Another week, another set of power rankings. Like always, we start with point differential. All of the power rankings below the jump, as well as picks against the spread and the general record each statistical system has against the Vegas spread thus far.

Spoilers: beating the worst team in the NFL (at least according to the models) didn’t help the Vikings all that much, who still look like they are a poor team.

 

Opponent Adjusted Point Differential
Rank Team Opponent-Adjusted Point Differential
1 Denver Broncos 13.72
2 Baltimore Ravens 9.14
3 Kansas City Chiefs 8.41
4 San Diego Chargers 8.07
5 Indianapolis Colts 6.88
6 Philadelphia Eagles 5.64
7 New England Patriots 5.54
8 Seattle Seahawks 5.17
9 Arizona Cardinals 4.84
10 Dallas Cowboys 4.23
11 Cincinnati Bengals 2.34
12 Miami Dolphins 2.30
13 Green Bay Packers 1.60
14 Houston Texans 1.54
15 Buffalo Bills 1.16
16 Detroit Lions 0.96
17 Pittsburgh Steelers 0.47
18 Cleveland Browns 0.27
19 New Orleans Saints -0.56
20 New York Giants -1.40
21 San Francisco 49ers -1.61
22 Washington Redskins -2.84
23 Carolina Panthers -4.93
24 St. Louis Rams -6.04
25 Tennessee Titans -6.44
26 Minnesota Vikings -6.44
27 Chicago Bears -7.09
28 Jacksonville Jaguars -7.33
29 New York Jets -8.60
30 Oakland Raiders -8.78
31 Atlanta Falcons -9.14
32 Tampa Bay Buccaneers -11.07

The Tennessee Titans edge out the Vikings by a few hundredths of a point, so you may consider that a tie. Despite adding six points to their overall differential (and 0.75 per game), they should have done more against a bad Bucs team, and therefore dropped from 25th to 26th. That should be disappointing, as the Titans dropped as well with a loss to the Texans by 14 (1.75 points a game). A lot of teams in that area dropped overall, so the Vikings should have increased in their ranking by more—but the Bucs are so bad, the Vikings simply should have done more.

Nevertheless, things are looking up despite a slight decrease in the rank.

The next logical set of rankings are the Game Script rankings, which seek to minimize the effect of garbage time and looks at the point differential over the course of the entire game. I’ve converted them into expected point differential, to get a good idea of how they translate.

Game Scripts
Rank Team Expected Point Differential
1 Denver Broncos 14.41
2 Indianapolis Colts 12.05
3 Baltimore Ravens 8.73
5 San Diego Chargers 7.21
5 New England Patriots 7.21
6 Kansas City Chiefs 5.79
7 Cincinnati Bengals 5.49
8 Green Bay Packers 4.00
9 Philadelphia Eagles 3.62
10 Arizona Cardinals 3.36
11 Miami Dolphins 3.04
12 Seattle Seahawks 2.63
13 San Francisco 49ers 2.34
14 Pittsburgh Steelers 1.22
15 Houston Texans 0.94
16 Detroit Lions 0.22
17 Cleveland Browns -0.16
18 Dallas Cowboys -0.69
19 Atlanta Falcons -1.05
20 Buffalo Bills -1.50
21 New Orleans Saints -1.93
22 Washington Redskins -2.63
23 New York Giants -3.20
24 Tennessee Titans -4.54
25 St. Louis Rams -5.07
26 Chicago Bears -6.16
27 Oakland Raiders -7.01
28 Jacksonville Jaguars -7.03
29 Carolina Panthers -7.31
30 New York Jets -7.85
31 Minnesota Vikings -8.51
32 Tampa Bay Buccaneers -17.62

Man, the Buccaneers are really bad. The Vikings should have done more than a six point win in overtime if they want to prove they are anything other than a bottom-five team, which doesn’t surprise anyone but is still disappointing.

The biggest differences here are for the Atlanta Falcons (disturbingly low in the first set of rankings), the Patriots (who have won a number of games, but they were close—and barely eking out the Jets doesn’t help. The general consensus is that we need to debate over whether or not the Cowboys’ 6-2 record is “real”—which is more a question of the sustainability of their play and whether or not their win total reflects the quality of a six-win team. One could just as easily argue the same of the Patriots, whose close games against inferior teams don’t help (close here doesn’t refer to the final score, but an inability to put away teams until late). That loss against the Chiefs is huge in this system, too.

After that are the Drive Success Rate Differential rankings, which still look odd compared to the other rankings, in part because they treat all turnovers as if they were punts, and do the same with field goals. Still, the ability to achieve and prevent first downs is a priority for teams, and adjusting for opponent creates interesting results in that regard.

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

This may explain why AFA is so high on the Miami Dolphins—relatively speaking they do a good job in creating more first downs than they allow. This system in particular, however, is very high on the Giants, Washington, the Falcons, the Bears, the Seahawks and the Panthers. Teams hurt by the system include the Chargers, Cardinals, Bills and Eagles.

