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Thread: Fox Sports Week 4 Power Rankings

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    Default Fox Sports Week 4 Power Rankings

    Not sure I understand their system, nor do I agree with its results so far either....
    http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/4910694

    Week 4 Power Rankings
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    Aaron Schatz / Special to FOXSports.com
    Posted: 16 hours ago

    The FOXSports.com NFL Power Ratings look a little different this week. In fact, they look a little different from everything else on the Web. That's because instead of being based on our gut feeling, they are now based on the innovative DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) ratings that we've been using to rank teams at FootballOutsiders.com for two seasons.





    Weekly Schedule
  2. Mon: Quick Reads
  3. Tues: Power Rankings
  4. Tues: Any Given Sunday
  5. Wed: Week 4 rundown
  6. Wed: Black and Blue
  7. Wed: Scramble


    About Football Outsiders
    Football Outsiders.com tackles the NFL with a mix of innovative statistics, game tape analysis and good old-fashioned fan debate. They are the authors of Pro Football Prospectus 2005. For further in-depth coverage, click here.


  8. The DVOA system breaks down every single play of the season and compares each one to the NFL average based on situation and opponent. Conventional NFL rankings measure teams by adding up all their yards no matter what situations they came in or how many plays it took to get them. Now why would they do that? Football has one objective to get to the end zone and two ways to achieve that, by gaining yards and getting first downs. These two goals need to be balanced to determine a player's value or a team's performance. All the yards in the world aren't useful if they all come in eight-yard chunks on third-and-tens.

    Remember, of course, that any statistical formula is not a replacement for your own judgment, just a tool to use. The numbers say Chicago has been the seventh-best team this season based on available data. That doesn't mean we actually believe that the Bears are the seventh-best team in the NFL, because we know that they just had one huge performance in a season that's only three weeks old.

    With that in mind, these power ratings are not based solely on the three games played so far this year. When we look at just 2005, New England ends up 14th because they lost to Carolina. Does anyone really think New England is not a top ten team? Early in the season, with just a couple of games to go on, ratings are going to fluctuate wildly. And of course, they are very dependent on strength of schedule except that we don't really know how strong any opponent is yet, because those teams only have three games to go on.

    As a result, we're ranking teams with a formula that combines the team's rating at the end of 2004, our 2005 pre-season projections, and 2005 actual performance. Each week, the first two items will become less important, and the last item more important. By Week 8, we'll only be basing the ratings on this year's games, and starting the next week, we'll start using a formula that makes early games less important so that we can account for teams that are heating up at the end of the year.

    If you've never read our site before, this is probably hurting your brain. But don't worry, we're keeping things simple around here. The power ratings table will only list a team's rank from 1-32. If you want to see the actual DVOA ratings, along with some additional numbers we use to judge teams, you can find those on FootballOutsiders.com. The team totals are here, and we also have separate pages for offense, defense, and special teams. There's also a more developed explanation for our methods here.

    The LAST WEEK column below is last week's rank by our methods, not last week's FOX Power Ratings. 2005 represents rank based solely on this year's games. Offense, defense, and special teams ranks also represent 2005 games only.

    ALSO SEE:
  9. In-depth explanation of DVOA and power rankings criteria
  10. Inside this week's rankings

    FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS POWER RANKINGS: Week 4
    RkTeamW-LLast Wk2005 OnlyOffense RkDefense RkSp. Tms Rk
    1.STEELERS2-1121821
    Pittsburgh's drive to tie the game was just as impressive as New England's comeback to take the lead. Coming off a 15-1 season, they dominated their first two opponents and then lost a close game to the defending Super Bowl champions. Since they've been more consistent than the Patriots this year, I think it's fair for them to stay at number one. NEXT: Bye week, then at SD
    2.EAGLES2-1244527
    Eagles are this high for two reasons: First, our pre-season projections had them as the best team in the NFL, and second, they stomped all over the 49ers. But they haven't looked impressive in two out of three games. The Akers injury is killing them on both field goals and kickoffs. Do you really want a subpar kicker to face Dante Hall? NEXT: at KC
    3.BENGALS3-031519
    The best team in the NFL through three games. Really. See extended commentary below. NEXT: vs. HOU Houston? Man, you have got to be kidding me.
    4.COLTS3-0669622
    Us hate beauty. Us love ugliness. Is big crime for Peyton Manning to throw touchdown pass on Bizarro World. NEXT: at TEN
    RkTeamW-LLast Wk2005 OnlyOffense RkDefense RkSp. Tms Rk
    5.BUCS3-05315212
    For two years, the Football Outsiders DVOA ratings have said that the Bucs were better than their record. Two years ago, they went 7-9 and ranked 8th. Last year, they went 5-11 but ranked 16th. Our preseason projection had them winning the NFC South, but our brains simply couldn't believe it. In the battle of cold, heartless stats vs. human scouting, this is a win for cold, heartless stats. NEXT: vs. DET
    6.PATRIOTS2-1714131216
    This was one of the all-time great New England regular season wins: they came from behind on the road, against one of the best teams in the NFL, after losing two of their most important players to injury early in the contest. But that doesn't change the fact that they lost to Carolina, and not by a slim margin either. Thus, the lower ranking. The bad news, of course, is the loss of Rodney Harrison for the season, and Matt Light for most of it. The good news is that they may have just put their two hardest games of the season behind them, and as important as Harrison was -- dare I disrespect him? -- he wasn't as important to the Patriots as Takeo Spikes and Chad Pennington were to the Bills and Jets. NEXT: vs. SD
    7.BILLS1-241521104
    The Bills had the NFL's best defense for the second half of last year, and looked pretty good coming into this season, which is why they get ranked this high in a formula that isn't entirely based on 2005. But the defense hasn't been close to last year's level, giving up a lot of yards on second and third down, and it is going to get even worse without Spikes. Are the Saints the cure for J.P. Losman's woes? NEXT: vs. NO in San Antonio
    8.CHARGERS1-214113257
    Very impressive offensive performance as your Super Bowl XLI Champion San Diego Chargers get off the schneid. NEXT: at NE
    RkTeamW-LLast Wk2005 OnlyOffense RkDefense RkSp. Tms Rk
    9.SEAHAWKS2-118922023
    First week loss to Jacksonville looks like a bit of a fluke, as the Seahawks have put up two straight games with big offense and slightly above-average defense. See extended commentary below. NEXT: at WAS
    10.PANTHERS1-2818191111
    People are going to get whiplash jumping on and off the Carolina bandwagon. See extended commentary below. NEXT: vs GB in the renewal of that annual tradition, the "Wow, that's not such a great matchup after all" Monday night game.
    11.CHIEFS2-1101382115
    Monday loss was like watching the words we wrote in Pro Football Prospectus 2005 come to life. Without Willie Roaf, the Chiefs offensive line looked bad. If the offense is hitting on all cylinders, this team is extremely dangerous, but too many of those cylinders are old. Old players get injured more often, and the only Kansas City star with a trustworthy backup is Priest Holmes. By the way, the book also noted that Tony Gonzalez is 29, the age when the greatest tight ends all started to decline. Gonzalez is averaging 41 yards per game this year (with no touchdowns) after 79 yards per game in 2004. NEXT: vs. PHI
    12.BRONCOS2-11519181619
    Game-by-game ratings for this season: -54%, -5%, 48%. The offense has improved each game, the defense has improved each game, and the special teams have improved each game. If they lose this week, they'll be 2-0 in Colorado, 0-2 in Florida, and 0-0 in the other 48 states. NEXT: at JAC
    RkTeamW-LLast Wk2005 OnlyOffense RkDefense RkSp. Tms Rk
    13.JAGUARS2-112101773
    Story of the season has been Byron Leftwich pulling the offense out of the fire on third-and-long, making up for another stuff-a-riffic year from the aging Fred Taylor. Offensive DVOA ranks 20th on first down, 22nd on second down, 8th on third down. If that can continue, the defense is good enough for this team to get into the playoffs. NEXT: vs. DEN
    14.DOLPHINS2-116816410
    The league's top run defense DVOA after three games, and it didn't exactly come against cupcake opponents. They stopped the Denver running factory, last year's rushing leader Curtis Martin, and now the Carolina committee. Offense has been delightfully mediocre instead of the train wreck we all expected going into the season. How happy are people who bet the Miami over right now? NEXT: Bye week, then at BUF
    15.GIANTS2-1956221
    The greatly improved, playoff caliber defense of the New York Giants -- Wow, I remember it like it was yesterday. Well, three days ago, actually. Jumping to the conclusion that the Giants are overrated based on one game against LaDainian Tomlinson is as rash as jumping to the conclusion that the Giants have a good defense based on games against Arizona and New Orleans. For now, Giants fans should just be happy that Eli Manning, after a terrible rookie year, has put together two very nice games. NEXT: vs. STL
    16.COWBOYS2-11312101717
    Dallas' secondary looks awful, even though Anthony Henry has played reasonably well most of the time, and Roy Williams is a great linebacker. Or would be, if he played linebacker. If Dallas doesn't get a pass rush, they're sunk. NEXT: at OAK Randy Moss is licking his chops (but only because he has the munchies).
