Polling the Polls: Where do the Ravens stand in the NFL?
Heading into their bye week, the Ravens are sitting at 3-1 atop the AFC North. While 3-1 seems impressive, those three wins have come against teams with a combined 4-8 record. Not exactly something that instills massive amounts of confidence. Furthermore the entire conference is only a single game behind the Ravens sitting at 2-2. Today in By the Numbers we’ll look at what the subjective pundits and the objective prediction models think of the Ravens and the remainder of the AFC North. The coloring scheme reflects ranking all 32 NFL teams, green coloring reflects low numbers while red coloring reflects high numbers.
We’ll start with the pundits. I’ve tried to take a pretty large sample of all the different “power rankings” available but if I have missed your favorite talking head please let me here about it in the comments. The figure below shows each subjective ranking, the average of all subjective rankings and the standard deviation of all subjective rankings.
Its pretty clear from this table that even though the Ravens only have a one game lead on the division most pundits think much more highly of them. Pundits are particularly baffled by Pittsburgh resulting in rankings ranging from 8 – 15 and one of the largest standard deviations of any team ranked.
Next, we’ll look at the objective prediction models. The models are objective in the sense that they are transparent. The methodology for each is available at the respective website. The figure below shows each objective ranking, the average of all objective rankings and the standard deviation of all objective rankings. Once again if I have missed a competing model please let me know in the comments.
Its nice to see such clear consensus between the pundits and the models when evaluating the Ravens. Historically, teams that pundits significantly favor over the models do not perform well in the remainder of the season. The figure shows that the models are also baffled by Pittsburgh. Despite a significantly smaller sample size, the models show even more of a disparity. Pittsburgh is ranked as high as 9 and as low as 19. Its also interesting to note that while the pundits see little difference between the Browns and Bengals, the models strongly favor the Bengals.
Finally, we’ll look at the combination of the objective and subjective rankings. In particular we’ll examine the difference in the average subjective ranking from the average objective ranking, we’ll also note the standard deviation of this difference.
If its possible for the 22nd ranked team in the NFL to be over-rated it appears the Browns are. There was a lot of talk about Cleveland being a real player in the AFC North this year but it seems likes its more of the same in the Metropolis of the Western Reserve.
Overall, the Ravens shine in this analysis. Two of the models still think Pittsburgh is a very good team but even in these cases the objective analysis strongly prefers the Ravens. Injuries can derail a team’s season any week in the NFL but at this point it would be hard to ask for a better start than the Ravens have given us this year.