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26 Dec 2017

Week 16 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

By the time we get to Week 16, movement in the DVOA ratings is not necessarily going to lead to movement in the DVOA rankings. That's the case this week, as the Los Angeles Rams drop slightly from 38.0% to 36.0% but remain in the top spot in both full-season and weighted DVOA. We're still watching to see if they can become just the sixth team in DVOA history to finish the year in the top five for all three phases of the game. This week, the Rams' offensive DVOA climbed back into the top five, and their defensive DVOA dropped slightly to fall out of the top five.

New Orleans stays steady at No. 2 this week -- rounded to a tenth of a percent, their DVOA is the same as it was a week ago. In the rest of the top ten, we see Pittsburgh, Minnesota, and New England move up while Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Jacksonville move down.

Pittsburgh moves up two spots to No. 3 after the best single performance any team has had this year, with 106.4% DVOA. Now, of course, that's slightly affected by the fact that the Houston opponent adjustments are a little wonky, incorporating six games of Deshaun Watson and nine games of much worse quarterbacks. But still, that 34-6 win was a Christmas ass-whippin'. So much for Pittsburgh's problems playing down to bad teams on the road.

Week 16 brought us the best single game of the season for both of the AFC's top teams. The Patriots had 64.4% for their win over Buffalo, narrowly ahead of 61.4% from Week 10's win in Denver. The Patriots' win probably didn't seem quite that good, for many reasons: the overturned Kelvin Benjamin touchdown, the pick-six that doesn't hurt DVOA as much as it hurts a team's chances of winning the game, and the fact the Patriots turned on the afterburners and ran away after halftime. They were especially good in the fourth quarter. On offense, the Patriots went from 30.2% DVOA through the third quarter to 122.4% DVOA in the fourth quarter, averaging 7.9 yards and getting at least half the needed yards on 14 of 17 plays. On defense, the Patriots went from 12.8% DVOA through the third quarter to -62.3% DVOA in the fourth quarter, allowing just 1.9 yards per play with more than five yards on just two of 16 plays and a forced fumble that the Bills recovered.

Combine this Patriots performance with Nick Foles' disaster against Oakland and Cam Newton's mostly poor day against Tampa Bay, and we end up with the weird result that the Patriots improved their DVOA in all three phases of the game this week but also fell back into last place on defense. With a week to go, they are once again first in offense and last in defense. This truly has been a year without any really bad defenses, while the best defenses have struggled in recent weeks. Only the Jaguars' pass defense has been truly great all year, and even they can't be called a great defense overall because of struggles against the run. The Ravens are now the No. 1 defense at -16.7%, but 29 of the 31 teams to lead the league in defensive DVOA since 1986 were better than that. (The exceptions were the 2001 Eagles and 2007 Titans.) The Patriots' last-place defensive DVOA of 12.0% would stand as the best rating ever for a defense that finished in last place.

Both the Patriots and last week's last-place defense, Oakland, have improved significantly in the last couple months and now have a big gap between full-season DVOA and weighted DVOA. The Patriots are dead last in defensive DVOA but 22nd in weighted defense. The Raiders are now 28th in defensive DVOA for the full season but 16th in weighted DVOA. Some teams have gotten worse, as well. Buffalo, Cincinnati, Detroit, and Houston are all at least eight spots lower in weighted defensive DVOA than they are in full-season defensive DVOA.

One nice thing this season is that there aren't any particularly good teams that are going to miss the playoffs. The top 10 teams in DVOA right now are all either in the playoffs or very likely to make it (Baltimore). If the Los Angeles Chargers make the second AFC wild card, that will be 11 of the top 11 teams in DVOA. The second NFC wild card will likely also have an above-average DVOA; Seattle is effectively tied for 13th, and while Atlanta is 17th, the Falcons would probably move up with a win over the Panthers. That leaves Tennessee and Buffalo as the only teams with a negative DVOA still eligible for the postseason, and even they aren't that bad. Tennessee is No. 19 and Buffalo is No. 20, although they do a lot worse in weighted DVOA: No. 22 for Tennessee and No. 28 (yikes) for Buffalo.

