Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Hawk Blogger 2013 Power Rankings: Week 15

THIS WEEK
The Seahawks extend to their largest margin between themselves and everyone else after a 23-0 whitewash. The 15.8 point difference means that the difference between Seattle and Denver is roughly equivalent to the difference between New Orleans and Pittsburgh. None of this guarantees victory, but Seattle's team efficiency is far and away the best in the NFL, and efficiency correlates strongly to win probability.

The NFC West has sent the Saints into a tailspin, as they have lost more team strength than any other group after facing Seattle and St. Louis. The teams gaining strength that figure into the playoff picture are Kansas City, Chicago, Indianapolis, and possibly Miami.

San Francisco continues to improve, but it would be a stretch to say they are hot.

Note: If you are having problems viewing the rankings below, try this link(Leave a comment if it doesn't work for you!)



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.



RANKINGS EXPLAINED
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)


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