Team Efficiency Rankings - Week 17

A very unlikely season. It's possible that 3 of the top 5 teams in overall efficiency will not make the playoffs. The number one team is already eliminated. The #12 and #22 teams will have byes in the NFC. The #29 and #30 teams are duking it out on Sunday night  for a home playoff game, and the #26 team is theoretically still alive to win its division. That's the NFL.

SD's GWP is 0.81, which means they theoretically should have an .810 winning percentage over a large sample of games. After 15 games, the probability of such a team having at most 8 wins is only 1.4%. Special teams, bad luck, or whatever the adversity, 7.8 YPA and 5.4 defensive YPA should cure a lot of ills, especially combined with better than average interception rates on both sides of the ball.

The team rankings below are in terms of generic win probability. The GWP is the probability a team would beat the league average team at a neutral site. Each team's opponent's average GWP is also listed, which can be considered to-date strength of schedule, and all ratings include adjustments for opponent strength.

Offensive rank (ORANK) is offensive generic win probability, which is based on each team's offensive efficiency stats only. In other words, it's the team's GWP assuming it had a league-average defense. DRANK is is a team's generic win probability rank assuming it had a league-average offense.

GWP is based on a logistic regression model applied to current team stats. The model includes offensive and defensive passing and running efficiency, offensive turnover rates, defensive interception rates, and team penalty rates. If you're scratching your head wondering why a team is ranked where it is, just scroll down to the second table to see the stats of all 32 teams.

Click on the table headers to sort.

1 SD10.810.4422
2 PIT30.740.5161
3 GB50.730.52311
4 NE20.720.59123
5 NYG40.680.4975
6 PHI60.650.51412
7 BAL70.650.52127
8 MIA80.610.56238
9 NYJ110.600.57243
10 KC120.580.45139
11 IND90.580.521513
12 CHI130.560.51286
13 MIN160.530.552510
14 TEN100.530.53224
15 BUF170.520.581918
16 HOU140.510.54530
17 CLE190.500.532116
18 NO180.480.421120
19 DAL150.470.51929
20 TB230.470.40826
21 CIN240.460.571624
22 ATL200.440.461721
23 DET260.400.562622
24 OAK220.390.491415
25 WAS210.380.522727
26 JAC270.370.541831
27 SF250.360.432019
28 DEN280.330.471032
29 STL300.270.393017
30 SEA290.270.422928
31 ARI320.210.413125
32 CAR310.210.473214

And here are each team's efficiency stats.


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17 Responses to “Team Efficiency Rankings - Week 17”

  1. Unknown says:

    9 of the top 12 in efficiency will make the playoffs. 9 of the top 11 if we pretend the Seahawks division simply doesn't exist.

    Doesn't that seem like a reasonable distribution?

  2. Anonymous says:


    don´t worry. Norv Turner ALWAYS has his teams underachieving. He is the timidest and worst play caller in ANY sports (I am from germany, i know alot bad Soccer- and Handball coaches, but no one ever comes close to his failures).

    Norv the Smurf achieved the worst Punting-Decision (2007 vs. NE); according to the FO-Book from 2007 he is the one with the worst Wng.-Pct. in relation to Game-Situations (and that was even before he destroyed SD); he is not playing to his team strenghts but weaknesses (i.e. EVERY time running into a wall on 1st and 10 = wasting downs for his high profile passing offense, very predictable). He took over a 14-2 team and has the best talented team, yet he is not able to prepare his teams for September. What is he doing in Camp?

    As i said many times before, your Model is (almost) perfect, but you should bring a coaching factor into it. For example Belichick and Martz are the opposite of Norv. They get the best out of their teams. Martz turned no name QB´s into starters or prolonged their careers (Warner, Bulger, Fitzpatrick, Kitna, JTO´Sullivan, Hill). He adjusted very well this year in Chicago, to make the best out of Cutler and a so-so OL. We all know that Belichick wins more games than he should (according to your study) over a 9-Year-Period now.

