Wednesday, October 10, 2012

NFL Power Rankings 2012: Quarter-Way Point

The core of the ratings are based on 20 critical categories, most of them statistical. I made necessary adjustments based on future projections, injuries, and strength of schedule.  Each grouping crosses a statistical threshold and the size of each grouping changes accordingly. 

With that, let's see which teams are trending where at the quarter-way mark - and if you disagree with something, you know where to find the comment box...


Trending Contenders
Texans began the season in top spot, and remain there after an impressive 5-0 start.  Even with a subpar special teams, they are easily above the rest. 
An out of nowhere rushing game makes this offense scary.  Signs of improvement on defense is encouraging, but pass rush/secondary still an issue. 
Off-season game plan working thus far, but still need to beat a top team.  Also, defense isn't coming through in the make-or-break moments.  Stay tuned.
I gave SF a healthy (and deserved) bump up. However, the offense have had extreme performances vs weak defenses thus far. Elite coaching and defense tho.

Trending Playoff Hopefuls
The offense is coming along thanks to a big bump in drive success stats.  Throw in a top defense/special teams and watch out.  Cutler in clutch only lingering Q.
Eli Manning is carrying this team. That's something I didn't expect to say at this point.  Defense gets stops when it matters, but not dominating like they could.
Peyton looks great, despite his arm strength.  Defense has faced some very good offenses, so too soon to write them off.  Keep eye on turnover differential.
Rodgers and the offense is good, but not great (yet).  Defense ridiculously inconsistent. Average in most advanced categories.
After a hot start, Flacco and the offense have cooled off.  Defense is taking the expected step back, but good coaching and talent keeps them contender relevant.
Defense is officially a problem. A healthy Harrison/Polamalu would help, but Big Ben being leaned on more than ever. Lucky for Steelers fans he's damn good.
Offense is playing very efficiently and Harvin is a stud, but need to face some tougher defenses. Their own defense is also playing well.  Time will tell.
Tannehill is progressing quickly, Hartline is emerging, and O-line is strong.  If defense keeps up great play, they'll compete.  Exceeding all expectations.
Nobody is respecting Wilson's arm and the run game is suffering as a result.  They'd be foolish to waste this defense without giving Flynn a shot at some point.
Excellent defense is giving Kolb a chance to work through his short-comings.  Yet, without decent play at tackle or a running game, things could implode. 
The definition of an average team. Top pass rush, bottom turnover differential. Every other category is somewhere in the middle.  Romo needs to step up.
I don't think many other teams have as many questions as SD. Can Mathews/Gates stay healthy? O-line hold up? Defense get key stops?
Big fall from grace. O-line is decimated, D-line underachieving, special teams is a disaster, and Vick is a nightmare. Best RB in league, but they never use him.

Trending On the Bubble
Statistically, their record should be better. Pass defense/special teams are glaring weaknesses.  Lacking leadership, which shouldn't happen with so much continuity throughout the lineup.

Like the Packers the offense is good, but not great yet. Unlike the Packers, this defense is atrocious. Spags has 3 months left to work with it.  Tick-tock.
Can't run, can't pass protect, and can't stop anybody on defense (despite a strong pass rush).  Dalton and his receivers can only do so much. 
Freeman is really holding this team back.  The D still has issues, but they've done their job by making an improvement.  Patience could wear thin.
They had to earn their way out of the basement, but Luck and Wayne are developing into a fantastic duo.  Scheme change was a big help to the D, but the Chuck Pagano illness was a setback for the program.
Once again an Amendola injury sets the offense back. On bright side, things are really coming together on D.  Fisher hiring already paying off.  Progress ahead.
RG3 gets all the headlines, but this defense has been a big letdown.  They had spoiler team written all over them, but without a secondary they have no chance.
This offense was supposed to be dynamic and borderline unstoppable. Without that, this team is garbage.  Schedule is too difficult to recover.

Trending "With the 1st pick in the NFL draft..."
Even with an 0-5 record, there were worse teams in the league through 5 weeks.  The bad news is Richardson is the only bright spot. House cleaning coming.
I picked this team to win their division and as a sleeper Super Bowl contender.  Speechless.  D is showing signs of life, but without a QB there's no hope.
This team is remarkably similar to KC, but they've been even worse of late.  Both were supposed to get by with a strong running game, stout D, and average QB.
Nothing was learned in preseason first 5 games. Strong Ok in the trenches, bad in the air. McFadden health still X-factor. New schemes a big step in right direction.
With Revis, they had a chance to stay competitive. Without him, they might compete for a top draft pick.  Sanchez, Tebow, who cares.  I'd start McElroy. 
This whole team is a mess. Gabbert needs a good supporting cast and a solid defense to develop.  Finding a silver lining could be difficult. 
Losing Finnegan had a bigger effect than anyone thought.  Even with good pass protection, the offense is abysmal. Special teams lone bright spot.