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15 Oct 2013

Week 6 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

The Football Outsiders DVOA ratings actually had quite a stable Week 6. The top ten teams in DVOA remained the same as in Week 5, although with some slight movement, and Denver and Seattle continue to come back to the pack just a little bit more each week. In the middle of the ratings, there were a couple of big moves, with Philadelphia up six spots to No. 15 and Arizona up seven spots to No. 17 despite a loss to San Francisco. The biggest movement of the week belongs to Minnesota, which plummeted from 17th to 27th after getting blown out by the Panthers.

Actually, the biggest movement of the week belongs to Washington -- specifically, to Washington's special teams rating. Washington was already 30th in special teams DVOA at -9.0% before Sunday night's game. I wrote in this week's ESPN Upset Watch that the return of injured kicker Kai Forbath might improve things for the Washington special teams. It didn't. Instead, Washington had a single-game special teams DVOA of -51.4%, making Sunday night one of the worst special-teams performances we've ever tracked. We estimate that Washington special teams were worth -16.1 points below average on Sunday night; that's not in the bottom ten, but it's close. Every single area of special teams had problems. Forbath missed a field goal, albeit a tough 49-yarder. His kickoffs were fine, but the coverage let Dwayne Harris return one 90 yards. The punt coverage was worse, letting Harris return a punt for a touchdown. On two of their own kickoff returns, Washington couldn't get the ball past the 20, while Josh Morgan averaged just 4.3 yards on four punt returns and Jerome Murphy got nothing on a fifth punt return.

With that one game, Washington's special teams rating for the year drops all the way down to -17.6% DVOA, which now ranks as the second-lowest special teams DVOA we've ever tracked through Week 6. The only team that was worse on special teams through Week 6 was the 2010 San Diego Chargers, they of the nine zillion blocked punts. The bottom five is rounded out by the 1996 Cardinals and both the 1999 and 2000 Bengals.

Speaking of the worst DVOA ratings ever...


Even after very hefty opponent adjustments, Denver still ended up with 20.9% DVOA for this week's win, and Jacksonville ended up with -27.3% DVOA. So the Jaguars still rank as the worst team in DVOA history through six weeks, and the Broncos are still in the all-time top ten.

Year Team DVOA x Year Team DVOA x Year Team DVOA x Year Team DVOA
2007 NE 65.3% x 1999 WAS 47.2% x 2013 JAC -66.0% x 2004 MIA -55.2%
1991 WAS 63.7% x 2013 DEN 46.7% x 1993 TB -61.2% x 2002 HOU -52.2%
1996 GB 59.5% x 2000 STL 44.8% x 1989 DAL -60.8% x 2013 JAC -51.3%
1999 STL 55.4% x 2007 NE 43.8% x 2005 SF -60.2% x 2010 CAR -51.2%
2009 NO 49.1% x 2002 KC 42.2% x 2000 CIN -58.2% x 1992 SEA -46.2%
2001 PHI 47.8% x 1998 DEN 41.6% x 2005 MIN -58.1% x 2005 SF -45.0%
1994 DAL 47.6% x 2007 IND 41.5% x 2008 KC -57.6% x 2005 MIN -44.6%
2013 DEN 46.6% x 2005 SD 37.6% x 2008 STL -57.3% x 1996 STL -42.7%
2007 IND 46.6% x 2005 SEA 37.2% x 1992 NE -56.6% x 2009 OAK -42.3%
1998 DEN 46.1% x 2009 NO 36.9% x 2009 DET -55.9% x 2008 KC -41.8%
1990 CHI 45.9% x 2008 NYG 36.3% x 2002 CIN -55.8% x 2010 ARI -41.3%
1992 PHI 45.2% x 1995 DAL 34.9% x 2006 OAK -55.2% x 1993 TB -41.2%

Jacksonville isn't the only winless team this year, of course. Let's go to the mailbag...

Stockton Bullitt: Michelle Beadle tweeted that her friend said the Giants are the best 0-6 team ever. I wanted to see if that if was actually true. However, I checked your site, PFF, PFR, and ESPN, and I could not find anyplace that shows the standings after a given week (i.e. what the standings were after week 6). I was wondering if you guys could tell me where I could find standings and DVOA by week and offer an answer to the question.

First of all, you can find standings and DVOA as of a given week for every year going back to 1989 in our Premium stats database. We've figured out DVOA as it would have looked if Football Outsiders existed in a given week. For example, for Week 6 of 1990, we figure out DVOA with opponent adjustments at 60 percent strength, only using the results of the first six weeks of 1990, while pretending I was actually a football fan as a high-school junior instead of the male version of Linda Cardellini's character from "Freaks and Geeks." Using this method, the 2013 Giants don't even come close to ranking as the best 0-6 team of the past 25 years. They don't even make the top dozen. This would be the end of the discussion... except not every winless team this season is currently 0-6.

It turns out Michelle Beadle's friend had the right idea, but the wrong team. The 2013 Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the best 0-5 team in DVOA history. Their current -6.7% DVOA ranks them 23rd, ahead of four different teams that already have three wins. Here's a look at the Bucs and the other top 0-5 teams. Out of curiosity, I looked up how each of these teams finished and then what they did the following year.

Year Team DVOA Final W-L Nxt Yr W-L
2013 TB -6.7% -- --
2007 MIA -9.6% 1-15 11-5
1991 SD -10.5% 4-12 11-5
1995 NO -13.0% 7-9 3-13
1991 TB -21.2% 3-13 5-11
2006 DET -21.4% 3-13 7-9
1991 CIN -21.5% 3-13 5-11
1997 IND -21.6% 3-13 3-13
2001 DET -22.3% 2-14 3-13
2010 SF -22.3% 6-10 13-3
1995 CAR -24.5% 7-9 12-4
2003 SD -25.9% 4-12 12-4
2002 STL -26.6% 7-9 12-4

Most of these teams actually didn't turn things around too much in the last two-thirds of the season, which makes sense since they weren't above average to begin with. Tampa Bay isn't likely to turn things around either; they rank seventh in schedule so far but fourth in schedule remaining. However, it is interesting to see how many of these teams significantly turned things around the following season. Yes, these teams weren't all necessarily built the same, and there's a big performance gap between the Bucs and the 2002 Rams, 20 points worth of DVOA lower. Nonetheless, the Bucs are still going to have Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David, Darrelle Revis, and Dashon Goldson next year. Could they be the Kansas City Chiefs of 2014?

Speaking of the Kansas City Chiefs of 2013, here's the equivalent table, the worst 6-0 teams by DVOA. For this table, I've added a listing of how each team finished in the playoffs.

Year Team DVOA Final W-L Playoffs Nxt Yr W-L
2000 MIN 1.2% 11-5 Lost NFC Championship 5-11
2006 IND 9.2% 12-4 Won Super Bowl 13-3
1990 SF 20.8% 14-2 Lost NFC Championship 10-6
1992 MIA 21.3% 11-5 Lost AFC Championship 9-7
2003 MIN 22.0% 9-7 Missed Playoffs 8-8
2011 GB 22.0% 15-1 Lost Divisional Round 11-5
2000 STL 22.5% 10-6 Lost Wild Card Round 14-2
2008 TEN 24.4% 13-3 Lost Divisional Round 8-8
2013 KC 25.6% -- -- --
2009 MIN 28.1% 12-4 Lost NFC Championship 6-10
1994 SD 29.0% 11-5 Lost Super Bowl 9-7
1998 MIN 31.4% 15-1 Lost NFC Championship 10-6
2009 DEN 34.7% 8-8 Missed Playoffs 4-12

* * * * *

During the 2013 season, we'll be partnering with EA Sports to bring special Football Outsiders-branded items to Madden 25 Ultimate Team. Each week, we'll be picking out a handful of players who starred in that week's games. Some of them will be well-known players who stood out in standard stats. Others will be under-the-radar players who only stood out with advanced stats, including DYAR, Defeats, and our game charting coverage stats for cornerbacks. We'll announce the players each Tuesday in the DVOA commentary article, and the players will be available in Madden Ultimate Team packs the following weekend, beginning Friday night.