* * * * *

As noted above, Jacksonville's poor performance against Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers has dropped the Jaguars out of the top spot in defensive DVOA. (That's covered in Any Given Sunday this week, and will also be the subject of Thursday's Film Room.) In last week's ESPN Insider "experts pick" piece, I chose that game as my upset of the week based on the idea that Jacksonville has been the league's most inconsistent team this year. I know some people were curious what I meant by that. We measure week-to-week consistency with a simple Excel function called variance. It's honestly not complicated math: I just stick every week's DVOA rating for a team into the variance function and get the result. Jacksonville had the highest variance last week and it's even worse this week after they faceplanted against San Francisco. The important part of Jacksonville's inconsistency has been considering opponent strengths. Jacksonville stomped on the two best AFC opponents they had this year, beating Baltimore 44-7 and Pittsburgh 30-9. But they lost by 21 points to the Tennessee Titans, a team in the bottom half of the DVOA ratings despite their winning record. They also lost to losing teams Arizona, the New York Jets, and now San Francisco.

I've got our first 2017 season edition of the famous week-to-week graphs to show you what that kind of inconsistency looks like. I also want to show you how the variance function doesn't necessarily measure inconsistency from each week to the next week specifically. It measures inconsistency over the entire season. To demonstrate, take a look at the team that ranks 31st in variance, the Houston Texans. Houston has not been really up-and-down this season. The Texans simply went from having a good quarterback to not having one. They have five positive games, all with Deshaun Watson starting. The Texans come out high in variance because they have a very high high and a lot of low lows. But their graph looks a lot different from Jacksonville's:

The line of a different color, for those who don't remember from past years, represents a five-week moving average of how well the team is playing.

What kind of team is the opposite of Jacksonville this year? Well, no team in 2017 has consistency to match the 2016 New York Giants, who at 2.5% had the lowest variance of any team in any season since 1986. This year's lowest variance belongs to the Detroit Lions at 4.4%. Map out Detroit's season, and you get a picture of very slow and steady decline.

Jim Caldwell was quoted earlier today saying "there's nothing we excelled at this year," and he's mostly correct. The Lions were a team that was slightly above average in a somewhat boring way until they were slightly below average in a somewhat boring way. They rank 12th passing and 16th in pass defense. At least that's better than the ground game, where the Lions are 30th running the ball and 28th in run defense. However, Caldwell's comment is really unfair to kicker Matt Prater and rookie return man Jamal Agnew, who have the Detroit special teams in the top ten. You aren't going to make the playoffs when the best aspects of the team are punt returns and long field goals, but hey, the Lions did excel at something this year.

* * * * *

This week, there will be no Football Outsiders-branded Powerline players for EA Madden Mobile because the EA offices are closed for the holidays. Next week, in the final regular-season DVOA ratings and commentary for 2017, we'll have our last Powerline players for Madden Mobile as well as our December stars for Madden 18 on consoles.

All stats pages should now be updated through Week 15, including snap counts, playoff odds, and the FO Premium DVOA database. The exception is the drive stats and pace stats, which will not be updated this week because Jim Armstrong is on vacation for the holidays.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through 16 weeks of 2017, measured by our proprietary Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) system that breaks down every single play and compares a team's performance to the league average based on situation in order to determine value over average. (Explained further here.)

OFFENSE and DEFENSE DVOA are adjusted to consider all fumbles, kept or lost, as equal value. SPECIAL TEAMS DVOA is adjusted for type of stadium (warm, cold, dome, Denver) and week of season.

WEIGHTED DVOA represents an attempt to figure out how a team is playing right now, as opposed to over the season as a whole, by making recent games more important than earlier games.

