Hawk Blogger 2013 Power Rankings: Week 12

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Denver continues their slide, losing 11.3 points over the last three weeks. The 49ers gain almost as must as the Broncos lost this week, and climb ahead of the Panthers into the top four. Seahawks fans would like to believe the 49ers were on the brink of playoff elimination, but the numbers imply this still may be the team to beat in the NFC when the playoffs roll around.

The Cardinals are streaking, up 16.5 over the past three weeks. The only team moving farther and faster is the Tampa Bay Bucs. And keep an eye on the Steelers. Every team the Seahawks play over the next five weeks is playing better ball than they were a few weeks ago. There will be no gimmies.

UPDATE:  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)