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Week 13 NFL Power Rankings

Nobody knows what power rankings are supposed to mean. And frankly, nobody cares. They just want to see lists. Are power rankings supposed to simply reflect records, in which case, what is the point of doing them? For example, I have cracked the code to ESPN’s power rankings:

  • Step 1 – Rank teams in descending order of wins.
  • Step 2 – Move San Francisco ahead of Kansas City (Chiefs are trending down!), San Diego ahead of Miami (even though Miami has won two straight, we had them really low two weeks ago, so we can’t move them that high), and move Tampa Bay ahead of Cleveland (Bucs are trending up, Browns are trending down!).
  • Step 3 – For team with same number of wins, rank randomly, or based on the the best way to generate discussion.

I don’t see the point in doing power rankings that read just like the NFL standings page. Are power rankings supposed to reflect which teams we think are the best going forward? Perhaps you would like Advanced NFL Stats’ ratings, but that leads to situations where a team like the Ravens is ranked 25th despite being in line for a playoff perth. Which, of course, is either totally acceptable or makes no sense at all, with no middle ground.

Are power rankings supposed to reflect which teams have the best odds of winning the Super Bowl? You might as well use Football Outsiders’ playoff report and call it a day.

Instead, I’m going to make power rankings based on this method of measuring how each team played in each game relative to the performance by the team’s opponents in the rest of its games. The lower the rating, the better. You can view the historical ratings using this formula here.

1Denver Broncos2.910-2-0
2Carolina Panthers3.59-3-0
3Seattle Seahawks3.911-1-0
4San Francisco 49ers4.18-4-0
5New Orleans Saints4.69-3-0
6New England Patriots4.79-3-0
7Kansas City Chiefs4.79-3-0
8Cincinnati Bengals4.88-4-0
9Dallas Cowboys5.57-5-0
10Arizona Cardinals5.97-5-0
11Indianapolis Colts68-4-0
12Detroit Lions67-5-0
13Green Bay Packers6.45-6-1
14St. Louis Rams6.55-7-0
15Tennessee Titans6.55-7-0
16Chicago Bears6.86-6-0
17Baltimore Ravens6.86-6-0
18Philadelphia Eagles6.87-5-0
19Miami Dolphins76-6-0
20San Diego Chargers7.15-7-0
21Pittsburgh Steelers7.25-7-0
22Tampa Bay Buccaneers7.23-9-0
23New York Giants7.85-7-0
24Cleveland Browns7.94-8-0
25Oakland Raiders7.94-8-0
26Buffalo Bills84-8-0
27Minnesota Vikings8.23-8-1
28Washington Redskins8.33-9-0
29Houston Texans8.32-10-0
30Atlanta Falcons8.73-9-0
31New York Jets8.85-7-0
32Jacksonville Jaguars9.33-9-0

Let’s look at some of the ratings that might seem odd.

  • Carolina is number two! But Cam Newton has a fake smile! And the team has three losses! Seattle has two more wins so it must be ranked higher! Well, the SRS ratings have the Seahawks at #2 and the Panthers at #3, so Carolina is presumably deserving of a top-three rating, disingenuous smiles aside. But why are the Panthers ahead of the Seahawks?

    Tthe Panthers have a rating of 3 or lower in all nine wins. Six of the team’s wins were by double digits, two were against New England and San Francisco, and well, the Miami game actually rates very highly in this system, too.1 Seattle may have only one loss, but the Seahawks beat the Rams, Titans, Texans, and Bucs by a combined 18 points. Those four games drag down Seattle’s rating enough to put them behind the Panthers.

  • Much is made of Seattle’s home field advantage, and for good reason. But the Seahawks have an average rating of 3.8 in their home games and 3.9 in their road games, so I’m not sure how much the narrative is holding up this year. Seattle is just a great team, and great teams often look completely dominant at home. On the other hand, the narrative about the Saints is true, at least in 20132: New Orleans has a 2.7 rating in home games and a 6.5 rating in road games; that 3.8 point differential is the largest in the NFL. The other teams with the biggest improvements at home? Cincinnati (+3.0), New England (+2.6), Arizona (+2.5), Buffalo (+2.3), and Baltimore (+2.0). The worst teams at home? Jacksonville (-4.3), Philadelphia (-3.7), Kansas City (-3.3), Minnesota (-2.8), and San Francisco (-2.2). As always, take ratings based on sample sizes of 4-7 games with a handful of salt, especially when they involve backup quarterbacks.

  • Do the Eagles seem low to you? If you only count the games Nick Foles has started and finished, Philadelphia would be 5-0 and have a rating of 4.0, good enough for 4th place. The Eagles beat some bad teams, but they get a 1 for the Oakland dismantling, a 2 for cruising against the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers by 14, a 4 for winning by 11 in Tampa Bay, a 5 for beating the Cardinals at home by three, and an 8 for only beating Washington at home by eight points (even though the Game Script was much higher). Not counting the Packers game would still leave the Eagles with a 4.5 rating, so you could conceivably rank the Eagles much higher if you think a Nick Foles adjustment is appropriate.
  • The Jets come in at #31, which is where New York ranks in points differential, too. Don’t be fooled by the close wins against Buffalo, Tampa Bay, or Atlanta, each of which produced a rating of 7 or more points. The Jets have four 12-point games (Cincinnati, Tennessee, Buffalo, Miami), and two 11-point games (Baltimore, Pittsburgh). That means that in half of the Jets games (and each of the team’s last three), their opponent produced its best or second best game of the year.