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>

TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
WEI.
DVOA
RANK W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
1 LARM 36.0% 1 41.4% 1 11-4 15.9% 4 -13.1% 6 7.0% 2
2 NO 30.6% 2 33.9% 2 11-4 21.5% 2 -9.3% 7 -0.2% 17
3 PIT 29.0% 5 27.5% 6 12-3 19.4% 3 -7.3% 9 2.3% 12
4 PHI 26.0% 3 30.0% 3 13-2 11.7% 6 -13.4% 5 0.8% 15
5 MIN 25.7% 6 28.9% 5 12-3 11.2% 7 -14.5% 3 0.0% 16
6 NE 22.1% 8 29.9% 4 12-3 28.0% 1 12.0% 32 6.0% 3
7 BAL 20.8% 4 25.4% 7 9-6 -4.2% 20 -16.7% 1 8.3% 1
8 CAR 17.1% 9 19.8% 8 11-4 3.1% 15 -9.0% 8 5.1% 6
9 JAC 16.6% 7 19.2% 9 10-5 2.4% 16 -15.8% 2 -1.6% 20
10 KC 11.3% 10 0.2% 15 9-6 15.7% 5 10.1% 29 5.7% 4
11 LACH 5.3% 12 12.1% 10 8-7 7.9% 9 -5.0% 12 -7.6% 31
12 DAL 4.4% 11 7.0% 11 8-7 5.7% 10 6.7% 22 5.4% 5
13 WAS 2.4% 17 -5.2% 17 7-8 1.0% 17 -4.5% 13 -3.1% 24
14 SEA 2.4% 15 2.9% 12 9-6 -0.2% 18 -5.2% 11 -2.7% 22
15 GB 2.3% 14 0.4% 14 7-8 3.7% 12 3.2% 17 1.9% 13
16 DET 2.1% 13 -5.2% 18 8-7 3.3% 13 6.3% 21 5.1% 7
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
WEI.
DVOA
RANK W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
17 ATL 0.2% 16 0.7% 13 9-6 9.1% 8 7.2% 23 -1.6% 21
18 OAK -5.7% 18 -4.8% 16 6-9 3.2% 14 8.6% 26 -0.3% 18
19 TEN -8.0% 20 -11.2% 22 8-7 -1.1% 19 8.3% 25 1.4% 14
20 BUF -10.9% 19 -20.7% 28 8-7 -13.5% 26 0.8% 15 3.4% 8
21 ARI -12.0% 22 -5.8% 19 7-8 -20.2% 30 -13.6% 4 -5.4% 29
22 TB -13.0% 21 -16.7% 26 4-11 3.7% 11 11.9% 31 -4.9% 28
23 SF -15.1% 28 -9.8% 21 5-10 -6.4% 21 11.5% 30 2.8% 10
24 CIN -15.2% 26 -15.7% 24 6-9 -10.3% 24 4.2% 18 -0.7% 19
25 CHI -15.3% 25 -9.1% 20 5-10 -14.5% 27 -2.8% 14 -3.5% 25
26 NYJ -16.8% 24 -13.4% 23 5-10 -9.0% 23 5.2% 19 -2.7% 23
27 HOU -19.9% 23 -34.9% 32 4-11 -10.3% 25 5.2% 20 -4.3% 26
28 MIA -20.0% 27 -16.9% 27 6-9 -14.8% 28 8.0% 24 2.8% 11
29 DEN -22.7% 29 -33.9% 31 5-10 -20.4% 31 -5.9% 10 -8.2% 32
30 NYG -24.8% 30 -22.9% 30 2-13 -8.4% 22 9.2% 28 -7.1% 30
31 IND -25.2% 31 -15.8% 25 3-12 -19.1% 29 9.1% 27 3.0% 9
32 CLE -28.9% 32 -21.0% 29 0-15 -21.6% 32 3.0% 16 -4.3% 27
  • 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).



TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
1 LARM 36.0% 11-4 33.1% 11.7 2 -0.4% 17 -15.1% 23 16.6% 26
2 NO 30.6% 11-4 25.4% 12.8 1 1.3% 11 -13.0% 22 7.2% 6
3 PIT 29.0% 12-3 30.1% 11.0 4 -0.4% 16 -28.9% 32 14.3% 21
4 PHI 26.0% 13-2 27.5% 11.0 5 -2.6% 26 4.4% 12 12.3% 18
5 MIN 25.7% 12-3 22.7% 11.3 3 4.8% 3 -15.3% 25 6.4% 4
6 NE 22.1% 12-3 24.1% 10.2 7 -3.1% 27 -16.8% 26 9.8% 13
7 BAL 20.8% 9-6 26.7% 10.1 8 -4.1% 30 -15.2% 24 17.7% 27
8 CAR 17.1% 11-4 16.3% 10.5 6 2.4% 9 0.2% 17 6.5% 5
9 JAC 16.6% 10-5 24.3% 9.0 10 -6.2% 32 -8.0% 19 23.6% 32
10 KC 11.3% 9-6 13.6% 9.5 9 -2.1% 24 -22.7% 29 16.2% 23
11 LACH 5.3% 8-7 13.5% 7.5 16 -3.9% 29 -5.7% 18 9.2% 12
12 DAL 4.4% 8-7 4.6% 8.2 11 -1.1% 19 26.0% 4 20.5% 30
13 WAS 2.4% 7-8 -4.6% 7.2 18 6.1% 1 -24.8% 30 16.5% 24
14 SEA 2.4% 9-6 4.9% 7.6 14 0.3% 15 -12.0% 21 10.3% 14
15 GB 2.3% 7-8 -3.6% 7.9 12 4.7% 4 2.1% 16 5.6% 3
16 DET 2.1% 8-7 0.6% 7.5 15 1.8% 10 2.3% 15 4.4% 1
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
17 ATL 0.2% 9-6 0.2% 7.6 13 3.2% 6 17.1% 8 5.0% 2
18 OAK -5.7% 6-9 -2.9% 7.2 17 -1.5% 21 5.3% 11 10.4% 16
19 TEN -8.0% 8-7 -4.4% 6.8 19 -5.5% 31 16.6% 9 16.2% 22
20 BUF -10.9% 8-7 -9.8% 6.2 20 -1.8% 22 -20.0% 28 16.5% 25
21 ARI -12.0% 7-8 -12.1% 5.1 27 0.3% 14 2.4% 14 9.0% 11
22 TB -13.0% 4-11 -15.3% 5.6 22 1.2% 12 30.6% 2 7.6% 7
23 SF -15.1% 5-10 -16.5% 5.3 25 -0.6% 18 36.0% 1 7.7% 8
24 CIN -15.2% 6-9 -13.1% 6.0 21 -2.3% 25 20.8% 7 19.5% 28
25 CHI -15.3% 5-10 -15.7% 5.5 23 5.7% 2 25.7% 5 14.1% 20
26 NYJ -16.8% 5-10 -15.1% 5.0 29 -1.9% 23 22.1% 6 10.3% 15
27 HOU -19.9% 4-11 -22.6% 5.0 28 2.8% 7 -25.2% 31 22.8% 31
28 MIA -20.0% 6-9 -18.9% 5.3 24 2.4% 8 -10.9% 20 13.3% 19
29 DEN -22.7% 5-10 -15.6% 5.2 26 -3.2% 28 11.3% 10 20.5% 29
30 NYG -24.8% 2-13 -27.9% 3.5 30 3.5% 5 2.4% 13 8.5% 10
31 IND -25.2% 3-12 -24.2% 3.4 31 -1.3% 20 -19.9% 27 8.1% 9
32 CLE -28.9% 0-15 -33.2% 2.8 32 0.5% 13 29.0% 3 11.1% 17

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 26 Dec 2017

34 comments, Last at 29 Dec 2017, 10:54am by BJR

Comments

1
by RickD :: Tue, 12/26/2017 - 6:53pm

Pats' D gives up 9 points, falls into last place.

