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29 Dec 2015

Week 16 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

With their huge 38-8 win over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, the Arizona Cardinals have climbed back into the No. 1 spot in the Football Outsiders DVOA ratings. But what's particularly interesting is that the Cardinals had to leapfrog their division rivals from Seattle in order to get into the top spot, setting up the first-ever "DVOA Championship Game" on Sunday..

Less than a percentage point of DVOA separates the Cardinals (34.0%) from the Seahawks (33.4%). The third-place Bengals fell back to 27.9% DVOA in their overtime loss to Denver, and it's very unlikely that either Cincinnati (or fourth-place New England) can ascend to the No. 1 spot with just one game left in the season. So Arizona's game at Seattle will determine whether Arizona finishes No. 1 for the first time or Seattle finishes No. 1 for the fourth straight season. Never before in DVOA history (back to 1989) have the top two teams entering the last week met up in the final game of the regular season. Although the "DVOA Championship Game" might be more exciting if either team knew that the "DVOA Championship Game" was a thing that exists.

This also looks like it will be the first year where the top two teams come from the same division since Dallas and Philadelphia finished 1-2 in 1992. The NFC East also had the New York Giants and Philadelphia finishing 1-2 in 1990.

Although Seattle lost the top spot in total DVOA, the Seahawks are still No. 1 in weighted DVOA this week. In fact, with Kansas City putting up a single-game DVOA of -16.8% in a close win against Cleveland, the Seahawks opened up a really huge gap in weighted DVOA between themselves and the rest of the league. Seattle is at 44.2% and Kansas City is over ten percentage points behind at 34.1%. Arizona is now third in weighted DVOA at 29.0%. The Cardinals' DVOA is sort of interesting because their season has come in three sections, with big wins early and late but a lot of close wins in the middle with unimpressive DVOA ratings. Arizona had an average 59.6% DVOA in its first five games, then averaged 4.6% DVOA in Weeks 6-12, and is back to averaging 52.1% DVOA from Week 13 until now.

Part of what makes Arizona so impressive this year is excellent depth and a well-rounded roster when it comes to every aspect of the game except special teams. The Cardinals are trying to become just the fifth team in DVOA history to finish in the top three for both offense and defense. (The others were the 2007 Colts, 1996 Packers, 1994 Cowboys, and Washington in 1991.) Arizona is also No. 1 in adjusted line yards on both offense and defense.

The NFC right now has a big three, three teams that combine to win the Super Bowl in half of our simulations, but it wasn't a good week for the third of those big three teams. The Carolina Panthers are ranked sixth, the same as last week, but they drop from 25.9% to 22.6% after losing their first game of the season to Atlanta. For a few weeks, it seems like we've been constantly trying to figure out if Carolina was the worst "whatever-and-0" team of all time, and now that discussion is over. Instead, we can say that Carolina is the worst 14-1 team of all time -- at least, they are according to DVOA. But there aren't many teams to compare them to, and this is actually a lot closer than you might think. Here are all the 14-1 teams in DVOA history:

DVOA FOR ALL 14-1 TEAMS, 1989-2015
Year Team W-L TOTAL
1991 WAS 14-1 57.9% 1 28.7% 1 -21.1% 3 8.1% 1
2004 PIT 14-1 40.7% 1 18.8% 6 -20.9% 2 1.0% 13
2011 GB 14-1 26.8% 1 31.9% 2 7.6% 24 2.5% 6
1998 MIN 14-1 24.8% 4 25.4% 3 1.4% 17 0.7% 17
2009 IND 14-1 23.0% 7 20.4% 5 -3.9% 9 -1.3% 22
2015 CAR 14-1 22.6% 6 7.5% 9 -18.1% 2 -3.0% 26

It's a little surprising that only half of the 14-1 teams led the league in DVOA... or were even in the top three. I've written a few times about the surprising ratings for the 1998 Vikings, who somehow don't rate as the top offense in the league by DVOA despite setting all kinds of NFL records. The 2009 Colts, of course, sat their starters with 20 minutes left in their Week 16 game against the Jets and gave up on trying for a perfect regular season. That dropped their DVOA somewhat, but it wasn't even in the top three when they were 14-0. (They had 27.1% DVOA going into Week 16, which ranked fourth at the time.)

Carolina would fit into history even better if they had just lost one of their other close games and were 13-2 right now, because they absolutely would not be the worst 13-2 team in DVOA history. Six different teams since 1989 have been 13-2 with DVOA ratings below 20%:

Year Team W-L DVOA
1990 SF 13-2 19.9%
1991 BUF 13-2 19.4%
2003 NE 13-2 17.0%
1998 ATL 13-2 16.3%
2012 ATL 13-2 11.6%
1999 IND 13-2 7.9%

Finally this week, here's another update on the best and worst defenses in DVOA history. The Broncos should finish in the all-time top ten unless San Diego has a surprise breakout game against them in Week 17. As for the Saints, they are actually getting worse, not better. There are only eight games this season with a single-game defensive DVOA above 50%. The Saints have three of them including the last two games in a row. But the race to finish as the worst defensive DVOA in history is tight because the Saints' competition was equally terrible at the end of the season. The 2000 Minnesota Vikings allowed 104 points over their final three games of the regular season (not to mention another 41 points when they got schlonged by the Giants in the 2000 NFC Championship Game). The magic number that the Saints are shooting for here is 26.0%, which was Minnesota's final defensive DVOA for the 2000 season. Come on guys, I know you can beat that. I'm pretty sure Julio Jones is going to help.

