Patriots Climb to 2nd in Football Outsiders’ Rankings

As I do every week, I checked the Football Outsiders Week 12 DVOA rankings today eagerly. After beating up what FO ranked as the best defense in the league 2 days ago and while holding a good offense (as long as the Lions have Calvin Johnson) to 9 points, the Pats had to finally rise up past what they were at 5th last week, right?
Oh yeah. The Pats rose. They rose all the way to 2nd, and boosted their DVOA percentage overall from 19.6% to 25.7%, which is a huge jump. After week 10, they were 8th, and then 5th in week 11, and now 2nd behind only the Broncos in Week 12.
Last week, the Pats were ranked 4th, 13th, and 4th in offense, defense, and special teams, respectively. This week, they’re 4th, 10th, and 3rd, which isn’t the kind of jump you’d expect given the overall jump from 5th to 2nd. They’re a ways back of the Broncos and Packers in terms of offense, but surprisingly, the team in 3rd who they’re barely behind (17.8% to 17.1%) is the Steelers. I know that Big Ben has had some amazing games this year, but they’re also had some flops. Kinda weird, but whatever.
I find this week’s rankings really interesting because the AFC has basically been the same at the top for 3 years. Both in 2012 and 2013, the Broncos and Pats were at the top FO’s rankings. In fact, in both 2012 and 2014, the two were/are at the top of the entire league. For a league that’s all about parity… well, maybe it’s not all about parity. It come down to quarterbacks and coaching, like we always hear, and the Pats and Broncos are just better than everyone. John Fox is no Bill Belichick, but the Broncos organization is great at giving Peyton Manning whatever he damn well pleases. And Belichick is Belichick, and that’s how you get the best teams being the best for the relatively long stretch of time (by NFL standards) of 3 years.
Next week’s challenge: Destroy the Packers by enough to take over their reign as 2nd best offense in the league.

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