Tuesday, January 5, 2010

NFL Wrapup: APR vs ESPN

Starting with week 4, I included a contrast of APR's power rankings with ESPN's weekly power rankings. This is the final installment of the series for the 2009 season, along with a summary of the teams that appeared on these lists over the regular season.

Teams that ESPN likes more than APR, week 17:

Cardinals (+11)
APR had the Cardinals as high as #4 in week 13 after they beat the Vikings. Since then, they had an embarrassing loss to the 49ers, a couple lackluster wins over the Lions and Rams, and finished up with a no-show game against the Packers. Even if you discount that final game, it hasn't been an impressive home stretch for the Cardinals.

Colts (+10)
APR doesn't take into account when teams rest their players. All it knows is the Colt lost to a very weak Bills team by 23 points.

Teams that APR likes more than ESPN, week 17:

Panthers (-15)
I will admit the Panthers are not the #3 team in the league right now. But they did show some definite improvement down the stretch, and probably deserve to be ranked higher than #18, where ESPN has them.

Buffalo (-11), Jets (-11)
On the other hand, APR clearly has the Bills, and particularly the Jets ranked way too high. As I mentioned several times through the season, APR seems to give a single big win too much weight. It's something I will try to fix over the off-season.

Teams that ESPN liked more than APR, regular season

Giants (7 weeks)
The Giants got off to a 5-0 start, and ESPN was in love. The trouble was 4 of those teams (Redskins, Buccaneers, Chiefs, and Raiders) were all dogs, and APR knew it. The Giants won just 3 more games after that.

Bengals (4 weeks)
The Bengals look a lot like paper tigers this season. Seven of their wins are by a touchdown or less. That means (like in the loss to the Raiders), all it takes for them to lose is one late game error. It's not the sign of a team that will do well in the playoffs.

Eagles, Packers (3 weeks), Cardinals, Chargers, Colts, Vikings (1 week)

Teams that APR liked more than APR, regular season

Jets (6 weeks)
As discussed above, this was APR giving too much weight to individual wins, along with a couple division winners laying down for them at the end of the season.

Panthers (5 weeks)
The Panthers benefitted from the same quirk, but at least with them I can point to a couple upset wins over the Cardinals and Vikings, along with a strong 3-1 finish.

Titans (4 weeks)
The Titans also benefitted from APR's love of wins, rising very quickly once they started their winning streak.

Cardinals, Texans (3 weeks), 49ers (2 weeks), Bills, Dolphins, Patriots (1 week)