This is where we start moving from simple systems like points scored to more complex analytics. For what it’s worth, the homebrew efficiency system hasn’t changed much from last week:

Homebrew Efficiency
Rank Team Effective Point Differential
1 Denver Broncos 10.61
2 Kansas City Chiefs 6.14
3 Dallas Cowboys 5.65
4 Indianapolis Colts 5.16
5 Cincinnati Bengals 4.84
6 Buffalo Bills 4.28
7 San Diego Chargers 3.99
8 Green Bay Packers 3.84
9 New England Patriots 3.63
10 Baltimore Ravens 3.42
11 Miami Dolphins 3.09
12 Seattle Seahawks 2.38
13 San Francisco 49ers 1.51
14 New Orleans Saints 1.41
15 Pittsburgh Steelers 1.16
16 New York Giants 1.13
17 Houston Texans 1.10
18 Detroit Lions -0.06
19 Washington Redskins -0.86
20 Atlanta Falcons -1.21
21 Tennessee Titans -1.36
22 Chicago Bears -1.47
23 Jacksonville Jaguars -2.73
24 Cleveland Browns -3.25
25 Arizona Cardinals -3.60
26 Philadelphia Eagles -3.65
27 Carolina Panthers -4.75
28 St. Louis Rams -4.84
29 Minnesota Vikings -5.53
30 Tampa Bay Buccaneers -8.80
31 Oakland Raiders -9.33
32 New York Jets -11.89

Denver is really, really good. It is difficult to emphasize how good they are, but I think this efficiency chart that emphasizes those differences comes close. The obligatory “the difference between first and second is the difference between second and 17th” comparison works here. Though the Vikings are in the bottom five, they are not nearly as bad as any of the three teams at the bottom.

I think it also demonstrates that the national conversation about teams often doesn’t match their performance on the field. A Dallas loss on Monday night drops them far more in power rankings than their previous seven games, and Kansas City is virtually ignored. The Lions have dropped in the rankings over the past two weeks, but they still have a dominant defense.

Speaking of the national conversation, here’s the group power ranking of national media:

Subjective Media Rankings
Team ESPN NFL.com B/R CBS Yahoo Fox NBC AP SBN Avg
Denver Broncos 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1.00
Arizona Cardinals 2 2 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2.11
New England Patriots 3 3 2 3 3 4 5 3 3 3.22
Dallas Cowboys 4 5 4 4 5 5 3 4 5 4.33
Philadelphia Eagles 5 4 6 5 4 3 4 5 6 4.67
Detroit Lions 6 9 5 6 10 9 6 6 4 6.78
Green Bay Packers 7 10 4 7 7 15 8 9 7 8.22
San Diego Chargers 8 7 7 11 8 6 7 8 9 7.89
Indianapolis Colts 9 8 8 9 6 8 9 7 15 8.78
Seattle Seahawks 10 6 13 8 9 7 11 10 12 9.56
San Francisco 49ers 11 11 14 13 14 14 13 11 13 12.67
Cincinnati Bengals 12 14 9 10 11 16 12 12 8 11.56
Baltimore Ravens 13 15 10 12 12 11 10 14 10 11.89
Kansas City Chiefs 15 12 12 14 13 10 16 15 11 13.11
Pittsburgh Steelers 15 13 15 16 18 17 15 13 14 15.11
Buffalo Bills 16 16 16 18 15 13 14 16 16 15.56
New Orleans Saints 17 20 17 22 20 18 18 18 20 18.89
Miami Dolphins 18 17 18 17 16 12 19 17 18 16.89
Cleveland Browns 19 18 20 21 17 21 17 20 17 18.89
Carolina Panthers 20 23 22 20 19 22 20 21 23 21.11
Houston Texans 21 19 21 19 21 20 21 19 19 20.00
New York Giants 22 21 19 15 24 19 23 22 21 20.67
Chicago Bears 23 24 23 23 22 24 21 23 24 23.00
Washington Redskins 24 22 25 25 24 25 24 23 22 23.78
Minnesota Vikings 25 25 27 24 23 23 25 25 25 24.67
Atlanta Falcons 26 27 24 27 27 27 27 27 26 26.44
St. Louis Rams 27 26 26 26 25 26 26 26 27 26.11
Tennessee Titans 28 28 31 28 28 28 28 28 30 28.56
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 29 30 32 29 31 30 31 31 29 30.22
New York Jets 30 29 29 31 29 29 30 30 28 29.44
Jacksonville Jaguars 31 31 30 30 30 31 29 29 31 30.22
Oakland Raiders 32 32 28 32 32 32 32 32 32 31.56

Speaking of figuring out if a team’s record is real, has anyone asked that question of Arizona? They are massively oversold and due for a drop.

We can compare across other systems, like we do every week.

