Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Power Rankings: How the voters voted
By Mike Sando
The Philadelphia Eagles' latest Miracle at the Meadowlands sent them charging toward the top in ESPN.com's NFL Power Rankings heading into Week 16.
The Eagles jumped from sixth to third, leapfrogging Baltimore -- even though the Ravens beat previously fourth-ranked New Orleans.
AFC North blogger James Walker and I ranked the Ravens third, ahead of the Eagles, but fellow panelists John Clayton and Paul Kuharsky weren't as impressed. They ranked Baltimore no higher than sixth. The chart shows how each of us voted.
The Ravens have earned my respect for their consistency.
Baltimore and the top-ranked New England Patriots are the only teams to rank among the top 10 every week since our regular-season rankings debuted before Week 1.
Atlanta, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and the New York Jets have ranked among the top 10 all but one week. Eleven other teams have spent at least one week ranked that high.
The following 12 teams have yet to crack the top 10 during the regular season: Jacksonville, Oakland, Cincinnati, Seattle, Arizona, San Francisco, St. Louis, Denver, Cleveland, Carolina, Detroit and Buffalo.
The Jets' first victory at Pittsburgh helped keep them in the top 10 for a 14th consecutive week. They jumped from ninth to fifth.
And now, a closer look at the rankings heading into Week 16 ...
Rising (14): New York Jets (4), Philadelphia Eagles (3), Tennessee Titans (3), Kansas City Chiefs (3), Indianapolis Colts (2), San Diego Chargers (2), Minnesota Vikings (2), Dallas Cowboys (2), Baltimore Ravens (1), Oakland Raiders (1), Cincinnati Bengals (1), Seattle Seahawks (1), Detroit Lions (1), Buffalo Bills (1).
Falling (14): New Orleans Saints (-3), Pittsburgh Steelers (-3), Jacksonville Jaguars (-3), Green Bay Packers (-2), New York Giants (-2), Houston Texans (-2), Tampa Bay Bucs (-2), Arizona Cardinals (-2), San Francisco 49ers (-2), St. Louis Rams (-2), Miami Dolphins (-1), Washington Redskins (-1), Denver Broncos (-1), Cleveland Browns (-1).
Unchanged (4): New England Patriots, Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears, Carolina Panthers.
Deadlocked: We broke one tie this week. The second tiebreaker, overall record, helped Arizona prevail over Cincinnati for the No. 29 spot.
Like minds: All four panelists ranked the Patriots first, the Falcons second, the Broncos 31st and the Panthers 32nd. Three ranked the Giants ninth, Dolphins 17th and the Lions 28th.
Agree to disagree: The Cleveland Browns generated a seven-spot gap between highest and lowest votes, the largest disparity. Six other teams generated gaps of at least five places between highest and lowest votes.
Power rankings histories: These colorful layered graphs show where each NFL team has ranked every week since the 2002 season.
- Browns (7): Kuharsky ranked them 20th, higher than any other voter ranked them. Walker ranked them 27th, lower than any other voter ranked them.
- Redskins (6): Clayton and Walker 22nd, Sando 28th.
- Seahawks (6): Walker 20th, Kuharsky 26th.
- Texans (6): Clayton 19th, Kuharsky 25th.
- Bills (5): Kuharsky 22nd, Sando and Clayton 27th.
- Cowboys (5): Kuharsky 15th, Clayton 20th.
- Chargers (5): Sando ninth, Clayton 14th.
Ranking the divisions: Teams from the AFC East ranked 12.1 on average, the highest average for teams from any division. The AFC East overtook the NFC South as the highest-ranked division on average. The NFC West was again the lowest-ranked division, falling from 23.1 to 24.4 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 five spots since last week:
For download: An Excel file -- available here -- showing how each voter voted this week and in past weeks.
- Sando: Cowboys (+5).
- Clayton: none.
- Kuharsky: Jets (+6).
- Walker: Cowboys (+5)
The worksheet labeled "sked" shows remaining schedule strengths based on current Power Rankings.
The file also 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.