THIS WEEK
We have a new leader in the rankings at the Packers overtake the Broncos. Seattle actually climbs in the rankings due to the improvement in their strength of schedule (SOS), but stays stable in the rankings that removes SOS.

The Cardinals are 9-1 and the Seahawks are 6-4, but the main difference between the two teams as far as elements in these rankings are that Seattle runs the ball far better and the Cardinals have defended the pass far better. Both teams sport a passer rating around 91.0. Seattle scores a few more points. Arizona allows a few less. The Seahawks run for 5.5 yards per carry and the Cardinals are 3.1, while Arizona has a 79.9 opponent passer rating while Seattle is up at 92.7 on the season.

Among the teams left on the Seahawks schedule, it is interesting to see how far down Philadelphia is on both rankings. This is due to a very low passer rating and a negative passer rating differential overall. They also allow a ton of points (25.1 ppg).

RANKINGS (WITH SOS)

RANKINGS (WITHOUT SOS)

Scatter

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)


As of September 23, 2014, I have added a strength of schedule component to the rankings as well. 

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