Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

31 May 2006

FO on FOX: Off-season Power Rankings

DVOA? We don't need no stinkin' DVOA. For the first time, Football Outsiders brings you totally, completely subjective power rankings. Let the arguments begin!

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 31 May 2006

140 comments, Last at 08 Jun 2006, 3:51pm by Doug

Comments

1
by ZS (not verified) :: Wed, 05/31/2006 - 10:26pm

This is why I came to FO in the first place. No complaints except for the Giants' spot (fan bias), the Redskin's logo is being shown as the Panthers, and Packers below Lions.

2
by Richie (not verified) :: Wed, 05/31/2006 - 10:41pm

"But don't be surprised if the big surprise in 2006 is how few surprises there are."

What???

3
by Richie (not verified) :: Wed, 05/31/2006 - 10:50pm

I didn't realize the Redskins changed their logo. hehe sorry.

4
by larry (not verified) :: Wed, 05/31/2006 - 11:00pm

he is so wrong on these power rankings everywhere from beginning to the end.

5
by BillWallace (not verified) :: Wed, 05/31/2006 - 11:13pm

Nice rankings. I thought the Jamal Lewis comment was a little overboard. Sure Lewis sucked last year, but he didn't always suck did he? Is it that unlikely that he'll regain some of his form?

Oh and...

The Redskins are clearly ranked too low because they were ranked 9th in the last DVOA and they only got better. the DVOA rankings are way better than this. Sean Taylor is goign to decapitate 3 people this season (2 of them on the field).

6
by JRM (not verified) :: Wed, 05/31/2006 - 11:18pm

They may not score more points this year, but all offensive players will receive a free continental breakfast.

Tremendous! :)

7
by Robert Z. (not verified) :: Wed, 05/31/2006 - 11:38pm

Pretty fair I would say. The only issue with the Chargers' ranking is that they match up extremely well against every team above them except Denver. They showed the league how to beat Indy (Patriots kinda showed the Chargers tho) and that gameplan works just as well against Cinci and Seattle, two teams whos offense is pass-oriented.

The running teams like the Steelers and Broncos give the Chargers a harder time beacause they can rotate fresh backs in.

San Diego is at the top when it comes to stopping the run, but the Defense can get tired when the other team is able to controll the clock on them.

So basically, the Chargers can beat the teams above them, but in terms of league-wide rankings, I think 8th place is fair, considering Rivers will start for the first time.

8
by JMK (not verified) :: Wed, 05/31/2006 - 11:44pm

#5

That's if Taylor doesn't go to jail.

9
by Jon M (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 12:18am

Cool article, thanks, but a couple q's:

1)What's the difference beween "power rankings" and, um, rankings?

2)Does this mean Asante Samuel is a great player under 30? I'll alert his agent.

10
by MJK (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 12:35am

I was wondering myself which CB was the "great player under 30". Even if they re-sign Ty Law, he wouldn't qualify. Hobbs, Samuel, and Gay are competent, but great?

I loved these rankings, though. I especially liked the Ben Affleck-Anthony Hopkins analogy!

11
by MJK (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 12:38am

Robert Z,

How do the Chargers match up particularly well with the Pats or the Steelers? I would think that their offense, which will feature an inexperienced QB and rely heavily on passes to the TE and RB, wouldn't match up particularly well against the complex 3-4 Defense that the Pats and Steelers run.

12
by Travis (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 12:42am

No quibbles about the rankings, but 2 questions:

1. Laurence Maroney is already a great player? I guess Larry Johnson has broken the Big Ten running back curse, but this sounds like jumping the gun a little.

2. Who were the 14 teams to debut a non-rookie QB? Just wondering. (Incidentally, the 1999 Broncos would have lost 2 more games even if Terrell Davis and Shannon Sharpe hadn't gotten hurt. Davis was injured in Week 4, with the Broncos on their way to an 0-4 start, after going 14-2 in 1998. Sharpe was injured the next week.)

13
by DJAnyReason (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 12:50am

The Colts are clearly ranked too low because they lead the league in DVOA last year, the only team that was close (Denver) lost several important pieces of their franchise (Anderson, Kubiak, Putzier), while losing Edge won't hurt Indy's offense too much (51.9% Pass Off., 8.3% Run Off. for Indy last year) and his role in the passing game can be filled by Addai. Objective analysis based on measuring success on a play-by-play basis is way better than this. Personally, I find your ratings rather paltry, but conceed that perhaps it is I who am mistaken.

14
by goldfishassain (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 12:59am

Seachickens #1 !?!

Must be that Westcoast Bias they're always complaining about.

15
by goldfishassain (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 1:00am

RE: #13

Yes you are.

16
by DJAnyReason (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 1:08am

Umm.. now, if I may, on a more serious note...

"only" 5 of 14 teams that debuted a non-rookie QB (and, BTW, depending on how you filtered, it might be a mistake to include Losman) declined by 2 or more games. However, if we assume the probability of winning any given NFL game is 50%, then there is a 29.8% chance of declining by 2 or more wins due to chance. Ergo, using the coin flip model, we'd expect about 4 of those teams to decline by 2 or more games.

It doesn't seem to me that 5 is an absurdly small number - maybe we'd expect more due to the quasi-rookie nature of the QB, but 2 games is still quite a lot.

17
by Kuato (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 1:29am

"Starting Jamal Lewis over Mike Anderson is like a putting on a Broadway production of Macbeth with Ben Affleck in the lead role and Anthony Hopkins as his understudy."

Thanks for the laugh.

Peace

18
by SJM (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 1:31am

"For the first time, Football Outsiders brings you totally, completely subjective power rankings."

Sellouts!

My only real question is how Seatle ended up higher than Pittsburg and maybe the Colts as well. Doesn't an easy schedule count AGAINST a team when analyzing quality compared to other teams? I mean, I know it does in DVOA, but we're throwing that out the window and just looking at possible win/loss records since these rankings aren't statistically based? What's the story?

19
by Robert Z. (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 1:41am

#11

Well the Chargers also feature a 3-4, with possibly the best front 7 in football. If you look back at last year, the Chargers crushed the Patriots in Foxborough - 41 to 17.

You bring up LT and Gates...the two happen to be the best at their positions. Gates had 108 yards and LT had 168 combined and 2 TDs.

The Pats have a decent secondary, but they cannot match up with Gates and LT...they simply lack the personel.

The Chargers D can get to any QB in the league. Thats how you beat the Pats...put pressure on Brady constantly. When you can eliminate the best player on their offense, you have a good chance of beating them.

The Chargers best player on offense is not the QB, its the RB, and then the TE, and then WR, and THEN the QB. That Pats best player is clearly Brady. And last year our defense sacked him and picked him off twice.

The Steelers are very similar to the Chargers in that they play nasty on D and run the ball alot.

So while we put massive pressure on Big Ben, sacking him 3 times, they were still able to hang in there because he is not their best player on offense. Honestly, we couldnt stop Bettis late and he is not there anymore, so I like our chances this year :-)

We have tons of speed on Defense, but its the bigger backs like Bettis and Steven Jackson and Larry Johnson that hurt us the most.

They kicked the game winning field goal with 6 seconds left. 24 - 22

20
by Insancipitory (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 1:43am

As a Seahawks fan let me just say, *cuddle*. Even if you guys are trying to create some sort of all encompassing super curse and on the Internet bind them, *cuddle*.

Like T.O., we Seahawks fans just want unconditional love, is that so wrong.

21
by Nathan (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 1:50am

re: 13

You win the thread. Thanks for playing.

22
by Dan (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 1:53am

Are you serious about putting the Eagles that high? Their receiving threat is horrible. Their #1 receiver as of right now is Todd Pinkston who is coming back from a major injury. McNabb can't do it all by himself and Westbrook is one of the most over rated players in the league. Not to mention the division they are in. They do not have a chance at all this year.

23
by Stevie (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 2:14am

How could you rank the 49ers #32? They have one of the best offensive lines in the game, Alex Smith is a stud and Vernon Davis is a God and we will win at least 6 games...Ok just kidding but I do want to be like Mike. Maybe Im just stung because the Raiders comment rang so true

24
by Robert Z. (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 2:25am

#22

Agree. You can see that they are starting to build up again. They are a pretty old and while they might be competitive, they are at least 1 season away from sniffing the playoffs, especially in that division.

