Tuesday, January 31, 2012

NFL Wrapup: APR vs. ESPN, 2011

Starting with week 4, I posted a contrast of APR's power rankings with ESPN's weekly power rankings. This is the 2011 season wrap-up for that series of posts.

For each week, a team is counted if it has a ±8 differential listed.

Teams ESPN liked more than APR:

Giants (5 weeks, 3 weeks on the bubble)
ESPN had them ranked as high as #6 (after their win over the Patriots), while APR had them ranked as low as #27 (after their loss to the Seahawks). It would be easy to make a post-hoc justification of EPSN's ranking based on the Giants' Super Bowl appearance, but the fact is, the Giants had, for the most part, a very unremarkable regular season.
Steelers (3 weeks)
The Steelers had a rocky start to the season, including an embarrassing week 1 loss to the Ravens, and a 3-point win over the hapless Colts that came on a last-second field goal. As a result, they spent 3 weeks right on the edge of this category.
Raiders (2 weeks, 2 weeks on the bubble)
When Jason Campbell and Darren McFadden were both healthy, the Raiders probably were the class of the AFC West. After they went down, their various replacements simply never preformed at that same level.
Chargers (2 weeks, 1 week on the bubble)
The Chargers have had a reputation of slow starts and strong finishes in the regular season. As a result, ESPN has developed a habit of overlooking those slow starts. The trouble is, the other AFC West teams are no longer as weak as they once were, and so those strong finishes are not so easy to come by.
Chiefs (1 week, 3 weeks on the bubble), Lions (1 week, 1 week on the bubble), Buccaneers (1 week)

Teams APR liked more than ESPN:

Cowboys (3 weeks, 2 weeks on the bubble)
The Cowboys played a lot of good (or, at least contending) teams close, which APR likes. The problem was, too many times they came out on the losing end of "close".
Dolphins (3 weeks, 2 weeks on the bubble)
The Dolphins had a late-season surge, which raised them up in APR's rankings. Unfortunately, it was too late to contend for a playoff spot, which got them ignored by ESPN.
Seahawks (2 weeks, 2 weeks on the bubble)
The Seahawks are another team that had a combination of close losses and a late season surge. But they were an also-ran team in what has been one of the weakest divisions, and were never really in contention for a playoff spot.
Bengals (2 weeks, 2 weeks on the bubble)
The Bengals only had one win against a team with a winning record, but they did manage to go 6-2 the first half of the season, which impressed APR more than ESPN.
Eagles (2 weeks)
Another team with a too-little, to-late late season surge. They could be a real contender for the NFC East next year.
Broncos (2 weeks)
APR liked the Broncos early, when they had some close losses to teams that were doing well.
Jaguars (1 week, 2 weeks on the bubble)