Blind Power Rankings: Week 8 and Average Margin of Victory

Otto Greule Jr

Week 8 Power Rankings are out! There's more to focus on than the Vikings, although they did drop precipitously after one performance. Also introducing: average margin of victory!

Another week of Vikings football evidently means another week of becoming vaguely interested in other teams. The more we learn about other teams, the more we can get an accurate read on what could be happening and what might be winning games. We also get to shed some light on questions (although not really answer) like: "Are the Kansas City Chiefs for real?" "Could we have seen Denver's collapse against Indianapolis?" "Is Carolina actually better than their record?" and more.

The Week 8 rankings are below. You can find the explanation of the rankings here.

First, the rankings without a factored recency bias:

Team Efficiency Points Wins Average Average Rank
Seattle Seahawks 1 2 2 1.67 1
Indianapolis Colts 3 3 4 3.33 2
Kansas City Chiefs 4 5 1 3.33 2
San Francisco 49ers 6 4 3 4.33 4
Denver Broncos 7 1 5 4.33 4
New Orleans Saints 5 6 6 5.67 6
Green Bay Packers 10 7 8 8.33 7
Dallas Cowboys 8 8 10 8.67 8
Cincinnati Bengals 14 13 7 11.33 9
Carolina Panthers 2 9 24 11.67 10
Tennessee Titans 12 11 12 11.67 10
Detroit Lions 9 15 14 12.67 12
New England Patriots 18 12 9 13.00 13
San Diego Chargers 23 10 11 14.67 14
Arizona Cardinals 13 17 17 15.67 15
Chicago Bears 17 20 16 17.67 16
Miami Dolphins 27 14 13 18.00 17
Philadelphia Eagles 11 21 23 18.33 18
Buffalo Bills 16 22 18 18.67 19
Oakland Raiders 19 18 21 19.33 20
Washington Redskins 15 23 26 21.33 21
Baltimore Ravens 29 16 19 21.33 21
Houston Texans 21 16 20 22.33 23
New York Jets 25 27 15 22.33 23
Cleveland Browns 22 24 22 22.67 25
St. Louis Rams 20 25 25 23.33 26
Atlanta Falcons 24 19 27 23.33 26
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26 29 32 29.00 28
New York Giants 28 30 30 29.33 29
Pittsburgh Steelers 32 28 28 29.33 29
Minnesota Vikings 30 31 31 30.67 31
Jacksonville Jaguars 31 32 29 30.67 31

Again, I prefer the efficiency ranks. So that means to me, the Carolina Panthers are closer to second than they are tenth and the Baltimore Ravens are loser to 29 than 21. There doesn't seem to be a lot of shakeup; the Chiefs moved down four with a middling performance against a bad Texans team but the Broncos largely stayed put because the Colts were a high-ranking team as well.

The Vikings took a slide, but the most interesting teams at the moment are the teams with the largest splits between wins and efficiency: the Carolina Panthers (ranked second in efficiency, 24th in wins), the San Diego Chargers (23/11), the Miami Dolphins (27/13), the Philadelphia Eagles (11/23), the Washington Redskins (15/26), the Baltimore Ravens (29/19) and the New York Jets (25/15).

I suspect that the Panthers, Ravens and Jets can explain their discrepancy largely due to coaching while the Eagles can probably point to an unsustainably high turnover rate. The other explanations might have to do with coaching, special teams or "luck".

Now for the recency-weighted ("What Have You Done For Me Lately?") Rankings:

Team Efficiency Points Wins Average Average Rank
Seattle Seahawks 1 2 2 1.67 1
San Francisco 49ers 4 3 3 3.33 2
Indianapolis Colts 3 4 4 3.67 3
Kansas City Chiefs 5 6 1 4.00 4
Green Bay Packers 6 5 5 5.33 5
Denver Broncos 9 1 7 5.67 6
New Orleans Saints 7 9 8 8.00 7
Dallas Cowboys 8 7 9 8.00 7
Carolina Panthers 2 8 15 8.33 9
Cincinnati Bengals 13 11 6 10.00 10
Detroit Lions 10 13 12 11.67 11
Tennessee Titans 16 12 13 13.67 12
San Diego Chargers 21 10 11 14.00 13
New England Patriots 18 15 10 14.33 14
Arizona Cardinals 15 17 18 15.67 15
Washington Redskins 11 22 20 17.67 16
Chicago Bears 17 20 16 17.67 16
Buffalo Bills 14 23 17 18.00 18
Philadelphia Eagles 12 21 23 18.67 19
Oakland Raiders 19 18 19 18.67 19
Miami Dolphins 28 16 21 21.67 21
New York Jets 25 28 14 22.33 22
Baltimore Ravens 29 14 24 22.33 22
St. Louis Rams 20 24 25 23.00 24
Cleveland Browns 22 25 22 23.00 24
Atlanta Falcons 24 19 28 23.67 26
Houston Texans 23 27 27 25.67 27
Pittsburgh Steelers 31 26 26 27.67 28
New York Giants 27 29 29 28.33 29
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26 30 32 29.33 30
Minnesota Vikings 30 31 31 30.67 31
Jacksonville Jaguars 31 32 30 30.67 32

One more thing that would be fun to add, which I've stolen from Football Perspective's Game Scripts concept is the average margin of victory throughout the game. More specifically, we know that if a team is winning by 30 points for three quarters of a game and then gives up garbage time touchdowns to bring the score within 9 points, that the "true" quality of the game is not measured by point differential.