Kind of summarizes the season.

(Yes, I understand opponent adjustments.)

3
by Alternator :: Tue, 12/26/2017 - 7:21pm

Even if you imagine that Riveron wasn't sipping paint thinner and give the Bills back their touchdown, that's still only giving up thirteen points, hardly a poor defensive effort.

Maybe Riveron stole the sauce from DVOA?

<_<

9
by TGT :: Tue, 12/26/2017 - 10:06pm

As noted in the commentary, the issue is that the teams that were below them had great games, so they rose more than NE did.

6
by jmaron :: Tue, 12/26/2017 - 8:34pm

they had a negative defensive rating last week so it's not like DVOA thought they had a bad game defensively.

The Pats have basically struggled defensively against good offences. Their defensive DVOA against teams ranked top 15 or better in offence is 20.8% (8 games)

Vs offences ranked 23rd to 31st, (7 games) the rating is 2.3%. That does include Hous - who were a different team with Watson (their defensive rating in that game 14.6%).

They basically show the opposite trend on offence - their 7 games avg DVOA against teams ranked 15th or better in defence, 41.8%, vs teams ranked 19th or lower 13.9%.

So the offence rises to the occasion and the defence does the opposite.

2
by DezBailey :: Tue, 12/26/2017 - 7:13pm

Aaron, how did that oak/phi game turn out in DVOA? Did DVOA favor the Raiders a little more despite them losing? Just curious because I ran into that while processing game data for the BES this week.

7
by Aaron Schatz :: Tue, 12/26/2017 - 9:36pm

Yeah, when we put in the opponent adjustments, we end up with the Raiders at 6.0% and the Eagles at -0.6%. Without the opponent adjustments, the Eagles are higher by a small amount.

4
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/26/2017 - 7:55pm

I continue to like the Rams to win a game in February, because placekicker notwithstanding, they appear to be the healthiest.

(Edit) Although now that I think about it, I haven't taken a close look at the Saints in a while.

5
by PatsFan :: Tue, 12/26/2017 - 8:00pm

I certainly don't feel great about NE. They have had way too many games where they start very slow, even against inferior teams. Sure, they may get it going in the 2nd half (like the BUF game) but that's playing with fire, especially against playoff-caliber teams.

8
by RickD :: Tue, 12/26/2017 - 9:39pm

On the other hand, it's not like any other AFC is playing particularly well, either. Every time a team goes on a bit of a run, they go tits up against a weak opponent, either barely winning or, even worse, losing to a team they should coast past.

I don't quite feel the same way about the NFC, though. Wouldn't be surprised at all to see an NFC team win the Super Bowl this year.

11
by Mike B. In Va :: Wed, 12/27/2017 - 8:55am

Honestly, the team that should scare the Pats the most is the Chargers, if they can manage to a.) get in and b.) show up for the game.

12
by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Wed, 12/27/2017 - 12:11pm

What particularly makes you think the Chargers are the worst matchup?

Whenever one of the worst special teams in the league is matched up against one of the best - that usually leads to really one-sided field position, and that can be tough to overcome.

20
by Yu Narukami :: Wed, 12/27/2017 - 1:51pm

As a Pats' fan, my wish-to-avoid-in-the-PO list (based totally on unscientific criterias) is:

1) BAL (always close games in PO)
2) KC (always stomping NE in RS)
3) JAX (dropped one spot after the Handsome Jimmy G show, but still Coughlin)
4) PIT (offensive powerhouse, James Harrison sleeper agent)
5) BUF (not comfortable in playing three times the same team in a season)
6) TEN (uninspiring team)
7) LACH (sith powers will lead them to dumb mistakes. Maybe even without the Sith powers)

Well, I have now jinxed the team, so it will be a divisional loss against the Bolts.

