There are countless statistical websites out there, but Football Outsiders is perhaps my favorite. Where many sites just report the numbers, FO tries to add some context to the equation and I’ve always thought their rankings and ratings to be largely accurate, matching the eye test.
In their own words, this is how DVOA works:
DVOA is a method of evaluating teams, units, or players. It takes every single play during the NFL season and compares each one to a league-average baseline based on situation. DVOA measures not just yardage, but yardage towards a first down: Five yards on third-and-4 are worth more than five yards on first-and-10 and much more than five yards on third-and-12. Red zone plays are worth more than other plays. Performance is also adjusted for the quality of the opponent. DVOA is a percentage, so a team with a DVOA of 10.0% is 10 percent better than the average team, and a quarterback with a DVOA of -20.0% is 20 percent worse than the average quarterback. Because DVOA measures scoring, defenses are better when they are negative. For more detail, read below.
Now we have a better understanding of how it works, let’s take a look at how the Jets rate.
Total DVOA: 9th
Offense DVOA: 20th
Defense DVOA: 7th
Special Teams DVOA: 9th
I would say it’s hard to argue with any of that. In three of the four categories the Jets rank inside the top 10 and I believe this is the first time all year that the Jets have been inside the top 10 for total DVOA, meaning that Football Outsiders consider the Jets to be one of the 10 best teams in football. At 6-3 the record would indicate that to be true.
If you break it down even further you can dive into the aspects of offense and defense and see where the Jets ranks, and this is where it slightly loses me. According to Football Outsiders, the Jets have the 17th-ranked passing offense in the league but the 19th-ranked rushing offense, the eye test would indicate that we’re a better rushing team than passing team, but if you look at overall base numbers for the year, the Jets are ranked higher in terms of overall passing yards than overall rushing yards.
On the defensive side we’re ranked as the 7th best team against the pass and the 8th best team against the rush, so a nice balanced mix which often means that the defensive performances are more sustainable. Whether we come up against a good passing team or a good rushing team, we have the ability to defend it.
The overall numbers are obviously helped significantly by the win over Buffalo, who many consider to be the Super Bowl favorite. If we’re looking just at the DVOA rankings for week 9, then the Jets are:
Total DVOA: 2nd
Offense DVOA: 8th
Defense DVOA: 4th
Special Teams DVOA: 8th
We knew it was an outstanding performance, but this obviously shows just how good it was. This is all goes back to the equation we looked at yesterday, the Jets don’t need Zach to throw for 300 yards every game to be the best team in the league, they just need him to not make mistakes and turn the ball over.
There are some very clear areas for the Jets to address, according to DVOA. They’re currently ranked the 31st offense in 3rd/4th down and short scenarios, but the 8th ranked offense in 2nd down and short. They’re the 22nd-ranked team in the red zone and the 24th-ranked team when it comes to passing in the red zone.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Jets are excellent outside of 3rd and 4th down scenarios where they drop to 22nd in the league. They’re also 28th in the league in terms of red-zone rushing defense, but 14th in terms of red zone passing defense.
There’s a lot to look at and break down in terms of DVOA, but the Jets are moving in the right direction.