Prior to the season, Football Outsiders had a less than enthusiastic projection for the 49ers, with their preseason numbers pointing to a fairly sizable regression. As we head into Week 6, those projections are being thrown out the window following back-to-back blowout victories. Football Outsiders released their DVOA ratings through Week 5, and the 49ers are No. 1.
More important, the 49ers are No. 1 by a healthy margin. Aaron Schatz pointed out that the DVOA gap between the 49ers and No. 2 Houston is greater than between Houston and No. 10 Seattle. The ratings still include DAVE, which factors in the preseason projection. At this point, it is only 27% of the rating, but even still, that shows just how well the 49ers have performed. Additionally, the rankings include opponent adjustments, so these aren't empty numbers.
I spoke briefly with our man Danny Tuccitto and he provided a few notable rankings:
- Offense is ranked third, defense is ranked fourth
- They're No. 1 overall in spite of the No. 24 special teams unit
- Rushing offense is No. 1
- Offensive line adjusted line yards is No. 1 by a sizable margin
- Among QBs, Alex Smith is No. 8 in DYAR and No. 7 in DVOA
- Among RBs, Frank Gore is No. 3 in DYAR and No. 2 in DVOA
- Among TEs, Vernon Davis No. 2 in DYAR and No. 3 in DVOA
The 49ers do have a tough slate of games the rest of the way, so let's pay attention to what Wolf said in Pulp Fiction. Danny gets credit for dropping that one in. The 49ers will be favored in most of their remaining games, but teams like the Giants, Bears, Patriots are among the many potentially difficult games. And that's to say nothing of generally tough divisional road games.
I had a chance to meet FO's Aaron Schatz this weekend at a conference and we were discussing the rankings. We discussed out how the FO computers were not able to account for Jim Harbaugh being that much better of a coach than Mike Singletary. There are plenty of things to consider in the 49ers strong run over the last season-plus, but the coaching difference cannot be underestimated.