NFL Week 15

Clearly, New England is the best team in the NFL through 15 weeks. The playoffs will test them to see if they will also be the champions of the NFL in Super Bowl XLV in Arlington, TX. The Patriots increased their already sizable lead in SportsMeasures’ ranking to over 12 points (from around nine in week 14).

http://www.sportsmeasures.com/nfl/nfl_week15.html

At the bottom of rankings are Carolina, Denver and Arizona. Their ability measures are so close together it is a toss-up as to which team is worst – 1.2 points separates them from each other.

The rankings still clearly show how much strength of schedule impacts a team’s measure. For example, look at Green Bay (8-6), #7 in the rankings with a measure of 63.55 and also look at Tampa Bay (8-6), #23 in the rankings with a measure of 39.85. How can two teams with identical win-loss records be so disparate? Take a look at their respective schedules and you’ll see. Let’s take a quick look right here:

Green Bay wins: @Philly, Buffalo, Detroit, Minnesota, @Jets, Dallas, @Minnesota, San Fran

Some quality wins @Philly, @Jets, @Minnesota – any win on the road in the NFL qualifies as a quality win – especially so @Philly and @Jets.

Green Bay losses: @Chicago, @Washington, Miami, @Atlanta, @Detroit, @New England

Some losses against high level teams – @Chicago, @Atlanta and @New England, but some bad losses @Washington, Miami, @Detroit. You *almost* expect to lose @Chicago, Atlanta or New England. But, given Green Bay’s strength they should have beaten Washington, Miami and Detroit at home or on the road.

Tampa Bay wins: Cleveland, @Carolina, @Cinci, St. Louis, Arizona, Carolina, @San Fran, @Washington

Tampa Bay’s wins all came against teams with losing records. The highest ranked team they’ve beaten is Cleveland at #15; no one else is above #25.

Tampa Bay losses: Pittsburgh, New Orleans, @Atlanta, @Baltimore, Atlanta, Detroit

Tampa’s losses have all come against teams with winning records with the exception of Detroit.

I didn’t even need to get into the scores of their games because the story was told just in their wins and losses. Fortunately, it appears that Tampa won’t be in the playoffs. With their remaining games vs. Seattle and @New Orleans it is almost assured that they will have no better than a 9-7 record. The Giants or the Packers will likely claim the other wild card slot.

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