FanPost

RU Stat-is-fied with the NFC West?

Happy Hump Day!

In my quest to find something to do while waiting for training camp to start, I stumbled on to a set of stats from "Football Outsiders." Of course I had to see what they had to offer, and how we stacked up against the other NFC West rivals last year. I also, was looking for trends that might give some hints as to what we can expect this year along with some wild ass guessing. I decided to look at four main groups of stats which are Offense, Defense, Special Teams, and Overall Team Efficiency. Let's start with Offense and see what the NFC West did in the regular season only.

Here is their explanation as to the stats:

This page lists DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) for total offense as well as rushing and passing offense separated. The DVOA system is explained here. All numbers below are adjusted to an average schedule of opponents and an average percentage of fumbles recovered by the offense. The exceptions are the three columns marked NON-ADJUSTED. Rushing includes all rushing, not just running backs.

LAST YEAR represents 2011 rank. WEIGHTED OFFENSE is adjusted so that earlier games in the season become gradually less important. It better reflects how the team was playing at the end of the season.

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). SCHEDULE represents the average defensive DVOA of all opponents, with teams ranked from hardest schedule to easiest schedule.

Please note that the combination of pass offense and run offense will appear to be higher than total offensive DVOA. This is because offensive DVOA also accounts for false starts and delay of game penalties, which are all negative plays but are not considered as either passes or runs.

So let's see how we stacked up against the other teams: Offense Efficiency

TEAM

OFF.

LAST

WEIGHTED

RANK

PASS

PASS

RUSH

RUSH

NON-ADJUSTED

VAR.

RANK

SCHED

RANK

DVOA

YEAR

OFFENSE

OFF.

RANK

OFF.

RANK

TOTAL

PASS

RUSH

SEA

18.50%

22

31.20%

1

37.40%

4

16.70%

1

13.40%

30.80%

12.40%

6.00%

16

-5.50%

3

SF

17.00%

18

13.10%

7

33.20%

5

12.60%

3

12.60%

25.90%

10.80%

9.30%

24

-4.60%

6

ARI

-31.00%

28

-36.00%

32

-30.30%

31

-22.10%

32

-36.10%

-36.70%

-25.30%

6.00%

14

-5.40%

4

STL

-4.70%

32

0.00%

15

6.80%

17

-4.90%

19

-8.80%

1.90%

-8.10%

5.40%

10

-6.00%

1

At first glance it's about what you would expect, comparing last year's ranking to this year you can see that SEA jumped from number 22 to 1st. SF jumped from 18th to 7th, and ARI actually dropped two places from 28th to dead last. The Rams actually came up 17 spots although it didn't feel like it watching the games! I think we actually improved more than we thought. The fact that the other teams in the division made huge jumps left us feeling like we didn't do much. The real truth if you want to believe these stats is that we made an improvement of over 50% compared to 2011. If you look at our Pass and Rush ranking compared to the other three rivals, it seems pretty reasonable that we are 17 & 19 compared to SEA 4 & 1, SF with a 5 & 3, and ARI bringing up the bottom at a dismal 31 & 32. I really can't explain why we are ranked number 1 in the non-adjusted area. Maybe one of you stat masters like "NoAvailableCap" can fill me in on what it is trying to tell me. Since these stats measure Offense Efficiency, then it tells me our offense got everything it could out of what we had to work with.

Alright so after Offense it's only Logical to look at the Defense:

Explanation from the makers:

This page lists DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) for total defense as well as rushing and passing defense separated. The DVOA system is explained here. All numbers below are adjusted to an average schedule of opponents and an average percentage of fumbles recovered by the defense. The exceptions are the three columns marked NON-ADJUSTED. Rushing includes all rushing, not just running backs.

LAST YEAR represents 2011 rank. WEIGHTED DEFENSE is adjusted so that earlier games in the season become gradually less important. It better reflects how the team was playing at the end of the season.

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). SCHEDULE represents the average offensive DVOA of all opponents, with teams ranked from hardest schedule to easiest schedule.

Remember, since positive numbers represent more scoring, defense is better when it is NEGATIVE.

Defense Efficiency Stats:

TEAM

DEF.

