The top five is an interesting bunch. Seattle is the only one to make an improvement this week. Their game was sloppy, but the ranking formula does not care. They lowered their opponent passer rating, points against, and opponent yards per carry. The Chiefs, meanwhile, won convincingly on the scoreboard, but are held back by a very low team passer rating (79.8) and are being out-rushed in terms of yards per carry (4.2 to 5.1). The Colts dropped 13.1 points, more than any other team in the rankings.
I have been beating the Carolina drum since game one. The Saints better not count their chickens because the Panthers are better than people realize, and improving quite a bit. The Cardinals destruction of the Panthers a few weeks ago becomes even more impressive as time moves on, as does the Seahawks opening day victory.
The Steelers and Rams make big strides this week. Pittsburgh joins the rank of teams with positive strength scores. Eight of the Seahawks remaining ten opponents are ranked 21st or lower.
Note: If you are having problems viewing the rankings below, try this link.(Leave a comment if it doesn’t work for you!)
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.
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 was simple, I measured 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” was 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, but I am always looking for ways to improve it. I read a great article on ColdHardFootballFacts.com. There was one gem in there about predicting championship teams. The article mentioned passer rating differential as the “mother of all stats.” A full 69 of 72 champions have ranked in the Top 10 in this statistic. It is a stat after my own heart, as I believe offensive and defensive efficiency is the key measurable outside of point differential. Turnovers would factor in there as well, but I am not convinced a team has as much control over that. My power rankings use YPA and YPC differentials. I went ahead and replaced the YPA with offensive and defensive passer rating, to give me this:
(YPC (offense) + Passer Rating (offense) + Avg Pts/Game Scored) – (OPP YPC (defense) + OPP Passer Rating (defense)+ OPP Avg Pts/Game)