Instead, using the point differential for each individual second in the game and averaging it out might allow us to use a popular piece of data (points) while providing for significantly more points of data with which to draw conclusions. If a team has a last-second come-from-behind victory, they may have a negative average margin of victory, which would best encapsulate the strength of that team's play over the course of the game and do a better job predicting future quality.

We can also adjust these for strength of schedule, which is what I've done below. If you like this measure, let me know!

Team Average MOV Rank
Green Bay Packers 6.31 1
Carolina Panthers 5.35 2
Denver Broncos 5.00 3
San Francisco 49ers 4.82 4
New Orleans Saints 4.58 5
New England Patriots 4.13 6
Seattle Seahawks 3.99 7
Dallas Cowboys 3.70 8
Atlanta Falcons 3.41 9
Indianapolis Colts 3.33 10
Kansas City Chiefs 2.65 11
Cincinnati Bengals 1.91 12
San Diego Chargers 1.17 13
Buffalo Bills 0.54 14
Oakland Raiders -0.14 15
Detroit Lions -0.23 16
Tennessee Titans -0.49 17
Baltimore Ravens -1.03 18
Miami Dolphins -1.08 19
Cleveland Browns -1.10 20
Tampa Bay Buccaneers -1.30 21
Arizona Cardinals -1.40 22
Philadelphia Eagles -1.44 23
New York Jets -1.77 24
Chicago Bears -2.40 25
Minnesota Vikings -3.42 26
St. Louis Rams -3.97 27
New York Giants -4.36 28
Houston Texans -5.04 29
Pittsburgh Steelers -5.45 30
Washington Redskins -5.53 31
Jacksonville Jaguars -10.35 32

So yea, I guess the Jaguars are really bad.

Picks against the spread

Efficiency:

Carolina over TAMPA BAY (+7)
Dallas over DETROIT (-3)
KANSAS CITY (-7.5) over Cleveland
NEW ENGLAND (-7) over Miami
Buffalo over NEW ORLEANS (-12)
PHILADELPHIA (-7) over New York Giants
San Francisco over JACKSONVILLE (+17)
CINCINNATI (-7) over New York Jets
OAKLAND (+3) over Pittsburgh
Washington over DENVER (-14)
ARIZONA (-2.5) over Atlanta
Green Bay over MINNESOTA (-9.5)
Seattle over ST. LOUIS (-2)

Efficiency (WHYD4ML):

Carolina over TAMPA BAY (+7)
Dallas over DETROIT (-3)
KANSAS CITY (-7.5) over Cleveland
Miami over NEW ENGLAND (-7)
Buffalo over NEW ORLEANS (-12)
PHILADELPHIA (-7) over New York Giants
San Francisco over JACKSONVILLE (+17)
CINCINNATI (-7) over New York Jets
OAKLAND (+3) over Pittsburgh
Washington over DENVER (-14)
ARIZONA (-2.5) over Atlanta
Green Bay over MINNESOTA (-9.5)
Seattle over ST. LOUIS (-2)

Point Differential:

Carolina over TAMPA BAY (+7)
Dallas over DETROIT (-3)
KANSAS CITY (-7.5) over Cleveland
NEW ENGLAND (-7) over Miami
NEW ORLEANS (-12) over Buffalo
PHILADELPHIA (-7) over New York Giants
San Francisco over JACKSONVILLE (+17)
CINCINNATI (-7) over New York Jets
OAKLAND (+3) over Pittsburgh
DENVER (-14) over Washington
ARIZONA (-2.5) over Atlanta
Green Bay over MINNESOTA (-9.5)
Seattle over ST. LOUIS (-2)

Point Differential (WHYD4ML):

Carolina over TAMPA BAY (+7)
Dallas over DETROIT (-3)
KANSAS CITY (-7.5) over Cleveland
NEW ENGLAND (-7) over Miami
NEW ORLEANS (-12) over Buffalo
PHILADELPHIA (-7) over New York Giants
San Francisco over JACKSONVILLE (+17)
CINCINNATI (-7) over New York Jets
OAKLAND (+3) over Pittsburgh
DENVER (-14) over Washington
ARIZONA (-2.5) over Atlanta
Green Bay over MINNESOTA (-9.5)
Seattle over ST. LOUIS (-2)

Records:

Efficiency: 9-20
Efficiency (WHYD4ML): 13-16
Point Diff: 11-18
Point Diff (WHYD4ML): 14-15

Oof. That'll be hard to bounce back from. Still, it's good to look at and see what went wrong.

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