Take a look at the NFC. Four of the top five teams reside in the NFC. The Eagles blowout win helped them climb into the top five, and the 49ers remaining relatively steady while the Saints faltered again, allowed San Francisco to gain the #3 spot.
Cardinals fans will be angry to see their team lost team strength despite a rousing win in Seattle. That is the second time in three weeks a team has beat the Seahawks, but done so in a fashion that cost them strength in the rankings. Passer rating differential plays a large role here, and as bad as Russell Wilson’s numbers were, there were not as bad as Carson Palmer’s. Yards per carry was also in Seattle’s favor. Arizona fans can be happy they get a win.
Seattle slides back, but not a ton because their defense has played so well.
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.
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)