Efficiency Systems
Effective Rank Effective PD AFA Rank Effective AFA PD FO Rank Effective FO PD Home Rank Effective Home PD Team
1 11.4 1 11.8 1 11.7 1 10.6 Denver Broncos
2 4.7 4 4.1 4 3.7 2 6.1 Kansas City Chiefs
3 4.3 10 2.9 2 6.4 10 3.4 Baltimore Ravens
4 4.2 3 4.7 7 2.7 4 5.2 Indianapolis Colts
5 4.1 2 7.1 9 2.2 11 3.1 Miami Dolphins
6 3.9 4 4.1 5 3.7 8 3.8 Green Bay Packers
7 3.8 7 3.5 11 2.1 3 5.6 Dallas Cowboys
8 3.5 4 4.1 13 1.7 5 4.8 Cincinnati Bengals
9 3.5 7 3.5 3 4.7 12 2.4 Seattle Seahawks
10 2.2 15 1.1 12 1.8 9 3.6 New England Patriots
11 2.1 19 0.0 9 2.2 7 4.0 San Diego Chargers
12 1.9 16 0.6 16 0.8 6 4.3 Buffalo Bills
13 1.5 13 1.7 15 1.4 14 1.4 New Orleans Saints
14 1.4 16 0.6 8 2.5 15 1.2 Pittsburgh Steelers
15 1.3 11 2.3 14 1.6 18 -0.1 Detroit Lions
16 1.0 11 2.3 20 -0.9 13 1.5 San Francisco 49ers
17 0.4 7 3.5 23 -1.6 19 -0.9 Washington Redskins
18 -0.4 21 -1.2 22 -1.1 17 1.1 Houston Texans
19 -0.5 13 1.7 17 0.0 24 -3.2 Cleveland Browns
20 -0.8 24 -2.4 21 -1.1 16 1.1 New York Giants
21 -0.8 23 -1.8 6 3.1 26 -3.7 Philadelphia Eagles
22 -1.5 20 -0.6 25 -2.6 21 -1.4 Tennessee Titans
23 -1.6 21 -1.2 24 -2.1 22 -1.5 Chicago Bears
24 -2.5 25 -3.6 18 -0.2 25 -3.6 Arizona Cardinals
25 -2.6 16 0.6 26 -3.6 27 -4.7 Carolina Panthers
26 -3.2 30 -7.7 19 -0.6 20 -1.2 Atlanta Falcons
27 -4.4 26 -4.2 31 -6.4 23 -2.7 Jacksonville Jaguars
28 -5.6 27 -5.4 29 -6.0 29 -5.5 Minnesota Vikings
29 -5.8 29 -6.6 30 -6.0 28 -4.8 St. Louis Rams
30 -7.3 27 -5.4 27 -4.7 32 -11.9 New York Jets
31 -7.9 31 -9.5 28 -4.7 31 -9.3 Oakland Raiders
32 -10.1 32 -10.7 32 -10.8 30 -8.8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Right now, I’ve got records for all three systems against the Vegas spread. As a reminder, neither AFA nor FO endorse this system of converting their numbers into a point differential, or in using that point differential to make picks against Vegas.

System Picks Against the Spread
Away Home AFA (17-13) FO (13-17) Home Eff (15-15) PD (14-16) Vegas
OAK SEA Seattle by 16 Seattle by 12.4 Seattle by 14.7 Seattle by 8.8 Seattle by 15
JAX CIN Cincinnati by 11.3 Cincinnati by 11.1 Cincinnati by 10.6 Cincinnati by 5.9 Cincinnati by 11.5
STL SFO San Francisco by 11.9 San Francisco by 8.2 San Francisco by 9.4 San Francisco by 6.6 San Francisco by 10.0
NYJ KAN Kansas City by 12.5 Kansas City by 11.4 Kansas City by 21.0 Kansas City by 9.7 Kansas City by 10.0
TAM CLE Cleveland by 15.4 Cleveland by 13.7 Cleveland by 8.6 Cleveland by 6.4 Cleveland by 7.0
ARI DAL Dallas by 10.1 Dallas by 5.3 Dallas by 12.2 Dallas by 2.4 Dallas by 4.0
SDG MIA Miami by 10.1 Miami by 3.0 Miami by 2.1 Miami by 0.1 Miami by 1.5
WAS MIN Washington by 5.9 Washington by 1.4 Washington by 1.7 Minnesota by 1.7 Minnesota by 1.0
BAL PIT Pittsburgh by 0.6 Baltimore by 0.9 Pittsburgh by 0.7 Pittsburgh by 3.6 Pick ’em
PHI HOU Houston by 3.6 Philadelphia by 1.2 Houston by 7.8 Houston by 0.0 Philadelphia by 2.0
DEN NWE Denver by 7.7 Denver by 7.0 Denver by 4.0 Denver by 0.6 Denver by 3.0
NOR CAR Carolina by 1.8 New Orleans by 2.0 Carolina by 3.2 Carolina by 1.3 New Orleans by 3.0
IND NYG Indianapolis by 4.1 Indianapolis by 0.8 Indianapolis by 1.0 Indianapolis by 2.1 Indianapolis by 3.0