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NFL Rewind - Week 5

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In Week Five one of the three previously undefeated squads, Arizona, fell at division rival St. Louis last Thursday, while one of the two winless teams picked up a win as New Orleans beat San Diego on Sunday night. Maybe the trick for these teams is playing in a non-traditional Sunday afternoon slot - but, alas, on MNF, Houston was able to defeat the Jets - so much for that theory.

Bye weeks are now in full effect as six teams have enjoyed an early season bye to this point, while another four (Bears, Saints, Panthers, Jaguars) are on bye in Week 6. A lot of times bye's this early in the season can be a negative as they typically are looked upon as being "better" the closer to the middle of the season they occur - but for teams such as Carolina & Jacksonville, this week's bye could not be any better placed as they both look to regroup after sluggish 1-4 starts.

Let's now analyze the numbers, and see what stands out thru five weeks: 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).

Performance Ratings
Category Offense Defense Total Team Blended
Wins Team Rating Rank Rating Rank Rating Rank SOS
4 SF 53.9 2 50.3 5 104.2 1 23
5 HOU 52.2 3 51.2 3 103.4 2 30
4 CHI 43.3 14 53.4 1 96.7 3 29
3 NE 57.8 1 34.9 22 92.7 4 22
2 DEN 50.8 7 41.0 13 91.8 5 9
3 PHI 43.7 13 48.0 6 91.7 6 20
4 MIN 45.7 10 45.9 8 91.6 7 31
3 SEA 36.8 24 52.0 2 88.8 8 25
2 MIA 37.9 22 50.5 4 88.4 9 24
3 NYG 51.1 6 37.0 18 88.1 10 28
5 ATL 51.8 4 36.0 21 87.8 11 16
3 SD 44.4 12 41.3 12 85.7 12 32
1 KC 44.8 11 40.4 14 85.2 13 18
2 GB 42.6 15 42.4 10 85.0 14 10
4 BAL 45.9 9 38.2 17 84.1 15 15
2 PIT 46.5 8 36.9 19 83.4 16 14
2 DAL 37.8 23 44.1 9 81.9 17 2
2 WAS 51.5 5 30.2 25 81.7 18 27
1 DET 41.4 18 39.1 15 80.5 19 8
3 CIN 41.6 17 36.8 20 78.4 20 26
4 ARI 29.3 30 47.4 7 76.7 21 4
3 STL 32.6 25 41.4 11 74.0 22 11
2 IND 39.6 20 34.1 23 73.8 23 6
1 TB 31.6 27 39.0 16 70.6 24 14
1 CAR 38.5 21 29.5 27 68.0 25 19
2 BUF 42.0 16 25.4 29 67.4 26 17
1 NO 40.5 19 22.7 31 63.2 27 21
2 NYJ 28.3 32 32.0 24 60.3 28 7
0 CLE 29.8 29 30.2 25 60.0 29 12
1 JAC 29.0 31 26.7 28 55.7 30 5
1 OAK 31.4 28 23.0 30 54.4 31 3
1 TEN 32.2 26 21.0 32 53.2 32 1

*Blended SOS is a weighted average of opponent's performance ratings and opponent's record

Biggest movers from last week (+/- 4 or more spots):

Risers: CHI (#9 to #3) & SEA (14 to 8) & NYG (16 to 10) +6, MIN (11 to 7) & KC (17 to 13) +4

Decliners: BAL -8 (7 to 15), WAS -6 (12 to 18), BUF -5 (21 to 26), GB -4 (10 to 14)

Coming on the heels of Denver's 137 game score last week, a pair of team's nearly matched that with Chicago posting a 136, and San Francisco a 134 on Sunday. What's more, San Francisco scored a 78 of 80 possible points offensively vs. Buffalo! The only area they were not a "perfect 5" was Turnover Margin, where they checked in +1 which is only worth 3 of 5 points. That 78 grade is the top offensive single game performance in my 5 years of running this detailed model on every single game - kudos to the San Francisco 49ers, proving that running the ball and playing physical defense can still win plenty of games in the NFL.

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Team wise there was only one change to the top 6, with the aforementioned Bears moving up 6 spots to #3, while the Dolphins fell back 3 spots to #9. Speaking of Miami, they along with Denver are the only Top 12 teams that do not have an above .500 record. Denver's story can easily be told by examining SOS - they check in at #9, which is by far and away the toughest mark of any of the top teams - you have to go all the way to #17 Dallas to find an SOS stronger than Denver. The Broncos have lost to #2 Houston, #3 New England and #11 Atlanta so far on the season - that trio has a combined 2 losses amongst them (13-2 record). Miami on the other hand has a pair of 3pt losses, which is the lead reason why they are just 2-3.

