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Author Topic: Finny's 2008 Power Rankings  (Read 696 times)
Finnegans Wake
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« on: Sep 11, 2008 at 15:43 »

Every year, I toy with some new alchemy of numbers.  This year's model weighs offensive criteria 40%, defensive criteria 50%, and STs 10%.  Some significant stats include 3rd down conversions on O and D, YPA in passing, and YPC allowed on D.  That said, I don't think the numerical version will really "click" for at least 3-4 weeks.

1. Finny:  Philadelphia Eagles.  
Conventional wisdom puts the Cowboys here, but both teams played low level of competition teams.  The Eagles didn't let their opponent off the mat, allowing only 3 points, whereas the Cowboys did allow 10.  Plus, Donovan McNabb had huge stats with one starting WR out, and another hurting.  Key stat: Only week 1 team not to allow a third down conversion.

Alchemy:  Philadelphia Eagles (+372.5393 points).

2. Pittsburgh Steelers.  Steelers one of three AFC teams (Steelers, Broncos, Bills) who made it look easy.  I still have some reservations about those teams, but suddenly, the AFC is wide open: the Pats will struggle to get to 0.500; the AFC South seems to have gone from first to worst in the Conference; and the Chargers are missing Merriman and McNeill (for now), and Gates may not be 100%.  Key stat: Roethlisberger led all NFL passers week one with a 147.0 passer rating.

Alchemy: Denver Broncos (+229.4882).

3. Dallas Cowboys.  Cowboys allowed 5.1 YPC against the Browns, which is way too much.  Of course, their passing game was DOA.  The Cowboy offense looks like one smooth machine, and Felix Jones is an upgrade over Julius Jones.  Key stat: led all teams with 72.7% 3rd down conversion rate.

Alchemy:  Atlanta Falcons (+223.0192).

4. Buffalo Bills. This probably seems way too high, and probably is.  But last year this team held their own in the face of an onslaught of injuries.  Before Brady went down, they were my candidate to surprise in the AFCE.  Now, that road seems clearer.  (I'm still not sold on those Jets, even with Favre.)  Granted, they were playing a Seahawks team without a bunch of passing weapons, but if the Bills' passing game can stay decent, they have the running game, a solid D, and good special teams.  Key stat: fifth in 3rd down conversions allowed with 18.8%.

Alchemy:  Buffalo Bills (+189.7045).

5. Green Bay.  I didn't think Rodgers would have any major difficulties in his transition to starter, although the Vikings pass D is weak.  This team was close last year, and having Favre leave may be a blessing in disguise when playoffs roll around.  Key stat: allowed third most YPC (5.7) behind New Orleans and Detroit, courtesy of Purple Jesus.

Alchemy: Pittsburgh Steelers (+186.5155).

6. Denver Broncos. I say this begrudgingly and because I only saw highlights of the Broncos game, but I wonder if they might be over-rated.  Cutler looks to be rounding to form, and the Oakland win was without Marshall.  Eddie Royal is a nice addition.  Key stat:  Cutler's 12.00 YPA was second only to Matt Ryan's 12.72.

Alchemy: Baltimore Ravens (+171.0205).

7.  NY Giants. OK, I still like their D, but color me less than impressed with Eli.  Again.  The offense seemed to do nothing after the first quarter.  Is it my imagination, or does Cutler look better than Eli now?  Something's not clicking on that O.  Brandon Jacobs is a beast, though.  Key stat: Giants had the fifth worst passer rating (61.10) behind Bengals, Seahawks, Vikings, and Titans.

Alchemy: Dallas Cowboys (+154.1192).

8. Chicago Bears. Not bad for a team with no QB worth a shit.  The D looks energized, and Forte adds a nice rushing component.  The Colts were out of synch, but the Bears could be a surprise team this year.  Key stat: held the mighty Colts passing offense to 5.25 YPA, 8th worst in week 1.

Alchemy:  NY Jets (+134.1412).

