What Would Buddy Do?
Birds finish season #1 in Nerd Rankings
Posted on December 30th, 2008 at 1:32 pm by Cheesesteak Hoagie

Sure, they may have needed the heavens to open and gravity to reverse itself on Sunday in order to secure a playoff spot, but our much-maligned Eagles (at least among the commenters on FO) have finished the season ranked #1 in the Football Outsiders DVOA rankings.

In terms of splits, the offense finished 12th, the defense finished 3rd (behind Pittsburgh and Baltimore), and the special teams 13th.  Last year, the Eagles finished 12th overall, with the offense at 7, the defense at 12, and the special teams at (gulp) 31.

As you may or may not have imagined, this is the first time the Eagles have finished first in said rankings.  Would you call them the best team of the Andy Reid era?  Me neither.  So I guess DVOA isn’t quite exactly perfect yet.

Other DVOA notes:

NFC East.  The Eagles finished 1st, the Giants 3rd, the Cowboys 15th and the Skins 18th.  Like last season, we can argue that the NFC East was the best division in football.  Though the NFC South was a bit more consistent — the four teams ranked 6, 9, 12, 13 (CAR, NO, ATL, and TB, respectively) — the NFC East was better on average.  That is, the average NFC South ranking is 10 versus 9.25 for the NFC East.

NFC Least?  Worst division is the NFC West (you’re shocked, I know), with an average ranking of 26.25 and no team higher than 20 (ARI).  Ouch.

Schedule.  The Birds had the 13th hardest schedule in the league.  The Giants had the 8th, the Cowboys the 5th, and the Skins the 12th.  That’s what that last-place schedule in the NFC East gets you!  Also, if you’re looking to stick it to the Pats or Jets fans in your life, you might mention that the AFC East played the 29th-, 30th-, 31st-, and 32nd-ranked schedules.

QB rankings.  Dunavin finished 8th among QBs versus 14th last year.  Also worth noting that he finished with the best ranking in the division, though all the guys were pretty close (Eli 9th, Romo 11th, and Campbell 16th).  I’m just sayin is all.

RB rankings.  A year after finishing numero uno among NFL RBs, the 36 Chambers of Brian Westbrook dropped to 11th.  That’s what happens when you’re hurt most of the year.    Buckhalter finished 10th among those with fewer than 100 carries, versus 3rd a year ago.

Go Birds.

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