THROUGH WEEK 16, 1989-2015
THROUGH WEEK 16, 1989-2015
Year Team W-L DVOA x Year Team W-L DVOA
1991 PHI 9-6 -41.1% x 2015 NO 6-9 27.2%
2002 TB 11-4 -32.1% x 2000 MIN 11-4 26.8%
2012 CHI 9-6 -27.7% x 2008 DET 0-15 24.7%
2004 BUF 9-6 -27.2% x 1999 CLE 2-14 22.6%
2015 DEN 10-4 -26.9% x 1992 ATL 6-9 21.9%
1995 SF 11-4 -26.9% x 2004 MIN 8-7 21.1%
2008 BAL 10-5 -26.3% x 1996 ATL 3-12 21.1%
1997 SF 13-2 -26.1% x 2004 SF 2-13 20.2%
2008 PIT 11-4 -26.0% x 2005 HOU 2-13 20.1%
1990 PIT 9-6 -25.8% x 2001 ARI 7-8 20.0%
1998 MIA 10-5 -25.7% x 2001 MIN 5-10 20.0%
2000 BAL 11-4 -24.8% x 2000 ARI 3-12 19.9%

* * * * *

Once again in 2015, we have teamed up with EA Sports to bring Football Outsiders-branded player content to Madden 16 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 DVOA and DYAR. Others will be under-the-radar players who only stood out with advanced stats. 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. We will also tweet out images of these players from the @fboutsiders Twitter account on most Fridays. One player each week will only be available for 24 hours from the point these players enter packs on Friday.

The Football Outsiders stars for Week 16 are:

  • ROLB Sean Lee, DAL (24-HOUR HERO): 15 combined tackles, 11 of which were successful by FO baselines. Two run TFL, two more run stuffs for 0 yards, plus a sack.
  • WR Michael Floyd, ARI: No. 4 WR of Week 16 with 44 DYAR (6-for-8, 111 yards).
  • LE William Hayes, STL: 9 combined tackles, 3 sacks, 6 QB hits.
  • RT Mitchell Schwartz, CLE: Browns gained 68 yards on 7 carries to the right side, also no sacks allowed.
  • K Blair Walsh, MIN: 5-for-5 on field goals in bitter cold weather, with average kickoff returned to the 22.

* * * * *

All stats pages are now updated with Week 16 information (or will be soon) including FO Premium, snap counts and playoff odds. You can also check out further commentary on our playoff odds report at ESPN Insider.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through 16 weeks of 2015, 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. As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE. 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.

