DVOA Week 8: Are the Titans Overrated?

DVOA Week 8: Are the Titans Overrated? Aaron Schatz 26 Oct 2021, 04:05 pm

Dane Cruikshank

The top five squads in our DVOA ratings remain exactly the same this week. Buffalo is still No. 1, followed by Arizona, the Los Angeles Rams, Tampa Bay, and Dallas. This is what happens when two of those teams get the week off and the other three win comfortably. OK, the Rams’ win may not have been as comfortable as they would have liked, but Detroit bided close with a lot of high-risk, high-reward , not often predictive each type of plays such as the surprise onside kick, so DVOA guess the Rams won comfortably.

Below the top five we start to see a little bit of move. Cincinnati’s win over Baltimore moves the Bengals up four places and into our top 10. The Ravens drop two smudges, from sixth to eighth. New England is another large-hearted riser this week, going from 19 th to 13 th after curb-stomping the horrendous New York Jets. Yes, their rating is adjusted for the strength of the opponent, but the Patriots still had the best DVOA of any squad in Week 7. 54 -1 3 is a lot, even against a crew such as the Airplane — who, by the way, dropped into last-place home the coming week with the Atlanta Falcons climbing out of the bottom spot.

Other major moves the coming week? The Kansas City Chiefs dropped to 18 th overall and more importantly dropped to fifth in offensive DVOA. The Chiefs were contributing the conference in offensive DVOA through four weeks( 36.9% with current opponent changes) and rank only 24 th in offensive DVOA for Weeks 5-7 at -1 1.3%. It’s not just about the turnovers. The Chiefs are 23 rd with 5.5 net yards per play over the last three games. They genuinely are struggling. San Francisco and Chicago, like Kansas City, likewise dropped four spots the coming week. San Francisco went from 10 th to 14 th, while Chicago fell from 20 th to 24 th.

Why Titans are Low

Another large-hearted move up belongs to the Tennessee Titans, who went from 23 rd to 20 th this week. Your response to this is probably not, “Oh, of course the Titan proceeded up after a big win” but instead “What on earth are the Tennessee Titans doing the whole way down at No. 20? They’re the hottest team in the league and simply thump the Bills and Chiefs in consecutive weeks! ” So let’s talk a little bit about the Tennessee Titans.

The first thing to note when it comes to Tennessee’s low-spirited ranking anything else plays count equally in DVOA. We don’t commit extra load right now to the last two weeks merely because those wins were impressive. Yes, we also have a stat called weighted DVOA that lowers the strength of older games to get a better idea of how well squads are playing now, but even that metric still weights every play at least 90% after seven weeks. Tennessee has put up its two best concerts of the season in the last two weeks, but the Titans’ rating is dragged down by the previous five games. In particular, the Titan are dragged down by the three games where the government has negative DVOA. Let’s take them in reverse order.

Week 4 was the 27 -2 4 loss to the Jets in overtime. I’ve talked about this many times, but DVOA is not adjusted at all for harms. The ratings we use to do our FO+ picks and playoff odds are adjusted sometimes for major injuries, especially to quarterbacks, but none of the backwards-looking DVOA ratings are adjusted for traumata. So there’s no adjustment given the fact that the Titan played this game without A.J. Brown and Julio Jones. They lost a game, albeit a close play, to the worst team in the NFL. Right now, this game is worth -3 2.0% DVOA.( I say “right now” because opponent accommodations will change gradually as the season progresses, so this game will have a slightly different DVOA by the end of its first year .)

Week 2 was the 33 -3 0 comeback overtime victory over Seattle. The Titan took residence the W, but the Seahawks have the higher DVOA for this game. They outgained the Titans, 7.6 to 6.4 gardens per play-act, and they won the turnover battle.( There were no interceptions, but the Titans fumbled once .) DVOA is looking at the play-by-play , not the score, and the Seahawks were overall most efficient despite the loss. Right now, this play is worth -1 2.7% DVOA.

Week 1, the Titan got blown out 38 -1 3 by the Arizona Cardinals. The Titans has only just been 3.9 yards per play and turned the ball over three times. Right now, this game is worth -6 3.3% DVOA.