25
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 2:27am

No arguments about rankings (how can one argue about rankings in May?), but one quibble about the comments concerning the Vikings. There is a pretty good chance that the Vikings defensive line will be much better, assuming that they have some luck health-wise. Pat Williams will unlikely be as good, but they are likely to get a lot more production out of Kevin Williams, who was banged up, Erasmus James, and Kenechi Udeze. If that happens, Brian Williams will not be missed, and the Vikings defense will be improved. It's pretty clear that the Vikings are going to try to be very physical in their running attack. If they are successful in this, combined with better production from the defensive line, they have a chance to win ten games or so.

26
by jimmo (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 2:29am

I guess I was wrong about Anthony Hopkins being a better actor than Ben Affleck... My metrics show Affleck put out better movies in 2003 @ 2002 (significantly better in 03 by the way, Gigli probably), while Hopkins clearly rebounded in 05 (must have been Proof, directed by John Madden!, or maybe the World's Fastest Indian, but that was a more of a system film, helped by a good supporting cast and the benefit of a director who knows how to fit his actors into a tested formula).

Unfortunately, both guys took a year off, Hopkins concentrating on theater in 04 and Ben working on someone named Jennifer in 01. I give the edge to Affleck, as his work while Hopkins was onstage was quite a bit better than Sir Anthony's was while Ben played Hollywood leading man off the set.

These guys battled it out as early as 2000, with Hopkins' Grinch voiceover being a slight win over Affleck's religious voice work in Joseph, but Ben's mostly irrelevant extra work in Boiler Room and Reindeer Games receives a passing grade over Hopkins' uncredited and largely negative work in Mission Impossible Two.

Hard to call. I'll take Affleck; even though he's done more work than Hopkins, he's still six years younger. And wasn't Hopkins passed over for a role recently in favor of Josh Hartnett, a guy who never really fulfilled his early leading-man promise, but is seen by his current director as a perfect fit for the tested formula movie he's working on?

27
by Tim Gerheim :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 3:25am

Re 12, 16:

1997 Steelers (Kordell Stewart)
1999 Dolphins (Damon Huard, filling in for Marion)
1999 Broncos (Brian Griese)
2001 Seahawks (Matt Hasselbeck)
1999 Rams (Kurt Warner)
2000 Vikings (Daunte Culpepper)
2002 Jets (Chad Pennington)
2002 Rams (Marc Bulger)
2001 Patriots (Tom Brady)
2002 Chargers (Drew Brees)
2005 Jets (Brooks Bollinger, filling in for Pennington, Fiedler, and maybe Vinny Testaverde)
2004 49ers (Ken Dorsey, filling in for Tim Rattay)
2004 Bengals (Carson Palmer)
2005 Bills (J.P. Losman)

Given that some of those 14 were guys like Brooks Bollinger, 5 is a pretty low number. A team is liable to fall to pieces when a near-rookie Ken Dorsey is quarterbacking it, so when you take those guys out, the fact that only Griese's Broncos, Bulger's Rams, and Losman's Bills really suffered is kind of astonishing.

28
by Ben (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 5:52am

Nice rankings up and down.
Only team I think is too high is Chicago, but only a little.
Jacksonville is certainly better than 17. Jimmy Smith was a nice player but not a gamebreaker and won't hurt them that much. I also object to my beloved Cardinals being 21 but that's just me being in denial.

29
by Travis (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 6:34am

Re: 27

A couple of follow-up questions, asked out of curiosity, not malice:

1. Why are Huard, Bollinger, and Dorsey listed as fill-ins, but not Brady, Warner, Bulger, or Pennington? Because the latter group turned out to be successful? None of them were the starting QBs coming into the season, and all got the job because of injuries.

2. What were the standards in determining whether a QB debuted that season? First career start? A maximum number of passes thrown? Number of years in the league? Why, for example, was Pennington (25 passes before 2002) included, but not Ray Lucas (7 passes before 1999)?

30
by Podge (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 7:34am

RE: #27

Also, the Broncos were bound to decline without Elway, Davis and Sharpe, Marshall Faulk was pretty poor that year with the Rams, and like you said the Bills defence died this year.

Seems that the argument that the Chargers will be terrible just cos they're going with Rivers, even with the rest of the offence as it is, is a bit poor really.

Unless of course the #4 overall pick 2 years ago was the same quality as Brooks Bollinger. Which you would hope isn't the case.

31
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 9:23am

Re: 27

Thanks for the list, it makes for interesting discussion. While I can't argue with the stats, I do think they may not be precise enough to be of much value. For example, Brees has played at a Pro Bowl level the past two years, how many of the guys on this list were attempting to replace someone with those credentials? Griese (replacing Elway), and Bulger (replacing Warner) are the only ones I can think of. And both of those teams did fall more than 2 games.

32
by Dean (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 9:51am

RE#22: So do you hate the Iggles because you're a cowsh!t fan or do you hate the Iggles because you're a foreskins fan? Stinkston will (if healthy) be the #2 behind Reggie Brown - which granted is still one of the worst receiving corps in the league, but it's better then the Trash/Stinkston combo which took them to 3 straight NFC championship games.

As for Westbrook being overrated, that statement alone proves your utter lack of objectivity more then anything I could say.

RE #24 - Old? Isn't this the team who's always getting buried for letting "talent" leave because they're not yet old but getting there? McNabb just turned 30 which is prime age for a QB. Runyan and Thomas are over 30, as is Dawkins. As for starters, that's it. 10 guys on the entire roster are 30+ (and 2 or 3 of them may not be around come September). Lots of HOCKEY teams have more veterans then that on a roster half the size. OLD???

I'm not saying the road to the Super Bowl goes through Philly (for the record, it doesn't). I'm just saying that if the team plays as a unit, they're still the class of the division.

33
by J. Brian Terry (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 10:27am

I was enjoying this list until I read the ludicrous comment regarding Jamal Lewis. All the writer's credibility went down the drain with that gem. Did he only watch the NFL in 2005? Someone should clue him in on all the prior years of football. He should take a look at Lewis / Anderson in 2003, for instance. Jackass!

I guess Fox Sports running this list is like handing pen and paper to a monkey and telling Charles Dickens to take a hike.

34
by ChrisFromNJ (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 10:30am

#32:

Let's whip some stats, shall we:

36-B.Westbrook (rank in parentheses)
DPAR: 6.4 (27)
PAR: 5.5 (31)
DVOA: -4.5% (26)
VOA: -5.9%
Success Rate: 40% (41)

Westbrook just ain't that good. To say otherwise belies *your* lack of objectivity.

That being said, you're probably right that having a bunch of inferior wideouts won't doom the Eagles- but an injury to McNabb will, and as a running quarterback the danger is always there. I think that their healthy and strong defense will ensure an improved team, but the Eagles just don't have a very good offense.

35
by MJK (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 10:39am

I hadn't realized the Chargers front 7 was so highly regarded, but I'll confess that the only Chargers games I saw last year were their victory over the Pats (when neither team could stop the other till halftime, so both defenses were useless), and bits of the game against Miami, where they didn't look so good (I think Miami was very overrated last year).

36
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 10:42am

The Lewis/Anderson comment struck me as a little over the top. While you can certainly wonder about Lewis and whether he will ever regain his earlier form, I can't see why anyone would think Anderson (absent the Denver 'system') is clearly superior.

37
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 11:04am

Let’s whip some stats, shall we:

Ah, yes, the wonderful "let's grab a partial set of stats and present them as the full set."

Add in Westbrook's receiving yards, and his DPAR was ~16 or so. Which is average, or so. But Westbrook was injured last year, and jeez, half the offense was (including his blockers), so going back a year, we've got a DPAR of 15.7 rushing, 14.4 receiving.

Not wonderful, but certainly good.

Westbrook's been in the top 5 for receiving DPAR for RBs for the past few years.