9. San Diego Chargers.  I know, they pissed away three quarters of football and lost in the last 0:02.  Merriman is gone for the year, and they have other injuries.  But this seems to be the modus operandi under Norv Turner.  I think they'll bounce back.  Key stats:  Converted only 33.3% of their 3rd down attempts, but allowed only 33.3% of the Panther 3rd down attempts.

Alchemy: New England Patriots   (+91.7771).

10:  Atlanta Falcons.  All right, the week one win came against the pitiful Lions D, and I expect the rookie QB and HC to fall back to earth.  But man, did they lay a beatdown on Detroit.  Props to 'em for now.  Key stat: led all comers with 12.72 YPA.  Amazing.

Alchemy: NY Giants (+72.9207).

11. NY Jets. IMO, the Jets have a shot at coming in second in the AFCE.  They still look like a team made up of components that aren't in synch, but the Favre Effect can't be totally written off.  Might get to 8-8?  Key stat: passer rating of 125.90 put Jets fifth in the week 1 standings.  If Favre can keep that high level of play...

Alchemy:  Tennessee Titans (+53.0849).

12. Indianapolis Colts. I swear, the one closeup of Peyton's knee looked gangrenous.  There's too much talent on this team for them not to bounce back, but did they ever look rusty.  As in, '57 Chevy on blocks in front of the mobile home rusty.  Key stats:that 5.25 YPA and an 81.80 passer rating.  *Yawn*.

Alchemy: New Orleans Saints (+49.2306).

13. Carolina Panthers.  Nice win for Archie Bunker, even without Steve Smith.  Dante Rosario?  Who the hell is that, the maid?!?  Problem with the Panthers is that they are maddening, up and down.  If they can be consistent this year, they could win the division.  Key stats:  see Chargers' key stats.  Magiacally, they're mirror images!

Alchemy: Green Bay Packers (+42.0240).

14. Minnesota Vikings. They looked pretty punchless against a decent Packer D, but if they can get even a little more out of their passing game, and pass D, they could be a solid contender.  Key stat: 59.0 was not your worst passer rating of the week, kids.  Onetime passing powerhouses Cincinnati and Seattle ranked lower.

Alchemy: San Francisco 49ers (+41.1360).

15. New Orleans Saints. Too bad Colston will be out.  I'm still not sold on the Saints D or running game, but for now, they're winning.  Key stat: Reggie Bush 112 yards.  Receiving.

Alchemy: San Diego Chargers (+40.8121).

16. Tennessee Titans.  Was surprise of Jacksonville more because of how far Jacksonville has fallen?  Will anyone care that Kerry Collins is replacing Vince Young?  Some key IOL injuries will hurt.  Key stat: 1.9 YPC allowed.

Alchemy: Chicago Bears (+38.7408).

17. Arizona Cardinals.
Well, someone has to win this Godforsaken division.  Key stat: gouged for 5.4 YPC, fourth worst.

Alchemy: Arizona Cardinals (+31.3554).

18. Jacksonville Jaguars.
Where did the rushing game go?  Did not look at all like the same team as the one that came out and dominated on D, and with a strong rush the last few years.  Key stat: 1.9 YPC?  Really?

Alchemy: Jacksonville Jaguars (+2.3555).

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
 Fought gamely with the Saints, but did not look as dominant as last year on D.  Key stat: leading receiver, Joey Galloway, 56 yards.

Alchemy:  Carolina Panthers (-21.6913).
20. Baltimore Ravens.
OK, they got by the Bengals, which ain't sayin' much.  But they, like the Falcons, did it with a rookie QB and HC.  Let's see how the D does against a better offense before saying they're the Ravens D of yore.  The running game needs to figure out who's in charge, because Flacco will need help.  Key stat:  leading rusher, LeRon McClain (FB), 86 yards.  Followed by Ray Rice, Mark Clayton, and Joe Flacco.  Notice Willis McGahee's name anywhere?

Alchemy: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-67.7201).

21. New England Patriots.  
OK, they barely eked out Herm Edwards's atrocious Chiefs.  No Brady?  No secondary?  Defense taking Geritol shots at halftime?  I'm sorry, but these media types who say the Pats will still win 11 or 12 games are just snorting fairy dust.  This team will still be floating around 0.500, but I think they fall even short of that, 6 or 7 wins.  It's a cascade effect of problems, more than wishful thinking.  How long till Randy Moss turns?  Key stat: 103.80 passer rating (for team) ranks a not-bad 11th best this week.  Don't expect that versus real teams.

