Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I use a set of 17 weighted statistics--some of them traditional and some of them custom--as the core basis of my ratings, but I adjust the rankings slightly based on various qualitative factors (coaching, injuries, opinion, strength of schedule, etc).

Power rankings are good to have, but they only tell you where teams sit in relation to one another in the overall scheme of things. A team lower in rank could easily defeat a team above it if they matchup well with them--something to keep in mind when evaluating weekend games.

Rank Contenders
Cemented their place at the top with a convincing win over ATL.
NY had Mangold back and NE was without Mayo, but it didn't make any difference.
Still subpar in the red zone on both sides, but superb in most other categories.
It wasn't pretty, but got a solid win in prime-time to stay perfect.
Still not a Flacco fan, but Ray Rice and the defense continue to compensate.
Statement win vs TEN. Easy schedule on the horizon.
Made another game interesting vs DEN despite dominating the stat board.
We now know how much Andre Johnson means to this offense. Losing Williams will put this team to the test. Could fall out of contention with a bad loss to BAL.

Not much change among the contenders. HOU dropped and DET rose, but otherwise status quo.


Rank (LW) Pretenders
Defense seems legit and gives the offense a chance, but they still need a good test.
Defense is proving naysayers wrong and getting great play from both O/D lines.
Now have quality wins against NE and PHI. Now need to show the same moxy on the road.
God awful loss to SEA. Their only saving grace is the crap below them.
Could still win the division with a win over WSH, but more of the same problems vs BUF.
Didn't get blown out by NE, but Sanchez continues to hold them back.
Showed glimpses of the 2010 Falcons on Sunday night, but couldn't sustain it. Big setback for this organization. Can they recover?
Great emotional win over a strong HOU team, but leaky in many key areas (red zone D, penalties, special teams, etc).
I give them credit for blowing out TB, but still have problems on O/D lines. Status here is pending...we'll learn a lot when they play DET.

Three new entries to the pretender list. BUF, SF, and OAK all put impressive wins on the map and knock TEN and TB down the list. Interesting that all 6 teams from the pretender list that played last week lost. The only question now is how much further will they fall this year?

Rank (LW) On the Bubble
Defense continues to carry the day, while Dalton and Green get better each week.
Looked like a team that was beginning to believe their own hype vs PIT. Can spend their bye week trying to fix their special teams, red zone/third down defense.
Not a surprised that they lost to SF, but 48-3??? Still a young team that drifts in the wind.
Hester couldn't bail them out from another bad performance on Monday Night Football.
Not horrible, not good either. Ok stats are masked by an easy schedule. Will give them the benefit of the doubt for now..
Another loss, another impressive performance. A win over ATL could legitimatize this team.

TEN and TB drop into the bubble category. I took the 'under' in both of their season win totals so their inconsistency doesn't surprise me. CAR earned their way out of the bottom and will only stay here as long as Newton plays well. CIN might have beaten a bad JAX team, but any win on the road is a step in the right direction for them.

Rank (LW) "Suck for Luck" Sweepstakes
Mcnabb can thank AP for keeping the Ponder questions at bay. Could be a decent team if they improve some key areas (O-line, 3rd down D, penalties).
Has the Tim Tebow era started? All I will say to DEN fans is be careful what you wish for.
I'm not sure why SEA didn't play Whitehurst from the start. They might win a few more games if he can get a chance.
I keep saying Kevin Kolb is not what he's hyped to be. Are people finally listening? Hard to win games when your O-line and secondary suck.
Defense not living up to their potential. The team ranks near the bottom in 9 critical categories.
A week off to rest and work out the kinks, but rewarded with a trip to Lambeau
How much is a win over IND really worth? Team hasn't quit yet which is an encouraging sign for Haley's job security.
This could actually be a bubble team if they had a good starting QB. Gabbert is putting too much pressure on his defense.
Peyton Manning couldn't get back fast enough to avoid the real possibility of Andrew Luck.

Does anyone outside of these teams particular fan base care how they get shuffled around? The only fun part about this group is the question of last place.