Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Power Rankings: How the voters voted
By Mike Sando
Our power rankings voters weren't quite ready to send Andrew Luck to the Indianapolis Colts following Week 1.
Check back in another week.
If a blowout road defeat to division-rival Houston was enough to drop the Colts 14 places in our rankings heading into Week 2, imagine what losing at home to No. 32-ranked Cleveland would do for Indy's standing.
This could get ugly. It already is ugly. No other team in the league dropped more than six spots.
Of course, tis the season for overreaction after every team woke up tied for first or last in their division. One game does not a season make. One quarterback? That's another story.
"We find out if the Colts are average or horrible on Sunday when they host the Browns," said AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky, who ranked the Colts a still-respectable 17th. "Houston's pretty good, a lot of teams will lose to the Texans and struggle with their defensive front. If the Colts beat the Browns, Indy can be a middle-of-the-pack team. They lose to Cleveland -- a team that cannot get out of the huddle in time to defend a key play -- the Colts look to be bottom third."
The Colts weren't the only big movers in the rankings this week. The Washington Redskins jumped nine spots and the Chicago Bears moved up six. The Seattle Seahawks dropped six, while two other 2010 playoff teams, Pittsburgh and Atlanta, fell five places. Philadelphia overtook the Steelers for the third spot, with Baltimore moving up four spots to No. 4.
There was much to disagree about, including what to do with the Minnesota Vikings after Donovan McNabb passed for only 39 yards during a 24-17 defeat at San Diego.
James Walker, who shifts from the AFC North blog over to the AFC East beginning Wednesday, had the Vikings 16th, one spot higher than he ranked them a week earlier. No one else had them above 22nd.
"If McNabb plays better, the Vikings should be OK," Walker said. "I don't think they're a great team, but I view them as middle-of-the-pack."
Kuharsky wasn't convinced. He ranked the Vikings 30th, ahead of only Seattle and Cleveland.
"If McNabb can't throw for 40 yards, the Vikings are horrible no matter what Adrian Peterson does," he said.
And now, a closer look at the rankings heading into Week 2 ...
Rising (16): Washington Redskins (+9), Chicago Bears (+6), Arizona Cardinals (+5), Baltimore Ravens (+4), Detroit Lions (+4), Jacksonville Jaguars (+4), Oakland Raiders (+4), San Francisco 49ers (+4), Buffalo Bills (+3), Carolina Panthers (+2), Cincinnati Bengals (+2), New York Jets (+2), Dallas Cowboys (+1), Houston Texans (+1), Philadelphia Eagles (+1), San Diego Chargers (+1).
Falling (14): Indianapolis Colts (-14), Seattle Seahawks (-6), Pittsburgh Steelers (-5), Atlanta Falcons (-5), Minnesota Vikings (-4), St. Louis Rams (-3), Kansas City Chiefs (-3), Cleveland Browns (-3), Tennessee Titans (-2), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2), New York Giants (-2), Miami Dolphins (-2), New Orleans Saints (-1), Denver Broncos (-1).
Unchanged (2): Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots.
Deadlocked: We broke three ties this week. The Cardinals edged the Giants at No. 16 based on the second tiebreaker (overall record). The Colts edged the Vikings at No. 23 on the fourth tiebreaker (previous ranking). The Broncos edged the Panthers at No. 28 based on the fourth tiebreaker. The tiebreakers are, in order, head-to-head results this season, overall record this season, which team won most recently this season and previous ranking.
Like minds: Only one spot separated highest and lowest votes for the Packers, Patriots, Eagles, Ravens and Falcons. Two votes separated votes for the Falcons, Lions and Browns.
Agree to disagree: The Vikings generated the largest gap between highest and lowest votes. James Walker ranked them 16th, higher than any voter ranked them. Paul Kuharsky ranked them 30th, lower than any voter ranked them. A look at the eight teams generating gaps of at least seven spots between high and low votes:
Power rankings histories: These colorful layered graphs show where each NFL team has ranked every week since the 2002 season.
- Vikings (14): Walker 16th, Kuharsky 30th.
- Raiders (13): Fox 12th, Clayton 25th.
- Colts (12): Fox 16th, Sando 28th.
- Chiefs (11): Clayton 15th, Kuharsky and Walker 26th.
- Giants (11): Fox 14th, Walker 25th.
- Titans (10): Sando 19th, Fox 29th.
- 49ers (7): Walker 19th, Fox 26th.
- Rams (7): Clayton 16th, Sando and Walker 23rd.
Ranking the divisions: The NFC North ran away with the top average ranking for any division (11.0). The NFC East was second with a 13.8 average ranking. The NFC West was last with an average ranking of 22.8. 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: Colts (-18), Rams (-8), Steelers (-7), Jaguars (+6), Redskins (+13).
- Clayton: Colts (-16), Bears (+6), Redskins (+7).
- Kuharsky: Colts (-8), Vikings (-7), Redskins (+9), Bears (+10).
- Walker: Colts (-16), Giants (-9), Chiefs (-8), Seahawks (-8), Cardinals (+7), Redskins (+7), 49ers (+8), Bills (+9).
- Fox: Colts (-6), Chargers (+8)
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.