Kansas City is the highest rated 0/1 win team at #13, which is telling a story of a Chiefs team that is playing strong football for the most part - so why are they only 1-4 you ask? Turnover margin is the answer once again - KC has been at least (2) in every game this season, and sits at an astonishing (15) thru just 5 games!

Although Arizona suffered their first loss of the season last week, they now have the distinction of being the lowest rated 4 win team, checking in at #21. The Cardinals offense has not had any success behind either John Skelton or Kevin Kolb, ranking #30 in the NFL in total offense including the 31st ranked rushing attack.

The Saints and Jets remain near the bottom of the ratings, now sitting at #27 & #28 respectively. It is a tale of opposites for these clubs as the Jets rank dead last in offense, while New Orleans ranks 2nd to last in defense. Taking a closer look at the New York, all 3 major buckets I track show poor results for their offense: #29 rushing, #28 passing, #27 miscellaneous. A lot of the blame has been placed squarely on the shoulders of QB Mark Sanchez, and to be honest, that blame is not misguided as Sanchez ranks #32 in completion %, #32 in completions, #30 in QB Rating, amongst other stats where he stands in the bottom 7 of the league. The only area the Jets rank highly in is pass defense, #12, but with the loss of CB Revis, that may soon be another sore spot for Gang Green.

The Saints story is almost exactly the opposite, as they struggle badly in all phases of defense: #28 rushing, #29 passing, #31 miscellaneous. With both clubs sitting at 1-4, it will be an extremely uphill battle for either to reach the playoffs (cue Jim Mora playoffs, we talking about playoffs audio clip). Next up, here are my projected standings after Wk5. As a reminder, this process involves playing out the entire season based on my power ratings for each team.

AFC East Wins Loss
NE 9.63 6.38
MIA 7.89 8.11
NYJ 7.29 8.72
BUF 6.81 9.20
NFC East Wins Loss
PHI 9.64 6.36
DAL 8.63 7.38
NYG 8.19 7.81
WAS 6.86 9.14
AFC North Wins Loss
BAL 9.44 6.56
PIT 8.41 7.59
CIN 8.09 7.91
CLE 4.73 11.27
NFC North Wins Loss
CHI 10.24 5.76
MIN 9.52 6.48
GB 7.96 8.04
DET 6.92 9.08
AFC South Wins Loss
HOU 13.28 2.72
IND 7.55 8.45
TEN 5.14 10.86
JAC 5.14 10.86
NFC South Wins Loss
ATL 11.26 4.74
CAR 5.96 10.04
TB 6.45 9.55
NO 5.28 10.72
AFC West Wins Loss
SD 8.85 7.15
DEN 8.77 7.23
KC 7.02 8.98
OAK 5.40 10.60
NFC West Wins Loss
SF 12.07 3.93
ARI 8.93 7.07
SEA 8.11 7.89
STL 7.53 8.47

AFC Playoff Picture
#1 Houston
#2 New England
#3 Baltimore vs. #6 Pittsburgh
#4 San Diego vs. #5 Denver

NFC Playoff Picture
#1 San Francisco
#2 Atlanta
#3 Chicago vs. #6 Arizona
#4 Philadelphia vs. #5 Minnesota

Following Week 5 games I have done my once per season reorganization on my power ratings. Once per season at this time of year I connect all the early season data and SOS with my power ratings, getting teams more in tune to their true performance, moving away from the impact my preseason edition has on current power ratings:

UP: CHI +1.3, IND +1.1, MIN +1.1
DOWN: GB (1.2), JAC (1.1), CAR (1.1)

In the race for the 1st pick in the 2013 NFL draft Jacksonville stole Cleveland's thunder this week, solely driven by my power rating adjustments, which impacted each team's schedule, and thus their % chance to win each game. When examining the standings it seems like a very safe bet that either Jacksonville, Tennessee or Cleveland will win this race - and when looking simply using the eye test on those three teams, Cleveland does appear (to me at least) to be better superior to the other two. Most likely, the Jaguars or Titans will take home this prize.

Last analysis for this week (I will post each week just like the standings above) 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.

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

  
HEADLINES
Rogers: Home 'Dog Breakdown
Fisher: 2015 Playoff Surprises
SportsBoss: Turnover Analysis
SportsBoss: Win Projections
Nelson: NFC West Preview
Nelson: NFC South Preview
Ravens' RB Rice receives 2-game ban
Jags' Blackmon arrested on drug complaint
Jim Kelly to handle HOF coin toss
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