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Week 9 True Power Rankings: the crunchers love the Chiefs

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On Tuesday, the pundits moved the Chiefs down a notch — but the number-crunchers disagree

As we saw in Tuesday’s Week 9 Pundit Power Rankings, the national writers all left the Kansas City Chiefs in exactly the same spot after they defeated the Denver Broncos 30-23 on Sunday, but put the New Orleans Saints ahead of the Chiefs following their 30-20 win over the the Minnesota Vikings. But the number-crunchers saw Week 8’s results differently.

Here’s how the crunchers see the NFL in Week 9:

Cruncher Power Rankings for Week 9

Chiefs AFC West Teams Other AFC Teams

Rank Team Elo DVOA SRS PE
1
(2)
Chiefs
7-1
1
(1)
1
(1)
1
(2)
3
(3)
2
(1)
Rams
8-0
3
(2)
2
(2)
2
(1)
1
(1)
3
(4)
Saints
6-1
4
(4)
8
(7)
4
(5)
7
(5)
4
(5)
Patriots
6-2
2
(3)
10
(8)
6
(6)
6
(8)
5
(3)
Ravens
4-4
11
(8)
9
(4)
3
(3)
2
(2)
6
(9)
Panthers
5-2
7
(9)
4
(9)
9
(13)
11
(12)
7
(6)
Chargers
5-2
9
(10)
3
(3)
12
(9)
8
(7)
8
(7)
Bears
4-3
17
(18)
5
(6)
7
(8)
4
(4)
Rank Team Elo DVOA SRS PE
9
(7)
Steelers
4-2-1
6
(6)
13
(12)
8
(7)
9
(11)
10
(11)
Seahawks
4-3
8
(12)
30
(30)
4
(4)
5
(6)
11
(10)
Eagles
4-4
5
(5)
21
(21)
16
(15)
12
(10)
11
(15)
Texans
5-3
18
(22)
12
(13)
14
(15)
10
(13)
13
(13)
Cowboys
3-4
13
(14)
19
(19)
10
(11)
13
(9)
14
(16)
Redskins
5-2
14
(15)
16
(18)
13
(19)
14
(15)
15
(14)
Broncos
3-5
23
(24)
6
(5)
11
(10)
18
(19)
16
(11)
Vikings
4-3-1
10
(7)
18
(16)
19
(15)
17
(14)
Rank Team Elo DVOA SRS PE
17
(18)
Packers
3-3-1
20
(19)
11
(15)
18
(22)
16
(17)
18
(17)
Bengals
5-3
15
(16)
17
(22)
17
(12)
20
(21)
18
(18)
Colts
3-5
24
(27)
15
(14)
15
(14)
15
(18)
20
(22)
Falcons
3-4
12
(11)
23
(23)
23
(26)
22
(22)
21
(21)
Lions
3-4
16
(13)
26
(28)
22
(20)
21
(20)
22
(20)
Jets
3-5
26
(25)
22
(20)
20
(18)
19
(16)
23
(25)
49ers
1-7
29
(28)
6
(10)
29
(28)
28
(29)
24
(23)
Jaguars
3-5
21
(17)
20
(17)
25
(23)
27
(27)
Rank Team Elo DVOA SRS PE
24
(23)
Dolphins
4-4
25
(23)
14
(11)
28
(27)
26
(23)
26
(25)
Titans
3-4
19
(19)
25
(25)
26
(25)
24
(26)
27
(27)
Buccaneers
3-4
22
(21)
29
(27)
21
(24)
23
(25)
28
(28)
Browns
2-5-1
32
(32)
27
(26)
24
(21)
25
(23)
29
(29)
Giants
1-7
31
(31)
24
(24)
27
(29)
29
(28)
30
(30)
Raiders
1-6
30
(29)
28
(29)
30
(30)
30
(30)
31
(32)
Cardinals
2-6
28
(30)
31
(31)
31
(31)
31
(31)
32
(31)
Bills
2-6
27
(26)
32
(32)
32
(32)
32
(32)
Numbers in parentheses are the previous week's ranking.
The left-hand column is the average of all rankings.
Other questions?
Read the True Power Rankings Methodology

The Chiefs are now in first place with three of the crunchers — rising to first place in the SRS rankings for the first time — which is enough to put them in first place in our cruncher rankings.

Why? The Los Angeles Rams barely held on to beat the Green Bay Packers, winning by only two points. The Chiefs won by seven against the Broncos. but going into Week 8, Elo saw the Packers and Broncos as below-average teams, so it didn’t give either the Chiefs or the Rams big rewards for their wins. On the other hand, SRS liked the Broncos more than the Packers, and gave the Chiefs a bigger boost for their win.

But the other problem for the Rams was the New England Patriots. The Patriots moved ahead of the Rams in Elo after beating the Buffalo Bills by 19 points. Elo didn’t like the Bills much, either — but the Patriots won by a lot.

