Wednesday, April 16, 2014
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2013 Advanced NFL Power Rankings, Week 1: 49ers, Seahawks and Broncos top the rankings at start of regular season

In case you don't remember from last year, I'd like to re-introduce something to you that I've been doing over at Bolts from the Blue for the last four years: The NFL power rankings consensus, and well, the name kind of speaks for itself.

Simply put: 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.

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 Avg Ranking
NFC West 11.6667
NFC North 14.1389
AFC North 14.5000
NFC South 14.9444
NFC East 15.8611
AFC South 19.2222
AFC West 20.5278
AFC East 21.1389

Observations

  • It wasn't all that long ago when the NFC West was the laughingstock of the league. Now look at it.
  • In fact, look at the NFC on the whole: all four NFC divisions have an average ranking better than 16. The bottom three conferences are in the AFC, and it's not even close. The AFC North is closer to being in fifth place than the AFC South is to being in fourth place.
  • The only thing keeping the AFC West out of the cellar is Denver holding everyone else up, and the Jets pulling everyone in the East down. Although, the Bills aren't doing the East any favors either.

Stock Rising

This table is kind of self-explanatory: it shows which teams have moved up the most this week compared to last week.

Team Preseason Week 1 Average Week 1 Average Difference
CLE 28.500 25.222 3.278
CHI 16.000 13.444 2.556
NO 13.667 11.778 1.889
WAS 12.833 11.111 1.722
DET 22.500 21.111 1.389

Observations

  • Not much movement is to be expected going from preseason to the regular season, unless a team suffers some catastrophic injuries, not much changes.
  • Though, some optimism is starting to creep into Cleveland.

Stock Falling

Team Preseason Week 1 Average Week 1 Average Difference
TB 19.833 22.556 -2.723
SDG 23.833 25.889 -2.056
PIT 15.000 16.444 -1.444
IND 11.167 12.556 -1.389
NYG 11.167 12.444 -1.277

Subjective Average

We'll start off with the Subjective Average. These rankings are the ones that have 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 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 NFL.com SB Nation Reddit Associated Press ProFootballFocus Walter Football Average Change since last period
49ers 3 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 2 1.444 0.056 Rising
Seahawks 1 3 6 3 2 3 2 2 1 2.556 0.277 Rising
Broncos 4 2 1 2 3 2 3 3 4 2.667 -0.334 Falling
Falcons 2 4 3 4 5 5 4 5 8 4.444 -0.444 Falling
Packers 5 7 5 9 4 4 7 4 6 5.667 0.333 Rising
Patriots 6 6 4 8 6 8 5 6 3 5.778 0.055 Rising
Ravens 8 5 8 6 8 7 8 7 9 7.333 -1.166 Falling
Texans 7 8 9 7 7 6 6 8 11 7.667 0.666 Rising
Bengals 9 9 7 5 9 9 9 9 15 9.000 -0.833 Falling
Redskins 10 13 16 10 11 10 10 13 7 11.111 1.722 Rising
Saints 13 16 11 18 10 11 12 10 5 11.778 1.889 Rising
Giants 12 15 10 16 12 13 13 11 10 12.444 -1.277 Falling
Colts 11 12 13 11 13 14 11 15 13 12.556 -1.389 Falling
Bears 14 11 15 12 15 12 14 14 14 13.444 2.556 Rising
Cowboys 18 17 14 15 16 15 15 12 21 15.889 -0.722 Falling
Vikings 17 10 18 13 21 17 16 19 16 16.333 0.167 Rising
Steelers 16 20 12 20 14 16 17 16 17 16.444 -1.444 Falling
Rams 15 14 17 17 19 22 18 20 12 17.111 -0.444 Falling
Dolphins 20 25 23 14 23 19 22 18 18 20.222 -0.389 Falling
Panthers 23 28 19 19 18 18 23 22 19 21.000 0.500 Rising
Lions 21 18 28 21 17 20 19 24 22 21.111 1.389 Rising
Chiefs 19 19 24 27 20 24 21 17 24 21.667 0.833 Rising
Buccaneers 22 21 21 23 24 21 20 23 28 22.556 -2.723 Falling
Eagles 25 23 25 26 22 23 26 21 25 24.000 1.000 Rising
Browns 28 24 26 24 25 26 28 26 20 25.222 3.278 Rising
Cardinals 26 29 20 25 27 27 24 29 23 25.556 0.277 Rising
Chargers 24 26 27 22 26 25 27 27 29 25.889 -2.056 Falling
Titans 27 22 22 28 28 28 25 28 26 26.000 -1.000 Falling
Bills 30 27 29 29 29 30 29 25 27 28.333 1.000 Rising
Jets 32 30 30 30 30 29 30 31 30 30.222 -0.555 Falling
Jaguars 29 31 31 31 31 31 31 30 31 30.667 0.000 No Change
Raiders 31 32 32 32 32 32 32 32 32 31.889 -1.222 Falling

