A Different Power Rankings

Our friend Michael Salfino has offered us an exclusive this week to a power ranking system he put together. I'll allow him to explain how the system works and then post his rankings.


Here are final 2009 Week 4 NFL Key Stat Power Rankings of all 32 teams in the team stats that most correlated to winning and losing since I started tracking them in 2002. These stats are net red-zone possessions (trips for minus trips allowed), net yards per play, net interception rate and net third-down percentage. The numbers in each column reflect where each team ranks in each category. The overall stat power ranking ranking is the rankings added, with the lowest number being the best. The objective is to assess how strong each team is relative to its opponent, division, conference and the league in general. Warning: past performance does not necessarily determine future results.

Rank Team Red Zone Net YPP Net INT Net Third Down Total
1 NO 1 3 5 1 10
2 PHI 6 4 6 2 18
3 BLT 3 6 4 6 19
4 NYG 4 9 3 5 21
5 MIN 7 12 7 3 29
6 SD 2 7 9 14 32
7 DEN 24 2 2 8 36
8 NYJ 12 8 11 11 42
9 GB 7 15 1 20 43
10 DAL 7 5 23 10 45
11 NE 4 18 21 4 47
12 IND 15 1 14 21 51
13 ATL 7 20 13 22 62
14 SF 15 16 8 24 63
15 PIT 15 11 26 12 64
16 TEN 24 10 18 13 65
17 WAS 7 13 17 28 65
18 CHI 12 14 28 18 72
19 JAX 22 22 12 17 73
20 SEA 22 19 25 7 73
21 ARZ 15 21 19 23 78
22 MIA 15 29 29 9 82
23 CIN 15 23 30 15 83
24 BUF 24 17 16 27 84
25 HST 15 26 15 29 85
26 DET 12 31 27 16 86
27 SL 24 28 10 26 88
28 OAK 31 27 24 19 101
29 KC 24 24 22 32 102
30 TB 24 30 20 30 104
31 CAR 24 25 31 25 105
32 CLV 32 32 32 31 127

In other words, the argument goes the Jets have to play a road game against the top team in the league to this point. I'm not going to say I think this list necessarily tells us which teams are really the best in the NFL. The Eagles at number 2 seems to stick out. They only have wins against terrible Kansas City and Carolina teams. What I do like about it, though, is that it judges teams based on what they've actually done. There's no personal bias involved here, unlike a lot of polls. Some of these writers would still have the Steelers in the top ten because they think the Steelers are going to get better by the end of the year, not because their play has merited it. Should they be ahead of the Bears, who have a better record and a head to head win? Debatable, but we can at least see there's an objective reason.

No question about it. The numbers he lists here are important to winning. That's why studies like these are great starting points to see which teams are setting themselves up for lasting success. In the first three weeks, teams can get lucky breaks, but over the course of a season, the teams that produce numbers in these areas usually win.

With all of this said, I'm not sure the Jets are the eighth best team in the league. I would argue the Jets' domination of Houston along with wins over the Pats and Titans are more impressive than Denver's miracle win against the Bengals and victories over two AFC bottom feeders. I also would contend at this point with the Eagles and Chargers ranking ahead of them. Quality of wins plays into it, but there's more. Bill Parcells says, "You are what your record is." The Jets are 3-0. Both those teams have losses, albeit to elite competiton. Still, the reason the Pats aren't up there is the way the Jets handled them.

What are your thoughts? Fair ranking or should I tell my man Salfino he's going to face the wrath of Jets fans?

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