightly.

by Bobman :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 1:48am

This is where Russell Wilson, with the polished timing of a sitcom veteran, makes his entrance on the profootballmock.com "QBs on Facebook" discussion. Followed by Aaron Rodgers having an aneurysm and threatening him.

by DREW BREES (not verified) :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 3:25am


by dbostedo :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 2:59pm

In case anyone hasn't seen the extreme amount of awesome that is "QBs on Facebook", you can find them all here :


These really should get their own XPs.

by Guest789 :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 8:05pm

Those have become one of my favourite things to read every week.


“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.”

by Tballgame (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 5:24pm

I'd add that the Colts' largest margin of victory in regulation is 3. The win against the Packers is nice, but since that game, they've been outscored by 20 in regulation facing the Jets, Dolphins, Browns, and Jags. The more recent games get weighted more significantly.

by Nevic (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 4:52pm

Ignore anyone who argues that the Bears are feasting on easy opponents, by the way.

The Bears have played the 30th ranked schedule so far. The finish with the second toughest, so I think we'll see who the Bears really are. Cue Denny Green, "They are who we thought they were!"

by Insancipitory :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 4:59pm

I would love to see all those penciled in wins against the NFC West. Well, ok, just one of them.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 5:09pm

I think they were specifically referring to opposing offenses, not teams overall. So that makes the performance of the Bears defense impressive, but the performance of the Bears offense head-scratchingly bad, since they've faced mostly lousy defenses.

by kbukie :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 5:10pm

The Bears' D has played an average schedule of offenses.

The Bears' O has played an easy schedule of defenses.

by Insancipitory :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 4:53pm

Jesus Jaguars, 30th out of 32 and with the least variance? Truly you are an insult to the concept of sports entertainment. I guess I'd spend my sundays wrestling alligators too.

by ericogg :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 4:57pm

I'm glad that GB's defensive DVOA rating has seemed to turn around. In my own advanced stat-rating system I've been trying to come up with a way to value meaningless touchdowns given up. Like DVOA, my system seemed to be under-rating the scoring defense of GB a bit and had them 20th in the league. Since the Houston game GB has only given up an average of 15.5 points a game. (Ignoring the blocked punt TD in Houston, and the Late TD with 20 seconds left on the clock in the game to put STL at 20 instead of 13.) Considering the meaningless Scores on GB's end too they're still at 31 points per game which is a net diff (against bad teams) of 15.5 points a game, which is definitely of value in Pythagorean wins.

Also, as a word of praise: I wait every Tuesday, refreshing this page multiple times waiting for last week's ratings to come out. Been following you guys since 2009 and absolutely love everything you guys do. Well done. I can't wait to see what other improvements you guys make over the years.

by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 5:04pm

Since the Houston game. So that would be the offensive juggernauts of St Louis, Jacksonville and Arizona... shocking.

Edit: I also spend spare moments on tuesday refreshing the FO front page while cursing Aaron for his imagined indolence, which is instantly forgiven when he loads up the figures.

by ericogg :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 5:24pm

I whole-heartily agree. It's not like GB is facing 30 point a game teams. But as the saying goes, good teams should poo on bad teams. If you're doing it by more than two TD's of meaningful scores, then both sides of the ball are doing well.

I just look at GB's Box scores this year, and wonder if their defense isn't better than most people realize:

22-30 GB-SF (No excuses there, they got physically abused)
23-10 GB-CHI (Bears scored their last TD with 6:54 left. They were down 3 scores, so tough to argue that it was a meaningful TD, but it was possible for a comeback)
12-14 GB-SEA (We all know what happened there)
28-27 GB-NO (Perhaps the only powerhouse offense GB has faced all year)
27-30 GB-IND (No clue how this happened, but I wouldn't call IND a power house)
42-24 GB-HOU (Powerful offense here. Block punt TD made it 24 points or else it COULD have been 17, lets chalk that up to a special teams issue, not defensive)
30-20 GB-STL (STL last TD with 22 seconds left on the clock)
24-15 GB-JAC (No issues here)
31-17 GB-ARI (No issues here)

For whatever the issue was really in the INDY game, it seems that is the only game in which the Packers' defense under performed to their mean. Take their lowest games given up and you have CHI, SEA, HOU, STL, JAC, ARI. Of those, really none of the offenses scare anyone really, but it's something to be said that they only averaged giving up 13.1 points per game that aren't garbage time. Although to be fair, when the defense has done poorly it's given up 30-27-30 respectively.

by Ender (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 11:03pm

What happened is the Packers went into half with a big lead and came out with an overly conservative game plan in the second half and Wayne came up with a few very good catches. Packers defense suffered from this a lot last year, they would get off to a huge lead and go into a conservative defensive game that got torched for big yards. The difference is this year they are dropping a lot of INT and last year they caught all of them. Obviously the pass rush is much improved this year too which is why the defense looks better overall.

by DisplacedPackerFan :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 11:47pm

That's not really it, Wayne catching anything thrown within 5 yards of him being the exception. The Packers didn't recover from the Benson injury (not that he was running all that well), so their same play calling didn't work, and the offensive line played like they did in first half of the Seahawks game so Rodgers was rushing passes, getting sacked and being forced to scramble. Indy got a few short fields (Int and missed FG). Crosby also missed a 51 and 52 yard FG attempts, he was 13 of 25 for his career going into the game on 50+ yard attempts, so you'd figure he should get one of those two.

To break it down by possessions.

Rodgers threw an interception on the first possession of the 2nd half, giving Indy a short field getting a TD with a 39 yard drive, and letting them cut the deficit.

Then the Packer's offensive line decided pass blocking wasn't needed and on the Packer's 2nd possession Rodger's rushed a pass that Jones couldn't catch, then he was sacked, then he was forced to scramble, so GB punts. Indy puts together a 38 yard drive and and hits a 50 yard field goal.

The Packer's try to play the same as they did in the first half, but as we've seen, while Cedric Benson is 0.0% DVOA type runner, Alex Green and James Stark this year are around -30% DVOA. So on the next possession with the same basic play calling Green gets 1, 1, and -4 yards. They ran 3 times on a 9 play drive, 41 yards with a missed 52 yard FG.

