Last week, I took a look at different statistical methods for ranking the teams and what each method might tell us about a team. If you want an explanation for what each of the terms mean, simply head there. For now, we have what we have (all scores adjusted for opponent).

Point Differential
Rank Team
1 Denver Broncos
2 Baltimore Ravens
3 San Diego Chargers
4 Indianapolis Colts
5 Philadelphia Eagles
6 Dallas Cowboys
7 Green Bay Packers
8 Kansas City Chiefs
9 Seattle Seahawks
10 Detroit Lions
11 New England Patriots
12 Arizona Cardinals
13 Miami Dolphins
14 Houston Texans
15 San Francisco 49ers
16 Cincinnati Bengals
17 Buffalo Bills
18 Cleveland Browns
19 Chicago Bears
20 New York Giants
21 New Orleans Saints
22 Pittsburgh Steelers
23 Carolina Panthers
24 Washington Redskins
25 Minnesota Vikings
26 Tennessee Titans
27 New York Jets
28 St. Louis Rams
29 Jacksonville Jaguars
30 Atlanta Falcons
31 Oakland Raiders
32 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

No big surprises there, though it looks like the New York Jets weren’t helped as much as they might have hoped in a close loss against New England. Generally speaking it looks like there will be a large gap between #32 and #31, and between #22 and #23, so it’s not a linear ranking. The top has two close contenders in Baltimore and Denver, but after them is a cluster between #2-4 and #7-12.

For Vikings fans, perhaps the most surprising bit is seeing Minnesota at 25. I didn’t think the loss to Buffalo was THAT bad, and given that Minnesota lost by one on the road, neither does a straight point differential model. Buffalo (17th) is a better team than they’re given credit for—and even better than the ranking given that Orton is an upgrade (however sad that is) over E.J. Manuel.

The next set of rankings, as you know, is looking at the average score in games, adjusted for opponent.

Game Script
Rank Team
1 Indianapolis Colts
2 Denver Broncos
3 Green Bay Packers
4 San Diego Chargers
5 Baltimore Ravens
6 Seattle Seahawks
7 Arizona Cardinals
8 Detroit Lions
9 New England Patriots
10 Philadelphia Eagles
11 Kansas City Chiefs
12 Miami Dolphins
13 San Francisco 49ers
14 Houston Texans
15 Dallas Cowboys
16 Cincinnati Bengals
17 Buffalo Bills
18 Washington Redskins
19 Cleveland Browns
20 New York Giants
21 Tennessee Titans
22 Chicago Bears
23 Pittsburgh Steelers
24 New York Jets
25 St. Louis Rams
26 Jacksonville Jaguars
27 New Orleans Saints
28 Atlanta Falcons
29 Oakland Raiders
30 Minnesota Vikings
31 Carolina Panthers
32 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Indianapolis Colts are a genuinely very good team, even after accounting for the fact that they play in the weak AFC South. In previous years, the Colts were bolstered by an unsustainable close game record, and were a prime candidate for “regression”—teams who overperformed that were likely to see their record drop or, teams who underperformed and were likely to see their record bounce back.

In this case, we can look at which teams are doing that this season—teams who end up with a deceiving point differential because of garbage time can end up performing differently later in the season, as generally happens every year.

The biggest negative differences between point differential and game script go to the Dallas Cowboys (nine ranks), Carolina Panthers (eight ranks), the New Orleans Saints (six ranks) and the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings (five ranks). All those teams have generally been performing worse throughout games than their final point differential would otherwise indicate—bad news for Vikings fans.

On the other end of the spectrum are Washington (six ranks), the Tennessee Titans (five ranks) and the Arizona Cardinals (five ranks). Those three teams generally have been better throughout the course of a game than their final point differentials would tell you.

Obviously, these are subject to the same issues that point differential in general has—it’s subject to the variances of low-frequency events, like pick-sixes, Hail Mary plays and so on—just less so.

The next table is Drive Success Rate differential, which measures the ability of teams to create and stop first downs.