The Football Outsiders stars for Week 6 are:

  • WR Josh Gordon, CLE (Limited Edition): Led all wide receivers in DYAR this week; seven catches, all for first downs, and 126 yards.
  • RG Larry Warford, DET: Lions RB gained 4.8 yards per carry up the middle; Matthew Stafford only sacked once for zero yards.
  • DT Michael Brockers, STL: Seven tackles for either zero yards or a loss, including two sacks, four on runs, and one on a reception by Ben Tate.
  • DT Jason Hatcher, DAL: Two sacks, four hurries, and TFL on a run.
  • CB Brandon Carr, DAL: Didn't allow a single completion in man coverage against Washington.

Other players we considered this week who didn't make the cut: Joseph Fauria, Eric Reid, and Da'Norris Searcy.

* * * * *

All 2013 stat pages are now updated, including snap counts, playoff odds, and the FO Premium database.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through six weeks of 2013, 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 for strength of schedule and 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.

Because it is early in the season, opponent adjustments are only at 60 percent strength; they will increase 10 percent every week through 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 19 percent of DAVE (27 percent for teams with only five games played).

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 DEN 46.6% 1 41.4% 1 6-0 46.7% 1 8.9% 23 8.8% 1
2 SEA 34.3% 2 31.6% 2 5-1 9.4% 10 -20.6% 2 4.2% 6
3 KC 25.6% 3 17.5% 5 6-0 -4.2% 18 -23.1% 1 6.8% 3
4 NO 19.5% 5 17.6% 4 5-1 15.5% 6 -2.1% 14 1.9% 14
5 IND 19.5% 4 14.8% 7 4-2 18.3% 5 0.5% 18 1.8% 15
6 CHI 17.4% 7 13.9% 8 4-2 12.6% 9 -4.2% 13 0.6% 19
7 GB 17.3% 6 19.1% 3 3-2 23.4% 3 9.4% 25 3.3% 10
8 CAR 16.4% 10 16.6% 6 2-3 3.6% 13 -13.8% 3 -1.0% 22
9 CIN 14.7% 9 13.1% 10 4-2 0.4% 15 -11.1% 6 3.2% 11
10 SF 12.2% 8 13.2% 9 4-2 3.9% 12 -7.4% 10 0.9% 17
11 DAL 11.9% 13 8.8% 12 3-3 13.0% 8 7.5% 21 6.5% 4
12 DET 9.1% 14 7.1% 13 4-2 8.3% 11 0.1% 17 0.8% 18
13 NE 8.8% 12 11.3% 11 5-1 -4.3% 20 -5.9% 12 7.2% 2
14 BUF 4.2% 11 0.3% 15 2-4 -0.5% 16 -7.5% 9 -2.9% 27
15 PHI 0.7% 21 0.4% 14 3-3 24.7% 2 16.0% 30 -7.9% 29
16 SD 0.3% 19 -0.9% 16 3-3 21.5% 4 20.0% 32 -1.1% 24
17 ARI -2.0% 24 -3.5% 20 3-3 -12.7% 24 -10.6% 7 0.1% 21
18 NYJ -2.7% 15 -3.3% 18 3-3 -19.3% 30 -11.4% 4 5.2% 5
19 ATL -3.6% 20 -2.3% 17 1-4 14.4% 7 18.4% 31 0.3% 20
20 TEN -6.2% 16 -8.2% 23 3-3 -4.3% 19 -5.9% 11 -7.8% 28
21 PIT -6.2% 26 -4.3% 21 1-4 -2.7% 17 1.9% 19 -1.6% 25
22 TB -6.7% 22 -6.3% 22 0-5 -19.2% 29 -11.3% 5 1.2% 16
23 BAL -7.4% 18 -3.3% 19 3-3 -19.9% 31 -9.0% 8 3.5% 9
24 CLE -10.9% 23 -10.2% 24 3-3 -14.8% 26 -1.6% 16 2.4% 12
25 MIA -12.4% 25 -12.0% 25 3-2 -4.4% 21 10.3% 28 2.2% 13
26 STL -15.1% 30 -15.6% 27 3-3 -10.5% 23 8.4% 22 3.9% 7
27 MIN -15.3% 17 -14.9% 26 1-4 -9.0% 22 9.8% 27 3.5% 8
28 OAK -21.3% 29 -20.3% 29 2-4 -14.2% 25 5.3% 20 -1.9% 26
29 HOU -26.6% 27 -20.7% 30 2-4 -17.9% 27 -2.1% 15 -10.8% 31
30 WAS -26.9% 28 -18.4% 28 1-4 0.5% 14 9.8% 26 -17.6% 32
31 NYG -37.0% 31 -29.5% 31 0-6 -18.3% 28 9.3% 24 -9.4% 30
32 JAC -66.0% 32 -57.4% 32 0-6 -51.3% 32 13.7% 29 -1.0% 23
  • 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 DEN 46.6% 6-0 56.8% 6.0 1 -19.8% 32 -0.1% 12 7.2% 14
2 SEA 34.3% 5-1 39.6% 4.5 3 -8.4% 28 -6.5% 31 15.7% 24
3 KC 25.6% 6-0 35.5% 4.9 2 -19.6% 31 3.2% 7 2.2% 2
4 NO 19.5% 5-1 24.2% 4.1 7 0.2% 18 6.7% 4 7.9% 15
5 IND 19.5% 4-2 26.9% 4.2 5 -8.8% 29 -6.2% 30 6.5% 11
6 CHI 17.4% 4-2 18.0% 4.1 6 -2.5% 24 -1.9% 21 7.0% 13
7 GB 17.3% 3-2 20.7% 4.4 4 0.3% 17 -2.9% 22 2.4% 3
8 CAR 16.4% 2-3 19.6% 3.1 16 -3.2% 25 0.8% 10 16.7% 25
9 CIN 14.7% 4-2 13.8% 4.0 8 5.1% 5 -3.3% 23 8.0% 16
10 SF 12.2% 4-2 9.0% 3.2 15 4.6% 7 -5.6% 29 29.0% 32
11 DAL 11.9% 3-3 14.8% 3.7 10 -1.1% 21 -3.6% 25 6.3% 10
12 DET 9.1% 4-2 11.7% 3.8 9 -3.4% 26 -1.1% 16 2.8% 4
13 NE 8.8% 5-1 8.1% 3.6 11 4.2% 8 -1.2% 17 3.2% 6
14 BUF 4.2% 2-4 4.7% 3.4 13 3.1% 12 -5.6% 28 11.7% 19
15 PHI 0.7% 3-3 -0.2% 3.5 12 0.3% 16 -3.5% 24 22.2% 29
16 SD 0.3% 3-3 -2.3% 3.1 17 -3.7% 27 -0.4% 14 5.3% 7
17 ARI -2.0% 3-3 -2.4% 3.2 14 5.9% 3 -1.6% 19 10.6% 17
18 NYJ -2.7% 3-3 -3.4% 3.0 18 -1.6% 23 -0.1% 13 17.1% 26
19 ATL -3.6% 1-4 1.6% 2.9 19 -0.4% 20 7.1% 2 3.1% 5
20 TEN -6.2% 3-3 1.1% 2.4 23 4.1% 9 -9.9% 32 15.3% 23
21 PIT -6.2% 1-4 -13.9% 2.1 25 1.6% 15 -1.5% 18 5.4% 8
22 TB -6.7% 0-5 -9.0% 2.0 27 4.9% 6 7.0% 3 0.5% 1
23 BAL -7.4% 3-3 -7.7% 2.6 20 3.0% 13 2.3% 8 14.0% 22
24 CLE -10.9% 3-3 -0.7% 2.0 26 -1.2% 22 -0.5% 15 10.6% 18
25 MIA -12.4% 3-2 -8.5% 2.5 22 3.4% 11 3.5% 6 20.2% 28
26 STL -15.1% 3-3 -12.0% 2.0 28 -12.4% 30 13.9% 1 23.6% 30
27 MIN -15.3% 1-4 -13.7% 2.5 21 5.1% 4 4.7% 5 20.2% 27
28 OAK -21.3% 2-4 -16.9% 1.7 29 -0.1% 19 0.6% 11 6.2% 9
29 HOU -26.6% 2-4 -26.4% 2.3 24 3.0% 14 -4.1% 26 24.3% 31
30 WAS -26.9% 1-4 -27.1% 1.3 30 3.5% 10 2.0% 9 6.8% 12
31 NYG -37.0% 0-6 -52.4% 0.4 31 19.8% 1 -1.7% 20 13.3% 21
32 JAC -66.0% 0-6 -70.0% 0.0 32 14.9% 2 -4.2% 27 13.1% 20

