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Wow - what a mess.  In this week's Natural Power Rankings, we have 4 different globs of teams where I had to do some serious sorting.  The NFC North + Washington mess is still there-with Detroit's win over Chicago in week 4 no longer considered in the NPR, there was a chance things would sort themselves out at last, but what happened this week?  Detroit beat Chicago again.  And to make matters worse, Philadelphia is in the mix too, with a win over Minnesota but a loss to Chicago becoming problematic, since Minnesota beat Chicago.  I think the problem is that we're at the part of the schedule where there are only a few must-see games a week; a lot of the interconference and mismatched games are happening now with TV competition from the World Series.

If you're new to my NPR blogs, you're probably already lost.  You can read my earlier blogs to see more detail on how NPR are calculated, but here's what you need to know:

  • 1) I established a set of rules for ranking teams, based purely on mathematics. THERE IS NO PERSONAL OPINION INVOLVED.
  • 2) I only look at the four most recent weeks.
  • 3) The first rule is that a team who beats another is ranked higher (why the above scenario is a problem).
  • 4) The second rule is that if teams faced the same opponent, the team who won or lost better is ranked higher. "Better" is determined by a formula that I've called Strength Of Victory, or SOV. This is where the other globs arose.

The first glob is right at the top.  New England-San Diego-Indianapolis were definitely top three, but in what order?  According to the degrees of separation rule I established last week, they get muddled.  I had to go to the second degree to find common opponents, and the Colts' SOV score was better than the Chargers', but the Chargers' was better than the Patriots', and the Patriots' was better than the Colts'. 

Well, the way I solved the NFC North + Washington and Philly was to add up the SOV points of the teams involved in the glob, and the highest total won.  So I did likewise here, for all games involving the three teams and their degrees of separation. 

I did the same for the glob at the bottom, where Miami, St. Louis, Atlanta, and San Francisco were causing the same problem.  And then again for the teams that beat more than one of these guys, the Giants, Ravens, Browns, and Saints. 

Now one thing I did with the NFC North + Washington & Philly glob that I didn't do with the others was consider them essentially equal.  That is to say, Washington's win over Arizona means essentially that Green Bay, Philadelphia, Chicago, Minnesota, and Detroit have all beaten Arizona.  And all six have lost to Dallas.  Because there was a degree or two of separation involved, I wouldn't do the same with the other globs. 

The thing I love about my NPR is this: Two weeks ago, the Giants were #1.  They haven't lost since, but they're now #22.  No one else seems to have noticed in their power rankings that the last four teams the Giants have played are all winless in that period of time.  That's right, Miami, NY Jets, San Francisco, Atlanta - a combined 0-14.  And two of those were very close games.

So, without further ado, here are the rankings, with their record over the past 4 weeks in parentheses:

  • 1) New England (4-0)
  • 2) San Diego (3-0)
  • 3) Indianapolis (3-0)
  • 4) Dallas (2-1)
  • 5) Buffalo (2-1)
  • 6) Washington (2-2)
  • 7) Philadelphia (2-1)
  • 8) Green Bay (2-1)
  • 9) Chicago (2-2)
  • 10) Minnesota (1-2)
  • 11) Detroit (2-1)
  • 12) Denver (1-2)
  • 13) Pittsburgh (2-1)
  • 14) Jacksonville (3-1)
  • 15) Tampa Bay (1-3)
  • 16) Carolina (2-1)
  • 17) Tennessee (3-1)
  • 18) Kansas City (2-1)
  • 19) Oakland (0-3)
  • 20) Cincinnati (1-2)
  • 21) Seattle (1-2)
  • 22) NY Giants (4-0)
  • 23) Baltimore (2-1)
  • 24) New Orleans (3-1)
  • 25) Cleveland (2-1)
  • 26) Arizona (1-2)
  • 27) Houston (1-3)
  • 28) Miami (0-4)
  • 29) NY Jets (0-4)
  • 30) Atlanta (0-3)
  • 31) St. Louis (0-4)
  • 32) San Francisco (0-3)

If the NPR hold true, here's who will win in week 9:

Tampa Bay beats Arizona

Carolina beats Tennessee

Buffalo beats Cincinnati

Detroit beats Denver

Green Bay beats Kansas City

Jacksonville beats New Orleans

San Diego beats Minnesota

Atlanta beats San Francisco

Washington beats NY Jets

Seattle beats Cleveland

Oakland beats Houston

New England beats Indianapolis

Dallas beats Philadelphia

Pittsburgh beats Baltimore

I got 4 wrong again last week, going 9-4.  That means I'm 28-12 overall, a winning percentage of .700 - definitely better than my overall .590 on the season (thanks to strangedavid for making that number easy to find).

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