So again Indy has decent field position. A dubious PI call on Shields gives Indy 25 yards, and a few other short plays they had been making in the first half allow them to get a TD, a 58 yard drive on which they got 30 of it via penalties.

Then you get another -4 yard run from Green, a rushed pass from Rodgers that DJ Williams doesn't come up with, and a 3rd down sack, because again the o-line still wasn't blocking. So GB is punting from their 19, Masthay hits one of his poorer punts of the year (43 yards) and there is a 7 yard return, so Indy again takes over at essentially midfield. It doesn't hurt too much because GB gets an INT a few plays later.

Rodger's has a big scramble (early pressure made him take off), then he gets sacked, this one was more of a coverage sack, another incomplete to a back up TE because the wide outs couldn't get uncovered, then pressure makes him scramble again on 3rd and long.

Reggie Wayne makes a great catch for a big chunk of yards, Shields gives them 15 yards with a face mask penalty, Woodson blows his coverage and gives up 26 yards, defense holds them to a field goal, but now Indy has the lead.

Rodgers hits Jones in the flat who turns it into a big gain, 24 yards. Alex Green actually runs OK on first and 10, getting 5 yards, then Rodgers is sacked on 2nd and 3rd down, punt.

GB D forces a 3 and out.

Green gets his best run of his career, the 41 yarder (so if you are keeping track those last two runs got him 46 of his 63 yards, so he managed 17 yards on his other 9 carries). Rodgers hits Jones for a TD to get the lead back.

Then Reggie Wayne happened, catching 15 (on 3rd and 9), 12, 15 (on 3rd and 12), 18, and 4 (TD) yards. Some of those receptions were against tight coverage. It was just one of those things that happens every now and then. He wasn't just burning one defender either, Woodson, Williams, and Burnett all had coverage on him at various points. But Wayne got 64 yards of an 81 yard drive.

Rodgers, with 35 seconds left on the clock, completes passes of 7, 26, and 14 yards. Then there is an issue with clock management, Rodgers got a spike but GB didn't run another play and takes their last TO with 8 seconds left and they miss a 51 yard FG. Game over.

by ericogg :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 11:53am

This is actually the McCarthy conundrum as I call it. It doesn't matter how big of a lead the Packers have, he thinks he can immediately go conservative and keep the game well within the bounds of winning. This goes back to a game in Chicago on Sunday night about 4 years ago (it was either 2008 or 2009). Most of this stuff happens on defense, but I truly believe it's a product of the offense. I don't know that it's as bad as "Marty-ball" but considering the weapons the Packers have on offense it might be.

Over the past 3 years we've seen how well Aaron Rodgers can manage getting first downs. While the Packers may not have a running game, the 3 step drop quick slant is a staple to success of this offense. This year the slant has basically dropped from the offense. In past years McCarthy has become content with the lead and forgot that they have the most accurate passer in the game (based purely off of TD/INT and completion percentage numbers). The point is, McCarthy should trust Aaron on a 3rd and 5 to complete a quick slant and continue to run out clocks rather than giving it up to a dismal backfield and poor run blocking to obtain the 1st down.

As a fan, and owner, I'm not expecting TD's when we're up big. But I believe at minimum you should attempt to go for first downs. This also plays largely into defensive fatigue. Say you run the ball 3 straight times, that's 2 minutes off of the clock (without timeouts). Then you punt. That means that the defense is on the field for 9 minutes of the 4th quarter (average of 12 possessions per game, or 3 per team per quarter, 15 minutes - 6 minutes of killing clock). When this happens there is bound to be blown coverage.

One thing I can say about McCarthy is that he's one of the best QB coaches out there (look at the pedigree of QB's that has come from his group). His offensive play calling is above average, perhaps great. But his clock management and "playing to win the game" skill has to be sub-par.

by PackersRS (not verified) :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 1:14pm

He is a Marty disciple.

by ericogg :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 5:04pm


Have you all looked at the potential for redefining successful plays as the game goes on? I would love to see some situational analysis of how well teams perform when they're up big, up a little, down big, down a little and see if there is a way to re-define successful plays. Perhaps analyzing teams that are down one score, or two scores, with X amount of time to go, and end up with a win would help define the appropriate yards/down to define success or not.

I think this would be quite interesting when evaluating half-time bets, or fourth quarter bets with different coaches/QB's/teams.

by In_Belichick_We... :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 5:19pm

An interesting point.
A 7 yard run on 1st down with 3 minutes left in the game is a very successful play if you're up by 3 but not if you're down by 17.
Does DVOA take these types of situations into account?

by ericogg :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 5:28pm

Exactly my point. Some teams, when up 2 TD's are content with going 3 and out to kill time, but I wonder if there is a better way to evaluate these performances or if these performances are negated in terms of DVOA. For example, if someone has a first half DVOA of +100% (SD Chargers at Denver I think?) but then a second half DVOA of -100% it averages out to 0%. But I wonder if there is particular weight that can be applied to the whole game to determine a better DVOA rating for games based off of holding the lead, re-gaining the lead.

by In_Belichick_We... :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 5:02pm

"our system doesn't like Atlanta's performance"

Old news. The Falcon's fans have been telling you this for years.

Entitled freeloader

by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 5:07pm

I don't like them either, I can't put my finger on a cause but I find them a bit meretricious. I do find it amusing that Matt Ryan hasn't twigged that if you call an audible and don't bother to tell the running back then it's pretty obvious that you've just called a pass (I spotted this three times in their last game).

by BigCheese :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 6:33pm

But dn't you need to tell the RB his blocking responsabilities and/or pass route? How is that even working? What are the RBs doing in those plays?

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 7:07pm

If he was just changing some routes then he wouldn't need to speak to the runner, apart from to avoid tipping his play, the responsibility of the runner wouldn't change. When he included the backs it was a run.

Not a huge sample size and so I'm not certain but if I was a Falcon's coach I'd be telling him to ensure he includes all of his weapons just so he isn't giving the type of play away.

by Peregrine :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 5:44pm

I don't think the DVOA system likes Dunta Robinson that much, but then I don't either.

