New for the 2018 season: True power rankings For me — like many Arrowhead Pride readers — AP’s weekly rundown of power rankings is must-reading during the season.

on November 18 at 08:38 PM
I know perfectly well that power rankings are meaningless since they represent nothing more than the opinion of some NFL pundit.But I can’t help myself.I read them anyway.Going into the 2017 season Authentic Patrick Mahomes II Jersey , I started wondering: Is there a way to do it better?Is there a way to make power rankings more meaningful? And wouldn’t it be nice if you could look at them side by side, and more easily compare rankings from different sources?So I spent the season collecting data and experimenting with it, revising my methods and calculations as I went along.You’ll see the results starting this season, as we present Arrowhead Pride True Power Rankings — a more complete look at the state of the NFL each week.Part 1: Pundit Power RankingsOn Tuesdays — just as we’ve always done — we’ll give you power rankings from a variety of sources, including each pundit’s comments about the Chiefs.But we’ll present the rankings side-by-side, so you can more easily compare how different sources view each NFL team.Then we’ll add an extra feature.We’ll aggregate the rankings into a single ranking based on the power rankings from ESPN, Sports Illustrated’s MMQB,, the Sporting News, and these particular six?All are well-respected national sources that we know will publish power rankings each week.The rankings published by two of them — ESPN and MMQB — represent the opinion of all their writers, rather than just one.Since we could consider their group opinion as more valid, our calculations will weight those two more heavily than the other four.As an example of what this will look like, here’s what the Pundit Power Rankings looked like going into Week 17 last season.Pundit Power Rankings for Week 17Chiefs AFC West Teams Other AFC TeamsLike all the tables we’ll show you each week, rows for the Chiefs will be in one color, rows for AFC West teams will be in another color, and rows for the remaining AFC teams will be in yet another.This immediately draws your eye not only to the information about your favorite team, but also to the teams that will most concern the Chiefs during the regular season: their division and conference opponents.We’ll also repeat the header row every eight rows, which will make it a little easier for you to read the table as you scroll through it, and also neatly divide the teams into quarters.Wait... did I say all the tables?I sure did.Part 2: Cruncher Power RankingsWe know, of course, there are other ways to evaluate the relative strength NFL teams — ones that do not depend on a sportswriter’s opinion, but instead on hard data.So on Wednesdays starting after Week 2, we’ll give you NFL rankings generated by four well-known methods used by number-crunchers: ELO from, DVOA from, SRS (for Simple Rating System) from, and PE (for Pythagorean Expectation — sometimes called expected wins) as originally adapted for pro football by Football Outsiders.All of these methods have strengths and weaknesses.All but DVOA use points scored (both for and against) as the base data for their calculations.All but PE take opponent strength into consideration.Only Elo includes how a team did in the previous season.Two of them — Elo and PE — were originally developed for different purposes, but have been adapted for pro football.There are other differences — if you’re really interested, click the links to learn more — but for our purposes Womens Harrison Butker Jersey , only one thing matters: they don’t depend on the personal opinion of a writer who doesn’t watch every game of every team.As you might expect, we’ll not only present these power rankings from the number-crunchers, individually, but average them together, too.Here’s what that looked like going into Week 17 last season.Cruncher Power Rankings for Week 17Chiefs AFC West Teams Other AFC TeamsYou may have noticed that the 2017 playoff teams are marked with asterisks in these first two tables.We’ve done this so you can see whether the pundits or crunchers better predicted the outcome of the 2017 playoffs.As you might expect, it’s a mixed bag.The pundits had the advantage of knowing which teams had the best shot of making the playoffs with one week to go.On the other hand, the crunchers predicted the eventual Super Bowl winner.You can also see the how pundits — in general — are influenced by quarterbacks.Going into Week 17 last year, they unanimously thought the Patriots — with Tom Brady — had the best chance to win the Super Bowl.The crunchers had more variance in their evaluations, but weren’t distracted by the fact that backup quarterback Nick Foles would be under center for the Eagles in the postseason.This is not to say