Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

13 Jan 2010

ESPN AGS: Ravens over Patriots

Despite a 9-7 record, the Baltimore Ravens are one of the best teams in the NFL. What does their blowout win over New England mean for this week's game against Indianapolis?

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 13 Jan 2010

8 comments, Last at 13 Jan 2010, 11:38pm by Dice


by Dice :: Wed, 01/13/2010 - 12:57pm

Interesting stuff about the 2nd down numbers, and the 2nd half improvements.

by Kevin VW (not verified) :: Wed, 01/13/2010 - 1:59pm

Not questioning the validity of the research, but in your third paragraph you are basically saying because the Ravens continually shot themselves in the foot in close games, they were more efficient that the Colts who won all those games.

Doesn't quite pass the "Common Sense" Test.

by bravehoptoad :: Wed, 01/13/2010 - 2:14pm

No, he's saying that because the Ravens lost close games, they're better than their record indicates, and because the Colts won close games, they're worse than their record indicates.

It's common sense.

The 0-16 team that loses all games by 1 point is stronger than they look; the 16-0 team that wins all games by 1 point is weaker than they look.

by Dan S (not verified) :: Wed, 01/13/2010 - 2:58pm

Can't read the article (not an Insider), so sorry if this has been covered, but the Colts' DVOA ratings must be about worthless if it takes their last two games into account, no?

by nat :: Wed, 01/13/2010 - 4:13pm

No. (in reply to 4)

See the week 17 DVOA posting for some discussion on this. The biggest effect is on the weighted DVOA used in the playoff odds calculations. But FO is ignoring up to 1.5 "meaningless" games per team (tell that to the booing Colts fans) in weighted DVOA, so that's ok.

Earlier work by FO has shown that whole-season DVOA is a better predictor when you include so-called meaningless games. It makes some sense, when you think about it. Teams that lock up high seeds often have played their backups less than other playoff-bound teams, as was the case for the Colts through the end of week 16. Collecting two quarters of backup stats may make that one game unrepresentative, but still make the season DVOA a better predictor.

With the Colts, for example, we now know that they suffer far worse if Manning is shaken up than other teams might be if their QB were temporarily knocked out of the game. (Is Sorgi going to be available? If so, rusty?) That's very useful to know, and rightly effects how we view them. The Colts' playoff success depends on Manning not getting injured, even briefly. It's one of the Colts' few weaknesses, but it's one that hits them harder than other teams.

by Vincent Verhei :: Wed, 01/13/2010 - 6:22pm

Plus, at the end of Week 15, before Indy started resting starters, the Colts were higher in the rankings (fourth overall) -- but they were still behind the Ravens, even though they were 14-0 and the Ravens were 8-6. All year long, the Colts have played worse than their record (it's hard not to do this when you're undefeated), and the Ravens have played MUCH better than their record.

by Ravens (not verified) :: Wed, 01/13/2010 - 4:59pm

I've been coming to realize that the Ravens have been a completely different team over the last 7 games, when they finally took to the field with their best O Line intact (Yanda starting at RG, instead of on the bench or filling in for Oher at RT while Oher goes to LT for an injured Gaither) and Chester as the 6th O lineman. That started with their 20-17 OT win over Pittsburgh, and their running game has been flatout dominant in the 7 games since.

by Dice :: Wed, 01/13/2010 - 11:38pm

Yeah, while Oher is pretty good, Gaither is better on the left side than Oher currently is.