    Karl, Germany

  3. Anonymous says:

    STL has a significantly better defense and about the same offense as SEA. Yet they have the same GWP. What other factors affect that?

  4. Anonymous says:

    @ StartingAn

    That´s compatible with my (simple) rankings i do since 1991.

    Passing is most important, as always:
    7/12 of the most eff. Pass-Offenses make the PO,
    9/12 of the most eff. Pass-Defenses make the PO,
    9/12 of the most eff. Combi-Pass-Teams make the PO (Y/PP-Difference Offense to Defense).

    We have a down year for passing offenses, but trust me: Since 1960 the Passing-Offenses have the edge over Passing-Defenses.

    Running the ball doesn´t matter, as always:
    3/12 of the most eff. Run-Offenses make the PO,
    4/12 of the most eff. Run-Defenses make the PO,
    4/12 of the most eff. Combi-Run-Teams make the PO (Y/R-Difference Offense to Defense).

    My simple Rankings (solely Y/PP-Difference):
    1 SD 2,4
    2 GB 1,4
    3 PIT 1,2
    4 NYG 1,3
    5 NO 0,8
    6 BAL 0,7
    IND 0,7
    8 KC 0,5
    PHI 0,5
    NE 0,5
    11 CHI 0,4
    12 TB 0,3

    So my simple Ratings come to the same conclusions as Brian. Thanks to Norv, it´s "busted".

    Karl, Germany.

  5. Andrew Foland says:

    "After 15 games, the probability of such a team having at most 8 wins is only 1.4%."

    The team selected for having the most unlikely season has, unsurprisingly, an unlikely-looking season. (This is an exercise in order statistics.)

    The odds that _some_ team has a season as unlikely-looking as San Diego's is pretty much 32*1.4%, or nearly 50%. So with a perfect model, every year there are nearly even odds of there being a "San Diego".

  6. Brett says:

    Just a thought, but aside from having bad special teams or performing poorly in clutch situations, perhaps teams like the chargers are also playing their most efficient football during garbage time. It would be interesting to see what the efficiency stats look like if you only include plays that occur when the WP is between, say, .02 and .98, which is when the best players are likely still on the field and giving close to maximum effort.

  7. Jonathan says:

    ...and yet, if the Pats go on to win it all, we would have a very worthy champion. At .72, I'd say that they are the second best team in the league based on the "Belichek Factor." The Pats will overachieve with him as coach. If you factor in the "Norv Turner Factor," you could make a case that the Pats are #1.

  8. Brian says:

    Responding to Andrew's point above, if we want to get technical, we've actually got something like a 36% chance of having a "San Diego" in any given year, since 1-(1-0.014)^32 = 0.363

  9. Anonymous says:

    It seems strange that ATL ranks 22 (17 on offense) with both quarterback and receiver on the All WPA team.

  10. Anonymous says:

    ATL's strangeness partially explained:

    Model = Predictive
    WPA = Explanatory (Retrodictive)

  11. Ian Simcox says:


    The genius of Norv is that he can coach teams with an above average passing efficiency (ave AY/Att with OAK and SD 7.0) to a losing record (38 wins, 41 losses). By contrast, Bill Belichick has, since 2002, coached New England to a 100-27 regular season record despite having a lower (6.8 AY/Att) passing efficiency.

    Of course, offensive passing efficiency isn't the only thing that matters, but it does correlate very highly with winning.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Three straight years Rivers will lead the league in AYPA

  13. Anonymous says:

    @ Ian Simcox,

    that is exactly what i wrote....

    Anyway i like your sentence "The genius of Norv is that he can coach teams with an above average passing efficiency to a losing record". You made me laugh, even tough it´s very sad.

    SD could have an even better Y/PP if Norv the Smurf wouldn´t have put his QB under constant predictable pressure on 2nd Down and long (after the usual 1st-Down-Wasting 0-Y-Run straight up the middle).