    RkTeamW-LLast Wk2005 OnlyOffense RkDefense RkSp. Tms Rk
    17.FALCONS2-12017111920
    This one needs explanation. Football Outsiders stats are notoriously down on the Falcons in general and Michael Vick in particular. Last year, the Falcons played like an 8-8 team and lucked into an 11-5 record. They don't rank very high based on 2005 performance either because both wins have been close. That being said, the biggest reason why our projections were so down on Atlanta was their schedule. With all the injuries in the AFC East, Carolina looking schizo, and New Orleans perpetually on the road, that schedule doesn't look so tough anymore. NEXT: vs. MIN
    18.JETS1-21124281318
    This elevator is headed straight down, but at least they have a good field goal kicker. It's hard to figure out what caused the sudden disintegration of the offensive line and Curtis Martin did in fact get worn down by all those carries last year. Where are they hiding Derrick Blaylock? The worst problem, of course, is the quarterback situation, at least until Vinny plays himself back into shape. This is what we wrote about Brooks Bollinger in Pro Football Prospectus 2005: "If your team ends up with him under center, it's time to turn off the TV." Click. NEXT: at BAL
    19.REDSKINS2-0192223931
    Done with mirrors. Every year some team jumps out to a good start based on close victories even though our numbers say that team is getting outplayed by opponents. Two years ago it was Carolina, but the Panthers turned it on in the playoffs and went all the way to the Super Bowl. Last year it was Jacksonville, which crashed and burned in the second half. This year, Washington. I have a feeling that Joe Gibbs is going to get what's behind door number two, not door number one. But it will be fun to see just how big a cushion the Seattle cornerbacks give Santana Moss. Has any cornerback ever played 20 yards off the line? NEXT: vs. SEA
    20.RAMS2-12116121424
    The defense has looked surprisingly average so far, but remember that the three offenses they have faced are ranked 22nd, 27th and 29th. NEXT: at NYG
    RkTeamW-LLast Wk2005 OnlyOffense RkDefense RkSp. Tms Rk
    21.BEARS1-21772636
    The winner of the "team that most confuses the rating system early" award, because their Week 2 win against Detroit was so absurdly one-sided. The defensive rating for the game against Cincinnati is actually above-average, because Kyle Orton's interceptions put them in bad field position on drive after drive. Cincinnati's first two scoring drives started at the Chicago 18-yard line and the Chicago 36-yard line. NEXT: Bye week, then at CLE
    22.RAIDERS0-3242173028
    Oakland is ranked this low because it is too early to have strong adjustments for strength of schedule. But Oakland did draw the short straw in the early schedule lottery, with both defending conference champions and 2-1 Kansas City, and the Raiders weren't blown off the field in any of those games. NEXT: vs. DAL, and don't be surprised by an Oakland upset.
    23.VIKINGS1-23127291513
    Well, those were the Vikings we've all come to know and love. Considering the fact that both of their losses came to teams that are now 3-0, maybe the issue was not that the Vikings are bad, but rather that the Bucs and Bengals are good. They still have six games left against the terrible teams in their own division, so they should still be the favorites to win the NFC North. As for this week, the interior of the Atlanta offensive line has looked really good this season, so this is an important week for the Williams brothers, Kevin and Pat. Minnesota might not pull off the upset on the road, but given Atlanta's tendency to play close games, they make quite the attractive underdog. NEXT: at ATL
    24.SAINTS1-22326202825
    That first win was a nice story, but they've been hideous on both offense and defense for two weeks. I said before the season that this was a mediocre team of fantasy football stars who specialize in gaining yardage rather than playing good situational football, and I'm sticking to it. NEXT: vs. BUF in San Antonio
    RkTeamW-LLast Wk2005 OnlyOffense RkDefense RkSp. Tms Rk
    25.TITANS1-2272325235
    They're really better than this, considering that their big blowout loss came to the team at number one. Check out the schedule from Week 7 on: Tennessee is the most likely team to make a surprising playoff push in the second half and become a sleeper pick for 2006. NEXT: vs. IND
    26.RAVENS0-22231302630
    The offensive struggles were expected. That defensive rating is bad because the Ravens have played only two games and one of them was against Indianapolis, back before they replaced Peyton Manning with Trent Dilfer. This defense has had a week off to prepare to take on Brooks Bollinger. At home. You do the math. NEXT: vs. NYJ
    27.BROWNS1-2252014278
    For what it is worth, they are better than Green Bay. NEXT: Bye week, then vs. CHI
    28.PACKERS0-32625242626
    According to DVOA, Green Bay has been the league's most consistent team. Unfortunately, they've been consistently bad, with single-game ratings of -47%, -40% and -44%. Next: at CAR
    RkTeamW-LLast Wk2005 OnlyOffense RkDefense RkSp. Tms Rk
    29.CARDINALS0-32829222929
    Our book Pro Football Prospectus 2005 predicted: "(Kurt) Warner hasn't played a full season since 2001 so (Josh) McCown will see starts in 2005." Score that one correct. Next prediction to get tested: "On October 2 in Mexico City, (Neil) Rackers will set a new NFL record by kicking a 65-yard field goal against San Francisco." NEXT: vs. SF in Mexico City
    30.LIONS1-12930311832
    That's your first place Detroit Lions. Their first two games were so different from each other that it is hard to tell what will happen over the course of the season. This week, at least, they are going to lose. NEXT: at TB
    31.TEXANS0-23032323214
    Have you ever heard that old football adage, "You build a team from the lines out?" Well, then, you're one up on the Texans. Next: at CIN
    32.49ERS1-2322827312
    Continuing their steady climb from league doormat to 2006 NFC West champion. NEXT: vs. ARI in Mexico City