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 ARI 34.0% 3 29.0% 3 13-2 18.6% 2 -17.4% 3 -2.0% 22
2 SEA 33.4% 1 44.2% 1 9-6 17.8% 4 -12.4% 4 3.2% 6
3 CIN 27.9% 2 24.3% 5 11-4 18.4% 3 -7.4% 8 2.0% 10
4 NE 26.9% 4 21.6% 7 12-3 17.2% 5 -5.2% 11 4.6% 3
5 KC 24.9% 5 34.1% 2 10-5 11.3% 6 -10.9% 7 2.7% 8
6 CAR 22.6% 6 25.5% 4 14-1 7.5% 9 -18.1% 2 -3.0% 26
7 PIT 20.5% 7 24.2% 6 9-6 18.9% 1 -1.1% 14 0.5% 14
8 DEN 18.3% 8 16.3% 8 11-4 -8.8% 24 -26.9% 1 0.2% 17
9 NYJ 12.5% 10 12.4% 10 10-5 2.7% 12 -12.4% 5 -2.5% 23
10 GB 10.0% 9 -2.1% 18 10-5 3.2% 11 -6.4% 9 0.4% 15
11 MIN 6.3% 11 14.4% 9 10-5 1.4% 14 -0.9% 15 4.0% 4
12 BUF 1.1% 13 0.0% 17 7-8 10.6% 7 10.7% 29 1.2% 13
13 OAK 1.0% 12 1.0% 16 7-8 -0.5% 17 -1.5% 12 0.0% 19
14 WAS 0.6% 15 7.1% 11 8-7 1.6% 13 4.2% 20 3.2% 5
15 STL -0.9% 17 -5.5% 20 7-8 -15.8% 29 -12.1% 6 2.8% 7
16 DET -0.9% 14 4.2% 12 6-9 0.0% 16 2.5% 18 1.6% 12
17 BAL -3.2% 18 -4.2% 19 5-10 -5.6% 21 4.5% 21 6.9% 1
18 CHI -4.8% 19 3.6% 13 6-9 7.3% 10 9.5% 25 -2.6% 25
19 HOU -6.5% 23 2.3% 14 8-7 -7.8% 23 -6.4% 10 -5.1% 31
20 NYG -7.5% 16 -8.2% 21 6-9 -3.6% 20 8.8% 24 4.9% 2
21 TB -7.7% 20 1.3% 15 6-9 -1.4% 18 1.6% 17 -4.6% 30
22 PHI -11.8% 21 -15.1% 24 6-9 -13.1% 27 0.9% 16 2.1% 9
23 JAC -12.5% 22 -12.3% 22 5-10 -1.6% 19 9.8% 27 -1.1% 20
24 ATL -14.3% 24 -20.5% 27 8-7 -7.0% 22 5.6% 22 -1.7% 21
25 SD -14.8% 25 -15.5% 25 4-11 0.7% 15 9.8% 28 -5.7% 32
26 IND -15.5% 27 -14.4% 23 7-8 -17.0% 31 -1.5% 13 0.1% 18
27 DAL -19.0% 26 -19.3% 26 4-11 -17.5% 32 3.3% 19 1.8% 11
28 NO -21.0% 28 -24.0% 29 6-9 10.1% 8 27.2% 32 -3.9% 27
29 CLE -21.1% 31 -22.0% 28 3-12 -10.0% 25 11.3% 31 0.3% 16
30 MIA -23.7% 29 -24.2% 31 5-10 -10.2% 26 10.9% 30 -2.6% 24
31 TEN -26.3% 30 -31.1% 32 3-12 -16.1% 30 6.2% 23 -4.0% 29
32 SF -29.0% 32 -24.2% 30 4-11 -15.5% 28 9.6% 26 -3.9% 28
  • 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 ARI 34.0% 13-2 36.8% 11.8 1 -1.6% 18 33.4% 2 16.3% 23
2 SEA 33.4% 9-6 28.7% 11.4 2 0.8% 15 34.0% 1 11.9% 15
3 CIN 27.9% 11-4 22.9% 11.1 4 3.8% 11 -3.2% 17 9.6% 11
4 NE 26.9% 12-3 28.4% 11.3 3 -3.7% 23 -23.7% 30 7.1% 4
5 KC 24.9% 10-5 24.7% 10.4 5 2.5% 14 1.0% 13 18.5% 29
6 CAR 22.6% 14-1 29.2% 10.0 6 -8.9% 31 -7.7% 21 13.7% 20
7 PIT 20.5% 9-6 17.4% 10.0 8 7.1% 4 -21.1% 29 10.0% 12
8 DEN 18.3% 11-4 17.8% 10.0 7 5.5% 6 -14.8% 25 11.7% 14
9 NYJ 12.5% 10-5 20.9% 9.5 9 -7.4% 28 1.1% 12 10.8% 13
10 GB 10.0% 10-5 6.9% 9.3 10 4.4% 8 6.3% 11 17.6% 27
11 MIN 6.3% 10-5 5.0% 8.9 11 2.9% 13 10.0% 10 18.7% 30
12 BUF 1.1% 7-8 6.5% 7.6 13 -1.8% 19 12.5% 9 9.4% 9
13 OAK 1.0% 7-8 2.5% 7.1 17 3.5% 12 24.9% 5 9.6% 10
14 WAS 0.6% 8-7 1.7% 7.3 14 -4.5% 25 -19.0% 27 17.5% 26
15 STL -0.9% 7-8 -9.5% 7.9 12 8.9% 2 -29.0% 32 13.0% 18
16 DET -0.9% 6-9 -7.7% 6.7 19 4.1% 9 -4.8% 18 15.0% 21
17 BAL -3.2% 5-10 -4.4% 7.2 16 3.8% 10 27.9% 3 4.1% 1
18 CHI -4.8% 6-9 -9.6% 6.5 20 6.1% 5 -0.9% 16 8.5% 6
19 HOU -6.5% 8-7 -2.7% 7.2 15 -3.1% 21 -12.5% 23 18.0% 28
20 NYG -7.5% 6-9 -4.7% 7.0 18 -5.0% 26 -11.8% 22 13.6% 19
21 TB -7.7% 6-9 -4.7% 6.4 21 -10.2% 32 22.6% 6 17.3% 25
22 PHI -11.8% 6-9 -14.2% 6.2 22 -1.0% 17 -7.5% 20 19.8% 31
23 JAC -12.5% 5-10 -5.9% 5.7 25 -7.4% 29 -6.5% 19 8.1% 5
24 ATL -14.3% 8-7 -7.9% 5.9 23 -7.5% 30 -21.0% 28 7.1% 3
25 SD -14.8% 4-11 -16.6% 5.8 24 4.6% 7 18.3% 8 8.7% 7
26 IND -15.5% 7-8 -17.8% 4.6 27 -1.9% 20 -26.3% 31 11.9% 16
27 DAL -19.0% 4-11 -19.1% 3.9 31 0.1% 16 0.6% 14 4.2% 2
28 NO -21.0% 6-9 -17.1% 4.3 30 -3.3% 22 -14.3% 24 12.5% 17
29 CLE -21.1% 3-12 -27.3% 4.7 26 8.2% 3 20.5% 7 8.7% 8
30 MIA -23.7% 5-10 -18.7% 4.4 29 -4.2% 24 26.9% 4 21.0% 32
31 TEN -26.3% 3-12 -26.3% 4.4 28 -5.1% 27 -15.5% 26 16.9% 24
32 SF -29.0% 4-11 -33.3% 3.6 32 9.8% 1 -0.9% 15 15.5% 22