OK, sure, but Titans fans may be thinking, “That was seven weeks ago! Does that even matter imparted what the team has done over the last couple games? ” Yes, it does. But we can also figure out what DVOA would be like without Week 1 if you would like to see the effect of that game on Tennessee’s rating. Just remember that they are not the only team that would be affected by removing Week 1 from the ratings. The Saints’ shocking 38 -3 drubbing of the Packers would be gone. The Eagles’ 32 -6 win over Atlanta, video games which basically kept the Falcons in last-place place in DVOA until the coming week, would be gone. Buffalo’s upset loss to Pittsburgh would be gone. Houston and Miami’s merely wins would be gone. And getting rid of the Titans’ massive loss to Arizona also necessitates getting rid of Arizona’s huge win over the Titans — dropping the DVOA rating of the only undefeated crew left in the NFL. Get rid of Week 1, and the gap in DVOA between Buffalo and Arizona gets a lot larger.

But if you’re curious, let’s do it and see what the results are. Here are the teams that improve the most in DVOA if Week 1 is removed solely 😛 TAGEND

2021 DVOA Without Week 1, Risers

Team Actual DVOA Rk No Week 1

DVOA Rk Change

GB 9.7% 11 24.0% 6 14.3% BUF 38.2% 1 49.6% 1 11.3% TEN -2.9% 20 7.3% 13 10.2% ATL -36.8% 31 -26.9% 29 10.0% JAX -29.7% 29 -24.3% 28 5.5%

So there’s Tennessee, moving up from 20 th to 13 th. Many devotees would still question the Titans lies in the fact that low-pitched, but it appears a lot more like our current perception of the Titans than No. 20. And to get the Titans greater than that, you would have to start eliminating other weeks until you were basically just looking at their last three wins.

Meanwhile, Green Bay would jump-start all the way to sixth without considering their Week 1 loss. They would now be the No. 1 offense in the conference, outstripping Tampa Bay. And Buffalo would become as massively reigning in DVOA as they were before losing to the Titans two weeks ago. The crack between Buffalo and the No. 2 team “il be going” from the current 4.5% between the Bills and Cardinal to a gap of 18. 9% between the Bills and the team that would become No. 2 without considering Week 1, the defending champion Buccaneers.

They don’t stir the top five risers so I didn’t set them on the table above, but I will likewise note that New England and Indianapolis become top 10 teams if we remove Week 1 from the DVOA ratings.

Here are the teams that plummet “the worlds largest” in DVOA if Week 1 is removed entirely 😛 TAGEND

2021 DVOA Without Week 1, Fallers

Team Actual DVOA Rk No Week 1

DVOA Rk Change

NO 16.6% 7 4.0% 15 -12.6% HOU -33.1% 30 -41.7% 32 -8.6% PHI -8.0% 21 -16.3% 25 -8.3% PIT 1.0% 16 -6.3% 20 -7.3% MIA -24.9% 28 -31.0% 30 -6.1%

The Saints fall more than everyone else if we no longer consider Week 1, taking out their big succes over the Packers. Houston is now the worst team in the tournament and Miami is down there with them, with the New York Jets still in between at No. 31. The entire NFC West would fall without considering Week 1, with the Cardinals plummeting to fourth, the Seahawks to 14 th, and the 49 ers to 16 th.( The Rams would remain third, but with a lower rating .)

That’s all interesting, but it’s not the most efficient way to judge crews moving forward. All of our research says that we need to be considering a much larger sample than merely the last couple of plays. Week 1 was a while ago but it did happen and it does dedicate us detailed information about who these squads are. It will be another couple months before that game plunges out of the weighted DVOA formula solely. For now, it’s evidence that perhaps the Tennessee Titans are not as good as their last-place two games would shape them seem.

Why Seahawks Are High

Tennessee is not the only team this year with a significant disconnect between DVOA and win-loss record. I wrote a few paragraphs ago about the route the DVOA formula preferred Seattle to Tennessee even though the Titan won that Week 2 play in overtime. The Titans do get a nice opponent adjustment bump for that game because the Seahawks are still in the DVOA top 10, simply ahead of Green Bay and Minnesota. Wait, the 2-5 Seattle Seahawks are still 10 th overall? What’s going on there?