    Inside this week's rankings

    The Cincinnati Bengals have been the best team in the NFL through three weeks of the 2005 season.
    (Yes, I had to disable the grammar checker in order to write that sentence.) The last time the Bengals started 3-0 was 1990, which was also the last time the Bengals went to the playoffs. Their two playoff opponents that season, the Houston Oilers and Los Angeles Raiders, no longer exist.

    Only the Giants have scored more points per game, and only the Colts have allowed fewer. (That latter fact, of course, may be even stranger than the Bengals starting 3-0.) The most remarkable statistic is Cincinnati's 12 interceptions. The Bengals had only 20 interceptions last year and no other team in the NFL currently has more than six.

    The common complaint is that Cincinnati has fattened up on three easy opponents. That's true, although Minnesota isn't as bad as people thought a week ago. But Cincinnati's schedule is even easier the rest of the way. The average DVOA rating of the three teams Cincinnati has played ranks 22nd in the league. The average DVOA rating of the 13 teams remaining on the schedule ranks 27th in the league. The interception-hungry defense still gets to play the feeble offenses of Detroit, Green Bay, and Baltimore (twice). Only four teams on Cincinnati's schedule have winning records right now, and the Bengals get to play their hardest non-division opponent, Indianapolis, at home in cold November with a week off to prepare beforehand.