Drive Success Rate Differential
Rank Team
1 Dallas Cowboys
2 Miami Dolphins
3 Baltimore Ravens
4 Detroit Lions
5 Indianapolis Colts
6 New York Giants
7 Carolina Panthers
8 Chicago Bears
9 San Francisco 49ers
10 Washington Redskins
11 Denver Broncos
12 Seattle Seahawks
13 Tennessee Titans
14 Kansas City Chiefs
15 New England Patriots
16 Cincinnati Bengals
17 San Diego Chargers
18 Green Bay Packers
19 Philadelphia Eagles
20 New Orleans Saints
21 Atlanta Falcons
22 Arizona Cardinals
23 Cleveland Browns
24 St. Louis Rams
25 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
26 Buffalo Bills
27 Minnesota Vikings
28 Pittsburgh Steelers
29 Houston Texans
30 New York Jets
31 Jacksonville Jaguars
32 Oakland Raiders

Last week’s rankings contained a calculation error that threw off half of what went into the rankings, so this is a bit closer to “true.”  That doesn’t mean there aren’t still big differences. Here, the Carolina Panthers are far better than they were in point differential (sixteen ranks), while the Giants (14), Washington (14), Titans (13), Bears (11), Dolphins (11), Falcons (9) and Buccaneers (7) all improve with a ranking that looks at first down rate instead of points.

On the other hand, the Texans (15), Chargers (14), Eagles (14), Packers (11), Broncos (10), Cardinals (10), Saints (9) and Bills (9) lose ranks as a result of looking at first downs.

After that are my homebrewed efficiency rankings. To emphasize the differences between different ranks (the distance between 32 and 30 is not the same as the distance between 18 and 16), I’ve converted them into expected point differentials against an average team, too.

Homebrew Efficiency
Rank Expected PD Team
1 13.3 Denver Broncos
2 9.1 Indianapolis Colts
3 8.8 Green Bay Packers
4 7.4 Dallas Cowboys
5 5.3 San Diego Chargers
6 4.7 Kansas City Chiefs
7 4.6 Baltimore Ravens
8 4.5 Cincinnati Bengals
9 3.0 San Francisco 49ers
10 3.0 Miami Dolphins
11 2.8 Detroit Lions
12 2.3 Seattle Seahawks
13 2.3 New Orleans Saints
14 2.1 Buffalo Bills
15 1.9 Houston Texans
16 1.3 Chicago Bears
17 1.1 New York Giants
18 -1.5 Washington Redskins
19 -1.6 Tennessee Titans
20 -1.9 Pittsburgh Steelers
21 -2.8 New England Patriots
22 -2.9 Arizona Cardinals
23 -3.1 Philadelphia Eagles
24 -3.5 Jacksonville Jaguars
25 -3.7 Atlanta Falcons
26 -4.6 St. Louis Rams
27 -4.6 Carolina Panthers
28 -5.5 Cleveland Browns
29 -7.0 New York Jets
30 -7.0 Minnesota Vikings
31 -8.1 Oakland Raiders
32 -11.6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

So in this case, the Vikings are not much better than the Buccaneers by rank, but do have a significant advantage overall regardless. The Broncos by the way, are an insanely efficient team. And of course, it’s not just me that believes it. Take a look at the efficiency ratings from all three organizations, with the adjusted point differentials beside them:

Holistic Efficiency Rankings
Effective Rank Effective PD AFA Rank Effective AFA PD FO Rank Effective FO PD Home Rank Effective Home PD Team
1 15.0 1 15.1 1 16.5 1 13.3 Denver Broncos
2 8.4 4 7.5 3 8.9 3 8.8 Green Bay Packers
3 8.3 3 9.2 5 6.6 2 9.1 Indianapolis Colts
4 6.1 9 4.2 2 9.7 7 4.6 Baltimore Ravens
5 6.0 6 5.8 7 4.7 4 7.4 Dallas Cowboys
6 5.8 5 6.7 4 7.7 9 3.0 San Francisco 49ers
7 4.8 2 9.2 10 2.4 10 3.0 Miami Dolphins
8 4.1 13 2.5 8 4.5 5 5.3 San Diego Chargers
9 4.1 8 4.2 9 3.4 6 4.7 Kansas City Chiefs
10 2.9 12 3.3 13 1.0 8 4.5 Cincinnati Bengals
11 2.9 7 4.2 12 1.8 11 2.8 Detroit Lions
12 1.4 16 -0.1 11 2.0 13 2.3 New Orleans Saints
13 1.4 11 3.3 20 -1.5 12 2.3 Seattle Seahawks
14 0.1 21 -1.7 6 5.0 23 -3.1 Philadelphia Eagles
15 -0.1 17 -0.9 19 -0.6 16 1.3 Chicago Bears
16 -0.2 23 -2.6 16 -0.1 14 2.1 Buffalo Bills
17 -0.5 10 3.3 24 -3.4 18 -1.5 Washington Redskins
18 -0.7 18 -0.9 23 -3.0 15 1.9 Houston Texans
19 -1.2 15 0.8 21 -1.5 21 -2.8 New England Patriots
20 -1.2 22 -2.6 14 0.8 20 -1.9 Pittsburgh Steelers
21 -1.4 25 -3.4 22 -1.8 17 1.1 New York Giants
22 -1.6 14 0.8 17 -0.2 28 -5.5 Cleveland Browns
23 -2.3 26 -4.3 15 0.3 22 -2.9 Arizona Cardinals
24 -2.7 20 -1.7 26 -4.7 19 -1.6 Tennessee Titans
25 -3.5 19 -1.7 25 -4.1 27 -4.6 Carolina Panthers
26 -5.1 24 -3.4 27 -4.9 29 -7.0 New York Jets
27 -5.4 31 -11.9 18 -0.5 25 -3.7 Atlanta Falcons
28 -5.5 28 -6.8 28 -5.2 26 -4.6 St. Louis Rams
29 -6.5 27 -6.0 31 -10.0 24 -3.5 Jacksonville Jaguars
30 -8.2 29 -7.6 30 -9.8 30 -7.0 Minnesota Vikings
31 -8.6 30 -10.2 29 -7.5 31 -8.1 Oakland Raiders
32 -14.2 32 -14.4 32 -16.5 32 -11.6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Play-by-play metrics that tend to be a lot more predictive seem to generally agree much more than the media rankings do. The biggest disagreements are the Atlanta Falcons, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Miami Dolphins. AFA has finally gotten around to talking about the Dolphins and their unusual rankings for Miami.

Regardless it provides some interesting context for how to evaluate team play. For now, it looks like the Vikings are in the second-to-last tier, but still not as bad as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been.

Subjective Media Rankings
Team ESPN NFL.com B/R CBS Yahoo Fox NBC AP SBN Avg
Denver Broncos 1 1 4 1 1 1 2 1 1 1.44
Dallas Cowboys 2 2 1 3 3 3 1 2 2 2.11
Philadelphia Eagles 3 3 6 4 2 2 4 3 4 3.44
Indianapolis Colts 4 5 3 6 4 4 7 4 7 4.89
Green Bay Packers 6 4 4 5 5 8 6 6 3 5.22
Arizona Cardinals 5 6 10 2 7 5 3 5 5 5.33
San Diego Chargers 7 7 8 9 6 9 5 7 9 7.44
Baltimore Ravens 9 8 5 8 10 6 8 9 6 7.67
New England Patriots 8 10 7 7 9 13 9 8 10 9.00
Detroit Lions 10 11 9 10 11 7 10 10 8 9.56
Seattle Seahawks 11 9 11 11 8 10 11 12 12 10.56
San Francisco 49ers 12 12 14 12 14 14 13 11 11 12.56
Kansas City Chiefs 14 13 12 14 12 11 16 13 13 13.11
Cincinnati Bengals 13 14 13 13 13 16 12 14 14 13.56
Buffalo Bills 16 16 21 20 15 15 14 16 16 16.56
Miami Dolphins 18 17 15 18 17 12 19 15 18 16.56
Carolina Panthers 17 19 16 16 16 20 15 18 19 17.33
Pittsburgh Steelers 15 15 20 17 19 22 18 17 15 17.56
Cleveland Browns 20 18 22 22 15 19 17 20 17 18.89
Chicago Bears 19 21 19 19 20 17 21 19 20 19.44
New York Giants 21 20 17 14 24 18 23 23 21 20.11
New Orleans Saints 22 23 18 24 21 21 20 21 23 21.44
Houston Texans 23 22 23 21 22 24 22 22 22 22.33
St. Louis Rams 24 24 25 23 23 23 24 24 24 23.78
Atlanta Falcons 25 27 24 26 27 27 25 25 25 25.67
Minnesota Vikings 27 26 28 25 25 25 29 25 27 26.33
Washington Redskins 26 25 27 27 28 28 27 27 26 26.78
New York Jets 29 29 26 31 26 26 26 29 28 27.78
Tennessee Titans 28 28 31 28 29 29 28 28 30 28.78
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30 30 32 29 31 30 31 31 29 30.33
Jacksonville Jaguars 31 31 29 30 30 32 30 30 31 30.44
Oakland Raiders 32 32 30 32 32 31 32 32 32 31.67