Well, that Tennessee game is not the only one where DVOA thinks the Seahawks outplayed their opposing. Seattle’s single-game rating is even stronger for their Week 3 game againts Minnesota, even though that was a bigger loss, 30 -1 7. Seattle outgained the Vikings in this one by 7.5 to 6.2 gardens per play, with no turnovers. This is the game where the Seahawks entirely been closed down in the second half of the year, but the Seahawks were efficient enough in the first half to end up with the very best DVOA rating for the game. Do you remember the Post-Game Win Expectancy formula I introduced back after Week 1? It tells you how often we can expect squads to win the game based on the VOA separates( i.e. no adversary adjustments ). Teams that were as efficient as Seattle was in Week 3 can be expected to win 77% of the time.

The other thing hold Seattle in the top 10 is how close their last three damages have been. Opponent readjustments give them a positive DVOA for their Week 5 loss to the Rams, and then Seattle’s DVOA is roughly -1 1% for the last two damages, each by three points to Pittsburgh and New Orleans.

Finally, the DVOA formula is not adjusted for Geno Smith are currently under way the quarterback of the Seahawks. It combines Russell Wilson’s five plays with Smith’s two games and doesn’t project going forward to represent that anticipations for Smith are so much lower than expectations for Wilson. We do that in our playoff odds, but not in the standard DVOA tables. All of that goes together to explain why Seattle still ranks so high-pitched in DVOA despite a 2-5 record.

Why Raiders Are Low

One more interesting team to discuss today, the Las Vegas Raiders. Like the Titan, the Raiders rank very low despite a 5-2 record. They are right above the Titans at No. 19 right now. You might be wondering why we don’t have the Raiders higher. What’s interesting here is that the Raiders aren’t dragged down by negative DVOA for any of their wins. All of their wins have positive ratings and both of their losses have negative ratings. Yet somehow, that adds up to a negative rating overall( -1. 3% DVOA) because the losses are so much stronger than the wins. The first three Raiders wins “re all in” the single digits. The Week 4 loss to the Chargers is at -5 6.3%. Here are the seven Raiders plays so far and you can see how the two bad games overwhelm the 5 wins and end up with the Raiders merely ranked 19 th. Total DVOA doesn’t average these seven single-game ratings because it’s based on adding together individual play-acts rather than individual games, but you’ll get the idea.

Las Vegas Raiders DVOA, Weeks 1-7 2021

Week Opp DVOA Score 1 BAL 6.1% W 33 -2 7( OT)

2 PIT 0.2% W 26 -1 7

3 MIA 3.7% W 31 -2 8( OT)

4 LAC -5 6.3% L 28 -1 4

5 CHI -2 0.7% L 20 -9

6 DEN 32.3% W 34 -2 4

7 PHI 29.8% W 33 -2 2

Raiders followers do have a reason to be annoyed with DVOA, because the Raiders’ ratings seem to be less than the sum of their constituents. DVOA looks at every play individually, but you can also get a good idea of a team’s efficiency by looking at gardens per play-act and success rates. And in both those stats, the Raiders rank better than they do in DVOA.

On offense, the Raiders rank ninth with 6.15 yards per play and 16 th with a 45% success rates, but merely 19 th in DVOA.

On defense, the Raiders rank sixth with 5.27 yards let per play-act and 10 th with a 44% success rate permitted, but only 17 th in DVOA.

Overall, it looks a lot like the Raiders should be graded better than 19 th overall. But the specific circumstances of the Raiders’ plays are have contributed to a lower rank in DVOA than yards per play or success rates, on both sides of the ball. Opponent adjustments are part of this, but not altogether, because the Raiders have played an easy schedule but not the league’s easiest by any means: 23 rd on offense, 24 th on defense.

( For those sticklers for detail, gardens per play numbers here are different from the NFL’s numbers because I’m not including spikes and kneels .)


Football Outsiders playoff odds, snap counts, and the FO+ database are now all updated through Week 7. A reminder that all our free stats pages, including DVOA and player position stats, require registration to view. “Thats really not” a paywall! You only need to register( for free) and then log in to the site to view these pages. While you’re at it, you can get a seven-day trial of FO+ and check out the FO+ features like a deeper DVOA database, weekly fantasy projections, fantasy football search tool, and pickings against the spread.