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 15 Oct 2013

163 comments, Last at 07 Jan 2014, 5:01pm by http://www.ramh.net/NikeAirJordan3Retro.html


by Bay Area Bengal (not verified) :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 7:38pm

The Cincinnati Bengals are clearly ranked too high because we lost to the f***ing Browns and almost blew it against Buffalo ... Buffalo! Reading tea leaves is way better than this. Oh well, we're 4-2 anyway, with a likely playoff appearance and early exit. At least it isn't the 90's! Who dey!

by Mike O (not verified) :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 7:53pm

In the future, please include a few misspelled words in your response.

by CBPodge :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 5:00am

At least its unlikely you'll lose to the Texans again...

by BroncFan07 :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 8:02pm

I'm not sure if KC should feel good about being behind three 6-0 teams that fared well in the playoffs or that 2009 Denver was the best worst 6-0 team, who we know was no good.

by shoutingloudly :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 8:21pm

In particular, I couldn't believe my eyes during the OT win over New England. Then to choke away a death grip on a playoff slot over the course of the rest of the year was really painful but an honest reflection of their non-awesomeness. What a weird, weird year.

by Bay Area Bengal (not verified) :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 8:05pm

Good catch. I'll due bettor next time.

In all honesty, though, while I think that these rankings are entirely reasonable, I'm a bit surprised that Cincy's variance is only middle-of-the-pack. I see us as having an entirely unpredictable team. I guess I haven't been watching enough of all the other teams to make a truly informed call on how we stack up ...

by Perfundle :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 8:57pm

Nah, you have to crazy it up more than just beating good teams at home and losing to one bad team on the road to get a high variance. Thoroughly blowing out a bad opponent increases your variance much more than getting somewhat outplayed by one.

by Anonmymerryway (not verified) :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 10:58pm

'Thoroughly blowing out a bad opponent increases your variance' ... got it, that explains the Niners' leading variance position.

by Perfundle :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 11:41pm

Yep, and the same goes for getting thoroughly blown out, even by good opponents, and SF has two of those as well.

This is of course with the assumption that thorough beatings in one direction is not a typical occurrence; when it is, in the case of Denver or Jacksonville, you get roughly average variances.

by panthersnbraves :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 11:45pm

I thought for sure that would include the Panthers as well, but it would seem not as much as I originally thought.....

by herewegobrowniesherewego (not verified) :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 10:28pm

Agree--I can't complain about that worst game for the Bengals, though. :)

Brownies also seem pretty inconsistent despite being in the middle of the pack. Their defense has also dropped from 8th to near replacement level after giving up 55 in the last 2 weeks, although heavy opponent adjustment will prevent them from falling much further even if the GB game goes very poorly.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 8:08pm

Team playing way below its talent week after week . . . Greg Schiano, everybody! Give him a round of applause! Distract him while I sneak up and hit him with this @#$!! stick.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 8:16pm

Just for entertainment sake, I wish the Vikings and the Bucs would trade their respective dead men walking, for the first mid-season swap of doomed coaches! Josh Freeman would likely take hostages!

by Peregrine :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 11:11pm

I expect the Bucs to beat the Falcons in the Georgia Dome on Sunday. Don't cry when it happens, ok?

by commissionerleaf :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 2:03am

Not going to happen without Freeman. Tampa Bay really boned it by cutting ties with him they way they did. Of course, that is what you expect from Schiano, who is the most unprofessional NFL coach since at least Bobby Petrino.

by Zieg (not verified) :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 11:33am

Thanks for drawing the parallel there. Now I can hope he'll abandon us for a lucrative college job.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 8:13pm

I told you guys that the key to the Vikings improving their DVOA ranking was getting more bye weeks! The schedulers in the NFL office in Manhattan are obviously biased against the Horned Purple Heads!

by Peder DeFor (not verified) :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 8:56am

At least this loss only knocked down their chances of making the playoffs by less than a percent!

by Duff Soviet Union :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 8:24pm

Interesting that Minnesota plummeted yet Carolina barely moved after that game. I guess it was more about Minnesota playing badly than Carolina playing well?

by CBPodge :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 5:43am

Carolina's DVOA did go up for 9.2% to 16.4%. That'd have ranked them 6th last week, so its a fairly big improvement in DVOA, if not in ranking.

by ticttoc (not verified) :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 8:30pm

Surprised the Seahawks special teams haven't taken a bigger hit after having 3 blocks (punt and 2 FG) with two of 'em returned for TD's. (Though I guess one was negated by there own blocked punt for TD... er safety. )

But as I was writing this I wondered what effect, if any, the TD has against a special team unit in regards to VOA? I imagine the block is the most significant with the "return" being mostly luck?

by Osual (not verified) :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 8:54pm

Those are non-predictive events, too rare to be statistically useful. DVOA ignores blocks and block returns.

by Perfundle :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 9:01pm

It only goes to show how elite their special teams has been beyond those three plays (along with the fumbled kickoff by Lane). Hauschka has been perfect outside of that block, Ryan has been excellent, the only thing Tate hasn't done is get a touchdown, and the coverage teams have done their jobs.

by Perfundle :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 11:48pm

By the way, does the field goal fumble actually count as a special teams play? It's not a blocked or missed field goal, but a botched snap. If it goes down as a missed goal in the Special Teams column, how do successful fake field goals get scored?

by Aaron Schatz :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 9:48am

Right now, fake FG and punts are scored as run/pass for the standard team DVOA ratings.

Aborted snaps on FG and punts, however, are scored as special teams plays. It's listed in the data as "FG aborted." The difference between that and "FG no" or "FG blocked" is that the kicker doesn't lose any personal value for an aborted snap, but he does for a missed or blocked field goal.

