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Week 2 Rewind

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Two weeks of NFL action is in the books, and we now are starting to get a much better feel for each team as in one game pretty much anything can happen - but as we start getting two, three and four games into the season, the true value of teams begins arising, and we can perform much better analysis on true performance.

Performance Ratings (max grade is 160, 80 on offense and 80 on defense, calculated using 16 different stats with 5 points per stat being the best score = 16x5 = 80). Also of note, a few stats such as TOM (Turnover Margin) & INT (Interceptions) do not have ½ pt values, so a game may not sum to exactly 160.

Performance Ratings
Category Offense Defense Total Team
Team Rating Rank Rating Rank Rating Rank
HOU 50.5 5 59.8 1 110.3 1
PHI 49.5 6 59.0 2 108.5 2
NE 55.8 2 47.8 6 103.5 3
SD 48.5 8 53.0 3 101.5 4
SF 53.0 3 46.5 8 99.5 5
DEN 45.8 14 47.8 6 93.5 6
SEA 38.3 22 49.0 4 87.3 7
DAL 46.8 12 39.3 12 86.0 8
WAS 56.5 1 29.5 26 86.0 8
MIA 39.3 21 46.3 9 85.5 10
GB 37.0 24 48.3 5 85.3 11
BAL 48.5 8 34.3 18 82.8 12
ATL 48.8 7 33.8 20 82.5 13
MIN 43.8 15 38.0 16 81.8 14
BUF 52.8 4 27.0 28 79.8 15
CHI 33.5 26 46.3 9 79.8 15
CAR 47.0 11 32.3 22 79.3 17
NYG 42.0 17 36.5 17 78.5 18
PIT 39.8 19 38.8 14 78.5 18
STL 47.8 10 30.3 24 78.0 20
DET 37.5 23 38.8 14 76.3 21
TB 35.0 25 39.3 12 74.3 22
ARI 27.8 31 46.3 9 74.0 23
KC 46.8 12 27.0 28 73.8 24
NYJ 41.8 18 30.3 24 72.0 25
CLE 32.3 27 32.3 22 64.5 26
IND 31.8 28 32.8 21 64.5 26
OAK 29.3 30 34.0 19 63.3 28
CIN 39.5 20 23.3 30 62.8 29
NO 42.3 16 19.3 31 61.5 30
JAC 31.3 29 28.0 27 59.3 31
TEN 25.0 32 17.3 32 42.3 32

Thru two weeks the Texans are back where I expect them to be for most of the season, in the top spot. As mentioned before, last season before the injury to QB Matt Schaub, Houston was playing the best ball LY of any team over the last five years since I started running this model - they still finished the season #1, and after a one week hiatus are back atop the ratings.

Philadelphia checks in at #2, a one spot decline from last week on the heels of another narrow 1 point win.

Despite the Patriots losing at home to the Cardinals they rise up to #3, as their true performance in that game yielded a grade of 91.5 - easily outplaying the Cardinals, but losing the game nevertheless. The Patriots are the only team in the Top 5 that is not 2-0.

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San Diego and San Francisco moved to 2-0 and sit at #4 & #5 respectively, while Dallas and Washington both lost but remain in the top ten, tied for 8th. Denver is #6 as although they lost in Atlanta on MNF, my performance ratings showed a slight edge (81-79) to the Broncos statistically - but (4) TOM will almost certainly lead to a loss every time.

Of note towards the bottom of the ratings, the Titans are bringing up the rear, as they are playing the worst football of any team right now BY A WIDE MARGIN trailing #31 Jacksonville by 17 grade points per game. But as far as Tennessee goes, let's also keep in mind they faced New England and San Diego thus far through two games. The aforementioned Jaguars are no shock sitting at #31, but #30 New Orleans is definitely a surprise - I was not remotely bullish on the Saints heading into the season, but never imagined they would be performing as the 3rd worst team in the entire NFL thru 2 games against average competition (#8 WAS at home/#17 CAR on road).

Cincinnati sits at #29 as it seems to be struggling to find the juice they had LY when they reached the playoffs, as they were outplayed in Week by Cleveland 89-71 in this analysis, yet picked up the win.

New to the column this week let's examine a pair of teams that are performing worse than their record indicates - these two teams should be solid fade material in the next couple weeks:

Atlanta (2-0, #13 PR) - The Falcons are 2-0, yet only Arizona is behind them in the ratings amongst undefeated teams. Their opponents are a combined 1-3, they were outplayed in their last game vs. Denver at home, and are a cool +7 in TOM thru two. Specifically, keep an eye on their defense, that is currently rated #20 in my numbers including 31st vs. the run.

