Tuesday, December 24, 2013

NFL Week 16 APR vs. ESPN

And here's this week's version. Now with actual subject line. (What can I say, I went into town today.)

What this is

A comparison of APR's Week 16 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 with the widest differential are listed. The number in parentheses is the difference between APR's rank and ESPN's rank.

Teams ESPN likes more than APR:

Packers (+11)
The Packers' defense is somewhere between weak and flat-out awful. And Matt Flynn is prone to interceptions, fumbles, and late game confusion. Like I said in the week 15 writeup, without Aaron Rodgers, the Packers don't belong anywhere near the middle of the power rankings.
Bears (+8)
ESPN somehow holds the Bears steady after their 43-point beat down at the hands of the Eagles. And besides their awful defense, quarterback Jay Cutler has been playing poorly enough to generate calls to bench him in favor of career backup Josh McCown.
Cowboys (+7)
ESPN raises the Cowboys 3 spots for their last-minute 1 point win over the hapless Redskins. The Cowboys are really not a very good team, and if Tony Romo can't finish the season, it's gonna be that much worse for them.
On the Bubble
APR and ESPN both drop the Chiefs (+6) 4 spots on their home loss to the Colts. They really haven't looked very good since that 9-0 start.
APR and ESPN both raise the Colts (+6) 2 spots on their road win over the Chiefs. It's easily their most impressive win since beating the Broncos in week 7.

Teams APR likes more than ESPN:

Buccaneers (-11)
I'm not really sure why APR raised the Bucs 3 spots after their 10-point loss to the Rams. Another double-digit loss next week, and Coach Schiano could be out.
Rams (-10)
The good news for the Rams is they're just one win away from their first 8-win season since 2006. The bad news is, they'll be in Seattle, facing a Seahawks team that needs one more win to clinch the division and the top seed. On the other hand, the Rams have a few impressive upsets on their schedule, and are 4-2 in their last 6 games.
On the bubble:
The Giants (-6) disasterous 0-6 start pretty much wrecked their chances for the playoffs. But they've gone 6-3 since then, and don't really belong in the bottom 10 teams of the power rankings.
Similarly, the Steelers (-6) have gone 7-4 since their 0-4 start, and actually have a sliver of a chance to sneak into the playoffs. But APR probably has them ranked too high at #12.