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John Crean | September 8, 2016

2016 NFL Power Rankings Consensus: Week 1

Arizona, Carolina (Carizona?) are battling it out

Football is back! That means Power Rankings are back too, as is our weekly tradition of plugging all the rankings into our Rankotron 7000 to get a sense for how all 32 teams stack up.

Did we all have a good offseason? Stay out of trouble? Mostly? Well, I haven't seen any of you on TMZ so that's a good sign.

Football is officially back tonight! For Chargers fans, it's watching the hated division rival host the team owned by the person who worked just as hard as Dean Spanos to move the team up north; can't wait! In all seriousness, meaningful football is better than no football, and it can be enjoyed even without a rooting interest.

That said, welcome back to everyone's favorite regular feature: the NFL Power Rankings Consensus. If you know what this is, welcome back! If not, don't worry, I'll hold your hand through the process.

Notable Quotes

The Chargers have the best quarterback in the AFC West in Philip Rivers. But how free-agent additions like receiver Travis Benjamin, safety Dwight Lowery, center Matt Slauson and nose tackle Brandon Mebane perform around the veteran quarterback will determine whether the Chargers make the playoffs. If San Diego can stay relatively healthy and the defense plays to its potential, then the Chargers can be in the postseason conversation at the end of the season.

Philip Rivers has a good shot at throwing for more than 4,500 yards. The Chargers also have a good chance of winning fewer than five games. As a whole, San Diego looks like it’s in for a rough 2016 season. The schedule isn’t favorable and the AFC West is stacked, which doesn’t bode well for a team that didn’t improve a whole lot in the offseason.

Joey Bosa finally signed his rookie contract, bringing an unnecessary standoff to its inevitable conclusion. It was like a TV sitcom that pretends the two leads won’t end up together. "Oh, Ross and Rachel got back together? No way." But anyone who saw the Chargers’ D-line play this preseason knows how desperately it needs Bosa’s presence.

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 17 Average Week 1 Average Difference
AFC West 13.000 13.750 -0.750
AFC East 14.131 15.200 -1.069
AFC North 16.929 15.375 1.554
NFC West 13.131 15.875 -2.744
NFC North 13.940 16.200 -2.260
NFC South 16.726 17.675 -0.949
AFC South 23.333 18.925 4.408
NFC East 20.810 19.000 1.810

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.

Stock Rising

Team Week 17 Average Week 1 Average Difference
DAL 27.055 17.700 9.355
JAX 26.705 17.600 9.105
BAL 23.423 16.800 6.623
MIA 28.186 22.900 5.286
TEN 31.759 27.200 4.559

All of these rankings were done after Romo's injury, so the fact that the Cowboys still rose 9 spots over last year is a testament to how much they've improved this year. Curious to see how much they would have risen had Romo not broken in half.

Stock Falling

Team Week 17 Average Week 1 Average Difference
LAR 16.095 26.700 -10.605
CHI 19.164 26.600 -7.436
NYJ 9.009 15.100 -6.091
PHI 21.532 27.600 -6.068
ATL 17.255 22.300 -5.045

In past years, at the start of the season, pundits would collectively over-rank the Rams thinking "this would finally be the year." And then it would turn out that, no, it wasn't the year for the Rams. Pundits are certainly not doing that this year.

And I'm trying to avoid drawing parallels to the Raiders.

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 SI PFT NFL SBN Reddit AP Average Change in Value
Cardinals 4 5 3 1 2 5 2 1 2 2 2.700 -1.336 Falling
Panthers 5 4 6 3 1 2 1 4 1 1 2.800 -1.073 Falling
Seahawks 1 1 4 5 4 4 3 3 3 4 3.200 4.527 Rising
Patriots 3 2 2 2 5 3 5 2 4 5 3.300 -0.300 Falling
Packers 6 3 1 6 9 7 4 5 5 3 4.900 4.373 Rising
Steelers 2 6 7 4 6 6 7 7 7 7 5.900 3.827 Rising
Broncos 8 8 8 7 3 1 6 10 8 6 6.500 -1.500 Falling
Bengals 7 7 5 8 7 8 9 6 6 9 7.200 -0.473 Falling
Chiefs 9 10 10 9 8 10 8 12 9 8 9.300 -3.664 Falling
Vikings 12 9 11 10 12 11 10 8 14 10 10.700 -1.700 Falling
Raiders 11 11 14 11 13 12 11 9 13 13 11.800 2.200 Rising
Texans 13 13 16 12 11 13 12 16 10 12 12.800 0.836 Rising
Redskins 14 16 18 13 18 9 13 11 12 11 13.500 -1.227 Falling
Jets 10 20 23 14 10 17 14 17 11 15 15.100 -7.282 Falling
Ravens 15 19 17 18 15 16 20 15 19 14 16.800 8.746 Rising
Giants 17 15 9 15 14 27 19 22 17 17 17.200 3.346 Rising
Jaguars 19 18 12 16 21 18 17 14 23 18 17.600 8.309 Rising
Cowboys 23 12 13 22 16 14 18 13 24 22 17.700 10.209 Rising
Colts 18 14 15 17 23 15 24 23 16 16 18.100 1.355 Rising
Bills 16 22 20 19 19 29 16 18 15 21 19.500 -3.500 Falling
Buccaneers 24 17 26 20 25 20 15 29 21 20 21.700 1.391 Rising
Falcons 22 21 28 21 26 24 25 19 18 19 22.300 -7.391 Falling
Lions 20 26 21 23 20 23 23 27 20 23 22.600 -2.327 Falling
Dolphins 21 25 19 25 24 19 21 25 25 25 22.900 4.373 Rising
Saints 27 23 22 26 22 22 27 24 22 24 23.900 -2.173 Falling
Bears 29 27 27 24 17 25 30 32 26 29 26.600 -5.873 Falling
Rams 28 30 25 27 29 21 28 26 27 26 26.700 -9.609 Falling
Titans 30 28 30 29 30 26 22 20 30 27 27.200 4.618 Rising
Chargers 26 29 24 28 28 30 29 21 29 30 27.400 0.873 Rising
Eagles 25 24 29 30 27 31 26 28 28 28 27.600 -7.236 Falling
49ers 32 32 31 31 32 28 31 30 31 31 30.900 -0.627 Falling
Browns 31 31 32 32 31 32 32 31 32 32 31.600 -1.691 Falling