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 29 Dec 2015

71 comments, Last at 04 Jan 2016, 7:37pm by DezBailey


by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 8:37pm

What's the best head coaching job likely to open up next week? Outside of the Giants, most of the teams that might be looking for a new coach seem to have crappy ownership, which really drives home how high a percentage of NFL owners are crappy at it. If Caldwell gets axed, I really think Madam Ford might be the best person from that family to ever run things, and I don't think Stafford is at all out of time to become a top notch qb.

Holy Sh*t, Captain Chip just got fired. Didn't see that coming until next week. I bet Lurie got wind that The Chipster's agent was really actively shopping him for college jobs, and decided to get him out of the building A.S.A.P.. Not a bad job at all, really, assuming Lurie hires a good GM.

by RickD :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 8:37pm

As noted below, Chip Kelly was just fired.

Though that job would be more appealing if Kelly hadn't thrown away so much talent in the past three years.

by tuluse :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 8:39pm

Surely the Colts and Titans have to be attractive opportunities. Young good QBs, and what should be a reasonably patient fanbase.

by Hurt Bones :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 8:43pm

Depends whether Chip insists on personnel control. He might get that in Tennessee but doubtful in Indy.

by tuluse :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 8:49pm

I was responding in terms of coaching jobs I'd want as a prospective candidate, not if I was a crazy man who wants to systematically dismantle playoff teams.

by Hurt Bones :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 8:51pm


by Sixknots :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 10:18pm

No owner in his right mind* will ever again give Chipper a HC job in the NFL with personnel control. Chip will be coaching at USC or Texas next year.

* Irsay, uggh hmmm?

by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 8:54pm

If Irsay gets rid of Grigson, and replaces him with somebody good, then coaching the Colts might be a good job. Otherwise, you have a problematic GM, a goof of an owner, and perhaps an unhappy very talented qb entering what should be bis peak years.

I don't know enough about the heirs of Bud Adams to have an opinion, but if they are like Bud, that's an issue.

by Paul R :: Wed, 12/30/2015 - 12:46am

Chip Kelley is too fancy-pants razzle-dazzle for us Hoosiers. Tom Coughlin would be a good fit. Kindly grandfather-type. Plus he's coached a Manning. That's gold.

by Kal :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 10:40pm

Highly unlikely, as Kelly repeatedly has said he wants to be in the NFL.

People want him back in college. Kelly doesn't want to go there. And pretty unlikely he will if he wants to. Lots of owners will give him a shot in the NFL.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 10:45pm

If I wanted to maximize my leverage back into the college game, that is exactly what I would be saying. He well could be sincere with that statement, but there is no real reason to think it is the case, as opposed to the opposite. Ask Nick Saban, among others.

by Kal :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 11:01pm

I suppose. Saban wasn't in the NFL for 3 years. Saban won a championship in college and Kelly didn't. Kelly isn't the control freak that Saban is.

And Kelly hated parts of college. He hated the boosters. He hated recruiting. Refused to do them. I understand that the 'failed nfl goes back to college' thing is strong, but Kelly did a lot better in his first NFL stint than belichick or Carroll did.

And really, what leverage does he need in college? Any college would basically give what ever Kelly wants. He has all the leverage he needs. Lying isn't something Kelly typically does, and there's no good reason to do it now.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 11:12pm

Neither you or I know Kelly well enough to have any opinion on his care with the facts. Like I said, you well may be right, but the pronouncements of football coaches, as they pertain to their career ambitions, should be given, as a general rule, as much weight as the assertions made by a U.S. Senator with 7 bourbons in him.

by mehllageman56 :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 11:55pm

He's correct that Kelly hated dealing with boosters in college. Some of the boosters at U of O were happy when he left, because they'd get more access to the program.

by Kal :: Wed, 12/30/2015 - 2:25pm

I don't know for certain - but there is a lot of evidence against your position. It's certainly possible that Kelly has been attempting to maximize his ability to get a great job in college (though the great jobs have already been filled, so he blew that). It's possible that he wants to return to college despite having many opportunities to do so and not capitalizing on them + saying publicly that he doesn't want to + having multiple accounts of him hating certain parts of the college coaching system.

Those things are possible. They are not likely. What is more likely, IMO, is that he wants to be a NFL coach, is a fairly good NFL coach (took the 29th rated offense and turned it into the 4th rated offense with zero change in personnel, had a top ten offense with Foles and Sanchez and Vick as his QBs), and is going to be a NFL coach given that there are going to be like 14 head coaching openings in about 5 days.

by mehllageman56 :: Thu, 12/31/2015 - 2:41pm

Pretty much agree with this, but it has to be stated that Kelly also wants the control that Belichick gets in New England, and that Parcells got later on in New York and Dallas. Whatever team hires him will have to have a strong general manager who can work with him, because Kelly has shown he is not ready to be a successful general manager in the league. If a team hires him capitulates and gives him the personnel control he had in Philly, it will backfire and Kelly will be out of the league in a few years.

by Denverite :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 8:25pm

Odd that the Broncos' defense got worse despite holding the #3 offense by DVOA to 294 yards and 17 points (with an extra OT drive, to boot).