Alchemy: Miami Dolphins (-68.9508).

22.  Miami Dolphins.
As much as Favre added some much needed zip to the Jets O, Chad Pennington will add some much needed consistency to the Fins' O.  Figure the turnaround under Parcells will be faster than expected.  Not there yet, but they didn't get blown out by the Jets.  Key stat: Ricky Williams 10 rushes for 24 yards, Ronnie Brown 6 rushes for 23 yards.

Alchemy: Kansas City Chiefs (-93.4341).

23. Seattle Seahawks.
OK, they looked like shit, and Holmgren may be plotting his escape.  But they did have a lot of wounded, who should be coming back in the weeks ahead.  Key stats: 4.63 YPA was third worst, and 53.9 passer rating was second worst.  Uck.

Alchemy: Indianapolis Colts (-113.1775).

24. Detroit Lions.
 Not sure which is sad-funnier: Matt Millen still having a job, or Kitna's annual delusions of playoff potential.  But the Lions will still get 6 wins just because they have a potent passing game.  Key stat: you lost to Atlanta, bitches.  Key stat II: 7.6 YPC worst in the league, possibly among worst ever.

Alchemy: Washington Redskins (-128.4814).

25. Washington Redskins.
Giving the reins of the Washington Redskins to Jim Zorn is like giving some pimply kid the keys to a '98 Ford Taurus and watch him promptly drive it right into a fucking tree.  Even if Zorn gets his coaching shit together, they're still just a Ford Taurus.  Key stat: Jason Campbell, 133 yards passing.

Alchemy: Minnesota Vikings (-131.2620)

26. Houston Texans.
Houston was supposed to be one of those sleeper teams this year, with Andre Johnson and Matt Schaub both back and healthy.  Pittsburgh pretty much exposed this Texans team as a farce by the end of the first quarter.  Three bright spots: held their own last year in a tough AFCS, even with injuries; the Cleveland Browns suffered similar humiliation last year in the opener versus the Steelers and bounced back; Mario Williams, man-beast.  Key stat: 5 sacks allowed versus a potent Steeler pass rush.  If this were to continue, it wouyld extrapolate to 80 sacks on the year.  Luckily for them, not every team they play has James Harrison and Lamarr Woodley.

Alchemy: Seattle Seahawks (-151.3136).

27. Cleveland Browns.
 Just a horrendous opener.  Dallas is a solid team, but what about all those free agent acquisitions the Browns traded their future for?  What'd they do?  Key stats: 5.4 YPC fourth worst; 72.7% 3rd down conversions allowed worst in league.  And now they have two injured starting safeties.  Could the defense possibly get worse?  A: yes.

Alchemy: Oakland Raiders (-166.3349).

28. San Francisco 49ers.
Every time the Niners and Cards play, the game is so boring it makes people's brains bleed.  Every person in the stadium, bleeding from the brain.  People tuning into the game at home, bleeding from the brain.  Just clicking by, and land on the game for a second?  Bleeding.  Key stat: leading receiver, Frank Gore, 55 yards.  Some fucking high-powered O, Mike Martz.

Alchemy: Houston Texans (-182.1529).

29. Oakland Raiders.
Their D is getting better.  They have a strong-armed second year QB, and a phenom rookie RB.  And what do they do?  Come out and lay an egg.  Why?  Because the Al Davis model for building a team makes the Danny Snyder model look like the epitome of patience and vision.  They have some pices, though.  12-year old Lane Kiffin struggling to put everything together with the breath of Mr. Death on his neck.  Key stat: 111.10 passer rating actually 9th best this week.

Alchemy: Detroit Lions (-231.5082).

30. Kansas City Chiefs.
 The best thing I can say about the Chiefs is that they're not the Rams or the Bengals.  Key stats: Larry Johnson, on one run, 22 yards.  21 runs, 2.48 YPC.

