Last Seasons Power Rankings

By | August 19, 2013

The NFL has tried to bring as much parity to the game as possible.  As a result we now see teams that barely make the playoffs go on to win the Super Bowl.  An argument can be made that the last 3 Super Bowl winners were all a play away from not making the playoffs at all.  That is a far cry from the days of the power house teams of the 70’s 80’s and 90’s.  In those decades there was not much doubt as to the best team each season, with a few exceptions.

In 2010 the Packers would not have made the playoffs had it not been for a dramatic punt return for TD by Desean Jackson with time running out in the Philadelphia/NY Giants game.  Without that TD the Giants make the playoffs and the Packers are out.  In 2011 I can name at least 5 plays or bad calls that went the Giants way during the regular season.  Without those plays the Giants do not make the playoffs.  Same holds true of Baltimore last season.

My point here is not that these teams did not deserve to win but that the difference between the teams who barely miss the playoffs and those winning Super Bowls is not very great.  So how can we use this as a bettor to find value?

Firstly I like to look at my power rankings from last season to get a picture of what “should” have happened as opposed to what did happen.

Rank Teams Power Rating
1 Denver 30.26
2 New England 29.07
3 Seattle 28.06
4 San Francisco 27.90
5 Green Bay 25.15
6 Chicago 24.50
7 Houston 24.44
8 Atlanta 24.37
9 NY Giants 23.68
10 Cincinnati 23.29
11 Baltimore 23.25
12 Pittsburgh 22.96
13 Washington 22.89
14 Carolina 22.73
15 Minnesota 22.14
16 Dallas 21.97
17 Detroit 21.95
18 New Orleans 21.38
19 Tampa Bay 20.51
20 St. Louis 20.48
21 San Diego 19.77
22 Miami 18.59
23 Indianapolis 18.21
24 Cleveland 17.91
25 NY Jets 17.60
26 Arizona 17.22
27 Philadelphia 17.05
28 Buffalo 16.94
29 Oakland 15.98
30 Tennessee 14.82
31 Kansas City 13.74
32 Jacksonville 12.79

Playoff teams

This is the breakdown of the power rankings going into the playoffs last season.  We can see right away some rankings that may surprise you.  The Colts 23rd, Bears 6th, Baltimore 11th.  These may all be a bit surprising.  But this is the nature of the NFL.  You are not going to have a team in the NBA miss the playoffs who has a chance to win the title.  Probably the same in the NHL and to a degree in MLB.  The NFL will always have teams make the playoffs that would be underdogs on a neutral field to a team not in the playoffs.  Handicapping teams to win the Super Bowl and win totals then presents special challenges in the NFL.  But it also allows for some good value because of it.

This week I will be going over the undervalued and overvalued teams in the league this season based on last year and changes made to their teams this season.  In the meantime have a look at the rankings above and try and figure out for yourself who you think were a bit lucky or unlucky and who can surprise this season.

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