I've actually gone back into the past to do as much as possible to figure out which plays were actual failed fakes and which plays were botched snaps, all the way back to 1989.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 6:15pm

"Right now, fake FG and punts are scored as run/pass for the standard team DVOA ratings."

Why? Neither team's offense or Defense is on the field. They're clearly special teams plays.

by tuluse :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 6:19pm

They're not really special teams plays either, as nothing special team-y happens. They should probably not be counted at all as the 2 fakes that are run per year can't have any predictive capability.

by justanothersteve :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 7:01pm

Not including them at all sounds like the best solution to me. While an overall league measure of success/failure of fake punts and FGs would be interesting, even a breakdown by when in the game and where on the field, I don't think there is anything proven by such a small statistical sample within the total scope of a game. A huge successful conversion (like a TD on a fake punt) might significant skew the value of any advanced statistics.

by Perfundle :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 7:33pm

A hugely successful run or pass would significant skew the value of any advanced statistics too. I'm assuming any kind of play like like has a yardage cap. I mean, you wouldn't leave out flea-flickers or wide receiver passes from the offense, would you? They're still part of the game.

by Brad M (not verified) :: Thu, 10/17/2013 - 12:07am

Yes, it's called the football field. Even if FO uses a different cap than what I just said, a run or pass can't go more than 100 yards. That's not going to skew much at all over the course fo a season.

by tuluse :: Thu, 10/17/2013 - 12:17am

Fumble recoveries and turnover returns are part of the game too, but they aren't predictive.

by Perfundle :: Thu, 10/17/2013 - 6:55pm

So you're saying that sufficiently exotic plays shouldn't count because they don't happen enough to be predictive? But where do you draw the line? I mean, you have fake field goals and punts on one side, and then you graduate into flea flickers, wide receiver passes, wildcat formations, reverses and double reverses.

I don't think anyone would agree to throwing out reverses (not that it's feasible from just the play-by-play), but I'm sure they haven't been called nearly enough to be predictive either.

by tuluse :: Thu, 10/17/2013 - 7:35pm

"So you're saying that sufficiently exotic plays shouldn't count because they don't happen enough to be predictive?"


"But where do you draw the line?"

I'm not sure, but I'd put it above special teams fakes.

by Perfundle :: Fri, 10/18/2013 - 9:49pm

So you see that wherever you draw the line you're going to have inconsistencies. I think the argument is that while teams can't know where a fumbled ball bounces, they can practice to be prepared for fakes (and other exotic offensive plays), which is why fumble recoveries don't count in DVOA but fake special teams' plays do.

by tuluse :: Sat, 10/19/2013 - 4:17pm

I don't see how there are any inconsistencies in my view point.

A team can prepare for a fake fg, but they're so rare that whether one works or not is blind luck.

Plus, you're certainly not testing whether a team is good at playing offense or defense.

by RickD :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 10:00pm

A fake FG or fake punt is an offensive play. That's why it's counted as the offense.

It's an attempt to move the ball forward.

You don't have a separate offensive DVOA for every personnel grouping.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 10:19pm

Then shouldn't a block return be considered a defensive TD?

by Jon Goldman (not verified) :: Thu, 10/17/2013 - 10:49am

Blocking punts is something the special teams are supposed to try to do. Same with blocking field goals. A blocked punt/field goal is effectively a fumble and at that point it's pretty much dependent on where the ball lands.

So I'd consider it a special teams TD if you consider interception TDs/Fumble TDs as defensive TDs. I'd just consider the block, but I also wouldn't count defensive touchdowns.

by justanothersteve :: Fri, 10/18/2013 - 8:12pm

It's not an offensive play, as it is not typically executed by the typical offensive players, especially at the skill positions. From my POV, it should be credited as a successful special teams play as it is special teams personnel on the field. A FG also is an offensive play yet is counted as special teams in statistics. While a fake punt or FG may give the offense new life, it was not executed by an offense.

by RickD :: Sat, 10/19/2013 - 6:24pm

Whether a play is "offensive" or not is not dictated by the personnel used, but rather by the purpose of the play.

by andrew :: Sat, 10/19/2013 - 11:15am

what about plays where a fake was called and bungled but he punter manages to salvage by punting the ball anyway?

"I was corrupt before I had power!" - Random

by RickD :: Sat, 10/19/2013 - 6:25pm

How often does that happen? I honestly cannot think of a single time that has happened. One sees far more of the opposite, when a punt attempt becomes impossible and the punter is forced to run or attempt a pass.

Executing a punt requires a lot more time and space than an offensive play does.

by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 8:39pm

Michelle Beadle's friend sounds very insecure. "We are 0-6 but it good quality 0-6 . I am Gaint fan. hear me roar!"

Memo to Bealde's friend and all Giants fans- admit team is crap.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 10:33am

I concur. I'm not sure there's such a thing as a "good" 0-6 team, but if there is, the Giants aren't it. In general, good teams don't commit turnovers by the gross.

by Hummingbird Cyborg :: Thu, 10/17/2013 - 12:43pm

I agree that the Giants suck, but I don't mind some blind homerism.

by shoutingloudly :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 8:39pm

Here's an insane indicator of the Broncos offense this year: NFL Team Total Offense Statistics - 2013 (sorted by points per game)

At 44.2 points per game, they're 13.7 points ahead of the #2 team, the Cowboys, at 30.5 per. They're ahead of Dallas by as many points as Dallas is ahead of the 31st-ranked team, Tampa, at 12.8. That's almost as amazing as football on your phone.

by Jake (not verified) :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 9:03pm

Well, 12.8 + 13.7 = 26.5 ... so not quite.

by shoutingloudly :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 11:03pm

Oh shoot, you're right. Typo at the calculator. Thanks! Still: Go the actual distance (13.7, not 17.7 as I mistakenly typed) below the Cowboys' PPG and you get 16.8, which is lower than the 30th-ranked Giants (at 17.2).

Also: I made a helpful graphic.
Histogram of points per game by NFL teams, through six weeks

by Bay Area Bengal (not verified) :: Thu, 10/17/2013 - 2:59pm

Interesting stat!

Your histogram shows a mostly normal distribution of PPG scored by teams, with Denver a clear outlier at ~3.5 standard deviations above the mean!

But perhaps this graph more clearly illustrates the point you were trying to make that Denver is as far ahead of Dallas as Dallas is ahead of New York.

by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 8:43pm

No way Bucxanerz are better than Raiders. Raiders have 2 wins. They beat Jaguars and Chargers and Chargers bsat Volts which is pretty good for the DAVE and DVIA rankings. Raiders will be fine. Will be firmly in AFv wild card acer by Thanksgiving.

by Paul R :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 9:41pm

Will be firmly in AFv wild card acer by Thanksgiving.

"AFV" is "America's Funniest Videos." I think you're thinking of the Giants.

by justanothersteve :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 10:28pm

DVOA has a hard time dealing with talented teams with bad coaches. Carolina also is highly rated despite its record. Tampa, with a bat-sh*t crazy coach, just blows it up.

by Scott C :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 8:51pm

The Chargers three wins are against teams with higher DVOA, and three losses are against teams with lower DVOA.

I have no idea what that means.

Nor why the spam filter thinks this is spam.

by RickD :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 10:04pm

It means that their wins are pulling up their DVOA, but their losses are doing the opposite.

