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Power Rankings - Week 9

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Editor's Note: Don't miss out on weekly NFL Winners from The SportsBoss on VegasInsider.com.

After a one week hiatus the performance ratings are back, and we see many familiar faces at the top, and bottom from the last version. Denver continues to lead, Carolina has jumped into the 2nd spot, their highest rating of all time, while relative newcomers Kansas City and Cincinnati hold down spots in the top 7.

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 Turnover
Wins Team Rating Rank Rating Rank Rating Rank SOS Margin
7 DEN 56.7 1 42.4 10 99.1 1 29 (1)
4 CAR 48.9 4 47.1 4 96.1 2 31 6
5 GB 54.3 2 41.6 14 95.9 3 13 (2)
6 NO 48.3 7 44.4 8 92.6 4 27 8
7 SEA 43.3 13 49.4 2 92.6 4 25 9
8 KC 40.9 17 50.9 1 91.8 6 32 12
6 CIN 43.4 12 45.3 7 88.7 7 18 (1)
5 DET 48.9 5 39.0 20 87.9 8 26 1
2 HOU 41.8 15 46.0 5 87.8 9 5 (11)
6 SF 45.3 9 41.8 12 87.1 10 23 4
5 IND 46.3 8 40.6 18 86.9 11 7 7
4 SD 50.6 3 34.2 27 84.8 12 22 (6)
4 NYJ 33.2 27 47.8 3 80.9 13 30 (12)
3 PHI 43.6 11 35.8 26 79.4 14 28 (1)
3 BAL 32.7 28 45.6 6 78.4 15 12 (2)
4 CHI 48.4 6 29.6 30 78.1 16 17 7
2 WAS 44.1 10 33.7 28 77.9 17 2 (3)
4 DAL 41.4 16 35.9 24 77.3 18 14 9
6 NE 34.5 23 42.6 9 77.1 19 24 5
3 OAK 34.9 21 40.9 15 75.8 20 6 0
2 PIT 33.9 26 41.9 11 75.7 21 20 (9)
2 ATL 42.0 14 33.6 29 75.6 22 21 (3)
4 ARI 34.3 24 40.7 17 75.0 23 11 1
3 MIA 34.0 25 40.9 16 74.9 24 16 (3)
3 BUF 35.1 20 39.2 19 74.3 25 11 2
3 TEN 36.1 18 38.1 23 74.2 26 1 6
3 CLE 31.5 29 41.8 12 73.3 27 15 (2)
3 STL 35.8 19 35.9 25 71.6 28 20 1
2 NYG 29.3 30 38.2 22 67.5 29 8 (12)
0 TB 28.6 31 38.4 21 66.9 30 4 (1)
1 MIN 34.7 22 27.6 31 62.3 31 11 (2)
0 JAC 24.4 32 25.1 32 49.5 32 3 (7)


An interesting pair of stats to track this season versus the performance ratings are SOS & TOM. What makes those two stats add value to your week to week analysis is you can adjust these performance ratings a touch based on either/both of those metrics. For example, when analyzing SOS we see that Green Bay has clearly faced the toughest competition compared to the Top 8 teams in the performance ratings, making their grade of 95.9 that much more impressive.

You can likely make a case that although the Panthers check in at #2 in the performance ratings the Packers have performed better to date since they are only trailing Carolina by 0.2 in the ratings but have faced a schedule slotted 18 spots higher.

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We can also go down to the 9th rated team Houston – and we see their SOS is very high and their TOM is 3rd worst in the NFL. What does that mean? With the QB change it’s hard to say for sure, but I still consider Houston a good team, and once their schedule eases up some, and if they can hang onto the ball going forward, their performance should keep them in games, and thus we should find a lot of value in their lines moving forward.

Examining the TOM again we see of the Top 6 teams in the ratings only Denver and Green Bay sport a negative margin – again meaning there should be opportunity for those teams to improve and be of value against the # if they can hang onto the football, and take it away from their opponents. Denver also brings up a unique angle in that they lead the NFL in fumbles and fumbles lost – typically that is an easier fix versus a QB that is throwing INTs.

Sliding a bit further down the ratings the Bears and Cowboys have both performed better record wise than their true in game performance would indicate – a lot of which is driven by strong TOM figures. If and when those figures start regressing towards 0, which will typically happen but not always in season, they could be teams to keep a “fading” eye on – in particular Dallas since they have gone 7-1 ATS so far, but only 4-4 SU.

Lastly, at the bottom of the ratings, as mentioned in my last edition, Jacksonville is playing at an all-time low level – easily the worst team since I started these ratings. Setting them aside, and attempting to identify the other bad teams in the league, Tampa Bay and Minnesota stand out based on not only their poor rating, but also because they have not suffered from a terrible TOM, while not playing the most difficult of schedules.

Examining all this data and using each indicator to come up with your own valuations of teams in the league should help your handicapping process each week.

For this season I am adding a new analysis based on the performance ratings which I will call red flag/green light for the remainder of the season. Here I will ONLY use my performance ratings and give teams that could be undervalued (green light) by Vegas and are performing better than many believe versus red flag teams that have an inflated record and reputation in Vegas compared to their true on the field performance:

Red Flag: Arizona, Chicago, New England, Dallas

Green Light: Denver, Carolina, Green Bay, Detroit

Next let’s examine divisional breakdowns to see where the strengths and weaknesses are across the NFL landscape:

Division Rankings
Division Rating Overall Rank
AFC West 39 1
NFC South 58 3
NFC North 58 3
NFC West 65 4
AFC North 70 5
AFC South 78 7
NFC East 78 7
AFC East 81 8


The AFC West remains the top division which should come as no surprise since Kansas City remains undefeated and Denver continues to lead the performance ratings. It also helps that Oakland, the division’s worst team, checks in at an improving 20th. The NFC owns the next three spots in the divisional rankings with the NFC East being the lone outlier – but they have risen above the AFC East who now has the worst division in football according to my performance ratings.

AFC Playoffs
1) Denver
2) Cincinnati
3) Indianapolis
4) New England
5) Kansas City
6) Houston

NFC Playoffs
1) Seattle
2) Green Bay
3) New Orleans
4) Dallas
5) San Francisco
6) Detroit

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; two measures team performance vs. the spread. These two ratings are weighted and combined for my official power rankings. For my blog 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 as potential model plays:

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


  
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