That being said, you’re probably right that having a bunch of inferior wideouts won’t doom the Eagles- but an injury to McNabb will, and as a running quarterback the danger is always there.

McNabb's been injured twice in his career so far, and only once was it related to his scrambling. McNabb's not Vick. He runs to throw, not run. The danger's much less.

I have to say, the description of the Eagles as old is one of the funniest things I've read so far. Philly's probably the youngest team in the NFC East.

38
by C (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 11:09am

I think the Eagles are placed just about right, if not a spot or two too low. People are reading too much into last season without examining the injuries. We'll miss T.O.'s talent, but we made it very far without him. McNabb has some very good targets who can do some great things with the ball, including Westbrook, LJ Smith and Reggie Brown. If they can get some production out of Jabar Gafney, who is free of the Texans' losing situration, or Pinkston, who was good as number two to T.O., then that's just a bonus. The Defensive, which is the true strength of the team, will be much better this year, with Darren Howard and Bunkley added to the mix. Teams won't have all day to throw on us this year.

39
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 11:42am

Wow, all this stuff about the Lewis/Anderson cheap shot (I just figured Ryan wrote that comment, as usual).

How's Curt Schilling pitching this year, btw? Is he still the same piece of crap he was last year, or has he improved significantly? Since he and Lewis had the same surgery, that might give you an indication of whether or not Lewis has any rebound. And Anderson is a marked improvement over Chester Taylor, this year's most over-hyped free agent.

40
by Greg (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 11:44am

The Bears are not better than the Redskins. The Eagles are not better than the Redskins. Larry Johnson is better than all the teams listed above him.

41
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 12:05pm

Since he and Lewis had the same surgery, that might give you an indication of whether or not Lewis has any rebound.

Schilling appears to be struggling at running around the bases at top speed, dodging tags, and running through infielders to get to the base, so I think Lewis might struggle.

On the other hand, if Lewis decides to switch to quarterback, he should be fine.

42
by Chad Dukes (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 12:36pm

Re: #8

Sean Taylor plead to two misdemeanors....no jail time...community service and then training camp!

43
by Jason (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 12:36pm

When he talks about teams with a YOung Defense suddenly Jellying I don't see why he doesn't mention GB, they could potentially be very good.

*They have 2 legitimate playmakers on the D Line (KGB, Pickett)

*They have 2 legitimate playmakers at LB (Barnett, Hawk)

*They have 2 legitimate playmakers at DB (Harris, Woodson)

How many teams have 2 legitimate playmakers at all 3 spots on defense

44
by charles 2.0 (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 12:40pm

It looks like the bears and seahawks will againg hold the two top seeds in the nfc. Nfc south and east are too deep for a team to win more than 11 games.

45
by Ryan Mc (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 12:46pm

re 27: and, for what it's worth, Bulger was 5-0 as a starter for St Louis, so the dropoff in wins wasn't the result of the Rams having to play him.

The comment on the Vikings is that their season turned around when Brian Williams began starting. I thought their season turned around when they started playing poor opponents. Their first seven games featured losses to Cincy, Chicago, Tampa and Carolina, who were all extremely strong 11-5 teams. The rest of their season featured only three games versus decent opponents, a fluke win over NYG when they returned two kicks and an INT for TDs, a thrashing at home by Pitt, and a meaningless win in the season finale over Chicago's second and third-stringers.

All 2005 showed was that the Vikings are better than bad teams and worse than good teams.

Kudos for ranking the Dolphins #15. I've seen a lot of excitement in other places this offseason for a team that has age issues on defense, lost a very useful backup RB to suspension and has a big question mark at QB.

46
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 12:55pm

Sean Taylor plead to two misdemeanors….no jail time…community service and then training camp!

Well, that's assuming he doesn't screw up again. It's 18 months probation, so they'll have a much shorter leash if he does anything again.

47
by Mikey (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 1:01pm

27 -

Thanks for posting the full list.

Why is the standard a decline of at least two wins? In San Diego's case, as a 9-7 team they probably need to improve by a game to be a playoff team.

Of the eight teams on your list that had a winning record prior to debuting a non-rookie QB, only two of them improved the following year. None of them matched their prior record and the other six went backwards.

The analysis is skewed by the inclusion of four teams that were 6-10 or worse, teams that are unlikely to decline by two or more games under any circumstances. Of the 92 teams that have finished 6-10 or worse since 1996 - the same span as the non-rookie QB analysis - only 3 of 92 have declined by two wins or more the following year. 70 of 92 improved. I don't think the results of teams coming off a 6-10 or worse season are applicable to a discussion of what will happen with Rivers and the 9-7 Chargers.

I'll be duly impressed if Rivers is a short-term positive for the Chargers. I have to expect that they'll go backwards this year.

48
by wrmjr (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 1:04pm

Pat #37,

I was curious about whether the Eagles were the youngest team in the NFC East. Unfortunately, most team rosters don't have DOB, so I've used years of experience from their current rosters instead. If you include rookies (giving them 0 years of experience), then the Eagles are the "most experienced" (which may or may not equate with "oldest"), followed by the 'Skins, Giants and Cowboys last.

Since each team has a different number of rookies, if you look only at the veterans, the Giants have the most experience, followed by the Eagles, then the 'boys (though those 2 are in a virtual tie) and the 'skins come in with the least experience. The Giants lead this one by a pretty wide margin, though if we discounted Feagles, they get closer to the Phil/Dallas level.

If I weren't so lazy, I'd be tempted to compare just starting lineups to see how those compare, but I'd say the Cowboys are probably the "youngest" team in the NFC East.

49
by jim's apple pie (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 1:04pm

re: 35

The Chargers have 5 legitimate Pro Bowl quality players in their front seven: Jamal Williams, Donnie Edwards, Shawne Merriman, Steve Foley, and Luis Castillo. However, it's not guarantee that Foley will return to the 10-sack form that he flashed in 2004. And its even questionable if Donnie is going to be with the team this season, considering that the Chargers were shopping him before the draft for a second round pick. Their rush defense was 11th in DVOA last year but 1st in conventional yards, so people tend to overrate the unit.

The Miami game was an outlier; half of the team actually had the flu for that game because it raced through the locker room. I remember an article afterward that focused on Castillo, who had a great game even though he was sick and getting IV's before the game.

50
by Mikey (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 1:10pm

Gee, I thought I was a really bright guy a couple months ago when I started thinking the Eagles would be this year's surprise team. Now it almost feels like they're overrated.

Mathematically, somebody has to tank in the NFC East. Since the league went to eight divisions only two fourth place teams out of 32 have been 8-8. Somebody has to spit the bit.

My guess is it'll be New York. Very tough schedule, they'll actually have to play eight road games this year, and Aaron's point about Tiki is well taken.

51
by J (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 1:14pm

I just don't understand how everybody assumes that the Colts will just keep rolling.

I mean, losing the #3 RB in terms of DPAR, their only LB who was decent vs. the run (Thornton) and a key rotational guy in their D-line (Tripplett) and replacing them with... a kicker?

Now *that's* a recipe for success.

52
by Mikey (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 1:21pm

Maybe a dumb question, but is the ranking supposed to reflect projected records, likelihhod of winning it all, or just a pure ranking of who's better than who?

I can buy the Seahawks as the best bet to have the league's best record. And I can even buy them as the most likely Super Bowl winner just because by virtue of being in the NFC they're the most likely team to get there.

But if it's truly a "power ranking" I personally couldn't rank them ahead of any of the top four AFC teams. In a power ranking, strength of schedule doesn't matter (right?) because what you're saying in effect is that on a neutral field you'd expect the #1 team to beat any other team in football.

53
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 1:26pm

So Schilling can plant, turn and focus his body's energy into the leverage necessary to deliver at his former level then, Pat?

I'm not saying it's a perfect analogy, but I would think the ability of a fastball pitcher to match his previous velocity is somewhat similar to a running back's ability to cut, which seemed to be the main problem with Lewis last year. Both involve a tremendous temporary stress on the plant foot and ankle. And that pitcher does it 90-100 times a game if he is a starter, so there is a durability factor involved.