If you think you're confused, think about how poor DVOA feels!

by Ferguson1015 :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 12:05am

And yet they are the seventh most consistent team in the league. Go figure.

by Ferguson1015 :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 12:05am

And yet they are the seventh most consistent team in the league. Go figure.

by Eggwasp (not verified) :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 8:20am

They are consistent - they consistently beat better teams and lose to worse ones.

by commissionerleaf :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 6:26pm

Double post.

by commissionerleaf :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 2:10pm

Actually, it probably means that they are a much better team than their Pythagorean projection and their record indicates, since turnover numbers are not terribly predictive (unless you have Rex Grossman at quarterback). Eli Manning throws more picks (or has more picks passed to defenders by the hands of his receivers, depending on your viewpoint) than a lot of starters, but he is on pace for about forty interceptions, which is an unsustainable pace.

New York is a better team than they have played so far. A little regression to the mean in turnover numbers should get them to 4-12 or so.

by RickD :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 2:28pm

I thought we were talking about the Chargers.

Speaking of which...how do we treat SD @ JAX? By DVOA, this should be an easy win for the Chargers. But by the observation noted above, this will be the Jaguars' first win.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 4:00pm

Are you saying that Eli isn't on the Chargers anymore? I stopped following the NFL the exact instant that Larry Fitzgerald was taken by the Cardinals.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 5:17pm

"but he is on pace for about forty interceptions, which is an unsustainable pace"

Don't look at George Blanda's 1962 season.

Or Terry Bradshaw's 1970.

by herewegobrowniesherewego (not verified) :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 8:53pm

How did the 1st and 2nd half splits of the Cle/Det look on DVOA? What a difference those were.

Also, does the system try to measure things like Greg Little's almost-catch?

by Jerry :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 3:24am

I didn't see the play in question, but DVOA is just based on what's on the play-by-play. So if Little's almost-catch was an incompletion, it looks like any other incompletion, whether Little did something spectacular or something horrible.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 8:49am

"How did the 1st and 2nd half splits of the Cle/Det look on DVOA? What a difference those were."

Not only a difference in DVOA, but a difference in perception: Lions fans on Twitter were calling for the entire coaching staff to be fired in the first half. Then in the second half those some fans asserted that the Lions can challenge the Packers for the division. Classic NFL fan overreaction.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 8:56am

"Also, does the system try to measure things like Greg Little's almost-catch?"

If the system measured such things, CLE offense would get triple the usual penalty for Brandon Weeden's 2nd INT.

by CBPodge :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 11:21am

Surely that'd be cancelled out by the bonus they'd get for it being hilarious to neutrals?

by Otistaylor89 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 9:08pm

I always look at the past and future schedules to find out how things are going to play out the rest of the year. STL has fas and away the hardest remaining schedule (holy crap!). Got to give credit to CIN and SF for making it through a tough early schedule and now have it much easier coming up. And anyone who thinks DEN will be able to run the table should look at their remaking schedule.

by AnonymousQ (not verified) :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 1:06pm

Exactly, regarding Denver's schedule: they have four tough road games coming up: @IND, @SD, @KC and @NE. Considering they also have a road game against the Texans, which looked to have been a much tougher game a month ago, that is an absolutely brutal schedule. I think Denver will need it sweep KC to win the west, barring a Chiefs collapse.

Considering KCs easier schedule, this could be a repeat of 1997, where Denver is the better team, but loses the division to the Chiefs and would have to win the SB as a Wild Card.

by AnonymousQ (not verified) :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 1:06pm

Exactly, regarding Denver's schedule: they have four tough road games coming up: @IND, @SD, @KC and @NE. Considering they also have a road game against the Texans, which looked to have been a much tougher game a month ago, that is an absolutely brutal schedule. I think Denver will need it sweep KC to win the west, barring a Chiefs collapse.

Considering KCs easier schedule, this could be a repeat of 1997, where Denver is the better team, but loses the division to the Chiefs and would have to win the SB as a Wild Card.

by Morgzord (not verified) :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 8:02pm

Probably not the worst thing in the world if Peyton has to go through any other stadium to get to the SB than Mile High in January (maybe not foxborough)

by bucko (not verified) :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 9:10pm

It's likely internal bias, but I still don't 'see' how Chicago is a quality team. That defensive ranking seems out of whack relative to observations.

But it makes me think about things

by Perfundle :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 3:31am

Yeah, 28th in points per drive given up with an average offensive schedule doesn't seem above average to me either. I guess it's the absurd number of defensive touchdowns they're once again getting (4 so far).

by Jimmy :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 10:58am

DVOA only gives credit for turnovers, returns are ignored as they are too random (or not predictive, some stato will correct I am sure).

by tuluse :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 9:40pm

They're 18th against the pass. Which is propped up by interceptions.

by Jon Goldman (not verified) :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 10:46pm

No, speaking as a Bears fan, you're right. Chicago is not the 6th best team in the league.

by TomC :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 11:08am

As sort-of discussed in a comment cluster a bit farther down, what DVOA doesn't know is that the Bears will be playing third- or fourth-stringers at DT and a rookie MLB for the rest of the year. The precipitous slide down the defensive rankings that we all think is coming would have started this week had Eli not thrown three unforced picks that DVOA has no way of distinguishing from awesome plays by the secondary or pass rush.

Any Bears fans remember 1995? The Erik-Kramer-to-Jeff-Graham-or-Curtis-Conway offense was so efficient that I came to expect conversions on 3rd and long, but the defense was so inconsistent that the team needed at least 30 points to beat anybody, including expansion teams (they beat CAR and JAX 31-27 and 30-27). That could be where this year is heading.

by Jon Goldman (not verified) :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 11:24am

I don't think Jon Bostic will be terrible, but he won't be good. The Pass Rush was already terrible, the damage is to the run defense.

Expect a drop, yeah, but not to the bottom of the league: I'd think around 20-23 or so. 25 at max. Watch me be wrong as the Bears defense implodes entirely.

Luckily for the Bears, Green bay is going through their own injury roulette and the Vikings are really not good. So this team could probably eke out a 3-3 finish in the division, 4-2 if it is assumed that the Bears will play better against the Lions at home. Again, watch me be wrong as the team goes 1-5 in the division.

by Otistaylor89 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 9:16pm

I'm shocked that MIA offense is out performing their defense. Am I wrong to say their defense (#28) is seriously underperforming considering the talent they seem to have?

by tuluse :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 9:18pm

Chicago has recovered from a rough week against the Lions and their offensive line is now ranked 5th in ASR. Cutler has been sacked less often than Tom Brady. The last time Chicago was ranked above 24th in ASR was 2009.

by Charles Jake (not verified) :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 7:36am

The Bears are winning with offense this year, which is more indicative of future success than the Lovie-era formula of defense+ST. Opponent adjustments probably helped because the Lions and Saints are quality offenses (11th and 6th, respectively). Even PIT and CIN are hovering around average.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 9:34am

DVOA isn't a talisman, and chanting stats to the gods doesn't make wins drop from the sky.


In Smith's tenure, good defense was far more predictive of wins than good offense. And he had the occasional good offense.

by Eddo :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 9:55am

I was a big Lovie Smith guy, but you're being very generous to call any of his offenses "good". Passable? Sure. Capable of good games? Yes. But at best, he fielded average offenses.

I'm also not sure how much better this defense would be with Lovie at the helm. Peppers got old. Urlacher retired. The top three DTs are injured. I'd much rather have a strong offensive mind right now, so at least this team won't totally crater.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 11:14am

It depends on which measures you look at. The 2006 team was beloved of some measures and hated by others, but all tend to agree that was Lovie's best offense.