Finally, let me close with a table showing the results from every game: I’ve modified the search function so that it only searches the “Team” column.

8Cincinnati BengalsNew York JetsBoxscore499Win371
4Indianapolis Colts@Jacksonville JaguarsBoxscore373Win371
3Carolina PanthersNew York GiantsBoxscore380Win351
10St. Louis Rams@Indianapolis ColtsBoxscore388Win331
9Philadelphia Eagles@Oakland RaidersBoxscore4920Win321
4Denver BroncosPhiladelphia EaglesBoxscore5220Win291
10New Orleans SaintsDallas CowboysBoxscore4917Win291
6Carolina Panthers@Minnesota VikingsBoxscore3510Win281
4San Francisco 49ers@St. Louis RamsBoxscore3511Win271
13Detroit LionsGreen Bay PackersBoxscore4010Win271
10Seattle Seahawks@Atlanta FalconsBoxscore3310Win261
12San Francisco 49ers@Washington RedskinsBoxscore276Win241
13Seattle SeahawksNew Orleans SaintsBoxscore347Win241
8Carolina Panthers@Tampa Bay BuccaneersBoxscore3113Win211
9New England PatriotsPittsburgh SteelersBoxscore5531Win211
3New Orleans SaintsArizona CardinalsBoxscore317Win211
12Pittsburgh Steelers@Cleveland BrownsBoxscore2711Win191
1Denver BroncosBaltimore RavensBoxscore4927Win191
4New Orleans SaintsMiami DolphinsBoxscore3817Win181
12St. Louis RamsChicago BearsBoxscore4221Win181
7San Francisco 49ers@Tennessee TitansBoxscore3117Win171
8New Orleans SaintsBuffalo BillsBoxscore3517Win151
5Arizona CardinalsCarolina PanthersBoxscore226Win131
10Denver Broncos@San Diego ChargersBoxscore2820Win111
13Denver Broncos@Kansas City ChiefsBoxscore3528Win101
5Green Bay PackersDetroit LionsBoxscore229Win101
4Cleveland BrownsCincinnati BengalsBoxscore176Win81
5Cincinnati BengalsNew England PatriotsBoxscore136Win41
5Indianapolis ColtsSeattle SeahawksBoxscore3428Win31
7Indianapolis ColtsDenver BroncosBoxscore3933Win31
5San Francisco 49ersHouston TexansBoxscore343Win281.5
6St. Louis Rams@Houston TexansBoxscore3813Win281.5
2Seattle SeahawksSan Francisco 49ersBoxscore293Win231.5
3Indianapolis Colts@San Francisco 49ersBoxscore277Win231.5
8San Francisco 49ersNJacksonville JaguarsBoxscore4210Win322
12Arizona CardinalsIndianapolis ColtsBoxscore4011Win262
13Miami Dolphins@New York JetsBoxscore233Win232
8Denver BroncosWashington RedskinsBoxscore4521Win212
3Dallas CowboysSt. Louis RamsBoxscore317Win212
9Carolina PanthersAtlanta FalconsBoxscore3410Win212
3Chicago Bears@Pittsburgh SteelersBoxscore4023Win202
13Carolina PanthersTampa Bay BuccaneersBoxscore276Win182
11Seattle SeahawksMinnesota VikingsBoxscore4120Win182
11Cincinnati BengalsCleveland BrownsBoxscore4120Win182
7Dallas Cowboys@Philadelphia EaglesBoxscore173Win172
10Philadelphia Eagles@Green Bay PackersBoxscore2713Win172
7Seattle Seahawks@Arizona CardinalsBoxscore3422Win152
6Kansas City ChiefsOakland RaidersBoxscore247Win142
9Kansas City Chiefs@Buffalo BillsBoxscore2313Win132
5Kansas City Chiefs@Tennessee TitansBoxscore2617Win122
5New Orleans Saints@Chicago BearsBoxscore2618Win112
13Cincinnati Bengals@San Diego ChargersBoxscore1710Win102
1Seattle Seahawks@Carolina PanthersBoxscore127Win82
11Denver BroncosKansas City ChiefsBoxscore2717Win72
11Pittsburgh SteelersDetroit LionsBoxscore3727Win72
6Green Bay Packers@Baltimore RavensBoxscore1917Win52
9New York JetsNew Orleans SaintsBoxscore2620Win32
11Carolina PanthersNew England PatriotsBoxscore2420Win12
9Tampa Bay Buccaneers@Seattle SeahawksBoxscore2427Loss02
12New England PatriotsDenver BroncosBoxscore3431Win02
2Denver Broncos@New York GiantsBoxscore4123Win212.5
4Kansas City ChiefsNew York GiantsBoxscore317Win212.5
8New England PatriotsMiami DolphinsBoxscore2717Win72.5
