Friday, February 13, 2009

The Final NFL Power Ranks

Better late than never right? I usually have been posting the weekly power ranks every Tuesday after the week's games, but I've been a little sidetracked the past 2 weeks. So pretend it's February 3rd, and enjoy the final power ranks of the season.

As I said 2 weeks ago, the Patriots were completely screwing up my ranks, but the Steelers, who I vehemently was rooting against in the Super Bowl, could have been my saviors. The Cardinals just didn't have the record, schedule strength, or defensive rank to climb to the top of the ranks by winning the Super Bowl, but sitting in 3rd, the Steelers were just 1 win away from finishing the year as both the Super Bowl champs and in the top of the ranks.

With their win, the Steelers finished the year as #1, pushing the Patriots and and Ravens back a spot each. The Cardinals loss dropped them from 6th to 11th, allowing a few other teams to move up a spot or 2. And yes, its pretty bizarre that the Bengals and 49ers switched spots yet again, but both teams were extremely close and benefitting from their division rivals success throughout the playoffs.

So after this 2nd year of doing the ranks I'd have to say I'm pretty happy with them. I think the only thing I might change for next year is some sort of way to penalize teams that miss the playoffs so they don't pull a New England and pop up to #1 the week before the Super Bowl. New England was a bit of an oddity though, since they finished the season 11-5 and won their final 4 games in a row. Power ranks are really a measure of "who is the best right now" instead of "who is the best over the whole season" so recent W-L record carries a decently large weight in my formula. When the season ends, I freeze that total for the non-playoff teams, so New England's winning streak to end the season was giving them the upper hand over teams that actually made the playoffs because 11 of the top 12 teams (the playoff teams) ended their season with a loss, hurting their recent success score.

I was pretty happy with the reweighting of some attributes that I made and the addition of turnover ratio as an attribute. Some teams were absolutely attrocious at holding onto the ball, and they got killed in the ranks for it, even if they had a good record, and in the end, the ranks were right (I'm looking at you Denver). The ranks also did a great job predicting the some of the "sleeper" teams. The Falcons and Ravens were much higher in my ranks than in most "expert" ranks all season, and Week 1's #1 team, the Eagles, stayed in the top 10 for 18 of the 21 weeks this season even though a lot of people left them for dead. The Eagles playoff run didn't fool anyone at the Times.

So here are the final ranks for 2008:
1. Steelers - 77.55 - +2
2. Patriots - 73.35 - -1
3. Ravens - 71.86 - -1
4. Colts - 71.46 - E
5. Eagles - 68.87 - E
6. Dolphins - 65.51 - +1
7. Giants - 63.30 - +2
8. Falcons - 62.78 - +2
9. Titans - 62.67 - -1
10. Panthers - 62.07 - +1
11. Cardinals - 60.50 - -5
12. Bears - 59.32 - E
13. Chargers - 57.23 - E
14. Saints - 51.98 - E
15. Vikings - 50.97 - E
16. Jets - 49.64 - E
17. Texans - 49.29 - E
18. Buccaneers - 46.28 - E
19. Redskins - 46.18 - E
20. Packers - 44.30 - E
21. Cowboys - 42.76 - E
22. Bengals - 42.34 - +1
23. 49ers - 42.33 - -1
24. Bills - 39.62 - E
25. Raiders - 36.70 - E
26. Broncos - 34.45 - E
27. Jaguars - 34.21 - E
28. Seahawks - 32.21 - E
29. Browns - 32.08 - E
30. Chiefs - 22.19 - E
31. Rams - 16.21 - E
32. Lions - 11.50 - E

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