LAST

WEIGHTED

RANK

PASS

PASS

RUSH

RUSH

NON-ADJUSTED

VAR.

RANK

SCHED

RANK

DVOA

YEAR

DEFENSE

DEF.

RANK

DEF.

RANK

TOTAL

PASS

RUSH

SEA

-14.10%

10

-9.50%

7

-18.10%

3

-8.10%

12

-11.30%

-14.70%

-6.30%

9.90%

32

-0.30%

15

SF

-14.30%

3

-12.30%

4

-10.30%

6

-19.70%

2

-10.90%

-7.20%

-15.90%

6.00%

18

0.60%

13

ARI

-13.50%

20

-10.10%

6

-21.40%

2

-5.60%

16

-7.70%

-14.30%

-1.10%

6.20%

20

4.70%

1

STL

-9.20%

21

-9.40%

8

-6.40%

8

-12.60%

10

-6.30%

-5.30%

-7.40%

2.90%

4

2.70%

8

These stats seem more like I expected than the offensive ones. We see that all four teams except SF showed great improvement in their Defense Efficiency. SF dropped one rank but that's understandable since they had a great defense in 2011 also. The biggest improvements were made by ARI and us moving up 14 & 13 places in the rankings. The next section on Pass and Rush defensive efficiency shows us that SEA and ARI had the two best pass defenses in the West. We show up last, but ranked 8th in the league is pretty good considering we had a lot of changes in the secondary.

Remember that these rankings are rated against all of the NFL, not just the NFC West. I've just pulled the West to see how things compare in our division, since we are the division to beat going into 2013. SF shows the best rush defense at number 2 which sounds reasonable to me. The rest of us are close going ARI-16, STL-10, and SEA-12.

Next is an area that gets over looked most of the time and that's Special Teams.

Special Teams Efficiency:

Explanation From Football Outsiders:

This page lists an estimate of how many points, compared to league average, each team receives from the five elements of special teams: field goals/extra points, kickoffs, kick returns, punts, punt returns. The total is then converted into a DVOA percentage so that it can be added in to offense and defense to create total team DVOA.

Field goal rating compares each field goal to the league-average percentage of field goals from that distance. Yards of field position from the other four elements of special teams are translated into points using a method that gives each yard line a point value based on the average next score an NFL offense is worth from that point on the field. Kickoffs and punts are based on net yardage. Kickoff returns and punt returns are judged on return yardage only. These numbers are then adjusted for weather and altitude based on stadium type (cold, warm, dome, Denver) and week. The system is explained here. Two-point conversions and onside kicks are not included.

LAST YEAR represents last year's rank. The top number in each category is in bold type.

The final five columns represent elements not found in the standard special teams ratings.

  • HIDDEN represents the advantage teams have received from elements of special teams generally out of their control: opposing field goals, kickoff distance, and punt distance. It is listed as points worth of estimated field position, and is ranked from the team with the biggest advantage to the team with the biggest disadvantage.
  • WEATHER represents the estimated effect of weather, altitude, and domes on each team's special teams performance. It is listed as point's worth of estimated field position, and is ranked from the team with the biggest advantage to the team with the biggest disadvantage.
  • NON-ADJ VOA shows special teams DVOA without the adjustments for weather and altitude.

Special Teams Efficiency Stats:

TEAM

S.T.

LAST

WEIGHTED

FG/XP

KICK

KICK

PUNT

PUNT

HIDDEN

WEATHER

NON-ADJ

NON-ADJ

DVOA

YEAR

DVOA

RANK

RET

RET

PTS

RANK

PTS

RANK

VOA

RANK

SEA

5.70%

16

6.00%

4

1.9

8.5

9.1

12

-3

-6.4

25

-2.1

20

5.30%

3

SF

-1.50%

2

-1.30%

20

-17.8

-2.6

-0.6

13.4

0.3

-2

21

-0.8

19

-1.60%

21

ARI

1.10%

11

2.50%

12

4.4

-6.7

-2.5

19.7

-9.3

14

2

4.5

8

2.00%

11

STL

-3.40%

28

-5.10%

30

1

1.3

-8.4

-2.3

-8.2

-1.4

20

4.4

9

-2.50%

27

Well Rams fans, we had an idea that our special teams were not all that great, but I didn't expect it to be this bad. I guess I started feeling good when " Legatron" was booting all those long field goals, but I guess that doesn't make up for our terrible kick and punt returns. An interesting stat is SF dropped 18 places so I guess they need some help with ST as bad as we do.