I'm guessing there was a pretty significant adjustment for McCarron playing?

by poplar cove :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 8:42pm

I apologize if I'm wrong but I'm fairly certain dvoa doesn't adjust for who played quarterback in a game......I do think that they will run playoff simulations with different qb scenarios though.

by Jerry :: Wed, 12/30/2015 - 12:12am

You're right. DVOA just looks at the team, not the individual players.

by dank067 :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 9:00pm

The Bengals were quite efficient in the first half, converted a bunch of third downs, and did get those two touchdowns on three drives—Denver's defensive DVOA for the first half of that game was probably pretty poor. Despite dominating the second half and OT, it probably just got the defense back to average or just above-average for the game.

by Dan :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 9:09pm

The Bengals only had 10 drives, which is slightly below the average number, and they missed a FG. Call it 19 points expected with average FG kicking; that would put them at 1.9 points per drive which would only be about the 13th or 14th best defense by drive stats.

Denver also had no interceptions and only 1 forced fumble (actually, I'm not sure if DVOA even gives the defense credit for a botched snap).

by Denverite :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 9:36pm


by tuluse :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 11:12pm

Nice work Dan. Drive stats are really nice for understanding how a game actually played out compared to totals or per play even.

by Aaron Schatz :: Wed, 12/30/2015 - 1:08pm

Denver gets no credit for the botched snap. Cincinnati takes a hit to offensive DVOA without Denver getting credit on defense.

by wyrob :: Sat, 01/02/2016 - 9:43pm

Bengals got away with a fumble on the play before. In fact, their O was totally ineffective after the half. So, having a defender deep in the backfield to cover a botched snap in favor of Denver didn't seem flukey at all.

by Hummingbird Cyborg :: Wed, 12/30/2015 - 1:26am

The defensive performance was still pretty good and above average overall despite how well the Bengals played in the first half. It was not to Denver's usual standard, but all the same, I think that part of the reason that Denver's rating changed was because of how opponent adjustments affected other teams. For example, I imagine that Green Bay's rating dropped enough following their disaster to decrease Denver's rating as well. Sometimes that explains shifts more than the most recent game.

by Duff Soviet Union :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 8:31pm

Chip Kelly's just been fired.

by Thok :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 8:35pm

Taking a quick look at the playoff odds: how does Indianapolis have even a 0.1% odds of making the playoffs. (Yes, I know that they make it in if 9 games go their way. That's already a 1/512 chance if you assume the games are a coin flip, when something like 6 of those games are biased in the wrong way. Oh and Indy is literally picking QB's off the street.)

I realized I asked about Atlanta's miniscule playoff odds last week and wondered what that 0.0% meant, but honestly Atlanta was in better shape last week than Indianapolis is this week.

by RickD :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 9:30pm

If I use the probabilities from 538, it comes to 0.000232

Three of the results needed are very likely (Colts over Titans, Steelers over Browns, and Broncos over Chargers). By which I mean ~80%.

Falcons over Saints is also a decent bet at 69%.

And even Buffalo has better than even odds of winning, at 54%.

The problem is the other four desired results (Jax over Hou, Mia over NE, Bal over Cin, and Oak over KC) are in the low 20% or in the teens.

If FO's modeling has game probabilities closer to the middle, the product would likely be higher.

by Richie :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 9:41pm

Crazy that an NFC game (Falcons-Saints) actually impacts the Colts. I guess a Falcons win would help the Colts' strength of victory (tiebreaker #5)?

by techvet :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 9:55pm

Before the Broncos-Bengals game, it was roughly 3300-1 by one calculation.

by Aaron Schatz :: Wed, 12/30/2015 - 1:12pm

Two notes on this. First, whoops, it's an error. Indianapolis makes it on 6 of 25,000 simulations, which is actually 0.02 percent. I had to manually make the change and I marked down 0.06 percent by accident, which then turned into 0.1 percent. Oops.

Second, the simulation still was programmed to give Andrew Luck a chance of coming back in Week 17, which we now know is not going to happen. Without that, I assume Indianapolis itself loses more often in Week 17.

Anyway, the general point still stands, which is that it is almost impossible.

by Thok :: Wed, 12/30/2015 - 3:48pm

Thanks for the reply. My comment isn't meant to be a complaint, but an idiot check for what computations are being done behind the scenes. For comparison, what did the simulations think of Atlanta's playoffs odds last week (obviously, they are 0% now)?

by DezBailey :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 9:51pm

The Week 16 BES Rankings went out earlier today - http://besreport.com/week-16-bes-rankings/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/besreport/posts/918411314933717

The BES and DVOA agree on the Cardinals at #1 but have the Panthers at #2, Seahawks at #3, and Jets at #4 with the Chiefs rounding out the Top-5. The Redskins are a new member in the BES top-10 this week at #9 after clinching the AFC East.