Whether the Raven line is any better at giving him a hole to cut through is another matter, but Mike Anderson isn't going to change that.

54
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 1:28pm

I’m not saying it’s a perfect analogy, but I would think the ability of a fastball pitcher to match his previous velocity is somewhat similar to a running back’s ability to cut, which seemed to be the main problem with Lewis last year.

I'm... not really so sure. With sufficient pain killers, Schilling was able to pitch on that ankle before it was even healed.

Lewis never would be able to do that.

55
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 1:35pm

I was curious about whether the Eagles were the youngest team in the NFC East. Unfortunately, most team rosters don’t have DOB, so I’ve used years of experience from their current rosters instead.

Don't use the entire roster (having an 11-year old starter and a rookie backup is not the same as having a 5 year old starter and a six year old backup) - just use the starters.

Philly's got quite a few extremely experienced backups (like Ed Jasper, Mike Bartrum, Koy Detmer, Jeff Garcia) but their starters are all quite young.

Unfortunately this means you have to project starters, which would make this a very tedious task to do.

56
by Todd S. (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 1:59pm

#51, it's possible the Colts will decline, but there is the other side as well:

Tripplett was not a key rotational guy; just a body. He played OK last year, but hadn't done much previously. He will not be missed.

Thornton is a good linebacker, but the Colts have had success recently filling LB voids from within. People wondered how they would replace Mike Peterson and Marcus Washington. Those guys are good linebackers, but the Colts actually improved by promoting reserves David Thornton and Cato June. (And moving part-timer Gary Brackett to starter over Rob Morris.) Will Gilbert Gardner become the next promotion to shine? There is precedent.

As for James, RBs are mainly fungible. Sure, there's likely to be a dropoff, but the offense can afford a minor one. With improved secondary play, and better kickoff coverage, this could be overcome.

So, J, you may be right; I may be crazy. But it just may be a lunatic you're looking for.

57
by steelberger1 (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 2:01pm

re 19:

I think you are forgeting that you lost your Pro Bowl QB, and are essentially going to start a rookie. I'd say the Charger's season is pretty up in the air right now.

58
by Doug (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 2:04pm

Good grief! An NFC team with the #1 ranking! ARE YOU GUYS CRAZY???

59
by Chuck-O (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 2:23pm

re: 55 It would be a real pain to make this perfect, but I've got Giants starters' average age at 28.2. This is using ages from site linked in my name. It's also based off of my guess as to who's starting in their base 4-3 and 2 receiver, 1 TE, 2 RB set. No specials included, though as referenced above if you want to include Feagles that'll only skew the average by, oh I don't know, 20 years or so. Figured I'd throw this out there in case there are other bored NFC East fans out there.

60
by Chad Dukes (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 2:24pm

Re: #46

Yes, you're right if he screws up he is going to face the horrible justice of two misdemeanors! Its quite obvious that there is no case....he will never see any jail time.

61
by Chad Dukes (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 2:28pm

Re: #59

I think you can safely excluded kickers....we all know they aren't really players.

62
by Ferg (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 2:35pm

Re 52: Since the rankings are a consensus, I'm guessing that the Seahawks got all the nr 2 votes while the writers disagreed on whether the Steelers/Colts/Broncos were number one. Just a guess.

63
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 2:37pm

I would've used years experience, but age is probably actually a bit better:

Philly's 27.7 years. Freakishly, they're absolutely identical on offense and defense (27.7 on offense, 27.7 on defense).

This is averaging the spots where the starter's unknown (Walker/Bunkley, McCoy/Barber, Fraley/Jackson).

64
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 2:42pm

Yes, you’re right if he screws up he is going to face the horrible justice of two misdemeanors!

If a person is convicted of a probation violation, sometimes the court will extend his probation, or impose additional terms. Often, the court will sentence the probationer to a period of time in jail, followed by the continuation of his probation. Sometimes, the probationer will be resentenced to jail or prison, or will be ordered to complete a term that was previously "suspended."

It's possible he'd just have his probation extended, but I think it's likely that the court would throw him in jail for a while.

65
by jetsgrumbler (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 3:08pm

re JETS: This team is definitely on the right track long-term. Short term, it will be painful.

How is a ranking of 28 justified? Last year, the team had three glaring weaknesses, in order of their negative impact: (1) Head Coach. He has since been traded to KC (sorry chiefs fans.); (2) Offensive line. This unit is now vastly improved and stocked with sufficient depth and versatility to overcome injury; (3) Injuries and poor play at QB. This year, Pennington may be healthy, but even if he is unable to play, Ramsey is a capable backup. Another 5 qb season is unlikely.

JETS are improved in the areas where they were worst last year, and they have had no major off-season losses. (Abraham was overrated and took plays off--when he managed to suit up for a game--and Ty Law for Dyson is an even trade.) How are they not better than a bottom 5 team?

I see 6-10 or 7-9 this year, certainly good enough to be better than Packers, Lions, Raiders, and Browns, all of whom are ranked ahead of them.

66
by Richie (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 3:09pm

Hard to call. I’ll take Affleck; even though he’s done more work than Hopkins, he’s still six years younger.

6 years?!?!?! LOL.

I'll take Hopkins, purely due to World's Fastest Indians, one of the most underrated films of recent time.

67
by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 3:11pm

Re: Schilling/Lewis

As a former pitcher I can say that the sorest part of my body after the day I pitched was from my knee down on my plant leg. This could be true for Schilling since he is fatter than me, also a true drop and drive pitcher. And Pat, sure he could pitch on painkillers, but he was incredibly ineffective, about as much so as Lewis was this season. I'm fairly certain Lewis will have a nice bounceback year, but then again I'm no doctor. Where is Will Carroll when you need him?

68
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 3:21pm

I’m… not really so sure. With sufficient pain killers, Schilling was able to pitch on that ankle before it was even healed.

Lewis never would be able to do that.

And yet he DID play, badly, with injury, as badly as Schilling pitched for Boston in 2005. To be fair, he played at LEAST as badly as Schilling pitched, and probably worse. And that's with everything that happened in the off-season, all of which he deserved.

Do you actually think he wasn't using painkillers? You're smarter than that. What we saw in 2005 was an injured, ineffective running back trying to gut it out for a payday. He didn't get that, but he did get a chance this year to show he has recovered. All I'm pointing out is that in a similar high-profile, high-stress repetitive use, there was a marked improvement the second year after a microfracture surgery. It's possible, and it's not like Mike Anderson is the be-all and end-all at RB. He is better than Chester Taylor, though.

69
by dryheat (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 3:26pm

Last year, the team had three glaring weaknesses, in order of their negative impact: (1) Head Coach. He has since been traded to KC (2) Offensive line. (3) Injuries and poor play at QB. This year, Pennington may be healthy, but even if he is unable to play, Ramsey is a capable backup.

The problem here is that neither Pennington nor Ramsey is that good, and that there is nobody better than average to carry the ball, You have a rookie HC who only has 1 year of co-ordinating experience and has never run so much as a high school team, The only pass rusher of note is in Atlanta, there is only one WR of starting calibre, and you're counting on two rookie O-lineman to immediately step in and contribute on a high level.

Besides that, the Jets are looking good.

70
by DJAnyReason (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 3:33pm

So, what, we've got the Jets, Chargers, Packers, Redskins... am I missing anybody?

Does the FOMBC apply to subjective offseason rankings?

71
by WeaponX (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 3:42pm

Re 41: Very well put Pat *thumbsup*

72
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 3:53pm

And yet he DID play, badly, with injury, as badly as Schilling pitched for Boston in 2005. To be fair, he played at LEAST as badly as Schilling pitched, and probably worse. And that’s with everything that happened in the off-season, all of which he deserved.

No, that was post injury. The surgery had already happened. In Schilling's case, it was during injury. The surgery hadn't happened yet.

73
by Rodrigo (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 3:59pm

BaseballOutsiders? No, no.

74
by Brock (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 4:12pm

You can make a reasonable case for the Seahawks being # 1. Although the Seahawks lost the Super Bowl, they had chances to win. It was a combination of self inflicted mistakes and some questionable calls that killed them. Despite losing Hutchinson, they might be better this year. The Seahawks signed Ashworth, Burleson, Peterson, and Russell Davis. All of them are productive players. I don't think any of the top 4 AFC teams ( Pats, Colts, Steelers, Broncos ) have improved themselves.

