Tuesday, October 4, 2011

NFL Week 4 APR vs. ESPN

What this is

A comparison of APR's Week 4 power rankings with ESPN's rankings for the same week of games. This acts as a sanity check (both ways) to see what teams are over- or underrated.

Only teams that are at least 9 positions apart are listed. The number in parentheses is the difference between APR's rank and ESPN's rank.

Teams ESPN likes more than APR:

Chargers (+11)
The Chargers are one of those teams ESPN loves to love. But with three relatively close wins against teams that are a combined 1-11, they've got a long way to go to deserve a spot in the top 10.
Steelers (+10)
The Steelers just aren't as dominating as they were last year. Ironically, they looked as competitive as they have all season in Sunday's loss, but the fact remains they're 2-2 and still looking for a win over a quality opponent.
Buccaneers (+10)
The Bucs are another team with three close wins against opponents that are a combined 1-11. Unlike the Chargers, the wins have been really close (by 4, 3, and 7 points). One of the things I've learned from watching APR work: a lot of close wins against bad teams is a very reliable sign of a team that will lose consistently against even mid-level opponents.
On the bubble:
Giants (+7), Texans (+7), Browns (+6)

Teams APR likes more than ESPN:

Broncos (-13)
To the Broncos credit, they did play close games against three pretty good teams. Unfortunately, they went 1-2 in those games, and then got destroyed by the Packers.
Bengals (-11)
Maybe it's just the soft bigotry of low expectations, but to my eye, the Bengals have been doing surprisingly well this year. And with the Jaguars, Colts, and Seahawks coming up, they could actually be 5-2 going into week 9.
On the bubble:
Cowboys (-8), Raiders (-7)
Tony Romo would find it a lot easier to shake that 'choker' label if he would stop doing it.