12Carolina Panthers@Miami DolphinsBoxscore2016Win72.5
4San Diego ChargersDallas CowboysBoxscore3021Win62.5
5Denver Broncos@Dallas CowboysBoxscore5148Win62.5
1Chicago BearsCincinnati BengalsBoxscore2421Win02.5
10Baltimore RavensCincinnati BengalsBoxscore2017Win02.5
1Kansas City Chiefs@Jacksonville JaguarsBoxscore282Win293
4Tennessee TitansNew York JetsBoxscore3813Win223
3Baltimore RavensHouston TexansBoxscore309Win183
3New England PatriotsTampa Bay BuccaneersBoxscore233Win173
6Detroit Lions@Cleveland BrownsBoxscore3117Win173
8Green Bay Packers@Minnesota VikingsBoxscore4431Win163
2Green Bay PackersWashington RedskinsBoxscore3820Win153
3Kansas City Chiefs@Philadelphia EaglesBoxscore2616Win133
7Carolina PanthersSt. Louis RamsBoxscore3015Win123
11New York GiantsGreen Bay PackersBoxscore2713Win113
8Arizona CardinalsAtlanta FalconsBoxscore2713Win113
1Tennessee Titans@Pittsburgh SteelersBoxscore169Win103
6San Francisco 49ersArizona CardinalsBoxscore3220Win93
5Oakland RaidersSan Diego ChargersBoxscore2717Win73
11Indianapolis Colts@Tennessee TitansBoxscore3027Win63
12San Diego Chargers@Kansas City ChiefsBoxscore4138Win63
10Carolina Panthers@San Francisco 49ersBoxscore109Win43
9Cleveland BrownsBaltimore RavensBoxscore2418Win33
11New England Patriots@Carolina PanthersBoxscore2024Loss-13
6Tennessee Titans@Seattle SeahawksBoxscore1320Loss-43
5Dallas CowboysDenver BroncosBoxscore4851Loss-63
3Denver BroncosOakland RaidersBoxscore3721Win133.5
4Washington Redskins@Oakland RaidersBoxscore2414Win133.5
5Cleveland BrownsBuffalo BillsBoxscore3724Win103.5
10Pittsburgh SteelersBuffalo BillsBoxscore2310Win103.5
2Miami Dolphins@Indianapolis ColtsBoxscore2420Win73.5
6San Diego ChargersIndianapolis ColtsBoxscore199Win73.5
7Cincinnati Bengals@Detroit LionsBoxscore2724Win63.5
12Tampa Bay Buccaneers@Detroit LionsBoxscore2421Win63.5
4Detroit LionsChicago BearsBoxscore4032Win53.5
10Detroit Lions@Chicago BearsBoxscore2119Win53.5
6New England PatriotsNew Orleans SaintsBoxscore3027Win03.5
11San Francisco 49ers@New Orleans SaintsBoxscore2023Loss03.5
3Seattle SeahawksJacksonville JaguarsBoxscore4517Win254
11Buffalo BillsNew York JetsBoxscore3714Win204
5Philadelphia Eagles@New York GiantsBoxscore3621Win184
1Miami Dolphins@Cleveland BrownsBoxscore2310Win164
6Philadelphia Eagles@Tampa Bay BuccaneersBoxscore3120Win144
7New York GiantsMinnesota VikingsBoxscore237Win134
6Dallas CowboysWashington RedskinsBoxscore3116Win124
8New York Giants@Philadelphia EaglesBoxscore157Win114
9Tennessee Titans@St. Louis RamsBoxscore2821Win104
12Jacksonville Jaguars@Houston TexansBoxscore136Win104
9Chicago Bears@Green Bay PackersBoxscore2720Win104
1Houston Texans@San Diego ChargersBoxscore3128Win64
5Baltimore Ravens@Miami DolphinsBoxscore2623Win64
13Pittsburgh Steelers@Baltimore RavensBoxscore2022Loss14
11New Orleans SaintsSan Francisco 49ersBoxscore2320Win04
9Minnesota Vikings@Dallas CowboysBoxscore2327Loss-14
2Buffalo BillsCarolina PanthersBoxscore2423Win-24
4Houston TexansSeattle SeahawksBoxscore2023Loss-64
11Kansas City Chiefs@Denver BroncosBoxscore1727Loss-74
4New England Patriots@Atlanta FalconsBoxscore3023Win104.5
11Tampa Bay BuccaneersAtlanta FalconsBoxscore4128Win104.5
2Cincinnati BengalsPittsburgh SteelersBoxscore2010Win74.5
4Minnesota VikingsNPittsburgh SteelersBoxscore3427Win74.5
10Jacksonville Jaguars@Tennessee TitansBoxscore2927Win54.5
13Indianapolis ColtsTennessee TitansBoxscore2214Win54.5
2Dallas Cowboys@Kansas City ChiefsBoxscore1617Loss24.5
7Houston Texans@Kansas City ChiefsBoxscore1617Loss24.5
