NFL: 2010 Preseason Performance Rankings

Donna CavanaghCorrespondent ISeptember 7, 2010

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 02:  Head coach Wade Phillips of the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on September 2, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Last year, we looked at "Preseason Performance Rankings" for the first time. As we said in the article "2009 NFL Preseason Performance Rankings", we do not put a great deal of importance on preseason data. However, when we look back with 20/20 hindsight, we see some interesting things.

Seven of the top 12 teams on that list became seven of the 12 playoff teams in 2009. Two of those teams—the Jets and Bengals—were teams that we would have thought were long shots to make the playoffs. The Saints, the No. one team on the list, won the Super Bowl. The top 12 teams went on to have a combined 107-85 record (a 0.557 winning percentage) while the bottom 12 teams finished with a 76-116 record (a 0.395 winning percentage).

One of the reasons we wrote the 2009 article was to highlight how low the Chargers, an expected playoff team, were on last season’s rankings. In fact, they were down at 31.

As it turned out, the Chargers did make the playoffs as everyone expected, so being low on the Preseason Performance Rankings is not necessarily the kiss of death. That’s good news for Colts, Patriots and Cowboys’ fans whose teams occupy three of the bottom four positions on this year’s Preseason Performance Rankings.

Our Performance Rankings are an objective list of a team’s "Relative Performance Measure" (RPM). This measure is based on in-game offensive and defensive PossessionPoints statistics that we developed. We have provided several links at the end of this article for those that want to read more about the RPM and why it is significant.

Last year’s chart was completed after just three preseason games. We omitted the final week since those games often feature soon-to-be-cut players. We did the same thing for this season, and below is the 2010 chart.



On the flip side, there are teams in the top 12 again this season that many expect to see in the playoffs. This year, no one would be surprised to see the Ravens, 49ers, Packers, Bengals, Saints, Falcons, Vikings and Chargers make postseason play.

Who might be the surprise teams this year? The Rams at No. five and the Raiders at No. 11 would be major surprises if they were to make the playoffs. While we also doubt that these teams will make the playoffs, we do think that our Preseason Performance Rankings could be an indicator that these teams have started to move away from being everyone’s doormat.


You can read more on the relevance of the RPM along with last season’s Preseason Performance Rankings in the following articles:

NFL Week Two Performance Rankings (gives a real good overview of RPM)

Playoff Upsets – What Upsets?

In The NFL Performance Means Everything