The Cincinnati Bengals might not have impressed the national media as much as it did the Bengals hardcore god-loving fans, but the team did impress Football Outsiders detailed statistical analysis. What in the holy macaroni does that even mean? Football Outsiders is a developed in-depth statistical analysis, attempting to bring "objective analysis to football" that analyzes "skill players, offensive and defensive lines, special teams, and total team efficiency." What's DVOA?
DVOA breaks down the entire season play-by-play, comparing success on each play to the league average based on a number of variables including down, distance, location on field, current score gap, quarter, and opponent quality. While it can be used as a measure of total team performance, it differs from other power ratings found throughout the Web because it can be broken down to analyze team effectiveness in any number of ways: down, quarter, rushing vs. receiving, location on field, passes to backs vs. passes to receivers, and so on.
According to their first week DVOA ratings release, the Bengals scored an 18.8% DVOA, ranking 11th in the NFL. The defense (-24.4%) clearly dominated, finishing fifth will the Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders scoring higher. The team's with the highest overall DVOA is the Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Houston Texans, New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers -- top four teams had a rather easy time of it this weekend.
The worst team? Pittsburgh.
Now the caveat.
The DVOA this early isn't a trend, isn't a forecast, isn't anything but a reaction to those games. Pittsburgh posting the worst DVOA isn't going to be the trend and if you factor their preseason projections (aka, the newly introduced DAVE), then Pittsburgh is ranked fifth still and the Bengals fall to their more Power Rankings friendly 23rd position.