Here are the updated power rankings through the 6th week of the season. 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.
Things can still change pretty rapidly this early in the season as one good or bad game still makes a pretty big impact on the teams. By week 8 there is usually enough data to where big swings don’t happen off one game. This weeks big move was the Steeelers who ended up dominating the usually high scoring Cardinals offense and got some help in some other games as well.
I thought I would look this week at a few of the teams whose records are probably a bit different than these rankings. I’ll start with the Bills who seem prepared to have a mutiny against Rex Ryan because of their lack of consistency and feeling of being a failure on defense. They are actually doing a decent job defensively and holding teams to about 10% below their norm, but in that schedule has included the Bengals and Patriots who are two of the best teams in the NFL and has made the defense perhaps seem worse than it appears. Overall they have faced the 4th most difficult offensive schedule, in terms of scoring. Watching Rex all these years in New York my guess is he hasnt adjusted to the strength of their roster and rather than coaching to their ultra high priced pass rushers, he is coaching like he still has Calvin Pace and Quinton Coples as his top guys. He probably doesnt trust the secondary as much either as he did in his NY heyday and thats upsetting the players. To give up on them for the playoffs this early would be foolish.
Denver is undefeated but currently tracks to win just over 9 games. Their performance is, at the moment, a byproduct of playing the Chiefs, Raiders, Lions, Ravens, and Browns, all teams that rank in the bottom 1/3 of the NFL. Overall those teams average giving up over 25 points a game which is 28th in the NFL. You can only beat who is on your schedule but they will need to raise their game to a much higher level when the competition gets harder.
People seem to be writing off Seattle and while it does seem something is wrong there it has not been horrendous and they still are playing well enough to where they should be a playoff contender. That is obviously a big fall from where they used to be but at 12th overall they may be able to find their way to 10 wins if they block out some of the dumb mistakes, such as the one that ended this week’s game. Their home field is not what it used to be, however, and they currently track just like any other decent team in that regard.
OTC NFL Power Rankings, Thru Week 6
|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.