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NFL Power Rankings Week 5: Records vs. Reality Edition

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NFL Power Rankings Week 5: Records vs. Reality Edition
Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

"You are what your record says you are."

Those famous words came from former New York Giants, New York Jets, New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells. The sentiment of this quote was that there weren't any could haves, should haves, or would haves in the NFL; rather that if your record was 8-8 at the end of the season, you were an 8-8 team. Even if four of those losses came by less than three points.

But is that often the case? Bill James created the Pythagorean Theorem of baseball to predict a team's future. According to James, a team's future could be better predicted using their runs scored and runs allowed, and it would be a better indicator of their future.

Football Outsiders uses a similar formula and calls it the Pythagorean Projection. This formula has been used to not only project which teams would improve from year to year, but also which teams will win the Super Bowl in any given year.

Does this mean it's perfect? No, but what it does do is provide a means to measure each team.

For today's power rankings, we will be taking each team's Pythagorean wins into account (provided by profootballreference.com) as well as some other factors to assess where each team really is in comparison to Matt Miller's Week 5 power rankings. For some teams you will notice that they will be exactly in the same place, while other teams will move up or down.

I should also note that when I list the Pythagorean win-loss total, I round up the total. Hence if a team has a Pythagorean record of 1.9-2.1, then their rounded up record would be 2-2. However if a team's record total is 1.1-2.9, their record would be rounded up to 1-3. Point differential will be the tie-breaker.

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