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Really simple ratings

Posted by Doug on September 28, 2007

Simple rating system rankings through three weeks of play are obviously going to be subject to a lot of small-sample-size-fueled zaniness (it's unlikely that the Eagles will score 56 points in a third of their games this year, for instance). But I think they're kind of fun if you look at them in the right context. The right context, in my opinion, is this: what would an alien, who had never heard of Tom Brady or Brett Favre or Adrian Peterson or Rex Grossman or any other NFL player, think about the relative strengths of the NFL teams if he had just seen the scores of these three weeks worth of games? Such an alien wouldn't have any reason to think (or not think) that the Packers are a fraud, and he doesn't have any opinion on whether or not the 49ers have a true ability to win close games despite getting blown out in their losses. He'd just see teams beating other teams. Here are the ratings:

nwe 2007   27.4    1.1    3- 0-0
gnb 2007   23.6   12.9    3- 0-0
dal 2007   21.7    4.7    3- 0-0
phi 2007   17.8    9.8    1- 2-0
pit 2007   15.6   -8.0    3- 0-0
was 2007   12.2   10.8    2- 1-0
nyg 2007   10.8   19.2    1- 2-0
sdg 2007   10.2   16.8    1- 2-0
ind 2007    7.5   -5.5    3- 0-0
hou 2007    5.0   -3.0    2- 1-0
mia 2007    3.8   11.5    0- 3-0
nyj 2007    0.6    9.9    1- 2-0
sea 2007    0.2   -4.5    2- 1-0
ten 2007   -0.4   -6.4    2- 1-0
chi 2007   -0.5    7.8    1- 2-0
bal 2007   -1.5   -2.5    2- 1-0
cin 2007   -3.9   -3.2    1- 2-0
ari 2007   -4.2   -3.2    1- 2-0
tam 2007   -5.4  -13.4    2- 1-0
jax 2007   -5.6   -9.6    2- 1-0
min 2007   -5.8  -10.8    1- 2-0
det 2007   -6.2   -0.6    2- 1-0
buf 2007   -7.5   10.8    0- 3-0
car 2007   -8.0  -10.7    2- 1-0
sfo 2007   -8.3   -2.6    2- 1-0
cle 2007   -8.3   -0.7    1- 2-0
kan 2007   -8.4   -0.4    1- 2-0
den 2007  -10.6   -9.0    2- 1-0
oak 2007  -13.7   -8.4    1- 2-0
atl 2007  -17.8   -6.5    0- 3-0
stl 2007  -19.2   -7.2    0- 3-0
nor 2007  -21.1    0.6    0- 3-0

Remember, we can interpret the numbers as follows, taking the Chargers as an example:

sdg 2007   10.2   16.8    1- 2-0

San Diego's literal average margin this season has been -6.6 points per game. But their average opponent has a rating of 16.8, so they have morally been 10.2 points per game better than an average team. The alien doesn't see a struggling star running back or a bumbling coach, he just sees a team that is losing, but is losing to very good teams, and by less than other teams are losing to those very good teams. So they must be pretty decent. Likewise, he knows nothing about Denver's talent and their track record of having solid teams, he just sees a team that has struggled to beat a couple of teams that aren't beating anybody and lost to a team that hasn't really played anybody.

The game scores really show no reason at all to believe that San Diego is bad or that Denver is any good this year. Does that tell us anything about what will happen in weeks 4 through 17? Probably not. But it's just fun sometimes to strip away all the preconceived notions and see what's left.

This entry was posted on Friday, September 28th, 2007 at 4:01 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.