Alchemy: Cincinnati Bengals (-239.8772).

31. St. Louis Rams.
Horrid last year, horrid this year.  Linehan should be an early ax this year.  You'd think with Bulger and Jackson, there'd be some bright spots to their game, but no, not really.  Key stats:  ZERO for 11 on 3rd down.  With Steven Jackson.  I mean, holy shit.  Mark Bulger 158 yards passing.  Tory Holt, 1 catch, 9 yards.

Alchemy: St. Louis Rams (-254.9431).

32.  Cincinnati Bengals.
OK, I smelled collapse with this team for a while.  I think Palmer's bloody nose in the preseason was the image that cemented it.  Their D is shit.  Their WRs are hurting.  Their once-solid OL is weak.  Lewis can't keep them together.  I can't see them getting past 3 wins.  Key stats: NFL-worst 3.92 YPA (!).  League-worst 32.30 passer rating (!).  Second-worst 3rd down conversions (15.4%).   5.0 YPC allowed.  Palmer 99 yards passing (!).  Eight total first downs.  Just miserable.

Alchemy:  Cleveland Browns (-272.0374).

Out of my mind on Saturday night...
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« Reply #1 on: Sep 12, 2008 at 08:53 »

Uh, nice list.  Ever consider submitting it to one of the networks for publication?  You know what, scratch that.  They'd be too confused whif all dems numbuhs.

1. Finny:  Philadelphia Eagles.  [/b]Conventional wisdom puts the Cowboys here, but both teams played low level of competition teams.  The Eagles didn't let their opponent off the mat, allowing only 3 points, whereas the Cowboys did allow 10.  Plus, Donovan McNabb had huge stats with one starting WR out, and another hurting.  Key stat: Only week 1 team not to allow a third down conversion.

BTW...I'm not sure how much it skews your calculations, but I'm pretty sure that the Cowboys also accomplished the same feat.  I think Cleveland was something like 0 fer 11 or 0 fer 12 on 3rd downs.

Is it my imagination, or does Cutler look better than Eli now?

Not just better...way better.
Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #2 on: Sep 12, 2008 at 09:05 »

BTW...I'm not sure how much it skews your calculations, but I'm pretty sure that the Cowboys also accomplished the same feat.  I think Cleveland was something like 0 fer 11 or 0 fer 12 on 3rd downs.
Browns converted 3 of 9 (33.3%), according to ESPN.

Thanks for the kudos, mon.

Out of my mind on Saturday night...
Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #3 on: Sep 19, 2008 at 15:20 »

Week 3 Ratings

Got the stats from CBS Sportsline, and some of them look a little funny.  Will revert to ESPN next week.   Sorry, not all teams got key stats, I just cherry-picked a few.

1. Dallas Cowboys, 2-0 (Prev: 3).  I think the top 5 or so have yet to stake a case as best of show, but the Boys did beat the team I had ranked #1 last week (Eagles), and look like an offensive juggernaut.  As I mentioned before, Felix Jones is a real nice addition on kick returns and to spell Barber, and improves the Julius Jones-Barber tandem.  The defense gave up a lot versus Philly, but that game was just pure adrenaline.  Something tells me this team is a 13-3 type team that might show some cracks if they run into a real miserly defense.  For now, they

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« Reply #4 on: Sep 19, 2008 at 23:57 »

I'm looking forward to seeing how your alchemy works out over the full season.  The top end looks a little screwy, but that's 2 games in.

A shabby Charlie Brown.
Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #5 on: Sep 26, 2008 at 16:01 »

Week 4 Ratings

1. Dallas Cowboys, 3-0 (1). They've beaten the Eagles and the Packers, not to mention the flailing Browns.  They continue to show that they are an offensive juggernaut, playing against a better LOC than the Broncos, another such juggernaut.  I wonder if they're getting too comfortable, or if allowing more points than any other team in the NFCE is going to catch up with them.  Still, until someone knocks them down a peg, the Cowboys look like the best here.

Alchemy:  Philadelphia Eagles, 177.0325 pts.