    Cincinnati has just one statistical weakness so far: they've only sacked the quarterback twice. Of course, this week the Bengals host the 0-2 Houston Texans, who have a Flat Earth Society relationship with the concept of the offensive line. So that may not be an issue in a few days.

    Two interesting teams to watch this year are Seattle and Carolina.
    We predicted big years from both teams in our book Pro Football Prospectus 2005 because of a significant trend we've found: when a team is much better on first and second down than it is on third down, that unit (offense or defense) tends to improve dramatically the following season. It's partly luck, partly the fact that teams recognize that they have a third down weakness and make moves in the off-season to address it. Last year, this trend led us to predict that 4-12 San Diego would suddenly become one of the NFL's top offenses. Once that proved true, we went back to past years and discovered that this indicator predicted the rise of the 1999 Rams, 2001 Patriots, and 2003 Panthers.

    How is it doing so far in 2005? So far, results are mixed. Last year, Seattle's offense ranked 9th on first down, 7th on second down, but a dismal 27th on third down. This year, the Seahawks are still having troubles on third down, but the gap is smaller: Seattle's offense ranks 1st on first down, 5th on second down, and 16th on third down. With Carolina, the issue is defense. Last year, the Panthers' defense ranked 4th on both first down and second down, but 30th on third downs. We thought that with better luck, better health, and the addition of Ken Lucas (which also bumped Ricky Manning Jr. back to nickel back) the Panthers would be dominant on defense this year. But so far, the Panthers' defense is 14th on first down, 11th on second down, and 17th on third down. It turns out that our forecast proved correct: Carolina's defense is just as good on third downs as it is on first and second downs. Unfortunately for the Panthers, they've been mediocre on every down. Given how inconsistent they've played this year, it is hard to tell if the defense is really average, or if it will end up near the top of the league like we expected. Unless the latter happens, you can kiss all those Carolina playoff predictions goodbye.


  11. #2
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    Default Re: Fox Sports Week 4 Power Rankings

    You know, i can deal with the Colts being #4. That's fine. Whatever. But the fact that these monkey's put Buffalo at #7 shows that the "DVOA" system is horribly flawed.
    :thepacers

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    Default Re: Fox Sports Week 4 Power Rankings

    What's especially funny about these systems is that that they always say, "Well, you have to wait further into the season for the numbers to average out better." Well, later in the season we're going to know who's better anyway, aren't we? They will be the ones with the best record.

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    Default Re: Fox Sports Week 4 Power Rankings

    The reason for the eagles is pathetic. This is. . .


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    Default Re: Fox Sports Week 4 Power Rankings

    They have no reason to put the Eagles ahead of us.

    Oh well, I really don't care about some power ranking anyway. I want wins, and more wins.
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    Default Re: Fox Sports Week 4 Power Rankings


  16. #7

    Default Re: Fox Sports Week 4 Power Rankings

    The funniest part is that the Pats beat the Steelers, yet Steelers are 1 and Pats are 6...what they are smoking is beyond me.
    Don't ask Marvin Harrison what he did during the bye week. "Batman never told where the Bat Cave is," he explained.

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    Default Re: Fox Sports Week 4 Power Rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by Suaveness
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    The funniest part is that the Pats beat the Steelers, yet Steelers are 1 and Pats are 6...what they are smoking is beyond me.
    Look at the top 2 teams, both beat 2 bad teams but lost to a good one yet they're the top ranked teams...
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    Default Re: Fox Sports Week 4 Power Rankings

    "The Eagles are here because we had them here in the preseason [read: we don't want to look that stupid] and they've played bad twice [read: pass that over here dude!] and they've got a gimpy kicker to face Dante Hall [read: totally screwed]."

    "Us hate beauty [read: we're really stupid at Fox Sports]. Us love ugliness [read: did I just use a word more bigger than 5 letters?]. Peyton throws TDs against Bizarro [read: dude, pass it back!]"

    Those rankings are ridiculous.
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