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Power Rankings - Week 7

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

We are now deep enough into the season where all my metrics discussed below are fully integrated and tied across the NFL – meaning we will not see many, if any, dramatic changes in the ratings, rankings, or performance by each team on a weekly basis. These ratings below are designed to tell you how well a team is truly playing disregarding their record as we see it every season – there are teams playing a lot better than their record indicates (which are teams we should look to play on) versus teams playing a lot worse than their record indicates (which are teams we should look to fade).

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
6 DEN 61.7 1 41.4 12 103.1 1 30 0
5 SEA 46.4 11 49.2 2 95.6 2 16 7
2 CAR 47.8 6 45.6 8 93.4 3 22 2
6 KC 39.5 17 53.0 1 92.5 4 32 12
2 HOU 43.6 13 47.9 5 91.5 5 15 (12)
5 NO 47.7 7 43.3 11 90.9 6 29 5
3 GB 50.8 3 37.9 20 88.7 7 5 (3)
4 CIN 42.2 15 46.3 6 88.4 8 19 (2)
4 IND 47.0 9 40.6 15 87.6 9 25 5
3 PHI 54.9 2 31.1 28 86.0 10 23 2
4 DET 47.2 8 37.5 21 84.7 11 28 5
4 SF 41.1 16 43.3 10 84.4 12 10 2
3 NYJ 33.6 26 48.7 3 82.3 13 31 (11)
4 CHI 48.6 4 32.5 26 81.1 14 24 7
5 NE 37.0 21 43.8 9 80.8 15 21 3
3 SD 47.9 5 32.7 25 80.6 16 18 (7)
3 BAL 30.6 29 48.1 4 78.7 17 11 (3)
3 DAL 44.8 12 33.8 24 78.6 18 21 4
1 ATL 46.6 10 31.9 27 78.5 19 14 0
3 CLE 32.1 28 46.1 7 78.2 20 26 0
2 BUF 37.8 19 39.2 17 77.0 21 9 3
1 WAS 42.9 14 34.0 23 76.9 22 6 (2)
3 TEN 36.0 23 39.1 18 75.1 23 3 8
2 OAK 36.3 22 38.6 19 74.8 24 14 1
1 PIT 32.5 27 41.2 13 73.7 25 12 (9)
3 ARI 33.8 24 39.8 16 73.6 26 17 (2)
3 MIA 33.7 25 36.0 22 69.7 27 7 1
3 STL 37.5 20 30.8 29 68.3 28 27 6
0 TB 26.9 31 41.0 14 67.9 29 4 0
1 MIN 39.2 18 25.5 32 64.7 30 8 0
0 NYG 28.8 30 28.8 30 57.6 31 1 (16)
0 JAC 19.1 32 28.5 31 47.6 32 2 (6)


Each week I will examine a new angle in the performance ratings which can assist your handicapping efforts. Last week we examined the top 6 teams in the ratings; this week let’s talk about the bottom 6.

Based on performance ratings I break teams into “levels” and currently there are 11 levels across the NFL…Jacksonville are alone on the 11th, New York Giants are alone on the 10th, Minnesota are alone on the 9th, Tampa Bay, St. Louis and Miami make up the 8th which covers the bottom six teams in my performance ratings.

Here is a quick examination of these teams:

#32 Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars have been mired towards the bottom of these ratings annually, and thus far the same story has rung true for 1st year head coach Gus Bradley. Truth is they are doing nothing well rating 31st offensively and 32nd defensively! The Jags per game performance rating of 47.6 is WELL BELOW any prior season’s worst rating since I started tracking these figures! How far below you ask? In 2012 the Jags were rated 32nd in the performance ratings yet posted a mark of 62.3; in 2011 the Colts were last and their rating was 58.4; in 2010 the Cardinals were 32nd with a rating of 63.2; and in 2009 the Lions were last with a rating of 59.4. As you can see from prior history the worst team in the NFL typically posts a rating around 60 – the Jaguars are well below that mark and because of this slow start it will be near impossible for them to end their season with a rating approaching 60. I am a big proponent of making ATS selections on bad teams in the NFL as they are often the money makers – but suggest staying away from Jacksonville at this point in the season.

#31 New York Giants: Surprisingly the Giants rate 2nd worst in the entire NFL including an offense & defense that are equally poor checking in at 30th. Not helping matters is a TOM that is 32nd in the NFL at (16) / (2.7) per game, nearly impossible to overcome. Of the eight buckets I analyze for offense & defense (rushing, passing, miscellaneous, overall) they rank inside the top 25 in only rushing defense which is ironic because the G-Men have faced the toughest schedule of opponent rushing attacks to date. The Giants play 4 of their next 5 games at home; in a weak NFC East they could still be in the mix come Thanksgiving with a strong run over these next 5, but in order to do that they will have to hang onto the football and show a much greater sense of urgency.