75
by Kevin (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 4:12pm

As a Giants' fan, I wouldn't have a problem with the Skins being ranked ahead of them, but the Eagles? The whole "they made it to the conference championship 4 times and Super Bowl without T.O." line is getting tiring. Especially when you consider T.O. played above and beyond his teammates in the actual Super Bowl game. They made the Super Bowl when playing EASILY the weakest and poorest coached of their 4 opponents. Are we also supposed to assume that their defense will be excellent this season, remember that was always the strength of the Eagles? Will they run the ball somewhat?

As far as the Giants go, the success of the season depends on Eli and the coaching staff. A simple improvement in red zone TD effeciency could make them a better team than last year.

76
by White Rose Duelist (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 4:20pm

For more reasoned, logical discussion*, check out the Fark thread about these rankings:

http://forums.fark.com/cgi/fark/comments.pl?IDLink=2096498

Congrats, FO! You've hit the big time!

* may not include reasoning or logic

77
by DWS (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 4:24pm

Chiefs and possibly Bears are too high....

The only way to justify the Colts at #3 is that they once again have the easiest schedule in football. They weren't able to win a single playoff game last year, unlike the Pats, Broncos, and Steelers. Playing soft schedules don't mean a team is elite.

I can see Seahawks at number one because they easily would have blown out the Steelers had the tight end and wideouts caught balls which touched their fingers or stayed an inch in bounds, and if the refs wished it to be so.... Seahawks most clearly have a more productive Q.B. than the Steelers.

78
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 4:26pm

Age in NFC East:

Dallas, based on the starters listed on NFL.com's depth chart: 27.9, but there's a *big* disparity between offense and defense - defense is 27.1, offense is 28.7.

Washington I have to make massive guesses for, but: 27.8, but again, there's a huge disparity between offense and defense, but here it's the other way - offense is 26.2 years, defense is 29.4 years.

So Philly's younger than the Giants, and probably about the same as the Cowboys and the Redskins, but far more balanced in age.

79
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 4:28pm

Are we also supposed to assume that their defense will be excellent this season, remember that was always the strength of the Eagles? Will they run the ball somewhat?

Defense was fine last year, too, and they've made major offseason improvements. Why would you expect the defense to be bad?

80
by Electric Mayhem (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 4:36pm

Re 75

Just because you're tired of hearing it doesn't make it any less relevant.

81
by Bobman (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 4:37pm

No quibbles at all. As a Colt fan I would like to see them ranked much lower--they've been bouncing around the rankings ceiling for years now and never... quite... put... it... all... together. Argh!

RE #56: Excellent reference to William Martin Joel; I'm just 41, but feel ancient sometimes in this forum. I thought your logic well founded, though I liked Triplett. I also liked Chukie Nwokorie who had a memorable 95 yard fumble return in 2000, but was gone to GB a year later.

The LB observation was spot on--I don't know how they do it, but they do. In ten years time, they'll have a trio of undrafted, 60 lb, mute, albino, lightning-fast midgets who didn't even start in college, playing LB at a Pro Bowl level. (Of course they'll still tower over their safeties.)

82
by Bobman (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 4:45pm

DWS,
#77 Well, those darn Colts weren't able to win a *single* playoff game last year! You make it sound like they played ten and lost them all.

They lost one, pretty close, to the SB champs. While they're not thrilled about it, there's not much shame there, either. As long as you're touting them, I didn't see the Broncos or Pats beat the Steelers in the playoffs either. (yeah, the Pats did not play them, but had they beaten the Broncos they would have had the chance....) In fact, I saw a Bengals team, shellshocked and without it's QB for the whole game, almost beat them in the first round. What would things have looked like had that happened...?

And Hasselbeck over Ben R? I like the guy, but I don't know. I've been more impressed with Ben and thought, SB aside, he played very well in the playoffs.

83
by Parker (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 4:46pm

#26 Nice. Really nice.

84
by JasonK (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 4:53pm

Re: 59

Be mindful that the Giants roster you linked isn't the actual age of the players. As noted at the bottom of the page, the website's proprietor treats the entire team as if their birthday were Dec. 31, so that he doesn't have to edit the page every time a player has a birthday.

In a more general sense, arguing over teams' average ages is really quite silly. (But probably no less silly than ranking NFL teams in May.)

85
by Ilanin (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 4:56pm

74, 77 - I suspect that neither the Seahawks nor the Steelers are being judged on the Superbowl, in which both teams were lousy. Both teams seem to have more or less stood still, or maybe gone a little backwards in the offseason - Seattle lost Hutchinson and Jurevicus, replacing the latter with Burleson. They kept the bulk of the team together, had a reasonable draft, and signed some OK free agents. The big question is, of course, how important Hutchinson was. The Steelers lost Randle El, Hope, Bettis and Kimo von Oelhoffen. DPAR says that ARE was basically a replacement-level reciever last year and that Cedrick Wilson was quite arguably better than him (3.3 DPAR vs 0.2 DPAR), so between Wilson and Santonio Holmes that loss is covered. Ryan Clark replaces Chris Hope, which is pretty much like-for-like. Duce Staley for Jerome Bettis in the RB rotation and Brett Keisel for KvO are the more questionable issues here. I think both teams deserve the high places until and unless something major happens to either of them.

86
by cjfarls (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 4:57pm

I too gotta say I'm not terribly scared of the Chargers and their new QB this year. Comment #47 has it right: the question is not whether they regress, but whether they can IMPROVE on 9-7... I just can't see any first year QB being better than a pro-bowl caliber QB...

Even if Rivers plays to Brees' level (ProBowl), they still miss the playoffs. I definitely put the Bears, Chiefs & and at least 2 of the NFC-E teams (all 4 are fungible). That puts the chargers at somewhere between 12-15, which I think is much more accurate.

87
by calbuzz (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 5:06pm

Seahawks 1st due to SOS.

This will be even more true this year than last. The NFC South and East PLAY EACH OTHER this year. Crazy. For the best teams in these divisions, 10-6 will be OUTSTANDING.

BTW, if you haven't actually seen the Giants schedule, it's worth a look.

88
by Ilanin (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 5:13pm

82 - he said Hasselback (88.4 DPAR) was more productive than Roethlisberger (57.4 DPAR), which is pretty inarguable currently. Hasselback had more completions last year than Roethlisberger had attempts. DVOA suggests that Roethlisberger (+33.5%) might outproduce Hassleback (+28.4%)if he had as many oppurtunities as the latter, but that's a very dicey prediction to be making.

89
by justanothersteve (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 5:13pm

It's June 1. What this article shows most is that collectively we are so desperate to discuss anything NFL related that in merely 18 hours it's generated 70+ responses. What's worse is that I read each and every one of those responses. Off-seasons are hell on fans.

90
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 5:35pm

In a more general sense, arguing over teams’ average ages is really quite silly. (But probably no less silly than ranking NFL teams in May.)

It's not that silly. The Redskins defense, for instance, is getting very close to being in need of an overhaul (sorry Matthew Furtek, but an average age of 29.4 years on defense is a bit too high), but their offense is scary young. And that's even before Campbell takes over for Brunell. People were enamored with the Redskins defense in the past two years, but that's starting to be one very scary offense, and it will be one for quite some time.

The Giants look similar to the Redskins, incidentally - much younger on offense than on defense. It'll be interesting to see how those two teams evolve.

91
by bowman (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 5:43pm

87. What is unfair about that schedule? You have to travel to TEN after a Monday Night road game, but nothing else there seems competitively unfair (compared to TB's 3 games, 2 on the road, in 10 days, or MIA's 3 road games in a row).

92
by Are-Tee (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 5:47pm

"You have a rookie HC who only has 1 year of co-ordinating experience and has never run so much as a high school team"

Actually, Mangini was HC of a professional team - in Australia (American rules football). That's where he met Ben Graham.