Here is the Football Outsiders Top 16 through seven weeks of 2021, measured in accordance with our proprietary Defense-adjusted Value Over Average( DVOA) structure 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 opponent and concert indoors and consider all fumbles, maintained or lost, as equal value. Opponent changes are currently at 70% strength and will be enhanced 10% each week until Week 10. SPECIAL TEAMS DVOA is adjusted for type of stadium( warm, cold, dome, Denver) and week of season. As ever, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE.

DAVE is a formula which mixes our preseason predict with current DVOA to get a more accurate projection of how a squad will play the rest of the season. DAVE is currently 50% preseason prognosi and 50% actual performance for crews with seven games played, and 55% preseason prognosi and 45% actual concert for squads with six games played. It has still not adjusted for any backup quarterbacks.

To save people some time, delight use the following format for all complaints 😛 TAGEND

is clearly ranked because. is lane better than this.



1 BUF 38.2% 1 23.5% 2 4-2 7.2% 10 -30.1% 1 0.8% 11

2 ARI 33.7% 2 16.3% 4 7-0 9.5% 8 -21.0% 2 3.2% 6

3 LAR 33.2% 3 20.4% 3 6-1 25.5% 2 -11.1% 4 -3.4% 29

4 TB 31.8% 4 26.0% 1 6-1 25.9% 1 -7.0% 7 -1.1% 23

5 DAL 25.4% 5 14.6% 5 5-1 20.5% 3 -5.4% 10 -0.4% 17

6 CLE 18.9% 7 10.8% 8 4-3 14.7% 6 -0.8% 15 3.4% 4

7 NO 16.6% 8 10.1% 9 4-2 -1.2% 20 -16.5% 3 1.4% 9

8 BAL 13.9% 6 14.4% 6 5-2 8.1% 9 2.4% 20 8.3% 1

9 CIN 11.6% 13 2.4% 16 5-2 -0.3% 18 -10.1% 5 1.8% 8

10 SEA 10.2% 9 10.0% 11 2-5 12.8% 7 2.7% 21 0.2% 16

11 GB 9.7% 11 12.9% 7 6-1 17.8% 4 5.0% 24 -3.1% 28

12 MIN 9.4% 12 6.9% 12 3-3 5.2% 12 -8.8% 6 -4.7% 30

13 NE 5.3% 19 4.2% 14 3-4 1.7% 15 -2.8% 14 0.8% 12

14 SF 5.2% 10 6.4% 13 2-4 1.6% 16 -2.9% 13 0.7% 13

15 IND 5.2% 15 1.2% 17 3-4 1.4% 17 -4.5% 12 -0.7% 22

16 PIT 1.0% 16 2.7% 15 3-3 -4.8% 22 -5.5% 9 0.3% 15

Click here for the full table.


Ratings .

After the first five squads, you have a collection of mediocre squads who probably shouldn’t be that high up.

Seattle higher than Green Bay?

Cleveland over Baltimore?


I’ve been reading FO since …

In reply to by DIVISION

I’ve been speaking FO since the beginning; the stats they present aren’t meant to be read in isolation from common sense. You should think of things like DVOA as one measure( among many) of a better quality of a team’s play. Pythagorean wins, Elo ratings( from 538 ), and Point Spread Team Ratings( from PFF) are other ways of measuring the quality of play-act. Of track, I doubt anyone outside the Pacific Northwest guesses Seattle has a better opportunity of constructing the playoffs than Green Bay.


Yeah, the “eye-test” …

Yeah, the “eye-test” definitely says TEN and LV are better than SEA and SF, and I would question CLE/ NO being as high-pitched as they are as well.


The problem with the eye test

In reply to by Yeizzo

The problem with the eye test is that it is often short term. That’s the advantage of advanced metrics such as DVOA and EPA; they look at the entire season , not just the last couple of weeks.

I mean, if we only look at the last two games, of course the Tennessee Titans are pretty good! In fact, the Titan have the No. 2 DVOA in the tournament for Weeks 6-7, trailing merely the Los Angeles Rams, followed by Indianapolis, Tampa Bay, and Arizona.

If we only look at Weeks 5-7, then Tennessee is fourth behind Tampa Bay, Buffalo, and the Rams, and Arizona is fifth.

It’s getting into the first four weeks of the season where their rating drops.


An illustration of the reasons why all the data matters .

