Tuesday, September 13, 2011

NFL Computerized Power Ranks: Week 1

Over the past 4 years, after each week in the NFL season we have posted power rankings. In case you haven't seen it before, unlike most power rankings, which are based mostly on opinion, ours are based on cold, hard numbers. Basically, I came up with a formula that calculates power rankings each week based on record, recent success, strength of schedule, strength of division, offensive and defensive rankings, and the all important turnover ratio. In the past, the ranks have been a pretty decent way to predict games, and usually the Super Bowl champ turned out on top at the end of the year, which is always good. Usually around week 7 or 8, I use it to project playoff positioning, which has worked out better I expected.

So it is what it is. If nothing else, its a fun way to further analyze the NFL and imagine crazy playoff matchups. What it isn't is a good way to judge good teams after week 1, as we've seen some future bottom dwellers have a nice win in week 1 or 2, only to fall hard.

We may have this situation this year, as our #1 teams after week 1 our (drumroll) the Balitmore Ravens and Buffalo Bills! Why are they at the top? It's pretty simple. They both had the most dominant wins in Week 1 as the Ravens forced 7 turnovers to blow out the defending AFC Champs and the Bills absolutely destroyed the defending AFC West Champ Chiefs in Kansas City. Our 3rd place team is team that also hasn't made the playoffs in over a decade, the Lions. They are ranked high because my "recent success" input includes some data from the previous season at the end, and if you didn't notice, the Lions finished 2010 red hot and kept it up to start 2011. The defending Super Bowl Champ Packers and perennial contender Patriots round out the Week 1 top 5.

One funny thing about the bottom 5 is that they include 4 playoff teams from last year. The Steelers are sitting at #29 and Chiefs at #31 for the reasons mentioned above. The Saints are #28 despite their exciting loss on Thursday and the Falcons are sitting at #32 after getting pounded by the Bears. Both teams finished last season with a bad stretch run and horrible playoff losses. The only non-2010 playoff team in the playoff team is the Browns, who sucked at the end of 2010 and kept it alive by losing the Bengals on Sunday, who I predicted to finish 0-16 in my NFL preview (got that one wrong).

Here are the full ranks
1. (tie) Ravens - 79.03
1. (tie) Bills - 79.03
3. Lions - 78.79
4. Packers - 77.50
5. Patriots - 75.97
6. Jets - 75.00
7. Bears - 73.31
8. Bengals - 72.26
9. Raiders - 70.32
10. 49ers - 70.16
11. (tie) Redskins - 66.94
11. (tie) Texans - 66.94
13. Chargers - 66.13
14. Cardinals - 64.35
15. Eagles - 62.90
16. Jaguars - 57.10
17. Vikings - 39.27
18. Cowboys - 37.90
19. Titans - 36.13
20. Colts - 35.65
21. Dolphins - 32.58
22. Giants - 31.61
23. Buccaneers - 31.29
24. Broncos - 30.65
25. Seahawks - 30.48
26. Rams - 30.00
27. Panthers - 28.87
28. Saints - 26.94
29. Steelers - 26.61
30. Browns - 25.65
31. Chiefs - 22.26
32. Falcons - 19.84

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