Winning Stats Power Rankings - Week 9

A new week of Power Rankings brings about a new feature:  Defensive Adjusted Rankings.  I'll still be presenting the Non-Adjusted raw rankings, but I think the Adjusted Rankings are a more accurate picture of what is going on in the league.  Here's how I did it:

  • First off, a big thank you to Neil Paine over at Pro-Football-Reference.com, who pointed me to a 5 minute video tutorial on Excel Iterations.  I was struggling mightily with it, and I only got it to work with his help.  Make sure you check out the PFR blog for even more football-related information.
  • I took the average of all games for each team, and I subtracted out the historic average for each stat, so I now have either a plus or minus number for each team.  I did this both on offense and defense.
  • I then found what the average of each team played against, so I could see the level of teams played against.  For example, with DSR, the Colts are 9.3% above average, but opposing defenses they've faced are 4% below average, so I'd start with an adjusted average  of 5.3% above average.
  • Now's the tricky part...since the Colts now have a new figure, it changes each of the defenses they have faced, which would then change the offensive adjustements, etc.  This is where the Excel Iterations come in.  Eventually, the numbers slowly converge until they don't change any more, which are the final adjusted numbers, that are above/below the historic average.  Just add that back in and you're good to go.
  • I ranked the new adjusted numbers the same way as before, and (I think) you have a more accurate representation of the team's strengths.
  • If you want another explanation, here's where I got the idea: PFR.com Simple Ranking System.

Now that you are all thoroughly confused, how about I just show you the results:

Here's the Power Rankings (click on a column header to sort):

Team Power Rankings
Non-Adjusted Adjusted
Offense Defense Total Offense Defense Total
Saints 5 2 1 4 1 1
Patriots 1 6 2 1 8 2
Ravens 3 14 4 3 9 3
Broncos 11 5 7 14 2 4
Colts 2 12 3 2 23 5
Bengals 13 15 13 12 7 6
Packers 7 7 5 11 10 7
Dolphins 14 22 15 10 11 8
Giants 12 8 10 9 13 9
Vikings 8 13 9 13 12 10
Jets 19 3 14 18 4 11
Cowboys 6 19 11 6 21 12
Falcons 10 25 18 7 22 13
Eagles 17 1 6 16 6 14
Steelers 4 20 8 5 25 15
Texans 15 9 12 15 20 16
Cardinals 23 4 16 20 3 17
Chargers 9 26 17 8 29 18
Bears 18 17 19 19 16 19
49ers 26 11 22 27 5 20
Seahawks 21 21 21 23 17 21
Bills 30 16 25 28 15 22
Redskins 20 10 20 22 24 23
Panthers 24 18 23 24 19 24
Chiefs 27 23 26 26 18 25
Titans 28 24 27 30 14 26
Jaguars 16 29 24 17 32 27
Lions 22 31 28 21 28 28
Buccaneers 29 30 30 29 30 29
Browns 32 28 32 31 26 30
Rams 25 32 29 25 31 31
Raiders 31 27 31 32 27 32

Some thoughts:

  • The Colts moved up to #3 in the Non-Adjusted Rankings, but fell to #5 in the Adjusted Rankings.  Why you may ask?  The defense is severely hurt when adjusting for the opposing offenses they have faced, dropping from #12 to #23!  Looking at the teams they've faced, you can see why:  The Dolphins are the best team they've faced, and they are #10, and next is Jacksonville at #17!  If the defense can continue playing well (which they have been) the next 4 weeks, that number is going to shoot up.
  • The biggest movers up when adjusting for defense are the Bengals and Dolphins, who each move up 7 spots.  Biggest losers?  Eagles and Steelers, who dropped 8 and 7 spots, respectively.  I agree with all four of those movements, as you should as well.
  • Even though the Packers have lost to the Vikings twice, they're ranked higher than the Vikings.  I'm guessing everyone's favorite 40 year old QB has something to do with those 2 games.
  • The Jaguars have the worst defense in the league.  Anyone want to disagree after what the Titans did to them last week?

Here's the Strength of Schedule:

Team Strength of Schedule
Non-Adjusted Adjusted
Offense Defense Total Offense Defense Total
Browns 8 1 1 2 5 1
Dolphins 2 8 3 4 1 2
Falcons 4 7 4 1 3 3
Ravens 19 6 8 9 7 4
Bengals 12 3 2 12 6 5
Jets 10 17 12 3 14 6
Broncos 25 5 11 18 4 7
Patriots 17 21 18 5 20 8
Bills 5 23 13 8 17 9
Saints 7 22 15 6 12 10
Raiders 3 13 7 10 10 11
Titans 18 2 5 31 2 12
Lions 15 4 6 19 9 13
Buccaneers 1 20 10 11 15 14
Chargers 26 15 17 14 16 15
Chiefs 11 10 9 24 8 16
Bears 30 9 19 26 11 17
49ers 20 12 14 21 13 18
Vikings 27 11 16 22 18 19
Cowboys 22 25 25 16 24 20
Packers 31 16 26 27 25 21
Cardinals 14 24 21 23 22 22
Rams 21 14 20 30 21 23
Steelers 32 19 28 28 23 24
Panthers 9 26 23 17 26 25
Giants 6 28 22 13 27 26
Seahawks 24 18 24 29 19 27
Texans 13 32 30 7 32 28
Eagles 16 30 29 25 29 29
Jaguars 23 27 27 20 28 30
Colts 29 29 32 15 30 31
Redskins 28 31 31 32 31 32

A couple things here:

  • There is definitely some merit to saying the Colts have played an easy schedule, because they clearly have.  The defense has faced the 3rd easiest schedule.  But look who has had an easier defensive schedule?  Week 9 opponent Houston, who has played the easiest defensive schedule in the league.  I think they'll finally be tested this week.
  • Who is playing the 1st place schedule in the AFC North?  The Browns, Ravens, and Bengals are in the top 5 of SoS, while the Steelers are 24th. 

I'm going to be working on 2 more improvements that should be done before the end of the season:

  1. Future Strength of Schedule.  Should be done for next week.
  2. Weighted Rankings.  This means that more recent games will count more than older games, as it tells a better story of how the team is playing now, rather than (possibly) 3 months ago.  Give me a couple weeks on this to set it all up, but I think it's necessary for the best rankings.
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