Looking at the weekly rankings (not %s), the Atlanta defense dropped from #10 to #16, with pass defense falling from #3 to #8 and run defense rising from #28 to #25. And special teams fell from #10 to #17. Offense fell from #8 to #9, probably because of the rush ranking going from #28 to #30(and yes there were too many negative rushes). Pass climbed #6 to #5.

But primarily it seems DVOA dropped because of pass defense and special teams. I was surprised to see Romo at #2 in the Quick Reads, because I don't recall him causing me all kinds of pain on Sunday night, and I wonder how much it helped his stats to go 4/4 for 59 yards and two first downs on that final (nearly) meaningless drive. But two missed field goals didn't help matters either.

Shrug. It will all come out in the wash. I'm not very worried about the run defense, because we have gotten Corey Peters back (our best run stuffing DT) and the coaches are pounding on the fundamentals. But that rush offense ranking is a serious problem... there's not enough power in our OL and Turner doesn't have the burst. You know what, I'd trade him for Doug Martin, straight up.

by dryheat :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 2:33pm

So would every GM in the league.

by ammek :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 5:08pm

The other unusual thing about the putative playoff teams of 2012 is that three-quarters of them were also playoff teams in 2011. We haven't seen that kind of continuity since the 1970s. The closest to a surprise is probably whoever wins the sixth AFC wildcard, although if it's Indianapolis it will give us the familiar postseason lineup of 'Pats, Colts, Steelers and Ravens, plus two'.

Such stagnancy is likely to lead to a lot of head coaching changes among the have-nots.

by JIPanick :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 5:31pm

Even if they miss, we'll still have 'Pats, Peyton, Steelers, and Ravens, plus two' which sounds like business as usual to me.

by RickD :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 6:22pm

For the purpose of continuity with last season, you can include the Broncos as the Broncos. Though I do understand the feeling that the 2012 Broncos are more like the 2009 Colts than the 2011 Broncos.

by Bobman :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 1:55am

Yeah, but say five-six years ago, in the days of FO's "NFL rock-paper-scissors analysis," it was Colts-Pats-Broncos fighting for top dog status, with the Ravens/Steelers beating each other up a lot and making some noise. TItans/Jags had some playoff appearances back then, but, uh, I won't mention that.

by The Hypno-Toad :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 5:36am

I was telling my wife and my dad about that old storyline, and how much I wish the Broncos had remained good enough to maintain that analysis and then added Manning. I, for one am very curious as to how a pair of scissors made of rock would fare against paper... Or perhaps how paper scissors would fare against a rock... I was never sure who of the Broncos, Colts and Pats was Rock, Paper or Scissors.

by dryheat :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 2:35pm

And who is Spock?

by Marko :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 4:28pm

Don't forget Lizard.

by Rikki (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 5:16pm

We're on a fast track to a complete narrative fest, a Packers at Falcons divisional matchup.

by Joe C (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 5:22pm

Well if the NFC playoffs began today, we'd have two great games IMO, Packers at Giants and Seahawks at 49ers....The NFC playoffs are going to be a dogfight.

by Insancipitory :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 6:03pm

Can we send the Seahawks to New York instead?

by Marko :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 8:37pm

Which makes it ironic that the playoffs likely won't involve the Eagles.

by Zieg (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 9:40pm

too soon!

by evenchunkiermonkey :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 11:14am

Or not soon enough.
How has that phrase not accidentally slipped out of an announcers mouth during an Eagles game?

by Anonymouse (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 5:33pm

I do not mean to pester, but when are the Week 10 DVOA Ratings expected to be released?

by ericogg :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 5:34pm

After week 10 gets played when they can analyze the games?

by Brent :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 5:54pm

I thought DVOA was supposed to be *predictive*. Not very predictive to wait until after the games are played to release the ratings. C'mon guys.

by ericogg :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 12:00pm

DVOA is predictive. If you have a DVOA team of 10 and a DVOA team of -10, it's likely that the DVOA team of 10 is going to win. The week 9 DVOA set helps predict the value going in to week 10. Week 10 for week 11. Etc.

The DVOA ratings are UPDATED at the end of each week based off of the previous week's performance. This effectively normalizes all the games that the teams have played up to this point to one DVOA value. Due to standard variability, and some team's extravagant inconsistency there is always a chance the higher DVOA team loses.

Premium subscribers can see how the DVOA affects value in the Vegas point spreads as well, just as it does in various line-makers polls as well. Remember, the whole point of this is to value teams simply on a statistical measure (to take the human factor out of it). Whereas Vegas plays simply on the idea that human nature is to play money on one side.

by Anonymouse (not verified) :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 1:11pm

Thank you so much, man. I got it covered now.

by Brent :: Thu, 11/08/2012 - 2:20pm

I think you missed my sarcasm... :/

by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 5:48pm

Shocked that Tampa's defensive DVOA is better than average, considering they give up about 5,000 passing yards a game. Hooray for good run defense and timely interceptions, I guess.

by Zieg (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 9:46pm

Yeah. That surprised me too. I think we're getting credit for stopping the running of a good running team. Or maybe just for people not running against us. The end of the Oakland game (well almost the end) definitely didn't feel like a good defense as we watched our lead crumble. Though it occured to me that the kind of drives Martin was giving us (1 play, 70yds, TD, :20) were probably less rest for the defense than a 3 and out would have been which may have been a factor.

by DisplacedPackerFan :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 5:53pm

I'm so spoiled. It just doesn't feel like the Packers have the #2 offense in the NFL this year. It's a good offense, but after last year I guess everything will feel that way. It just feels more like the 09 offense which was 5th or 6th in the league to me. Of course things have been getting better, they just had the off games earlier in the season as opposed to mid season or end of season.

I'm still surprised the special teams are holding up, the injuries all over the place I figured would have hurt them more. Speaking of injuries, I know we don't have all the data and that generally it's felt they are random, but with how things have gone for the Packers the last few years it just makes me wonder.

Of course some of the injuries aren't as big as they may seam. I'm going to look at defense here.

