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Power rankings: How the voters voted

10/6/2009



Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Colts narrowly beat out the Giants for the top spot in ESPN.com's NFL Power Rankings for Week 5.

Those favoring the Giants can blame the Vikings, who moved into the No. 2 spot on two ballots following their victory over the Packers on "Monday Night Football."

The Vikings' late push left the Giants third on my ballot and John Clayton's ballot, enough to move the Colts into the No. 1 spot. The Ravens fell six spots to No. 7 overall following their Week 4 defeat at New England. The relatively large fall after only one defeat -- on the road, no less -- suggested panelists weren't necessarily sold on Baltimore as the top team.

The Giants have ranked higher than any team on average -- 2.7 overall -- since the 2009 power rankings debuted in May.

A look inside the rankings ...

Rising: The Broncos jumped five spots to No. 8, the largest gain from Week 4. The Jaguars and Redskins jumped four spots apiece. The 49ers and Dolphins moved up three. The Vikings rose two places. The Colts, Giants, Jets, Patriots, Steelers and Lions rose one spot apiece.

Falling: The Titans plummeted seven spots, the largest fall from Week 4. The Ravens fell six places to No. 7. The Chargers dropped four spots, the Packers three and the Bills two. The Raiders, Panthers, Seahawks, Eagles and Falcons each dropped one spot.

Unchanged: Rankings for the Saints, Bengals, Bears, Cowboys, Cardinals, Texans, Browns, Chiefs, Bucs and Rams remained unchanged.

Deadlocked: We broke one tie this week. Green Bay prevailed over Chicago for the 13th spot based on head-to-head results in Week 1.

Groupthink: Three panelists ranked the Jets fifth, the Patriots sixth and the Ravens seventh. All four panelists ranked the Chargers 16th. Three ranked the Cowboys 17th. Three ranked the Jaguars 19th. Three ranked the Titans 25th and the Panthers 26th. All four ranked the Rams 32nd.

Agree to disagree: For the second week in a row, the Redskins generated the widest gap -- seven spots -- between highest and lowest votes. Six other teams generated disparities of at least four spots:

  • Redskins (7): Chadiha ranked them 20th, higher than any voter ranked them. Sando ranked them 27th, lower than any voter ranked them.

  • Cardinals (6): Sando 17th, Chadiha 23rd.

  • Broncos (5): Clayton fifth, Kuharsky 10th.

  • 49ers (5): Kuharsky ninth, Sando and Clayton 14th.

  • Falcons (4): Kuharsky eighth, Chadiha 12th.

  • Bengals (4): Chadiha ninth, Kuharsky 13th.

  • Packers (4): Kuharsky 11th, Clayton and Chadiha 15th.

Power rankings histories: We now offer colorful layered graphs showing where each NFL team has ranked every week since the 2002 season.

Ranking the divisions: NFC East teams ranked 13.1 on average, slightly up from last week and still higher than any other division's teams. NFC West remained below AFC West teams as the lowest-ranked division on average. The chart below shows how each voter ranked each division on average. Highest votes in red. Lowest votes in blue.

A voter-by-voter look at changes of at least four spots since the Week 4 rankings:

Sando: Broncos (+8), Ravens (-6)

Clayton: Broncos (+6), Texans (+4), Dolphins (+4), Cowboys (-4), Packers (-5), Ravens (-7), Titans (-7)

Kuharsky: Broncos (+7), Jaguars (+5), Redskins (+5), Ravens (-5), Titans (-6), Chargers (-7)

Chadiha: Redskins (+8), Jaguars (+6), 49ers (+5), Bears (+4), Texans (+4), Packers (-5), Ravens (-6), Panthers (-7), Titans (-7)

For download: An Excel file -- available here or here -- showing how each voter voted this week and in past weeks.

The file includes a "powerflaws" sheet pointing out potential flaws in voters' thinking by showing how many higher-ranked opponents each team has defeated. For example, the Jaguars rank one spot ahead of the Cardinals even though Arizona won in Jacksonville.

A quick primer on the "powerflaws" sheet:

  • Column Y features team rankings.

  • Column Z shows how many times a team has defeated higher-ranked teams.

  • Change the rankings in column Y as you see fit.

  • Re-sort column Y in ascending order (1 to 32) using the standard Excel pull-down menu atop the column.

  • The information in column Z, which reflects potential ranking errors, will change (with the adjusted total highlighted in yellow atop the column).

  • The lower the figure in that yellow box, the fewer conflicts.