After the Jets smacked around the Titans last week, it’s hard to dispute that the Giants are the best team in the league.  As FootballOutsiders’ advanced DVOA stats show, this isn’t merely my opinion.  By their measurements, it’s a fact.  (For more on DVOA, click here.)

The G-Men rank first in DVOA by a rather massive margin: Their 41.6% DVOA dwarfs the second-best Ravens, who pull in at 27.7%.  (What, you have a problem with the Ravens being second?  Early in the season, the Ravens choked away a 10-point second half lead to the Steelers.  The next week, they almost definitely would have beaten the Titans if not for a bullshit personal foul penalty on Terrell Suggs, which saved the Titans from a fourth-and-10 deep in their territory.)

Anyway, as Aaron Schatz points out in his weekly DVOA analysis, the difference between the Giants and Ravens is roughly equal to the difference between the Ravens and the ninth-best Packers.  They have been that much better than the rest of the league.  Their 14.0% lead in DVOA is the second best since 1995, to when DVOA stats date back. (The FootballOutsiders guys are slowly but surely making their way deeper into history with this, but it takes time to chart the play-by-play data.)

Indeed, their 41.7% DVOA indicates they are worthy of their Best Team in the League status.  After the Steelers game, NYGMen commentator Flume declared the G-Men “The worst Best Team in the League” in recent memory.  I doubt he would make this claim now, but he was wrong.  The 2008 Giants sport the seventh best DVOA after Week 12 since 1995.

Here’s the top 10 list:

1) ’07 Patriots: 71.3%

2) ’99 Rams: 50.0%

3) ’98 Broncos: 46.7%

4) ’01 Rams: 44.2%

5) ’04 Patriots: 43.0%

6) ’02 Bucs: 42.9%

7) ’08 G-Men: 41.6%

8) ’95 Cowboys: 41.1%*

9) ’95 49ers: 41.0%

10) ’04 Steelers: 40.2%

It’s worth noting that four of the other nine teams did not win the Super Bowl – it’s obviously possible that the 2008 Giants, as good as they’ve been, will not either.  Still, whatever happens in the future should not retroactively diminish what we’ve accomplished to this point.

In his column, Schatz makes a good point about how the Giants 2008 season changes the way one views their 2007 playoff run, particularly their “major upset” over the Patriots.  He writes:

“Obviously, hindsight it 20-20, and you can’t predict games using future information.  However, now that we know that they were on their way to becoming the strongest team in the league, last year’s Giants run through the playoffs makes a lot more sense.  If we could put together a hypothetical game between this year’s Giants and last year’s Patriots, a Giants win would be a minor upset, but not a major one.”

* Note: There is a ridiculous smiley-face that keeps showing up here, and I have no idea why.  Just so you know, I didn’t put it there.  There was nothing funny or cute about the 1995 Cowboys.