And while we may all think defense doesn't matter at all, ask Andy Reid and Chip Kelly what a functional defense can do for your career.

by tuluse :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 11:36am

I always felt the 2008 Orton lead offense was better until his injury.

by Eddo :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 12:01pm

Subjectively, the 2006 offense was average, at best. You can only be so good with Rex Grossman at QB.

I might agree with tuluse that the 2008 offense, prior to Orton's injury, was maybe their best under Lovie Smith. Or the 2011 offense, the few weeks prior to Cutler's injury.

But I wouldn't say the 2006 offense was their best.

EDIT: And all three of the offenses in question weren't "good", they were average.

by bearsfan1212 (not verified) :: Thu, 10/17/2013 - 6:20pm

Bears have devoted more resources to the offensive side of the ball in the last two years than I can recall them ever doing. Couple that with injuries and I tend to agree Lovie likely wouldn't have had much more success with the defense. I feel like the local Chicago media sort of underplayed the Melton injury when it occurred also.

by TomC :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 10:55am

DVOA isn't a talisman, and chanting stats to the gods doesn't make wins drop from the sky.

That was a weirdly aggressive, even hostile, response to a pretty innocuous statement.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 11:17am

Nothing specific to the poster, but there is a myopia in the forums that DVOA is the one true measure of efficiency and reflects the only way to win. This combines with a tendency to forget that even advanced statistics are a blunt instrument and a vastly simplified technique that only reflects success; it does not create it.

by Charles Jake (not verified) :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 4:59pm

I don't think that DVOA (or any other advanced stat) is THE way to measure winning, but I also don't know of any specific reason to doubt the idea that offense is more sustainable way to win than defense and ST, the Bears up-and-down success under Lovie notwithstanding. In other words, I believe this is one area that FO analysis gets right.

BTW, this is the second time in a month someone has chided another poster for jumping down my throat. I guess I just have one of those faces.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 6:04pm

"but I also don't know of any specific reason to doubt the idea that offense is more sustainable way to win than defense and ST"

Do you have any reason not to doubt it?

It's at least as likely that DVOA's measurement of defenses is less accurate (or more volatile) than it's measurement of offenses than that defences are inherently unstable.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 9:19pm

I'm really surprised that the result of that NE/NO game was NE's offensive DVOA getting better, and defensive getting worse.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 9:31pm

I'm satisfied that the Steelers have taken the big step up from "execrable" to merely "worst average team."

by Insancipitory :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 9:44pm

I love my Hawks, but they sure don't often feel like the 10th best offense when I'm watching them.

by Perfundle :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 10:23pm

I don't know about this year, but the last game? Definitely top-10 there. They had the time run out on the drive before the half, the time run out again at the end of the game, four more drives that went at least 59 yards, and only one three-and-out. They're quite good moving the ball between the 20's, and were 9th in points per drive before this week (the stats haven't been updated yet). Their biggest issue now is red-zone offense, which is really quite poor.

by formido :: Fri, 10/18/2013 - 8:45pm

Your feelings aren't correctly calibrated. If you read much of the online Hawk commentary, it's probably the source of the distortion. It's gotten pretty bad lately, perhaps owing to some of the games Seattle closed with last season. If that's your standard of good, then they'll seem bad this year. Those games were historically good. If Seattle played that way all the time, we'd be talking about legendary status.

by Remoat (not verified) :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 9:53pm

The 2000 Vikings lost in the NFC championship, not in the divisional round.

by Aaron Schatz :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 9:51am

Oops. My mistake. Fixed.

by RickD :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 10:03pm

I take it the VOA numbers favored the Saints over the Pats in their matchup, even though the Pats won. The Saints' ordinal rank went up while the Pats' went down.

by Aaron Schatz :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 9:56am

I almost wrote about this in the commentary... the Saints/Patriots game may end up with one of the highest-ever combined DVOA ratings for two teams. Right now, New England is at 21.6% and New Orleans is at 14.7%, but of course the opponent adjustments will get stronger. This is what happens when two very good teams play a close game and don't make many mistakes on special teams.

New Orleans did in fact end up with the higher VOA rating once we remove the opponent adjustments, but it is very close: 16.3% to 13.3%.

by theslothook :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 10:37pm

I'm amazed NE's pass offense is still ranking in the 20s. I thought for sure the opponent adjustments would push them up, as they've had some tough tests against the jets, cincy, buffalo and NO. Conversely, the colts having the 5th best pass offense feels out of whack. They had one very good performance against Seattle(which was much more about busted coverages than great execution) and the rest of the time its felt muddling. Or maybe I'm just overly antihomeristic.

by Perfundle :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 10:53pm

Do you mean overall offense? Indy is 12th in pass offense.

by theslothook :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 11:17pm

Ah, misread it and so it is. I guess that feels about right.

by PaddyPat :: Tue, 10/15/2013 - 10:47pm

The 2000 Minnesota Vikings ended their season in the Championship game, not in the divisional round of the playoffs. They lost to the New York Giants in a blowout after looking pretty good against the Saints the week before.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 12:08am

That was the softest team in Conference Championship history, and the weird thing was that if they had not blown a late game lead at home, late in the regular season, they miqht have gained home field advantage, and had a chance to become the softest Super Bowl team ever. They could pretend to play defense at home, and might have scored some points against the Giants in the Metrodome.

by Perfundle :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 12:25am

Hmm, the future schedule rankings should really take into account home-field advantage. Philadelphia and Dallas have nearly the same remaining schedule strength, and it's easy to see why. They have almost the same opponents yet to play, with three exceptions: they play each other twice, and Dallas plays New Orleans while Philly plays Arizona.

The biggest difference is that Dallas has 6 road games left while Philly has 4, and this results in a 8.8% DAVE team simulated to average 5.3 more wins and a 0.4% DAVE team simulated to average 5.6 more wins, which implies that two equal teams with those schedules would see an even bigger difference.

In conclusion, it'd be really instructive to see schedule strengths ranked by the average number of wins (or in the case of offensive and defensive schedules, average expected DVOA) a 0% DAVE team would achieve. You can even leave the old column as is and set out an extra column for this.

by Jerry :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 3:36am

You're not wrong, but I think the information you're looking for is in the playoff odds preview, where future mean wins are listed. What's here is just the average of future opponents, and I doubt that Aaron is looking to add more work.

by Aaron Schatz :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 9:59am

I've never been able to quite figure out a way to add home-field advantage into DVOA in a way that seems to make it more accurate. I suppose I could try to only incorporate it into schedule strength measurement.

As for your other ideas regarding schedule strength, if you go into the archives, you will find those addressed in a DVOA commentary from about two years ago.

by Perfundle :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 12:22pm

The numbers I posted were from the playoff odds preview. But those future mean wins are based on each team's DAVE rating, not those of an average team, which is now schedule strength should be presented.

by cjsocal (not verified) :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 12:20am

Lol at Chiefs being ranked 3rd in Total DVOA. They're as phony as a 3 dollar bill. They have played the weakest schedule. Also, they lead in the league in +12 turnover margin and ranked 4th at 67% fumble recovery percentage. Will this good fortune continue?

by Ian Chapman (not verified) :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 2:22am

The Chiefs also have one of the lowest DVOA in history for a 6-0 team, and if you look at the chart, the future schedule may not be very kind to the Chiefs (although a good defense can cover a lot of sins). It's hard to go 6-0 without having a good DVOA one way or the other.

by AnonymousQ (not verified) :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 10:20am

The Chiefs still have several winnable games and and compared to Denver probably have an easier schedule with their most difficult (non Broncos/Chiefs) games being at hime, verse Denver's being on the road.