13
by PaddyPat :: Wed, 12/27/2017 - 12:29pm

Seems to me that NE has a very good chance of making the Super Bowl, but probably shouldn't be favored there, which is unusual. Of the other AFC teams, really only Pitt seems like a reasonable entrant, and they don't seem better than NE. The NFC is messy. NO is apt to have a very tough time winning on the road. The Ram's are very good, but it's hard to imagine such a green team holding it together in January. Phil is missing Wentz... should we favor Minnesota?

17
by Will Allen :: Wed, 12/27/2017 - 1:11pm

What made the Vikings formidable earlier this season has been depleted, to a degree which is yet unclear, by injury. Both offensive tackles are hobbled, and their LG just went on IR, and it was the surprisingly good blocking, run and pass, which really aided Keenum. Their best pass rusher, Everson Griffin, their best pass rusher, seems more and more held back by plantar fasciitis, which really is a nasty injury to try to play through.

The defensive backfield and linebacking remain excellent, however, as do the receivers. They are very well coached on both sides. If you told me Riley Rieff was going to handle his ankle injury well, and Griffen have something close to his normal burst, then I still think they have a good chance to win the conference. If not, then I see a game where Keenum has to make difficult throws against a good defense, throws 3 picks, and the Vikings lose 24-20.

It'd really help for them to lock up the #2 spot Sunday. The o-line would get a break if they didn't have to handle crowd noise, and the new Vikings stadium may be louder than the Metrodome, which obviously would give the defense a boost. The Eagle offense without Wentz is still such an unknown that it is hard to assess the Eagles advantage at Lincoln, although it obviously gives a large lift to the Eagles defensive line.

18
by RickD :: Wed, 12/27/2017 - 1:34pm

I figure if the Vikings make the Super Bowl, that means they're playing well. If they can be the first Super Bowl team to play a home game, that would be a tough advantage for any AFC to fight. (Or it would be if the tickets didn't all go to millionaires.)

21
by dank067 :: Wed, 12/27/2017 - 1:53pm

The twin cities are one of the wealthiest metro areas in the country in terms of per-capita income, and the chance to see your home team in the Super Bowl would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a lot of people—especially in Minnesota, which has only hosted 2/52 of them. Factor in that locals wouldn't have to pay stay in hotels and I bet it would be a very partisan crowd, though maybe not as loud as their typical home crowd.

27
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 12/28/2017 - 9:54am

You're seriously going to favor the Vikings in a conference finals or later?

Bold move, Cotton.

32
by RickD :: Thu, 12/28/2017 - 6:50pm

That 'if' can cover a lot of possibilities. If they don't make the Super Bowl at all, I'm in the clear.

10
by Will Allen :: Wed, 12/27/2017 - 7:24am

I have no idea how common an occurence it is, but 5 of the top 10 teams have played a schedule that is among the 10 weakest, and 2 have played a schedule that is among the 10 strongest. If it is common, it prompts the question as to whether opponents adjustments are sufficient.

14
by Hoodie_Sleeves :: Wed, 12/27/2017 - 12:31pm

The top 10 teams last year played schedules ranked

2,3,5,6,11,14,17,20,22,32

All the clustering seems to be at the top.

So I don't think the adjustments aren't strong enough - but I do think that there's some issues with adjustments at the edges - IE when very good teams play very bad teams (and when very good teams play each other) where the data gets very noisy.

I'm not convinced that plastering a bad opponent 63-0 is all that much more predictive than plastering them 37-3 - but DVOA is. I think this is one of those spots where trying to balance between being descriptive and predictive makes things a little messy.

15
by Will Allen :: Wed, 12/27/2017 - 1:06pm

It would be interesting to see the clustering going back 30 years, but I'm too lazy to do it. It's a devilishly complicated game to suss out, isn't it?

