Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Power Rankings: How the voters voted
By Mike Sando
Eight weeks into the 2010 NFL season, the Jacksonville Jaguars are who we thought they were.
They're the 25th-ranked team in ESPN's NFL Power Rankings, same as they were in Week 1.
For fun and perspective, I compared our latest rankings (see chart) with our rankings heading into the regular season. John Clayton, Paul Kuharsky, James Walker and I have been ranking every team since as early as April, but the Week 1 rankings seemed like the best reference point.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have made the largest gain from Week 1, climbing 17 spots to No. 1. The Kansas City Chiefs (+15), St. Louis Rams (+12), Tampa Bay Bucs (+12) and New York Giants (+10) have also made double-digit gains.
The Dallas Cowboys (-22), San Francisco 49ers (-18), San Diego Chargers (-16), Minnesota Vikings (-14), New Orleans Saints (-12) and Cincinnati Bengals (-10) have made double-digit dives in the rankings since Week 1.
Thirteen teams are within five spots of where they were ranked heading into the season.
Jacksonville was the only team with the same ranking.
No teams ranked among the top five heading into the season -- Indianapolis, New Orleans, Green Bay, Dallas and Minnesota -- remain ranked among the top five. The Colts are sixth. The Atlanta Falcons were seventh then and fifth now. The Baltimore Ravens were sixth then and fourth now.
Let's dig deeper inside the rankings heading into Week 8 ...
Rising (13): The Seattle Seahawks rose six spots, the largest gain from last week. The Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers jumped five spots apiece. The New York Giants, Cleveland Browns, Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons improved two places apiece. The Washington Redskins, Tennessee Titans, Tampa Bay Bucs, St. Louis Rams, Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans each rose one spot.
Falling (10): The Saints dropped eight spots, the largest fall from last week. The Denver Broncos fell five places. The San Francisco 49ers dropped four. The Arizona Cardinals and Chicago Bears fell three spots each. The Cincinnati Bengals and Minnesota Vikings each fell two spots. The Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles dropped one place apiece.
Unchanged (9): Rankings for the Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers and San Diego Chargers did not change.
Deadlocked: We didn't break any ties this week.
Like minds: All four voters ranked the Patriots third and the Bills last. Three ranked the Steelers first and the Jets second. Three ranked the Raiders 22nd.
Agree to disagree: The Eagles and Bengals generated the largest gaps between high and low votes. Five other teams produced disparities of at least five places:
Power rankings histories: These colorful layered graphs show where each NFL team has ranked every week since the 2002 season.
- Eagles (7): Clayton ranked them ninth, higher than any other voter ranked them. Walker ranked them 16th, lower than any other voter ranked them.
- Bengals (7): Kuharsky 19th, Walker 26th.
- Cardinals (6): Sando 19th, Kuharsky 25th.
- Saints (5): Walker 10th, Sando 15th.
- Bucs (5): Clayton 15th, Sando 20th.
- Vikings (5): Sando 17th, Kuharsky 22nd.
- Chargers (5): Kuharsky 21st, Clayton 26th.
Ranking the divisions: The AFC South retained the top spot. 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 more than five spots since last week:
For download: An Excel file -- available here -- showing how each voter voted this week and in past weeks.
- Sando: Saints (-8), Raiders (+6)
- Clayton: Broncos (-8), Bears (-7), Seahawks (+8)
- Kuharsky: Saints (-7), Seahawks (+8)
- Walker: Cowboys (-6), Saints (-6), Raiders (+7)
The file includes a "powerflaws" sheet pointing out potential flaws in voters' thinking by showing how many higher-ranked opponents each team defeated this season.
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.