Denver's 3 toughest non-Chief games: @Indy, @ New England, @ Houston

Kansas City's toughest non-Bronco games: Texans, Indy, @Buffalo (it was hard to find a third game)

With that said, it looks as if KC is winning in the way they used to in the 90s (Marty-ball), where they seemed to win a lot of games with turnover margin. How long can that last?

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 10:49am

So we're still considering the Texans a tough opponent? The Ravens, 49ers, and Rams might disagree.

by AnonymousQ (not verified) :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 11:07am

Good point re: Texans...

Bottom line is that KC's schedule, except for the Denver games and a home Game verse Indy, appears to have several games where they will be any easy favorite. Given their schedule, I would not be surprised to see KC finish with a 14-2 or 13-3 record. Assuming a DEN/KC split, Denver will have to be lights out in their NE and Indy road games to win the AFC West.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 12:22pm

Agreed, the fact that the Texans and Bills even made the list tells you what cupcake schedule KC has the rest of the way. Tanier said that if the NFL were run like the BCS, the Chiefs would finish 14-2 but not even rank in the top 10 because of strength of schedule.

by Perfundle :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 2:41pm

Amusing that Smith has had to deal with this every time his team is good. It happened in 2011, when SF played the easiest schedule in the league; it happened in 2003, when 9-2 Utah wasn't even ranked going into the bowl game; and it happened in 2004, when 11-0 Utah was not only left out of the Championship game, but ranked behind Rodgers' 11-1 Cal team.

The one time he had a good team playing a difficult schedule, he loses his starting job...

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 3:40pm

Its more likely that Smith isn't "dealing with" weak schedules masking how good he is, but that weak schedules are the only reason he looks good.

I mean, Matt Cassel looked pretty damn good in his year starting for the Patriots.

Smith lost his job in SF because the rookie was better than he was.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 5:22pm

Smith lost his job in SF because the rookie was believed to be better than he was.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 6:01pm

Last year's DVOA:
Smith: +14%
Kaepernick: +25.8%

This year's DVOA:
Smith: -6.9%
Kaepernick: -1.9%

Smith's last couple of years:

Smith has had 2 years of his now 8 year career where he hasn't been a disaster, and both of those involved weak schedules, and fantastic surrounding talent. He's not a good quarterback. He's probably not even an average one.

Kaepernick is probably an average QB, with high upside. He's better than Smith right now, and hes probably going to be a lot better than Smith going forward.

by bravehoptoad :: Thu, 10/17/2013 - 12:25pm

Smith tends to play to the level of his competition. If he has a good defense and is ahead in the game, he tightens up like a fist. If he's got nothing to lose, he playes a lot looser and better...reason he's been good at 4th-quarter comebacks.

by commissionerleaf :: Thu, 10/17/2013 - 12:49pm

I don't understand why people don't get Alex Smith yet. He's become a very competent NFL quarterback and is a good fit in Kansas City. (He was a good fit in San Francisco as well.)

He lost his job because he got injured and his replacement put on a good show while he was out. This season, we're learning that Kaepernick is basically useless if he is required to do "quarterback things" like read defenses and throw accurate passes. Last year, with much better 3rd and fourth receivers and some friendly scheduling, he mostly did not have to.

Alex Smith will never be a great fantasy quarterback. His ceiling is right about early-career Tom Brady; able to be very successful on a good team but you probably better hope you need only a field goal in the fourth quarter because he isn't going to make things happen for you.

Kaepernick is pretty much Daunte Culpepper; mobile and strong-armed, but with definite limitations in reading defenses and micro-level pass accuracy that make him fairly dependent on his receivers getting really, really open. Like Culpepper, he is missing Randy Moss badly.

by Brad M (not verified) :: Thu, 10/17/2013 - 12:26am

believed correctly

You seem to have quite the habit of being a know-it-all jerk, and you don't actually always know it all

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 10/17/2013 - 9:55am

So SF fans have not been lamenting all year how Kaepernick has lost accuracy and isn't running any more, while their offense stagnates and Seattle starts to run them off the field? While KC fans praise Alex Smith's competence at the QB position and Dwayne Bowe isn't on suicide-watch anymore?

But it's nice to know what Ron Jaworski's handle is on FO.

by AudacityOfHoops :: Fri, 10/18/2013 - 7:47pm

I tried to write a longer response to this but I can't get through the spam filter. The short version is:

I'm a KC fan. My friends are not praising Smith. They are lamenting the fact that we don't have a better QB.

by bravehoptoad :: Thu, 10/17/2013 - 12:24pm

Clearly not a know-it-all, if he thinks Kapaernick was a rookie last year.

by bravehoptoad :: Thu, 10/17/2013 - 12:25pm

double post

by RickD :: Sat, 10/19/2013 - 6:33pm

"I mean, Matt Cassel looked pretty damn good in his year starting for the Patriots."

No, he didn't.

This is one of those zombie facts that has floated around for years, and is based largely on the fact that he took the team to 11 wins. That's one way to look at it. Another way to look at it is that the Pats lost 5 more games than they had the previous season, couldn't beat the few good opponents they had on a relatively easy schedule, and ended up missing the playoffs.

In any case, Matt Cassel had a DVOA of 1.1% in 2008, good for 20th in the NFL. His 458 DYAR was 18th. Passable numbers, putting him in the Delhomme/Collins/Campbell/Garcia cohort.

Cassel's only impressive season was a couple years later, with the Chiefs.

by td (not verified) :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 11:21pm

San Diego is the Chiefs' other tough opponent

by Hummingbird Cyborg :: Thu, 10/17/2013 - 1:39am

DVOA values every fumble as half of a turnover, so their DVOA is actually docked for that fumble recovery rate. Alex Smith also already has a history of avoiding turnovers and they have a very good defense, so their turnover margin, while it's reasonable to expect any league leading margin to regress probably also has been fueled by the tangible strengths of the teams.

But, yeah, playing a last place schedule instead of a first place schedule is a pretty good advantage over Denver.

by BigWoody (not verified) :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 12:36am

"Doug Farrar Childhood Memories Extravaganza (DEN-SEA)"
Doug was smoking stuff as a child? Could explain a lot.

by Paul R :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 4:24am

But, like, dude, how can he remember this years' Super Bowl when it, like, hasn't even happened yet? Think about it.

by Aaron Schatz :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 10:02am

Do you like that? If you check out author bios in an old FOA, you'll see that Doug was actually born in Denver and moved to Seattle as an adult.

by Ryan D. :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 10:22am

I agree with a post from someone else from a week or two ago that proclaimed that the potential Denver-Seattle Super Bowl should be named the "Smoke-a-Bowl" since both Colorado and Washington have legalized marijuana. Aaron, please make it so.

by Insancipitory :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 10:54am

No way. "Doug Farrar Childhood Memories Extravaganza" might not roll off the tongue, but otherwise it's perfect. It's got that FO flavor.

by Paul R :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 3:06pm

Or the "Bud Bowl."
Brought to you by Visine!

