Welcome to our first edition of our 2015 NFL Power Rankings. These rankings are not based on my opinions of the teams but instead on how efficient the teams are at scoring and preventing points being scored when compared to their specific schedule. The way we calculate a teams ranking is as follows:
Scoring Efficiency= (teams points scored per game – schedule’s points allowed per game)/(schedules points allowed per game)
Defensive Efficiency = (schedules points scored per game – teams points allowed per game)/(schedules points scored per game)
In all cases a team’s schedule is adjusted to remove games played by that team such that the averages only reflect how their opponents fared against the other 31 NFL teams. Total efficiency sums up the two columns. There is also a predicted wins formula but I wont include that for a few more weeks.
This year I decided to add some spending data to put the numbers in better perspective. While our efficiency ranking identify how much better or worse than expected the team is performing our salary ranking shows how much more or less a team is spending than the NFL average. The salaries are based on annual contract values rather than the easily manipulated salary cap numbers.
The team leading the way is the New England Patriots with an overall efficiency of 98.3%, which basically means they are throttling opponents. Its essentially what the team did back in 2007 except with a more efficient roster structure. They rank 1st in scoring and 7th in defense, but just 14th and 29th in spending in those same categories (I am including specials with offense). That is an incredible return on investment for the team.
There is a big drop between the Patriots and the next two teams, Arizona and Atlanta, who are both in the 50% range. That range of performance would typically translate to 13 wins. Both are offensive machines with slightly below average defensive performances. The Falcons are the 4th highest paid offense so their offense is not surprising but the defense is actually ok considering they spend 20% below norm and are playing at an average level. Arizona’s spending is normal for both.
The Jets, who come in 4th, are the exact opposite of the 2nd and 3rd ranked teams. The Jets are holding teams 40% below their scoring average, which is an all time elite defensive rating. Offensively they are average and when you consider the turnover advantage early in the year they will likely end up below average in a few weeks. The Jets spend the 9th most on defense and are average in offensive spending. 5th place belongs to the undefeated Bengals who are much more balanced than the other teams.
Denver ranks 10th but carries just the 22nd ranked scoring efficiency at a -14.5%. I don’t think Peyton Manning ever ran a number anywhere near that other than maybe as a rookie. It’s terrible considering they have the 3rd most invested in offense in the NFL. Their defense is outstanding at a 30% rating despite being just 22d in spending.
The biggest disappointment has to be the Dolphins. Through 4 games they rank dead last in scoring and just 29th in defense, where they rank 7th overall in spending. The Texans follow close behind with the 5th highest paid defense with a 25 ranking. Teams are scoring about 13% more than they normally do when they play the Texans. Houston’s offense is atrocious, scoring 25% below expectations, but they also spend nothing on their offense so in that respect they are getting what they paid for.
OTC NFL Power Rankings, Thru Week 5
|Team||Scoring Efficiency||Defensive Efficiency||Total Efficiency||Offensive Spend (vs avg)||Defensive Spend (vs avg)|
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.