Week 15 NFL Statistical Ranks

A few more tweaks to the statistical rankings formula:

  1. Double-weighted offensive points per game scored. I read an article that looked at the stats that correlate most with winning, and, unsurprisingly, points scored per game was #1. So I double-weighted the category in my rankings.
  2. Double-weighted turnover margin. Second-highest correlation with winning. Although with this one we should keep in mind that correlation doesn’t necessarily equal causation.
  3. Added offensive and defensive DVOA.
  4. Incorporated Sagarin ratings.
  5. Added Adjusted Net-Yards Per Passing Attempt
  6. Added passer rating.

Instead of having just one category for overall quarterback play rankings, I decided to split it into two categories: one for ANY/A and one for passer rating. I liked the comprehensive QB Play statistic in terms of what I incorporated into it, but it was only one column on the overall team ratings chart, and as such passing was placed on equal footing with running the ball, i.e. two passing-specific categories & two rushing-specific categories. Now there are three passing-specific categories. I wanted it to be more biased towards passing and now it is.

I’ve only got three double-weighted categories–winning percentage, turnover margin and points scored per game–and that’s probably good enough for me. I don’t want to get into the business of arbitrarily weighting this stat vs. that stat. I believe I’ve chosen stats that are all important to team success, and for the most part they’re all going to be equally weighted.

Here are the post-week 15 rankings:

So now we have the Chiefs in the top spot, and by a pretty healthy margin. The Packers come in at #2.

The Bucs are #3, and I know a lot of people are down on them, but they continue to rank very highly in almost every category. I feel like a broken record saying this every week. The Bucs are one of just three teams in the league along with Baltimore and Buffalo to have a combined opponents’ winning percentage above .500 and still have a winning record. Yes, the Bucs’ pass defense is suspect and yes, the Bucs rushing offense is not good. But they still rank very highly in most other categories.

The Saints are #4 but only fractionally behind the Bucs. Yet we all watched their two games: the Saints have the Bucs’ number. This ranking system doesn’t take head-to-head matchups into account.

The Ravens are only slightly ahead of the Rams, and they’re followed closely by the Colts at #7. I’m higher on the Colts than most and the reason is because the Colts are one of the most balanced teams in the league across the board. They’re really not bad at anything except, strangely, both 3rd down offense and 3rd down defense, where they rank 23rd and 21st respectively.

The Colts are a hair ahead of their week 16 matchup, the Steelers, although the Steelers have been dropping like a rock lately.

The Bills come in just behind the Steelers at #9, but, again, this doesn’t take head-to-head matchups into account. Additionally, these rankings are cumulative: they take into account everything that a team has done since week 1 of the season. The Steelers aren’t going to drop precipitously just because they’ve dropped three games in a row. They’re still ranked very highly in virtually every defensive category, so statistically they’re going to still look like a top-10 team even though when they take the field they don’t look good at all.

I know people are really high on the Bills right now, and I like them too, but they do not rank highly on defense, plus they’re below-average at running the ball. That’s going to hold them back in these ratings, which are comprehensive looks at each team in the NFL. The statistical ranking system rewards complete teams–teams with few glaring flaws.

The Cardinals come in at #10. People are sleeping on their defense. It’s pretty damn good.

They’re very closely followed by the Seahawks, who still rank very low in pass defense but are admittedly improving over the past few weeks.

The Titans rank #12. They’re great on offense, basically top-5 in just about every offensive category, but they are bottom of the barrel on defense. Their defense really doesn’t rank highly in anything. I guess their run defense is ranked 15th in the league, but that’s the only good thing I can find about their defense. It’s really poorly ranked and it’s holding them back.

The Browns and Dolphins are both tied for 13th.

The Vikings are 14th and the 49ers are 15th, and that’s it for teams with above-the-median overall rankings.

Here is the full ratings spreadsheet with all the categories. You’ll have to zoom in or open it up in a new tab:

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