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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:
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:
It generally takes 3-4 weeks before these rankings become prophetic. Still, eight of the teams that finished in the top 10 from week two last year did end up making the playoffs. Take that for what it is worth.
Seattle climbs seven spots to settle in behind the Broncos at #2 overall. There are some surprising names like Kansas City, Miami, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Buffalo in the top ten. Objective rankings are blind to our bias. I guarantee you will not see all those names in any ESPN power poll top ten. I trust the numbers, as I have seen this occur in prior years. Green Bay makes the biggest improvement, and how about the Redskins as the worst team in football so far?
Note: If you are having problems viewing the rankings below, try this link.
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.