that the crunchers will always be more accurate.They won’t be.But it illustrates how much fun it was for me last season, as I watched how the pundits and the crunchers agreed — and sometimes, how they disagreed.Part 3: Combined Power RankingsEach week, we’ll make it easy for you to compare how the pundits and crunchers differ by presenting their rankings side-by-side — and, of course, give you a cumulative ranking that averages them together.Combined Power Rankings for Week 17Chiefs AFC West Teams Other AFC TeamsI should note here how these rankings will be averaged together.Sharp-eyed readers may already have noticed that some of these seem... wrong.Two and six for the Steelers averages to four, and five and one for the Eagles averages to three.So why would the Steelers be ranked ahead of the Eagles?This is because we’re not averaging the rankings from each table.Instead, we’re averaging the numbers behind those rankings.In the Pundit rankings for Week 17, the Steelers average ranking was 2.25, while it was 5.25 in the Crunchers rankings.That’s an average of 3.75.The Eagles Pundit average was 5.125, and their Crunchers average was 2.5.That averages out to 3.8125.Therefore, the Steelers ranked ahead of the Eagles in the Combined rankings.But we’re not done yet.Part 4: Cruncher GradesIf you’re familiar with my past writing, you may recall that I am not a fan of statistical rankings.They can be misleading because they can only show that one number is larger (or smaller) than another — not how close they are to each other.Statisticians have a trick to fix this problem.They calculate standard deviations from average for a set of values, which is used to tell if the difference between two values from the set is statistically significant.Standard deviations from average are expressed as a number that is almost always between -3 and 3, and is usually carried out to multiple decimal points.But you’re not going to have to compare -1.6875 to 1.3496.Instead, we’ll do the same thing your school teachers did: convert them to letter grades ranging from FF (less than -3) to AA (greater than 3) — like this:The key thing to remember is that only a difference of a full letter grade (or more) is statistically significant.So if one team has a B+ and another team has a B, the difference between them is measurable, but not significant.If one team has a C and another has a D+, the difference is a bit more measurable, but still not significant.But a team with a B+ grade is significantly better than one with a C+ grade.We can’t do this for Pundit rankings , because there is no numerical value behind each pundit’s opinion.But we can do it with the data underlying the Cruncher rankings, because they are numerical values.Since the Cruncher numbers are all based on entirely different systems, we can’t compare the raw numbers directly; that would be comparing apples to oranges.But by calculating standard deviations from average for each set of values, we effectively convert all of them to juicy red tomatoes — which we can compare directly.Here’s how that looked going into Week 17 last season.Cruncher Grades for Week 17Chiefs AFC West Teams Other AFC TeamsThese grades reveal an essential truth about ranking statistics of any kind: numbers that we spend a lot of time comparing sometimes don’t turn out to be significantly different from each other.While it might be true — for example — that one quarterback has a completion percentage of 60.1 and another has one of 60.4, the difference is measurable, but not necessarily significant.The same is true of ranked statistical values.We might assume — for example — that the top five rushers in the league are elite. But by grading the values this way, we might learn that only one is head and shoulders above everyone else.The other four might be merely above average.What we see here is that going into Week 17 last season, there were six teams that were roughly equivalent — at least in terms of how the crunchers evaluated them.So going into the playoffs, there really wasn’t one team that stood out as having the best chance to win it all.That might turn out to be the case in 2018, too.Or... it might not.It’s possible that when we reach Week 17, we’ll see that one or two teams are clearly above the rest of the field — or it’ll be anybody’s postseason to win.We’re looking forward to watching how it all unfolds, and hope that this weekly dive into what the pundits and crunchers think will be entertaining — and enlightening.Watch for it every Tuesday and Wednesday during the regular season on AP!Kansas City Chiefs defensive trends and tabulation for Week 2 82 snaps.That’s how many snaps — including penalties — the Kansas City Chiefs defense was on the field Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s also the same number of snaps they were on the field