I suppose posting about the 49ers increasing playoff odds goes against the title of this post, but I can live with that. I've posted the odds twice and the 49ers have one twice. I've weened myself off most of my superstitions at this point, but I'll stick with this one for now.
Football Outsiders released their latest playoff odds and the 49ers continue rocketing upward to 97.5%. They now have the highest odds of making the playoffs in the NFL. The Packers are second at 97.4%. In the NFC West, the Seattle Seahawks are at 9.4%. It is also interesting to note that the 49ers have the third highest Super Bowl odds at 13.1%. This reflects their ability but also reflects how much closer they are to securing a playoff berth than other teams.
For those wondering how FO determines their odds, they reflect FO running the season 10,000 times. Wins and losses are assigned using a combination of DAVE ratings for each team and home field advantage in every single game to come up with odds following each week. I've posted the NFC West odds at the end of this post.
FO also released their latest DVOA ratings, which help provide an idea of the overall offensive, defensive and special teams efficiency we are seeing from a given team. DVOA is not a perfect rating, but it provides some interesting points to consider. Following week five, the 49ers are ranked second in DVOA thanks to a No. 14 ranking in offensive efficiency and No. 2 rankings in defensive and special teams efficiency.
The offense took a sizable step up from No. 23 thanks to their huge performance against Tampa Bay. The 49ers improvement comes in part due to drastic improvements the last two weeks in the rushing game, and a solid consistency lately in the passing game. The 49ers rank No. 23 in rushing efficiency, and No. 7 in passing efficiency.
Alex Smith has seen improvements for himself as he is up to No. 15 in DYAR and No. 10 in QB DVOA. DYAR represents total value while DVOA looks at value per play. Many will disagree with Smith's standing, but again it's simply one more way to reference his performance.
In his weekly intro to the rankings, FO founder Aaron Schatz addressed some of the more controversial rankings, which naturally includes the 49ers. As he described it, "[t]he DVOA system loves big, dominating wins, and the 49ers certainly had one this week." While one win does not make a season, a dominant win against a reportedly good team can a long ways to show how legit a team is.
The 49ers were still 11th before the game, so the dominance only reinforced the quality. He did suggest the 49ers DVOA would go down as the season wore on because of opponent adjustments. The 49ers have played the 26th most difficult schedule to date and their remaining schedule is last in the NFL. As long as they keep winning, who cares, but it is useful to know when assessing the team.