After collecting all the various rankings and ratings from around the web as they trickled in, I present this week's installment of Power Rankings from Around the Web.
Taking in many of your suggestions from last week, I included a few more objective rankings into this week's rankings. This allowed for greater analysis and comparisons, some of which surprised me a bit, especially in regards to the Chargers' opponent this coming Sunday.
Read on to find out more.
As I was adding the rankings from the various sources, one thing became clear: the subjective and objective ratings and rankings needed to be broken out and compared separately, and then to each other. I will be doing this in three parts: subjective ratings, objective ratings, and then comparing the ratings to each other.
This week, there's a general consensus that the Saints are the best team in the NFL and the Colts are the second-best, with only 2 of the 10 sites swapping their positions. The Vikings and Chargers were duking it out for the number-three position, with the Vikings winning out and the Chargers taking the number 4 spot. Rounding out the top five is Philadelphia. This week's Chargers opponent, the Bengals, come in at number 7, just barely below the Packers.
After beating the Steelers a week ago, the Cleveland Browns jump 3 places to 29th and are no longer holding strong at the bottom of the list. Taking their place: the lowly St. Louis Rams. The Chiefs again are holding strong at that 28th place position.
A couple observations:
- If anyone is going to throw a wrench into any rankings consistency, it's Vegas Insider's LVSC rankings. Fox isn't too far behind them at times.
- There is a definite line between what are considered the great teams, the good teams, and the mediocre teams. An average of almost 2 positions separate the Broncos from the Cowboys, then down below, a full 3.20 positions separate the 49ers and the Panthers.
As a refresher, the standard deviation shows us for which teams those making the rankings are in agreement.
- Just as much is everyone in agreement the Saints and Colts are 1-2, again, conventional wisdom says the Chiefs are the 5th-worst team in the NFL.
- Statistically speaking, there is a very strong agreement among the subjective rankings of the top 6 teams (Saints, Colts, Vikings, Chargers, Eagles and Packers)
- The high deviation numbers for the Broncos are due to the one drastically different ranking by Vegas Insider. Take them out, and the Broncos actually have a very low standard deviation (0.78) and are a 9th-ranked team.
- I'd say the same thing about the Steelers, but this week, there is a definite lack of consensus on just how good they are. Same thing with the Titans, Jets, Jaguars and Redskins just how good (or bad) are they? Doesn't bode well for the Chargers final two games when the "experts" have trouble pinning them down. Which team should we expect to show up to play us?
Like I mentioned already, I broke out the objective ratings and rankings into their own section and only compared them to other objective rankings. This week I started with the perennial favorite (or loathed, depending on your point-of-view) DVOA. I added in two other rankings that were provided to me in the comments of last-week's post: Advanced NFL Stats' Team Efficiency ratings, and USA Today's Sagarin rankings.
I found another site providing objective ratings and rankings, Team Rankings, and they say this about their ratings:
The NFL power ratings model computes unbiased, quantitative ratings that assess both general (e.g. Overall NFL power ratings) and situational (e.g. Home/Away NFL power ratings) performance for every NFL team. The system is complex, unbiased, and dynamic; whenever a new NFL game result comes in, the power ratings of many teams will typically change as a result.
It may seem a bit unnecessary to try and compare the various objective ratings to each other because different inputs are used to come up with each rating, but I'm certainly going to give it a shot.
- What's interesting here is that when using only objective ratings, the Colts are, without the shadow of a doubt, the best team in the league with the Saints in a definitive second-place.
- The Patriots jump up to 3rd place (from 9th place in the subjective rankings). The Vikings fall to 6th place (from 3rd), and despite the DVOA weighing them down, the Chargers are a strong 5th-place, well ahead of the Vikings. The Packers are only rated slightly lower than the Vikings.
- The lesser-ranked teams are that not because of unlucky breaks or anything, but they just are not producing at all. There is no major disparity in objective ratings in the bottom-third group of teams that suggests they should be playing better than they are.
This is where things can kind of be a stretch in trying to find a correlation between the different ratings sites, but by golly, I'm going to try.
- Guess what? The Colts are not only the best team in the NFL, but the objective stats are the most in agreement about that fact.
- Remember what I said above about the worst teams are performing like they're the worst teams? Well, the objective stats are all in agreement.
- Again, like the subjective rankings pointed out, the Steelers are just entirely too inconsistent this year. As are the Ravens, Giants, Titans and Dolphins.
- There's quite a disparity in the Bengals objective numbers and their subjective rankings.
Comparing the Numbers
By breaking out the Objective and Subjective ratings, it allowed me to make some more interesting correlations and comparisons that weren't possible before.
I have it listed as Composite Average in the chart, but it's the same thing. This is the average (mean) of all the ratings, both Objective and Subjective together.
- Well would you look at that, the Saints drop to number 2, dragged down by their 5th-place DVOA showing. The Colts take over their spot at number 1.
- The Chargers are now all of a sudden number 3. The Vikings were dragged down to number 5 thanks to their objective rankings. The Eagles jump into the number 5 spot.
- The Bengals drop to number 12.
- The bottom 5 didn't move around much at all.
Overall Standard Deviation
So how does the consistency change once the two sets of numbers are compared to each other? Let's find out.
- Wow. Moreso than the Colts being the number 1 team, the Chiefs are the number 28 team.
- Chargers are around the middle of the pack in the overall standard deviation rating. Mostly thanks to DVOA being so different than the rest of the rankings.
- We have a new most-inconsistent team taking over for the Steelers: the Bengals; and it's not even close.
Differences in Average
This comparison should help to highlight which teams are overachieving and underachieving. Now, it's not a perfect comparison by any means, but it just goes to show where conventional wisdom just doesn't quite lineup with actual production and statistical ratings.
- I hinted at it in the comments of the Week 14 DVOA ratings that maestro posted up, but the Bengals are greatly overachieving. Their objective numbers all indicate they should be in the middle of the pack, but conventional wisdom (and their record) proves otherwise. So is the blowout by Minnesota really that surprising?
- Same story with the Vikings, but to a much lesser degree.
- The Chargers are overachieving a little bit, but not by a ton. They're just being ranked 1.80 spots higher than their stats indicate.
- Surprisingly, the Broncos are exactly where their stats say they should be: ranked number 10. Just as consistently ranked are the Chiefs and Browns. Sorry Chiefs fans, but they just aren't as good as you like to think they are.
- Based on the numbers, and this should come as no surprise, the Patriots are underperforming, by a fairly large margin. The Jets too, by almost the same margin.
- The Texans are the most underperforming team this week. Should we label them the "biggest disappointment" then?
Again, I turn to you, members of this fine community for your input. Is this a better way of analyzing the performances? Do you like the updated format and added stats? Are there other sites I should look into (or stats I should take out)?
I do have a few other listings I plan to use next week to help with drawing correlations and explaining the numbers. I'm easing into this series and finding my way as I go along. I value your input so please, comment away!