Well here we are. Week four. Only one team made the playoffs last year that was not ranked in the top 15 of these rankings by week four. That was the Indianapolis Colts, who were ranked #28 at this point last season. The 49ers just scrape into the top 15 after a big win, but teams like Green Bay, Atlanta, Houston, and Baltimore do not. We will see what transpires from here.
Seattle gets the win, but drops their strength rating significantly to fall out of first place. It is hard to imagine Denver dropping much anytime soon. The Lions and Titans deserve some attention, although the Locker injury changes things. And look at Carolina sitting at #9. That week one win on the road could win up being a pretty impressive feat for the Seahawks.
Note: If you are having problems viewing the rankings below, try this link.(FIXED! LINK WILL WORK!)
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)