Thursday will tell us if Week 1 was actually preseason week 4 for the Packers or if it was just one of those plays under LaFleur where they run into their kryptonite and get stomped. I expect they are going to lose, I supposed they would lose even if they had Adams because I don’t think they can hide the offensive line health against the Arizona defense. Yes it’s technically possible for Adams to play if experiments negative today and tomorrow but I doubt that will happen.

Yes they have faced good defensive fronts but they haven’t faced the combo of a good front and a sufficiently good coverage unit since NO. Sufficiently good is either corners/ safeties OR linebackers/ slot. Everyone they have faced outside NO even if they had the pressure unit had exploitable fatigues in their coverage and the offensive pipeline issues could be adjusted around well enough to exploit those. Zona doesn’t have the obvious weakness.

They likewise had better line combos than the one likely to play. It’s hard to even remember but this line is supposed to be Bahktiari, Jenkins, Myers, Patrick, Turner. It’s very likely it will be Jenkins, Runyan, Patrick, Newman, Turner again. So that’s the 1 starter in proper posture. 2 out of position, and 2 back-ups one of whom is 3rd on the profundity map at its own position. The coaching does a good job and the players are good enough that playing out of position is still viable, but that interior of the line is just a mess right now. Let also not forget the one starter where he should be, Turner, is only NFL average at RT anyway and probably the weakest of the 5 intended starters. He does his position the majority of cases, but he isn’t anything special.

It’s good that Tonyan and Lazard finally started get into the game flow if they aren’t going to have Adams. MVS has practised a bit and could be back which would help since he would demand some attention as a deep menace. The squad is 6-0 without Adams under LaFleur, they can craft an offense to work without him, but this is not the week to try.

Stokes and Douglas are doing alright at corner and Douglas getting more time with the team can only help, but it’s not Alexander and Stokes. As many issues as King has, he still has value as the 3rd or 4th corner on the field and is probably better than Henry Black when they need more musicians in the secondary but he’s been injured and likely won’t be back. Mercilus hopped in pretty quickly and played a lot against Washington and should be even better prepared. They’ve limped along without Za’Darius all season( well he played like 13 snaps in week 1 ). Preston could be back, that would help a lot. But moving QB’s are a problem for every defense and have been especially bumpy on the Packers forever. Murray will extend at least 2 drives with runs.

Even amply health GB would need some Zona mistakes or a pair players at the top of their play to make this game close. They don’t have that health.

So I expect this game to show why week 1 data does actually matter, because while I don’t expect them to only manage to score 3, they could still get tittered off the field in a 38 – 10 mode game. Or maybe it will be a 35 – 24 play that isn’t as close as the score established it seem , not that 11 points is all that close but you can get beaten just as badly losing 35 – 24 as you can losing 38 – 3 with only a little of change in where some of the dreadful play-acts happen.


Math is hard !

Aaron, I am having trouble following your discussion of DVOA rank risers and fallers.

Cincinnati proceeded from 13 -9= 4 spots up, for the “biggest move up” in DVOA grade this week.

Tennessee proceeded from 23 -2 0= 3 places up, for the second gain.

New England travelled from 19 -1 3= 6 places up, for … WAT?

You might want to double check your analysis here. There is likely to be other large-hearted gainers you missed. This is the only one evident in the article.

[ edit] Nope. It was just New England. The easy edit is to say “other than New England and Cincinnati”.


Actually …

In reply to by nat

I don’t gues I said Cincinnati was the biggest move up. I just said it was a move up.

EDIT: Nope, you’re right, I said it later. I’ll edit that.


Thanks. Not a big deal. It …

In reply to by Aaron Schatz

Thanks. Not a big deal. It only looked odd, like you had a blind spot.


The Top 4 squads by DVOA/ DAVE …

The Top 4 crews by DVOA/ DAVE really have separated into a tier of their own, which maps really well to the EPA/ play tiers, Dallas being the clear but close 5th in all cases.

Really is reflected in those playoff/ Super Bowl odds for the Invoice while the NFC crews are all cannibalising one another’s chances to make it.


We need a Houston DVOA article

Rush DVOA is so dreadful( -4 1.8%) that passing with below substitution level Davis Mills is a much better option.

I did not go back alone through the database, but in recent years, merely 2019 Miami is in the ballpark with this horrific rush DVOA.

Read more: footballoutsiders.com

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