FanPost

Ducks in a Row ranking of the best teams in the NFL after five games

Last week I created a list of the best teams in the league.  Dallas, at 3-1, had the second-best record in the NFL behind only ARIZONA at 4-0.  HURRAY.  Yet, that sounds a lot better than saying we shared the second-best record with 11 other teams or about a third of the league.

.		NUMBER OF TEAMS WITH WINS

Wins		0	1	2	3	4

# teams	        2	10	7	12	1
Bell curve	2	5	19	5	1

You will note this distribution did not show a bell curve, but was bifurcated [split] into good teams and bad.  I indicated what a better bell curve would look like by dividing the teams that won 1 and 3 games in half and moving half of each category toward the middle.

Some of this is the quirks of scheduling, who plays home games, good teams against poor teams, night games against travel.  New Orleans has practiced out of state due to weather.

Later byes and ties will affect the number, but as the number of games played increases the curve will become apparent.  You can only play the teams on your schedule.  Some divisions are better than others, and your placement last year determines who you play.

Since last week, we now have more clarity.  As expected, several of the 3-1 teams lost, including LV, CAR, CLV, DEN, and CIN.  Some of the 2-2 teams won, including CHI, NO, and TEN. So, we have a much better bell curve.

.		NUMBER OF TEAMS WITH WINS

Wins		0	1	2-3	4	5
# teams	        2	5	17	7	1

RANKING THE BEST TEAMS

One simple way to look at the top teams is to look at who the team played and their records.  I note who the team lost to for one-loss teams and the combined record for all the opponents and team played.  We can break ties by better records of the opponents.

Last week, I determined the best teams as undefeated or one-loss teams.  We now have three categories of teams by record, undefeated, one-loss teams, and a new category of two-loss teams.  For the two-loss teams, I broke ties by looking at the combined records of the team that they lost to.

RANK	(LW)	TEAM	REC	LOSS	OPP REC

1	1	AZI	5-0	none	11-14
	
2	2	LAR	4-1	ARI	15-10		
3	3	DAL	4-1	TB	14-11
4	4	LAC	4-1	DAL	14-11
5	5	TB	4-1	LAR	13-12
6	7	BAL	4-1	LV	10-15
7      11	GB	4-1	NO	10-15		
8      12	BUF	4-1	PITT	 8-16

9	6	LV	3-2	LAC CHI	14-11	lost
10	NR	CHI	3-2	LAR CLV	13-12	added	
11	9	CLV	3-2	KC  LAC	12-13	lost 
12	NR	NO	3-2	CAR NYG	12-13	added
13	13	CIN	3-2	CHI GB	11-14	lost 
14	8	CAR	3-2	DAL PHI	11-14	lost
15	NR	TEN	3-2	ARI NYJ	 9-16	added 	
16	10	DEN	3-2	BAL PIT	 8-17	lost 	

In this more normally distributed list, Dallas looks a lot better with their one loss to a highly ranked team.  One quirk of the schedule was that TB, LAC and CAR were undefeated when Dallas faced them.  Again, that sounds a lot better if you note when we played them:  TB [0-0], LAC [1-0], and CAR [3-0].  

Then again, we played the eagles.  CAR losing a second game to the eagles moved down a lot, and that hurts our record slightly.  TB and LAC look much more solid.

GB and BUF moved up on the list just by not losing.

ARI still has the best record in the league, but they have not played the best teams by their records.  Ironically, LAR have played the teams with the best combined record, partly by playing and losing to ARI.

This does NOT eliminate the other teams who can still improve over the season. Nor does this simplistic ranking account for routs vs close games or other indicators, but it is interesting.

                           NUMBER OF TEAMS WITH WINS

Wins		0	1	2	3	4	5
# teams	        2	5	    17		7	1

				NE		
				PIT	LV	
				KC	CHI	LAR	
				WTF	CLV	DAL
			MIA	PHI	NO	LAC
			NYJ	MIN	CIN	TB
			HOU	ATL	CAR	BAL	
		JAX	IND	SEA	TEN	GB
		DET	NYG	SF	DEN	BUF	ARI	

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