*Desmond Bishop, ILB (season) - Slightly above average starting ILB, so his replacement of DJ Smith wasn't a big drop off.
*DJ Smith, ILB (out for season starting during week 6 game) - See the Desmond Bishop, the player he replaced. He was replaced by Brad Jones, who was a former starting OLB but appears to be better inside. The real issue now is that even though at best the ILB's are above average, the depth is gone now.
*Charles Woodson, S/CB (6-8 weeks starting week 7) - The Packers had a replacement plan in place for him, they just weren't expecting to have to use it this year. His on the field leadership has already been missed a few times. His coverage and play making ability has been adequately replaced, though it's taken multiple players in the various sub packages (Hayward in slot in nickle, McMillian in the other slot in dime, McMillian and MD Jennings at S in base and quarter) to do so.
*Davon House, CB (preseason through week 6) - He's back now, playing with a shoulder harness, the biggest impact was that his and Shields preseason/early season injuries had Jarret Bush starting vs San Fran in game one, though they still wouldn't have won that game. He's playing dime and nickle now, when he may have been a day one starter, but that's alright.
*Sam Shields, CB (3-4 weeks starting during week 6 game) - He was injured early preseason which buried him on the depth chart, was playing solidly till he went down. See Woodson/House talk. Accelerated plan, put Casey Hayward on field more.
*Nick Perry, OLB (3-4 weeks starting during week 6 game) - He was given the job opposite Matthews, and he was playing at an NFL starting OLB level. Though after week 3 he was coming off the field more for Eric Walden (who was suspended for week 1). So Walden a former starter is playing more, and another rookie Dezman Moses is getting more snaps.
*Jerel Worthy, DE (2-3 weeks starting during week 7 game) - Rookie was making an impact, and with Mike Neal suspended for the first 4 games added extra depth.
*BJ Raji, NT - It actually allowed Ryan Pickett to play more NT instead of DE, Pickett is better at nose. What it mostly hurt was the heavy packages that are fairly good against the run and was part of the reason why Indy came back (they could run pretty easily against GB after Raji went down).
*Clay Matthews, OLB - This bothers me, it's the third year in his 4 year career that he has injured this hamstring. It comes before the bye so he might not miss any games, but if he does, hopefully Perry is back and we'll really see if we have another pass rusher, or if the pressure that has been decent from the other positions is because of the double teams he still regularly gets. I'm also curious as to what will happen with the run game since he has been very solid in that this year.

There hasn't been a single level of the defense that hasn't lost a starter for at least a few games, and every level has been without two starters for at least one game as well. I'm really glad Thompson spent his first 6 picks on defense and found another undrafted rookie (Moses) to help. I'm also glad that while Mike Neal keeps getting hurt, he keeps coming back fairly quick. He hasn't lived up to the 2nd round pick due to past injuries but he's not Justin Harrell at least.

The offensive injuries have also been to the deepest group, the receivers, and it's been noticeable, but like with Woodson on defense, there was a succession plan for Driver and one of Jennings/Nelson/Jones in place (contracts are expiring, Jennings end of year, Nelson 2014, Jones 2014), it just had to be used early. So while Jennings and Nelson are both very talented players, they were at a position where the team had more talent than what they could get on the field. Though honestly if you really look at it, Jennings last really good game was back in week 7 of last year, he's been pretty pedestrian since then, well no he was great in the week 12 Detroit game, but he's declined without folks noticing.

Finley has been playing hurt but his drops had mostly phased him out. Crabtree missed a few games from injuries but he is mostly a blocker, despite the big plays this year. Kuhn is missed in short yardage, and he was used more like an H-back or 2nd TE for other teams. Limits options but not huge.

The thin unit, the offensive line, has also been the bad unit, and the healthy unit, until now. The Bulaga injury worries me, still haven't heard for sure, but he might be out 4+ weeks. TJ Lang is a serviceable right tackle, and Dietrich-Smith is a serviceable guard, so they can survive, but I don't think Sherrod is coming back this year, so another injury before Bulaga is back could be a huge disaster.

by Paul M (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 6:00pm

Bulaga's injury could be season-ending. Not much out of McCarthy other than it isn't typical. Perry is getting a second opinion on his knee, which can't be good. Very little on Shields-- with House and Hayward playing relatively well, they aren't rushing him back, though next two games are Stafford and Eli on road and Shields would come in handy.

I think Matthews will sit the Detroit game out, and if they win it, maybe sit out the Giants game as well. They want him 100% late.

by RickD :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 6:26pm

Randall Cobb is da bomb. He seems to be getting yardage every time I blink.

And this has forced me to stop making jokes about his appearances in Raising Arizona and Fletch Lives.

by ericogg :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 12:15pm

All good points. Two points I'd like to rebuttal a bit thought.

Desmond Bishop (without looking at numbers) is an extremely valuable piece. In 2010 when Barnett went out, Desmond Bishop stepped up and played a vital role in the Superbowl run. Hence the reason Barnett is gone and Bishop got the contract.

I think that Desmond Bishop to DJ Smith is a significant drop off. I'll have to look at DVOA ratings (if they have them out) to look at the drop off in terms of performance, but it seemed to me watching the GB games in replay that Desmond has a much earlier decision point in getting to the right gaps to stop the play.

Pickett, to me, is better at the end, as long as Raji is in. The way I look at it is this. In 2010, when Pickett played DE, the defensive main 3 (Jenkins, Raji and Pickett) had 14.5 sacks. The year prior, when Pickett was NT and Raji DT, the line (same make-up, but with Johnny Jolly as a rotation guy) they had 8.5. Now who is to say where that comes from since there are so many variables, but the one thing you can say is that statistically the numbers were better with Pickett at DE. In 2011, when Cullen was lost, they went back down to 6.5 sacks, but that was with Jarius Wynn at DE with Pickett.

by PackersRS (not verified) :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 1:17pm

"Now who is to say where that comes from since there are so many variables"

I am. Cullen Jenkins. I didn't think it was in doubt.

by NYMike :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 4:36pm

One big reason the Packer offense doesn't look that good is they've played five of the top seven defenses. Denver is six, and well, Green Bay is seven, but they've played everyone else. (Yes, I know that is "all five of the top defenses," but it's funnier to say it this way.) They've also played number 15, and three poor defenses.