The half-time show could be "The Wizard of Oz" synced up to "Dark Side of The Moon."

by BigWoody (not verified) :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 12:28pm

Sorry for the over-the-top snark. I quite enjoy Doug's writing.

by AnonymousBoob (not verified) :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 1:43am

Washington's Special Teams' rating provides anecdotal evidence that non-minimum veterans can be key cogs for ST's success. Due to the ridiculous penalties from the lockout, they have been unable to support the middle-class of veterans that can be infinitely valuable on ST's.

They weren't good last season and with some of the releases they are even worse now. Be interesting to see if they can improve next season once the cap hits are removed.

by apk3000 :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 7:47am

Eh, the Redskins have always been top heavy under Snyder. You can't really say they would've actually spent the money on vet backups.

by td (not verified) :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 2:44am

the Jaguars are merely 'bad' on offense with Justin Blackmon. I'm not sure if I'm disappointed

by td (not verified) :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 2:57am

(oh, and mjd has an enormous fork sticking out of his back)

by CBPodge :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 5:48am

I've just noticed how weirdly fantastic the NFC West is at punting. 49ers and Rams are both tied for 1st, the Cards are tied for 4th, and the Seahawks are tied for 10th.

I am also not surprised to see that the Rams are the worst in the league at punt returns, given that every return seems to be seen as an opportunity to commit a penalty.

by Anonymous Hippopotamus (not verified) :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 7:45am

The playoff odds are missing a special Super Bowl matchup.

Identity Crisis Bowl (CIN-NO)

Who Dey vs. Who Dat

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 9:47am

Shame they can't also play Jacksonville, aka "Who Cares"

by Aaron Schatz :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 10:04am

Good idea! Added for next week.

by CBPodge :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 11:38am

I'm guessing the New York/New York game has been dropped because the odds of it happening are less than 0.1%? I also assume that this is the only reason that the FishBowl (Rams V Titans - Jeff Fisher) isn't a possibility?

I'm trying to remember who in the AFC you guys thought would have a better than expected season, so that you can pair them with the Panthers in the "FO called it" Bowl. Baltimore maybe? I seem to recall the preview being basically "hey, they haven't lost that much".

by RickD :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 2:33pm

I think the Giants have already been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. #halfSerious

by Jon Goldman (not verified) :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 11:15am

Quick question: is the percentage chance of making the playoffs rounded up or down?

I'm asking because, if it's rounded up, Jacksonville has made the playoffs in less than 25 of the 50000 simulations. That's absurd for week 6.

by RickD :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 2:46pm

By "absurd" do you mean "you must be making a mistake" or just "impressively bad"?

I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the Jaguars had made the playoffs in 0 of the 50000 simulations. They are historically bad. They already have 6 losses. They play in a division that will (with high probability) go to a team with at least 9 wins (I think 10 is probably going to be needed). To get 9 wins they would have to win 9 of their next 10 games (i.e., at most one loss). The odds of that happening are minuscule. If each game were a evenly matched coin toss, the odds of that happening would be less than 1 in 1000.

by Otis Taylor89 :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 4:25pm

Yeah, they are bad, but they also had the #2 hardest schedule and they will have the #27 hardest going forward. Not having your best offensive player the 1st four games didn't do them any good. They just don't seem like they are historically bad if they have Blackmon and Lewis in the lineup as they play several "meh" teams.

by RickD :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 10:07pm

I don't know if they are historically bad. But they're 4 games behind the Colts and they're not going to catch up.

by Jon Goldman (not verified) :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 11:46pm

By absurd I mean impressively terrible. The Giants, who are also abysmal, have a .2% chance. The Jaguars may have less than a .05% chance of making the playoffs.

by hrudey (not verified) :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 4:41pm

Jacksonville is clearly ranked too high because John Elway's buck teeth would be the best offensive lineman on this team. The Colbert Report's Better Know Your Abject Failure Football Team is way better than this. If oppnoent adjusments didn't count so much teh Jagwires would rank behind Bethune-Cookman!

by CaffeineMan :: Wed, 10/16/2013 - 11:11pm


by CarlsonRJ87 (not verified) :: Thu, 10/17/2013 - 12:51pm

Am I crazy for thinking that the Packers' offense is overrated and their defense underrated by these numbers. How much of this is the result of the 49ers game?

by Emptyeye (not verified) :: Fri, 10/18/2013 - 7:21pm

I'm a bit late here, but let me try this.

Denver is clearly ranked too high because no team should ever fail to cover the spread against Jacksonville. Jacksonville! Patriots Outsiders is way better than this. This proves that Pryton Manning is a choking coker who cokes!!!

by mitch (not verified) :: Sat, 10/19/2013 - 12:19pm

Last week I explained why the Colts/Chargers line "seemed" to be way off.

This week we see other lines that "seem" to be off as well.

Regressions to the mean are coming for the Chiefs, 49ers, and a positive regression is coming for the Dolphins.

The 49ers high variance will be at work again this week.

I'd fade bothe the Chiefs and 49ers it what "appear" to be small lines and back the Dolphins in what "appears" too large a line.

Speaking of Alex Smith, he has the best record in football since the start of 2011. Better than Brady and Manning.

Seattle is clearly the best team, not Denver.

Denver's defense is very weak, they get back some players this week, we'll see if that will make a big difference, and there offense will likely regress even if the defense plays better.

Powerhouse offenses with weak defenses don't win Super Bowls.

The Patroits has 3 of the top 7 scoring offenses in NFL history with ave to below ave defenses and made just 1 SB and they lost that one in which the powerhouse offense scored just 14 points and the winning team needed only to score 17 points to beat this offensive powerhouse.

Denver's defense is far worse than those Patroit defenses.

by RickD :: Sat, 10/19/2013 - 9:34pm

"Speaking of Alex Smith, he has the best record in football since the start of 2011. Better than Brady and Manning."

If you count "getting injured and replaced" as a positive, sure.

by AnonymousQ (not verified) :: Sun, 10/20/2013 - 1:10pm

Denver has had several injuries along with the Miller suspension that has led to circumstances where we haven't seen their best defensive unit on the filed yet. In the Dallas game, Denver was w/o 5 defensive starters, with four if them being their top four defensive players (Miller, Woodyard, Bailey & Harris).

Denver's defense obviously isn't an elite defense, but I expect them to improve significantly from what we've seen through the first six games of the season. After all, they are getting Miller back, who along with Watt, is perhaps the best defensive player in NFL.

by AnonymousQ (not verified) :: Sun, 10/20/2013 - 1:10pm

Denver has had several injuries along with the Miller suspension that has led to circumstances where we haven't seen their best defensive unit on the filed yet. In the Dallas game, Denver was w/o 5 defensive starters, with four if them being their top four defensive players (Miller, Woodyard, Bailey & Harris).

Denver's defense obviously isn't an elite defense, but I expect them to improve significantly from what we've seen through the first six games of the season. After all, they are getting Miller back, who along with Watt, is perhaps the best defensive player in NFL.

by mitch (not verified) :: Sun, 10/20/2013 - 10:40am

In regards to Alex Smith being injuried and replaced, coaches make mistakes all the time with players.

Because the coaching staff made a mistake is not a negative to Smith.

Even if they found a player who is better than Smith which has not been determined yet, how is that a negative to what Smith has done, the best record in the league since 2011 ?

by mitch (not verified) :: Sun, 10/20/2013 - 10:44am

And Kap stepped onto a team that was already a proven winner, with many great players around him, and a team that just missed going to the SB when the back-up punt returner fumbled twice.

Smith took over a 2-14 team and is a huge reason they sit undefeated well into the season.

by hogan outlet (not verified) :: Mon, 01/06/2014 - 5:49pm


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