Dan TM's Blog

Who's ready for my most absurd post ever?

Week 2 is special, because it's really the only time that one can look at who beat whom and by how much and come up with a logical ranking of the teams.  I call this the "Natural Power Rankings."  These are, of course, not going to be an accurate measure of which teams are the best in the league - not by far.  Upsets have happened, and a lot of games have been closer than they should be.  But if one ignores everything they know about how good a coach is, how much talent a team has, how a team might have gotten screwed over by a ref, and other intangible factors that affected the score, and looks purely at the cold, hard data presented on the scoreboards, one can rank the teams 1-32.

So here they are--the Natural Power Rankings:

  • 1) Patriots. 2-0 - beat Jets by 24, beat Chargers by 24
  • 2) Steelers. 2-0 - beat Browns by 27, beat Bills by 23
  • 3) Texans. 2-0 - beat Chiefs by 17, beat Panthers by 13
  • 4) Packers. 2-0 - beat Eagles by 4, beat Giants by 13
  • 5) Cowboys. 2-0 - beat Giants by 10, beat Dolphins by 17
  • 6) Lions. 2-0 - beat Raiders by 15, beat Vikings in OT
  • 7) Vikings. 1-1 - beat Falcons by 21, lost to Lions in OT
  • 8) Eagles. 0-1 - lost to Packers by 4, ***
  • 9) Broncos. 2-0 - beat Bills by 1, beat Raiders in OT
  • 10) Raiders. 0-2 - lost to Lions by 15, lost to Broncos in OT
  • 11) Bills. 0-2 - lost to Broncos by 1, lost to Steelers by 23
  • 12) Browns. 1-1 - lost to Steelers by 26, beat Bengals by 6
  • 13) Giants. 0-2 - lost to Cowboys by 10, lost to Packers by 13
  • 14) Redskins. 1-0 - beat Dolphins in OT, ***
  • 15) Dolphins. 0-2 - lost to Redskins in OT, lost to Cowboys by 17
  • 16) Bengals. 1-1 - beat Ravens by 7, lost to Browns by 6
  • 17) Ravens. 1-1 - lost to Bengals by 7, beat Jets by 7
  • 18) Colts. 2-0 - beat Saints by 31, beat Titans by 2
  • 19) Titans. 1-1 - beat Jaguars by 3, lost to Colts by 2
  • 20) Jaguars. 1-1 - lost to Titans by 3, beat Falcons by 6
  • 21) Chargers. 1-1 - beat Bears by 11, lost to Patriots by 24

21) Jets. 0-2 - lost to Patriots by 24, lost to Ravens by 7

  • 23) Panthers. 1-1 beat Rams by 14, lost to Texans by 13
  • 24) Bears. 1-1 - lost to Chargers by 11, beat Chiefs by 10
  • 25) 49ers. 2-0 - beat Cardinals by 3, beat Rams by 1
  • 26) Rams. 0-2 - lost to Panthers by 14, lost to 49ers by 1
  • 27) Cardinals. 1-1 - lost to 49ers by 3, beat Seahawks by 3
  • 28) Seahawks. 1-1 - beat Bucs by 14, lost to Cardinals by 3
  • 29) Chiefs. 0-2 - lost to Texans by 17, lost to Bears by 10
  • 30) Bucs. 1-1 - lost to Seahawks by 14, beat Saints by 17
  • 31) Falcons. 0-2 - lost to Vikings by 21, lost to Jaguars by 6
  • 32) Saints. 0-2 - lost to Colts by 31, lost to Bucs by 17

*** The Eagles play the Redskins tonight, obviously, which could change a lot.  Before I get into that, though, an interesting thing happened with the scheduling.  If you've ever been to a ropes course and/or summer camp and have done the "Human Knot" exercise, sometimes a similar phenomenon occurs.  The way it works is that everyone in the circle grabs two hands at random, thus forming a knot, and the group has to try to undo the knot and end up in a circle.  Sometimes, the group ends up with two independent circles, often a big one, with a smaller one interlocked: A is holding B's hand, B is holding C's, C is holding D's, and D is holding A's.  This is what happened in the NFL, weeks 1 and 2.  While the rest of the league matched up in interesting ways to form a big circle, the Packers, Giants, Cowboys, Dolphins, Redskins, and Eagles made up their own smaller circle.  This made it difficult to fold them into the rest of the group, rankings-wise.  For all we know, they could be the six best or the six worst teams in the league, and they just beat up on each other.  So I figured out the natural rankings for them, and fit them into the other group where there was an apparent gap.

So how could tonight's game impact the rankings?  Well, if the Redskins win, it'll totally screw up the natural rankings.  The Cowboys beat the Dolphins by a larger margin than the win over the Giants, so the Dolphins must be worse.  The Packers beat the Giants by a larger margin than the Cowboys, so the Packers must be better.  But if the Redskins beat the Eagles by more than 4, they must be better than the Packers, but the Cowboys must be worse than the Packers, but better than the Redskins.  Due to this logjam, I'd have to rank the Packers, Cowboys, and Redskins together in one place, as a tie, with the Dolphins, Eagles, and Giants later on the list in that order.  If the Eagles win, things stay as they are, unless the Eagles win by a lot, in which case, the Cowboys, Redskins, Dolphins, and Giants all move down the list a little ways.

Obviously, these rankings make little sense to us.  How could the Colts be #18?  How could an 0-2 team be #10, and a 2-0 team be #25?  Perhaps if I ranked these teams with a score of 1-100, it'd be more clear.  The middle, from the Lions at #6 all the way down to the Seahawks at #28, is extremely muddled, and their 1-100 scores would all be within 10 points of 50.  The Patriots and Steelers would both be in the upper 90s, and the Saints would be a 1.  The Bucs, though just two places up from the Saints, would hang around 30, and the Falcons wouldn't be far behind.

Here's a more tangible way to put it.  Assuming a Redskins' loss to the Eagles, this is how the season would finish out at the current rate, that is, if every time a team faces a higher-ranked team in the Natural Power Rankings, they lose.  This comes out slightly less absurd, but still off the wall:

AFC East

Patriots 16-0

Bills 10-6

Dolphins 5-11

Jets 1-15

AFC North

Steelers 15-1

Browns 11-5

Bengals 9-7

Ravens 7-9

AFC South

Texans 16-0

Colts 10-6

Titans 9-7

Jaguars 6-10

AFC West

Broncos 11-5

Raiders 10-6

Chargers 3-13

Chiefs 0-16

NFC East

Cowboys 14-2

Eagles 10-6

Giants 7-9

Redskins 5-11

NFC North

Packers 16-0

Lions 13-3

Vikings 11-5

Bears 3-13

NFC South

Panthers 10-6

Buccaneers 4-12

Falcons 2-14

Saints 0-16

NFC West

49ers 9-7

Rams 7-9

Cardinals 5-11

Seahawks 3-13

Enter numerous comments about what a retarded waste of time this was.  Obviously this won't happen, so why do it?  Well, for one, it provides an argument against anyone who says "How can you say the Texans are worse than the Bears when the Bears beat the Chiefs by 10 and the Texans beat the Chiefs by 17?"  Your response can be that by that logic, the Raiders are better than the Colts.  For another, shut up, it was fun.  Providing an argument for why all but the Bears in the NFC North are a top 10 team - what better way to spend a morning?

Because I'm not yet a legit journalist, I can safely say about tonight's game:

Go Skins!


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