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Power rankings are always debatable. I don’t buy into the gut feel methods most places use to determine their rankings, so I developed a formula a few years back that attempts to take at least some of the subjectivity out of the discussion. My approach is simple, I measure offensive and defensive efficiency based on the Yards Per Carry (YPC) and Yards Per Attempt (YPA), as well as points scored and points allowed. The formula to calculate “Team Strength” is as follows:

(YPC (offense) + YPA (offense) + Avg Pts/Game Scored) – (YPC (defense) + YPA (defense)+ Avg Pts/Game Allowed)

The formula has proven to be a pretty accurate predictor of success. Even in the first week of the 2008 season, 5 of the top 10 ranked teams were playoff bound. As with any statistic, it becomes more meaningful as the sample size grows. Usually, these become most meaningful after Week 3. In 2007, 9 of the top 10 ranked teams were playoff teams, with the lowest ranked playoff team coming in at #15. In 2008, 8 the top 10 were playoff teams, with Arizona being the lowest ranked playoff team at #19. I’m not sure any formula could have predicted their run.

If you’d like to see how teams rankings changed from 2008 to 2009, you can read more here.

Despite a big win in Chicago, the Seahawks remain steady in the rankings. The late Devin Hester TD likely cost them a few spots in the rankings. Pittsburgh remains atop the rankings for the second straight week. The first time we have had a back-to-back leader. Tennessee shockingly comes in at #2 on the strength of the a massive point differential. New Orleans makes the largest climb, jumping eight spots nearly into the Top 10 at #11.

Scatter chart of the rankings. This view helps to give you a view of how teams are grouped together. You will generally see tiers of strength develop as the season wears on. There is a pretty good scrum of eight teams with a team strength between 0 and 5. We will see which teams climb up, and which slide down.