Hawk Blogger 2014 Power Rankings: Week 16

Seattle finally climbs into the elite tier of teams by pushing into 30+ range for team strength. Four teams boast that mark, let by the Packers. Denver, Seattle and New England are essentially tied for second. Dallas is the only other team in the conversation for top team sitting in fifth place with a 25.2 team strength mark.

New England shares the most similar profile to the Seahawks in terms of passer rating differential, but the Seahawks strength in the run game puts them in a unique category. The formula is least rewarding to run efficiency on both offense and defense because it so rarely correlates to playoff success. Seattle is so strong in that differential, though, this could very well be an outlier.

The Seahawks next opponent in the #22 St. Louis Rams. They are all that stands in the way of a top seed for Seattle.




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)

As of September 23, 2014, I have added a strength of schedule component to the rankings as well. 

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