2New York Jets@New England PatriotsBoxscore1013Loss04.5
6New Orleans Saints@New England PatriotsBoxscore2730Loss04.5
7New York JetsNew England PatriotsBoxscore3027Win04.5
12Denver Broncos@New England PatriotsBoxscore3134Loss04.5
3Green Bay Packers@Cincinnati BengalsBoxscore3034Loss-14.5
9Miami DolphinsCincinnati BengalsBoxscore2220Win-14.5
7San Diego Chargers@Jacksonville JaguarsBoxscore246Win215
6Pittsburgh Steelers@New York JetsBoxscore196Win165
7Green Bay PackersCleveland BrownsBoxscore3113Win155
8Seattle Seahawks@St. Louis RamsBoxscore149Win85
11Oakland Raiders@Houston TexansBoxscore2823Win85
12Tennessee Titans@Oakland RaidersBoxscore2319Win75
4Arizona Cardinals@Tampa Bay BuccaneersBoxscore1310Win65
2San Diego Chargers@Philadelphia EaglesBoxscore3330Win65
12Dallas Cowboys@New York GiantsBoxscore2421Win65
7Buffalo Bills@Miami DolphinsBoxscore2321Win55
9Washington RedskinsSan Diego ChargersBoxscore3024Win35
8Dallas Cowboys@Detroit LionsBoxscore3031Loss25
2Minnesota Vikings@Chicago BearsBoxscore3031Loss25
1St. Louis RamsArizona CardinalsBoxscore2724Win05
10Houston Texans@Arizona CardinalsBoxscore2427Loss05
13Philadelphia EaglesArizona CardinalsBoxscore2421Win05
1Oakland Raiders@Indianapolis ColtsBoxscore1721Loss-15
1Green Bay Packers@San Francisco 49ersBoxscore2834Loss-35
1Atlanta Falcons@New Orleans SaintsBoxscore1723Loss-35
10San Francisco 49ersCarolina PanthersBoxscore910Loss-45
13Kansas City ChiefsDenver BroncosBoxscore2835Loss-105
3Detroit Lions@Washington RedskinsBoxscore2720Win105.5
13New York Giants@Washington RedskinsBoxscore2417Win105.5
1Detroit LionsMinnesota VikingsBoxscore3424Win75.5
3Cleveland Browns@Minnesota VikingsBoxscore3127Win75.5
6Cincinnati Bengals@Buffalo BillsBoxscore2724Win65.5
13Atlanta Falcons@Buffalo BillsBoxscore3431Win65.5
1San Francisco 49ersGreen Bay PackersBoxscore3428Win35.5
12Minnesota Vikings@Green Bay PackersBoxscore2626Tie35.5
1Carolina PanthersSeattle SeahawksBoxscore712Loss-85.5
8St. Louis RamsSeattle SeahawksBoxscore914Loss-85.5
11Arizona Cardinals@Jacksonville JaguarsBoxscore2714Win166
12Baltimore RavensNew York JetsBoxscore193Win136
13San Francisco 49ersSt. Louis RamsBoxscore2313Win76
13Jacksonville Jaguars@Cleveland BrownsBoxscore3228Win76
12New Orleans Saints@Atlanta FalconsBoxscore1713Win76
6Seattle SeahawksTennessee TitansBoxscore2013Win46
13Dallas CowboysOakland RaidersBoxscore3124Win46
6Chicago BearsNew York GiantsBoxscore2721Win36
11Miami DolphinsSan Diego ChargersBoxscore2016Win16
9Cincinnati Bengals@Miami DolphinsBoxscore2022Loss16
2Arizona CardinalsDetroit LionsBoxscore2521Win16
7Washington RedskinsChicago BearsBoxscore4541Win16
13Arizona Cardinals@Philadelphia EaglesBoxscore2124Loss06
1New York Giants@Dallas CowboysBoxscore3136Loss-26
2Kansas City ChiefsDallas CowboysBoxscore1716Win-26
8Detroit LionsDallas CowboysBoxscore3130Win-26
8Cleveland Browns@Kansas City ChiefsBoxscore1723Loss-36
5New England Patriots@Cincinnati BengalsBoxscore613Loss-46
2Tampa Bay BuccaneersNew Orleans SaintsBoxscore1416Loss-56
13St. Louis Rams@San Francisco 49ersBoxscore1323Loss-76
12Miami DolphinsCarolina PanthersBoxscore1620Loss-76
10San Diego ChargersDenver BroncosBoxscore2028Loss-116
2New Orleans Saints@Tampa Bay BuccaneersBoxscore1614Win56.5
7Atlanta FalconsTampa Bay BuccaneersBoxscore3123Win56.5
7Baltimore Ravens@Pittsburgh SteelersBoxscore1619Loss06.5
8Oakland RaidersPittsburgh SteelersBoxscore2118Win06.5
4Buffalo BillsBaltimore RavensBoxscore2320Win06.5
7Pittsburgh SteelersBaltimore RavensBoxscore1916Win06.5