Arizona (2-0, #23 PR) - The Cardinals are definitely prime fade material in the next two weeks for multiple reasons. One, their performance statistically has not been as strong as their record indicates; two, they are coming off a massively emotional win, which took place just about as far as they possibly could travel from 'Zona; three, their two wins have come by an average of 3pts; and four, they may start getting too much respect from Vegas based on beating New England, and being 9-2 over their last 11 games dating back to LY.

Next up, here are my projected standings after Week 2. As a reminder, this process involves playing out the entire season based on my power ratings for each team.

AFC East Wins Loss
NE 9.19 6.81
NYJ 8.66 7.34
MIA 7.82 8.18
BUF 7.69 8.31
NFC East Wins Loss
PHI 10.21 5.79
DAL 8.72 7.28
WAS 7.95 8.05
NYG 7.28 8.72
AFC North Wins Loss
PIT 9.51 6.49
BAL 8.98 7.02
CIN 7.33 8.68
CLE 4.67 11.33
NFC North Wins Loss
GB 9.58 6.42
DET 8.51 7.49
CHI 8.01 7.99
MIN 6.55 9.45
AFC South Wins Loss
HOU 12.65 3.35
IND 6.06 9.94
JAC 5.14 10.86
TEN 4.84 11.16
NFC South Wins Loss
ATL 9.51 6.49
CAR 8.46 7.54
NO 6.74 9.26
TB 6.42 9.58
AFC West Wins Loss
SD 10.41 5.59
DEN 9.40 6.60
KC 5.77 10.23
OAK 5.73 10.28
NFC West Wins Loss
SF 11.55 4.45
ARI 8.05 7.95
SEA 7.93 8.07
STL 6.54 9.46

AFC Playoffs
#1 HOU - BYE
#2 SD - BYE
#5 DEN @ #4 NE
#6 BAL @ #3 PIT

NFC Playoffs
#1 SF - BYE
#2 PHI - BYE
#5 DAL @ #4 ATL
#6 DET @ #3 GB


Following Week 2 games I have adjusted the power ratings for 10 teams, 5 up and 5 down as I always keep the proper balance within my ratings. After updating for last week's action, and the power rating changes just mentioned, there are nine teams that moved up or down 1 projected win:

UP:
San Diego +1.4
Miami +1.4
Houston +1.3
San Francisco +1.2

DOWN:
Tennessee (1.7)
Oakland (1.3)
New Orleans (1.3)
Kansas City (1.1)
Detroit (1.1)

As far as changes to my playoff projections, SD was the biggest mover in the AFC, as they were out of the playoff projection last week but now have slid up to the #2 seed based on a one level bump up in their power rating (+0.5 wins), along with PR adjustments to future opponents (+0.9 wins). There were also seeding changes in the AFC, but the only team that slid out of a spot based on the Chargers sliding in was the New York Jets. All of my early projections have showed these two teams very close to one another as far as projected wins, and thus I expect their Week 16 battle on SNF in New York to be critical to both teams as far as the playoffs go.

In the NFC the only change to playoff projections was Green Bay and Detroit switching spots (Division Winner/Wild Card respectively) based on last week's results, while Dallas slipped to #6 following its loss at Seattle.

Lastly, of note, Tennessee and Cleveland are currently ahead of the pack as far as who is likely to get the #1 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. I currently project the Browns to have the 12th toughest remaining schedule, while Tennessee is near the bottom @ #29 - it would seem Cleveland may have the edge in this "race", especially with a rookie QB, but we will know more after about 5 weeks of action.

Last analysis for this week is my power rankings. My rankings are comprised of a pair of numbers: one measures team performance in my performance ratings (discussed in the opener of this entry); two measures team performance vs. the spread. These two ratings are weighted and combined for my official power rankings. I will only provide the order of the teams, not the actual power ranking as that is for my eyes only because it is used in my weekly handicapping process:

Power Rankings - Week 2
Rank Team
1 Houston
2 San Francisco
3 San Diego
3 Pittsburgh
5 New England
5 Baltimore
7 Green Bay
8 Denver
9 Philadelphia
10 Atlanta
11 New York Jets
11 Carolina
13 Dallas
14 New Orleans
15 Washington
15 Seattle
15 Detroit
18 Chicago
19 New York Giants
20 Arizona
21 Buffalo
22 Miami
23 Cincinnati
24 St. Louis
25 Oakland
25 Minnesota
27 Kansas City
28 Tampa Bay
29 Indianapolis
30 Jacksonville
31 Tennessee
32 Cleveland

  
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