Last week, when I got to watch, they looked pretty off except the second quarter. But they put up 31 points against the number 5 defense.

by Paul M (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 5:54pm

I believe the Falcons play only one team they may be fighting for best record in the NFC, which is the Giants. In the Georgia Dome. So barring a 2nd half collapse, they should be either the #1 or #2 seed. The Packers have already squandered a tiebreaker game at home vs. SF and trail them by a game, so it is unlikely that they can beat out the 49ers for the other top seed. But they did beat the Bears, have defeated them 5 games in a row, and have at least a decent chance of winning the division and also besting the Giants in seeding should they win in three weeks at Met Life.

So if we assume one of the two following combos:

1. Atlanta 2. Chicago 3. SF 4. New York 5. GB 6. Seattle/Detroit/???


1. Atlanta 2. SF 3. GB 4. New York 5. Chicago 6. Seattle/Detroit/???

We get either a GB at NYG first round game (the third at that venue and fourth overall in two years) and perhaps a Seattle-SF rematch; or a Bears at Giants and Seattle-GB game played at a different stadium with different referees. The Falcons meanwhile must be praying that either the 6 seed wins or the Packers end up as a 3 seed to avoid the dreaded GB appearance in the Georgia Dome.

by RickD :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 6:28pm

Whoa! Half the games (roughly) have yet to be played!

And the Falcons can pray as much as they want, but there's no easy path to the Super Bowl. They are ripe for a first-round upset. (But if we keep saying that, it might be enough 'bulletin board material' for them to win a game or two.)

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 6:31pm

While as a Lions fan I appreciate Detroit being in the discussion as a #6 seed, their remaining schedule is absolutely brutal. Finishing 8-8 would be an accomplishment. More likely it will be Seattle and Tampa fighting it out for the 6th seed. I can't imagine Minnesota is going to seriously threaten despite their fast start (still 4 games left against the Bears and Packers!).

by Insancipitory :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 6:38pm

Buccs have to play the Falcons 2x and the Seahawks have 10 am games in Chicago and Miami, as well as hosting a pretty formitable 9ers. It feels like the Seahawks would have to hit 11-5 to get a wildcard.

by Zieg (not verified) :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 8:23am

Bucs also have to play a game at Denver. And I'm not sure why but I'm still waiting for this offense to come back down to Earth. Maybe its just that I've never seen Tampa have an offense this explosive in the entire time I've been watching football. Even their superbowl year if they scored 30 it generally meant at least two int return TDs. So lets not start buying our playoff tickets just yet.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 10:23am

OC Mike Sullivan appears to have figured out that Freeman is not and never will be a dink-and-dunk short passing game QB; for a few games early in the year, it looked like he was trying to West Coast-ify the offense, which confused the hell out of me. He and Freeman look like they're on the same page now and have realized that when you have a QB who throws a good deep ball plus two big WRs who are good at adjusting in the air, throw the damn ball deep down the sideline. That's pushed back the safeties, which has helped lead to the rise of Almighty Muscle Hamster Doug Martin tearing through the middle. I think the offense is legitimately good as long as the o-line continues to perform at least decently; Freeman's big problem IMO is when he gets pressure in his face, he steps back and throws off that back foot, and, then I scream at my TV "NOOOOO DON'T THROW THAT" a second before the ball is actually intercepted.

Denver will be tough, but I figure this team is good enough to threaten Atlanta, mainly because the Falcons always seem just barely good enough to win, and that can't last forever. Barring significant changes, the last playoff spot would seem to be Seattle or Tampa, really, mainly because there appear to be five solid playoff teams and then the "I guess somebody has to go" candidate.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 7:04pm

Well I guess the main teams in contention for the six seed all have tough schedules, so 9-7 could potentially make it. But the Lions have two games against the Packers, and host the Texans, Falcons, and Bears. If they lose to Minnesota next week (thereby being swept by them), you can cross them off the list.

It's striking what huge dropoff there could be from the 5th seed to the 6th seed.

by GroshKar (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 7:12pm

All I have to say about a SEA at GB Wild Card game is that Russel Wilson wants the ball and he's going to score!

by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 7:14pm

Tampa should be in the discussion, they seem to be improving and have two shots remaining at the Falcons.

by BJR :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 1:18pm

I'm not really sure why you would dismiss Dallas when they are grading out very solidly in DVOA (ahead of Detroit and Tampa).

I know its amusing and trendy to bash the Cowboys, but they are obviously a better team than their record. They have played the toughest part of their schedule, and have some very winnable looking games left (5 out of 8 of which are at home). They could yet make the Giants nervous if they don't snap out of the offensive funk they have been in the past couple of weeks.

by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 1:37pm

I thought about mentioning Dallas but didn't for two reasons. Firstly, the initial discussion was about playoff seeding as well as who takes the last wildcard birth and with Tampa playing two games against Atlanta, the putative no 1 seed, the improving Bucs could have quite a role in the overall seeding.

The second reason is quite simple, the Cowboys have lost five games. In a dogfight with the Lions, Vikings and Bucs who each have four losses it becomes much harder for Dallas to get to the playoffs. I think the Cowboys might be more likely to make the playoffs by climbing over the Giants than getting a wild card, though of course caveats should be liberally applied as there is still half a season to come. Dallas could well be that unfortunate team who suffered some bad luck and just didn't manage to overcome it, though decent offensive guards would help.

by Jim W. (not verified) :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 3:20pm

Dallas has the head to head tiebreaker over Tampa Bay. Seattle is their biggest problem as they own the head to head tiebreaker over them. At any rate it's going to be tough sledding for Dallas to make the playoffs.

by Joseph :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 1:28pm

This is a reply to Karl, and several other posts above him in this same thread.