    SD would have been a dynasty since 2006 with ANY other HC.

    After the worst punt decsion in the history of the NFL (2007-Season vs. NE, 12-21) i threw my SD-Shirt on the street, i had enough of this guy... I even changed teams. Go Bears.

    Again, Brian bring in a "Coaching-Factor" into your model and it will be unbeatable :-)


  14. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous you really can't be saying that the Chargers are performing well metrically 'in spite of their coaching' could you?

  15. mike says:

    The big problem for SD this season was their inability to win the "Turnover Battle".

    All the passing effeciency in the world can't overcome that. If they drive the ball 70 yards and turn the ball over those 70 yards are pretty much meaningless.

    The Chargers have a 4-10-1 record at winning the "TO Battle", when you lose that battle 10 times your going to pick-up many losses.

    The best teams can out-perform their TO record by doing many other things well, like winning the passing effeciency battle.

    SD TO record is 30% wins counting ties as half a win, and SD won 53.3% of their games. They out-performed their TO record by a whopping 23.3%, an indication of doing many other things well, such as passing effeciency.

    Atlanta is 10-3-2, or 73.3% wins in TO's. They won 80% of their games, they out-performed their TO record by 6.7%

    NE is 12-3, or 80% wins in TO's. They won 86.7% of their games, they out-performed their TO record by 6.7%.

    For SD to win 81% of their games they'd have to out-perform their TO record by an insane and impossible 51%.

    Highly, highly unlikey, doubtful weather any team in history as ever accomplished such a feat.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous I

    Yes i can. Pls look at my post where i said "worst play caller". Yes, indeed a coach can "spoil" the best talented team, yet the players still perform their great talent level (for example leading the NFL in Y/PP every year).

    Even the worst play caller doesn´t make you slow, weak and/or take your skills away.

    You can turn it as you want: If you predictably waste 10 downs a game rushing for 0 yards up the middle into a wall banging heads, instead of passing for 8, that cost you 80 yards (= around 6 points). That is playing to weakness instead of the strength. You are bound for loosing. Plus timid play calling on 4th down, plus being unprepared for September. All that turns a (would be) dynasty into a also run.

    Look also at Ian´s post. I can´t do the reading for you, but i can apologize my grammar (am from germany), which might led to some missunderstanding. Sorry ... :-)


  17. Anonymous says:


    cause and effect....

    If you are predictable, that leads to Turnovers. Even tough many Ints are random, once you are behind Ints pile up (or seldom a Comeback occurs).

    Norvs game plan always was and always will be: Fall behind with timid play calling, THEN led your great offensive team (try to) comeback behind passing. Failure is preprogrammed. The path to victory is the other way around (please look at all those great studies by Brian. They confirm that.)

    Also don´t forget that AYPA includes Ints, and still Norvs team leads the league. That means even after passing effieciency is adjusted for Ints, he still finds ways to loose.

    And last but not least:
    "Highly, highly unlikey, doubtful weather any team in history as ever accomplished such a feat (to overcome a neg. TO-Record)."

    It happens more than you think: Here are the SB-Teams (13 of 88) with a negative or even TO-Ratio;
    83-RAI -13
    01-SL -10
    79-PIT -10
    07-NYG -9
    79-RAM -8
    03-CAR -5
    76-OAK -4
    92-BUF -3
    87-WAS -3
    70-BAL -2
    08-AZ 0
    97-GB 0
    95-PIT 0

    In the same time only 4 teams reached the SB who couldn´t pass the ball (negativ or even Y/PP-Diff.):
    07-NYG, 01-NE, 00-BAL and 96-NE

    ... all that makes Norv the Smurf even look worse.

    My letter to the front office of the Chargers couldn´t prevent Norv from a big contract extension last year. What are they doing there???

    Should i organize a parade against Norv, like they do in Houston vs. Kubiak? (just kidding. I am very satisfied the way Martz works in Chicago)

    Cheers, Karl

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