22
by Aaron Schatz :: Wed, 12/27/2017 - 2:59pm

Agree with you that the opponent adjustments probably get a little wonky on the edges. But it's not quite like college football, where the gap between team 1 and team 30 is much larger than the gap between team 30 and team 60. And it's pretty low down on my list of improvements I would make to DVOA if I had the time.

25
by Will Allen :: Wed, 12/27/2017 - 4:13pm

Hey, I just admitted I'm lazy. The last thing I would do is presume to tell you what your priorities should be.I'm grateful for what I get!

19
by RickD :: Wed, 12/27/2017 - 1:35pm

It's not all that uncommon to see a strong team inflate its DVOA by beating up on a weak team. That would align with the sense that the opponent adjustments are not sufficient. But there's another problem that teams do not play at the same consistent level very long. It's hard for a system to converge to a point when the point keeps moving.

16
by Will Allen :: Wed, 12/27/2017 - 1:09pm

It will be very interesting in January to see how much the Eagles offense was dependent on Wentz making ridiculously athletic plays.

23
by TomC :: Wed, 12/27/2017 - 3:10pm

Not half as interesting as it would have been to see Wentz continue to make such plays through January.

26
by Will Allen :: Wed, 12/27/2017 - 4:16pm

What, the gridiron stylings of Nick Foles don't get your pulse pounding?

29
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Thu, 12/28/2017 - 2:30pm

Hey, in an increasing quarterback-centric league, seeing teams like the Vikings or Eagles be successful by having well-constructed rosters from top to bottom (as opposed to relying on a great quarterback dragging a flawed team to a championship), does kind of tickle my fancy.

24
by TomC :: Wed, 12/27/2017 - 3:16pm

I enjoyed the discussion of variance and the visuals. While the statistic is correctly named (up to a square root, anyway), I do think that most people tend to interpret it as "week-to-week inconsistency," in which case they get the wrong idea about a team like Houston. It would be interesting to calculate something like "de-trended variance," where you take out a low-order polynomial or some other smooth function before calculating variance. Excel can probably do such a thing nowadays.

28
by morganja :: Thu, 12/28/2017 - 2:20pm

Tough, tough year for the Panthers to be 12-4 good in the NFC. It's not likely they will win even one playoff game this year despite this team in most years would be a contender for the NFC title game. But it's great to see a team like the Vikings looking like they might go all the way.

30
by Cheesehead_Canuck :: Thu, 12/28/2017 - 3:08pm

Are the jaguars locked into the 3 seed or could they fall to 4 with a loss and KC win? I’m hoping they go all out vs Titans because I find the idea of a LAC (or even BUF) 6 seed far more entertaining than a Tennessee team that is riding a 3 game losing streak.

31
by Bryan Knowles :: Thu, 12/28/2017 - 4:21pm

The Jags are locked in at three. A loss and a Chiefs win would make them both 10-6, but Jacksonville would win based on conference record (9-3 to 8-4).

Basically, blame the Chiefs' loss to the Jets if that Titans-Jags game ends up being noncompetitive; exchange that with (say) the win against the Eagles, and the Chiefs would have the Strength of Victory tiebreaker. So, uh, curses and all that.

Marrone says that the starters will play, however, so don't chisel anything into stone just yet.

33
by RickD :: Thu, 12/28/2017 - 6:55pm

If they lose to the Titans, they'll have to play the Titans again next week.

Didn't the Bengals shoot themselves in the foot a few years back by playing this scenario with the Jets?

(checks)

Yep, it was in 2009. Rested guys and lost 37-0 in the season finale. Then lost 24-14 in the wild card round.

34
by BJR :: Fri, 12/29/2017 - 10:54am

It's astonishing to me that, after all the injury carnage this season, any playoff-bound coach would risk injuries to key players in a meaningless game. I can just about buy the idea that if a team has clinched a first round bye they might not want starters accumulating rust by taking two full weeks off, but this is obviously not the case here. Marrone has gone down in my estimation (and he wasn't high to begin with).