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Week 10 True Power Rankings: Chiefs are No. 1 team in the league

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On Tuesday, the pundits moved the Chiefs down to fourth — but once we factor in data from the number-crunchers, we have a new number one team.

I’m sure Tuesday’s Week 10 Pundit Power Rankings were a disappointment to many Arrowhead Pride readers. It just didn’t seem fair that the Kansas City Chiefs would fall to fourth place after a 37-21 victory — even if it was against the Cleveland Browns — considering that the Chiefs have played a more difficult schedule than the other teams at the top, and their single loss was by a field goal against one of the best teams in the league.

Well, what can I tell you? That’s the way it is with pundits. They’re human and have their own built-in prejudices. Sometimes their practiced eyes and long memories — which usually serve them very well — need a dose of hard reality. That’s the whole purpose of our True Power Rankings model — to mix in that dose of reality.

And you’re going to like what it tells you this week.

As usual, we’ll start with how the number-crunchers see the NFL in Week 10:

Cruncher Power Rankings for Week 10

Chiefs AFC West Teams Other AFC Teams

Rank Team Elo DVOA SRS PE
1
(1)
Chiefs
8-1
1
(1)
1
(1)
1
(1)
3
(3)
2
(2)
Rams
8-1
4
(3)
2
(2)
2
(2)
2
(1)
3
(3)
Saints
7-1
3
(4)
7
(8)
3
(4)
6
(7)
3
(4)
Patriots
7-2
2
(2)
6
(10)
7
(6)
4
(6)
5
(8)
Bears
5-3
13
(17)
4
(5)
6
(7)
1
(4)
6
(6)
Panthers
6-2
7
(7)
3
(4)
8
(9)
7
(11)
7
(9)
Steelers
5-2-1
5
(6)
11
(13)
4
(8)
9
(9)
8
(7)
Chargers
6-2
8
(9)
5
(3)
10
(12)
7
(8)
Rank Team Elo DVOA SRS PE
9
(5)
Ravens
4-5
12
(11)
10
(9)
5
(3)
5
(2)
10
(11)
Eagles
4-4
6
(5)
20
(21)
12
(16)
12
(12)
11
(11)
Texans
6-3
16
(18)
12
(12)
15
(14)
11
(10)
12
(10)
Seahawks
4-4
11
(8)
26
(30)
9
(4)
10
(5)
13
(20)
Falcons
4-4
9
(12)
19
(23)
13
(23)
16
(22)
14
(16)
Vikings
5-3-1
10
(10)
16
(18)
18
(19)
15
(17)
15
(13)
Cowboys
3-5
17
(13)
23
(19)
11
(10)
13
(13)
16
(18)
Bengals
5-3
15
(15)
17
(17)
14
(17)
19
(20)
Rank Team Elo DVOA SRS PE
17
(15)
Broncos
3-6
25
(23)
8
(6)
16
(11)
17
(18)
18
(18)
Colts
3-5
24
(24)
15
(15)
17
(15)
14
(15)
19
(17)
Packers
3-4-1
21
(20)
13
(11)
20
(18)
18
(16)
20
(14)
Redskins
5-3
18
(14)
21
(16)
21
(13)
20
(14)
21
(26)
Titans
4-4
14
(19)
22
(25)
25
(26)
24
(24)
21
(23)
49ers
2-7
26
(29)
9
(6)
28
(29)
22
(28)
23
(24)
Jaguars
3-5
20
(21)
18
(20)
24
(25)
27
(27)
24
(24)
Dolphins
5-4
23
(25)
14
(14)
29
(28)
26
(26)
Rank Team Elo DVOA SRS PE
25
(27)
Buccaneers
3-5
22
(22)
27
(29)
19
(21)
25
(23)
25
(22)
Jets
3-6
27
(26)
23
(22)
22
(20)
21
(19)
27
(21)
Lions
3-5
19
(16)
29
(26)
26
(22)
23
(21)
28
(28)
Browns
2-6-1
32
(32)
28
(27)
23
(24)
28
(25)
28
(29)
Giants
1-7
30
(31)
25
(24)
27
(27)
29
(29)
30
(31)
Cardinals
2-6
28
(28)
31
(31)
30
(31)
31
(31)
31
(30)
Raiders
1-7
31
(30)
30
(28)
31
(30)
30
(30)
32
(32)
Bills
2-7
29
(27)
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

In the view of the crunchers, the Chiefs are right where they were in Week 9 — still ranked first in all of the data models except PE.

Normally, I’d give some analysis of the movement within the cruncher rankings, but this week, let’s dispense with that. There’s not a lot to discuss — and besides, I’ve already teased you enough.

Let’s get right to the meat of this thing, and show you what happens when we average these cruncher power rankings with the pundit rankings from Tuesday.