Media rankings don’t often attempt to be surprising, but they can be annoying—often it feels like they try too hard to have an interesting ranking and focus too hard on record over the ability to rank teams by raw ability—that is, who would win in an upcoming game. It’s true the Oakland Raiders haven’t won a game and the Buccaneers have, but it might be a bit much to say the Buccaneers are a better team.

On the other hand, it’s nice to see the Vikings rank better here than in some of the statistical categories.

The biggest disagreements belong to the New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins.

Using all of that information, we can look at picks by model and compare them to Vegas.

Picks
Away Home AFA FO Homebrew PD Vegas
Buffalo Bills New York Jets Jets by 2.6 Jets by 0.9 Bills by 2.2 Bills by 1.9 Jets by 3
Green Bay Packers New Orleans Saints Packers by 0.3 Packers by 1.5 Packers by 3.6 Packers by 3.5 Packers by 0.5
Chicago Bears New England Patriots Patriots by 3.4 Patriots by 4.1 Patriots by 3.6 Patriots by 4.6 Patriots by 6.5
Oakland Raiders Cleveland Browns Browns by 8.3 Browns by 6.1 Browns by 4.5 Browns by 5.8 Browns by 7
Minnesota Vikings Tampa Bay Buccaneers Buccaneers by 0.3 Vikings by 0.1 Vikings by 0.4 Buccaneers by 1.0 Buccaneers by 3.0
Washington Redskins Dallas Cowboys Cowboys by 4.2 Cowboys by 6.5 Cowboys by 8.1 Cowboys by 7.5 Cowboys by 9.5
San Diego Chargers Denver Broncos Broncos by 9.1 Broncos by 8.2 Broncos by 7.6 Broncos by 2.8 Broncos by 9.0
Indianapolis Colts Pittsburgh Steelers Colts by 2.7 Steelers by 0.5 Colts by 3.3 Colts by 4.5 Colts by 2.5
Philadelphia Eagles Arizona Cardinals Cardinals by 1.8 Cardinals by 1.0 Cardinals by 3.1 Eagles by 0.5 Cardinals by 2.5
St. Louis Rams Kansas City Chiefs Chiefs by 8.3 Chiefs by 6.7 Chiefs by 8.3 Chiefs by 8.2 Chiefs by 7.5
Baltimore Ravens Cincinnati Bengals Bengals by 2.6 Ravens by 0.8 Bengals by 2.9 Ravens by 4.4 Bengals by 1
Detroit Lions Atlanta Falcons Lions by 4.7 Falcons by 2.0 Lions by 0.7 Lions by 5.2 Lions by 3.5
Houston Texans Tennessee Titans Titans by 2.6 Titans by 2.3 Titans by 1.0 Texans by 2.2 Texans by 2.5
Seattle Seahawks Carolina Panthers Seahawks by 1.1 Seahawks by 2.1 Seahawks by 1.4 Seahawks by 3.5 Seahawks by 5
Miami Dolphins Jacksonville Jaguars Dolphins by 4.3 Dolphins by 2.3 Dolphins by 0.7 Dolphins by 3.8 Dolphins by 5.5

Hopefully I’ll get these up sooner next week.