BES and DVOA widely disagree on the Patriots. They've taken a significant fall in BES Overall and BES Offense over the last few weeks, ranking 15th and 16th in those categories respectively.

In fact, the BES had the Jets ranked higher than the Patriots headed into Week 16 - http://besreport.com/week-15-bes-rankings/

by mehllageman56 :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 10:11pm

Like the sound of that as a Jets fan, but there's no way that ranking represents the strength of each team accurately.

by DezBailey :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 10:25pm

There's definitely some debatable slotting in the BES rankings but they were 11-5 the last two weeks so there's definitely some accuracy to acknowledge. I'd argue the BES measures momentum (or at least attempts to) more than anything else. The Pats at #15 is the big head-scratcher for me this week.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 10:41pm

Well, no. A chicken at a state fair booth, pecking at one of two team symbols placed in front of the might go 11-5 for two weeks, without us reasonably thinking that we have found the source of great wealth, via prognosticating fowl. After all, when your grandma hits on a 67-1 shot, when she watches the ponies gallop her one Sunday a year at the track, you don't tell your boss the next morning that he is a stupid oaf, and he can't fire you, because you quit. At least I hope you don't.

by DezBailey :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 11:06pm

HA! Well that would depend on how much grandma raked in. Either way, your point is valid and I suppose you're right. Still, I'm curious how accurate the BES will be in Week 17 compared to last year in terms of the postseason - https://www.facebook.com/besreport/posts/744734118968105:0

You see the Pack and Ravens ranked above the Pats and Seahawks. Remember how problematic the Pack and Ravens were to overcome en route to the Super Bowl? Again the BES isn't perfect but it has some merit in terms of gauging team momentum/strength.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 11:15pm

I wish you well in your travels, grasshopper.

by Jerry P. :: Wed, 12/30/2015 - 1:32am

I like Desmond Bailey's rankings. I like that he challenges DVOA. We need more advanced stats. We should be cranking out new stats as fast as FanGraphs is for baseball. Then, we make them fight each other because only one thing can ever be right.

Next year, starting in week 10 (when everyone has at least 8 games in) we should pit DVOA vs Forest Index vs BES Rankings vs picking all home teams vs picking all teams favored by Vegas vs national media talking heads vs Will's state fair chicken (you know it's free range cause Will hates 'roid cheaters) vs Raiderjoe.

My money is on Vegas and Raiderjoe minus his Raider's picks mopping the floor with the lot of you with Bailey and Forest Index making a respectable showing. DVOA, "home teams win again!" and that tasty all natural chicken will be floating in the middle while the national media that would rather be watching Arena League but can't admit it is pulling up the far rear talking about dumb shit like passing.

Why do you people make fun of American Hero Mike Martz if you like passing so much, anyway? It kills you that he and Andy Reid had the courage to pass 70% of the time before it was trendy. Before ESPN told you all that matters is passing. That's why. Offense still sucks, though.

He has the Redskins over GB which is basically the future, Will, when GB gets fisted by your boys in purple and then limps into DC to get scalped by the Redskins. In the year 2016 no less. I guess history will have to wait another year to be on the right side!

I've been watching Des pimp his wares here all season and wanted to let him know he's got one guy looking at both DVOA and his stuff. Rams and Niners need to trade spots, though. I look forward to checking each week next season to see how it matches up with the stuff here week in week out.

by Hummingbird Cyborg :: Wed, 12/30/2015 - 3:17am

I checked out his site when I saw his first post and read up on his metrics. My opinion is that he has just matched conventional wisdom of things that correlate well with victories such as winning the turnover battle without considering how well they predict future success.

As such, I don't have a reason to believe them to be particularly predictive. I'd be woo'd by some good thoughtful analysis as I was by Football Outsiders, Advanced NFL Stats, ANY/A, etc.

I do appreciate his enthusiasm and it'd be awesome if in a year or two he's developed an awesome new metric.

by justanothersteve :: Thu, 12/31/2015 - 12:26am

I'd ask you if I could have whatever drugs you're on, but my job is subject to random drug tests and it wouldn't surprise me if I had to "randomly" pee in a bottle when I return from my vacation next week.

by DezBailey :: Sat, 01/02/2016 - 10:09pm

Haha!Thanx Jerry! I appreciate it man!

by DezBailey :: Sun, 01/03/2016 - 9:05pm

Will, that Chicken at the state fair is one fire because it looks like a third consecutive week that the BES will go 11-5 at worse...12-4 if the Packers beat the Vikings on SNF.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 01/04/2016 - 2:35am

Lemme know when BES is 330-150.

by DezBailey :: Mon, 01/04/2016 - 7:37pm

Sure thing. I'll have Granny call ya from the race track.

by Never Surrender :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 10:09pm

"This also looks like it will be the first year where the top two teams come from the same division since Dallas and Philadelphia finished 1-2 in 1992. The NFC East also had the New York Giants and Philadelphia finishing 1-2 in 1990."