The Houston Texans moved up the most in the cruncher rankings, rising four spots this week after defeating the Miami Dolphins 42-23. The Vikings had the biggest drop, falling five places after their aforementioned loss to the Saints.

This week’s biggest disagreement among the crunchers is interesting. The Cincinnati Bengals beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 37-34. The win pushed the Bengals up one spot in both Elo and PE. But the Bengals rose five positions in DVOA, and dropped five in SRS.

How can this be? Remember that neither of these systems care much about winning or losing. SRS doesn’t care at all, and DVOA is more focused on how a team plays situational football. So DVOA saw an improvement in how the Bengals played, while SRS just saw a narrow point differential against a team that it doesn’t like very much.

Keep this in mind. We’ll come back to it a little later.

So what happens when we average our Cruncher Power Rankings with this week’s Pundit Power Rankings? Let’s look at the Week 9 True Power Rankings.

True Power Rankings for Week 9

Chiefs AFC West Teams Other AFC Teams

Rank Team Pundits Crunchers
1
(1)
Rams
8-0
1
(1)
2
(1)
2
(2)
Chiefs
7-1
3
(2)
1
(2)
3
(3)
Saints
6-1
2
(3)
3
(4)
4
(4)
Patriots
6-2
4
(4)
4
(5)
5
(6)
Chargers
5-2
5
(5)
7
(6)
6
(9)
Panthers
5-2
6
(9)
6
(9)
7
(7)
Steelers
4-2-1
7
(7)
9
(7)
8
(5)
Ravens
4-4
12
(8)
5
(3)
Rank Team Pundits Crunchers
9
(10)
Bears
4-3
13
(14)
8
(7)
10
(11)
Eagles
4-4
10
(12)
11
(10)
11
(12)
Redskins
5-2
9
(11)
14
(16)
12
(8)
Vikings
4-3-1
8
(6)
16
(11)
13
(14)
Seahawks
4-3
16
(17)
10
(11)
14
(16)
Texans
5-3
15
(15)
11
(15)
15
(13)
Packers
3-3-1
11
(10)
17
(18)
16
(15)
Bengals
5-3
14
(13)
18
(17)
Rank Team Pundits Crunchers
17
(17)
Cowboys
3-4
19
(21)
13
(13)
18
(21)
Falcons
3-4
17
(19)
20
(22)
19
(18)
Broncos
3-5
24
(23)
15
(14)
20
(23)
Colts
3-5
23
(27)
18
(18)
21
(19)
Lions
3-4
18
(16)
21
(21)
22
(20)
Dolphins
4-4
20
(18)
24
(23)
23
(22)
Jaguars
3-5
21
(20)
24
(23)
24
(25)
Titans
3-4
22
(22)
26
(25)
Rank Team Pundits Crunchers
25
(24)
Jets
3-5
26
(25)
22
(20)
26
(26)
Buccaneers
3-4
25
(24)
27
(27)
27
(27)
Browns
2-5-1
27
(26)
28
(28)
28
(28)
49ers
1-7
31
(30)
23
(25)
29
(29)
Giants
1-7
30
(28)
29
(29)
30
(32)
Cardinals
2-6
28
(32)
31
(32)
31
(30)
Bills
2-6
29
(29)
32
(31)
32
(31)
Raiders
1-6
32
(31)
30
(30)
Numbers in parentheses are the previous week's ranking.
The left-hand column is the average of all rankings.
Other questions?
Read the True Power Rankings Methodology

As you can see, the Chiefs are still ranked second in the this week’s True Power Rankings — still tops in the AFC. There’s remarkable consistency at very the top — the top four spots are unchanged for the third week in a row, although as we have seen, the pundits and the crunchers disagree about them a little.

The Philadelphia Eagles fell out of the top 10, while the Vikings moved in. Elsewhere at the top, the Baltimore Ravens dropped again, and the Carolina Panthers moved up. The Jacksonville Jaguars took up residence in the bottom 10, and the Indianapolis Colts climbed out.

This week, the most disagreement between the pundits and crunchers is with the Broncos and the Vikings. The pundits are not impressed with the Broncos, but the crunchers like them more. This week, the reverse is true for the Vikings — the pundits have a lot more faith in them than the crunchers.

And here’s your weekly reality-check. Let’s take a look at the Week 9 cruncher grades:

Cruncher Grades for Week 9

Chiefs AFC West Teams Other AFC Teams

Team AvgGrade Elo DVOA SRS PE
Rams
8-0
B+
(B+)
B
(B)
B+
(A-)
B+
(A-)
B+
(A-)
Chiefs
7-1
B+
(B+)
B+
(B+)
A-
(A-)
B+
(A-)
B-
(B-)
Patriots
6-2
B-
(C+)
B
(B)
C+
(C+)
B-
(C+)
C+
(C+)
Saints
6-1
B-
(C+)
B
(B-)
C+
(C+)
B-
(C+)
C+
(C+)
Ravens
4-4
C+
(B)
C+
(C+)
C+
(B-)
B-
(B+)
B-
(B+)
Panthers
5-2
C+
(C+)
C+
(C+)
B-
(C+)
C+
(C)
C+
(C+)
Bears
4-3
C+
(C+)
C
(C)
B-
(C+)
C+
(C+)
B-
(C+)
Steelers
4-2-1
C+
(C+)
B-
(B-)
C+
(C+)
C+
(C+)
C+
(C+)
Team AvgGrade Elo DVOA SRS PE
Chargers
5-2
C+
(C+)
C+
(C+)
B-
(B-)
C+
(C+)
C+
(C+)
Seahawks
4-3
C+
(C)
C+
(C+)
D+
(D+)
B-
(C+)
B-
(C+)
Eagles
4-4
C+
(C)
B-
(B-)
C
(C-)
C
(C)
C+
(C+)
Texans
5-3
C
(C)
C
(C-)
C+
(C)
C
(C)
C+
(C)
Cowboys
3-4
C
(C)
C
(C)
C
(C)
C+
(C)
C+
(C+)
Redskins
5-2
C
(C)
C
(C)
C
(C)
C
(C)
C+
(C)
Broncos
3-5
C
(C)
C-
(C-)
C+
(C+)
C+
(C+)
C
(C)
Vikings
4-3-1
C
(C)
C+
(C+)
C
(C)
C
(C)
C
(C)
Team AvgGrade Elo DVOA SRS PE
Colts
3-5
C
(C)
C-
(D+)
C
(C)
C
(C)
C+
(C)
Packers
3-3-1
C
(C)
C
(C)
C+
(C)
C
(C-)
C
(C)
Bengals
5-3
C
(C)
C
(C)
C
(C-)
C
(C)
C
(C-)
Falcons
3-4
C
(C)
C+
(C+)
C-
(C-)
C-
(C-)
C-
(C-)
Lions
3-4
C-
(C)
C
(C)
D+
(C-)
C-
(C)
C
(C)
Jets
3-5
C-
(C)
C-
(C-)
C-
(C)
C-
(C)
C
(C)
Jaguars
3-5
C-
(C-)
C-
(C)
C
(C)
C-
(C-)
C-
(C-)
Dolphins
4-4
C-
(C)
C-
(C-)
C+
(C+)
D+
(C-)
C-
(C-)
Team AvgGrade Elo DVOA SRS PE
Titans
3-4
C-
(C-)
C
(C)
C-
(C-)
C-
(C-)
C-
(C-)
Buccaneers
3-4
C-
(C-)
C-
(C)
D+
(C-)
C-
(C-)
C-
(C-)
49ers
1-7
C-
(C-)
D+
(D+)
C+
(C+)
D+
(D+)
D+
(D+)
Giants
1-7
D+
(D+)
D
(D)
C-
(C-)
C-
(D+)
D+
(D+)
Browns
2-5-1
D+
(C-)
D-
(F+)
D+
(C-)
C-
(C-)
C-
(C-)
Raiders
1-6
D
(D+)
D
(D+)
D+
(D+)
D
(D+)
D
(D)
Cardinals
2-6
D
(D-)
D+
(D)
D-
(D-)
D-
(D-)
D-
(F+)
Bills
2-6
D-
(D-)
D+
(C-)
F+
(F+)
F+
(D-)
F
(F+)
Grades in parentheses are the previous week's grade.
Other questions?
Read the True Power Rankings Methodology

AP user SonOfAVeach made a good comment on Tuesday’s Pundit Power Rankings article, saying the top four teams in the eyes of the pundits — the Chiefs, Rams, Saints and Patriots, in no particular order — are pretty much interchangeable.

That’s exactly what we see here. The pundits may disagree about one team or another, but based on what the crunchers think, these teams would all be pretty equivalent on a neutral field.

Sharp-eyed readers might also note that in the grades table, the Rams are ahead of the Chiefs. That’s because in this table, we’re averaging not the grades, but the standard deviations from average values that stand behind the grades. In the earlier table, we were averaging the rankings — and sometimes the math works out differently. The difference between those values in this table for the Rams and Chiefs — they are 1.76376 and 1.73409 respectively — is in no way significant, but the table is sorted in descending order anyway.

And before we wrap this up, let’s re-examine the disparity between the cruncher rankings for the Bengals we discussed earlier. SRS and DVOA appeared to sharply disagree about how the Bengals should be ranked compared to last week. But here we see that DVOA only moved the Bengals from a C- to a C. That’s a measurable difference, but not a significant one. And SRS — despite the five position drop it showed for the Bengals in its rankings — has the Bengals unchanged with a C.

This is a great example of why we should always be careful about paying too much attention to how rankings change — for any kind of statistic. Sometimes it means something significant, and sometimes it doesn’t. That’s why we show you these grades every week.

So let’s get into Week 9, and see what happens — the Rams game against the Saints could have a big impact! On Tuesday, we’ll open up the magic power rankings spreadsheet, and start to figure out how it all shakes out.