SB Nation

John Crean | September 4, 2014

2014 NFL Power Ranking Consensus, Week 1

Kicking The Season Off

Football is back! That means Power Rankings are back too, and we plug all the rankings into our Rankotron 4000 and get a sense for how all 32 teams stack up.

I don't know about you guys, but it's been a long seven months since the Super Bowl. Even though we're heading into autumn, today kinda feels like the first day of spring. The snow is melting, the grass is coming up, all the little critters are waking up and there's an excitement in the air.

Just like most teams in the NFL, it takes the rankers a few weeks to shake the rust off and get up to speed. Because of that, we don't have the full complement of rankers, especially those on the "Objective" side of things. Well, we don't have any objective rankers. That's fine, since they rely on the actual game stats to make their rankings.

Since it's the start of the season, I'll give everyone a quick primer about how this works.

I troll the web for various NFL power rankings, load them up into my computer and crunch the numbers. I then make observations based on what the numbers tell me. Don't worry, it's nothing too complicated, and I'll walk you through the various displays, explaining as we go along.

Notable Quotes

Has a team that made it to the playoffs one year ever been so disregarded the next?

Dwight Freeney to Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman: "We're a Super Bowl team because we have the right mentality. There's a feeling on this team that this is our time." Freeney ought to know, having played on a Super Bowl team in Indianapolis. Granted, there was a four- or five-year stretch not that long ago when every season felt like the Chargers' time, and nothing came of it.

It's hard not to like these Chargers. Philip Rivers looked reeeaaal nice in the preseason. As Cousin Eddie would say, it might have been best just to let him finish ... the games, that is. Of course, we don't get to see the No. 1s for very long in August football, so we're still waiting to learn how running back Ryan Mathews will fare. Oh, by the way, coordinator John Pagano's defense looks improved

Division Averages

Before we get to looking at where all the teams rank, let's take look at the bigger picture in the NFL. This table takes the average rankings for each team, then averages the rankings of each team in the division. It's used as a way of showing where the tougher and weaker divisions lie each week.

Division Week 1 Average Week 18 Average Difference
NFC West 10.4318 7.9605 -2.4713
NFC South 14.4318 14.9605 0.5287
NFC North 14.6591 19.4079 4.7488
AFC West 15.4318 13.5132 -1.9186
AFC North 15.8409 17.0526 1.2117
AFC East 18.7045 16.6184 -2.0861
NFC East 19.1364 20.0789 0.9425
AFC South 23.3636 22.4079 -0.9557

So, as you can see, I'm including the averages from the last week of last season. I did it this way to see how much things have changed between seasons. So basically, the NFC West doesn't seem as scary as it did a few weeks ago, and the NFC North is surging.

Stock Rising

Team Week 18 Average Week 1 Average Difference
GB 15.356 4.455 10.901
ATL 25.578 18.273 7.305
BAL 18.444 11.455 6.989
CHI 17.078 11.727 5.351
WAS 29.983 24.818 5.165

Wow, Green Bay seems poised to be scary good this year. Not surprising that 4 of the 5 teams that rose the most are NFC teams.

Stock Falling

Team Week 18 Average Week 1 Average Difference
CAR 3.683 14.364 -10.681
TEN 19.444 27.364 -7.920
BUF 22.578 29.546 -6.968
KC 9.494 16.273 -6.779
DAL 18.067 23.000 -4.933

Looks like Carolina and Green Bay basically swapped spots. I think the rest pretty much jive with my gut feeling of which teams regressed in the offseason.

Subjective Average

We'll start off with the Subjective Average. 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.

I then take all those rankings and average them together, then sort the table based on the average ranking. This method evens out the peaks and valleys and allows us to get a more reliable "big picture" view of the perception of where teams rank in the league.