And in both those seasons, the Redskins were ranked fifth.

One, two, and five. Wow!

by mehllageman56 :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 10:14pm

In 2004 the AFC East had the 2,3, and 4 spots, with Buffalo at 3 and the Jets at 4. Plus, the Pats defeated the no. 1 team en route to a championship. The Steelers did knock the Bills and Jets out of the playoffs, though.

by lokiwi :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 11:06pm

Green Bay has an even bigger differential between its total DVOA and weighted DVOA than Seattle (but obviously in the other direction). Any idea where that dropoff rates historically for what was a top 5 team at the halfway point?

by theslothook :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 11:33pm

I suspect a season where someone lost their qb is going to be topping that list. Cutler's midseason replacement of caleb hanie instantly comes to mind.

by lokiwi :: Wed, 12/30/2015 - 12:02am

Probably, but I can't think of many teams that were great (like top-5) through week 9 and subsequently lost their QB. In your Bears example, they were only 13th in week 9 and finished 15th (20th weighted, but only -2% differential).

Green Bay losing Rodgers in 2013 is closer, but even then the differential between total DVOA and weighted (-7.4%) is not as large as this year. Mostly because their total DVOA fell so far, where as this year it has stayed positive while weighted has sank like a rock.

by lokiwi :: Wed, 12/30/2015 - 2:35am

So, it does not appear to be a significant outlier historically, but it is one of the highest differentials. Most of the past 15 seasons have had at least 1 team with a negative differential around -10%. There are a few larger negative differentials at the bottom of the DVOA tables, but a bad team becoming terrible isn't a very interesting development.

The biggest gap I found was 2011 Buffalo, with a -17% differential. Went from a top-3 5-2 team to a 6-10 dud ranked 28th in weighted DVOA. Another interesting team was 2001 Philly, which finished first in total DVOA but was just 10th in weighted with a -12% differential. Still made the NFC Championship beating teams that finished hot, so who knows if it means anything.

by PirateFreedom :: Tue, 12/29/2015 - 11:49pm

a supporter for making "schlonged" cromulent appears.
I wonder if that will be a quyzbuk for spell checkers

by medelste :: Wed, 12/30/2015 - 10:49am


+1 for using the word "schlonged" correctly in a sentence

+1 for "Although the 'DVOA Championship Game' might be more exciting if either team knew that the 'DVOA Championship Game' was a thing that exists

by usernaim250 :: Wed, 12/30/2015 - 3:21am

I guess all the "Rob Ryan is the worst" critics here have lost some ammo.

And I continue to be amazed that a guy who has built up as much credibility as Chip Kelly is treated like an idiot. He did not dismantle a playoff team. In the first place, he made a mediocre roster that had gotten a very good and consistently winning coach fired into a playoff level club. To the extent he made mistakes as GM, which he did, he should be given the benefit of the doubt that he can correct them.

Let's examine his sins.

a) Desean Jackson: he judged the fragile wr not worth the fare and prioritized Maclin. A good decision. Would anyone have traded for him? Doubtful.
b) Maclin: he wanted to go with Reid. Kelly didn't jettison him. Tough break.
c) Foles: The guy couldn't even hold the Rams job. He had a very lucky streak on an offense with tremendous weapons and is a borderline starter over the long haul. You can argue that Kelly could have squeezed more out of him. But ultimately the talent evaluation was correct. I'd argue it's more likely Kelly learns how to bargain than that mediocre GMs learn to evaluate.
d) Bradford: the sticker shock was high, but so was the ceiling, and the commitment was nil. This was a challenge trade where two teams tried out their counterparts' discard. Turns out neither turned trash into treasure. Kelly gave up the 2nd rounder, but that was the going rate for Bradford according to the rumors.
e) McCoy: He was too expensive according to conventional wisdom of advanced football thinkers. McCoy for Matthews, Gore, and Alonso was a credible plan. Tough break it didn't work out.
f) Murray: This was the true blunder. When the plan fell through, the ad lib seemed utterly out of character.
g) The guards: Another blunder. Note however that Mathis was valued by the league below what the Eagles owed him.
h) The secondary: This was poor to start so can't be considered part of "dismantling a playoff team." And it's easy to overpay in a traditionally under stocked position group on the free agent market. Still the evaluations here were poor.

Add it all up and it's a mixed bag pushed negative by some bad luck. If Gore had signed as he promised we probably wouldn't be here. But I see no reason other than hazing the new guy to treat Kelly like an idiot GM.

Seems like the same broad brush that condemned Shanahan's personnel acumen. True, he was flawed. But nonetheless his mid to late round picks of Kirk Cousins, Jordan Reed, Alfred Morris, Tom Compton, Josh LeRibeus, and Chris Thompson and his (maligned at the time) signing of Pierre Garçon form the core (with his first rounder Trent Williams) of a a decent offense, and even his failed picks and pickups like David Amerson, Bacari Rambo, and EJ Biggers start or contribute elsewhere.

