If you’re a football traditionalist and don’t subscribe to the analytics, all you need is the eye test. In that category, the Bills defense has certainly improved throughout the course of the past few games.
But if you’re looking for a bit of those fancy stats, Football Outsiders has got something for you from earlier this week.
FO analyst Aaron Schatz released the football analytics outlet’s recent DVOA numbers on the Bills (8-3). In them, Buffalo’s numbers from the first six games of the year are compared to the last six.
There’s a clear improvement:
Return of the Buffalo Bills defense:
Weeks 1-6: 12.2% DVOA (30th)
Weeks 7-12: -12.0% DVOA (7th)#BillsMafia
— Aaron Schatz (@FO_ASchatz) December 1, 2020
Via Football Outsiders, here’s their explanation for 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.
For those just using the eye test, much of the Bills’ improvements have certainly come about because of takeaways in recent games, the Bills have 11 plus a fourth-down stop in their last three contests combined. In addition, things in the front-seven, including linebacker AJ Klein, have really started to click for the Bills.
While not a picture perfect team, Buffalo is certainly trending in the right direction, at the right time. Now the key is for them to continue that over the course of their final five games, starting with the 49ers (5-6) in Week 13 on Monday Night Football.