93
by dryheat (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 5:50pm

Ranking units' average ages are silly. Find the median age if you want any meaningful comparison.

94
by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 6:29pm

Pat,

Not to drag this out any further, but I was referring to Schilling's performance in 2005 as well, which WAS post-surgery. He was genuinely awful much of the year.

Lewis had his surgery before his incarceration, so the 2005 performances were both post-surgery.

95
by JasonK (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 6:54pm

Most of the age on the Giants' Defense is in 3 players: Strahan, Emmons, and Madison. Madison is 1-2 year stopgap that was necessary because of Will Peterson's back injury. The team has planned ahead pretty well in having young, promising players to replace Strahan (Tuck, Kiwanuka) and Emmons (Torbor, Wilkinson) when they get hurt/retire.

The only age concerns I have with the Giants are Madison and Tiki.

96
by Basilicus (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 7:01pm

Redskins, Panthers, Chiefs too high, Eagles, Cardinals, Saints too low, but none of them by much.

I fully agree with the Lewis/Anderson comment. Mike Anderson is a far better runner AT THIS POINT in their respective careers. Lewis is all but done in the league, with little hope for a rebound, while Anderson has been on sometimes-fullback/sometimes-running back duty that has probably not aged him too much - keep in mind he started in the league at a late age and so is younger in his career than he would appear just looking at his age.

The Chargers will compete for the playoffs this year because Schottenheimer is one of the few coaches who knows how to make QB more of a minor position, especially with a back like Tomlinson (actually, their entire RB set is pretty deep). If Rivers is good, they will succeed, if not, they'll be able to sustain the damage to the offense better than most other teams could. To me, it all keys on whether the offensive line is really as good as a lot of people think.

97
by Ricky (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 7:10pm

Great job with the rankings. The Pats seem too high though.

I think that Minnesota could be a surprise team this year. They don't really look that bad and they have an incredibly easy scedule. They get to play Detroit twice, Green Bay twice, Arizona, St. Louis, San Francisco, New York, Buffalo. That's nine teams that won less than 7 games last year. If not them Green Bay or Atlanta should make the playoffs. There is no way the Bucs will have so many lucky wins, Arizona still isn't that good, and the NFC East will probably only be able to get one wild card after the teams have to play each other.

98
by Ryan Mc (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 7:27pm

re 97: and you don't think any of those teams will be improved this season? The Vikings only got to 9-7 last season by beating poor teams like Detroit (twice), Green Bay(twice), and St Louis. If any of these teams show improvement this year, it might be hard for the Vikings to even duplicate 9-7.

99
by PhillyCWC (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 7:38pm

Actually, McNabb won't be 30 until this November - DOB is 11/25/76 according to the official website, www.philadelphiaeagles.com.

100
by Tim Gerheim :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 7:53pm

Re 29
(70 posts in 16 hours? In the offseason??)

1. I didn't remember Pennington was an injury fill-in. Warner was a particularly weird situation. I don't remember the details of Bulger coming in. And in Brady's case, they chose not to re-replace him once Bledsoe was healthy, for what that's worth. Basically I didn't mention them because they're not "exceptions" to the list of QBs whose teams regressed, which is largely because their teams improved. Except Bulger's. The main reason I even listed any of them as fill-ins is because I was targeting players who were sat on the bench to learn behind a competent quarterback, not late-round picks who were never expected to be starters anyway, guys like Bollinger, Dorsey, and Huard. I know at the time both the Rams QBs and Tom Brady were in that same class, but now they're not players people would think out of place in the rest of the list.

2. I'm pretty sure the standard was that the player had thrown no more than 50 or 100 passes in his career prior to that season but wasn't a rookie. I don't remember if it came up, but I'm pretty sure I would have thrown out QBs with more than about 2 years on the bench (the Todd Collinses of the world, although as I recall he actually was a starter early in his career).

101
by calbuzz (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 8:14pm

91. Not saying the Giants schedule is unfair, just tough from a strength of opponent perspective.

I'm a Seahawk fan, and I can't believe we get them at home again, after they play Indy and Philadelphia first.

Compare the Giants schedule to the Seahawks schedule, and the difference is pretty obvious.

102
by Robert Z. (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 8:55pm

keep in mind the Chargers went 9-7 with the toughest schedule in the league last year.

They beat the Pats and the Colts and the Giants and the Redskins...lost to Denver by 3 and to the Steelers by 2...all those teams went to the playoffs, correct?

This year the Chargers have a MUCH easier schedule playing the NFC West instead of the NFC East...they are almost guarenteed to make the playoffs.

Too much is put on Rivers, but the Chargers have two many pro-bowlers and good players to not win games.

Most teams in the league would love to have San Diego's deep roster.

103
by bonds (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 10:11pm

re:102 how are you guys going to make the playoffs when you guys have an egg as a quarterback.

104
by centrifuge (not verified) :: Thu, 06/01/2006 - 10:28pm

103: I don't get it. Is it because he hasn't "hatched" yet? The Chargers certainly wouldn't be the first team to make the playoffs with a previously-unproven QB. The 2004 Steelers and 2005 Bears would say it's quite possible.

If you're saying Rivers is fragile (injury-prone), is there any evidence to support such a claim?

105
by smashmouth football (not verified) :: Fri, 06/02/2006 - 12:28am

Re: 102-04
I share the doubts about Philip Rivers replacing Brees at QB. However, I'd like to remind readers that the Ravens actually won their division in 2003 with ROOKIE Kyle Boller starting the first half of the season, only to get injured in that bizarro Sunday night game at St. Louis, ultimately replaced by JOURNEYMAN Anthony Wright.
Still, as a long suffering Ravens fan, I can tell you QB really is the most important position in the game. I know because the team I love has set the NFL standard for offensive suckitude and unwatchability for the last 6 seasons now.

106
by Travis (not verified) :: Fri, 06/02/2006 - 1:29am

Re: 100

I'd narrow the list to QBs, who, like Rivers, were drafted, groomed, and then handed the job in the offseason. I think it's more relevant to the current example.

Of those teams, two improved by 3 games, but did not make the playoffs (Hasselbeck and Brees); two improved by one game, and made the playoffs again (Stewart and Culpepper); one had the same 8-8 record (Palmer); and two collapsed (Griese and Losman)

107
by NickO (not verified) :: Fri, 06/02/2006 - 2:13am

The general feeling in Seattle is that losing Hutch wont hurt us very much. We added some good free agents (Petterson, Davis, Burleson, Ashworth who actully wont start) so a 11-5 to 13-3 record is possible if not likely. The Seahawks right now could beat the Colts, Steelers, Chargers, Patriots and Broncoes at least at home maybe not away. The AFC cant keep on being better then the NFC and this year I think the NFC catches up.

108
by Kuato (not verified) :: Fri, 06/02/2006 - 3:40am

Re: Soft Schedule for playoff teams.

I think all the playoff teams had a pretty similar strength of schedule. Sure the Colts got to play some easy teams, but everyone did last year (i.e. Colts played SF and Houston, Pitt played Cleveland, GB and Detroit).

AFC Playoff Teams and Games against playoff opponents:

Colts - 6
Jax*2, Pats, Cincy, Pitt, Seattle

Steelers - 6
Cincy*2, Pats, Jags, Indy, Bears

Jags - 6
Indy*2, Seattle, Denver, Cincy, Pitt

Cincy - 5
Pitt*2, Bears, Jags, Indy

New England - 5
Carolina, Pitt, Denver, Indy, Tampa

Denver - 4
Jags, Skins, Pats, Giants

Indy, Pitt, Jax, and Cincy are almost identical in schedule I think. They played the other division. All teams had one other good team in the division and two not so good teams, and all 4 teams played against weak NFC divisions.

Denver probably had the roughest time as they didn`t play as many playoff teams, but both KC and SD were pretty darn good and played the best NFC division. NE had no real challengers in its division and played against the underwealming NFC South. However, NE had to play the hard AFC West, and Denver got to play the easy AFC South.

Just rambling because I`m bored at work and it is the off season.

Have a nice day.

