Hawk Blogger 2013 Power Rankings: Week 11

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For the first time since Week 3, someone other than Denver owns the top spot in the rankings. Seattle rises to #1 on the strength of a solid margin of victory and league-best passer rating differential. The Broncos have been sliding slightly the past few weeks, while the Seahawks have been gaining ground. The Saints spot at #3 sets up a titanic battle once Seattle returns from the bye. Only three teams have strength ratings of 40 or more, and two of them will face-off in Seattle on Monday Night Football.

Elsewhere, the Cardinals cross over into the land of positive rankings with their stretch of strong play. The Steelers join them. Meanwhile, Green Bay and Indianapolis sink near, or below, the zero barrier.

The Seahawks do not have any easy games left on the schedule, or at least as easy as they might have been a few weeks back. The Giants, Rams and Cardinals are all playing decent football.

UPDATE: New This Week!! I have added a 3-Week difference in team strength to help identify teams that are climbing or sliding over a larger chunk of time. This should help find teams that may be playing above or below their current ranking.

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)