- Chef explains how to keep your Eagle from getting gamey. A handy guide, to be sure.
- This has nothing to do with football, but it's both brilliant and hilarious.
- This just in, when Drew Brees plays well, so do the Saints.
Anyway, below you will find a breakdown of the Saints' opponents by offensive, defensive, special teams and overall DVOA on the season (also, where these numbers rank). Those are the first eight columns; I'll deal with the final two columns in a second. As always, mad props to the Football Outsiders for having the best statistical analyses available (if you don't know, now you know ...).
What I was trying to answer was fairly simple: Are the Saints a good team?
The usual caveats about the fallibility of small sample sizes applies, though not as strongly as one would think, since the rough edges tend to smooth out over a season.
|IND||27.2%||2||- 13.2%||2||- 5.0%||29||35.4%||2||88.30%||61.10%|
|TB||11%||9||- 12.0%||3||- 0.4%||16||22.7%||6||76.70%||65.70%|
|TEN||- 5.9%||13||- 11.1%||4||- 2.5%||22||2.60%||13||52.60%||58.50%|
|CAR||- 17.7%||28||1.60%||18||- 6.2%||30||- 25.5%||29||- 12%||5%|
|SEA||3.90%||14||- 8.7%||6||2.20%||12||14.80%||9||-13%||- 16%|
|ATL||- 16.3%||27||9.80%||25||- 6.2%||30||- 28.1%||27||- 29.9%||- 13.6%|
|SF||- 30.6%||32||14.90%||31||5.60%||4||- 39.9%||32||- 65.2%||- 34.6%|
|JAC||18.6%||5||- 2.0%||14||2.70%||10||23.20%||5||- 27.1%||-45.7%|
|STL||- 20%||30||8.20%||23||- 6.6%||32||- 34.8%||32||18.80%||38.80%|
|CAR||- 17.7%||28||1.60%||18||- 6.2%||30||- 25.5%||29||- 83.4%||- 65.7%|
|TB||11.0%||9||- 12.0%||3||- 0.4%||16||22.70%||6||22.50%||11.50%|
|ATL||- 16.3%||27||9.80%||25||- 6.2%||30||- 28.1%||27||- 40.1%||- 23.8%|
|ARI||- 2.8%||19||6.00%||20||- 2.8%||24||- 11.6%||22||- 35.1%||- 32.3%|
|AVG||- 3.76||21||0.19%||18||-2.11||19||- 5.45%||21||0.44%||5.89%|
|PHI||8.6%||11||- 3.4%||12||- 4.4%||18||7.70%||11||NA||NA|
The final two columns -- and the two bottom rows -- are what I'm going to talk about today. As you can see, the Saints' average opponent would rank 21st in offensive DVOA, 18th in defensive DVOA, 19th in special team's DVOA and 21st in overall DVOA. That's not gonna win them and strenght-of-schedule points. Luckily, this ain't the NCAA Tournament.
Now the final two columns. The V NO column is pretty straightforward -- it's the team's raw DVOA score in the week they played the Saints. As you can see, it roughly corresponds to how the game went -- the Saints got hammered by Indy, so their DVOA was hugely above average (on the average play, the Colts were 88.3 percent better than the average team). But the Saints hammered San Francisco, so the 49ers' DVOA score for that week was - 65.2 percent. For what it's worth, the Saints' DVOA in the Indy game was hugely negative and hugely positive in the San Francisco game. In that way, DVOA resembles a zero-sum game, though it isn't exactly.
The final column takes the difference between the DVOA of that team against the Saints and their DVOA on the season. The way that I approached the question of Are the Saints a good team was to ask Do teams play better or worse against the Saints, relative to their play on the season.
If my math is correct, and that's a big if, what we should find is that on average, teams play 5.89 percent better against the Saints than on the season as a whole. That is, the difference between the average Overall DVOA and the average V NO DVOA is 5.89 (percent).
Obviously, there is a psychological component to this -- the Saints are a high profile team and often play in nationally televised games. But I think there is some creedence to the idea that the Saints are probably overrated relative to their performance this season.
I also think that the negative numbers toward the bottom of the chart -- the Carolina, Atlanta and Arizona weeks in particular -- are promising, even if they were wins against good teams.
For fun, I threw in Philadelphia's stats. They are pretty good, but then, so were the Jaguars.
Once again, thanks to the Football Outsiders for letting me use their data. They are invaluable to me as a blogger and a must read for any football fan who wants to look beyond the dancing robots and blithering heads.