Subjective
ESPN Fox CBS USA Today Sports Illustrated ProFootballTalk NFL.com SB Nation Reddit Bleacher Report Associated Press Average Change since last period
Seahawks 1 1 3 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1.182 0.374 Rising
Broncos 2 2 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 2 2.000 -0.444 Falling
Patriots 3 4 4 4 5 3 5 6 3 2 3 3.818 0.515 Rising
Saints 5 3 5 3 3 5 3 5 4 4 5 4.091 2.576 Rising
Packers 6 5 2 5 4 4 4 4 6 5 4 4.455 7.656 Rising
49ers 4 6 7 6 6 6 7 3 5 6 6 5.636 -1.747 Falling
Eagles 7 7 9 8 7 11 6 7 7 7 7 7.546 1.787 Rising
Colts 8 10 15 7 8 8 8 8 9 8 8 8.818 0.182 Rising
Bengals 9 8 6 9 9 9 10 10 8 12 10 9.091 -2.202 Falling
Ravens 12 9 13 12 10 7 15 12 15 10 11 11.455 4.434 Rising
Chargers 11 12 11 16 12 14 9 11 11 11 9 11.546 0.898 Rising
Bears 10 15 14 11 11 12 14 9 12 9 12 11.727 3.829 Rising
Cardinals 14 13 8 10 17 13 12 16 14 15 14 13.273 -2.495 Falling
Steelers 13 16 12 13 13 15 16 13 17 13 13 14.000 0.444 Rising
Panthers 15 14 22 14 14 10 11 17 10 16 15 14.364 -10.697 Falling
Chiefs 16 17 18 15 15 17 13 15 13 24 16 16.273 -7.384 Falling
Lions 18 11 16 19 16 19 21 18 16 17 17 17.091 4.020 Rising
Falcons 17 19 10 18 27 16 19 14 19 21 21 18.273 8.283 Rising
Jets 21 22 21 17 20 18 17 23 22 18 19 19.818 -0.707 Falling
Buccaneers 19 23 23 23 21 25 20 22 23 14 18 21.000 5.556 Rising
Giants 20 21 17 25 23 20 24 19 21 20 23 21.182 1.040 Rising
Dolphins 22 20 19 21 18 28 18 27 18 23 24 21.636 -3.192 Falling
Rams 24 18 20 20 19 24 23 20 25 25 20 21.636 -2.303 Falling
Cowboys 23 25 25 22 26 22 22 21 20 22 25 23.000 -5.667 Falling
Redskins 25 26 26 24 25 21 27 24 24 29 22 24.818 5.849 Rising
Vikings 26 27 27 27 22 23 26 26 28 19 28 25.364 -0.586 Falling
Titans 28 30 24 28 24 31 25 29 26 30 26 27.364 -5.475 Falling
Texans 27 29 31 26 32 27 31 25 27 31 27 28.455 3.545 Rising
Browns 30 24 28 30 29 29 30 28 30 28 31 28.818 -1.040 Falling
Jaguars 31 28 30 29 28 26 28 30 31 26 30 28.818 -0.040 Falling
Bills 29 31 29 31 30 30 29 31 29 27 29 29.546 -4.990 Falling
Raiders 32 32 32 32 31 32 32 32 32 32 32 31.909 -2.020 Falling

Observations:

  • Top 12 is evenly split between NFC and AFC teams (Chargers included). All bottom 6 teams are AFC teams, though.
  • CBS ... huh. Panthers at 22 and Falcons at 10? You're either a mad genius, or just plain mad. CBS was also the only one not to rank the Seahawks as first.
  • Based on the rankings, the Chargers/Cardinals game seems like it'll be a fairly even match.
  • Last year, the Chargers were ranked around 26th to open the season. My how things have improved.
  • The Raiders were almost a consensus worst team. *Shakes fist at SI*
  • If the rankings are to be believed, the Chargers have 4 games this season against the bottom 3 teams.

Subjective Standard Deviation

Put simply, Standard Deviation is a tool in statistics to measure how much variance there is in a set of numbers. To put more simply: I use it to look at who's ranked the most- and least-consistently. In Standard Deviation, the lower the number, the more consistent the values in the set.