10Cincinnati Bengals@Baltimore RavensBoxscore1720Loss06.5
11Chicago BearsBaltimore RavensBoxscore2320Win06.5
5Seattle Seahawks@Indianapolis ColtsBoxscore2834Loss-36.5
7Denver Broncos@Indianapolis ColtsBoxscore3339Loss-36.5
6Denver BroncosJacksonville JaguarsBoxscore3519Win137
1Philadelphia Eagles@Washington RedskinsBoxscore3327Win97
4Seattle Seahawks@Houston TexansBoxscore2320Win67
9Indianapolis Colts@Houston TexansBoxscore2724Win67
13New England Patriots@Houston TexansBoxscore3431Win67
2Baltimore RavensCleveland BrownsBoxscore146Win57
1New England Patriots@Buffalo BillsBoxscore2321Win57
5New York Jets@Atlanta FalconsBoxscore3028Win57
2Atlanta FalconsSt. Louis RamsBoxscore3124Win47
2Houston TexansTennessee TitansBoxscore3024Win37
1Tampa Bay Buccaneers@New York JetsBoxscore1718Loss27
1Dallas CowboysNew York GiantsBoxscore3631Win27
9Dallas CowboysMinnesota VikingsBoxscore2723Win17
3Cincinnati BengalsGreen Bay PackersBoxscore3430Win17
3Tennessee TitansSan Diego ChargersBoxscore2017Win07
10Tampa Bay BuccaneersMiami DolphinsBoxscore2219Win07
2Detroit Lions@Arizona CardinalsBoxscore2125Loss-17
11Washington Redskins@Philadelphia EaglesBoxscore1624Loss-57
1Buffalo BillsNew England PatriotsBoxscore2123Loss-57
12Atlanta FalconsNew Orleans SaintsBoxscore1317Loss-77
6Arizona Cardinals@San Francisco 49ersBoxscore2032Loss-97
5Tennessee TitansKansas City ChiefsBoxscore1726Loss-127
7St. Louis Rams@Carolina PanthersBoxscore1530Loss-127
7Arizona CardinalsSeattle SeahawksBoxscore2234Loss-157
1Indianapolis ColtsOakland RaidersBoxscore2117Win17.5
10New York GiantsOakland RaidersBoxscore2420Win17.5
4Chicago Bears@Detroit LionsBoxscore3240Loss-57.5
10Chicago BearsDetroit LionsBoxscore1921Loss-57.5
6Buffalo BillsCincinnati BengalsBoxscore2427Loss-67.5
7Detroit LionsCincinnati BengalsBoxscore2427Loss-67.5
3Oakland Raiders@Denver BroncosBoxscore2137Loss-137.5
6Jacksonville Jaguars@Denver BroncosBoxscore1935Loss-137.5
5St. Louis RamsJacksonville JaguarsBoxscore3420Win118
11Philadelphia EaglesWashington RedskinsBoxscore2416Win58
3New York JetsBuffalo BillsBoxscore2720Win48
8Kansas City ChiefsCleveland BrownsBoxscore2317Win38
1New Orleans SaintsAtlanta FalconsBoxscore2317Win38
3San Diego Chargers@Tennessee TitansBoxscore1720Loss08
1Arizona Cardinals@St. Louis RamsBoxscore2427Loss08
13Chicago Bears@Minnesota VikingsBoxscore2023Loss08
1Cincinnati Bengals@Chicago BearsBoxscore2124Loss08
11Baltimore Ravens@Chicago BearsBoxscore2023Loss08
13Minnesota VikingsChicago BearsBoxscore2320Win08
13Baltimore RavensPittsburgh SteelersBoxscore2220Win-18
10Oakland Raiders@New York GiantsBoxscore2024Loss-18
13Oakland Raiders@Dallas CowboysBoxscore2431Loss-48
13Tennessee Titans@Indianapolis ColtsBoxscore1422Loss-58
6Baltimore RavensGreen Bay PackersBoxscore1719Loss-58
13Houston TexansNew England PatriotsBoxscore3134Loss-68
4Tampa Bay BuccaneersArizona CardinalsBoxscore1013Loss-68
1Washington RedskinsPhiladelphia EaglesBoxscore2733Loss-98
5Chicago BearsNew Orleans SaintsBoxscore1826Loss-118
7Tennessee TitansSan Francisco 49ersBoxscore1731Loss-178
11Minnesota Vikings@Seattle SeahawksBoxscore2041Loss-188
13Tampa Bay Buccaneers@Carolina PanthersBoxscore627Loss-188
9Seattle SeahawksTampa Bay BuccaneersBoxscore2724Win08.5
10Miami Dolphins@Tampa Bay BuccaneersBoxscore1922Loss08.5
2New England PatriotsNew York JetsBoxscore1310Win08.5
7New England Patriots@New York JetsBoxscore2730Loss08.5
3Atlanta Falcons@Miami DolphinsBoxscore2327Loss-18.5
11San Diego Chargers@Miami DolphinsBoxscore1620Loss-18.5