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#30 Minnesota Vikings:
Last season’s NFC North champions have really struggled so far in 2013 with only 1 straight up win (the only SU win across the bottom 4 teams in the performance ratings) – and its largely been the fault of a defense that rates worst in the NFL with a per game rating of just 25.5, which would be the lowest full season defensive rating since I started tracking this data. Amazingly Minnesota ranks 31st or 32nd in all 4 defensive buckets while facing the 9th toughest opponent offenses schedule to date. That information may go against what many people expected because their QB position has been a disaster most of the season, so much so they have brought in free agent Josh Freeman to compete with Christian Ponder & Matt Cassel – yeah, having Adrian Peterson can help an offense that much. The Vikings seem to be hopeless for the rest of this season, perhaps even more so than the N.Y. Giants because TOM is not a critical statistic right now; poor play is the culprit.

#29 Tampa Bay Bucs: Things have been a disaster in Tampa this season with a very public QB controversy, issues with the authority of the head coach, and most importantly poor play overall from the team – in particular on offense. The Bucs defense has played well checking in at #14 overall – and that has come against the 5th toughest schedule of opponent offenses – so we know their defense isn’t the issue. Their 31st ranked offense on the other hand is a problem, and it’s already suffered through a public spat with their starting QB leading to his release and a rookie now under center. A piece of good news for the offense is that rookie QB Mike Glennon should only continue improving with experience, and to this point they have faced the 2nd toughest schedule of opponent defenses. That point is made even more important considering they are projected to face the 26th toughest remaining schedule of opponent defenses – which could present some upside. If the Bucs can get behind their coach, and if their QB play can continue improving they could be a team to keep an eye on going forward as far as ATS wins.

#28 St. Louis Rams: St. Louis has quite a few conflicting indicators. Right off the bat as they have performed to the level of the 5th worst team in the NFL which could be adjusted down even further considering they have faced a blended SOS rating of 27th which is SIGNIFICANTLY weaker than every other team around them in the performance ratings. The Rams also have 3 SU wins which is 2 more than the only 4 teams below them in the performance ratings COMBINED! One metric that really stands out and is a helping hand towards those extra wins is a TOM that is +6, which is at least 5 better than any other team rated in the bottom 9 of the performance ratings. Thus far they have faced the 22nd toughest schedule versus both opponent offenses & defenses; for the remainder of the season that schedule significantly ramps up as they are currently projected to face the 6th toughest schedule of opponent offenses, and 5th toughest schedule of opponent defenses. Based on some of the favorable breaks they have received so far this season, and considering how their schedule is going to toughen up a lot going forward, the Rams are a team I would keep an eye on to fade moving forward.

#27 Miami Dolphins: The Fish are the last team with a performance rating below 70, and like the Rams (and #26 Arizona Cardinals) they have also posted 3 SU wins on the season and have a positive +1 TOM. Miami has been somewhat of an offensive disappointment statistically this year as they check in at just #25 despite the addition of highly compensated WR Mike Wallace and the expected growth of second-year QB Ryan Tannehill. The irony of their offense is their rating has dropped each year I have been tracking this analysis, and so far in 2013 they have fallen again from last year’s final offense rating of 34.7 to currently 33.7. Not only that, their defense that has rated above 42.0 each season currently sits at 36.0, again well below past performance and certainly 2013’s expectations. Next up let’s examine SOS – they have faced the 8th toughest schedule of opponent offenses & 4th toughest schedule of opponent defenses; my latest projections on remainder of the season has their opponent’s defense strength to remain similar (9th), but their opponent’s offense should significantly weaken (30th) including 31st versus passing offenses. But even with a weakening SOS unless their performance significantly improves (right now of the 8 buckets on both sides of the ball they rank in the top 26 in only one, 22nd in passing defense) it will be another season of disappointment for Dolphins fans.

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. The # in ( ) represents how many weeks team was listed in that category:

Red Flag: St. Louis (2), Miami (2), Arizona (2), Oakland (2), Tennessee

Green Light: Denver (2), Carolina (2), Houston (2), Green Bay (2), Philadelphia

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

Division Rankings
Division Rating Overall Rank
AFC West 45 1
NFC South 57 2
NFC North 62 3
NFC West 68 4
AFC South 69 5
AFC North 70 6
AFC East 76 7
NFC East 81 8


The AFC West checks in as the top division which should come as no surprise since two of the three undefeated teams remaining in the NFL reside in that division. It also helps that Oakland, the division’s worst team, checks in at a not awful 24th. The NFC owns the next 3 spots in the divisional rankings with the NFC East being the lone outlier and currently the worst division in the NFL.

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

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

Last analysis for this week are 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.

Weekly Power Rankings
Rank Team
1 Denver
2 Seattle
3 New Orleans
4 San Francisco
4 Green Bay
6 Houston
7 Kansas City
8 Carolina
9 Detroit
9 Indianapolis
11 Cincinnati
12 New England
13 Chicago
14 Atlanta
15 Philadelphia
16 San Diego
16 Dallas
18 Miami
19 Washington
19 Arizona
21 Tennessee
21 Pittsburgh
21 Baltimore
24 St. Louis
24 Cleveland
24 Buffalo
27 N.Y. Jets
28 Oakland
28 Minnesota
30 New York Giants
31 Tampa Bay
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
Gronkowski cleared for training camp
Wayne hoping Colts get off to fast start
Jerry putting behind bullying scandal
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