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NFL Power Ratings

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NFL Power Ratings

Now that the NFL season is here, it's time to look at the overall strength of each team and the easiest way to do that is through power ratings, which are simply numerical assignments given to each team. In theory, a team with a power rating of 95 is six points better than a team with a power rating of 89, although factors such as injuries, home field advantage and scheduling have to be taken into consideration when determining the numerical difference between two teams.

For yeas, the Gold Sheet was the standard when it came to power ratings and their numbers played a large part in the making of the line on a weekly basis. Their numbers are still some of the better ones that you'll find.

Lately, USA Today's Jeff Sagarin has taken over as the predominant supplier of power ratings and are the most popular ones you'll find. The fact that they are free likely plays a role in that.

I've previously discussed my method of creating initial power ratings in How to Create Your Own Power Ratings as well as the weekly updating process in Updating Power Ratings. Those who have a bit more time on your hands may also want to read through Misleading Final Scores and Variables and Power Ratings for more tips on weekly adjustments to your ratings and why they're not always etched in stone.

Creating the Initial 2011 Power Ratings

As mentioned in How to Create Your Own Power Ratings using one set of numbers for your initial ratings is always a bit of a gamble. Some teams may be overrated or underrated by any one set of numbers, so I always like to use a minimum of three sets and either average them out or discard the highest and lowest numbers and use the remaining power rating. Most often I'll do both and then average those two numbers together for my final number.

In creating my initial numbers for the 2011 NFL season I used numbers from the Gold Sheet, Phil Steele and the Pointwise newsletter. I had considered adding in Sagarin's numbers, which were released Wednesday, but noticed he had several teams, such as the Lions and Rams, ranked much lower than the others, so I bypassed his numbers. Only time will tell if that was the correct move or not, but many of those numbers would have been dropped by my methods anyway.

Initial 2011 NFL Power Ratings

Arizona Cardinals 76
Atlanta Falcons 87
Baltimore Ravens 87
Buffalo Bills 77
Carolina Panthers 75

Chicago Bears 84
Cincinnati Bengals 77
Cleveland Browns 79
Dallas Cowboys 84
Denver Broncos 79

Detroit Lions 82
Green Bay Packers 90
Houston Texans 84
Indianapolis Colts 86
Jacksonville Jaguars 78

Kansas City Chiefs 83
Miami Dolphins 82
Minnesota Vikings 81
New England Patriots 90
New Orleans Saints 89

New York Giants 85
New York Jets 86
Oakland Raiders 79
Philadelphia Eagles 88

Pittsburgh Steelers 89
St. Louis Rams 84
San Diego Chargers 89
San Francisco 49ers 81
Seattle Seahawks 78

Tampa Bay 79

Tennessee Titans 79
Washington Redskins 77

It's no surprise that New England and Green Bay are the two highet-rated teams, as they are the favorites in their respective conferences to win the Super Bowl.

The Colts power rating of 96 is obviously based on having Peyton Manning in the line-up. As I mentioned in a href="http://sportsgambling.about.com/od/experiencedbettorsonly/a/prvariables.htm">Variables and Power Ratings his absence is worth the maximum of four points, so until he returns, a better number for Indianapolis is closer to 92. The oddsmakers have assigned an even higher number to his injury, as Houston is a 9-point favorite on Sunday, as opposed to five points. The Colts' struggles at the quarterback position in the preseason are no doubt having an effect on the spread.

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