3Philadelphia EaglesKansas City ChiefsBoxscore1626Loss-138.5
9Buffalo BillsKansas City ChiefsBoxscore1323Loss-138.5
2Oakland RaidersJacksonville JaguarsBoxscore199Win79
10Minnesota VikingsWashington RedskinsBoxscore3427Win49
2Carolina Panthers@Buffalo BillsBoxscore2324Loss29
3Miami DolphinsAtlanta FalconsBoxscore2723Win19
8Pittsburgh Steelers@Oakland RaidersBoxscore1821Loss09
10Arizona CardinalsHouston TexansBoxscore2724Win09
2Chicago BearsMinnesota VikingsBoxscore3130Win-29
9Baltimore Ravens@Cleveland BrownsBoxscore1824Loss-39
2Cleveland Browns@Baltimore RavensBoxscore614Loss-59
2Philadelphia EaglesSan Diego ChargersBoxscore3033Loss-69
4Dallas Cowboys@San Diego ChargersBoxscore2130Loss-69
12Kansas City ChiefsSan Diego ChargersBoxscore3841Loss-69
12New York GiantsDallas CowboysBoxscore2124Loss-69
12Oakland RaidersTennessee TitansBoxscore1923Loss-79
11Detroit Lions@Pittsburgh SteelersBoxscore2737Loss-79
8Miami Dolphins@New England PatriotsBoxscore1727Loss-79
1Minnesota Vikings@Detroit LionsBoxscore2434Loss-79
2Pittsburgh Steelers@Cincinnati BengalsBoxscore1020Loss-79
13Washington RedskinsNew York GiantsBoxscore1724Loss-109
5Detroit Lions@Green Bay PackersBoxscore922Loss-109
5Jacksonville Jaguars@St. Louis RamsBoxscore2034Loss-119
8Atlanta Falcons@Arizona CardinalsBoxscore1327Loss-119
6Tampa Bay BuccaneersPhiladelphia EaglesBoxscore2031Loss-149
8Buffalo Bills@New Orleans SaintsBoxscore1735Loss-159
1Baltimore Ravens@Denver BroncosBoxscore2749Loss-199
2San Francisco 49ers@Seattle SeahawksBoxscore329Loss-239
12Washington RedskinsSan Francisco 49ersBoxscore627Loss-249
9Houston TexansIndianapolis ColtsBoxscore2427Loss-69.5
11Tennessee TitansIndianapolis ColtsBoxscore2730Loss-69.5
8Tampa Bay BuccaneersCarolina PanthersBoxscore1331Loss-219.5
9Atlanta Falcons@Carolina PanthersBoxscore1034Loss-219.5
4Baltimore Ravens@Buffalo BillsBoxscore2023Loss010
7Chicago Bears@Washington RedskinsBoxscore4145Loss-110
1New York JetsTampa Bay BuccaneersBoxscore1817Win-210
7Kansas City ChiefsHouston TexansBoxscore1716Win-210
9New Orleans Saints@New York JetsBoxscore2026Loss-310
12Green Bay PackersMinnesota VikingsBoxscore2626Tie-310
6New York Giants@Chicago BearsBoxscore2127Loss-310
2St. Louis Rams@Atlanta FalconsBoxscore2431Loss-410
10Tennessee TitansJacksonville JaguarsBoxscore2729Loss-510
5Miami DolphinsBaltimore RavensBoxscore2326Loss-610
2Indianapolis ColtsMiami DolphinsBoxscore2024Loss-710
3Minnesota VikingsCleveland BrownsBoxscore2731Loss-710
10Buffalo Bills@Pittsburgh SteelersBoxscore1023Loss-1010
4Atlanta FalconsNew England PatriotsBoxscore2330Loss-1010
3Washington RedskinsDetroit LionsBoxscore2027Loss-1010
13San Diego ChargersCincinnati BengalsBoxscore1017Loss-1010
6Washington Redskins@Dallas CowboysBoxscore1631Loss-1210
5Carolina Panthers@Arizona CardinalsBoxscore622Loss-1310
6Oakland Raiders@Kansas City ChiefsBoxscore724Loss-1410
10Green Bay PackersPhiladelphia EaglesBoxscore1327Loss-1710
12Chicago Bears@St. Louis RamsBoxscore2142Loss-1810
4Miami Dolphins@New Orleans SaintsBoxscore1738Loss-1810
13New Orleans Saints@Seattle SeahawksBoxscore734Loss-2410
4St. Louis RamsSan Francisco 49ersBoxscore1135Loss-2710
2Jacksonville Jaguars@Oakland RaidersBoxscore919Loss-710.5
5San Diego Chargers@Oakland RaidersBoxscore1727Loss-710.5
1Pittsburgh SteelersTennessee TitansBoxscore916Loss-1010.5
9St. Louis RamsTennessee TitansBoxscore2128Loss-1010.5
8Philadelphia EaglesNew York GiantsBoxscore715Loss-1110.5
11Green Bay Packers@New York GiantsBoxscore1327Loss-1110.5