109
by Kuato (not verified) :: Fri, 06/02/2006 - 4:06am

"Still, as a long suffering Ravens fan"

No one has a right to that expression who`s team has one a superbowl this Milinium. (said with a smile, not a snarl)

110
by Bronco Jeff (not verified) :: Fri, 06/02/2006 - 5:02am

Denver played its games against the AFC East, not South. They played Jacksonville because they placed 2nd the year before and so did the Jaguars. This year, everybody's schedule is more difficult that was in the playoffs last year...and if I didn't need sleep, I'd look it all up.

111
by David Ferrier (not verified) :: Fri, 06/02/2006 - 7:10am

wow, the Packers moving up only 2 places? Despite the fact that Ahman Green, and Davenport (the backup RB)missed pretty much the whole season? Besides being healthier the Pack also picked up a number 5 draft pick at LB (AJ Hawk), and a premier CB (Charles Woodson). And they haven't lost any starters they didn't replace with equally valued free agents (except at Kicker - bye bye Longwell). I think the Packers will win 7 or 8 games this coming year.

112
by Kuato (not verified) :: Fri, 06/02/2006 - 7:55am

"Denver played its games against the AFC East, not South."

That was oviously a typo. Sentence should read: However, NE had to play the hard AFC West, and Denver got to play the easy AFC East. I wouldn't call the AFC South easy last year with two teams that won 12 or more games.

113
by smashmouth football (not verified) :: Fri, 06/02/2006 - 10:02am

Re: 109
[No right to complain]
Can't dispute your point. But don't forget, NFL stands for "not for long."
My point is that years of watching and rooting for a team that actually appears to be implementing an offensive system of "QB-less Offense" is to risk insanity. Who said Billick wasn't an "offensive genius"?

114
by DWS (not verified) :: Fri, 06/02/2006 - 11:43am

Bobman (#82):

I saw the Pats, with their starting cornerback and Dillon injuried, go down to Pittsburg, lose Rodney Harrison and Matt Light early in the game, and flat push the Steelers around at the line of scrimmage and win in Pittsburg during the regular season. Ben had a typical game with maybe 2-3 passes a quarter and I think some interceptions, and the Steelers lost even though the refs tried to hand them the game with a totally imaginary pass interference against Cahd Scott, when Quincy Morgan mugged him and pulled him down from behind, with Scott not even laying a finger on Morgan and nearly ending up on the ground. That was Ben's 'big play' of the game, a fake pass interference on a desperate fourth down blind pass when the Pats already had the game won. So, yes, I think that the 'healthy' Pats would have beat the Steelers in Foxboro in the playoffs. UNLIKE THE COLTS, so I clearly disagree on this point. I do believe the Colts FAILED BADLY WHEN IT MATTERED THE MOST, like always. It is the Broncos alone who give the 'healthy' Pats real problems.
As far as Hasselback being a more productive Q.B. than Ben, as response #88 suggests, this is simply as clear as the nose on your face, Bobman. And for those Steelers fans who keep pointing to DPAR numbers to imply that they have a productive Q.B., that is a stretch of the imagination. Let's talk touchdown passes, number of pass completions, games missed due to injury, yards in a season. Ben had one game which impressed me last year, and that was against the Broncos. In that game only did he appear to my eyes to be more productive than Kordell Stewart. Remember that Stewart was also heads and tails above Tommy Maddox. Remember that with Stewart, the Steelers were unstoppable until the playoffs, which became an interception fest. How many ints has Ben thrown in the playoffs, and did his superbowl effort, including a fake running touchdown, look much better that Stewart's would have, with the 22 Q.B. rating?
Bobman, if you don't recognize Haselback as a top level Q.B., and if you are blind to stats, than I am truly sorry! Ironically, by Hasselback failing to win the big one despite great play, but having good production overall, he is sort of like that Manning guy....

115
by DWS (not verified) :: Fri, 06/02/2006 - 11:52am

By the way, I think that Ben is a much superior Q.B. to Stewart, and don't need to be reminded of this. I was trying to compare Ben to a more productive Q.B., Hasselback. The Stewart comparison is to emphasize how solid a team that the Steelers have been for longer than any other team in football, going back to the early 90's. They only need an average Q.B., and Ben has very average production. Perhaps next year Ben will throw 30 touchdowns, and gain over 4,000 yards, with over 25 completed passes per game, and only 15 ints, and miss no starts due to injury. Then, I will be the first to declare him more productive than Hasselback.

116
by centrifuge (not verified) :: Fri, 06/02/2006 - 12:00pm

"Ben had a typical game with maybe 2-3 passes a quarter and I think some interceptions..."

You need to chill out. Believe me when I say that when you post like that you aren't helping your cause. Ben's stat line from the NE game was 12/28 for 216 yards, 2 TDs, no INTs. You seem very passionate. Please get your numbers straight.

(Also answering a later question: Ben has thrown a total of 8 INTs in 6 playoff games. This almost constitutes a point, but only 3 of them were in the 4 games last year.)

117
by Ilanin (not verified) :: Fri, 06/02/2006 - 12:15pm

114 - I think you've gone too far the other way. Remember, DPAR is a passing-rate dependent stat, just like yards, TD passes, etc. It's just a more advanced one.

Roethlisberger in the playoffs:

6 starts (4 2005, 2 2004), 89-of-147 for 1207 yards, 10TDs and 8 INTs (five of which were in his rookie season). Is that good enough for you? It looks pretty sharp to me.

I think it's fairly clear that Roethlisberger's production is a function of the Steelers' passing rate, which remains NFL-low. (Interestingly, both the "conventional" passing-rate independent stat, QB rating, and the "advanced" DVOA ranked Roethlisberger third last year). This in turn is a function of the Steelers' philosophy, which has, as you note, produced arguably the most consistent results in the NFL. DPAR ranks Roethlisberger at #8 in the league based on his production, which seems OK to me. I think most observers agree he's at franchise-QB level.

118
by smashmouth football (not verified) :: Fri, 06/02/2006 - 1:54pm

As a serious Ravens fan, I HATE the Steelers. Nevertheless, I have to agree that:
(1) the Steelers have been consistently good for a long time;
(2) Big Ben is a very good QB just entering his 3rd NFL season;
(3) barring injury he'll probably get even better;
(4) although right now Hasselbeck is more productive, Hasselbeck is also a veteran who has been groomed for years, and furthermore Hasselbeck is one of the top 5 QB's in the NFL;
(5) considering the fact that Big Ben and Carson Palmer play in the same division as the Ravens, I'd better find another hobby to keep me interested when the Ravens are hopelessly out of it by Halloween.

119
by Jacob Stevens (not verified) :: Fri, 06/02/2006 - 2:35pm

Aaron, if you have time to make a comment or two . . .

I wasn't curious until it was brought up, but is the Seahawks at #1 a product of a "default" when a consensus #1 couldn't be made but a consensus #2 could?

Or could it actually be based on the consensus rating of the Seahawks by themselves? Was strength of schedule considered, and if so would they not be #1 if it was not considered?

120
by Basilicus (not verified) :: Fri, 06/02/2006 - 5:15pm

Following the template set out by 118, as a Packers/Bears/Broncos/Patriots fan, I have to agree that:

1) The Steelers are one of and perhaps the greatest sub-dynasty of all time, right up there with the Levy (as coach, not GM) Bills the Schottenheimer Chiefs, and the 2000-04 Eagles. That said, with one title, they are in a great position to challenge the Pats for ranking as this decade's dynasty.

2) Big Ben is a great QB, one of the top ten (but not top five) in the league. I don't know if using him more often will bring his ypa and td/int ratio towards the middle a bit, but it may be worth it for the increase in overall production.

3) Barring injury, he'll probably get better, though I don't know that he'll ever be consistently mentioned in the same breath as Brady and Manning (and Palmer in a few years).

4) What Smashmouth said. You know, about the Hasselbeck being one of the top 5 QBs in the league.