last week, too.At this rate, the Chiefs defense will be on the field for 1,312 snaps this season.Hell, I’m going to need an IV for that!Let’s not try to spin it, this week was bad for the defense. They started great, allowing the offense to get a three-score lead, then promptly coughed up that lead before halftime. They showed a slight improvement late in the second half, stopping the Steelers on three consecutive drives to help the team seal the game.But my goodness... what took place in between was some of the worst defense we’ve seen in a little while.The Chiefs have now given up over 400 passing yards to the opposition in each of their games this year, and have allowed teams to hang around all game long, despite the ridiculous offensive output that the Chiefs offense is sustaining.But where did those numbers rack up? Where did the Steelers find the most success? Why is Bob Sutton torturing one of his only supporters with a ludicrous number of snaps featuring some baffling schematic problems?Fortunately (or unfortunately for some), I’ve got the numbers this week to tell you where they had some marginal success, some catastrophic failures, and an overall “meh” outcome.The numbersThe Chiefs lined up in their base 3-4 formation 4.88 percent of the time, typically against 12 personnel. In those very limited snaps, the opposition gained 0.66 yards per play.The Chiefs lined up in their nickel defense with two down linemen and four linebackers 69.51 percent of the time, once again making it their preferred formation for the week. They allowed 7.09 yards per play out of this formation.The Chiefs showed their two defensive linemen , three linebacker dime formation 12.19 percent of the snaps this week. On those snaps, the Steelers gained 5.8 yards per play.The Chiefs dropped an outside linebacker or defensive lineman — brace yourself — on 36.60 percent of the snaps in Week 2. Those plays gave up 7.47 yards per play, and on average, the quarterback threw the ball in 2.72 seconds.The Chiefs sent extra rushers 11.20 percent of the time.That’s higher than last week, but still very low compared to the rest of the league. However, the Chiefs showed pressure, brought a rusher from the second level while dropping another rusher, ran a stunt, or blitzed on 29.50 percent of the snaps, so they weren’t completely vanilla.The Chiefs sent extra rushers just as much in the second quarter as they did in the fourth quarter. Those hoping that Sutton turned up the heat and blitzed more to get the stops he needed at the end of the game should take note that he did it while the Steelers were also marching down the field in the middle of the game. Those opening drives with three straight stops? Those were three and four-man rushes from the Chiefs defense.The Chiefs rushed three players on 31.0 percent of the passing snaps. Those snaps resulted in 9.35 yards per play and an average time to throw of 2.82 seconds.The Chiefs rushed four players on 57.8 percent of the passing snaps. Those snaps resulted in 6.18 yards per play (three whole yards less than rushing 3) and an average time to throw of 2.72 seconds.The Chiefs rushed five or more players on 11.2 percent of the passing snaps. Those snaps resulted in 6.75 yards per play and an average time to throw of 1.93 seconds.The Chiefs were in man coverage on 59.2 percent of the passing snaps. Those snaps resulted in a superb 4.26 yards per play and an average time to throw of 2.71 seconds. They played press man coverage 83.10 percent of the time with their corners and slot safeties.The Chiefs were in zone coverage 40.8 percent of the passing snaps. Those snaps resulted in a terrible 10.93 yards per play and an average time to throw of 2.70 secondsThe average time to throw this week was 2.65 seconds. When the Chiefs forced the throw under 2.5 seconds (33 plays), they allowed 4.33 yards per play. When the throw took longer than 2.5 seconds (27 plays), they allowed 11.33 yards per play.Something goodThe Chiefs pass defense didn’t have many quality coverage snaps this week, but this was definitely one of them.The Chiefs are in Cover 1, and the Chiefs rush both inside linebackers while dropping both outside linebackers for a four-man rush. Eric Murray has nice catch technique in the center of the field, and the corners are pressing. Ben Roethlisberger holds onto this ball for 5.04 seconds, but the Chiefs secondary stays sound in their coverage, resulting in an incomplete pass that forced a missed field goal.One of the few bright spots this week was the Chiefs run defense, allowing a fantastic 2.18 yards per carry on 11 attempts, and this clip highlights what the Chiefs can do against big packages.The Steelers are in 23 personnel, and the Chiefs are showing a four defensive lineman, four linebacker look to counter it. Derrick Nnadi goes low off the