2Washington Redskins@Green Bay PackersBoxscore2038Loss-1510.5
7Cleveland Browns@Green Bay PackersBoxscore1331Loss-1510.5
2New York GiantsDenver BroncosBoxscore2341Loss-2110.5
8Washington Redskins@Denver BroncosBoxscore2145Loss-2110.5
9San Diego Chargers@Washington RedskinsBoxscore2430Loss-311
2Tennessee Titans@Houston TexansBoxscore2430Loss-311
3Buffalo Bills@New York JetsBoxscore2027Loss-411
10Washington Redskins@Minnesota VikingsBoxscore2734Loss-411
7Miami DolphinsBuffalo BillsBoxscore2123Loss-511
7Tampa Bay Buccaneers@Atlanta FalconsBoxscore2331Loss-511
12Detroit LionsTampa Bay BuccaneersBoxscore2124Loss-611
6Indianapolis Colts@San Diego ChargersBoxscore919Loss-711
13Cleveland BrownsJacksonville JaguarsBoxscore2832Loss-711
4Cincinnati Bengals@Cleveland BrownsBoxscore617Loss-811
9Green Bay PackersChicago BearsBoxscore2027Loss-1011
12New York Jets@Baltimore RavensBoxscore319Loss-1311
6New York JetsPittsburgh SteelersBoxscore619Loss-1611
1Cleveland BrownsMiami DolphinsBoxscore1023Loss-1611
11Jacksonville JaguarsArizona CardinalsBoxscore1427Loss-1611
3Tampa Bay Buccaneers@New England PatriotsBoxscore323Loss-1711
6Cleveland BrownsDetroit LionsBoxscore1731Loss-1711
7Philadelphia EaglesDallas CowboysBoxscore317Loss-1711
5New York GiantsPhiladelphia EaglesBoxscore2136Loss-1811
11Cleveland Browns@Cincinnati BengalsBoxscore2041Loss-1811
3Arizona Cardinals@New Orleans SaintsBoxscore731Loss-2111
4New York Giants@Kansas City ChiefsBoxscore731Loss-2111
3San Francisco 49ersIndianapolis ColtsBoxscore727Loss-2311
3Jacksonville Jaguars@Seattle SeahawksBoxscore1745Loss-2511
6Houston TexansSt. Louis RamsBoxscore1338Loss-2811
5Houston Texans@San Francisco 49ersBoxscore334Loss-2811
6Minnesota VikingsCarolina PanthersBoxscore1035Loss-2811
5Atlanta FalconsNew York JetsBoxscore2830Loss-512
1San Diego ChargersHouston TexansBoxscore2831Loss-612
13Buffalo BillsAtlanta FalconsBoxscore3134Loss-612
4Pittsburgh SteelersNMinnesota VikingsBoxscore2734Loss-712
11Houston TexansOakland RaidersBoxscore2328Loss-812
11Atlanta Falcons@Tampa Bay BuccaneersBoxscore2841Loss-1012
12Houston TexansJacksonville JaguarsBoxscore613Loss-1012
5Buffalo Bills@Cleveland BrownsBoxscore2437Loss-1012
4Oakland RaidersWashington RedskinsBoxscore1424Loss-1312
7Minnesota Vikings@New York GiantsBoxscore723Loss-1312
8Minnesota VikingsGreen Bay PackersBoxscore3144Loss-1612
3Houston Texans@Baltimore RavensBoxscore930Loss-1812
12Cleveland BrownsPittsburgh SteelersBoxscore1127Loss-1912
3Pittsburgh SteelersChicago BearsBoxscore2340Loss-2012
11New York Jets@Buffalo BillsBoxscore1437Loss-2012
7Jacksonville JaguarsSan Diego ChargersBoxscore624Loss-2112
9Pittsburgh Steelers@New England PatriotsBoxscore3155Loss-2112
3St. Louis Rams@Dallas CowboysBoxscore731Loss-2112
4New York Jets@Tennessee TitansBoxscore1338Loss-2212
13New York JetsMiami DolphinsBoxscore323Loss-2312
10Atlanta FalconsSeattle SeahawksBoxscore1033Loss-2612
12Indianapolis Colts@Arizona CardinalsBoxscore1140Loss-2612
13Green Bay Packers@Detroit LionsBoxscore1040Loss-2712
10Dallas Cowboys@New Orleans SaintsBoxscore1749Loss-2912
1Jacksonville JaguarsKansas City ChiefsBoxscore228Loss-2912
4Philadelphia Eagles@Denver BroncosBoxscore2052Loss-2912
8Jacksonville JaguarsNSan Francisco 49ersBoxscore1042Loss-3212
9Oakland RaidersPhiladelphia EaglesBoxscore2049Loss-3212
10Indianapolis ColtsSt. Louis RamsBoxscore838Loss-3312
3New York Giants@Carolina PanthersBoxscore038Loss-3512
4Jacksonville JaguarsIndianapolis ColtsBoxscore337Loss-3712
8New York Jets@Cincinnati BengalsBoxscore949Loss-3712