Observations:

  • The change in value column refers to the team's ranking in Week 17 of the 2015 season.
  • Huh, I would have expected the Panthers or Packers to be at the top of the list. I mean, nothing against the Cardinals, but I'm surprised.
  • Still a bit surprised to see the Brady-less Patriots still ranked so high right now.
  • I don't think anyone expects the Broncos to be the best team in the league, but PFT explains their number-one ranking thusly: "The defending champion gets two things: A regular-season home opener on Thursday night (unless the local baseball team is in town) and the top spot in the initial PFT power rankings until they lose. Which could happen very, very soon."
  • The Chargers are ranked 27.400 on average which seems low, but you can take solace in knowing they rose almost a full spot from where they ended the 2015 season!
  • Poor Browns, always the bottom of the barrel.

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 SI PFT NFL SBN Reddit AP STD DEV Change in Value
Browns 31 31 32 32 31 32 32 31 32 32 0.490 -0.593 Falling
49ers 32 32 31 31 32 28 31 30 31 31 1.136 0.084 Rising
Chiefs 9 10 10 9 8 10 8 12 9 8 1.187 -1.120 Falling
Bengals 7 7 5 8 7 8 9 6 6 9 1.249 -0.352 Falling
Seahawks 1 1 4 5 4 4 3 3 3 4 1.249 -0.171 Falling
Patriots 3 2 2 2 5 3 5 2 4 5 1.269 0.843 Rising
Raiders 11 11 14 11 13 12 11 9 13 13 1.400 -0.600 Falling
Cardinals 4 5 3 1 2 5 2 1 2 2 1.418 0.775 Rising
Steelers 2 6 7 4 6 6 7 7 7 7 1.578 -0.185 Falling
Vikings 12 9 11 10 12 11 10 8 14 10 1.616 -0.090 Falling
Panthers 5 4 6 3 1 2 1 4 1 1 1.778 1.333 Rising
Texans 13 13 16 12 11 13 12 16 10 12 1.833 0.279 Rising
Saints 27 23 22 26 22 22 27 24 22 24 1.972 -0.794 Falling
Ravens 15 19 17 18 15 16 20 15 19 14 1.990 -0.199 Falling
Eagles 25 24 29 30 27 31 26 28 28 28 2.059 -0.437 Falling
Packers 6 3 1 6 9 7 4 5 5 3 2.166 0.030 Rising
Lions 20 26 21 23 20 23 23 27 20 23 2.332 -0.084 Falling
Rams 28 30 25 27 29 21 28 26 27 26 2.369 0.926 Rising
Dolphins 21 25 19 25 24 19 21 25 25 25 2.468 1.606 Rising
Broncos 8 8 8 7 3 1 6 10 8 6 2.540 1.003 Rising
Chargers 26 29 24 28 28 30 29 21 29 30 2.764 0.853 Rising
Redskins 14 16 18 13 18 9 13 11 12 11 2.872 0.612 Rising
Jaguars 19 18 12 16 21 18 17 14 23 18 3.007 1.924 Rising
Falcons 22 21 28 21 26 24 25 19 18 19 3.164 1.283 Rising
Titans 30 28 30 29 30 26 22 20 30 27 3.400 2.825 Rising
Colts 18 14 15 17 23 15 24 23 16 16 3.590 1.164 Rising
Bills 16 22 20 19 19 29 16 18 15 21 3.828 2.414 Rising
Bears 29 27 27 24 17 25 30 32 26 29 3.929 1.880 Rising
Buccaneers 24 17 26 20 25 20 15 29 21 20 4.051 2.887 Rising
Jets 10 20 23 14 10 17 14 17 11 15 4.061 1.439 Rising
Cowboys 23 12 13 22 16 14 18 13 24 22 4.451 2.176 Rising
Giants 17 15 9 15 14 27 19 22 17 17 4.578 1.522 Rising

Observations:

  • The change in value column refers to the team's ranking in Week 17 of the 2015 season.
  • The fact that most teams saw their deviation go up is no surprise, there is a lot of volatility to start the season.
  • As is typical, it's easier to figure out which teams are not good than which teams are good.
  • For the most part, this is consensus about which teams are top-12, just questions of in which order.
  • Teams from New York Jersey must be an enigma

Sources

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

About the Author

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