For our purposes, this means the lower the Standard Deviation, the more consistent the rankings. The opposite is true too: the higher the number, the less consistent the rankings.

This table is sorted by most-consistently ranked to least-consistently ranked.

Subjective
ESPN Fox CBS USA Today Sports Illustrated ProFootballTalk NFL.com SB Nation Reddit Bleacher Report Associated Press Standard Deviation Change since last period
Raiders 32 32 32 32 31 32 32 32 32 32 32 0.288 -0.279 Falling
Broncos 2 2 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 2 0.426 -0.071 Falling
Seahawks 1 1 3 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0.575 -0.110 Falling
Saints 5 3 5 3 3 5 3 5 4 4 5 0.900 0.233 Rising
Packers 6 5 2 5 4 4 4 4 6 5 4 1.076 -0.024 Falling
Patriots 3 4 4 4 5 3 5 6 3 2 3 1.113 0.170 Rising
49ers 4 6 7 6 6 6 7 3 5 6 6 1.150 0.413 Rising
Bills 29 31 29 31 30 30 29 31 29 27 29 1.157 -0.100 Falling
Eagles 7 7 9 8 7 11 6 7 7 7 7 1.305 -0.109 Falling
Bengals 9 8 6 9 9 9 10 10 8 12 10 1.443 0.568 Rising
Steelers 13 16 12 13 13 15 16 13 17 13 13 1.595 0.529 Rising
Jaguars 31 28 30 29 28 26 28 30 31 26 30 1.696 0.469 Rising
Browns 30 24 28 30 29 29 30 28 30 28 31 1.800 0.326 Rising
Cowboys 23 25 25 22 26 22 22 21 20 22 25 1.859 0.704 Rising
Bears 10 15 14 11 11 12 14 9 12 9 12 1.911 0.340 Rising
Chargers 11 12 11 16 12 14 9 11 11 11 9 1.924 1.427 Rising
Jets 21 22 21 17 20 18 17 23 22 18 19 2.037 -0.521 Falling
Colts 8 10 15 7 8 8 8 8 9 8 8 2.081 1.027 Rising
Redskins 25 26 26 24 25 21 27 24 24 29 22 2.124 1.181 Rising
Giants 20 21 17 25 23 20 24 19 21 20 23 2.249 0.852 Rising
Ravens 12 9 13 12 10 7 15 12 15 10 11 2.311 1.997 Rising
Texans 27 29 31 26 32 27 31 25 27 31 27 2.311 2.311 Rising
Titans 28 30 24 28 24 31 25 29 26 30 26 2.385 1.648 Rising
Lions 18 11 16 19 16 19 21 18 16 17 17 2.429 0.637 Rising
Cardinals 14 13 8 10 17 13 12 16 14 15 14 2.453 1.138 Rising
Rams 24 18 20 20 19 24 23 20 25 25 20 2.460 0.969 Rising
Vikings 26 27 27 27 22 23 26 26 28 19 28 2.706 2.077 Rising
Chiefs 16 17 18 15 15 17 13 15 13 24 16 2.863 1.200 Rising
Buccaneers 19 23 23 23 21 25 20 22 23 14 18 2.954 1.998 Rising
Panthers 15 14 22 14 14 10 11 17 10 16 15 3.283 2.466 Rising
Dolphins 22 20 19 21 18 28 18 27 18 23 24 3.392 1.969 Rising
Falcons 17 19 10 18 27 16 19 14 19 21 21 4.114 2.543 Rising

Observations:

  • Raiders, Broncos, Seahawks, and Saints are the most consistently ranked teams.
  • Falcons all over the board
  • The four least consistently-ranked teams all come from the southeast. Does it mean anything? No.
  • Chargers are in the middle as far as ranking consistency.

Sources

Subjective
ESPN
Fox
CBS
USA Today
Sports Illustrated
ProFootballTalk
NFL.com
SB Nation
Reddit
Bleacher Report
Associated Press

About the Author

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