The Colts and Rams are the strange ones here. Indianapolis joins San Francisco, New Orleans, and Denver as the only teams where they had the best (or tied for best) performance against a team. The Colts crushed the Jaguars, beat the 49ers by 20, and beat Denver and Seattle. But the Colts also get 12s for games against the Cardinals and RAms, an 11 for the loss in San Diego, and a 10 for the home loss to Miami.

As for St. Louis, the Rams looked dominant against the Colts, Bears, and Texans, but otherwise have been one of the worst teams in the league.

  1. Believe it or not, a 4-point road win is tied for the 2nd best performance of any team against the Dolphins this year. []
  2. Since 2009, the Saints have the most road wins in the league. []
  • Sunrise089

    This reminded me that you did weekly rankings last year. Too many other weekly columns to write this year?

    • Chase Stuart

      Pretty much.

  • Nate

    The rankings seem quite sensible. I think that the best explanation for the teams that are best and worst against some competition is just that there’s a lot of luck in the outcome of games, and that the difference between team quality isn’t much bigger than the noise.

    It’s probably marginal, but it seems like an overtime score should (maybe) be considered as a tie score instead. For example your model has Seattle’s OT win over the Texans as equivalent to the Colts’ and Packers’, and the Jets’ OT win against New England as equivalent to the Jet’s loss to the Pats by 3 in regulation.

    The nature of this rating means that teams (especially weaker teams) will have progressively higher ratings as the season progresses and their relative ranks climb. Have you thought about compensations so that comparisons with various season lengths are more sensible?

    • Chase Stuart

      Interesting thought about OT, although the consistent approach would be to just give a team a 3-point loss for home games that go to overtime. It won’t make a significant difference to the rankings, obviously, but it’s probably the right thing to do if the goal is to come up with predictive rankings.

      I’ve given a little thought to how to compare across various season lengths, but that feels like an offseason project.

      • Nate

        > … just give a team a 3-point loss for home games that go to overtime.

        Yeah, that was the intent. (It’s a bit confusing because it’s unclear whether ‘score differential’ is before or after the home field adjustment.) It does seem like the impact would be complex: The Seahawks’ would move from a 3 way tie for 6th against the Texans to a tie for 8th with the Titans, and a tie for 8th against the Bucs to 11th, which is a net shift of 5 ranks – enough to move them down past the 49ers.

  • Anders

    With the Eagles. One can really see that the start of the season where the D was still historical bad and the offense was to volatile because of QB injuries really hurt them in those rankings.

  • George

    I’ve finally done a weighted set of ratings (at 95%) for the way I usually run my ratings (least squares as per the Mathletics method) and am seeing why possibly some of my predictions have been a bit sketchy as I was surprised that in a lot of variance on a lot of the ratings (e.g. 10 teams were over 4 points different – which was just a bit higher than expected for me, I just didn’t think that there would be that much difference);

    Unweighted numbers (through the Thursday night game)
    Arizona, 4.27
    Atlanta, -3.88
    Baltimore, -1.39
    Buffalo, -4.00
    Carolina, 11.55
    Chicago, -2.08
    Cincinnati, 4.20
    Cleveland, -7.28
    Dallas, 2.11
    Denver, 11.37
    Detroit, 1.09
    Green Bay, -2.53
    Houston, -7.09
    Indianapolis, 2.23
    Jacksonville, -11.37
    Kansas City, 5.24
    Miami, 0.43
    Minnesota, -6.70
    New England, 4.62
    New Orleans, 7.49
    NY Giants, -4.29
    NY Jets, -9.93
    Oakland, -6.27
    Philadelphia, 0.60
    Pittsburgh, -3.23
    San Diego, 0.12
    San Francisco, 9.56
    Seattle, 13.28
    St. Louis, 2.39
    Tampa Bay, -2.57
    Tennessee, -0.49
    Washington, -7.45
    Weighted numbers (through the Thursday night game)
    Arizona, 8.38
    Atlanta, -2.65
    Baltimore, -2.68
    Buffalo, -5.40
    Carolina, 15.52
    Chicago, -4.71
    Cincinnati, 5.25
    Cleveland, -11.45
    Dallas, -1.46
    Denver, 8.30
    Detroit, 0.90
    Green Bay, -11.54
    Houston, -6.97
    Indianapolis, -4.05
    Jacksonville, -4.49
    Kansas City, -0.45
    Miami, 2.79
    Minnesota, -6.58
    New England, 6.16
    New Orleans, 5.52
    NY Giants, -2.67
    NY Jets, -15.49
    Oakland, -5.87
    Philadelphia, 3.69
    Pittsburgh, 0.15
    San Diego, -0.79
    San Francisco, 13.38
    Seattle, 18.34
    St. Louis, 8.36
    Tampa Bay, 2.10
    Tennessee, -3.04
    Washington, -8.54 
    One thing that does it suggest given that the difference in ratings of Green Bay is just over 9, that Aaron Rodgers is worth at least a touchdown to the Packers chances. You can also clearly identify teams that are on a streak (Jacksonville 6.88 points better when weighted) and teams that have been on a slump (e.g. the Jets at 5.51 points worse when weighted).
  • Clemente

    This may be a crude method due to small sample sizes, but I wonder how the rankings would change if you treated, for example, the Green Bay Packers as two teams: GB-Rodgers and GB-Flynn/Tolzien. Or PHI-Vick and PHI-Foles. You could classify the game in which the starter gets replaced by who had more snaps or pass attempts.

    • Chase Stuart

      I thought about doing just that, but did not have the time.