This is the same reason that I said on Advanced NFL stats that the Saints should be in the discussion of teams that get that 6th seed--they still have two shots at the Falcons, and already beat TB once (although they lost to CAR in CAR). I don't think they'll get it (I'd bet SEA if I had to put $ down), simply because besides the 4 div games they still have SF & NYG, plus DAL & OAK. Even if they win 3 of the 4 div games (splitting with ATL), they need to beat both DAL & OAK and hopefully split with NYG & SF to get to 9-7. I don't see 9-7 making the playoffs in the NFC. However, I do see the 2nd NOR/TB game determining 2nd place in the NFCS.
[In my dreams scenario--NOR knocks off ATL in the Dome to get some more swagger, then takes care of business in OAK to get them to 5-5. That gets them the momentum to get two out of the 3 difficult games (2nd ATL, NYG, SF) and get them to 10-6, which might be enough to get them into the last playoff spot on tiebreakers. At that point, they prob. have a rematch with NYG, SF, or GB, and if they actually make it this far, a rematch in (prob. #1 seed) ATL. To me, making the playoffs is gravy--winning a game (or more??!!!) would be miraculous.]

by PackersRS (not verified) :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 1:25pm

As a GB fan, I'd rather play at Atlanta than anywhere else. Even Lambeau. Ford Field comes second.

The finesse offense is much, much better indoors. And let's face it, GB goes as far as Rodgers takes them. The D is much improved, but they're not going to win a 14-10 game against SF or NYG.

The key, to me, to the Packers' playoff success (yeah yeah midseason screw you), other than key injuries, is Benson (who is injuried). They need to be able to at least use playaction, and Benson gives them that.

I'm not worried about Chicago. They have Cutler. There's just something about him throwing multiple picks every single time he faces the Packers that soothes my nerves.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 6:07pm

I find it amusing that Detroit's defense basically shut out Jacksonville in the meaningful part of the game, only giving up 14 points in garbage time, yet dropped 6 spots in the defensive rankings. It's amusing in that that's how amazingly bad the Jags offense is...with opponent adjustments, the opposing defense sullies itself simply by being on the same field.

by Perfundle :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 6:15pm

Did you misread a line? Detroit was 23rd last week and 24th this week.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 6:28pm

I could have sworn they were 18th, but maybe that was after week 7 instead of week 8.

by Perfundle :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 6:53pm

Yep, looks like it. So Detroit actually dropped because the erstwhile bad Seattle offense did very well against them (similarly, their offensive rating went up that week because they did very well against a strong Seattle defense).

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 7:00pm

You're right, but I still think it's funny to drop a rank after a good performance against a terrible opponent. The Lions offense seems to be hitting it's stride, but that MASH unit they call a secondary is making me cringe thinking about upcoming games against the Packers, Texans, and Andrew Luck.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 7:13pm

I think the Vikings passing offense is in full collapse mode, where 9 games are on tape, and opposing d-coordinators render them helpless. Absent an off the charts performance by the Vikings pass rushers, I don't see how the Vikings score enough to win.

by Insancipitory :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 7:21pm

Violent run blocking and running the wishbone?

by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 9:19pm

I swear, if they are going to throw for less than a hundred a game, they may as well just play Joe Webb at qb, with three tackles on the line of scrimmage.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 7:27pm

"Absent an off the charts performance by the Vikings pass rushers"

This and AP are what scare me the most. Jeff Backus is a solid tackle, but Jared Allen gives him fits. He almost single-handedly won both games last year, and was at least one of the reasons the Lions offense couldn't get untracked in week 4.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 9:25pm

I love me some Jared Allen. They might lose the next seven (no hyperbole), but he'll be workin' his ass off in the fourth quarter of that seventh game, and not just to pad sack totals; he'll be playing the run honestly, too. Chris Doleman is in the HOF, but Allen's a better player, no matter what the sack numbers say, or what is said 20 years from now.

by justanothersteve :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 10:52pm

Jerod Allen gives most LTs fits. Problem for the Lions is several RDE's give him fits.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 7:41am

Not true. Backus is having a solid year in pass protection, and an above-average career overall. He's faced pretty decent schedule of pass-rushers and has held up fairly well. The Lions have been top 10 in adjusted sack rate for the last 3 years.

Backus tends to draw the ire of Lions fans because A)the few times he gets beat, it tends to be spectacularly bad (Holding penalties to negate big plays, Julius Pepper's hit that injured Stafford in 2010, etc.), and B)He was Matt Millen's first draft pick, which is a quite a scarlett letter to have.

Now I'm not arguing that he's Anthony Munoz, just that he's better than most people think.

by bravehoptoad :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 11:59am

What in heck happened to the Vikings? Last I saw them, they were making the 49ers look like the Buffalo Bills.

by RickD :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 2:55pm

Christian Ponder happened.

Also, Doug Martin. Given their schedule, the Bucs game was a must-win. And Martin flattened them.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 4:42pm

Ponder's been getting squeezed dry, as more tape of him has become available, in part due to no wr outside of Harvin (who really isn't a pure wr) being any good, but mostly because Ponder isn't any good. They can't go downfield, and their defense isn't quite good enough to play with that kind of offense.

by c0rrections (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 6:21pm

Unless you do what the Bears did to them pretty much.

by Purds :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 6:18pm

Yes, I am really going to believe DVOA more than record this year, especially when thinking of my favorite Colts. Records say Indy and NE are the same level. DVOA says they are not even close to each other. My eyes tell me DVOA is right. I am not sure I even want to watch the second half of the NE - Colts game in a few weeks.

by Ben :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 6:24pm

Of course DVOA likes the Dolphins much more than the Colts as well. That being said, it will be shocking if the Colts hold the Pats to under 35 points and 350 yards passing. Their only hope is to get into a shoot out against the Pats.

I agree, however, that it's unlikely CBS is going to get much return on moving that game to 4:30.

by indytoad (not verified) :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 12:47am

I'd be curious to see the DVOA home/away splits for the Colts. They seem like almost a .500-quality team at home (beat MIN, GB, MIA), but are just abysmal on the road (blowout losses to CHI, NYJ, barely defeated TEN).

by DisplacedPackerFan :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 2:27am

That info is available in Premium.

Offense - Home: 6.9; Road: -0.6
Defense - Home: 15.9; Road: 37.8

So yeah -9% at home and -38.4 on the road.

Premium doesn't do ST splits, but looking at the week by week it looks like they follow the same home/road pattern my quick dirty calcs are around -5% on the road and around -1% at home for ST.

by Bobman :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 2:04am

@Purds, No, no, no, you have it all wrong. That's when Luck SHINES. Watch ONLY the 4th quarter. Pats only put up impressive 4th quarter offensive numbers when they are leading by about 28 with 15 minutes to go and the opponent starts sucking their thumbs. If it's closer, they are mortal.

