Defensive backs take part of their traditional pregame huddle before taking the field for warmups.

Hawk Blogger Power Rankings: Week 13

No team is accelerating faster into the home stretch than the Seahawks, who climb into the top five, their highest ranking since week five. They are just beyond the elite tier of teams that includes the Packers, Patriots and Broncos, but another performance like the last two weeks would undoubtedly put them in that class.

Seattle is nearly plus-10 in passer rating differential after being in negative range just a few weeks ago. That has been their biggest turnaround. Point differential has obviously also increased, while their league-best run differential continues to hold relatively steady.

The Eagles remain a team that defies the rankings as they are 18th with SOS factored in and 21st without. They have a strongly negative passer rating differential, which is the biggest thing holding them back. Detroit is also pretty far down the list due to very slight margins in passer rating and points. St. Louis is the only other team to make a similar climb in team strength to the Seahawks over the last three weeks.




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 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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