Sunday, November 3, 2013

2013-11-2: WSDL NFL Power Rankings Week 9

We are halfway through the 2013 NFL season and it is time for our WSDL mid-season rankings. Both conferences have one winless team, Jacksonville in the AFC and Tampa Bay in the NFC.  The NFC is looking rather lackluster this year with no standout teams so far. The NFC East teams in particular need to get their acts together. The AFC appears to be dominating the League with  a number of teams that are performing quite well. Two teams that show up on the top of every power ranking list are the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Kansas City has a great defense, using our efficiency ratings they are rated as the fifth best defense in the league. However a good defense will only get you so far when your offense is ranked at 27th out of 32. Denver on the other hand has the highest ranked offense in our system with a lot of that on Peyton Mannings shoulders. A good passing offense correlates quite well with a team that wins games.

Here is where our ranking system rates each of the teams. The size of each circle is the rank of the team, larger circle, higher rank. The arrows are wins and point from the loser to the winner.





Our ranking system is based on Google's PageRank algorithm. It is explained in some detail in past posts. A directed graph is created to represent the current years season. Each team is represented by a node in the graph. For every game played a directed edge is created from the loser pointing to the winner and it is weighted by the Margin of Victory. 

In the Pagerank model each link from a webpage i to webpage j causes webpage i to give some of its own Pagerank to webpage j.  This is often characterized as webpage i voting for webpage j. In our system the losing team essentially votes for the winning team with a number of votes equal to the margin of victory. Last week Denver beat the Redskins 45 to 21, in the graph a directed edge from the Redskins to Denver with a weight of 24 was created.

Our rankings differ from most of the others you will find. One of the reasons is that our algorithm takes the  strength of schedule into account. Denver has the EASIEST strength of schedule out of the entire league and Kansas City is only a few teams above them. Kansas City is the most over-rated team in the league according to our ratings with the largest difference between our rating and the average of power rankings found on the Internet.

We are not saying that one or the other isn't going to go to the playoffs because neither one has more than one or two good opponents in the schedule, they will continue to win against mediocre opponents. Look for them to stumble against good teams and they are scheduled to play each other twice in the second half of the season.

Our rankings:

Indianapolis Colts         0.103362928
San Diego Chargers      0.076939541
Cincinnati Bengals       0.070915973
New England Patriots   0.059724726
Cleveland Browns        0.055835742      
San Francisco 49ers      0.050768683       
New Orleans Saints      0.047412718       
Oakland Raiders           0.047354270      
Denver Broncos            0.044543605      
Seattle Seahawks          0.043283728      
Miami Dolphins           0.041914789      
Green Bay Packers       0.041591108       
Kansas City Chiefs       0.034758260       
Detroit Lions                0.027743700      
Tennessee Titans          0.025216934      
New York Jets               0.022644022     
Chicago Bears               0.022401144      
Arizona Cardinals         0.021622872      
Houston Texans             0.021445405      
Baltimore Ravens          0.019740968      
Washington Redskins    0.017983031      
Dallas Cowboys            0.014199985      
Carolina Panthers          0.013691420      
St. Louis Rams              0.012693121      
Pittsburgh Steelers         0.010377841      
Buffalo Bills                  0.009797045      
Philadelphia Eagles       0.008701059     
New York Giants           0.007876355      
Atlanta Falcons              0.007223360      
Minnesota Vikings         0.007014133      
Jacksonville Jaguars      0.005610766      
Tampa Bay Buccaneers  0.005610766       

--Greg Szalkowski

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