The Packers fall from the top spot after a few weeks in the driver’s seat. Seattle holds steady at #4 despite losing a bit of team strength this week due to a poor passer rating against the 49ers. There is still a large divide between the top three teams and then Seattle in the fourth spot.
The Seahawks offense, specifically the passing game, is keeping the team from climbing higher. The efficiency numbers are just above average, where the top teams all have elite passer ratings over 100. The Cardinals are a top ten team when strength of schedule (SOS) is factored in, but fall to #17 when it doesn’t. They are strikingly similar to the 49ers who are #11 with SOS and #19 without. The Cardinals have scored a few more points, but are otherwise alike.
Buffalo validated their spot in the top ten of the rankings the past few weeks with their win over the Packers.
RANKINGS (WITH SOS)
RANKINGS (WITHOUT SOS)
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.
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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:
(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.