True Power Rankings for Week 10

Chiefs AFC West Teams Other AFC Teams

Rank Team Pundits Crunchers
1
(2)
Chiefs
8-1
4
(3)
1
(1)
2
(1)
Rams
8-1
3
(1)
2
(2)
3
(3)
Saints
7-1
1
(2)
3
(3)
4
(4)
Patriots
7-2
2
(4)
3
(4)
5
(6)
Panthers
6-2
6
(6)
6
(6)
6
(5)
Chargers
6-2
5
(5)
8
(7)
7
(7)
Steelers
5-2-1
7
(7)
7
(9)
8
(9)
Bears
5-3
11
(13)
5
(8)
Rank Team Pundits Crunchers
9
(10)
Eagles
4-4
9
(10)
10
(11)
10
(12)
Vikings
5-3-1
8
(8)
14
(16)
11
(8)
Ravens
4-5
16
(12)
9
(5)
12
(14)
Texans
6-3
10
(15)
11
(11)
13
(18)
Falcons
4-4
14
(17)
13
(20)
14
(16)
Bengals
5-3
12
(14)
16
(18)
15
(13)
Seahawks
4-4
17
(16)
12
(10)
16
(15)
Packers
3-4-1
13
(11)
19
(17)
Rank Team Pundits Crunchers
17
(11)
Redskins
5-3
15
(9)
20
(14)
18
(17)
Cowboys
3-5
21
(19)
15
(13)
19
(20)
Colts
3-5
22
(23)
18
(18)
20
(24)
Titans
4-4
19
(22)
21
(26)
21
(19)
Broncos
3-6
24
(24)
17
(15)
22
(22)
Dolphins
5-4
18
(20)
24
(24)
23
(23)
Jaguars
3-5
20
(21)
23
(24)
24
(21)
Lions
3-5
23
(18)
27
(21)
Rank Team Pundits Crunchers
25
(26)
Buccaneers
3-5
25
(25)
25
(27)
26
(25)
Jets
3-6
26
(26)
25
(22)
27
(28)
49ers
2-7
28
(31)
21
(23)
28
(27)
Browns
2-6-1
27
(27)
28
(28)
29
(29)
Giants
1-7
30
(30)
28
(29)
30
(30)
Cardinals
2-6
29
(28)
30
(31)
31
(31)
Bills
2-7
31
(29)
32
(32)
32
(32)
Raiders
1-7
32
(32)
31
(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

The Chiefs are at the top of the heap — not just in the AFC, but in the whole NFL — for the very reasons you probably thought it was wrong for them to be fourth in the eyes of the pundits: because they’ve played a stronger schedule, and their single loss doesn’t count against them as much as the losses the other teams have had.

But as your eyes travel across the table, you may have noticed that something seems... wrong. Shouldn’t the New Orleans Saints be ranked first, with their number one ranking with the pundits, and their number three ranking with the crunchers?

No... they shouldn’t. As we explained when we introduced this series at the beginning of the season — you can brush up with the True Power Rankings Methodology — we’re not averaging the ranks themselves, but rather the numbers behind those rankings.

To illustrate, I’ll show you the top four teams again — but this time, with the ranking points from this week instead of the rankings.

Avg Team Pundits Crunchers
2.2955 Chiefs 3.0909 1.5000
2.7500 Rams 3.0000 2.5000
2.9205 Saints 1.0909 4.7500
3.7841 Patriots 2.8182 4.7500

The math works out. The Chiefs are first because they should be.

But while we’re here, let’s go back to a comment I referenced in Tuesday’s Week 10 Pundit Power Rankings. I pointed out that Frank Schwab of Yahoo! Sports had characterized the situation correctly: that the Chiefs, Rams and Saints — but not the Patriots — all had a legitimate argument to be ranked number one. This table reveals that Schwab was right; once we factor in the cruncher data, the margin between these teams is indeed very small. As it turns out, he also picked the right argument to believe — he was the only pundit in our model to rank the Chiefs first this week!

But let’s not get carried away. Schwab’s opinion — as right as it was this week — might be wrong next week.

As always, we’ll close with your weekly reality-check. Let’s take a look at the Week 10 cruncher grades:

Cruncher Grades for Week 10

Chiefs AFC West Teams Other AFC Teams

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

Once again — without the bias induced by rankings, which tell us only that one value is greater than another, but not by how much — we see that the teams at the top (and bottom) are bunched together pretty closely. The best (and worst) teams in the league are pretty easy to identify.


All of the teams in the NFL have played at least half of their games for the season, so the data models are giving us better results than they did early in the year, and the pundits are beginning to see the individual trees in the forest. We’re starting to get a pretty clear idea of what’s going on.

When I was running my test of the True Power Rankings model in 2017, it was right around this point of the season that I started to see how well it could work. Crowdsourcing the opinions of the pundits — and then factoring in results from multiple data models with different strengths and weaknesses — really did give a clearer picture of what was happening than any individual pundit or model could hope to do.

I hope that you’re starting to see that, too. As Andy Reid might say, the fact that the model now shows the Chiefs at the top of the NFL is just icing on the cake.

So let’s enjoy the Week 10 games. On Tuesday, we’ll fire up the spreadsheet, and see how it all works out.