And if he's within 2-3 scores against a suspect D in the 4th quarter, Luck does this thing where he plays like the unholy lovechild of Jim Harbaugh, Ben Roethlisberger, and Peyton Manning. As aw-shucks as he seems to be, I suspect Luck is a megalomaniac whose plan is to eclipse Manning's 4th quarter comeback victory record of 48 wins--THIS SEASON. (engineer or not, math must not be his strong suit--good thing he has a fallback career in the NFL.)

by JohnD (not verified) :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 2:30am

It's good to have you back Bobman.

by Purds :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 6:20pm

Sorry, double post.

by Brian H (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 6:28pm

Apparently Denver is even more awesome than I thought, since they have 8.1 estimated wins in 8 games played. That extra .1 estimated wins is due to the flashy orange uniforms, I think.

by RickD :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 6:30pm

Actually, they've just had a horrible week. Last week they had 8.0 estimated wins after 7 games. They've since played another game (which they won!) and only got 0.1 estimated wins out of it.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 6:32pm

We've had this discussion before in multiple forms. The estimated wins is assuming 9 games played for all teams (prorated for teams that have had a bye).

by Ben :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 7:00pm

With how often this comes up, I've always thought it would be better to just list the +/- difference between actual wins and estimated wins (without the bye game adjustment).

This would show who is over performing and under performing, which, at least for me personally, is what I look for in estimated wins.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 7:06pm

I agree. At the very least it would make the list easier to look at and make that assessment quickly.

by Insancipitory :: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 6:35pm

That joke greated me at Wal*Mart.

by The Hypno-Toad :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 5:28am

Boom. Roasted.

by Kal :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 12:07am

Oh, Chicago. If you only had an average offense.

I still think Cutler could be a very good QB - but not with this line. He just needs more time in the pocket (which honestly makes him not great). But with this line it's just so hit and miss. Bah.

I fully blame Cutler for half his sacks taken and all of his shitty interceptions. I just realize that that is who he is, and expecting something else is not going to happen.

by tuluse :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 3:54am

I think more moving pockets could help a lot.

Still, your general idea is right. Cutler is not an elite QB. He is the best QB the Bears have had in a decade (minimum), so I'm not going to complain too much. Still, it would be nice to have a 2011 Aaron Rodgers type year, or 04 Peyton, or 2007 Brady.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 7:53am

"He is the best QB the Bears have had in a decade (minimum)"

Just curious, which Bears QB in the 90's do you think is better than Cutler? I don't seem to remember any of them scaring me much. Erik Kramer put up pretty stats in '95, but could never stay healthy otherwise. Jim Harbaugh was servicable (as much as one can be when you only attempt 200 passes per year), but I'd still take Cutler over both of them any day.

by tuluse :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 11:59am

One could argue Kramer. I didn't want to get into ranking arguments, so I just cut the time frame off short.

by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 12:21pm

Cutler is probably the best Bears quarterback since Sid Luckman and Brandon Marshall might be the best wide receiver they've ever had. This says more about the Bears than it does about Cutler and Marshall.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 12:58pm

"didn't want to get into ranking arguments, so I just cut the time frame off short."

Understandable. Was just curious. As a fan of a division rival, I definitely have a healthy respect for Cutler, and am hoping that the defense ages before Emery has time to put together a good offensive line.

by 'nonymous (not verified) :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 11:51am

It makes perfect sense that the odds of a superbowl victory would be top-heavy, with the lion's share taken by the top tier of teams. Still, looking at the odds for my team (the Steelers), I was a little surprised by the results.

Even as the 4th highest AFC team, they have a worse than average chance (3.1%) of winning the superbowl. With their improvement the last few weeks, it feels like they should have a bigger share than that. As this article points out, they're extremely likely to get in the playoffs, I would think that alone would give them a better than average shot (1/32) of winning the superbowl.

In the simulations for playoff odds, do you adjust the simulated DVOA ratings with each simulated game? For example, if one simulation has the Steelers winning their next 8 games and another has them going 3-5 but still taking a wildcard, will they both treat the Steelers as a 9.8% DVOA team in the playoffs? To do so would treat each simulated game as independent of the other simulated games, but that doesn't seem to be the best model. In 8 weeks, various teams will be significantly better or worse than we think they are now, because something has changed or because our measurements were inaccurate.

by RickD :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 3:02pm

You want FO to adjust DVOAs for future simulations based on simulated games?

That sounds balmy. Or are you worried that FO is doing that?

DVOA scores are based on data. Using them to create simulations and then using the simulations to create more scores would only serve to add more variance to your results. Don't see why that would be desirable.

by intel_chris (not verified) :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 4:16pm

There is no way to adjust the DVOA based upon the simulations. W/L is not a factor in DVOA, only how the team played (on a play-by-play level) against the opponents. So, if your current data says that one 3rd-and short you have an x% completion rate, when you put that into your simulation. The simulated team will still have the same x% completion rate and thus will not change its stats at all. Only actual performance where the team plays better (or worse) than they had been playing before can actually affect the DVOA numbers. You can simulate all you want, but simulated teams are always just what we thought they were and their DVOA number won't change.

by 'nonymous (not verified) :: Thu, 11/08/2012 - 2:34am

Including these changes would certainly add more variance to the playoff simulation; I don't know if that would make it more accurate. It feels like a better model to me. After all, in 0.1% of the simulations, -22.6% IND earns the #1 seed. If that does happen, I'm sure IND will be entering the playoffs with much better than -22.6% DVOA.

Historical data should give a reasonable model of how DVOA drifts up or down with each game and result.

by Nashmeister :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 12:54pm

Denver reminds me a bit of the 2010 Houston Texans (who finished 13th in DVOA, but ended up with a 6-10 record). Getting in early holes has made for an inflated offensive DVOA by airing it out against prevent defenses, while solid late game run defense tricks bad coaches and QBs (I'm looking at you, Norv/Rivers) into throwing the ball with a big lead.