2. Philadelphia Eagles, 2-1 (3).
 Sure, McNabb's hurt, Westrbook is hurt, and their WRs are a pretty no-name bunch, aside from the premature ejaculator of footballs DeSean Jackson.  But that pass rush they unleashed on the Steelers was fucking wicked, and the Eagles can hang with anyone.  Remember, they were on their way to a late win over Dallas when Westbrook fumbled.  Bears this week may challenge the stinging Eagles, but Eagles should prevail.

Alchemy:  Baltimore Ravens, 157.9808 pts.

3. Buffalo Bills, 3-0 (4).  
Bills escaped a game where they were caught napping, and now are without the services of KR-WR Parrish, but I think they're playing some scrappy ball.  After road trips to St. Louis and Arizona, these Bills could easily be 5-0 heading into the bye week.  A week 7 matchup with San Diego will be a good test.  

Alchemy:  Buffalo Bills, 146.6355 pts.

4. Tennessee Titans, 3-0 (10).  
The Vince Young drama aside, these Titans have really been flying under the radar.  Against Jacksonville, Cinci, and Houston, they've allowed only 9.33 points per game, and heading into last week had only been giving up 1.9 yards per carry.  Kerry Collins limits the upside here, but right now the Titans (like the Bills) seem to have everything going their way, including a two-game lead over 1-2 Jacksonville and Indy.

Alchemy:  Dallas Cowboys, 112.4052 pts.

5. San Diego Chargers, 1-2 (7).
The Chargers are playing pissed right now, and with LT back in the swing of things, and Rivers staking the highest team YPA and passer rating, it looks like they're following the mold of teams who can put up points despite questions on D (Cowboys, Broncos).  Put me down for wins against Oakland, Miami, and New England to see the Chargers get to 4-2 and back in contention for the AFCW.  

Alchemy: Tennessee Titans, 110.8852 pts.

6. Denver Broncos, 3-0 (6).
 Broncos are blessed with a freakish bad call win over the Chargers, or they'd share a 2-1 record with that team.  They're also blessed with a creampuff sched: @Kansas City, Tampa Bay,  Jacksonville, @New England, Miami, @Cleveland, @Atlanta, Oakland, @N.Y. Jets, Kansas City, @Carolina, Buffalo, @San Diego.   That smells like about a 12-4 record, IMO, although I wouldn't bet any money on Denver advancing far into the playoffs.  The thing is, Cutler is playing well for the Broncos, and I suspect their D will improve some.

Alchemy:  NY Giants, 102.7667.

7. Green Bay Packers, 2-1 (5).
 Packers held the Cowboys to a 13-6 halftime lead, but couldn't get their offense on track.  I can't downgrade them too much for losing to the Cowboys, and despite the loss of Al Harris, I think the D is pretty good, and the offense will rebound.  This team has some weapons, but just needs to find its swagger,

Alchemy:  San Diego Chargers, 102.1445 pts.

8. Pittsburgh Steelers, 2-1 (3).
Steelers got a drubbing at the hands of the Eagles pass rush, but the D allowed them only 15 points on offense.  The Steelers litany of woes is well-versed on these boards: playcalling, protection, Ben not making hot reads, injuries to Parker and Hampton and Keisel.  Still, with the ravenous Raven D coming into town for a big Monday Night Football throwdown, I suspect the Steelers show they've got more in the tank than they've showed the past couple of weeks.  

Alchemy:  San Francisco 49ers, 86.7149.

9. NY Giants, 3-0 (8).
 Last week I dropped them from 7 to 8 to make way for the 0-2 Chargers, and this week they drop again while retaining the SB crown, a 3-0 record, and their place in football's toughest division.  What gives?  Well, I'd be happy to overlook one game where a team almost trips them up, even the Bengals, who forced overtime.  But I stand by my concerns from last week:

How do you leapfrog an 0-2 team over the 2-0 Super Bowl champs? Well, first of all, the Giants have beaten a so-so Redskins team and an atrocious Rams team. But level of competition aside, I see a potentially troubling trend. In the Redskins win, the Giants

Out of my mind on Saturday night...
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