NFL Standings Ordered by DVOA: Steelers better than raw numbers suggest

Pittsburgh Steelers, Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers, Steelers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

The NFL is rapidly changing, and we have access to data and analytics that we didn't have in the past. These numbers can help us determine how good a particular football team is with respect to their opponents. Sadly, this data also exposes the Pittsburgh Steelers for being a somewhat fraudulent 4-3 team entering Week 9.

DVOA (or Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) is a metric designed to gauge the true value of every NFL team by adjusting each play based on the opposing defense's average success in stopping that type of play over the course of a season. Unlike raw numbers -- which can often be very misleading -- DVOA was designed to be a metric that shows how well teams are actually performing.

While it's important not to use analytics as the say-all, end-all, DVOA rankings give us an idea of how the Pittsburgh Steelers currently fare compared to the rest of the NFL. Here are the DVOA rankings of every NFL team entering Week 9, per FTN Fantasy.

NFL Standings: Total DVOA entering Week 9

1. Baltimore Ravens: 41.1%
2. San Francisco 49ers: 29.3%
3. Buffalo Bills: 29.0%
4. Kansas City Chiefs: 27.9%
5. Miami Dolphins: 24.0%
6. Detroit Lions: 23.3%
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: 18.5%
8. Dallas Cowboys:16.5%
9. Philadelphia Eagles: 15.9%
10. Seattle Seahawks: 12.4%
11. Cleveland Browns: 7.3%
12. New Orleans Saints: 5.1%
13. Cincinnati Bengals: 2.3%
14. Los Angeles Chargers: 2.3%
15. Minnesota Vikings: 1.4%
16. Houston Texans: 0.4%
17. Indianapolis Colts: -0.8%
18. Tennessee Titans: -1.4%
19. New York Jets: -2.4%
20. Pittsburgh Steelers: -2.4%
21. Los Angeles Rams: -5.2%
22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: -9.9%
23. New England Patriots: -10.6%
24. Washington Commanders: -16.9%
25. Atlanta Falcons: -18.6%
26. Green Bay Packers: -19.9%
27. Denver Broncos: -20.4%
28. Arizona Cardinals:-22.9%
29. Chicago Bears: -23.9%
30. Las Vegas Raiders: -30.9%
31. Carolina Panthers: -32.4%
32. New York Giants: -38.7%

Unfortunately, for Steelers fans, the Baltimore Ravens sit at the top of the league in DVOA -- truly in a tier of their own at 41.1%. This shows that this AFC North powerhouse has been playing incredibly well this year, taking into account every single play this year and what they have faced.

The Ravens are followed by teams like the 49ers, Bills, Chiefs, and Dolphins. Surprisingly, the Philadelphia Eagles are just 9th in the NFL in total DVOA entering Week 9. At the bottom of the league, the Giants sit void of hope with a DVOA of -38.7.

In comparison, the Pittsburgh Steelers aren't nearly as bad. They are slightly in the negative at -2.4%. However, this also suggests that they have been a below-average team. Their 9th-ranked defense DVOA is saving them from being much worse. But this isn't enough to overcome their 23rd-ranked offense DVOA to make them a good team on paper.

This doesn't seem encouraging, but it's much better than what some of the raw numbers suggest. Through the first 8 weeks of the 2023 season, the Steelers are 31st in yards gained per game and 30th in yards allowed to their opponent per game, per ESPN stats. Meanwhile, their scoring offense ranks just 29th in the league. These numbers would suggest that they are one of the very worst teams in the league but DVOA gives a more accurate depiction of how things are going.

Pittsburgh can improve their DVOA throughout the season, but it's going to require much more efficiency from this team on offense. If they can do that, they will give themselves a chance to compete down the stretch.

It's important to remember that DVOA isn't an exact science. But more often than not, you get a pretty accurate list of the best teams in the league in order. The Steelers are in the middle of the pack, but it could be much worse considering how sloppy most of their games have been in the first half of the season.