Most of the usual subjective sites have released their Week 1 Power Rankings. And a couple of the stat-geek sites have released their projections That means the 2011 NFL Regular Season is upon us and marks the return of everybody's favorite weekly column!
I know, you don't even care what I have to say, you just want to see the pretty charts. Well hold on there bucko, I've got a few things to say before we get to the charts. Wait, nope, I've said everything I need to say.
Hey, just because I told you I've said everything I need to say doesn't mean there aren't other guys who have things they want to say. There is a common theme with what nearly every person had to say about the Chargers: they can't start slow again.
Time to turn talent and statistics into wins. Slow start and/or playoff fade are old scripts.
Brian Billick - Fox Sports
My favorite for MVP, Philip Rivers, and my candidate for coach of the year, Norv Turner, will finally find the formula to win early and not have to start the season in the hole. The Chargers will also benefit from solid defensive additions.
Pro Football Talk
If they can get off to a fast start, they could finally have a special finish.
No way the special teams is as bad as last year. No way there are so many injuries. Plus, WR Vincent Jackson is back for the entire year. I like the Chargers a lot in 2011.
Okay, enough words, ready to see some pretty tables? You'll have to hit the jump first.
We'll start off, as usual, with the Subjective Average. If you're new to this post, these rankings are the ones that has actual people ranking the teams based on their gut feelings. You'll see in a moment that some of these sites may even just throw darts at a board, or have a chicken pecking at numbers. Regardless of method, they have rankings for us.
- The Green Bay Packers — your 2011 Super Bowl Champion — ranked number 1 across the board? Color me shocked! </sarcasm font>
- What does shock me though is Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk ranking the Chargers 3rd. He usually is one of their harshest critics.
- The Bengals and Panthers are entrenched in a battle for the bottom. It's close, but the Panthers just edged the Bengals out as the worst-ranked team heading into the first week of the season. Congrats, Carolina!
- Biggest WTF moment: It's a tie between ESPN ranking the Manning-less Colts above the Chargers, and CBS ranking the Cowboys as 7th.
- As is typical, there's a definite clustering of what the top teams are, the middle teams, and the bottom teams.
Subjective Standard Deviation
For those of you not well-versed in statistics, Standard Deviation is just a way to see just how consistent the rankings are to each other. The lower the number, the more consistent the rankings. So a 100% consistent rankings — like with the Packers — results in a Standard Deviation of 0.00.
- Again, consider me shocked that the two most consistent rankings are the two teams that played in the latest Super Bowl. Same thing at the bottom.
- Ravens are a solid 7th-8th-ranked team.
- Chargers are one of the more inconsistently-ranked teams, but that's just par for the course. ESPN hates the Chargers.
- On the other end of the spectrum, wow is there no consensus on the Browns and Jaguars. They could either be medicore, or awful. No one knows right now.
- It's no coincidence that teams towards the bottom of the heap tend to have inconsistent rankings. Although at the upper-end of the heap, the Cowboys and Texans are a bit of an unknown right now.
Now let's take a look at the other side of the coin: the Objective Rankings. These are rankings put out by geeks who come up with mathematical formulas that they all swear by as being the best way to say a team is good or bad. This is supposed to be a more reliable way to determine where each team stands.
There were only two objective projections this week, but that doesn't mean we can't take a peak anyway. Let's see how the teams stack up, shall we?
- Steelers and Patriots are basically interchangeable as the top team right now.
- Ravens, Packers, Jets and Eagles: take your pick.
- I'm surprised the Rams are projected to be so bad, considering how high on them the subjective sites are.
- The three teams in the AFC West not named "Chargers" are all clustered together: 26-27-28.
- The Seahawks are expected to be just awful
Objective Standard Deviation
So, how far off the mark are the various formulas? It's kind of fun to compare only two sites.
Now let's average all the rankings together from ALL the sites.
- The Packers slide a little, thanks to them being knocked down in the objective rankings.
- Who else is getting tired with the Patriots being ranked so high, week-in and week-out? Something that was pointed out today: the Patriots haven't won a playoff game since the 2007 season. That doesn't mean they aren't good, but the hype is just getting a bit old.
- Once you throw in the objective averages, the spacing between the rankings becomes a little more consistent.
Overall Standard Deviation
- How good are the Rams going to be? WHO KNOWS?! Same story with the Dolphins, Lions and Jags (oh my).
- The Chargers now are one of the more-consistently ranked teams.
Overall Difference in Average
This takes a look and compares the Subjective average ranking with the Objective average ranking. This tells us just how far off people are from the formulas. A positive number means people think they'll be better than the math indicates, a negative number means the math thinks they're better than what people think. The closer to 0 this number is, the more in agreement the Subjective and Objective rankings are.
- Hmmm, Rams and Chiefs are a bit overrated. The projections just don't line up with the expectation.
- The expectations for the Chargers are pretty much in line with what the stats say.
- It seems people are unnecessarily harsh on the Jags, Bills, Bengals, Vikings and Dolphins. Don't be too quick to discount those teams. The Vikings and Dolphins look to be a lot better than people give them credit.