SEA tops the list and that's not surprising to me at all.

Okay so now were down to the total Team Efficiency.

How the stats work:

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings for 2012, measured by our proprietary Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) system that breaks down every single NFL play and compares a team's performance to a league baseline based on situation in order to determine value over average. (Explained further here.)

OFFENSE and DEFENSE DVOA are adjusted based on strength of opponent as well as 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. NON-ADJUSTED TOTAL VOA does not include these adjustments.

As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE. LAST YEAR represents 2011 rank.

Overall Team Efficiency Stats:

TEAM

TOTAL

LAST

NON-ADJ

W-L

OFFENSE

OFF.

DEFENSE

DEF.

S.T.

S.T.

DVOA

YEAR

TOT VOA

DVOA

RANK

DVOA

RANK

DVOA

RANK

SEA

38.30%

19

30.60%

11-5

18.50%

4

-14.10%

4

5.70%

3

SF

29.90%

6

24.00%

11-4-1

17.00%

5

-14.30%

2

-1.50%

20

ARI

-16.30%

28

-27.70%

5-11

-31.00%

32

-13.50%

6

1.10%

11

STL

1.10%

32

-6.30%

7-8-1

-4.70%

21

-9.20%

7

-3.40%

26

This one seems again pretty straight forward and believable. It looks like SEA has the best balance of Offense, Defense, and Special Teams at 4-4-3.
Next is SF with a 5-2, but they took a big hit with special teams rank of 20. ARI looks good at Defense and Special Teams, their immediate problem is the offense and as we all know...QB.

As for the Rams, it's pretty much what we thought. Defense is solid; Offense and Special Teams need work.

The second part of this stat page, includes some estimates for the future. Let's see what we have...... based on their magic box.

As explained by the makers of these stats:

  • 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.
  • WEIGHTED DVOA is adjusted so that earlier games in the season become gradually less important. It better reflects how the team was playing at the end of the season.
  • 2012 SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents played this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative).
  • PYTHAGOREAN WINS represent a projection of the team's expected wins based solely on points scored and allowed.
  • 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

W-L

ESTIM.

RANK

WEIGHTED

RANK

2012

RANK

PYTH

RANK

VAR.

RANK

DVOA

WINS

DVOA

SCHED

WINS

SEA

38.30%

11-5

13

3

46.60%

1

5.10%

4

12.5

3

14.30%

21

SF

29.90%

11-4-1

12.5

4

24.10%

5

6.30%

3

11.4

4

21.70%

31

ARI

-16.30%

5-11

4.8

27

-23.40%

27

10.70%

1

4.8

27

16.10%

26

STL

1.10%

7-8-1

8.1

15

4.30%

12

9.60%

2

6.6

22

9.90%

8

Based on last year this chart isn't so surprising. The problem is that the league changes every year as teams try to bolster their roster and gain ground on the road to the Super Bowl. The biggest ifs are STL and ARI. Because we don't have a clue about how Palmer will play, or how our new weapons will work.... I think it's a bit short sighted to give 13 Estimated wins to SEA, and 12.5 to SF.

I think SF has peaked and has started their decline, SEA didn't show a great improvement so they may have topped out also. The only team showing major improvement was the Rams. If we can continue to improve our percentage just as much this year, we should be at the top next season. Especially after two more first round picks, and if the rookies perform as needed.

To me Arizona is the wild card out of this division. They have all the tools but can Palmer forget all the systems he recently had to learn, or has a man of his advanced age succumbed to early Alzheimer's and he won't be worth a damn.

I really don't know.... but the NFC West is going to be one wild shoot out this year. The rest of the league is going to seem easy compared to our own division.

So what's your take on all this? The future looks pretty bright to me, but then I'm full of optimism just like the start of every season.

Thanks!

OCR

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