I guess it's just the simplistic bipolar thinking so common today which demands everything be seen as totally awesome or complete crap.

by big10freak :: Wed, 12/30/2015 - 9:50am

Boy is Green Bay staggering at the end of the season when the history of McCarthy teams has been to finish fairly strong.

I know Ted and Mike made changes after the championship game ugliness. One has to wonder what will happen once this season ends which by all signs is going to happen sooner rather than later.

It's telling that fans are doing a lot of wishcasting on how things can change quickly if "a" were to happen.

by intel_chris :: Wed, 12/30/2015 - 11:08am

As a bandwagon fan of AZ and still fan of DEN, I'd be curious about the odds of a "Plummer memorial bowl" between AZ and DEN.

by medelste :: Wed, 12/30/2015 - 11:11am

In wide receiver DVOA (minimum 50 passes), Seattle has the top 2 receivers and 3 of the top 6! Wow.

Doug Baldwin #1 @ 41.6% DVOA
Tyler Locket #2 @ 37.4% DVOA
Jermaine Kearse #6 @ 28.3% DVOA


Any theories to explain why?

by gomer_rs :: Wed, 12/30/2015 - 12:43pm

All three in are in the top-10 for catch percentage?

I remember when they were the Sea-chickens.

by tuluse :: Wed, 12/30/2015 - 12:49pm

Russel Wilson is quite good. He also takes sacks instead of throwing up prayers, this makes his receivers look better (for the opposite effect see Ryan Fitzpatrick force feeding Brandon Marshall the ball).

The receivers are good themselves.

The Seahawks throw fewer passes than most teams. It's well established in basketball that there is a negative correlation between usage and efficiency.

by t.d. :: Wed, 12/30/2015 - 11:45am

That 2009 Colts team was awful. It was the closest I've seen a quarterback get to dragging a terrible team to a championship. Man, Arians has had a case to be coach of the year four years running. I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it, and 14-2 in /this/ NFC West (and against the AFC's best division in interconference play) would be a hell of an accomplishment (though the gm deserves a ton of credit, too)

by Steve in WI :: Wed, 12/30/2015 - 2:21pm

The Bears offense ranked 10th in DVOA surprises me, as they have seemed to be pretty mediocre at best. Of course the injuries have hurt, but they don't get a DVOA bonus for having to put terrible receivers out there.

by tuluse :: Wed, 12/30/2015 - 2:38pm

10th isn't *that* good, but you're probably mostly suffering from confirmation bias and expectations that can't really be met.

One thing is that the Bears are very good at avoiding turnovers. They're only 17th in yards per drive, but 9th in TOS/drive. Another thing is that they've faced a *very* difficult schedule. Offensive VOA is 3% while DVOA is 7.3%. A quick look through the table, and it looks like only Seattle and Tampa Bay have bigger adjustments. So looking mediocre against a very good defense, is well, about 10th.

by Bombercules :: Wed, 12/30/2015 - 5:48pm

So...is there a strong case for throwing the Sunday night game? Minnesota will face Seattle in the playoffs with a win, regardless of Seattle's outcome. Green Bay could also face Seattle with a win depending on the outcome of Seattle's game. It would never realistically happen, and there are future implications that come with dropping down 2 or 3 seeds, but I thought it was an interesting dilemma.

by jds :: Thu, 12/31/2015 - 10:19am

If you are the Vikings, and remember that Seahawks game, there has to be a strong inclination to letting the Pack win on Sunday.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 12/31/2015 - 10:52am

If you are a Viking, you are a professional athlete, competing at the most elite of levels. If you are on the field, you have to be maximizing your chance to win on Sunday, and if you are managing the athletes, you simply can't sell the idea, to the athletes, that this a game where winning isn't the primary goal, like a team that has wrapped up it's seeding.

by BJR :: Thu, 12/31/2015 - 11:29am

And a home playoff game is a prestigious (not to mention profitable) event. The Vikings haven't had one since 2009. I can't imagine the fan-base or the owners reacting happily to that opportunity being tossed away.

by Arkaein :: Thu, 12/31/2015 - 11:40am

I think both teams will be playing for the win, but will be a bit more conservative than usual in both usage of injured players and game planning.

Although both teams know each other quite well at this point, they both surely have a few surprises saved up to exploit each other's weaknesses, and would not want to give them away with a possible rematch the next week.

And regardless of matchup, I think both teams would prefer to host a playoff game. Home field advantage is real, and Washington has been quite good at home themselves, so at least for the Packers, throwing away a home game for a 50-50 shot at travelling to Washington instead of hosting Seattle looks pretty dubious.

by morganja :: Wed, 12/30/2015 - 9:59pm

Congrats to Cam Newton! Now we know why he was off in the Falcons game. Probably hadn't slept in three days.

by andr3w321 :: Fri, 01/01/2016 - 1:27am

You may want to correct the html on this page. On line 447 there is a mistaken closing body and html tag.

by mitch :: Fri, 01/01/2016 - 9:02am

In regards to wieghted DVOA or the entire season DVOA, FO did this research years ago and found DVOA over the entire season was a better predictor of playoff games.

Chances are you can google it and find the research.

Not sure why they have not re-done the research or maybe they have but aren't saying.