Observations:

  • Continuing last season's trend, seven of the bottom 10 teams are in the AFC. Eight of the bottom 11 are in the AFC. So really, 72 percent of the bottom third is made up of AFC teams. And in that bottom third are all three AFC West teams, except Denver.
  • The 49ers are the closest to a consensus top pick as we can get right now. Denver and Seattle are keeping things close in the battle for second place. The Broncos did drop slightly since the start of preseason, likely thanks to several injuries.
  • Convenient: The top 12 teams are evenly split 6-6 between NFC and AFC teams. I really wonder how many purposefully try to keep things even.
  • The Bengals at No. 5? Sleeper pick?
  • The Rams are ranked ~17. In 2011, St. Louis was ranked ~18 to start the season and finished the season ranked dead last. In 2012, they started the season ranked ~29, and finished the season ranked 17.500. For Rams fans, I hope this isn't part of a cycle.
  • Interesting that the Jaguars' ranking didn't move at all, even though the Raiders passed them.
  • Looks like ESPN is trying to troll New York. Well, either that or they're still upset the Jets released Tebow.

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 NFL.com SB Nation Reddit Associated Press ProFootballFocus Walter Football Standard Deviation Change since last period
Raiders 31 32 32 32 32 32 32 32 32 0.314 -0.933 Falling
Jaguars 29 31 31 31 31 31 31 30 31 0.667 -1.128 Falling
49ers 3 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 2 0.685 0.185 Rising
Jets 32 30 30 30 30 29 30 31 30 0.786 -0.914 Falling
Broncos 4 2 1 2 3 2 3 3 4 0.943 0.198 Rising
Ravens 8 5 8 6 8 7 8 7 9 1.155 -0.617 Falling
Bears 14 11 15 12 15 12 14 14 14 1.343 -2.354 Falling
Colts 11 12 13 11 13 14 11 15 13 1.343 0.445 Rising
Seahawks 1 3 6 3 2 3 2 2 1 1.423 -0.149 Falling
Texans 7 8 9 7 7 6 6 8 11 1.491 0.548 Rising
Patriots 6 6 4 8 6 8 5 6 3 1.548 0.204 Rising
Bills 30 27 29 29 29 30 29 25 27 1.564 0.458 Rising
Falcons 2 4 3 4 5 5 4 5 8 1.571 0.754 Rising
Packers 5 7 5 9 4 4 7 4 6 1.633 0.633 Rising
Eagles 25 23 25 26 22 23 26 21 25 1.700 0.409 Rising
Chargers 24 26 27 22 26 25 27 27 29 1.912 0.568 Rising
Giants 12 15 10 16 12 13 13 11 10 1.950 0.737 Rising
Buccaneers 22 21 21 23 24 21 20 23 28 2.266 -0.001 Falling
Browns 28 24 26 24 25 26 28 26 20 2.299 0.591 Rising
Titans 27 22 22 28 28 28 25 28 26 2.357 -1.059 Falling
Steelers 16 20 12 20 14 16 17 16 17 2.409 1.118 Rising
Cowboys 18 17 14 15 16 15 15 12 21 2.424 -0.310 Falling
Redskins 10 13 16 10 11 10 10 13 7 2.424 0.390 Rising
Bengals 9 9 7 5 9 9 9 9 15 2.494 1.281 Rising
Cardinals 26 29 20 25 27 27 24 29 23 2.753 0.209 Rising
Rams 15 14 17 17 19 22 18 20 12 2.923 0.566 Rising
Chiefs 19 19 24 27 20 24 21 17 24 3.055 0.993 Rising
Vikings 17 10 18 13 21 17 16 19 16 3.055 1.671 Rising
Panthers 23 28 19 19 18 18 23 22 19 3.127 0.910 Rising
Lions 21 18 28 21 17 20 19 24 22 3.143 0.329 Rising
Dolphins 20 25 23 14 23 19 22 18 18 3.190 0.646 Rising
Saints 13 16 11 18 10 11 12 10 5 3.521 0.272 Rising

Observations:

  • 75 percent of teams (24 of 32) had their Standard Deviation rise this week. Chances are that's because I have more sources than last time.
  • As is typical, the teams at the far ends of the spectrum are more consistently ranked. This is inherently the nature of just using raw Standard Deviation. I'll find a way to normalize these numbers.
  • It is interesting that the Saints are so inconsistent in their ranking. Pundits have them anywhere from 18th all the way up to fifth. That's quite a swing.

That's it for this week. Next week after games are actually played, we'll bring in the objective rankings sites and really start to compare numbers.

Sources

This article originally appeared on SBNation.

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