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 is simple, I measure 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” is as follows:
The formula has proven to be a pretty accurate predictor of success. Even in the first week of the 2008 season, 5 of the top 10 ranked teams were playoff bound. As with any statistic, it becomes more meaningful as the sample size grows. Usually, these become most meaningful after Week 3. In 2007, 9 of the top 10 ranked teams were playoff teams, with the lowest ranked playoff team coming in at #15. In 2008, 8 the top 10 were playoff teams, with Arizona being the lowest ranked playoff team at #19. I’m not sure any formula could have predicted their run.
If you’d like to see how teams rankings changed from 2008 to 2009, you can read more here.
Tennessee makes its first appearance atop the rankings after another blowout win. The AFC dominates the top of the charts, holding the first seven spots. Not much separates the top NFC teams as the Giants top out at only 5.7. Historically, Super Bowl contenders have had team strengths over, or close to, 10. Chargers fans are suffering through an unbelievably frustrating year. Their offense and defense is all over the top of the key categories, but that is not translating into wins.
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. The top three teams still appear to be in a class by themselves. Buffalo climbs out of the cellar, thanks in part, to another terrible Jaguar performance.