5) The Ravens are hopeless, with the Steelers truly great and the Bengals already very good and still improving (assuming half the team doesn't get arrested) and the Browns taking sure steps forward. I don't know that this means they should fire Billick (even though I kind of despise his guts, I've been one of his most vocal proponents on this board in terms of him being a good coach). That said, there's a great supply of very good coaches in the league right now and some fresh blood after this year could be more valuable than letting Billick rebuild the team (which I have no doubt he could if he were given the time). But starting Jamal Lewis over Mike Anderson? Maybe he has lost the touch....

121
by Tyrus (not verified) :: Fri, 06/02/2006 - 5:53pm

Rankings are for people that like soap operas. People will argue and fight over rankings which have nothing...NOTHING to do with the game itself. It is an opininon and opinions don't wear shoulder pads. Rankings are ALWAYS wrong, so why argue over them?

Go watch All My Children and waste your time on that nonsense while you perfect your worthless "rankings". Anyone remember week 10's CNNSI rankings?

Rankings are based on extremely limited knowledge and since they're never right, it should be obvious why the NCAA needs to go to a playoff system.

122
by calbuzz (not verified) :: Fri, 06/02/2006 - 8:24pm

Tyrus, nice try breaking up this thread. Your post is equally meaningless.

123
by goldfishassain (not verified) :: Fri, 06/02/2006 - 9:51pm

RE: 121

Why bother even posting this? Somebody throw sand in your shorts? Talk about an exercise in futility.

124
by MdM (not verified) :: Sat, 06/03/2006 - 12:14am

Puritanism: the haunting fear that someone, somewhere is having fun.

125
by Eric (not verified) :: Sat, 06/03/2006 - 5:32pm

"1) The Steelers are one of and perhaps the greatest sub-dynasty of all time, right up there with the Levy (as coach, not GM) Bills the Schottenheimer Chiefs, and the 2000-04 Eagles. That said, with one title, they are in a great position to challenge the Pats for ranking as this decade’s dynasty."

Let's not forget the George Allen/Chuck Knox Rams and the Bud Grant Vikings.

126
by goldfishassain (not verified) :: Sat, 06/03/2006 - 6:59pm

Wake me up if they win two. Otherwise "dynasty" is quite a stretch.

127
by Richard (not verified) :: Sun, 06/04/2006 - 6:00pm

Dallas will win the division and return to the playoff's. With there off season additions, how can you rank them so low

128
by mathesond (not verified) :: Sun, 06/04/2006 - 6:15pm

I'm just guessing, but I think team rankings are influenced in part by the inability to spell displayed by each team's fanbase.

129
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Sun, 06/04/2006 - 9:01pm

At a guess, the rankings were informed by each team's DVOA from last season, with the FOers' best guesses at what trades, FA acquisitions, rookies, age, injuries, and recoveries from injury will do to each team.

Then they moved up their favorite teams 3-5 spots in the rankings, just because. ;-)

130
by smashmouth football (not verified) :: Sun, 06/04/2006 - 10:42pm

Re: 120
"The Ravens are hopeless, with the Steelers truly great."
Let's take a deep breath here. First off, the Ravens might be respectable if they get McNair, and even if they don't, they might win 7-8 games. Their defense is still a lot better than average. "Hopeless" is a term I reserve for teams like the 49'ers of the last two years or the Arizona Cardinals for much of their tenure since leaving St. Louis.
I also don't think the Steelers are necessarily "truly great." Let's see them win a couple more Super Bowls before we fling superlatives around.
I'm not trying to quibble. In general your analysis makes sense.

131
by Pat on the Back (not verified) :: Mon, 06/05/2006 - 1:04pm

I realize I'm a little late chiming in on this, but if we are going to compare football to baseball, the Running Back/ Catcher comparison is much more apt. Both positions are very hard on the knees, both seem to have age 32 as a cliff upon which most player tend to fall off dramatically, and both positions seem to have bad years after overuse the year before (whether it be ineffectiveness or injury). So, I guess the question is if Jamal Lewis has fully recovered from his 2000 yard season, or if he will still have lingering effects from that and his advancing age (for a running back).

Oh, and just for posterity sake, Carlton Fisk = Eric Dickerson. Both were pretty much indestructable.

132
by Carlton Fisk\'s left testicle (not verified) :: Mon, 06/05/2006 - 2:20pm

Indestructible?!?!?

133
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 06/05/2006 - 2:40pm

Wake me up if they win two. Otherwise “dynasty� is quite a stretch.

Subdynasties don't win titles. They're characterized by a long stretch of being competitive for a title, while not actually winning the title (well, at least not multiple).

You can really only have 1 dynasty at a time (given that only 1 team can win a championship), hence the subdynasty category.

134
by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Mon, 06/05/2006 - 5:43pm

I dunno, I think if you had a seven year stretch where only two teams won Superbowls, with a pattern of AABBABA or some such, that would constitute a pair of contemporaneous dynasties. Not likely, but possible. And if it was going to happen, the Steelers and Pats might be plausible teams to do it.

135
by Doug (not verified) :: Tue, 06/06/2006 - 7:27pm

Re: #133-134

A there are three kinds of teams that can fall into the "dynasty" category -- the real dynasty, a team that wins three championships in four or five years; the replacement dynasty, which is the team that replaces the real dynasty with a couple of championships in the next 5 years, and the subdynasty, which is the team from the opposite, weaker conference that plays in several super bowls.

that's how history has played things out so far...

as far as the steelers being the replacement dynasty, i doubt it as the AFC west is the rising power in their conference. maybe a team like kansas city or san diego?

136
by centrifuge (not verified) :: Tue, 06/06/2006 - 8:30pm

135: I don't understand why you differentiate between "real" dynasties and "replacements." If both teams meet the criteria, why should only the first one count as "real"?

That said, I would even open up the criteria a bit. Three titles is a good mark, but I'd let them stretch it over, say, six or seven years, provided they were competitive all throughout (ie, no 4-12 rebuilding years in the middle).

134: If we end up with something like AXAABBAB, that would certainly approach "simultaneous dynasties" to me. Add a couple more Conference Game matchups, and the Steelers actually winning one off the Pats in the playoffs, then I'd rubber-stamp it. If that happens with PIT never actually offing NE in the playoffs, then I would have to put an asterisk on it.

137
by Doug (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 12:15am

re#136

In order for that AXAABBAB scenario to happen, New England AND Pittsburgh would both have to sustain Super Bowl caliber teams for three years to come...seems a little improbable to me considering the Pats declining dominance.

The closest we've come to "simultaneous dynasties" would be the Steelers and Raiders from 74-80 (AABCAAB) and the 49ers/Giants/Redskins from 81-91 (ABCADEBAAEB)...both are kind of pushing it...

my point is that historically what you end up with is one team setting up a dynasty with two wins in three years or three wins in four or five years, and then a "replacement" dynasty comes along and uses some of the first dynasty's momentum to beat up the weaker conference for a few years. They are still a dynasty, they are simply a replacement for the first one...

138
by centrifuge (not verified) :: Wed, 06/07/2006 - 1:04am

136: I agree the scenario is unlikely, but that is what I would be looking for in order to label a double-dynasty.

And still, I don't buy into the whole "replacement" idea. It seems incredibly arbitrary. Why should any team be relegated to "replacement" status just because of its timing in history? If it fits the criteria, then so be it.

139
by Hart Lee Dykes (not verified) :: Thu, 06/08/2006 - 10:48am

#137
re: the Pats "declining dominance", I won't quibble with the fact that they are not in the same position they were in 2 years ago as far as their firm spot at the top of the NFL heirarchy. But, they were playing pretty solid football at the end of last year. They did play a terrible game against the Broncos, but I don't think that signals that theirun is over. Injury wise, there is no way things can go worse for them than last year, yet they were still right there with a good chance at the end.

I see no reason why the Pats can't continue to be among the favorites so long as the QB and the coach remain where they are.

140
by Doug (not verified) :: Thu, 06/08/2006 - 3:51pm

re#139

I'll agree with you that the Patriots as a team are certainly just as good as they were last year. The problem is that the rest of the conference is catching up to them, as is their division. While the Pats maintain their current strength, other teams are getting stronger and surpassing New England, and so what you end up with is a decline in wins even though the team is "just as good" as they were last year. The team loses their swagger and winds up falling apart due to internal and external pressure.