They have some talent on defense and a potent passing game, but observationally, I don't think the second-half comeback gameplan works in the long run. They might very well stomp that easy remaining schedule (oh, to be in the AFC West and play the NFC South...), but I'm skeptical.

by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 3:07pm

I was just looking at the 49ers' offensive DVOA and I'm flummoxed. Their pass DVOA is 26% and their run DVOA is 26%, how is their total 18.9%?

by LionInAZ :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 5:55pm

"Total offense DVOA includes false starts and delay of game penalties, which are negative plays but are not counted as either passes or runs."

Wording might not be exact.

by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 6:17pm

To the tune of 7 percent? There must be something else going on.

by tuluse :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 6:33pm

I believe run DVOA is compared to other runs, and pass DVOA to other passes, but total compares each play to any play in the same bin.

So the 49ers are better at running than other teams, but their running plays aren't better than other teamss' passing plays.

I think.

by LionInAZ :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 8:00pm

That sounds reasonable. I'm not sure how they deal with dead ball fouls either, such as a PF at the end of a play.

by Richie :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 5:25pm

Ah, that 1999 Dolphins season was sad, capped off by a brutal 62-7 loss to Jacksonville in the playoffs and the retirement of Dan Marino.

- A Dolphins fan wrote this.

by Richie :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 5:37pm

How come Indianapolis still has a lower playoff probability than Miami? After the win, Indy has a 1-game lead over Miami for the final WC spot, and now the tiebreaker. Looks like Indy also has an easier remaining schedule.

Is it their current DVOA that is driving the difference that much?

by LionInAZ :: Wed, 11/07/2012 - 8:26pm

I was also confused by one of the more specific DVOA results. Under team defense, I noted that the Lions were listed as allowing 47.9 yds/game on 7.8 passes to TEs, yet ranked lower in DVOA than TEN, which gave up 70.0 yds/game on 7.7 passes. Is that due mainly to opponent adjustments, success rates, or a typo?

by Jon Goldman (not verified) :: Thu, 11/08/2012 - 12:07am

Do DVOA rankings pay attention to the personnel on the field (by which I mean starters, backups, third-stringers etc.,) or does the fact that teams such as the Bears put in their backups in the ends of the Dallas and Titans games negatively impact their DVOA score?

by Jerry :: Thu, 11/08/2012 - 7:29am

DVOA just looks at the results of plays. Aaron will occasionally break out team DVOA by quarterback, since that's easy to follow, but neither the NFL (for public consumption) nor FO identifies which players are on the field for each play. And it turns out that keeping the garbage time plays is more accurate than removing them.

by nat :: Thu, 11/08/2012 - 10:53am

The problem with excluding garbage time plays is that it selectively excludes plays from lopsided games, potentially biasing the results against teams that sometimes win big, and toward teams that sometimes lose big. That made a garbage-free DVOA less predictive.

It would be possible to just exclude the final five minutes, or fourth quarter, whatever, from all DVOA. That wouldn't bias the results because it treats all teams equally (unless you believe in clutchness) and would probably be a better predictor of future play than full-game DVOA is.

It would fail as an description of how well a team played for the entire game in question, though. When Eli Manning heaves a desperation pass into traffic - and completes it - it may or may not predict future results. But it is certainly an actual accomplishment worthy of praise and a good DVOA.

I would love to see an FO article on the predictive power of each quarter's DVOA. I'd bet that fourth quarter DVOA is the least predictive of future (full-game) DVOA, and that it is bad enough that Q1-Q3 DVOA is a better predictor of future full-game DVOA that full-game DVOA is itself.

by jebmak :: Thu, 11/08/2012 - 2:50pm

I believe that DVOA compares to similar situations. So if you are down 21 in the 4th, it compares what you do with all teams down 15 or more in the 4th. You can still win a game in "garbage time", and if you are doing better than other teams in that situation, then your DVOA goes up.

by nat :: Thu, 11/08/2012 - 7:54pm

The problem with garbage time DVOA is this:
If you get +100% DVOA on a play in the first quarter, that means you produced twice the value compared to teams trying to do the same things you were trying to do. That's predictive of future success.
If you get +100% DVOA on a play in garbage time, it often means you decided to go for yardage when most other teams decided to run out some clock with a run up the gut. Or that you took easy but useless yards in a loss while other teams threw long (usually) incomplete passes, still hoping for a miracle. Either way, you get lots of DVOA credit for something that has little actual predictive value.

You can't just exclude garbage time: that biases the data. But it is a problem with fourth quarter DVOA.

by jebmak :: Fri, 11/09/2012 - 2:03am

Yeah, I don't think that there is a running out the clock modifier. But the team that is behind *could* still win, I mean, teams have scored two touchdowns in less than a minute. So those yards are almost always still worth something.

And since FO says (I believe) that it makes that data less predictive if they take it out, then teams that are better, do better in those situations, and it is rightly part of DVOA.

by snafu (not verified) :: Thu, 11/08/2012 - 7:12pm

On the surface it seems like Houston and San Fran are the worst possible matchup for the Bears. Both those teams have excellent defenses, run-oriented offenses, and they protect the football, all factors that seem to counter the Bears' strengths.

Really curious to see if that offense is capable of executing without great field position against a quality opponent.

by tuluse :: Thu, 11/08/2012 - 7:35pm

I'm not sure how much being a run oriented offense really hurts the Bears. I would much rather face the 49ers offense than the Packers, I know that.

Basically any team with good pass rush is a bad matchup for the Bears. If you combine that with a good run D, I don't see how they do anything on offense. Even if the secondary was 4 Fred Thomas's.

There has been some bad tackling recently from the Bears. They scraped by against the Panthers but it will bite them hard against the Texans.

by meher (not verified) :: Fri, 11/09/2012 - 2:32pm

what about "Quality Wins." This whole playing teams against winning records is overrated. 98% of the AFC now is crap and in a crap conference, Denver could waltz through and get 10 straight wins to end the year at 13-3. All of the teams they play are crap from to the end of the year with the slight exception of Baltimore.

by jebmak :: Fri, 11/09/2012 - 8:59pm

That is the D part of DVOA. It's an opponent adjustment.

by Dragon Pi (not verified) :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 3:59am

There should be a best of section for FO articles like this one.