snap and creates an obstacle while Allen Bailey swims over the tackle to get into the backfield. The fullback has to make a decision on who to block, and his hesitation leads to Reggie Ragland filling the gap and catching running back James Conner in midair for no gain.The Chiefs run defense has struggled with some power running teams in the past, but plays like this show what the shift in mentality this offseason has created on that side of the ball.Something badI could spend 4500 words this week on how poor the Chiefs zone defense was against Pittsburgh, but I’m going to highlight one that encapsulates the way the Steelers beat up the Chiefs zone defense.The Chiefs ran a lot of Cover 3 Cloud this week, where a cornerback joins the two deep safeties to split the deep zone into thirds, with four defenders playing zone underneath. It’s a common look for the Chiefs, but they struggled with their discipline in it this week, as Steelers wide receivers tested the seams.Here Xavier Williams Jersey , Antonio Brown runs the seam between Steven Nelson and Murray’s zones for the deep third. Murray doesn’t shift to pick up Brown, and Nelson doesn’t pass him off, so they both end up overlapping the coverage on Brown.The problem with that is that Terrance Smith - the Apex defender — is expecting deep help behind him. He doesn’t know that zone has been evacuated, and as Juju Smith-Schuster gets depth on his route behind the underneath zone defender, Smith releases forward to cover the running back in the flat, thinking he’s passed the receiver to the deep zone defender.It’s a fantastic play design by the Steelers, but the success of the play was compounded by poor zone discipline by the Chiefs defenders.This is just poor recognition on a blitz.The Chiefs are bringing the safety and the slot corner from the passing strength of the offense without dropping an outside linebacker on that side of the field. Smith is in man against the running back, who motions out wide to leave the backfield empty. There are hot routes for days against this blitz, as they’re asking Justin Houston to come from the back side of the formation to cover the tight end in the slot after the snap. It’s some of the easiest yardage the Steelers had all day.In situations like this, someone on the defense has to kill this blitz. It arguably wouldn’t have worked against the 3x1 set with the running back in the backfield, but there’s not a prayer of stopping it once Smith shifts opposite the passing strength.Something you may have missedThe Chiefs did get to throw a little bit of a curveball here at the end of the game.After running a lot of zone looks all day, the Chiefs cornerbacks fake a Cover 3 look just before the snap. Ben Roethlisberger anticipates the space in front of the underneath zone defenders off the snap, but the Chiefs kick into man coverage. Orlando Scandrick goes over the top of Ron Parker and closes on Brown for a physical pass breakup to put a cap on a good day in coverage for him.The bottom lineThe Chiefs defense is bad. Full stop.After a week in which I praised Sutton for bringing some exotic looks and general confusion up front, he called a pretty poor game with soft zone coverages and rushing three players far too often. While playing man coverage for 82 snaps is not sustainable, the 60/40 split between man and zone is far too high when you look at the yardage discrepancies between the two.As I mentioned on the AP Laboratory podcast this week, the Chiefs don’t have the bodies in the secondary right now to run man all game and rotate players. We saw Nelson cramping at the end of the first half, so even the current split is taking its toll.The splits also show that even by simply rushing four players, the Chiefs defense can get stops, improving by three yards per play over rushing three players. There’s a time and a place to rush three, but even against a team like Pittsburgh where flooding the secondary with bodies can help, we can see that the time and the place wasn’t this week.Finally, the Chiefs have to get better on first and second downs. After the Scandrick holding penalty that nullified Chris Jones’ touchdown in the first quarter, the Chiefs forced only two more third downs for the rest of the half — a third-and-1 (after a second-and-1 deep shot that went incomplete) and a third-and-10 that resulted in the game-tying touchdown right before the half. The Chiefs only forced three third downs of longer than three yards after the first three drives of the game. That’s called not getting it done on your early downs.The Chiefs need help, and the weak spots appear to be shifting around the defense throughout the first two weeks. Going forward, this ailing defense may need more than a superhuman return from Eric Berry to set it straight.

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